Can You Build Muscle On A Low Carbohydrate Diet?

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Articles, Low Carb & Ketogenic Diet

Meet my brother Zach Greenfield.

He's been following my Superhuman Food Pyramid for the past 6 months.

For anyone who doubts that you can build muscle on a low carbohydrate diet because you don't have enough “fuel”, my brother is living proof that you can.

And no, it doesn't require shoving a bunch of acidic, ammonia-producing proteins down the hatch. Instead, all you need is a high fat intake (and nothing over 0.7 grams per pound of protein).

In a moment, I'm going to show you some more pictures of Zach, and give you a sample daily diet of what he's been eating.

But first, I want to give you a few additional resources, since I haven't been shy lately about the fact that I also eat a low carbohydrate diet, as do many of the clients I advise and athletes I coach.

For example, a few weeks ago, I released the podcast: Is It Possible To Be Extremely Active and Eat A Low Carbohydrate Diet?

I've also written the book Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes, and produced these articles about how to avoid typical recommended carbohydrates dosages and instead eat a higher fat diet:

-Should You Eat Carbohydrates Before Exercise?

How I Ate A High Fat Diet, Pooped 8 Pounds, And Then Won A Sprint Triathlon.

The Hidden Dangers Of A Low Carbohydrate Diet

10 Ways To Do A Low Carbohydrate Diet The Right Way

Want more proof that you can build muscle on a low carbohydrate diet? Here's a few more pictures of my brother:


Zach Greenfield

Zach Greenfield

Zach Greenfield

So what kind of low carbohydrate diet has this beefcake been eating?

Here's a sample daily meal plan (Zach is 6'5″, about 230 lbs):

Breakfast: 4 eggs cooked in coconut oil with side of spinach and a piece of fruit

Snack: Half a can of full fat coconut milk with 20-30g protein powder and tablespoon almond butter

Lunch: Huge bed of greens and vegetables with sprouts, sardines, avocados, olives, olive oil/vinaigrette dressing

Snack: 16oz coconut water with handful of raw almonds

Dinner: 6-8oz grass-fed beef with big side of steamed vegetables and a boiled, salted sweet potato

There you have it.

Moderating carbohydrate intake is not only effective for fat burning efficiency and fueling long endurance events, but is also good for building muscle.

Questions, comments or feedback? Leave them below.

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207 thoughts on “Can You Build Muscle On A Low Carbohydrate Diet?

  1. Craig says:

    It all boils down to eating more calories then you burn to gain weight , eat what you normally eat in a day and then eat an extra 400 calories more through out the day . Over time you’ll know exactly how many calories you need to eat to achieve a desired weight.

  2. great article ..very useful information. just loved the way you have written this article

  3. Ajmal Abu says:

    Hi, I am following KETO diet for 5 months. i was diabetic before the diet. But now my all blood reports are good.

    The only issue is i lost weight. I was already a lean person and this diet made me lose more weight. How can i put on some weight while on leto diet? eating more butter and beed are really not giving any good result.. please help.

    1. Ramon Ceballos Jr. says:

      Eat a low carb and protein meal right after strength resistance training it will take you off ketosis but shortly after about an hour you will bounce right back. Hope this helps.

    2. Craig says:

      It all boils down to eating more calories then you burn to gain weight , eat what you normally eat in a day and then eat an extra 400 calories more through out the day . Over time you’ll know exactly how many calories you need to eat to achieve a desired weight.

  4. Nicole Hilfman says:

    I eat just like him and almost as much, 2 eggs instead of four (but I might have some bacon with it, and probably only 6oz steak) and I’m a 110 lb, 5’6, 40 year old women! And I drive a truck and don’t work out as hard as I’d like to. I have no idea how to gain mass and not give myself heart disease:( Every thing I hear is so confusing. I just ordered some BCAA’s and other Kion supplements, hope it help!

  5. Joshua says:

    I was told to keep my carbs up and add 4 days of 20 – 30 minutes of cardio each session, so I can keep building lean mass and strength while losing fat in the coming months.

    Should be interesting to see the results simply by adding cardio 4 times a week to my workouts.

  6. Andrew says:

    Hey Ben

    What about weight/muscle gain with intermittent fasting? I suppose if you are still hitting your calorie goals within your feed window it doesn’t matter, but I’m curious as to your thoughts.

    1. To maintain muscle, break your fast with something that contains glucose, this will make you more receptive to protein in a protein-rich meal which should then be eaten within 1-2 hours.

      1. Mark says:

        Hi Ben can you advise on a keto diet for boxers Short hi intensity bouts of 4-6 2 minute rounds. Thanks

      2. Erik Halvorsen says:

        I was also curious of this, so thank you both for Q & A.

        Could you possibly give some examples to what sort of carbs, and when in the fast to eat?

        Thank you so much for response and you site/show/etc in general. U the man.

        1. Plenty of recommendations in: Also, if you do a search on I would also join the Kion Community, which is great for recommendations like this:

      3. Bart De Roos says:

        Hey Ben,

        what are his macro % ?


  7. Mark says:

    Hey Ben,

    I was just wondering if his workout (or anything similar) has been published or is accessible. I am currently 6′ and 165lbs with a similar nutrition approach, and looking to achieve a similar physique, but also keep longevity in mind.

    Do you have any tips or routines you would recommend?


    1. 1-1.5hr/day 4 day per week full body workout. Here are some good full body workouts:…

      If you prefer a more direct, customized approach, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20 or 60-minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

      Additionally, if I'm "out of your price range" (yes, yes, I know I can be a spendy guy to access) I have a team of coaches I've personally trained who can help you here:…

  8. Anibal says:

    Hi Ben,

    I was just reading your article about how much protein you should eat to avoid excessive stress due to high levels on Nitrogen ( and I immediately remembered the diet your brother uses as per this article; I thought this is probably a bit more than 0.7 grams of protein per Kg of body weight, am I wrong?


    1. He's doing MAYBE 0.85 g/lb MAX.

      1. Joel says:

        Does he go into ketosis after all the carbohydrates have been depleted?

        If yes, does he have energy like one does who is fat adapted on a ketogenic diet?

        Are high glycemic carbs his preferred source of carbohydrates prior and post workout? My gut tells me low glycemic after reading this article but I wanted to double check.

    2. Jacko says:

      HI Anibal

      You’ve just highlighted a great point here. Always check if protein requirements are given in g/lb or g/kg. 0.7 g/lb works out to around 1.5g/kg.

      1. Anibal says:

        thanks, I will take that into account :)

  9. Brooke says:

    In your opinion, would this be a good diet for a police officer? I’m trying out for the academy next year and I want to be in the best shape that I can be. I’m trying to lose around 20-30 pounds and gain muscle. I’m a 17 year old female about 150 pounds and just a little info on my workout I can bench about 100 pounds and my max squat is 150 pounds (just a little more background info). Also another thing is that I have a very minor case of epilepsy and I heard that this can help as well I was just wondering your thoughts. Thanks!

  10. Joanne says:

    Can u tell suggest what my macro intake shud be while trying to lose fat ant build muscle? I recently lost 20 pounds weight training 3x per week but I am not where I want to be

  11. Dan says:

    Ok. So has your experiment worked for others in different situations to your brother’s as this could work for his genetic or biological chemistry, but may not for others.

    In other words, did you run the experiment with a group study of peeps with different composition/fitness level/body fat count etc, and found it to work on all counts. Coz if your telling me that your little basement experiment has only been tested on your brother, then it’s a waist of my time reading any more.

    But before you get me all wrong , I think you are definitely onto something there and should press forward with more cases from different walks of life to get a more accurate conclusion.

    And finally, you have left out a few all important details, (1) what your brother looked like before (2) how old is your brother coz if I had to guess he is early 20s and that would then take me to (3) age!!!

    Will this work for someone over 4 already starting to suffer age related testosterone decline with elevated weight gain?

    Sorry if I sound like I’m pissing on your parade , but if this is going to get my attention then I will sooner just go with D-aspartic acid, green tea extract, high dose l dopa (5g/day) and tongkat ali cycle

  12. Marco Guzman says:

    Hi I am much smaller than your brother (5’6″ 135) and I lowered carb intake really really low (from 280-300g[during full on bulk] to [120g to 80g first and second phase of cut respectively]) and I noticed I seemed to have gained a bit of muscle on my upper chest area(s) during the first phase at 120g so now I’m trying to fine tune it to gain muscle/lose fat simultaneously so I am at about 140 would this amount be about right? I am usually between 140-180g protein

  13. if you really want to build muscle then avoid sugar altogether! Eating too much sugar will slowdown your progress. Eat plenty of proteins (at least 1 grams per your body weight in pounds). This way you will definitely gain muscle.

  14. Adam says:

    I notice that your brother’s lchf diet is not the typical keto diet. What are the differences as far as the benefits go between these 2 diets? Does he ever go into ketosis? Does he experience any benefits of a keto diet using this lchf approach? Sorry for all the questions. I am wanting to build muscle using a diet like this and trying to gain all the knowledge on top of the research I have done. Trying to decide which of these 2 lchf approaches would be better

  15. Rebecca says:


    I was wondering if the results are similar for (1) menopausal women (or pre) and (2) mild athletes :). I exercise regularly 3X a week — but do not ‘train hard’. I am only exploring options here.. however what sold me the most so far is being able to reduce the bloating, inflammation and lower belly fat.

    Thanks so much for such an informative and highly technical website/ posting.

    1. Yes, you can get similar results as a woman at your age and is a mild athlete. I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  16. Rashid says:

    I am also trying to go for keto diet, but I am getting 25g before and 25 g proteins after the training. 5 times a week. Should I go like that or I should cut just to before training. Also I take bcaa before and after the training.

    Is it OK to have a banana before training to have some energy or this will take me outof ketosis?

    1. Listen to the upcoming podcast episode, number 363, in which we talk about this very thing.

  17. Great article – going low carb is a great way to stay away from sugary snacks!

    <3 Avocados

  18. Is your brother single??

  19. jethro mendola-byatt says:

    Hi Ben, love your work!

    I have been attempting ketosis for roughly a month now but looking to add about half a stone in weight. Would you suggest introducing some carbs post workout (sweet potato etc) in order to keep my glycogen levels topped up or a refeed once a week?

    Also where do you stand on immediate postworkout nutrition? classically a whey protein shake?


    1. I'd suggest you do carb re-feeds in the evening and for post workout nutrition check this out:…

  20. Peter says:

    What type of protein powder does he/you recommend that is lower carb and not full of artificial sweeteners/ingredients?

  21. Silva says:

    Hey Ben,

    What would be the minimum amount of carbs you would suggest is necessary to build muscle effeciently? Someone working out 6-times per week… been doing high carb (nearly 400g) but I always end up tired at middle afternoon and feeling crappy…

    Would 1g carb / pound be enough? Maybe less? I am at 185 pounds so 185g or less?


    1. 100-150g, eaten in the evening, post workout. If you want to go into detail book a consult at <a href="” target=”_blank”> and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled.

  22. Mathew says:

    When does he workout, also would calisthenics work with a keto diet and could this diet help skinny fat people

    1. Yes, calisthenics will work with ketosis and this diet can also help skinny fat people because a skinny fat look is often due to excess sugar intake.

  23. Karan kataria says:

    I’m vegetarian is there a replacment for the grass feed beef, and can this meal plan be made in bulk so I can have it throughout the week

    1. You could do tempeh!

  24. mila says:

    i am soooooooooooooooooooo glad i saw this. ive recently lost 81lbs and im pretty flabby even tho i do cardio and lift moderately. now i want to really tone and build muscle but i eat no carbs and no sugar so i was worried bout that. thank you!

  25. William says:


    It says he built muscle with these macros but he lost body fat and weight, so he was obviously already big before starting this. I’m 5″6 and 165 pounds and have just started a 40% carb 35% protein and 25% fat diet hoping to put on size. Do you advise against that? I have also just started taking creative for the first time


    1. That would work but you need to be doing FULL BODY lifts. Check out this program too:…

  26. greg drake says:

    hi would like to know how long he is at the gym working out, how often. what is his end goal here. is he trying to bulk up or just lean out. does he plan on adding more muscle or is he staying around the area he is at now. when he was on his low carb diet was he trying to pack on muscle or was he trying to maintain the muscle he had…

    1. 1-1.5hr/day 4 day per week full body workout, and now he is simply in maintenance mode from a muscle standpoint…

  27. Dd says:

    Is this a high or low calorie diet plan he’s sticking to? Trying to see which works best to gain butt and still loose weight, but not the fat from back there :). Thanks

    1. High! That's for muscle gain…approx 500-100 calories over metabolic weight!

      1. Javier says:

        you mean aka basal metabolic rate? what would be the best ratio of macros? X:Y:Z

        1. I’d start by reading this:…

          And then if you want to go into detail, feel free to book a consult, just go to… and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you’d prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  28. Connie Ruales says:

    I am really interested in following a Ketogenic style diet to help my weight loss. I have done low carb several times over the last 2 years and feel that I actually feel better and perform better (aerobic) on a very low carb diet. I have never experienced the “carb flu” when cutting out carbs, quite the opposite, as when I do eat high amounts of carbs, I have lots of belly bloat and swelling in the hands and feet.

    I am working towards becoming an Elite level Olympic lifter, my goal is to compete in the Master’s category in the next 3 years. I want to compete in the 75kg class, but currently I weigh about 117kg.

    I have only been able to find body builders and endurance athlete results on Keto style diets. I have yet to see the macros or results for an elite level weight/power lifter. Can you point me in the right direction?

    1. If I were you, I'd use some of the supplements outlined here, along with the standard macros for a ketogenic diet: 70-90% fat, 10-30% carbs, 10-20% protein:…

  29. Raquel Durant says:

    My boyfriend started using Sunestron a couple weeks ago. It took him a few days to notice any effects, but he found that it helped to improve his mood and also his strength and stamina at work. He suffers from sleep issues, and Sunestron has certainly helped with that. He has noticed that he has more motivation, stays awake easier, and feels better overall.

  30. George says:

    Hey Ben, are any of the meals specific to pre-workout?

  31. Roemir says:

    Hi Ben, i`m going on a keto/low-carb diet to put on some muscle without adding any kind of fat. But my question perist in one thing, i read in the article of mensfitness:…. That i should consume my carbs at night, adn what about my post-workout carbs? i see you put the majority of your brother carbs tot he night, is because is better in at dinner or it`s beacuse he trains at night? Can you help me here?

  32. Roemir says:

    my maintenance is 2320-2450, im doing my cut at 1450, i know pretty low​… know im going to put it to 1900 calories, im jumping to the keto diet, because i was just high in protein, so im starting doing keto diet, as i said im gonna enter on a bulking phase, even when bulking, you recommended me do a refeed day how many times? im 7.4% bodyfat, and i`m trying to gain muscle from fat and protein (keto and low carb diet) and a little bit of carbs (keto diet for non-resistance days) and low-carb for resistance trainings) even on bulking should i still do one refeed day per week like i`m doing? i always keep my refeed day 200 calories below my maintenance for caution of don`t gain fat ;) . what you suggested? thanks for the atention :)

  33. Roemir says:

    Hi Ben, i`m thinking to go on a bulking phase, for your brother build muscle i assume he was in a calories surplus, i want to go bulking on a keto or low-carb diet, when in my resistance training dayss i put my carbs to 40-45g, always 2x my wheight (kg) for protein and the all rest for fats, and in my non-resistance training days (cardio or cross-fit) i consume 18-20 carbs, and in my rest day i aim for 5-10carbs, the rest is always fats. i like to do my refeeds while i`m on my cutting, and i read that in a bulking phase you don`t need a refeed or a cheat day, because your leptin isn`t it in a caloric deficit, but since im with low cabrs i don`t need a refeed? on your document about 10 steps to do a low-carb diet, you talk about carb-loading, on a bulking phase where my mainly nutrients come from fats, then protein, and very low carbs, should i do a refeeed or cheat day? thanks for the attention, your articles are amazing.

    1. Yep, if you are not in a caloric deficit BUT you are eating low carb I still do indeed recommend a carb refeed (not a cheat day, as that sets up the wrong mentality in my opinion), especially since fat is not going to readily be converted into glycogen and if you try to achieve it through protein, you will wind up building too much ammonia.

  34. Hemming404 says:

    How does his macros look? Something like 30% protein, 20% carb and 50% fat?

    1. On this one, he was about 50-60% fat, 20-30% protein, 10-20% carb (carbs fluctuated based on total amount of daily activity).

  35. Lindsey roger says:

    Hi currently im on a low carb high protein diet. I’m 10st looking 2 loose bout 1/2-1 stone + tone up. I’m 5ft 7 but how much carb should I b taking roughly+ also what is the difference between carbs + the net carb on an Atkins diet ?

    1. To answer your first question, take a look at this… For the second question, you should call that in for the podcast! Too complicated to go through properly in a comments section –

  36. Joshua says:

    If I am 222 pounds and am not really thin. Could I go by this regiment and lose the fat or would eating about 3500 calories just make me gain it back? I do weights everyday and need to eat better and this seems like a good plan but I would like your opinion.

    1. It’s hard to say without know more about you. Feel free to book a one-on-one with me and we can dig into it! That being said, I have used this type of technique to great success with many clients.

  37. Lola says:

    I have just embarked on a low carbohydrate high-fat moderate protein diet. It’s only been 12 days. But what I’ve noticed is I haven’t lost any weight. And more disturbingly (sorry TMI alert) my M cycle is late. My carbs are very low 10 g per day. And there are no sneaky ones sliding in there that I don’t know about! have been very very anal about that!

    (Btw, NOT PREG!)

    So what gives? Is it because of the drastic change in my eating? I’ve never been a carboholic I have no idea here what’s going on. So if you could help me out on this one if you have any knowledge of it , I would be greatly appreciative . thank you so much!

    Btw your brother is smokin hot! ;)

  38. berlinfounder says:

    I really appreciate your writing Ben. This post somehow is an odd-duck though against the others.

    I've come back to it several few times and after reading the others that link to it, I think Zach's mesomorph body type should really be added as a disclaimer in the post contents, not deep in the comments. As a mesomorph he has a huge advantage over 70-80% of everyone else before he ever starts reducing carbs or doing any exercise.

    The photos, and minimal detail provided create a sort of sensationalized "do this and you'll look like that" affect. That really discredits everything else covered in your writing. Zach looks great, and the diet and 5 day/week workouts in his lifestyle are obviously an important part of that. But he has a massive advantage that most people should save themselves the trouble of dreaming about. For them different workouts and much more aggressive carb cutting will be necessary, and they still probably wont pull off the polish he achieves.

    Sorry to be a troll. I just think people deserve to know. In the end they will be less disappointed.

    1. Point taken. That was not my intention.

  39. Healthy Cakes says:

    Great post, Ben! Trying to piece together the macros/percentages for a 125 pound woman. Does 25% carb, 25% protein and 50% fat sound about right? I think the calories would be around 1400.

    1. Oooh. hard to say without knowing you, your goals, your body type, activity level, etc… Have you read this?…

  40. Roi18 says:

    Great article.
    Iv'e been lifting heavy for 3 years and counting, after a while on a zero carb diet for a cut I decided to stay on low carb to bulk and gain lean muscle as well.
    I plan on 100g net carbs every day, 2g per 1kg of protein, and the rest from high quality fats.
    Do you think this is a good plan for a person who lifts heavy and works out intensely 3-4 times a week?

  41. Moe247365 says:

    Hello, I’m 6’2, currently at 212 lbs and 19% body fat. I’m intaking 2300-2500 calories and between 230-260g of protein per day. 4 months ago I switched my diet to low carb (under 100g per day). I look skinny but my chest and ab area are still flabby and jingly (i'm a skinny fat guy lol). All my other areas are lean (Arms and legs) and I’m starting to see some real nice definition. I'm also doing Cross Fit (sorry) and I’m doing total body weight lifting about 5-6 days a week . I’m hitting every muscle group twice a week. My goal is to get to about 13-14% body fat or somewhere close to a 6pack. My gym buddies and trainer friends are recommending that I stop doing a lot of cardio and go more intense with my weightlifting but most of them are naturally small guys that are bulking up. I am naturally a big guy trying to get lean and ripped and the same time so I’m afraid that if I stop doing cardio or change my eating to include carbs I will get fat again (I seem to gain weight quick). Most experienced people I have talked to are recommending that I do no more than once or twice a week of intense cardio, tops. When I started working out 11 months ago I was 315 lbs and about 30% body fat. At this point I need advice on which way I should go. Should I change my workout to more intense weight lifting and limited cardio? Should I change my diet to include more carbs or carb cycle? Is it possible to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time without killing myself?

    Thanks in advance

    PS… sorry i'm late but I just found your post by googling "Can You Build Muscle On A Low Carbohydrate Diet?" .. I'll be checking in regularly from now on.

    1. It's very hard to give this type of advice online. Feel free to book a consult by going to You can also take a look at… and…

  42. Darran says:

    Hi, how many grams of fat do you recommend per kilo of body weight if trying to build some lean muscle?

    Also how many grams of protein, fat and carbs is Zach on each day? tks

    1. We didn't really approach it exactly that way… but here is a sample of what he ate:
      -Breakfast: 4 eggs cooked in coconut oil with side of spinach and a piece of fruit – 650 calories
      -Snack: Half a can of full fat coconut milk with 20-30g protein powder and tablespoon almond butter – 600 calories
      -Lunch: Huge bed of greens and vegetables with sprouts, sardines, avocados, olives, olive oil/vinaigrette dressing – 800-1000 calories
      -Snack: 16oz coconut water with handful of raw almonds – 200 calories
      -Dinner: 6-8oz grass-fed beef with big side of steamed vegetables and a boiled, salted sweet potato – 800-1000 calories (he does use butter and coconut oil with dinner also)
      -Sometimes he did two of the coconut milk, protein powder type of snacks.
      – Also has typically a higher cal refeed day 1-2x/week.

      1. hemming01 says:

        Hi Ben,

        Can the same protocol be used for powerlifting 3x/week? I'm thinking of using macro ratios like the Perfect Health Diet with carbs 10-20%, fat 60-70% and protein 20-30%. Isn't that also how you eat at the moment?
        I'm underweight (anorexic) and want to gain muscle. Should I have even more carbs in that case?

        1. Yes, you can use that same macronutrient profile and go for the HIGHER end of carbs, even as high as 30%, shoving most of it into the post-workout window.

  43. janjan2935 says:

    Very impressive… I bought your book "the lowcarb diet guide for triathlete" and I literately "eat it in a low carb style" !
    I would like to know which kind of fruit Zach eat in the morning and how many;
    More, when does Zach train : does he train in the morning or in the afternoon / evening : is there any impact or differences for the moment to take the snack of the morning (Coconut cream/Protein) and the snack of the afternoon (coco water) ?
    Last, what about the combo of sugar/carbs sweet potatatos and the fat of 8oz of beef at night ? any argue ?
    In even case congratulation, good job !

  44. NathanT says:

    Krav maga exercises are also another great way to get lean muscle mass.

  45. Karen says:

    If starting low carb, what do I fuel with during long runs?

    1. Your own body fat. ;)

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  47. Wesley says:

    I'm happy to meet with your brother Zach. Indeed, he is looking incredibly fit on those pictures and completely convinced me that by following carbohydrate diet strong muscles building is possible. Thanks.

  48. Presently my age is 25 and my weight is just 48. So let me know, how many calories do I need for increasing my weight?

    1. Usually around 3000-5000.

  49. garrett says:

    I have been trying to gain muscle for years I tried different bodybuilding diets but they never worked. I ate alot of carbs and ended up gaining fat around my waist. This discouraged me from doing anything. Right now I take whey protein with creatine as a supplement. Do you think your high fat, moderate protein, low carb work for me? I also do p90x along with weight lifting.

  50. Vicki says:

    I'm female, 100 lbs 5'8", trying to gain 10 lbs without fat; would I see any improvement if I keep my hour of cardio to first thing in the morning with a protein shake to burn fat, and then eat carbs afterward, wait and do weights? – Or would it be better to eat carbs, and then have my workout be weights first and cardio after?
    Also, should my postworkout shake contain carbs? [16 grams from milk too much?]
    I just want to coordinate my cardio and strength training with food consumption in such a way that won't reduce muscle mass, but still keep fat at bay.

    1. With those dimensions and your goals, I'd be doing the ectomorph female chapter of – that has the program for you!

  51. Tassotti says:

    He is skinny and doesn't train legs

    1. Joe says:

      look at those calves! Yes, he trains legs.

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  53. Andrew Lowe says:

    Hey you gave 0.7gram of protein per lb, but what about carbs and fats?

  54. Harold says:

    What source would you recommend is a smart guide to follow when wanting to start a ketosis diet?

    1. This Harold: <a href="<b… />It's for anyone, not just triathletes.Also listen to any podcasts I've done with Peter Attia!Ben

  55. rob says:

    im 30 years old and have recently lost 120 lbs doing low carb high protien, i currently weigh 310. i have been off low carb for aproxx 30-45 days. i've gained about 6 lbs from my lowest weight. mostly from heavy weight lifting 5 days a week. being an endomorph how many calories should i eat to lose body fat and maintain as much muscle as possible. and if my goal is maintaining and building muscle how much protein should i eat. i was going to do try your approach but am wondering how many calories i should consume a day. thx

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  57. Evan says:

    o come on. That dude does not have that much muscle, it's obvious he is lean and naturally has great genes, what we are seeing is a human with low body fat that has great aesthetics; so I am not convinced that this diet builds muscle on a guy like this with his results, you put this guy on any low cal diet with high protein and he is going to look like this. Now, if he had some obvious muscle on that frame then I would buy it a lot easier. But again, good genetics on a dude that is athletic and eats sensible, whatever sensible thing he eats, he is going to look this good.

    1. Evan says:

      Same thing with you Ben. You're a guy with good genetics, naturally aesthetic, who is skinny. A skinny guy with good genetics, mesomorph, is always going to look good skinny, even without muscle. Case in point: Brad Pitt fight club. No muscle, just skinny and everyone wanted to look like him; trouble is, few have those kind of genetics to just naturally look athletic and in such good proportion. Not that you're not probably giving good information though, just don't sell your bro or yourself as "you can look like this" if you do this diet.

  58. Amy says:

    who cares about the diet – dang…haha…Thanks for the info – I just started back on low carb and people hound me but it is how I lose weight but I need to make sure I build some muscle…

  59. Jojo says:

    oh my!! Can I just eat him and be healthy lol!

    Seriously, I've gone lo/no carb and eating more healthy fats, my new favorite is Macadamia oil and I'm finding I'm less hungry, have less carb cravings and keeping weight off. About every 4th day I have some sweet potato.

    Still trying to wrap my head around overdoing protein…..high protein has been working for me…

  60. Hi Richard – this certainly wasn't mean to be a peer-reviewed journal article – just an example of a guy who maintains beast mode, keeps body fat low, does intense Crossfit workouts and at least maintains muscle (although I do think he has built some lean muscle mass) in the relative absence of what many say is necessary for muscle building: carbohydrate.

    Ultimately the goal here is to point out that you DON'T have to be a potato and whole wheat guzzling fiend to get strong and muscular.

  61. Richard says:

    I don't think the question in your title has been answered. It seems like your brother lost a good bit of body fat during the past six months (from reading Keerthi's comment and your reply), but wasn't his muscle already there? Wouldn't you need muscle percentages before and after and before and after pictures to make the case you want to make according to your title? Just because your brother is a good-looking guy with nice muscles and has been on a high fat diet for the past six months doesn't mean that he gained that muscle during the past six months. Do you have more information to offer? Might your brother have gained more muscle on another diet? With regard to aesthetics and performance, the Rich Roll vegan approach is more appealing to me, especially after seeing the before and after pictures.

    Also, the Dr. you had on discussing his ketogenic diet and the sample menu of your brother's diet (which are similar) both have one thing in common: a lack of variety. I'll die a year or two early for a regular calzone.

  62. Kem Johnson says:

    I just clicked…. just multiply .7 times 2.2 and one can make sense of this concoction of units of protien to weight recommendation. So its about one and a half grams of protien to kg of body weight. Got it.

  63. fury716 says:

    He's beautiful. On an unrelated note, who makes the leggings he's wearing?

  64. Kate says:

    Thanks for all your great podcasts and info, you are the best!! Which one of your books do you suggest for an endurance athlete trying to convert to ketogenic diet? I’m already grain free (except buckwheat).

  65. musclegeek says:

    And yes, protein causes ammonia to be produced. That's a normal healthy part of protein metabolism. Recent research suggests that people without prior or developing kidney or liver impairment do not experience any kidney or liver issues with a higher protein intake (1.3 g/kg/day). People most at risk for this kind of kidney stress include those who have a personal or family history of kidney or liver problems or those who have high blood pressure or diabetes.

    you saying high protein is bad? As far as the science is concerned, as long as you are a healthy individual, high protein does not cause problems.

    1. 1.3g/kg is, for the average 200 pound weight training person, is 118g of protein. I know many, many athletes eating WAY more than that.

  66. musclegeek says:

    "… a bunch of acidic, ammonia-producing proteins …"

    I cringe when I see things like this. But I also enjoy doing the research to rip it apart…

    Protein doesn't change the ph of your body. Blood pH, you'll find, is very tightly regulated by the body (between 7.39 and 7.41)…so claims relating to “acidifying the blood”, including cancer and bone loss, are also bunk. The body maintains blood pH primarily via CO2<->carbonic acid. (See this article for a long biochemistry excursion:… and this article for more on the bicarbonate buffering system:…

    1. This is dealt with very well in the book Perfect Health Diet…on p 25. At a protein intake of 230 g/day (920 calories), the body’s ability to convert ammonia to urea is saturated and this means the nitrogen from every additional gram of protein lingers in the body as ammonia, a toxin.

      [3] Rudman D et al. Maximal rates of excretion and synthesis of urea in normal and cirrhotic subjects. J Clin Invest. 1973 Sep;52(9):2241-9.

      1. musclegeek says:

        The upper limits of protein intake are debated hotly amongst professionals. So far there really isn't much evidence to support the idea that there even is an upper limit.

  67. Jen says:

    I also added up what he’s eating and came up
    With 2100 calories give or take. 3500 makes more sense. What else does he eat?

    1. Breakfast: 4 eggs cooked in coconut oil with side of spinach and a piece of fruit – 650 calories

      Snack: Half a can of full fat coconut milk with 20-30g protein powder and tablespoon almond butter – 600 calories

      Lunch: Huge bed of greens and vegetables with sprouts, sardines, avocados, olives, olive oil/vinaigrette dressing – 800-1000 calories

      Snack: 16oz coconut water with handful of raw almonds – 200 calories

      Dinner: 6-8oz grass-fed beef with big side of steamed vegetables and a boiled, salted sweet potato – 800-1000 calories (he does use butter and coconut oil with dinner also)

      Talked to him earlier and sometimes he does do two of the coconut milk, protein powder type of snacks. Also has typically a higher cal refeed day 1-2x/week.

  68. Kem Johnson says:

    Doesn't Zach have pudding after tea?

    1. Yes, along with crumpets and a spot of jam.

  69. Bree says:

    Damn, there are some good genes in the Greenfield family.

  70. Jennifer says:

    What percentage of calories from fat do you recommend? Thank you.

  71. Wade says:

    Last ques. Ben …..what quality protein powder & creatine supplement would u recommend?

    1. For protein, DEEP30. For Creatine, Kreaceps.

      You can get all these type of recommendations and links at:

  72. Mindy says:

    Ben, I am curious what modifications you would make to Shape 21 meal plan regarding going more low carb. Would you eliminate the oatmeal or some of the grains? Mindy

    1. Yep. And I'd replace those with the fat-based foods off the "EAT" section of the Superhuman Food Pyramid. I'll eventually rewrite the meal plan in Shape21 to include a low carb option….

  73. Barbara says:

    Ben, this is amazing stuff. I have listened to your podcasts, and esp on low carb. I am using ucan super starch now on my rides and post ucan protein after. I have been paleo for 2+yrs, last few months lower carb and lower protein since listening to you. I did my first 100 mile ride last weekend on ucan and did okay till mi 75 when i used “chomps”. In july i do a monster 550 mile, over 7days through 4 states in new england. I want to stay low carb..and use ucan products without having to carb up or live on sugar on the bike…do you have suggestions? I used to use hammer gels..heed..on the bike but want to get away from that…i use race caps…have good suppliments..etc..what is your suggestion on how to manage day to day ..hard riding?


    1. During these rides, I'd include A) amino acids (like Master Amino Pattern) at 5 capsules every 2-3 hours; 2) nut butter (there's a brand called Pocket Fuel that is really good); and then use a few servings of NutraRev at beginning of each session, which has acetyl l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid to assist with enhancing fat burning.

      1. barbara says:

        Okay Ben …thanks. It is possible to be low carb and get the benefits of fat burning without being fully keto adapted right? I got your book on low cycling low carb and liked but wish you had more info on how to get into it…and manage it …is there another book of yours that you would suggest i get?


  74. Anon says:

    I'm a little sad that your brother's name isnt Jerry Greenfield

    1. Yes, it'd be nice. We'd get lots of free ice cream.

  75. jimpattillo says:

    Nice job. I'm on coumadin (warfarin) so upping my greens intake will require an adjustment.

    1. You ever look into alternatives for a blood thinner, Jim?

      1. jimpattillo says:

        I just had a mechanical aortic valve replacement. There is an FDA trial going on for one particular mechanical valve that allows only for plavix and asprin but the results won't be out for several years.

        1. Gotcha. Makes sense. Post surgical use of that is definitely indicated in most situations.

  76. Eric says:

    Talented sister Ben…. Gifted / blessed family…!

  77. Natalie says:

    To follow up on MKHG's question, can you give some general guidelines of how many carbs/calories a smaller women should eat. I'm only 5 ft tall, 105 lbs but still 18% BF and would like to drop that a little for my summer tri's by trying a lower carb plan like yours.

  78. Wade says:

    I mean how many DAYS per week, would Zach work out?

    1. 5 days per week, Wade. He's a good Crossfitter, so that's pretty intense.

  79. Bill says:

    Dude has disturbing tight clothes on. Must be awful for the sperm count

    1. Not as bad a Mountain Dew… ;)

  80. Willem says:

    Seriously ? Is that ALL that Zach eats ? That’s like 2100 Calories… I would drop weight like crazy with that intake (actually I am doing that right now 4 days a week and drop weight) and I’m nowhere near 250 (more like 185). Even someone who is not training needs at least 2500 Cal tot maintain his weight (and 250 lbs is hyoooge at that bodyfat% (I need at least 2750 to maintain my weight)

    I find it all totally unbelievable to be honest.

    1. I'm not sure exactly how you got 2100, Willem, but he's at a minimum of 3500 calories per day.

      1. Willem says:

        I just took a stab at what you said he ate:

        I might be a little of, but not 1500 Cal.

        (3500 Cal does sound more reasonable for someone who’s 250 though Zach’s modelling page still states he’s 220 lbs btw )

        1. Breakfast: 4 eggs cooked in coconut oil with side of spinach and a piece of fruit – 650 calories

          Snack: Half a can of full fat coconut milk with 20-30g protein powder and tablespoon almond butter – 600 calories

          Lunch: Huge bed of greens and vegetables with sprouts, sardines, avocados, olives, olive oil/vinaigrette dressing – 800-1000 calories

          Snack: 16oz coconut water with handful of raw almonds – 200 calories

          Dinner: 6-8oz grass-fed beef with big side of steamed vegetables and a boiled, salted sweet potato – 800-1000 calories (he does use butter and coconut oil with dinner also)

          Talked to him earlier and sometimes he does do two of the coconut milk, protein powder type of snacks. Also has typically a higher cal refeed day 1-2x/week.

          1. Roemir says:

            On a bulking phase can we still get refeed days, if our acrbs are considering lower (keto diet) increased them on resistance days, low them on non-resistance days, thnaks for the attention :)

    2. dr ck says:

      i agree willem unless he's eating about 6 avocados at lunch

    3. michael hibbard says:

      why doubt the facts? it looks like its working for him

  81. Keerthi says:

    It is pretty impressive. I'm also on a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet following your pyramid for a couple of months now and getting some results. I'm curious as to what was your brother's body composition (fat % and weight) when he started 6 months ago vs now? We can probably use the results as benchmark :)

    1. 13% down to 8% body fat, Keerthi. His weight was around mid 240's and he's about 230 now.

      1. Keerthi says:

        Okay so the difference in the lean mass is really this: (I'm not sure if this equation is right way of calculating)

        (244 * .87) – (230 * .92) = 0.68 lbs

        Which means he eventually didn't gain extra lean mass but cut down the body fat by 5% which is actually an amazing thing to achieve.
        I'm still wondering if it is actually possible to gain a lot of muscle mass on a low carb diet or a traditional bulk up and lean down bodybuilder style is the only way to go about it.

  82. Wade says:

    Impressive…….so how many times a week does he workout for Ben?

    1. What do you mean Wade?

  83. Max says:

    What supplements does he take? Great post.

    1. He takes protein powder, branched chain amino acids, nitric oxide and creatine. In a perfect world, he'd also been on greens powder, vitamin D and magnesium.

  84. Brandon Taylor says:

    How many grams of carbs would you estimate your brother is eating? Low enough in comparison to fat to be ketogenic? Or getting the benefits of non-ketogenic low carb?

    And in light of your recent book: could you say what his body type is?

    1. Not totally ketogenic. Around 100-150g of carbs per day. But still getting benefits from non-ketogenic low carb.

      He's a mesomorph.

  85. Isaiah says:

    Damn, that IS IMPRESSIVE! My question is, How do you satisfy a screaming metabolism? Like, what kinds of foods do you then eat?

    1. Fat does the trick, Isaiah. If you get carb cravings as you're making the switch, use this post:…

  86. MKGH says:

    yea, let's see a pic of your sister…. or, just the meal plan for a 120-130 pound female

    Love your podcasts!

    1. @tahoerob says:

      great voice. Just bought her mp3 album from Amazon! BTW, one of my daughter's name is Natalie Rose!

  87. Sherri says:

    Can women eat that much fat and get lean?

    1. Yes. My wife eats like me and is at 9% body fat. She's on top of post here:…

      1. Sherri says:

        You all seem to be endurance athletes. I used to be however now I enjoy training with weights, 3 sprint workouts a week and moderate jogging with my dog 7 days a week for 30-40 min. Is this enough training or can someone even do less and still eat high fat, moderate protein, low carb and still lose fat?

        1. Hi Sherri…definitely not all endurance athletes! My brother (above) is a Crossfitter, for example. I train several folks who are not endurance athletes, and just want improved aesthetics or more strength/power/speed. What you have described sounds like enough (although I don't have details)…

          1. Sherri says:

            Do you or can you train someone who wants to get ready for competing in Bikini? It seems when it comes to weight training for Bikini or Figure, they keep the fats very low and carbs pretty low. If yes, how do I get a hold of you for more info? Thanks!

          2. Yes Sherri. Go to and click on Coaching to see consulting and coaching prices! I'd be happy to help.

          3. Viktor says:

            Hi Ben.

            Amazing stuff you put out there..

            I’m a prof. badminton player, practicing two times a day with badminton and strength training combined..
            Do you think a High fat diet would fit an athlete in a sport like badminton?

    2. Yvette says:

      What about building muscle as well?

      1. Yvette says:

        If so what resources would you recommend?

      2. Totally works for that, but another good resource for you is this site:

    3. Yvette says:

      In other words, would this work for a female doing Cross fit as well?

  88. Becky H says:

    You’d probably make a lot of $$. I was impressed before with the low carb plan, now I really like it ;-)

  89. Rob says:

    What does he do during weight lifting sessions?

    1. Grunts. ;)

      Crossfit, actually.

  90. TM Bell says:

    Daaammm, where you been hiding him at Ben?

    1. Married father, TM – just like me. Otherwise I'd sell his phone number.

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