Low Carb, Ketogenic & Cyclic Ketogenic – Episode 152

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [04:01] Defining Low Carb, Ketogenic, and Cyclical Ketogenic Diets
  2. [18:02] Too Much Sleep
  3. [21:44] Low End Vitamin D Levels After Sun Exposure
  4. [26:47] Switching Workout and Rest Day Eating Recommendations
  5. [30:24] Prions
  6. [33:59] Power Clean Technique
  7. [44:22] Olympic Weightlifting Hip Technique and “Superman Pull”
  8. [56:21] Low Carb Rash and Detox
  9. [58:56] Kurzweil, Aging, and The Future Of Health Technology


 1. Eating Low Carb vs Ketogenic vs. Cyclic Ketogenic

Christopher says:
Dear Rob and Greg,
The two of you provide an amazing mix of super helpful information and various other nonsense, all in a very entertaining manner. You guys make me laugh. Regular listening to the podcast provides me a much needed dose laughter “supplementation”. That, in and of itself, is a significant health benefit! Thanks!

Frequently, you mention it is best to eat low carb. Are you using the term “low carb” as synonymous with ketogenic? If the terms are different, could you please define low carb verses ketogenic in this general context?

When discussing the benefits of eating a ketogenic diet, you say that you favor a “cyclic” ketogenic protocol. Would you please amplify you thoughts on this? What is meant by cyclic specifically? Time interval, carb levels verses fat levels, how does one actually do that?

For someone battling autoimmunity, do you favor total ketogenic all of the time, verses a cyclic approach? Would it be safest to assume, even in the absence of frank autoimmunity, that we are all engaged in a sub-clinical autoimmune battle, even if we are unaware of it?

Lastly, is there an easy way for us to monitor our ketogenic status? Is being being fueled by fat verses being fueled by carbs measured on a continuum? And if so, how does one know where one is on any given day? And where, on the ketosis continuum, should one be as one moves through the cycle?

Or, if it is not a continuum type of thing, does our body just switch in and out of ketosis when certain dietary thresholds of carb verses fat are consumed and how do we tell which side of the switch we are on?

Thanks again for all of the (in my case lifesaving) information. And of course for all of the laughs.


2. Too Much Sleep

Blake says:

How much should we sleep? I have previously heard you say “Sleep as much as you can without getting fired or divorced.” I am an oilfield trucker and often work long hours with little or no sleep, and I tend to make up for this lack of sleep. On occasion, after pulling an all nighter, I have been known to sleep up to 16 hours straight the next night. My wife says I sleep too much, and it is bad for my health. Is there any truth to this? I found some articles online stating that sleeping 10 hours plus per night has been linked to obesity and diabetes. Any light you can shed on this subject will be much appreciated.

Thank you for all that you do. I have been eating strict paleo for about 6 months now as a result of reading your book. Not only did I lose 30 lbs, but I now feel “superhuman” as a result. Thanks Robb.


3. Where’s my Vitamin D??

Gittit (pronounced GiTEET) says:
Hi Robb and Greg!

I just got some test results and I’m totally confused.

I live in Israel, so we have great sun, and for the last two months I had the luxury of sunbathing regularly, let’s just say with the maximum possible amount of skin exposed, for 20-40 minutes in near midday sun, about 4 times a week. I’m the tannest I’ve ever been, which is pretty unimpressive and most people still call me dead white, but anyway. This was supposed to be my insurance policy against winter since from what I read it’s more than enough sun exposure for Caucasian skin to make all the vitamin D I need.

My test results, taken last week, show a level of 28 ng/ml Vit. D 25 (OH) in the blood, so close to the low end.

I’ve “been Paleo” for 6 years. Some things that may be worth mentioning about my diet/supplements: I eat a lot of beef liver (7 oz a week on average) and I put ghee on everything (but not grass-fed). Carb intake is around 80 grams a day from white rice and potatoes, I added those back after not touching either for a long time and it seems to work for me. I supplement with selenium, iodine, magnesium and vitamin C, and I was on low dose naltrexone for several months. I felt pretty great all summer, lots of energy, good mood, skin is great. But I generally don’t do as well during winter (such as it is, it’s still the Mediterranean), which is why I tested vitamin D to begin with, and why I’m concerned. What gives? Why are my D levels so low in spite of all the sunbathing? And what can I do about it before winter hits me like a ton of bricks again?
Thanks again, Robb, you’re a hero. =)


4. Backwards Appetite?

Angela says:

I have a weird question. I know the traditional recommendation is to consume more calories on the days you workout and less calories on your rest days. My problem is on the days I workout (I usually workout early in the morning), I am not really hungry the rest of the day. I have lots of energy and feel great eating light. However, on the days I don’t workout, I am much hungrier. So, does it matter? If I do a heavy lifting day and don’t eat much protein and go low cal that day, but then make up for it the next day or the day after, is that a big deal? Should I “listen to my hunger cues” or try to get my body more adapted to the recommended carb cycling and calorie shifting? Thanks!


5. Mad Cow Disease, Prions, and Wild Game Meat

Raj says:
Hey Guys!

I’m a college student, and one of my classes talked about prions. After a little searching, I found out about Chronic Wasting Disease and the prions found in wild game meat (elk, deer, moose, etc.). Mad Cow Disease is also caused by prions as far as I know.

Is this a big concern for people eating a paleo diet? Prions don’t necessarily manifest themselves immediately, and it would be difficult to pinpoint the source. To my knowledge, there is nothing to cure the diseases caused by prions. How does the immune system handle prions? Am I just being a little paranoid about this or is there genuine right to be concerned?

P.S. You guys really NEED to get Ido Portal on here.


6. Power Cleans and Bruised Genitalia

Tom says:

I added the Power Clean into my strength training several months ago. However, I have been having quite a lot of trouble getting the technique down. I have basically kept the weight constant for many months, while trying to figure it out.

I am getting better at it, but without a coach it is tough to tell if I am doing the move right. Some very good weightlifters, such as Jon North over at MDUSA say that you should pull the bar into your body and basically use your hips as a catapult to launch the bar into the air. Whenever I do this, I end up smashing my genitals, and have even bruised my johnson in the past.

I have had more success trying to “jump”, rather than smash the bar into my hips, but I am wondering if this is an inefficient method.

Am I smashing my groin, because I am extending with the bar too high on my thigh, or too low on my thigh? Watching videos of various strong weightlifters this position seems to vary. Some seem to somehow clean with the bar almost in their hip crease, like a snatch. Others clean with the bar very low. Are some people just unlucky that their anthropometry puts the bar in line with their junk? Should I be actively driving my hips into the bar, or should I just jump, and let the extension take care of that part?

Thanks! I look forward to your inevitably annoyed response.


7. The war between California Strength vs Coach B

Greg says:
After watching the Olympics this year I have realized that most of they Olympic caliber athletes are using their hips as the lifters in California Strength have been discussing on the Weightlifting talk podcast. Jon North speaks about the “superman pull” of which is using your hips to propel the bar. I know Coach B is not a fan of this of which I have seen his comments from the Crossfit Olympic Lifting Cert. Since you are a student of Coach B I was curious your take on this subject. I have been practicing the hit and catch drill laid out by Coach Pendlay and PR’d by 20 lbs in a month of working on this drill. Thanks for the podcast and the info.

Bar, Meet Hips

Six Truths of Weightlifting Technique


8. Rashes/Allergies on Paleo

Ramone says:
Dear Robb or Whomever,

I’ll keep this short and sweet. 2 weeks on on paleo here, feeling great besides one major pesky issue. I broke out into hives during an intense workout a few days ago and have had allergy issues since then. This includes general itchiness flair-ups all over my skin especially on the wrists, neck, thighs, stomach. It’s usually not accompanied by rashes or bumps, minus the hives on the neck. Apparently this is a common abnormality with people on low-carb diets: http://paleohacks.com/questions/39586/detox-rash-accompanies-fat-loss#axzz1xdcKPVRA

What’s your take on this? Am I really sweating out toxins? This would make sense since it’s worse when I sweat. Should I expect it to stop? No known food allergies for me besides some raw veggies, but I have developed hives in the past for emotional/unknown reasons. I’ve been on paleo before for <3 weeks and this did not happen.

Cheers Muchachos


9. The Singularity

Kris says:
Are you familiar with Ray Kurzweil and his belief that we will have the technology, in the next 40 years or so, to live forever? Here’s a clip of him explaining it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvnBZ6Cn8Kk&feature=related
I’d love to hear your take.
Thanks for all the great shows. You and Greg are great.

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Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. sonny says

    Ive been doing the carb nite thing once a week for the past month now– no change in bf% ! typical binge is a whole small container of Haagen Dazs w liberal amounts of syrup, pecans and perhaps a slice of cheescake on the side.
    I avoid gluten though, no digestive problems but my allergies flare up. Paleo is a great starting template and then ‘see what works for you’

  2. says

    I swear to god you are secretly watching us Robb…I was JUST in my naturopath’s office last night bc I broke out in hives 2x this wknd (I don’t get hives normally). I was thinking it was the transition to wearing pants instead of shorts & something in the fabric – which he said it *could* be, but more likely that I’m having a heightened immune response to something I normally would not respond to bc my stress-response is a bit elevated. And since I JUST had a crazy-ass week preparing a bunch of food and stuff for our gyms’ party, where i noted signs that maybe I wasn’t dealing with all that stress too well (like muscle twitches & zero appetite), I’d say his guess is prob right.
    Yet another reason to make stress management a high priority in life! So to the person w the hives question, hope this helps you out & if you are a bit more
    stressed than usual, go find your center and relax 😉

  3. MJD says

    Thank you, Robb, for your mention of the risk of driving relative to other risks. That is one of my pet peeves. Let’s ban drop-side cribs and then drive our kids 30 minutes to daycare every day. Geez.

  4. A.Stev says

    As far as mind-uploading goes, as Kurzweil likes to think about it, it’s a copy, but the more sensible transhumanists expect a more gradual merger of technology and biology with us eventually developing technological replacements for biological parts that are superior to their natural counterparts. In that scenario it *is* your continuous self if you gradually replace your brain bit by bit. This already happens when our cells die and are replaced with new cells and nobody gives it any thought. The only difference here is the piece that’s being replaced is superior.

    I have zero idea why anyone would ask a Kurzweil question for *this* podcast that wasn’t about his dietary and supplement recommendations for healthy and longevity though. His results are fantastic (which isn’t too surprising for a billionaire who can afford to take 150+ supplements a day, buy special skin creams and get I.V. drips and injections at a clinic every weekend), he’s 60-something now and apparently has the health of someone 20 years younger, but he seems to base a lot of his recommendations on really shoddy science (he recommends an Ornish-style diet for instance).

    A future podcast on that sort of thing would be interesting. There’s a certain amount of overlap between Paleo folks and Biohackers, with people like Dave Asprey (The Bulletproof Executive) recommending a more strict paleo-style diet tweaked to remove mycotoxins and other contaminants, as well as various supplements and technologies/devices to improve sleep, mental function and physical performance. Asprey might actually be a good guest for a show.

  5. Patrick says

    Would you still recommend this cyclic low carb approach if one’s workoad is high?

    5 days of OLY
    3 conditioning workouts per week (Crossfit)

    If I’m doing a Metabolic/Anabolic approach where I do 5 days at sub 50 g of carbs, then load on days 6 – 7, should I avoid going metcons on days 3, 4, and 5?

  6. says

    Robb, I’m not crazy but I am on the lunatic fringe;). I would love for someone smarter than myself to look into “prions.” I put it in quotes because in all of my personal review of the science and studies, they seem to be a fairy tale. From what I’ve read, spongiform encephalopathies are more likely a mineral imbalance (too much manganese in the nervous system). I know you are no stranger to a government forcing false ideas on the public, I think prions are one if those ideas (UK, not US). You’re a busy man, but you have assistants, right?

  7. Stephanie says

    Dude, that trippy question totally reminded me of the excellent show “Dollhouse” by the insanely talented Joss Whedon. In it they make copies of someone’s personality/life history/etc and then load those onto the “dolls”, who have had their personalities erased. They can also write imaginary personalities. Of course it was cancelled because they have to cancel his shows for some reason, but he did manage to pull everything together with the two seasons he got…the second season just goes fast. It is on Netflix streaming and it is so great. Watch it, but only when you have the time because it can be so addicting…or is that just me?

  8. Benjamin says

    Hey Robb, what’s your take on fish and fish radiation (from Japan)? Should North Americans worry about it? What can we do about it?

    • Sienna says

      My naturopath, who is Chinese/Vietnamese and now Canadian, told me she won’t consume any foods whatsoever from Japan because of the radiation. She also won’t eat any fish from the Pacific Ocean. Fish is good for us but I do worry about the mercury, toxins and other contaminants. What about fish from the Gulf though? I don’t see how it could be safe.

  9. Kevin Greer says

    Re.: Low End Vitamin D Levels After Sun Exposure

    Is the sunbathing lady with the low vitamin-D levels taking a soapy shower either before or after her sunbathing? If so, this could be preventing her from producing vitamin D in the first place, or absorbing it in the second place. My understanding was that Vitamin-D was created when solar radiation hits cholesterol on the skin, (bumping an electron to some higher level or something) and then the Vitamin-D is absorbed through the skin over a considerable period of time. If you wash off the cholesterol before sunbathing, or wash off the vitamin-D post sunbathing, then you’re going to get less actually into your body.

  10. MichaelJohnson says

    Also Re: Vitamin D issue.

    Damage to Liver and Kidneys can cause problems with Vitamin D levels. Something to check out with an MD maybe.

  11. John Schumacher says

    a note about sunbathing, The skin creates vitamin D within 20 minutes; however, the vitamin D takes time to be absorbed from the surface of the skin into your dermal. it can take up to 24 hours. So don’t wash it off, give it sometime to sink in. Please see http://www.mercola.com and search for sunlight.

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