10 Ways To Do A Low Carbohydrate Diet The Right Way.

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how to start a low carb diet
Articles, Low Carb & Ketogenic Diet

I'm often asked how to start a low carb diet and whether or not “low carb” is safe. A few days ago, I posted about the 10 Hidden Dangers of a Low Carbohydrate Diet. If you recall from that article, (despite the title) I mentioned that I am indeed a fan of low carbohydrate diets.

As long as it's done the right way.

I even referenced how physically active individuals may be able to actually benefit from strategic low carbohydrate intake in my article 4 Reasons To Think Twice About Eating Carbohydrates Before A Workout or (if you’re a Rock Star Triathlete Academy member) the article 5 Ways to Get A Big Carbohydrate Restricting Performance Advantage.

I summed it up this way:

In a nutshell, pun intended, as you begin to increase carbohydrate consumption above the levels that you need for survival or periods of intense physical activity, you lose your ability to rely on fat burning mechanisms, and you experience the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, including neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinopathy (eye damage), increased cardiovascular disease risk, potential for cancer progression (tumor cells feed on sugar) and bacterial or fungal infection.

So if the dangers of a low carb diet that I talked about didn't deter you, and you're bent on banning bread, take heart. There is a way to do a low carbohydrate diet the right way. Here are 10 tips that will teach you how to start a low carbohydrate diet while avoiding common mistakes.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 1: Time Carbohydrates Wisely.

This one is a biggie, so we'll start with it. One of the main reasons for eating a low carbohydrate diet is because your blood sugar levels stay far more stabilized. But there is a time that you can consume carbohydrates without causing your blood sugar levels to go on a roller coaster ride—and that time is immediately before, during, or after exercise.

So if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, I highly recommend carbohydrate intake for exercise sessions that are 1) intense; 2) involve weight training; 3) longer than 2 hours in duration.

Although many folks use this as an excuse to eat more carbs than they should there is certainly truth to the fact that “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate”—meaning if you are constantly carb depleted due to zero calories of glucose intake, you can shut down your body's natural fat-burning capabilities. So if you're planning on exercising, try get at least 500-600 calories of carbohydrate per day, and eat them before, during or after your exercise session if you want them to not affect your blood sugars levels in a potentially damaging way.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 2: Take Into Consideration Your Body Fat Levels.

If you're fat, you're going to have more fat to burn. Look down at your waistline. Do you have layers of fat that you can grab? A beer belly? Muffin-tops? All of that is fat that can be mobilized if you are on a low carbohydrate diet.

But if your body fat is under 7-8% as a male, or in the low teens as a female, then it is highly likely that you're going to struggle with a consistently low carbohydrate intake—specifically during exercise sessions.

So if I have a client who is 30% body fat, I have no issues with that client staring at the ceiling awake at night craving carbohydrates as their body mobilizes fat tissue for energy, and I generally continue to advise them to watch their carb intake. But if that person is 6% body fat, it is far more likely that they're going to need that extra fat for insulation or essential fat stores, in which case it might be a good idea to go slam a bowl of rice.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 3: Don't Eat Processed Crap.

I mentioned this in my last article that typical “low carbohydrate” meal replacement bars and shakes, ice creams or ice cream sandwiches, and other low carb or sugar-free snacks often contain potentially unhealthy ingredients like maltitol, and are chock full of preservatives and highly processed ingredients. If your low carbohydrate diet involves boxed, wrapped and packaged food, it probably falls into this category.

Get this through your head: whether a food is low carbohydrate or not, if it is something you see advertised on TV, magazines, or newspapers you probably shouldn't eat it. If it's something you can easily recognize and identify where it grew and how it got to your plate, it probably is OK to eat.

This means that avocados are cool. Guacamole from your grocery store that has (and this is a popular brand):

Skim Milk, Soybean Oil, Tomatoes, Water, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut Oil, Safflower and/or Corn Oil), Eggs, Distilled Vinegar, Avocado Pulp, Onions, Salt, Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Yolks, Lactic Acid, Sugar, Whey, Sodium Caseinate, Mono and Diglycerides, Gelatin, Soy Protein Isolate, Xanthan Gum, Corn Starch, Guar Gum, Mustard Flour, Black Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (Added to Retard Spoilage), Coriander, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Disodium Phosphate, Cilantro, Gum Arabic, Extractives of Garlic and Black Pepper, Paprika Oil, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Dextrose, Artificial Color (FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6).

…is not cool. This is just one example, but I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what I'm getting at. Eat real food, not processed crap.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 4: Inject Carbohydrate Loading Days.

This is another biggie. Long-term carbohydrate deprivation leads to a complete depletion of your body's storage glycogen levels, depression of your immune system, decrease in metabolic function, and a host of other issues that you may be able to put up with if you're content to lie around on the couch, but that you're guaranteed to get completely destroyed by if you're planning on regular physical activity or competition like Crossfit, triathlon or marathon.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix, and this is a big part of my new book “Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes”: simply inject strategic carbohydrate re-feeding days into your exercise routine, either the day before your biggest workout day of the week or the day of your biggest workout of your week. On this day, you double or triple your normal carbohydrate intake, and eat at or slightly above your total calorie needs.

The disadvantage of doing this the day before your biggest workout of the week is that you're often resting on that day, and being sedentary while eating a ton of carbohydrates is not that great for your blood sugar levels. The disadvantage of doing it the day of your biggest workout of the week is that sometimes you're too busy exercising to eat much, but this is only really an issue for someone like an Ironman triathlete.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 5: Use Supplements Wisely.

When you begin a low carbohydrate diet, you're guaranteed to experience intense carbohydrate cravings. There are supplements that can help curb cravings, including chromium and vanadium (such as in Thermofactor), gymnema sylvestre (but you gotta take about 4000+ mg per day of it, which means you'd really want a physician's brand version), L-tryptophan or amino acids (these curb appetite with trace amounts of calories, no carbs, and will help if the issue is a serotonin deficiency) and even foods like those I demonstrate in my video: 5 Ways To Suppress Your Appetite Without Taking Pills or Capsules. 

The best supplement I've found to blunt the insulin-raising effects (insulin takes you out of fat-burning mode) of eating carbohydrates, regulate my blood sugar, and allow me to quickly return to my ideal blood glucose levels is Kion Lean, which contains a concentrated extract of wild bitter melon (shown to mimic insulin activity and may promote insulin sensitivity, which allows your cells to use blood glucose more effectively) and InnoSlim®, a blend of highly purified and fractionated Panax notoginseng and Astragalus membranaceus (shown to decrease glucose absorption and circulating blood glucose).

For exercise sessions, I actually recently tried out wasp larvae extract (VESPA), which is supposedly able to increase your ability to utilize free fatty acids as a fuel during exercise. I took two packets of it and was able to go about 4 hours on 1 gel. The disadvantage was that I was never able to go “above threshold”, or into my carbohydrate burning heart rate zone, so I'm not convinced I'd use it in a race, but it could certainly come in handy if you're trying to get by on a low carbohydrate diet and also do long exercise sessions.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 6: Be In It For The Long Haul.

When you first start a low carbohydrate diet, your weight will plummet as your body sheds storage glycogen and all the water that the storage carbohydrate sucks up like a sponge. So if your goal is weight loss, life is good for the first couple weeks as you shed anywhere from 3-20 pounds, depending on your starting weight.

And then the weight loss stops. In most cases, this is the point where people throw up their hands in despair, convinced that the plan isn't working, quit the low carbohydrate diet, and go in search of a pastry shop.

But if you stick with a low carbohydrate diet, the weight loss will gradually and consistently continue, especially if you include strategically implemented days where you allow your body's storage carbohydrate levels to be re-filled.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 7: Be Ready For Discomfort

During the first 7-14 days that you go low carb, you're going to find that your energy levels plummet, you get grumpy, you feel lethargic, and your body simply does not move or perform the way you'd like it to. This is because you are burning fatty acids (ketones) as a fuel.

So a strict low carbohydrate diet can be uncomfortable, and you need to be mentally prepared for that. Implementing the carbohydrate craving tips I gave earlier will help, but ultimately, you will find that you feel the same way as a marathoner does when they “bonk,” which is what happens during a run when your body runs out of storage carbohydrate and needs to begin burning fat as a fuel. This is also called “hitting the wall.”

If the discomfort does not subside, then I recommend you A) identify nutritional deficiencies and get tested for fatty acids and also for amino acids, and B) also make sure you're incorporating carbohydrate re-feed days if you're a physically active person.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 8: Stay Hydrated.

Not only will adequate water help to reduce the carbohydrate cravings you may experience early in the diet, but A) water is also essential for beta-oxidation, which is how your body burns fat as a fuel and B) you're going to lose a significant amount of storage water as your body sheds carbohydrate stores, so you'll need more from a dietary source.

I personally drink and recommend ample amounts of soda water, unsweetened Kombucha, bone broth, water with effervescent electrolytes dissolved in it, water with delta-E, and just plain water. What I don't drink is anything with added artificial sweeteners or sugars. So check your nutrition labels if you're drinking fluid from packages or bottles, but stay hydrated when you're on a diet like this.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 9: Get Your Fiber.

When you switch to a low carbohydrate diet, the drop in fruit, vegetables, legume, and grain consumption can significantly decrease fiber intake and result in inadequate phytonutrient, antioxidant, vitamin C and potassium intake. There is absolutely no reason that you can't eat liberal amounts of dark leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables on a low-carbohydrate diet. Just be careful with your total daily intake and timing of starchy vegetables or tubers, such as beets, sweet potatoes or taro.

How To Start A Low Carb Diet, Tip 10: Don't Judge.

This may seem a bit preachy, but I feel compelled to point out the fact that there are a multitude of successful vegan or vegetarian endurance athletes, including ultra-runner Scott Jureky, pro triathlete and ultra-runner Brendan Brazier, pro triathlete Hilary Biscay, US Master’s Running Champion Tim Van Orden, and top Ultraman finisher Rich Roll.

Since most vegan and vegetarian diets are definitely not low in carbohydrates, this demonstrates that you can succeed without eating a low carbohydrate diet. However, the low carbohydrate or ketogenic approach can be especially successful for fat loss, for learning to burn fats more efficiently and even for reducing the risk of, or managing, chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer.

In the last podcast, I also mentioned that I have a new video about low carbohydrate diets and my new book: “Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes”. Check out the video, and leave any comments, questions or feedback below!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

194 thoughts on “10 Ways To Do A Low Carbohydrate Diet The Right Way.

  1. marfi jonson says:

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  2. Abdul Aziz says:

    Great article! Thanks for a straight forward and informative rundown. So many people misunderstand the pro/con/effective uses of low carb diets.

  3. Clean Francis says:

    Filthy Frank would love to read this article. Look I think it’s great that you want to help people lose weight by telling them the right way to go on a carbohydrate diet. However, when you say you’re going to list 10 ways to do a diet the right way and the tenth “way” is bragging about people who don’t even follow the diet, you turn yourself into a complete joke. It’s almost like you’re trying to show off because you’re a vegan/vegetarian but you’ve also realized that vegan/vegetarians aren’t normally eating low carb meals so you need to start listing the names of a bunch of successful vegetarian/vegan athletes to justify yourself. Look if you are in fact a vegetarian/vegan and trying to convince people about all the medals you should receive because of it maybe you should go to a site where people are trashing them. Also, I highly doubt that anyone who visited this article got near the end of it and thought something like “Well why do vegetarians/vegans get to eat meals that are high in carbs?” (but you knew that already). Honestly that last paragraph (or last “way” to do the diet) has no place in an article “10 Ways To Do A Low Carbohydrate Diet The Right Way”. You should, instead, title your article like this: “Nine Ways To Do A Low Carbohydrate Diet The Right Way Followed By Me Justifying Myself/Bragging About Vegetarians and Vegans”.

    1. Colby says:

      Ben is not a vegan or vegetarian, he has said this many times.

    2. Karen says:

      I found the article quite interesting and don’t see the need to be rude or condescending in response. You having a grumpy carb free day?

    3. Nick says:

      Haha you wasted a lot of your time on this comment. You’re way off base. Clean Karen might have more success in her trolling if she actually knew what she was talking about.

    4. C says:

      Hm, I think I read it differently than you did, and I’m not sure which way is right, but it is certainly unclear. I saw it as him saying that, in relation to the first line “don’t judge,” *you* may be well suited to a low carb diet, but don’t believe it’s the end-all be-all for everyone, BECAUSE there are a multitude of athletes who are vegan/vegetarian. I think it’s an unclear attempt at “different strokes” and anecdotal evidence shows that people can be successful in many different ways.

    5. Brooke says:

      Well, you’re wrong. The entire time I was reading this article I WAS, in fact, thinking… well, what about all the healthy vegans and vegan athletes. I have been vegan over 20 years/vegitarian for nearly my entire life. As a vegan, I gained 120 pounds, particularly in the last 12 years (post age 35), due to the massive consumption of carbohydrates. After five years of trying every vegan diet plan and failing, I have recently made the emotional decision (I am vegan… or was… for the animals) to try my hand at low-carb, moderate keto (approx. 50g carbs daily — I’d like to go less, but considering 1.5 cups of broccoli contains 17g carbs, I’ve been challenged to get under 50g daily). I am pleased to say, the weight is coming off quickly, thus far; though, I struggle with eating animal products emotionally. All this said, there are many, many people in the world, each with varying interests and viewpoints. Rather than believing that your opinion is the majority, perhaps remembering that the world does not revolve around you might be a good idea. I found the entire article to be informative.

      1. Crazy Chrystal says:

        1.5 cups of broccoli has 9g of carbs, 4g of which are fiber, so really it has 2g of net carbs. Not sure where you get it has 17g of carbs??

        1. Crazy Chrystal says:

          Make that 5g of net carbs, was thinking in one cup.

    6. Jim says:

      Francis, Number 10: “Don’t Judge”

      All the guy is saying is people approach things differently. Live and let live. You should try it!

  4. Jenifer says:

    Hi Ben, I have listened to some of your podcasts in the past and I just signed up for your email list. I am reading old posts so hopefully, you will still reply!

    I have been doing keto on and off (mostly on) for almost 2 years. I am more strict when training for a marathon so that I am completely fat adapted at race time.

    My question is for your comment in the #1: So if you’re planning on exercising, try get at least 500-600 calories of carbohydrate per day, and eat them before, during or after your exercise session if you want them to not affect your blood sugars levels in a potentially damaging way.

    To me, doing this every exercise day defies the research that I’ve read (Phinney and Volek). The only time I would add extra carbs would be for my long day runs and those would be over 2 hour runs. And I still wouldn’t add in that many carbs. Can you explain the reason for your method? Or maybe I’m misunderstanding? Thank you!

    1. I have found that when you combine high levels of physical activity and do not have carbohydrate refeeds at the end of the day there tends to be hormonal issues such as low testosterone and low thyroid. However, a refeed can be more like 400 cals and doesn't need to be 500-600.

  5. Kimberly Kirkland says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jen Colinski says:

    Hello! Thanks for the very interesting article. I just would like to ask some general advice. I’m 29, female, 125lbs and 19% BF. I eat between 20-50g carbs per day and the rest is all natural, unprocessed food.

    (typical day 1)Breakfast – chia seed/flaxseed/almond milk/kefir/cacao nib with raspberries sludge, 2)lunch – 2 eggs, 1/2 avo, chicken/beef/pork, large salad with all green things, 2tbsp coconut oil/olive oil, kimchi/sauerkraut, 3)dinner – roast veg with meat or another large salad topped with pecans/almond cream, 4) snacks(not everyday) – pecans/black coffee/blueberries/cucumber/coconut butter/almond butter/blue cheese). Everything homemade including the guac, kefir, sauerkraut…

    I never cheat by eating sugar or other crap! Initially how I started this was through the GAPS diet where I was trying to stop my dairy intolerance. Anyway long story short, I’m here now eating low carb, training 5 days a week (3-4 strength days, 2 yoga, 3 runs/uphill walks & 2 HIIT sessions) but some days I feel totally depleted. I do try cycle in higher carb days but I become very bloated – I just eat more carby veg. I’ve started to think that women maybe need some more carbs?! Weight is not really an issue, it’s more about how I feel.

    1. Yep, something is not right! Have a listen to this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/08/358-musc… and if you want to go into more detail, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

      1. Bobby says:

        Is that the standard reply to every question? Book a consultation so I can make more money out of you. What a joke.

        1. TG says:

          He’s a professional with multiple Master’s degrees. This is how he makes his living. How selfish of you to expect he just give his time and knowledge and everything he’s worked so hard for to everyone who passes through and asks–for free!? You obviously don’t understand what it means to be self-employed.

          1. Grace says:

            Loved that response!

          2. CCR says:

            Great reply TG.

          3. Steven Stapleton says:


          4. L Wins says:

            Thank you for pointing this out to someone who just doesn’t get it.

          5. beez says:

            what’s with all the grumpy Gus’s in this thread? holy shit.
            must be carb-deprived. jeezy creezy.

    2. Julie says:

      You need carbs for your brain to function and 50g or less is dangerously low. Not sure how you could function on such a low amount for as long as you have.

      1. Smack Fu Master says:

        Sorry Julle but you’re wrong. Your body breaks down fats using ketones in the liver for your brain to use as fuel. Might want to do a little research before answering questions

        1. TDon says:

          Sorry but this is just irresponsible. It’s not your falult- you’ve just been caught up in the storm.

          A WFPB (whole foods plant based) diet is taking over the world and is much healthier. The reason you guys lose weight initially is because you go into ketosis.

          Check out these videos and more by Dr McDougall, Dean Ornish, Colin Campell, and ofcourse Dr Gregor.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qYKehNkDA0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXXXygDRyBU

          BTW Atkins’ arteries were clogged when they did the post mortem.

          1. Jenifer says:

            You don’t have to eat artery-clogging foods to be on the keto diet. I agree with you on the WFPB – I am mostly plant-based – but I also eat a low carb diet. If you look at the ANDI scale and nutrient dense food – high glycemic, high carb foods are extremely low on the list – doesn’t matter if they are plant-based or not. You can do both and my doctor considers my cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure to be outstanding.

  7. Kelly says:

    Hi Ben, do you have recommendations on how NOT to get heartburn with high fat foods!? Wow coconut oil does me in for sure. Would love to hear from you. And I’ll buy the book tomorrow but right now it’s 1:30 am :)

    1. Sierra says:

      Kelly try taking digestive enzymes before eating…

  8. Javier says:

    Ben, in order to gain muscle while low carb / sporadic carb feeding day/after workouts, do you think is better to ingest extra calories about the BMR?

    1. Yep, exactly, you must take in extra calories for that…

  9. aliboom says:

    i eat no fat with the banana meal and that is first thing after exercise or when i wake. all meals after are strictly under 9g carbs to not trigger insuln

  10. aliboom says:

    hi ben
    i am on a low carb diet and wonder if its working or not.
    banana spirulina protein shake with wheatgrass post workout. question, does banana stall weight loss or if it is mixed with protein it will be ok. ?
    lunch is tuna salad half avocado. dinner is tuna salad half avocado. snacks are nuts and greek yoghurt. 1200 calories day 70 g carbs 70 g fat 100g protein.
    my fat and carbs are the same amount is this really dumb? i dont eat them together.

    1. I suggest you check this out: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/ben-recommends/books/the-low-carb-athlete and if you want to go into detail on your situation feel free to book a consult at https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled for a Skype consult.

      1. Jennifer says:

        Hi Ben,

        My husband has brain cancer and keto was recommended. We eat only whole foods and low carbs anyway, so not hard. Done this for last ten years together, almost. The last two years we added high sugar, fried foods, etc., during the new baby sleep deprived phase. Anyway, we’re back to pure eating. The concern I have about keto is the zero grains. We eats tons of greens, so nutrients are okay. It’s what you warned against: the immune system depletion on keto. My husband is also positive for Lyme & co-infections and will do high-dose chemo. He needs to support his immune system. So, my question is, where does the keto for cancer recommendation fall in the light of the immune system impact?

        Thank you kindly,


        1. Joe says:

          I have a feeling you’ll need to pay good $$ to get a response on this question. Medical advice isn’t something to take freely.

  11. Farid v says:

    Ben, I’m on the low carb diet and intermediate fast as well. I will eat anywhere between 80-100 grams of protein give or take 10 grams and carbs, I will keep it under 100 grams or maybe 50 grams. This is my typical meal plan:

    Breakfast: 3-4 Eggs, scrambled with 1/4 avocado, tomatoes and spinach chopped and mixed

    3 hours later*

    2nd meal: 2 fish mixed with veggies and 1/4 avocado

    *3 hours later

    3rd meal: 1 or 2chicken breast with veggies and 1/4 avocado

    probably a snack like a bar or nuts and I go workout

    I’m trying not to eat after 8 or 9pm

    When I do eat carbs before working out, I tend to lift more weights.

    Today I was struggling a bit on bench pressing 160 lbs. My max is 215 lbs

    Does this seem like a good idea? I’ve tried something like this before and lost a lot of weight. At my lowest, I was at 235. Right now, I’m at 265-270. 6ft. I want to get down to 235-240 by the end of this year. With this meal plan, will it be possible?

    I do warm up cardio for 5-10 minutes of stairs, lift for 60 minutes, and cardio afterwards on the treadmill, elliptical or play basketball game

    1. I would start by reading this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-much… and then I suggest booking a consult for this and we can go into detail over there as there are lots of variables. Go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled.

  12. Alic says:

    Hmm! I really want to start this diet, I have been trying lots of weight loss diets but not working. is it possible to give me example on menu plan for a week so that I can start and be used to the plan?

    1. Aside from all the info I give in the article, there are no free menu plans! I would also check this out: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2008/12/warning-…


    Following a low carb diet tends to cause hair fall out for me. Do you have any tips to minimize hair fall out?

    1. If the loss of hair is indeed due to carbohydrate restriction and not something else and when I would recommend the carbohydrate refeeds and carbohydrate cycling here is the last podcast that we did on the: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/08/358-musc…

  14. Max says:

    Refined carbs being not allowed… Hmmm well though as I’m a CPT and CSN with 20 years plus of pursuit in the fitness subject and DO have the general knee jerk reaction. One must acknowledge that it is”not” an absolute. Some people by way of genetic predisposition or lifestyle structure CAN absolutely tolerate them with no penalty. The prime example IMO Arnold, with his old days habit of cbl PIES!! at the” House of Pies” BEFORE competition. All his peers telling him it’d ruin his work. It didn’t. “Ever”. I think the better advice is pay close attention to see if it is actually knocking you off course or not. If so, ” correct it!” If not, enjoy it. It’s like flying a plane from a to b it’s course correction all the way but,… if your OK, don’t fix it till it shows to be broken. Paying close attention is a lot and getting the wisest council you can even if it means paying for it as I’ve done with one of my old hero’s Frank Zane. Bottom line there are no 100% absolutes. some people can break rules others cannot; sometimes bc of genetics sometimes lifestyle structure. Pay close attention, adjust as needed, and be honest with yourself (!!) is how I’d end my too long response. :)

  15. Alex says:

    Hi Ben, thanks for the article !

    Quick question here : How would you advise me to get to my goal ?

    I’m 27, 1.80m tall and currently weighting 73Kg, around 25% fat (self estimation from comparing with photo, highly inaccurate ^^). I’d want to attain a weight of 75Kg while getting leaner.

    It seems pretty counter-intuitive, but that’s my goal. And I don’t know how to achieve it.

    1. Book a consult and we'll go over everything there. Go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled.

  16. Rosanna says:

    Hi Ben! Fantastic article, it has helped me so much in changing my diet and life. Your comments and replies are so helpful and motivating!

    I was wondering if you could answer a quick question for me. Im a 29 year old female. I am 5f 7in and weight 10st 11pounds, the problem is my whole body is flab and fat due to an extremely unhealthy lifestyle,diet and illness. I began a low carb diet and am so far im doing good, the problem is i am so self conscious about my body and the saggy fat that i cant bring myself to weight train in the gym, instead i have been doing spin classes 4 times a week so i can hid in a corner. I have approx 40g of carbs a day. I hope to change this once i regain some confidance. Should i reduce my carbs to 20/30g a day on account of the high percentage of body fat? And is it a waste of time doing spin classes with no weight training on this diet? Would be so grateful for your help and some insight :)

    1. Rosanna, don't worry about trying to hide. You're in a gym living a healthy lifestyle and you should feel proud of that! Definitely head on over to the weights section and if anyone says anything tell them Ben Greenfield has your back! And read this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-much…

  17. Daniel says:

    Hey Ben,

    Thanks for the article. I know it’s been a while since you wrote it but it seems you still keep up with the comments, nice work!

    Question: Basically, I’ve been sedentary and have had bad eating habits for over a year. I have gained a considerable amount of weight (about 40 pounds, I’m 206, 5’8) and need to lose this quickly. My doctor told me about low carbs and to keep it under 40. I’ve always been on again off again fit and have usually lost weight with high protein/low calorie/intermittent fasting with lots of physical exercise. It has always worked but takes a while. I need to lose weight very quickly. I’ve just embarked on the low carb diet and am combining it with undercutting calories heavily, using intermittent fasting, lifting very light and doing 20 minute stair master cardio. It appears to be working after just 2 weeks but I’m worried about the health impacts having read your article.

    Keep in mind that this is short term, I want to lose the weight as quickly as I can (I’m okay with being hungry) and then will adjust to a more long term, higher calorie/higher carb diet once I’ve gotten to an acceptable level (around 175 or so). How badly am I hurting myself, I know this is effective as it is working but I don’t want to hurt myself detrimentally in the long term.

    1. It's really hard to say without getting some tests done, but you need to be really careful about adrenal fatigue. I would also be testing my HRV and checking to make sure my body iwasfully recovered before exercising again. I would also be doing a tonne of parasympathetic stuff, like meditation, slow yoga, and maybe taking some adaptagenic herbs like ashwaganda found in TianChi: https://getkion.com/shop/body/tianchi-chinese-adaptogenic-herb-complex/ but if you want to go into detail, book a consult at bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and choose 20 or 60 mins and we'll get you scheduled.

  18. Jacqui says:

    Hi Ben , I am new to this on my 17 th day very fussy eater gone from eating bread 3 times a day to none ,I have started what I think is a low carb diet going off what friends have told me they have had great weight loss ,basically I have a whey diet low fat whey drinks one for breakfast one for lunch ,as an example I have large salad ,lettuce cucumber,tomatoes,onion,raddish ,boiled egg and chicken ,I also have chicken and roasted veg ,if hungry I will have a piece of ham in between not more then 2slices and the odd apple I have sugar free jelly with a small blob of custard after,on a weekend I will make a curry or chicken chilli made with spices but do use tin of tomatoes and I love my wine I have one bottle at weekend ,I go gym about twice a week do cardio and do 2 nights video
    for hour with 10 mins tummy exercises after, I am tired all the time and hungry I also have very dry mouth is this normal? and I don’t seem to have lost as much weight as I thought, am I doing this all wrong.

  19. Dan Hutchins says:

    Hi Ben,

    I am 5 foot 8 and wiegh about 207 lbs. My girlfriend has been doing a low carb diet and she has lost 30 lbs and looks good. I am hoping a low carb diet will help me lose weight. I am looking to get around 170 -185 lb range. I am a former soccer player and plan on working out again. Is this plan feasible?

    1. absolutely! Just make sure you do some carb refeeds. For details, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  20. john says:

    HI BEN, Im just starting a low carb diet, im 5’8” 190lbs and looking to lose about 30-35lbs. most of it is belly fat.Starting out with about 20 carbs a day and intend to add slowly to that in a week or so. Im not much of athlete, just lookin to lose a few pounds, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. John! Feel free to book a consult at bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and choose 20 mins and we'll go over everything.

  21. linda says:

    Hi Ben. :-) I follow this way of life. But I have to be extremely careful because I have IBS. I cannot eat a ton of vegetables, sadly. My breakfast is basically three eggs cooked and 1 tablespoon of grass fed butter. Lunch is a decent size salad with 2 tablespoons of high-fat dressing that I make homemade. Then I have a yogurt. It has some sugar in it, but I don’t eat all of it. Probably to the point of nine carbs. Then I have a yogurt. It has some sugar in it, but I don’t eat all of it. Probably to the point of nine carbs. Dinner is usually a quarter cup of rice pasta with some sort of meat and every small amount of adjustables. And usually about a tablespoon of fat. Sometimes I can eat nuts, but it has to be usually during the day. My total carbs for the day is about 38 to 45 g per day. I can’t go any lower, otherwise I’ll be living off of salted chicken broth and magnesium tablets. That ain’t happening. Anyway, this is how I work the program for myself. I just recently started, so hopefully I won’t see any stalls. I’ll keep you posted.

  22. Hi Ben – I’m amazed at how helpful you are with your readers. You’ve answered nearly every post! I’m impressed. :)

    This article was very helpful to me. I’m in a unique situation, as I’ve had PTSD for twelve years, and consequently, high cortisol. I’ve done a roller coaster several times with that and adrenal exhaustion. I am currently in high cortisol mode again.

    I decided to try a LCHF diet, and for the first time in a decade, lost a few pounds. (It’s nearly impossible to lose weight with high cortisol! I found intense exercise over time actually ADDED fat to my midsection! No doubt, adrenal overload.) I ditched refined carbs, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. However, I discovered that extreme low carb provoked anxiety like I couldn’t believe (I already manage this 24/7, and have a hypersensitive system to where even a little sugar “wigs me out,” as I call it). I added some carbs back in (fruit and more veggies) and started to feel better.

    However, I just now read that complex carbs actually balance blood glucose levels more effectively than a low carb diet. Really?? Do you have any thoughts on this?

    I am not overweight, but I’d love to lose about 10 lbs. I’m 5’7″ and 145 lbs, so about 23% body fat. I have worked SO hard to get healthy over the years, and have really taken control of my diet. But still, I struggle with high cortisol and wakeful nights (I take melatonin and L-Tryptophan, along with Seriphos to help with my 3:00 a.m. cortisol spike). I’ve been so discouraged, feeling like a prisoner to food. It takes so little cheating to make me feel inflamed around my midsection (not bloated, but like I’ve suddenly puffed up in the middle).

    Are you knowledgeable about high cortisol and low carb dieting? Any tips you can share? I just discovered your site today, and already have about ten tabs open on my browser of information you’ve provided.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Lots of questions here. BIGGEST tip I can give you is to incorporate daily carbohydrate REFEEDS. This would be in the evening, post workout. Anways, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  23. John says:

    Ben, I am 5 ft 9, weigh 200 pounds and have about 30% body fat. I do weights three times a week. How much could I lose in a month by keeping my carb intake to around 100g (with up to 150-200g) once or twice a week. Would it be possible to maintain/increase muscle mass as well?

    1. Yep, totally possible. You should read this: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/e… – and, to get an idea of exact numbers per month,, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  24. Ursula says:

    What are your thoughts on diet sodas and splenda or any type of artifical sweetners?

  25. Scott Higgins says:

    Hello Ben, I’m 46 years young and new to low carb keto lifestyle. I lift weights 5 days a week. M,W,F upper body 1 1/2 hours. Tue and Thur lower body and 30 min cardio 1 1/2- 2 hours. Sat 2 hour bike ride when can. I weigh 212lbs. Weekdays are early days – 5:30 am

    Start. Are you saying I should eat around 130 grams of carbs during that window in the am. 50 before, some during and 50 after? Then limit it rest of day? Or is this for more cardio work that a triathlete would perform?

    1. No. Save all your carbs for the evening. Honestly I would just read this: https://amzn.to/2NeA7gC

      1. Scott says:

        I bought it and am reading it. I read where you recommend people work out hardest in the evening and eat more carbs around that time. But, due to to evening time restraints my workouts through the work week are always early 5-7 a.m. Is that when I should eat majority of carbs? And how much to not kick me out of ketosis?

        1. I'll say this again and keep it very simple… Save your carbs until the evening, Period. Only exception to this rule would be if you are going two a day workouts, like another work at around lunch.

          1. Scott says:

            Ha ha, thanks for keeping it simple:) I miss my steel cut oats with just a bit A bit of salt. Would that be a good evening care meal besides whit rice? Thank you again, last question btw

          2. Sure. Just focus on them coming from nutrient dense sources!

  26. Dr Elizabeth says:

    When it comes to weight loss, what you don’t know can hurt you. Here are a dozen foods you never thought would speed up your fat-loss efforts.

    Choosing fat-fighting foods usually means a trip down the produce aisle in your local supermarket, but there are plenty of good alternatives that can help keep your calorie count down.

    While veggies are always a good place to start, we’ve added some surprise choices from other sections of the grocery store that can help you whittle your middle.

  27. Peter says:

    Hi Ben,

    I am a male 163cm tall and 115kg (lost 11 kg in the last 3 months). I was diagnosed as diabetic and my 11kg weight loss made my diabetes disappear. My body fat percentage is 44% and I have 37kg of muscle. I want to get my body fat down to normal levels or just above normal (20%) and to increase muscle mass as much as I can. My food consists of Diet whey shakes, plant protein shakes, nuts, seeds, salads, veg, lean meats (beef / chicken) and fish. I take a some supplements (L-carnitine, CLA, omega3, alpha-lipuic acid, coq10, apple cider vinegar capsules, I occasionally have a slice of bread or some farver beans.

    My training consists of about 4-6 sessions of weights a week about one hour each. Some days I also do some skipping and punch bag work too. I recently started introducing high intensity intervals on the punch bag or using a kettle bell.

    What do you recommend for me to maximize my fat burn and muscle gain?



    1. I should begin by clarifying the fact that I am *not* a physician and this is *not* to be interpreted as medical advice. Please talk to a licensed medical professional about all of this! But I would look into this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/ben-recommends/books/ben-greenfields-look-good-naked-longevity-plan/ – It would be perfect for I bet.

  28. Kathryn says:

    Hi Ben,

    What do you think of 40/40/20 macro ratio (20 being carbs).

    I am 36y old, weigh around 59kg, 26% of body fat and basically aim to lose 1-2kg of fat. I try to eat 1400 kcal a day, my carbs coming mostly from veggies (but i eat them all except potatos & beans), berries, nuts and now and then few gramms of dark chocolate or glass of wine. After Christmas i started couple of weeks low carb (totally 40g carbs a day), had no cravings, discovered that there are fats (which i used to avoid like disease :) ), however headaches & fogginess killed me no matter how much water or magnesium i took. Nedless to say that i lacked energy to do resistance training (3-4 times a week) and i really didnt like that strange sweet aftertaste in my mouth. So now i changed to 20% carbs a day. Is this still considered a low carb diet? Should i only eat carbs before / after training? What i did notice though is that i am hungrier now than i was with only 10% of calories coming from carbs.

    1. It varies based on genetics but generally 50-60% fat, 20-30% protein, 10-30% carbs. Rationale behind that is here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-m…
      I advise doing carb re-feeds in the evening. I recommend nightly refeeds for very active athletes or weekly refeeds for most other folks. You would really benefit from reading this article: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2011/08/10-wa…
      Then let me know if you have any more questions.

  29. Mike Smllin says:

    Luckily I have found huge list of zero & low carb foods in andriod play store.
    you will really found it useful as it has real big list of foods.

  30. manisha says:

    I have been on low carb diet for 2 weeks now eating less than 50 grams of carb each day. After 2 weeks when I decided to test using the ketone strips to check if my body is in ketosis, the test shows negative. i exercise for 3 days/ week from light to medium intensity.

    1. Sometimes it can take longer than 2 weeks to reach keto adaptation…

  31. Davelllogan says:

    Carb load day should be filled without starchy carbs. Complex carbs would be better, but starchy carbs won’t hurt unless you go over 100 grams of carbs.

  32. MikeC says:

    Hi Ben. Btw, love your podcasts and videos etc :-) I’m almost 45, train 4 days per week (weights) and HIIT on the remaining days. I started out at approx. 23% bf but went down to ca. 12% bf within 5 months of a low carb and calorie restricted diet. Motivation was high and the results were food…. but then it all went wrong. Hours shopping, cooking, prepping etc got to me and in my situation, high stress is a factor (my wife had a brain aneurysm rupture back in 2009 and is now fully disabled and I am, in essence, a full time carer and a single parent to our now 12 year old son). Cravings grew, fatigue, mood swings, depression, dry and cracked skin (hands), weakness, brain fog, etc, etc. I never felt satiated and was always hungry. Looking back, I think I cut the calories too much but even so, probably no more than a 20% deficit. I have now learned that one big mistake was that I ate too much protein and no where near enough healthy fat. My diet consisted of chicken, tuna, eggs, vegetables, beans, cacao nibs, fruit, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, fish, evol, coconut oil, herbs and spices (especially turmeric, cinnamon, ginger) and green tea, acv, water. Organic as much as possible. Sleep problems developed and recovery became difficult. People then made me feel worse by commenting on how sick I looked; too thin, lost too much weight, gaunt face etc. After some more bad news (about 6 weeks ago), I totally fell off the wagon. Boom! It was brewing up and to cut a long story short, I binged on ice cream, chocolate, cakes, muffins, biscuits. They never tasted soooooo good! I then got caught up with that dreadful concept of carb-backloading by Kiefer…. basically trying to ‘justify’ my binges. Deep down, I knew it was wrong. 6 weeks on and I have (as you would expect), regained much of my weight and my ‘gut’ is back. The Homer Simpson shape is returning quickly. I suspect my hormones were screwed, namely leptin and cortisol. Before caving in, I did feel episodes of low blood sugar too.

    I am no trying out IF, 16:8 on my 4 weight-training days and 19:5 on my remaining HIIT days. I figured this might help with my tendency to binge-eat as I seem to take comfort in enjoying food in the evenings. Fasting is no problem for me at all… but it is purely because of having that ‘something to look forward to’ feeling.

    In your opinion, would you say I suffered because of the lack of a proper reefed day each week or perhaps I went ‘too clean’? Any tips on how to get back on track or is my metabolism/thyroid/adrenals probably all screwed up now? A depressed Mike!!

    1. Short answer to a long question: YES, I think you should have been doing more refeeds! I recommend nightly refeeds for very active athletes or weekly refeeds for most other folks.

  33. anankae says:

    Your "popular brand grocery store" guacamole has a very odd idea of what constitutes guacamole.

    Here are the ingredients of my popular brand grocery store guacamole (spicy version):

    Haas avocado, vinegar, jalapeno pepper, dehydrated onion, salt, jalapeno powder, dehydrated bell pepper, granulated garlic.

  34. Diane says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m a 30yo female, 5’2″ and 150 lbs. I would like to lose about 20 pounds. I engage in weightlifting/Crossfit 5x/week. Do you think I need the carbs? I’m currently consuming 1/2 cup of oatmeal (uncooked) with a sprinkle of raisins post-workout. The rest of the day, I’ll just eat veggies and squash. I’m usually under 100g total carbs/day.

    What’s the best way to approach this while maintaining strength/performance and losing body fat?


  35. Boo Balu says:

    Hi! I am totally not sedentary. I have a daily training (5-6 days per week) for about 2 to 2.5 hours in crossfit with a programming that it’s including an smolov jr (squats and push press) and oly almost every day (we also have conditioning).

    I also work so I would love to read some help!

    I try to eat mostly as a “whole30” but not strict. I don’t hace dairy or gluten neither sugar. I have only whole foods even postwod (chicken and sweet potato).

    What about me at this point? What about carbs pre and postwod and what about the “refuel”???

    Long question! Thanks a lot

    1. That doesn't sound too bad. Keeping it whole and unprocessed is good, but if you want more details on LCHF I've written a tonne: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/02/ketog… https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/10/deep-…

      Also check out this article for pre/post workout fueling: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/what-…

      1. Lisa says:

        “Although many folks use this as an excuse to eat more carbs than they should there is certainly truth to the fact that “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate” – meaning if you are constantly carb depleted due to zero calories of glucose intake, you can shut down your body’s natural fat burning capabilities.”

        GLYCOGENISIS in regards to protein metabolism the bodies ability to convert protein into glycogen for energy use in the form of (ATP) when there is no availability of carbohydrates (GYCOGEN due to depleted stores) by either transamination or deamination of amino acids, in which a series of complex chemical reactions take place in the Krebs cycle.

        However (and not judging) I do believe it is well researched that over a prolonged period of time diets higher in protein then physical demand can become very hard on renal function, and promote possible chronic renal disease through increased glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration. Agreed in the short term it has been seen to be effective for quick and rapid weight loss along with helping those with type 2 diabetes by helping to regulate insulin spikes.

        But a healthy fit training person needs carbohydrates and especially for endurance sports you want a happy functioning liver even though it is filtration systems and removes more then just toxins but also helps regulate pH levels blood buffer system, blood pressure and so many body system interconnections.

        Also you not only store glycogen in the liver but also in skeletal muscles and is the only fuel used for the brain and nervous system these stores, you do not want to deplete. This explains sometimes why we get brain fog on low carb and poor concentration ect…

        Side comment here but check what is the recommended body fat levels for your sport this also is important, I new a world class female marathon runner whose BF got as low as 7% (off the top of my head for a female in this class should not be below 13%) and ended up being burnt out and that was the end, career over as they consumed way too little calories for energy output and there body just could not perform anymore even though they were on a good amount of carbs. I do hope it all works out for you and you will be a long term testimonial but time will only tell for its such a science involved when it comes to consuming food and combining sport… :)

  36. William Lim says:

    Hi Ben,

    Nice rundown of carb stuff! For No. 1, does it also matter what kind of carb you eat right before/during/right after exercise? I kinda remember you discussing with JJ Virgin how eating fructose after exercise is one of the worst things you could do. Can you elaborate more on this?



    1. Fructose can only be used to fill liver glycogen stores, not muscle glycogen stores. So other carb sources are better to replenish glycogen stores after exercise UNLESS you've tapped into liver glycogen stores (e.g. a high volume 90 minute+ session), in which case fructose would also be OK.

  37. Benjamin Bostrom says:

    Hey Ben,

    Thanks for doing a great service to all here. Been pretty entertaining listening to you and Brock on my rides and runs. Much appreciated! Also, I dig you put everyone under the sun on the podcasts. Very open minded so we can hear every side. If I ever have enough to contribute to society(besides taxes and sperm), it would be cool to talk shop on your pod school. Again, super appreciate the work and entertainment! BB

  38. Emstar181992 says:

    Thanks for your great article!

    I'm sorry if you've answered elsewhere, but what do you make of overall calories on a LCHF diet? IOf course, calories probably naturally decrease when you eat whole foods like lean meats and vegetables/fats, but should one keep to a quota?

    I had terrible acne years ago, and found that a LCHF diet cleared everything up – I had beautiful, perfect skin. Only thing was I hadn't realized how much I was eating by stuffing in the more snack-type foods like nuts and seeds (around 2800-3000 for a 23 year old female!!) One day I decided to experiment with the complete opposite approach (beginning of this year) – I'd heard that a high carb, very low fat diet could deliver similar results for the skin, whilst allowing you to eat sugary treats – what's not to love!

    However, I'm pretty sure I was becoming insulin resistant at an alarming rate, adding to fluctuating bouts of hyperglycemia followed by hypoglycemia all day long, followed by pancreas problems…yeah. It was pretty f****ng bad!

    Anyway! I transitioned back to low carb but following my sugar binge the weight has been falling off me – I'm now at 13% body fat, and having cut out all the snacky foods in place of 3 square meals I'm intaking around 1700-1900 calories. I feel drained and have awful insomnia. Yet I come across so many forums with people claiming to eat the same calories or LESS who feel awesome! Are they perhaps underestimating their intakes? Or am I missing some magic…


    1. My tip for you: it's probably not calories (in my experience)…it's going TOO LOW on carbs. Shoot for 75-100g on inactive days, 100-150g on active days and that should help with energy levels. If you need more meal plan help, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. We can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  39. Patty says:

    Just starting to try and lose the extra inertube around my midriff region. I have never been on a low carb diet before and I am trying it to lose the weight. I have been eating loads of vegetables in a salad with grilled or roasted chicken for protein. Is this the right course to take to lose approximately 25 pounds. Have lost 9# in 2 weeks. Have been walking 4-6miles 4-5 times a week. I’m 64 years old and only able to walk to exercise. What food selections and what foods for carbs would you recommend? Thank You.

    1. Patty, have a listen to this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/12/5-sim… and watch this presentation: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/10/fat-l… and then let me know if you have any further questions.

  40. tota8471 says:

    Hi , Ben am a 30 years old female 5’4″ and weight 280lb I woukd like to lose at least 80 pounds been hearing alot about LCHF dietI have been trying to lose weight since 2013 by minimizing the amount of bread rice and pasta but since then I only lost 23 pounds I go to the gym like 3 times a week doing cardio for like hour and a half now diabetic is running through my family and my fasting blood sugar around a hundred in the morning I would like to lose the weight but in the mean time I don’t want to mess up my organs I can’t find someone that says the side effect off the low carb hi fat diet can you please tell me in simple way what should I do and how many carbs do I need to eat every day to lose the weight and in the meantime have the energy to move around two kids for the past 3 days I only been eating lettuce eggs some sharp cheddar cheese and cold cuts and drinking one gallon of water everyday I’m not sure if what I am doing is right or wrong also I have mild gastritis and I have my gallbladder out since 2007 I can’t eat too much fat or I will get heartburn please I need your help I’m very confused on the way to start thank you and I really appreciate it

    1. So here's the deal: the low carb high fat diet can help you, especially if you're cutting bread and pasta (wheat sources), but there are likely many other factors at play here too. Of all the resources I have out there that could help you, I think the best place to start would be the free videos and articles over at the "Belly Burn" project. Check it out here: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/belly-burn

  41. Sabrina says:

    Great article ! I want to ask a question but first my routine : i workout 2 hrs five days a week n i am on lo carb diet n had recent lipid prifile test results are cholesterol is 171 ldl is 61 hdl is 106 !! What does this show and when shud i be taking carb in a day n how much ? Though gym time is quite active n rest of the day im not that active at all !!! Dies this matter too ? Kindly tell i am 49 years old n weight is almost 128 lbs n i dont want to gain weight as it gives weight only on my sides of my Butts !!! And due to this lo carb diet o hv been able to reduce only 4.4 lbs n dont want to gain back

    Plz help me wid mydiet plan

    1. I think you might find this post helpful for your situation https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/10/fat-l… and this one too https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-m…. Also feel free to book a one-on-one consultation with me at https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and we’ll make a plan together.

  42. LCHF27 says:

    I enjoy this article and I am trying to learn. I have been on a LCHF eating plan for 3 months. 10-12% carbs, 15% protein and 70-73% fat and I keep my calories around 1200 each day. I am 5'3" and now weight 150 lbs. I have lost 12 lbs which is good, but so slow. I also try to get my 10000 steps in each day. Last week I had my first cheat day. I expected it to stall my weight, but I gained 3 pounds. So discouraged. I really enjoy eating LCHF but am not happy if whenever I am not perfect I gain weight. Is that normal? I would also like to add more fruit into my diet and up my calories at some point. But have a goal of another 15 pounds first. Help!

    1. This would be a great article for you to take a look at https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-m… I think it'll give you good ideas.

  43. Jenna Salt says:


    I’m a 33 year old girl, 5’7in and I weigh 188lbs. I’m probably about 35% bf at the moment and I’d like it to be 25% or lower, eventually. I play netball twice a week, go to the gym 2/3 times a week and lift heavy-ish, do spinning or body combat. On average I

    probably exercise 4-6 times per week. I currently eat 1750 calories per day, 45/35/20 c/p/f and stick to it, but lately the weight loss has plateaud. I would like to try dropping the carbs a bit but I know I can’t increase fat to 70% or something like that, I simply don’t like a lot of fatty foods (even the good ones!). Where do you recommend I start with lowering carbs? I would like a rough idea that won’t necessarily drop me into ketosis but just help shift some of the fat. Would something like 35/45/20 work? Or do I need to go lower? I hope this makes some sort of sense!

    1. I would start by looking at this post https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-m… and then checking this out https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/02/perfe… it is what I base my own diet off of.

  44. dronerush69 says:

    Hi Ben

    I am an enthusiast Squash player and play/practice 5+ times a week. I also do Squash conditioning work at the gym to supplement with strength and other things to assist with my game on court.

    I have been on a low carb diet for the past 3 weeks now, and would be approx 10% body fat. I find during the days I am more alert, I feel sharper and I do not have fluctuations in concentration and I don't have crashes where I get tired throughout the day like I used to. I eat a heap of veges and saturated fats that i predominately get from Butter, Cheese, Avocado, Fermented coconut oil and cuts of meat with high amounts of fat and around 160 grams of protein per day.

    However, on the Squash court I have experienced several times where I feel instantly fatigued in all my muscles, my vision goes blurry, I have quite intense mind fuzz, I feel intensely dizzy and my ability to play hard goes completely out the window. What I have started to do is to eat something like a sweet potato 2 hours before I play and this seems to really help.

    But my question is, if I do not have time to prepare a more complex carbohydrate like that would I be best to eat something quick and easy like a banana? Or should I really look to ingest a more slow burning carb prior to my game time always?

    Also, in terms of a carb to eat? What do you suggest? White rice? brown rice? Sweet potato? Porridge? Pumpkin? And when eating these carbs should some fat by consumed at the same time? What would your strategy be to fuel for something like a Squash match?

    1. Honestly, I just make sure I eat a proper meal 2-3 hours before a tennis match and I am good to go. Take a look at these pages for some other suggestions – https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/what-… and the section about soccer in this episode https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/02/310-t…

  45. ken88 says:

    I am a distance runner and have been following a 150 g carb diet (trying to push this down but I’m already at 8% body fat). I infer from the article that one should up the carbs before and after VO2 max workouts. But what about long runs?

    I now do long slow runs (2h or more) without carbs (before and during). But if I were to include marathon or tempo pace in the long runs, would carbs be needed? If I include “refeed” the day before or just before the run, wouldn’t the carbs raise insulin thereby suppress fat burning?

    1. We covered a lot of these question in a couple podcasts – check them out: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/02/combi… and https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/12/5-sim… Also feel free to book a one-on-one consult with either myself or Barry over at https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and we will dig into your particular needs.

  46. zvolo says:

    Hi Ben, I have a question. I have been experimenting with LCHF diet for a while. I have noticed that after a harder run or workout I smell of ammonia. I have looked up some info about it. Apparently it is caused by braking down protein and using amino acids as energy. I do take BCAA before workout. What wold be your take on this issue.
    thanks a lot

    1. You get that ammonia smell due to the breakdown of ATP to ADP and AMP. It usually indicates that you’ve got a lot of proteins being burnt as a fuel. Check out my response to Nadaleen on this page – https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/08/episo…

      1. zvolo says:

        Thank you Ben for the reply. I have checked out the info you have suggested. I am pretty much on 70/15/15 ration. I do cycle the ketosis in about few days out during 14 days period. The ammonia smell occurs only during my run and it is noticeable through sweating. If I go for my run I do around 5g of BCAA 30 min prior to my run. In todays occasion I did fasted run, bulletproof coffee with BCAA and raw egg in it 30 min before the run. I know it is very hard conclude about this conditions based on very few details. Do you think this might indicate any other metabolic condition? Would you recommend any particular blood test? Or shall I just go with the experimenting with different amounts of BCAA and proteins? Is the ammonia dangerous thing if not treated? Many thanks Ben. I hope you are having a great time in DUBAI.

        1. The solution may be as simple as increasing your carb intake right before a workout. Carb timing can be key. https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/09/fasti…

  47. annabellegoetke says:

    Hi Ben!

    On the reefed days should you lower the amount of fat you're taking in or keep it the same?

    1. You're going to probably be eating slightly more carbohydrates of course on those refeed days, and rather than "stealing" the macronutrients from protein, you should "steal" them from fat. So fat may go down to 40-50% on those days…

      1. Annabelle says:

        So you would eat the same amount of calories and just tweak the fat/carb macros?

  48. Lauren says:

    Hi Ben,

    I am a runner and am on week 3 of my low carb diet. Its going well, I have lost 6 lbs so far. I am 5’2 and 122 lbs. i would like to lose a few more lbs if I can without starving myself or killing myself at the gym. I eat about 30-40 carbs per day. I had a refeed day last week and got so bloated it wasnt even funny. Carbs make me retain water so badly! My main question is: I am always hungry!!! I eat more then I ate on low fat/high carb diet and can’t seem to get full! I eat around 70 grams of fat per day. Is that not enough?

    1. Honestly, you are not eating enough carbs. If you're a very active person, you can get away with closer to 80-150g per day, so that is the first adjustment I would make…assuming you time those carbs to be pre/during/post workout only.

  49. mrjasonfox says:

    Hi Ben,
    I have done several low carb diets over the years. The first being the Zone diet. Eventually I progressed to the GAPS diet. I experienced recently in the past two years that when I enter ketosis I begin to suffer muscle pain, weakness, muscle fasciculations, and numbness and tingling in extremities. When I reintroduce carbs (even a small amount) and leave ketosis (as verified by ketone strips). The symptoms begin to subside. I've had standard blood tests done while experiencing these symptoms and nothing showed up. No acidosis, blood sugar abnormalities, electrolyte imbalances, or kidney issues. It's really very strange.

    1. If you haven't listened to this interview with Dr. Wahls yet, you should – https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/05/ketos…

  50. ozgirl19 says:

    Hi Ben
    great article. I'm a 37 year old woman, working as a nurse so moderately active. I have lost almost 10kg on LCLF diet in last 7 weeks and happy with progress. As I reach my goal weight I am keen to start improving my running time (no major marathon stuff, just want to be able to do about 6km in 30 mins with occasional 10km runs thrown in). I function pretty well with no carbs for everyday life and to do moderate short exercise, but need something to fuel me pre run. I can't eat a large volume as I get stitches easily. What can I eat a small amount of that will fuel me but be burnt off during a 6km run and how soon should I eat it? I'm thinking handful of nuts and dried apricots? Thanks!

      1. ozgirl19 says:

        thanks Ben much appreciated!

  51. Cat says:

    Your articles on low carb diet and exercise are wonderful. Thank you for providing such detailed and easily understand guidelines for this challenging lifestyle.

    I have followed a low carb diet with a an intense exercise plan in the past and was successful in getting into the most fit phase of my life…before I had a baby at 40. I gained a great deal of weight while pregnant and lost all of the lean strong muscle mass that I had worked so hard to achieve. I am now back on the low carb diet (testing in Ketosis on a daily basis) and exercising each day. I have a calorie deficit of around 500-700 calories, under 50 to 20 grams of carbs per day, I try to jog 3 miles but have so little energy it’s a jog/walk, and I do a series of strength training exercises. I have been strictly following my plan for 3 and a half weeks so far and am lucky if I have lost a few pounds. I am disheartened since I have experienced that sudden loss of weight from changing to low carb diet before. Not only have I not experienced the loss this time, I am surprised the weight loss has not kicked in (even a little) just yet. I was starting to wonder if i need carbs in my diet to work out even harder or if I am retaining water. I can’t imagine why I am not losing a little weight each week. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. I'd highly recommend you also go read this article: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/08/low-c… – and then up carb grams to 50 on low activity days and 75-100 on higher activity days. My book at http://www.lowcarbtriathlete.com would be REALLY good for you to read too!

  52. Milarosegirl says:

    Hi there! Your article makes a lot of sense to me. I’d like to get your advice on my situation. I am 36 and have been just starting interval training in the mornings for about 20-30 minutes. I’m also eating low carb because I want to lose weight (have done this before) and I also get very bad migraines and find they lessen in severity if I eat low carb. My body fat percentage is 31%. I find that I have a lack of energy overall though and want to figure out what I should eat before my work outs so I get a burst. I don’t drink caffeine and don’t eat any processed foods. I live an active life style but I’m not a major athlete or anything. Mom of two, working 55 hours a week type deal and trying to keep in shape! I do know my blood pressure is in the low range if that helps with anything. Thanks for any tips you can give me:):)

    1. You should call this in as a question for the podcast http://www.speakpipe.com/bengreenfield or book a consultation with me http://pacificfit.net/items/one-on-one-consultati…. Too much to go through in a comments section ;)

  53. Dean says:

    I have a question on the carb re-feed day. Wouldn’t eating that many carbs knock you out of nutritional ketosis?

    1. Yes, it could. So could eating too much protein… in the absence of an exogenous source of ketones. If you haven't already, listen to this interview with Dr. D’ Agostino – https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/10/deep-…

  54. William says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’ve just started reading your work and am enjoying it. I have a question regarding this passage, “So if I have a client who is 30% body fat, I have no issues with that client staring at the ceiling awake at night craving carbohydrates as their body mobilizes fat tissue for energy, and I generally continue to advise them to watch their carb intake. But if that person is 6% body fat, it is far more likely that they’re going to need that extra fat for insulation or essential fat stores, in which case it might be a good idea to go slam a bowl of rice.”

    I’m a 5’4″ (short) male weighing in at around 135lbs. I’m at about 12% body fat am having trouble getting lower without losing muscle mass in the process. In your passage you mention someone at 6% and 30% body fat. What about someone somewhere in the middle? Do we need carbohydrate refeeding days, or carbs before/during/after a work out? Or, would you suggest I stay off of them as much as possible until I shed the excess 2-3% of the recalcitrant body fat I’m trying to shed?



    1. I'd recommend ONLY doing your day's carb intake before or after workout and only during if workout is 2+ hours. No evening carb or carbs at other times of day other than ONE refeed day. That works really well for people at your % William.

  55. Erin says:

    Hi Ben, I am 5'8" weight 137 lbs and have 17% body fat. I carry the vast majority of my weight in my butt hips and thighs, I have a good amount of muscle but my legs are covered by a layer of fat I generally eat healthy but have a problem with maintaining a consistently clean diet. I will eat extremely healthy for a few weeks then whatever i want or is most convienient for another few weeks. I have maintained this weight for many years now but and ready and determined to take my body to another level. I am a dancer would like to lose between 10 and 15 pounds before August. I am currently only eating eggs, various meats and vegetables and plan on doing this for 2 to 3 weeks. After a few weeks I plan on adding in fruit, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, nuts and variois other non processed foods.

    Will going from less than 20 grams of carbs per day to adding in these foods in make me gain back some of the weight that I lost or will I be able to continue to lose weight?

    I am doing an hour long ballet barre workout class 5 x per week and cardio 3 x per week. I was doing workouts with weights for a few months but do not think it is best for my body being a dancer. Do you think this is a good workout regime and diet plan to achieve the results that I want?

    1. I'd definitely add the carbs back in, which is actually one way that female athletes can get OFF a plateau. Get them back up to around 100g carbs per day. I outline why here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/03/233-h…

  56. david from holland says:


    i train 5days a week trying to train heavy and do some cardio 3 a 4 times a week
    my weight is 236lbs (kg106) i am very overweight . i am trying to work out on an low carb dieet my macro is

    Calories: 2089.1
    Protien: 313,7
    Carbs: 98.6
    Fats: 85.1

    my question for this is am i doing this correctly or are my carbs to high ?
    an do i need an refeed day or isnt this nessery becaus i have enough fat for fuel ?.
    pls help guyes ! i really apriciate it :)


    1. Listen to our upcoming guest episode of the Jimmy Moore LLVLC show. It comes out May 20 and will help you A TON!

  57. Wendy says:


    I recently started doing the Carb nite Solution (meaning less than 30 grams of carbs a day, with a carb night on the 10th night and after that every week 1 time) and I was wondering what you think of it, and if you have any advice to stock up on some energy when I want to work out (1 hour zumba,1 hour poweryoga), or when I have to work for hours at an end without any chance of refueling in between. What is the best thing to eat before I go to the gym or to work?

  58. Megan says:

    Hi, I loved the article. I just started a LC diet, with trying to eliminate bad eating habits. I am on day 5, and not having many cravings, but energy is crashing. Six days out of the week I am running hills for 30 minutes. What levels of carb intake should I stick to each day to loose stubborn weight but still maintain energy. Thanks so much!

    1. 50-75g, but cyclic low carb, so there are some re-feed days…

      1. Megan says:

        I’m really new to this, so when you say refeed days what exactly should I be eating those days and is that just once a week? Also what kinds of foods and how much. This is so helpful, thank you so much for this.

        1. Highly recommend this, Megan: http://www.lowcarbtriathlete.com/lowcarbpackage – it would be perfect for you!

  59. Grace says:

    Hi! This was an amazing article although it’s from way back! Haha
    I have recently started this diet and I think I have been doing it all wrong. Thinking it’s a no-carb diet, I haven’t been taking in hardly any carbs at all. Maybe this explain why I’m feeling nauseous and low on energy even though it’s only the first week?
    I’m a college student so the foods I can eat are very limited. I was wondering if you could give me some tips? I don’t want to continue not eating any carbs if I’m going to constantly feeling nauseous. I’m 5’2 and weight 120. My goal is about 15-20 pounds.

  60. Jesus says:

    I just started doing this . What are some meal examples and snacks that we can eat . ( I been eating fish or chicken with spinach and cucumbers and jicama) I’m 5’6 and I’m at 225 . My goal is to reach 180 pounds .

  61. Jesus says:

    I just started doing this . What are some meal examples and snacks that we can eat . ( I been eating fish or chicken with spinach and cucumbers and jicama)

    1. Diane says:

      I weigh about 150-155, I am female, age 73 and I want to start a low card diet. I am in good health. I don’t exercise enough. I try to do yoga once or twice a week, but don’t think that is enough to loose weight. I have had two joints replaced, knee and a shoulder. I used to dance. Started when I was 60 and stopped at 69 due to knee and shoulder pain. Can you please advise me about a low card diet at my age and a exercise program program? Thank yoi

      1. Yes, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  62. Katie says:

    Hey Ben, this article helped me a lot to understanding why I am getting so grumpy and craving carbs all the time lately ughhh!! On that note, I was hoping you could please take a quick look at my diet and exercise plans I am currently doing and see if it looks like i'm doing it 'right' (going for a fitness model physique- and reaching my goals pretty well I have to say but I just want to make sure!)

    So basically, I will train specific muscle groups about 4 times a week in the mornings so I eat about 20g of carbs such as oatmeal and almond milk before lifting about 30 minutes before hand- these workouts will go from an hour to 2 hours- I then drink L-Glutamine about 10 minutes after lifting and eat about 30-50g of carbs post workout with my protein shake about half an hour after- I'll eat as I usually would for the rest of the day with a low carb high protein diet- so really I am only eating complex carbs which affect glycogen stores pre or post workout (such as fruit and starches) I'm following a carb depletion diet for the rest of the day basically and on pure cardio days too- so i'll do cardio about 3-4 times a week where the diet for these days is strictly low carb high protein – I also take fat burning supplements before commencing cardio which usually goes for 30-45 minutes of HIIT. I will do 60 minutes of cardio which can be HIIT or just running about once a week too because I enjoy it!

    So really, I generally eat a low carb high protein diet except pre and post 'lifting' workouts, and I eat a cheat meal once a week to hit my metabolism and also because it's delicious!! and I think personally it's healthy to do this once a week like you have mentioned to 'strategically' re-fill your bodies carb intake.

    My question is.. is this all okay? I actually am having good feedback from my body except the grumpiness. Currently in week two of being strict when carb depleting!

    Thank you.
    You can check out my website too I am currently looking at studying PT and have a range of healthy ideas and recipes: www.kaitlinwatts.com.au :D

    1. It looks (and sounds by the way you write, no offense) that you are a high-stress, high-cortisol individual who needs to worry LESS about counting carbs, counting calories, eating engineered foods, etc. and you just need to RELAX and follow your appetite IF you want to marry health and performance.

      Don't deplete carbs AT ALL on any of your HIIT days and don't do HIIT for any longer than 20 minutes. If you are, it isn't HIIT – it's chronic cardio.

      Happy to help via further consulting at http://www.pacificfit.net!

      Cheers, Ben – and I'll check out your website too!

      1. Katie says:

        Offense not taken, I have been extremely stressed out about counting carbohydrate intakes lately, could have a thing or two to do with grumpiness also.
        Just have to base things on how my body feels and responds, so thanks for that.

        and thanks for checking my website out, hope you like it :-)

  63. Samson says:

    Hi Ben. Great article. I have a question for you. Hopefully you can answer it.
    I want to start on a low-carb diet because I want to get rid of my beer belly. I've been working out for 9 months now, 5 days a week lifting heavy. I'm 5'9", 27 years old and when I started, I was 147 pounds, now I'm 162 pounds. Some muscle, some fat. But now I'm trying to lose excess fat, but I don't want my strength to suffer too much. I don't see any improvements and it's been almost 2 months. Weight just stayed the same. I even tried something drastic as to drop my calorie intake from 2400 to 1000-1300. How much carb do you recommend for me, and how should I handle my calorie intake?

    1. Samson says:

      I only did the 1000-1300 calorie last week, by the way.

    2. I'd go loser to 50-100g of carbs per day, and I wouldn't worry about dropping calories. I'd also do cold thermogenesis big time:https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/06/cold-thermogenesis-how-to/

  64. Sara says:

    Awesome write up. I have been low carb 99% paleo for about 3 months now, was previously 80% paleo, and I'm just looking for a little advice since I seem to hit plateaus more often than I would like. I am a 26 year old female, 198lbs, and 37% BF. I workout about 5 times/week either doing HIIT, walking, body weight Crossfit style WODS, lifting, or somewhat competitive badminton. Aside from that, I am usually sedentary to lightly active during the rest of the day. I typically eat around 70-100g of protein, 130-150g of fat, and 30-80g of carbs per day. You mention going low carb throughout the week with one refeed day, but what is low carb in your mind? And how many carbs should I add in on a refeed day?

    1. 30-50g would be low carb for inactive person, 50-100 for active person, and 150-200g on refeed day!Ben

  65. weightloss and diets says:

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this in my search for something regarding this.

  66. Jennifer says:

    Hi Ben. After going way too high carb over the holidays, and too many calories generally (am I the only one who fell off the wagon?), I have gone back to a low carb and much lower calorie diet to lose fat. I also recently started training for a late spring marathon. After my first full week low carb (and I felt generally carb crazy and in a brain fog, which I have experienced before when going off carbs, so I haven't been alarmed), I attempted a long run. I ate carbs at dinner the night before and a sweet potato 30 minutes prior, but hit the wall two hours in. How long will it take me to become fat adapted and be able to burn fat on those longer runs (I am about 22 percent body fat, so I have plenty to burn). Also, the pace was a bit quicker than my usual long runs, because my new training partner is a bit quicker (which is intentional, since I want to improve my marathon time). Could that have speeded up the time to bonk, along with possibly being glycogen depleted? Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Generally 10-14 days to become fat adapted Jennifer and it DOESN'T HAPPEN if you include that type of pre-run carb dinner load you did the night before, which is why I A) encourage folks NOT to train hard or long during fat adaption and B) to read this https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/08/low-carb-diet-supplements/

      1. Jennifer says:

        OK, so your #4 above "inject carb refueling days" should not be the day before a long run? I think conventional wisdom led me to believe that if I didn't eat some carbs I would surely run out of glycogen storage. The sweet potato before was a good idea, though? Do you NOT do any carb refueling days during that 10-14 days of fat adaption? I AM training, so whats the best way to work through this? Which supplements would you say are a MUST? And, would it be best to slow the pace since I am not efficient at burning fat yet?

  67. Hemming says:

    Hi Ben

    I'm male, 5'9'' and 118-120lbs so obviously my body fat is not that high. I'm eating a low carb diet and have been doing so for some months. I haven't been feeling well for much of that period, despite having cut back on my running and feeling fairly energized when I actually did go for a run. I've also been swimming and biking to a lesser extent but still feeling pretty good. I can also add that after I've cut back on my running I have continued to lose weight even though I think I'm eating just as much, but fewer carbs than previously.
    I've recently become aware of eating more salt as I've had all the symptoms for mineral deficiency and I feel that has helped somewhat. I often have the feeling though that my legs are stiff and tired and I generally feel physically tired whereas my brain is doing okay.
    I don't know exactly how many carbs I eat each day but generally I dont have tubers (if I do its carrots/squash/beetroot, not sweet potatoes and yams. I never have rice/pasta/bread etc) and maybe 3-4 pieces of fruit/week. I have not tried doing real re-feed days but only slighty more carbs on some days where I've been out running.
    Do you think there is a possibility I'm simply too low in body fat for doing (such) a low carb diet? Or do think that this could just be the result of mineral deficiency?

    1. My legs feel stiff and sore all the time too UNLESS I do foam roller 2x/week, cold shower 2x/day, topical magnesium and oral ant inflammatory (like Capraflex) + 1 electrostimulation session per week (which could be replaced by vibration platform, massage, or something else). In other words, what I'm saying is that looking over your diet I doubt it's carb depletion as much as a need to focus on physical recovery strategies!

      1. Hemming says:

        Thanks a lot Ben. Good to hear some views from others. I definitely have to try those suggestions.

        I've thought that I might not be eating enough calories (especially from fat). Do you think that could be a contributiing factor to my general malaise?

        1. Only one way to find out! Take a day and go to town eating a bunch!

          1. Hemming says:

            Haha. I've tried that a couple of times. There does seem to be a correlation between how much I eat and how I feel. Only 'problem' is that I feel I'm eating too much if I do that (even though I haven't gained weight. Maybe it's really a change of mentality I need.

            Anyway, thanks for the feedback!

    2. BBear says:

      Could be you need more potassium, or you’re salt intake is too low!

  68. Brent says:

    Hi Ben, great article. I have just started an 11 week training program for my first sprint triathlon. I have been an advocate of low-carb for a while now and was a bit worried about how the training would affect my glycogen levels, so this article was very helpful.

    I do have a question though, I am currently at about 25% body fat and would like to get that down closer to 20% by the race. Would you suggest that I maintain my 70-80 grams of carbs a day to achieve fat loss? Should I be lower? Higher? Ive cut my calories quite a bit as well, consuming only 2k a day (I am 6'6" and about 245 so I have a bit of a higher caloric daily need)… Am I going to starve myself?

    1. If you're at 245lbs and down to 2K a day, I'd include a couple re-feed days of closer to 200g carbs, particularly on your higher volume days…aside from that this looks fine.

  69. musclegeek says:

    In the presence of glucose, we convert glucose to oxaloacetate. As oxaloacetate leaves the Krebs cycle, we can just use glucose to replenish it. In the absence of glucose, we do the opposite: we turn oxaloacetate into glucose. Thus, oxaloacetate gets depleted in the absence of glucose unless we have some other source of it. We can make oxaloacetate from a variety of amino acids, but not from fats. Thus, in the absence of dietary protein or carbohydrate, the only place to get oxaloacetate is to break down the lean proteins found in our muscles and internal organs.

    But if you've consumed any protein, your body won't break down your lean mass to make oxaloacetate.

  70. musclegeek says:

    fat burns in the flame of oxaloacetate, which can be derived from either glucose or amino acids. When we break down fats or carbohydrates for energy, we turn them into acetic acid, or acetate, which is a two-carbon unit. A little shuttle called coenzyme A, which is made of pantothenic acid, carries the acetate around and together we call the complex acetyl CoA. Pantothenate is also called vitamin B5 and is found abundantly in many foods.
    In order to fully harvest energy from acetate, we need to send it through the citric acid cycle, also called the Krebs cycle or the tricarboxylic acid (TCA cycle). This cycle will break the acetate down into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. In doing so, it will also release high-energy electrons whose energy can then be harvested to synthesize ATP, a major usable energy currency of the cell. Entry into this cycle is dependent on a compound called oxaloacetate.

  71. musclegeek says:

    "…fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate” – meaning if you are constantly carb depleted due to zero calories of glucose intake, you can shut down your body’s natural fat burning capabilities.."

    This is only true if you are eating a zero carb diet, and also not eating protein. This pretty much never happens in the real world.

    Here's why:

  72. Em says:

    I might get away with the sweet potatoe, but white rice would throw me straight away… Also, might work as a one off, but if we’re talking about how to maximise my training efforts weekly, that will be very tricky adding sweet potatoes and the likes.

    I guess what I’m asking is what my minimum carb intake would be, and could it be covered with nuts, seeds, leafy greens and the likes?

    1. Minimum carb intake I'd do is 100g/day, which is close to storage capacity of liver. If you're lower activity, sedentary, etc. you can do closer to 30/50g…

  73. Em says:

    Hi. I'm on a low carb high fat diet due to severe IBS – this is the only thing I've found that keeps me of medicins and out of the hospitaI so this is not a diet choice based on desire to lose weight or anything (I'm 160 cm and weigh approx 48 kg). I eat liberal amounts of green leaf veg, avocados, nuts and seeds, fish, organic dairy and eggs, organic meat, some fruit, berries, etc. I run and train a lot, attempting my first marathon and my first tri sprints this year, and also do a lot of yoga. My question is: Since I get ill from eating things like bread, quinoa, rice (what people would deem is a normal healthly meal) and also have to choose what I use for fuel doing my long runs, do you have any thoughts regarding how not to deplete my glycogen stores and/or refill them? I feel good, but sometimes think my diet is hindering me from going faster if you see what I mean. Like a car running on diesel, can go on for ever but perhaps not that explosive… Any input would be so welcome!

    1. Simple…just use potatoes and rice! Like sweet potatoes, yams, white rice, etc. That's actually all I personally use during race week for carbs…

  74. Angie says:

    Hi Ben.. This is an amazing article! I wouldn't class myself as sedentary but i'm definitely no hard core athlete either! As i have an ongoing back problem I generally do between 1 and 4 one hour bootcamp interval style sessions a week (1 hour each) but if my back is really bad i'll rest completely.

    I have been eating low carb for a few months (as part of the metabolic typing process). My body fat is approx 35% so my question is.. would you advise that i do the carbohydrate loading day that you detailed in point 4, and if so, approx how much loading would be advisable?

    Or… am i ok to eat low carb all week (i don't generally suffer from low energy) on the basis that I have enough fat to be mobilised and used as energy?

    Thanks for all the great content!


    1. Hi Angie, you probably would still want to have one day where you "refill" glycogen stores IF you're working out during the week – UNLESS your energy levels are constantly high and you feel good.

  75. Melanie Duncan says:

    Question – I highly recommend carbohydrate intake for exercise sessions that are 1) intense; 2) involve weight training; 3) are longer than 2 hours in duration. ***Does this mean all of the above or just any one of these?
    Question – So if you’re planning on exercising, try get at least 500-600 calories of carbohydrate per day, and eat them before, during or after your exercise session if you want them to not affect your blood sugars levels in a potentially damaging way. ***How long before can you get by with? In other words, if I had a sweet potato @ 8 am, but didn't exercise until 1 pm, would that be too much before?

    1. Melanie…for your first question: any of those. For your second question: carbs 20-30 minutes before your workout is OK. So 5 hours before would not be a great idea if you're going low carb strictly!

      1. Rene says:

        so… if there are 4 g of carbs per calorie, eat 125g of carbs. You think it's a good idea to eat approximately 3 cups of rice before exercising? Are there people that can do this without blowing chunks?

        1. actually it's 4 calories per gram. ;)

        2. Grace says:

          I want to go back to my original weight which is 110 and I have never gained any weight ever, except this year when my entire family came for Christmas, I really ate too much. I went on the low carb diet three days later I had very strange flu like feeling. I read that is common to feel like that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through it because I felt so bad. Any thoughts on this?

          1. So you need to gain weight and not lose weight? Start here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2009/04/podcast-… and let me know if you have any questions.

  76. Kyle Knapp says:

    Great article! Thanks for a straight forward and informative rundown. So many people misunderstand the pro/con/effective uses of low carb diets. I agree that they can a fantastic tool when used smartly, such as by following these helpful guidelines. Thanks again, you always present a well researched and thoughtful perspective.

  77. alan says:

    great article. what are your thoughts on carb re-fueling? how often and how much? one meal once a week? one day once a week? and what sorts of carb sources? would you include pastas and breads at that meal or does that fall under the category of "processed crap"?

    1. Alan, did you read the article? ;) Check out point #4. I still try and go as gluten-free, soaked, sprouted and natural as possible, even on higher carb days.

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