My Thoughts on Low Carb and Paleo, Part Deux

If you missed Part 1, here ’tis. 

Holy Cats!! When I decided to write this piece I figured it would spark some debate, folks would look at the data, both empirical and research based, and come to a better understanding of what role LC can play in a variety of situations. That does seem to have happened, but I also received an interesting backlash, one which I’ve only experienced when talking about religious centered topics such as Evolution. It  took me a few days to make sense of some of the vitriol I was receiving…a few friends who also have popular blogs received questions like “How has Robb been Duped? Why has he sold out? What is his agenda?” If you have followed this blog since the beginning you will realize I’ve always seen huge therapeutic benefit for LC in specific situations. I’ve also seen the limitations for things like top level athletic performance. My prescription has not changed much over time, but my understanding of what mechanisms are at play has grown enormously.

Instead of looking at some of the specific mechanisms of LC I feel compelled to address a few “issues” that arose with the posting of part 1. The first will look at athletic performance, the 2nd will address if I’ve been “duped.” I’ll tackle specific mechanisms in part 3.

Low Carb and Athletic Performance.

Several folks, both on my blog and elsewhere, asked if I was aware of the book the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Volek and Phinney. The short answer is “yes, I am familiar with it.” I like it, and think it’s a valuable resource. The longer answer is I have been following the work of folks like Phinney, Volek, Veech, Mujerkie, and Seyfried for more than 10 years (all researchers in the ketosis/intermittent fasting realm…I have communicated with most of them personally, conducted an interview with Prof. Seyfrid several years ago). By familiar I mean “reading the primary literature, pondering and tinkering.” Although I am not earlobe deep in the academic scene any longer, I do not tip my hat to too many people with regards to an understanding of integrated fuel metabolism. That’s a round-about way of saying I “think” I know my stuff reasonably well. I have personally tinkered with a ketogenic approach, cyclic ketogenic, basic low-carb etc. As I mentioned in part 1, I found all of these options to be more or less up to the task of fueling some weight training, gymnastics and a bit of sprinting. But I have not found them up to snuff when we add in significant glycolytic  based work like CrossFit, MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu etc.

A few notables who have also tinkered with high intensity training+ LC  who also found it inadequate to these demands: Mat Lalonde and John Welbourn.

I have tinkered with many, many clients and found the same results: as we push into the glycolytic pathway (think 800m sprints or a wrestling match) the wheels fall off the wagon if we have inadequate glycogen storage, as we simply cannot, under any adaptation scheme, produce that low-end torque from the beta-oxidation of fats, nor by utilizing ketones. I wish we could, but we can’t. Wishing this is not so is akin to The Secret…you can wish all you want for that Red Bicycle, but wishing does not make an impossibility a reality. Please read ALL of this paper from the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism (of which I’ve functioned as a review editor at various points…)

Take away?

1-It takes several weeks at the minimum to adapt to a ketogenic diet.

2-Aerobic capacity is the same on a ketogenic or mixed diet (no better, no worse).

3-Anaeroblic power output from the glycolytic pathway is crushed by a ketogenic protocol.

Peter Attia has done some great self experiments and has largely confirmed the findings in the Nutrition and Metabolism piece. He has found the need to add in peri-workout carbs to get that low-gear. Great self-tinkering and not surprising.

A number of folks just dismissed what I had to say on this, assuming I had no familiarity with the Phinney/Volek work, that I was “out to lunch” on the topic. That’s certainly your right if you are in that camp, but you are a boner for making that assumption. Instead of making assumptions folks might have asked me “Hey Robb, do you ever see an argument for a LC intervention while training?” to which I’d say, “Sure, when we are in the aerobic base building phase for an endurance athlete, I can make an argument for going pretty LC, perhaps even ketogenic to improve the totality of fat mobilization for fueling. But, that will be a specific block of training and then I will shift macros and training to bring up the anaerobic engine, then taper to prepare for completion.”

I do not normally toot my own horn, but the commentary about me surrounding this piece was nasty enough that a little GFY  is in order for a few folks. I am always game for looking at facts and debating, but if the best a person has is a Straw Man attack on me…C’mon.

In my coaching career I have:

Sent several people to age group world championships in triathlon with top 5 placing.

Coached a top 3 affiliate team, and top 6 and 17th individual CrossFit games finishers while consulting with a “lot” of top 10 finishers whom I helped with chow and training.

Consulted with several UFC notables.

Coached an IFC Light Weight World Champion

Worked extensively with a world champion/Olympic caliber rower 

Coached a North American MotoCross champ

Spent the past three years working as a consultant to the Naval Special Warfare Resiliency program.

None of the aforementioned folks operated on a LC program. Or they would have failed. It is perhaps worth mentioning that the whole impetus for this piece was an email I received from a top level CrossFit games competitor who had been tinkering with a ketogenic diet for three months. She was doing “everything right” from the ketogenic perspective (in a raging state of ketosis as evidenced by urine ketostrips), but her performance had tanked in every measurable parameter, from strength to met-con performance, AND she was starting to feel depressed and lethargic. She did not need more time to “adapt” to ketosis. She either needed to decide to retire as a professional athlete OR she needed to get the hell out of Ketosis-Ville. Two weeks of carb reintroduction and she is back to her previous PR’s. Some of the push-back I have seen from the Low-Carb-Jihadists reminds me of my time in Vegan Land when, despite my inability to gain weight from horrible GI problems, I was told I just needed to ride things out a few more years and I’d adapt and become some kind of Transcendant Being. One might describe religious type dogma as “That thinking which prevents the individual for seeing reality for what it is.” If the insistence on the part of the Low Carb Jihadists (LCJ) that there is a way to fuel high intensity performance sans-carbs dose not fit the bill here, I do not know what does.

I normally do not talk much about my work with athletes. You will not find pages of testimonials about all this on the blog, as I’ve tried to keep my focus on these silly issues of people dying, and our economy imploding from healthcare costs that are out of control. But perhaps focusing on the sick and dying has allowed some folks to delude themselves that I have no experience in the performance athletics scene. That assumption would be…well, “wrong.” I think what buggars some of the LCJ that were getting feisty about all this is that I actually know when a low carb intervention is and is not appropriate, instead of Jerking-Off to a bunch of opinions. For a number of years I lived or starved based on the results I got with my clients who “paid me” for results. I know, it’s not a randomized controlled trial, but somehow I think my experience might carry some weight. For the keyboard warriors who want to poo-poo this, here are your criteria:

1-Show me studies that disprove that we need carbs for high output glycolytic work.

2-Show me a coaching resume that trumps mine that utilizes a LC approach.

If you have some specific question in all this I am game, but please be more intelligent/classy than to try to Straw Man me. I’ve laid out the rules of engagement. Engage or get buggared. And if you are an athlete and want to tinker with LC or Ketosis, give it a whirl if you are an endurance athlete, but please keep in mind my hypothetical above (use it for a specific training block). And if you are a largely glycogen driven athlete I just don’t recommend LC for you. Caveat Emptor.

Have I been duped? Do I have an “Agenda”?

I have not counted how many times I made the point in part 1 that there are legit uses for a low-carb intervention, but it was “a lot.” Despite this, many people saw fit to say that I’d been “duped” or have some kind of alternate agenda. What is clear to me is the reading comprehension of many people just fracking sucks. Based on the comments from some folks I’d like to take away their driving privileges as I’m suspect as to their ability to continue breathing while executing fine-motor skills.


All that aside, let’s look at how/if I’ve been “duped” into thinking LC has NO Value, as this is clearly the assertion from some folks.

Several months ago I shared the work I’ve been doing with the Risk Assessment program here in Reno. In that program we look at yearly blood work from Police and Fire, triage for metabolic risks, then prescribe a LOW CARB PALEO DIET to address the myriad of issues these folks have. (We also counsel on sleep, Vit-d, and a number of other factors.) We recently published our preliminary material in the International Journal of Chief’s of Police. 

We are working to get this program into a number of cities world wide, as well as getting this into multiple police and fire organizations in the US. I spend a significant amount of time every week looking at lab work, talking to people, and trying to get this program going. I do not make a red-cent from any of these efforts. The day that changes, I’ll let you know, but for now I look at this as work that is too important to not do everything I can to bring it to life. When people question my “motives” and suggest my work with multiple governmental agencies in learning how to implement a LC diet appropriately implies that I’ve been “duped”…Really?

Because reading comprehension is lacking for some, I’ll make this point again and ask the keyboard warriors “how exactly is it that I’ve been “duped” on the topic of low carb diets when I am one of the key members of perhaps the largest program in the world PUSHING LC diets to police, military and Fire?” (For the appropriate population…not necessarily everyone…see the athlete post above). Obviously the problem here is not my issue, but the folks for whom LC has become a religion. Some folks are incapable of recognizing when this approach is an important therapeutic intervention and when it would tank performance and athleticism.

Perhaps most interestingly I had some folks go up my hoo-ha because I came clean with the fact that for years I fully subscribed to the Insulin Hypothesis of fat loss et-all. Now, this is what’s interesting abut this: These same people lambast the Low Carb Jihadists for, well, being LCJ’s, but also feel comfortable running me down for openly talking about my learning process. So, is it better to remain dogmatically attached to ones beliefs, or try to create an environment in which it’s “safe” to talk about both successes and failures?

It’s funny, I used to really internalize shit like this…It was hard for my to wrap my head around things like: “How can people just cease to think?  Why do people have to be such DICKS?!” Only recently did I realize “This is just how the world IS.” The realization was a jolt for me and honestly, I was not sure what to do with it. Bag it all and go to Nicaragua and farm coconuts? (not entirely out of the option list!) A few days ago I was in Wholefoods grabbing some chow for a big family dinner we were putting together. I was bagging my groceries and chatting up the cashier when the woman behind me asked “Are you Robb Wolf?”  I replied “yes” and the woman practically crushed me in an embrace and started crying. She kept saying “You saved my life…”. Out of her purse she pulled a copy of my book that looked like it had about 250K miles on it. It was highlighted and dog-eared in a way that I don’t think I have ever seen. She proceeded to tell me that a bit over a year ago she was wheelchair bound due to Multiple Sclerosis, it sounded  pretty similar to Dr. Terry Whals story. Apparently a friend told her the paleo diet might be helpful for MS. So, she bought my book, read the site, listened to the podcast and is now running around, symptom free. Her rheumatologist is now very interested in paleo and I’m going to try and hook him up with the Specialty Health folks.

So, this experience was pretty powerful. What WE (Me and most of y’all) are doing is God-Damned important. I cannot tell you how moved I was by this woman’s story, especially the fact I played some small par tin all this. but if I have a demon it is taking on the weight of the world, and the first thing I thought about when I left the store was “That is fantastic…but Nicki’s mom died THREE MONTHS before I met Nicki.” From complications stemming from Rheumatoid Arthritis. The “what-if’s” of our own personal tragedy will haunt me the rist of my life.

So my grand take-away from all this:

1-Some people are incapable of learning and change.

2-Some people are assholes who snipe from the Peanut Gallery while not lifting a finger to better the world around them.

3-The vast majority of people are fucking righteous and if we know something that can help them, that could improve the world, we have a moral imperative to do something to help. ( How do I have morals, yet am not religious? Hmm?)

Someday I’ll farm coconuts, but it wont happen until our medical and food production systems have dramatically changed and there are enough people who know about this Evolutionary Medicine schtick that our kids and grand kids will have things better than we have them.

Ok, that’s it for this week. I’d planned on this only being 2 parts and getting down to some more specific science in part 2, but some of the responses I received required addressing. In part three I’ll look at:

1-    Is ketosis the “natural” state for humans?

2-    Is ketosis/CRAN/Intermittent fasting the Fountain of Youth?

3-    What situations DO make sense for LC interventions?

4-    Cover some specific macro considerations for you Unique Snowflakes

I’ll put out my opinion on how to best coach/convey this information to folks for best effect. Additionally I’ll look at a specific comment a reader put not only on my blog, but on at least one other, that is hilarious when you look at the big picture.


Click HERE to read part 3 of My Thoughts on Low Carb and Paleo.

Categories: Paleo/Low Carb


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. Pierre says

    Thanks Robb! Will you be addressing the claim that being in ketosis allows long distrance runners to access fat stores thereby avoiding hitting the wall?

    • says

      I kinda did that above. If one is exercising at a VERY low level, ketosis can motor one along pretty well, perhaps better than a mixed approach. But the moment you need to sprint, to drop into a “low gear” you do nto really have anything. Who is winning world championships on ketosis? I know Volek and Phinney have a case of a guy they claim is using way less carbs in his races, but the whole thing was not well controlled AND he was still supplementing with carbs.

      • says

        This was a great piece. I had a client come to me with some alarming bloodwork. It was showing that his body was eating away at muscle. He was roughly 6’4″ and well over 350lbs with many symptoms of metabolic syndrome. he started Crossfit and started a no starch paleo diet. This individual would have been better going LC and walking the dog to start. However, with CF he needed the carbs to fuel activity level. Nutrition is completely individualized and as seen in the example above can completely change based on what the individual is doing.

        Even though fats are primarily our energy source during endurance activity, they are not the only one being used. A little bit of carbohydrate is still being used up. Once those glycogen stores are empty, I do not care how much fat you are oxidizing for energy, you will drop performance. I have been following Robb’s stuff for a long time and i don’t ever remember him labeling carbs the devil. I remember him always talking about refueling with carbs preferablly postworkout.

        If people want to debate fine, but do not hide behind a screen name on the internet and act like middle school girls. An appropriate response containing links to articles to spark debate is welcomed, but when people get all over you I know it is frustrating. Good stuff dude, I am interested on some of this science so lets get to that stuff!

    • SimonM says

      Great stuff Robb!! Thank you.
      @Pierre: I am a world champion masters athlete (cross-country) living in Boulder and have had the chance to talk to some of the ultrarunning stars like Scott Jurek (who is vegan, BTW). As a *rough* generalisation, they seem to be able to “get away” with lowish carb diets while training – especially when in a base period as Robb talks about – but their RACING speeds, even over extreme distances, are fuelled by carbs. One of Scott’s sponsors is Udo’s Oil and at a Boulder Running Club event he told me that he had experimented with using fats as an energy source during *long* training runs (when you would expect it to work) and during races: a massive fail. Read his book “Eat and Run”. Robb has got this nailed.

  2. Jesse Noel says

    Starting the new year off with a bang! Keep up the good work and don’t mind the Rabble-rousers.

    Thanks for all you do.


  3. zack says

    I like this post and it hit me with a question that MAY be addressed in those questions you listed for addressing in part III. But I guess it can’t hurt to throw it out now.

    I am starting the Autoimmunity protocol right now to finish off a lifelong psoriasis deal that has vastly improved since going paleo (March 1, 2012) but lingers nonetheless. I started off VLC for the first 100 days. Then I started lifting heavier and did carb refeeds after my lifts. I’ve basically been following that ever since July. Low carb on off days, fast on lift days pre-lift, carb up post lift. I have been enjoying it.

    I really would like to increase my PRs which have started plateauing (of course, I realize I’m starting to exit the “novice” phase and will have plateaus) but after reading this post, I’m worried that in following the autoimmunity protocol, I’ll be skimping on the carbs in a detrimental way. Do you recommend anything or should I be patient for Part III?

    • says

      I don’t think part 3 really adresses your situation, so, first couple questions: What’s your vitt-d level? Sleep duration and quality?Both are critical for normal immune fx. If both are solid you have a choice, invest some time into a LC version of the protocol, or just focus on performance and see what type of mileage you get from that. I wish I had a more concreate answer for you but the path to take eis largely driven by your priorities and goals.

      • zack says

        Thanks for your response, Robb. I take a vit-d3 supplement daily (a little extra post lift). I also get what I would say is pretty good sleep. Anywhere from 7-9 hours of uninterrupted deep sleep. I always wake up on my own (no alarm necessary) and refreshed and ready to go.

        As to my goals, I lift for strength just as a means to improve my potential as a human animal. I do almost entirely compound lifts. I aim for heavy weights with low reps (Starting Strength style). I lift fasted 2-3 days a week and do sprints or HIIT once a week all at night follwed by a feast afterwards. On non-lift days I eat lunch and dinner with no snacking. Both lift and non-lift days are very natural in terms of satiety. I am never fighting the urge to eat. It’s all a simple routine for myself. I’m always trying to improve my PRs and have been with a few minor set backs here and there. I’d like to continue to increase my PRs while still leaning out.

        I’ve been following the autoimmune protocol for about 4 weeks now (save for entirely cutting out nightshades) with some major success. Psoriasis on scalp is subsiding dramatically. Should I be worried about refilling my glycogen stores or is my routine not intense enough to be overly concerned with it?

        Thanks again for your response above!

    • sue says

      Hey Zack,
      Just want to let you know -keep at it I have been paleo Autoimmunity protocol now 3yrs lifelong psoriasis and Type 1 diabetes…… the last 6 months my psoriasis has disappeared completely ! It did take a long time…. (the only other thing I dont eat fruit (except avocados-alot) because of the diabetes thing
      Kindest Regards

  4. Sara Grambusch says

    This sounds like straight up common sense to me. I’m currently eating very low carb for digestive reasons and once that heals I may have to add some back if my activity is able to increase. I also find ketogenic diets and cancer research very compelling, but does that mean I’m going to live the rest of my life in ketosis to maybe avoid cancer? Well, probably not, but that DEPENDS on like a million things. Your grand take-aways sound (unfortunately) spot on and I’ll look forward to part 3. Part of being a scientist, and even just living the paleo lifestyle, is questioning things, including yourself. If you never stop to take a second look at everything pretty frequently, you’ll end up somewhere that doesn’t make sense. That’s why we have brains.

  5. Ari says

    Its unfortunate that there are so many people out there who are not only ignorant of the facts but are unwilling to accept them even after having them shoved in their faces. I can personally vouch for the low carb crash during periods of high intensity metabolic training, and in both instances my performance was restored with re-addition of normal amounts of carbohydrate. The truth is that there is no panacea for the unhealthy society we have created. The solution might be relatively straightforward (ie. a balanced paleo diet and normal amounts of exercise), but the science behind it incredibly complex and I think it will be some time before we fully understand how to put all the parts of the puzzle together.

    Thank you for your work, and hopefully someday people will not feel the need to yell about things on the internet that they don’t understand.

  6. Kate says

    This is a fantastic piece, Robb!

    I am so glad to be doing higher carb, lower fat paleo with LEAN meats and lot of starches like sweet and white potatoes. Paleo was never Atkins and no hunter-gatherer group eats that way. It is easier to be lean on more TEF and good starches and protein than mainlining butter.


    • says

      Thanks Kate. But please do keep in mind, LC may be the best/only option for the severely insulin resistant…at least until we can get their machinery fixed.

      • Peggy Holloway says

        For some of us it needs to be LCHF forever. My family has severe genetic insulin-resistance and most of us have found we can’t handle carbs beyond those in non-starchy vegetables. As far as energy and athletic performance is concerned, an amateur like I am can perform quite well in ketosis. In fact, my endurance is excellent and continues to improve over time. I will be 60 in March and can do a century bike ride easily on egg yolks and bacon at about mile 70. (my usual diet) with no need to stop for refueling. The same diet works for my 70-year old partner who logged over 4000 miles on his bike last season and averages 18 to 20mph in hills and wind. We are believers and huge fans of Phinney/Volek. So, we have found what works for us and believe that this is “for life.”

  7. says

    It was a shame you had to spend part 2 spanking idiots that can’t read and understand, but they needed it. I’ve read your book, listened to every podcast, and listened to you speak at Paleofx12, I can’t see anywhere that you have changed all that much. You are doing a great work and I appreciate it. I would understand though if you decided to go farm coconuts. I look forward to part 3.

    • says

      Thanks Brain and I agree, part 2 was kind of a waste of time. I told folks I’d get to the details later but many people could not pass the reading comprehension minimum on part 1, so they needed a foot in their ass on part 2.

  8. Claire says

    Very well stated and filled with passion. I think it is important to realize that many of us got to paleo via the Insulin Hypothesis. It was simple, it made sense and best of all it worked! Many people are just looking for the dogma and the answer that they can spout at dinner parties (“insulin is bad and makes you fat ” just like “fat is bad and makes you fat”). Unfortunately reality is never that simple, especially when it comes to the delicate interplay of metabolism.

    Your commitment to the health of others and life long learning in the field of human nutrition is commendable. With a topic as passionate as what we eat to obtain health, you are going to face others who are also passionate, albeit wrong. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to question theories and read the literature.

    • says

      Thanks Claire. Yes, LC has serveed as a “gateway Drug” of sorts for paleo. It’s still importnat to remember (and I talk about this a good bit in the next piece) The Insulin Hypothesis LOOKS accurate when we apply it to treating the insulin resistant individual, but it tend to fall down as a descriptor of the insulin resistance process AND as the ONLY way to change body comp. But again! It is very effective for body comp changes for many people.

      We seem to have more caveates than core material!

  9. Mike L says

    Well done sir.

    This is the world we live in. We constantly question alternative authority and tend to aggressively attack any person(s) in the path of our beliefs.

    I see it like this … authority is built followed by teachings which turn into religion and students turn into warriors. Only the strongest at this point can handle question and change.

    Evolutionary thinking is a commodity. People hate change. People struggle with change. Its up to our authoritive figures to shape us in a way were we are willing to except change… and you Robb, have done just that…for me anyways.

    TL:DR – Boners & LCJ

    P.S. also don’t sleep on the fact that the internet has some pretty wierd people on it lol.

  10. Jason says

    I like the idea of continuing to improve and reeducate myself. It’s what brought me to paleo in the first place. It’s now what’s pushing me towards Kiefer’s backloading program, which has led to major changes in my body over a short period of time and includes a pretty massive carb load.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

      • Carl says

        Ditto on the carb backloading discovery. I kind of view my personal weight loss / healthification in two really different phases.

        Phase 1 was just really fat and broken. Lay down the law that carbs are evil and the pounds flew off. Nothing else, just complete Atkins style induction and I go from 270 to 220 no problemo. It really sucked but the results were enough to motivate me through.

        But at about 220, weight loss suddenly hit the long end of the hockey stick graph. Really slow and the simple 20g carb rule stopped working. But the beauty of that was that I was no longer ashamed to be seen in a gym, so I started tinkering with that stuff. Found primal and paleo, started tinkering there. Enter Phase 2.

        Phase 2 seems to be the ‘not broken’ part of my life. And I finally realized that after getting fixed, I can actually change my focus to treating my body like a system that can be managed and changed to get certain results. Very cool! Took me a good year to deprogram my initial (and successful) LC dogma and switch to this objective systems view of my body. But, man, what a great way to address this very different phase where my goals are more around adding muscle and leaning out a bit more. Where LC was on a pedestal for my Phase 1, it’s just another cool tool in the overall Phase 2 bag of tricks. Right there with carb backloading, heavy weights to failure, IF, sprinting, great sleep, etc.

        I really think LC saved my life. But once that was done, it wasn’t enough to make life awesome. Thanks Robb!

  11. Joletta says


    Good on ya, brother, not only for all the work you do but for how you do it. Because of your work our fire department has been in contact with Specialty Health and we hope to bring similar testing and interventions to our 1000 firefighters. From there I hope it expands county wide to all civil servants. And on a personal level, your podcast and blog have helped me a great deal. Being paleo (with some raw/fermented dairy so not full blown) has changed my life. I was one that had constant GI issues but thought it was normal or that I just had a sensitive stomach. I was just eating massive amounts of the wrong foods (hello seed oil and processed carb-ville).

    And the whole dogmatic crowd that believes there’s only one way (IF, ketosis, carb back-loading, whatever) to be lean and fit, they’re just jumping on band-wagons that will likely change in a few years rather than actually understanding how food interacts with their bodies and minds. They don’t realize that while these protocols do work really well for some people, at least for a while, they can be really horrible and even detrimental for others. I’ve jumped on band-wagons, I’ve been guilty of doing the latest and greatest thing without understanding why I’m doing it, but I’ve smartened up and when those things didn’t work the way I was told they were going to (energy for hours! PRs in workouts! Super cut and lean!) – I stopped. Was I lean? Yes, but scary so. Did I feel good? No, I felt weak and horrible. Now I’m doing what feels right for me. And I eat a shit ton of winter squashes/sweet potatoes/fruit at 125 pounds and about 15-17% body fat without being some mega-exerciser, cross-fitter, heavy lifter, sprinter person, either.

    As a person that likes to actually read the literature and not just blogs and FB posts, I respect the fact that you always include references to scientific journals that I can then read for myself. You and Chris Kresser are doing some pretty amazing things in the world of nutrition and are bringing very complicated information to the masses in an understandable way – that’s a pretty amazing feat to accomplish (making the info accessible to the public but also verifiable to the academics). Both of you are very open about your learning process and evolution of thinking as well – that is honorable, honest, and invaluable to those that are truly seeking knowledge and understanding of nutrition and health.

    Thank you for all you do and don’t despair – there are more of us that appreciate and value your work than the few vocal morons that disparage it.

      • Joletta says


        I have actually medically retired from OCFA so I can focus on designing Wellness programs for public safety and corporations that address health issues through basic mobility/movement and sound nutrition. I would love to get your input or feedback on what we’re putting together. Let me know if you’re game!



  12. c says

    Thank you. Thank you for your research and reaching out to the masses to educate. I am currently doing a paleo LC approach to kick sugar/carb addiction and drop a few lbs. I dont consider myself an “athlete”, but do lift weights regularly. I would think common sense would come into play that if I was taking in my performance and tired or wanting to train for a half marathon, I would be smart enough to add in some damn carbs. I hate how people are LC or not- its not that black and white- and everyone is different. Keep up the good work.

    • says

      I’ll be honest, I was a little sketched for a time about re-introducing carbs with any frequency. I was so sick before, felt so much better LC, it was scary to tinekr with CLC, and eventually transition to where I am today.

  13. Tonya Adams says

    I started Paleo due to Hashimoto’s. I do also do crossfit 3x’s a week. All scaled!! :) I am really more concerned with being healthy and keeping my autoimmune symptoms at bay than PR’s. So am I doing the right thing by staying LC?

    • says

      I don;t know. the only way we wil both know is by tinkering. Some folks, like Dr. Terry Wahls, need to be ketogenic to get the autoimmune stuff fully wrapped up. Other folks have much more le-way on carbs so long as they are non-irritating. I think you are in a perfect spot to do some tinkering and if you do i’d LOVE to feature it on the blog.

      • Kathleen Healy says

        In commentary/reply to Tonya and Robb — re Hashi’s: I definitely would love to get an update from her and have it posted on this site.

        I have Hashi’s and only recently have been ‘off kilter’ (aka no longer optimized). My past history tells me I am likely ‘too’ low carb as conversion from T4 to T3 cannot happen in a low-carb setting. But — finding that sweet spot has been elusive.

        TONYA — if you come up with anything, please share.

        ROBB — thanks for ALL you do. The cowardly who are powerful behind the screen hit the web in droves and I would have thought they would find another source of entertainment and release other than to beat up on someone who clearly has the best interest of the masses at heart. Build ’em up to take them down is sadly a part of the human condition – but I thought Lindsay Lohan was far more easy of a target than you. Sorry you felt the need to bitch-slap them. They didn’t likely deserve a second of your precious time. Oh yea — Happy New Year.

  14. Ben says

    Robb, nice article. Gotta love the articles when you get really into it. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for you, to hear people with virtually no knowledge saying you are wrong, etc. Unfortunately, I think just about everyone is prone to the rule of ‘a little bit of knowledge is dangerous’. It’s a tricky problem.. On the one hand, good science should trump all. But, according to Ericsson et al, it actually does take at least 10 solid years in a field to be expert. So its kinda tough to persuade the majority of people with science. I think the answer to the ‘helping the masses’ problem is somewhere in the anecdotal evidence and testimonial realm.

    I personally really like ketosis, or at least cyclic low carb diets and lots of coconut oil. Do you think Lyle MacDonald’s book on ketosis is worth reading? I searched his name and your name on google and I can’t tell if you really really don’t like him/his work or if his work is only a bit flawed. He does seem like a little bit of a douche, but I wanna learn, and scientific articles use too many big words right now hehe. Right now I need a big picture laced with a little science. I already read your book, Phinney’s book, all the main paleo books, carb backloading.

  15. Alexander says

    Robb, I work in a stock room, on my feet 8 hours a day. I’m 6’2′ 220lbs. On LC I feel more energized, alert, happier, but I can’t sleep, 2 hours uninterrupted at best, which leads me to eat sugar and heavy starches to fall asleep, only to wake up feeling horrible 2 hours later to do the same again. Is there something you suggest? I lift 3 times a week, should I eat differently on those days?
    I’ve learned so much from your podcasts, and I know you’re really busy, and I’d really appreciate your help with this. It’s the only part of paleo I’m struggling with, I just want to get enough sleep! Thanks again! Here what I eat on a typical day: breakfast 4 eggs, 4 strips of bacon
    Lunch: 8oz grass fed chuck steak with broccoli
    Snack: handful of cashews
    Dinner: 8oz of grass fed liver, 1 sweet potato and another veggie on the side

      • Alexander says

        Ok, I will! Does it matter how close I am to sleeping? I’ve eaten a huge meal of meat and sweet potatoes before bed, and I wake up hungry a few hours later. Is there a time before bed I should stop eating and drinking? Is it a blood sugar issue?

  16. Wheelingit says

    It’s a shame when good work (like yours) gets hit by dogma. I can only say that Paleo was a huge improvement in my life (got rid of years of bloating, period cramps and knee/joint pain). Going very low-carb was the starting point of that change, and for that reason I think many people become semi-religious about it. They come from a traditional diet, go low-carb and remove processed foods and see amazing, almost miraculous the point where VLC becomes the only answer. There’s no doubt that VLC is a hugely valuable tool, and can be incredibly efficient for people who are overweight and/or have insulin issues (as I no doubt was), but may not address everyone all the time. That makes sense to me, and hopefully most sensible people are open-minded enough to read the research and understand that. Focus on those success stories and keep up the good work!

  17. says

    People are slow to accept changes. I think a couple of things are happening here:1. People loved to define themselves as radicals with this diet and seeing it move back towards the mainstream in any way hurts their view of themselves, and 2. This is the first dietary movement to be truly born in the information age and there is too much noise, too many people with a poor grasp on the science and issues putting up blogs and diluting the message. Your current plan of attack was destined to meet serious opposition, but it will be seen through. As we all grow with this paleo thing we all learn, at different rates of speed. Slowly all the other big names will begin saying exactly what you have begun saying.

    As for the fire department thing, I work on one with about 1000 members, and am currently working with around 100 of them on paleo style diets. I am in a unique position to extend your suggested trial to beyond that number and am confident I can get support of management for something like this. Send me a message and any details if you have interest in working with my department. (it’s in Canada, hopefully not a problem).

    Thanks for these great posts.

  18. Ben says

    I totally agree with this article and it illustrates how dangerous clinging to a belief and not keeping an open mind is. I was LC paleo for 3 years and did ok on it, getting healthy and lean. When I learned about Keifer’s Carb Back Loading program I was incredulous and thought he was just using marketing to tell people what they wanted to hear, that it was ok to eat carbs. Always willing to test things out, I started the program in August and was pleasantly surprised to gain muscle and easily get leaner. I was shocked. I initially was lean around 10-12% body fat and now I would guess I’m in single digits. I think there is something to be said about using carbs to help burn fat once you are pretty lean. As an aside, when I was low carb I could just rub my hair and it would fall out (26 yrs old). Once I increased my carb intake my hair shedding stopped.

  19. Phil says


    Great stuff as always! Having lost the bulk of my weight with a low carb approach I can understand where the LCJ are coming from. It seems like when your ready to flip the switch from weight loss mode to performance mode (which may still help you shed some pounds) is when you should increase carbs? I know this stuff Is unique to everybody but when would you recomend making the switch? I have recently got into the whole mud run scene and I can’t decide if I should just LC the last 20lbs off or play around with pre/post workout carbs and focus on performance!

    Also, it may help if you tackle the curious case of fruit in part 3.

    Keep on keeping on with the good work!

    • says

      Yes, I think you are spot on. And now, let’s muddy the water even more. Let’s say one has lost lots of weight, is getting ready to ramp up performance but really cannot handle large carb boluses? Blood sugar stays elevated too long, A1C starts creeping up…what then? For the health and longevity of that person they may need to lift weight, do some cardio and figure out the maximum carb intake they can handle sans deleterious effects. now, perhaps this person will benefit form donating blood to reduce systemic inflammation due to iron overload, perhaps they have poor sleep which needs addressing, but the reality is that not any one protocol will work for all folks. So, even though your suggestion is likely accurate 90% of the time, we need to be aware of that 10% for whom the standard rules do not apply.

  20. says

    Been following you for two years and I think you are amazing. Sorry you have to deal with backlash from “boners and dicks”. Always remember the moments like you had in Whole Foods – thats priceless! Happy New Year! Looking forward to more of your articles.

  21. Christine says

    I would so be that woman in Wholefoods if I met you! You, your book, and my friend who introduced it to me have changed my life. I was about 300 pounds and am now down to 250 doing Paleo. Thanks so much!!!Keep up the amazing work!

  22. Angel says

    I’m really interested in your mention of this “moral imperative”. You gotta write about this more! I don’t always agree with everything you say (that would be.. weird), but I have still passed around your book to do some of the explaining for me. And let me tell you, it’s worked and I’ve seen people have decent health improvements. Your moral imperative facilitates mine, and I wish more people in the community would realize this, get off the blog comments, and do something. We’re greater than the sum of our parts.

    So thanks, dude.

    (Also, I’d love to hear your reasoning for our imperative to “do something”, if it’s a convincing argument. Your proof, so to speak. This has been hard for me to do).

    • says

      Thanks, I’m touched and excited you picked up on that as I honestly feel it is perhaps the most importnat part of this scree. In very simple terms I see the knowledge you, I, the folks in the paleo/Evolutionary Medicine have, as being analogous to seeing smoke coming from our neighbors house. You know there might be problems, no one else is aroudn to do anything…can you just ignore it? Now, if we run over to the neighbors house, tell them it might be on fire and they tell us to buggar off, that’s fine. We did what we could. But not trying to affect change in how medicine is practice and food is produced is ignoring the “smoke.” And the irony is once the neighbors house is in flames, it’s not hard for the flames to jump to our house, for our neighbors problems to become our own.

      If you take some of this Libertarian self accountability and add a healthy dose of systems thinking and connectivity, an interesting path opens up.

      • andrea says

        YES, yes yes. Angel got it. There’s thinking, there’s reading, there’s blogtweetlebooking. And then there’s DOING by SHOWING.

        One of the most vexing yet exciting aspects is learning the best set of ‘weapons’ that will help folks see the smoke for themselves. (Such a great analogy, by the way – dietary life change is just as scary as getting thrown out of your house.) What are the little tweaks in how the message is delivered – tailored to EACH person, often comprised of actual subtle word changes and no more – that assures the highest chance of getting through the thick noggin? This is what fascinates me and WHY I am going to PaleoFX.

        When I had direct reports at work I was a Manager Tools acolyte – some of the best info they put out has to do with how to communicate more effectively with the different personality types you’ll run across at work (and, by extension, life). Based on *that* listener’s personality, changing the reasoning from “it saved my life” to “I have dozens of unbiased research studies” (or vice versa) could be the key that gets you into their padlocked head.

        Thanks again, Robb.

  23. Eddie says

    Hi Robb!
    If i can’t recover well from my strength training and met-con and I gain fat in the lower abdomen and behind, lack of sleep and irritability, is it possible that I’m too low in carb and the cortisol is raised up?
    Thanks man

  24. Pierce Steed says

    Robb it’s a great shame that some idiots question your integrity and right to question a one size fits all approach. I’d like to see them write/publish a book, manage a website, run a podcast, train real people, save some lives etc rather than just try and knock someone down via a comments board. Thank you so much for the information and entertainment and keep up the great work. Gradually the masses and conventional wisdom will hopefully see through the b s. People like you will win this battle, without selling out like our governments and medical systems that have contrived in this mess. Total respect to you!


  25. Lardlad says

    Nothing shocking here. I don’t know what the stink is all about.

    I suspect that the resistance comes from people who are extremely sensitive to carbs. But they more than anyone else should realize diets are very individual. Their biggest concerns are with obesity and most of this is centered around performance.

    What is the controversy?

  26. chris says

    While I always look forward to your posts, this one left me wanting more about nutrition and biochemistry and less about the shortcomings of disagreeable people with rigid ideas. I’ve plenty of the latter in my life as it is. (I haven’t been able to persuade my very ill family members – ranging from diabetes, lupus, and RA to heart disease – to change what they eat).

    Nevertheless, like others have already said, I’m glad you are not putting yourself out to farm coconuts just yet and hope you’ll continue writing (and get enough positive feedback that you’re not so cranky). I am grateful for all the help I’ve received from your writing, book and lectures.

    • says

      Chris, apologies…I do agree this bordered on a waste of time but the commentary was nasty enough that I felt I needed to put some stuff straight. I was talking to Chris Kresser about this and there is an unfortunate reality that if the team here does it’s job correctly, and the site gets bigger, the reach grows, we will attract a certain % of assholes. that number is small when you have 10K hit sper month, much larger when it’s a million. All that considered however, I’m not going to devote time like this in the future to changing the minds of morons.

      • chris says

        you’re a sweetheart. just remember, it’s only the morons who need persuading. the rest of us — the smart folk — already agree with you. 😛

  27. james barlow says

    I think one other thing that many of the low carbers suffer from, and is evident in nearly every forum out there, is their over inflated sense of how athletic they really are.

    Reality and science is background noise for people who think that if low carb works to fuel their 10 minute kettlebell workout then it should be more than enough for a competitor at the CF games.

    Both articles have been great and really helped me to better understand what I have been doing, and will be doing, to improve my own performance.

  28. says


    Blogging about nutrition and fitness taught me how remarkably tribalistic and cult-minded average people can be. I’m not surprised you received such a backlash, since I’ve noticed that many people have little capacity for acting rationally when confronted with ideas counter to their accepted belief structure. ie. cognitive dissonance.

    I use the phrase “belief-structure” because I suspect that a lot of people following these debates don’t actually take the time and energy to investigate the concepts and data for themselves (maybe they don’t have the time or intellectual tools) and simply pick their preferred ideologue and latch on.

    I would think a modern cultural anthropologist would have a field day studying the paleo-sphere / low-carb phenomenon, and the myriad cliques or sub-groups which have formed surrounding various personalities and their particular interpretation of the concept.

    Good luck to you Robb, please keep up the great work you do. It takes a good deal of inner strength to keep pushing against this persistent tide of negativity and cynicism, personally I found that I just don’t have what it takes.

  29. says

    I agree with Brian, it is too bad that you had to waste time with people who can’t read considering the other work you do is so important. But I also think it was a good addition to your body of work.

    I read Chris McCormack’s book, based on James Fitzgerald’s recommendation, and it has a great story about him going to the top sports nutritionists in Australia only to find out that 1/2 de-fizzed Coke and 1/2 water is what he needs to succeed. I get that we aren’t all racing at that level and there are probably better choices, but what’s wrong with just trying it? I suspect that the LCJ just haven’t done the work. Speaking of… gotta get back to it.

    Anyway, good job, looking forward to part 3.

  30. Jason says

    To the haters…”If your only tool is a hammer…”

    I appreciate what you are saying. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t this been more or less the standard way of thinking about carbs for a long time? I remember always reading that fat was in fact the preferred fuel for low intensity steady state activity, and glycogen for more intense activity. The NSCA’s CSCS text book states this, iirc.

    I do know that LC paleo has helped me address some issues I was having. But it is good to know, and seems to make perfect sense, that LC is not the answer to everything.

    • says

      Jason, yea, this has really been my position for a looong time, and even when i bought the Insulin Hypothesis, i know clinically that I could not run a high level athlete on LC. Not in the stuff I’m coaching (mma, BJJ, Crossfit). I mentioned in this piece that the impetus for all this was a high level CF games competitor who was tinkering with ketosis and had tanked her performance. The problem,such that it is, is that we have a LOT of sick people who would greatly benefit from LC. So, that is the dominant signal going out into the world. Athletes hear about amazing transformation in folks, get curious and want to give LC a whirl. the curiosity is well place, especially when overlaid with the ubiquity of the signal focussed on the insulin resistant population.

  31. Ailu says

    LOVED your post, Rob. Sadly, even the Facebook Fat Head Group has been pretty much taken over by the Low-carb Jihasists. Just like the vegans who say “veganism saved my life!” therefore “meat must be evil!”. “LC saved my life!” therefore “carbs are evil!”. Yes, it’s turned into a religion – and reasoning with them is sadly impossible.

    • says

      Too true. And in that you bring up a good point: many people are really, really sick and LC does offer an almost miraculous solution for them. but that approach may not apply to everyone AND waht gets folks form A–>B may not be what gets them from B–>C.

  32. Ken Lawler says

    What really legitamized the Paleo movement in my mind was Matt LaLondes talk at AHF where he said if the science changes then we have to be willing to change with it. This is exactly what you are doing here and I applaud you for it.

    This whole thing is almost frighteningly mainstream now which is great for me because I was, frankly, sick of trying to convince people they should look at Paleo for xyz condition. I was the nut job claiming their kids behavioral issues or their mother’s arthritis or their own IBS might be managed with a dietary intervention. Now they are hearing about it everywhere and it feels vindicating. We have you and a couple of others to thank for this so thank you!

    Honestly though, while this argument might be important for some in the fitness world and those trying to lose weight I am way more interested in disease prevention and cures – especially cancer. This seems like a more important topic and one I hope you get to after cleaning up the LC debate here.

    • says

      Thanks Ken. Yea…I sometimes wonder how much bigger the site would be if I went just a little more the eCrossFit route of having super hot people doing before and after stuff, highlighting the top level athletes. But the problem of people being sick and dying due to ignorance on the part of our medical system has really been my big driver.

  33. anze says

    Robb so what is than your macros for some one who train a lot – weightlifting, crossfit, kettebels and want loss fat?

    Charles Poliquin said that if you don’t have BF under 10% you can’t eat carbs or maybe 30-50 after training and if you have problem with sleep another 30g before bed, so overall 100g carbs.

  34. says

    Awesome article. Let the haters squabble all they want, the proof is in the performance. I am already seeing better recovery using the protocol that you outlined in your comment on the last article.

    I am going to stick to your recommendations like gangbusters for the next 30 days and will report back on what happens. Keep up the good work and non illegitimi carborundum!

  35. Christopher says

    Thank you for the examples and explanation of hitting the wall with regards to needing to shift to a lower gear as this explains A LOT about days where I just don’t have it when going above a certain time/energy level and have eaten LC. On the days I wasn’t watching what I ate (see also more carbs yet still paleo) the longer workouts may have been hard but it was manageable, so I have my own data to back up what you are writing. Thanks for continuing to evolve.

  36. Ben says

    So I get the leaning out and performance benefits of carbs but what about just looking at it from a health perspective, does low carb give better chol levels, tris, bp,etc? Does it make a difference? Health is more important to me than ripped abs and 500 pound squat or whatever. My numbers are great at 43 and I don’t have abs or a 500 pound squat :)


    • says

      Ben- I think tinkering and figuring out your carb sweet spot is what’s in order here. What gives you the best biomarkers, and the performance, health longevity you seek?

  37. Martin says

    Robb, in the past I have made several comments under your posts somewhat critical of the proposed higher-carb approach and I was quoting Phinney & Volek’s book. Each time, however, I was proposeing that you actually discuss all the controversies directly with P&V. I would still be interested in reading / listening to such a discussion.

    Your coaching track record is not bad :-) each time you train a high-end athlete, though, you should remember that they are outliers.

    My primary sport now is bouldering (I also still do a bit of trail running, MTB and gymnastics) and I have no problems with energy levels while following a strict ketogenic diet.

    • says

      I’d love to get those guys on a podcast and please understand I am a MAJOR supporter of their work and research.

      I’d agree that a gymnastics/bouldering program would likely be optimized with a cyclic low carb approach. How long have you eaten purely ketogenic? If things ever start getting shaky, i;d just drop in a sizable carb meal 1-2x per week, ideally post training.

      • Martin says

        Robb, let me first state that I if did not respect your work deeply, I would not be reading your posts and books and commenting here.

        I remember the triangle concept you proposed long time ago: performance, health, fat loss. I guess it would make sense to draw a distinction between them (and perhaps break them down even further) when discussing the pros and cons of high fat vs. high protein vs higher carb, wouldn’t it?

        When I discovered paleo, almost 3 years ago, I was recovering from a what you would call a glycolytic event – a half marathon. I had already been on a lower carb (still quite high), higher fat (still quite low) diet, following the program by Stu Mittleman, a legendary ultrarunner from the 80s, a proponent of fat as the main fuel source for runners. Stu’s philosophy made sense to me, but I realized it is not a good idea for 21k (too short and too intensive if you go your PB). Then I read and listened to you and Mark Sisson, cleaned my diet in the paleo way and understood that training for and competing in chronic-cardio (Mark’s term) events like half and full marathons (esp. the former one) is not a good idea at all regardless of the diet. So I quit marathoning (I now do sprints and occasional long runs in the woods, zen-style) and I am not looking back. The bottom line is this: I followed your recommendation to avoid certain types of training / exercising and that is exactly why I believe I can do well on a low-carb high-fat diet. Would I perform better (e.g. in bouldering) if I eat more carbs or protein? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is I feel much better than ever before, I can work out hard (I never go too long, why would I?) and the recovery time has improved a lot.

  38. sarena kopciel says

    Hi, I think this article is great and I can totally relate to many parts of it. As an avid athlete, CF and weightlifting, and post menopause now…LC is not working for me effectively. I feel I need the carbs but they dont work for me with my blood sugar issues….suggestions? Everything else is pretty dialed in (weight has been lossed and not found….) . I am basically at a maintenance weight after losing close to 100# but still cant balance the blood sugar consistently.

    I feel I need some carbs but they spike the bs. Thoughts?

    • says

      Sarena- Get your fourteen and iron saturation checked. Post menopause women start accumulating iron, just like men do and this can affect insulin sensitivity in a major way. the fix however, is easy, start donating blood. Get back to me on that.

      • Misabi says

        Hi Robb,

        I also lived in the uk during the BSE era so can’t give blood where I live either, plus as a double whammy I’m gay which also precludes my donating. Actually that’s not strictly true, the actual policy states that it does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but on whether I (as a man) have had sex with another man in the past 5 years… So all those celibate gay men (oxymoron much?) are free to donate all they like!

        Likewise I also can’t donate bone marrow for the same reasons as above, which is something I’d very much like to do.

        I’d also be interested in alternative suggestions to donating for iron release/purging. I do often eat dark chocolate or green tea with or after a meal high in iron, but not sure if that’s enough.

        I’m booking a full check up soon, so will include ferritin / iron in the tests to see if it’s an issue at all. Not sure if my doc will be into blood letting for the sake of it :-)

        Keep up the good work and don’t let the boners get you down!

  39. says

    This might be my new favorite blog post of yours! So well written – the science AND your rant! Thank you so much for continuing to work so hard and spread the word. I know you’re trying hard to get your program into other fire/police depts… any hope for the Las Vegas City FD? My husband is a fireman here and unfortunately SO MANY of the fireman have jumped on the Forks Over Knives bandwagon. It’s sad to see so many of our fireman give up meat :(

    • Michael says


      I literally can’t donate blood: I’m lived in England during the Mad Cow scare and so the US still — almost 20 years later — won’t let me donate. Alternatives? Maybe I should measure blood glucose every day, thereby guaranteeing I bleed at least a little bit, but volume-wise it doesn’t compare.

      Back on topic, it seems like for people who just walk, sprint on occasion, and lift, they can and should be LC. I hope in Part 3 you have space to talk about whether you feel it’s healthful, for those whose exercise patterns are sufficiently moderate, to generally be in ketosis? Or would you prefer more carbs even in them, so long as there are no adverse consequences because of individual issues. Do you buy into Jaminet’s approach that even for healthy non-athletes 30% carbs is best?

      Thanks for all your great work!


  40. PaleoMalin says

    Robb, thank you. I’m sorry that people have been such idiots. I’m sorry that they’ve wasted time that could have been spent helping people. But thank you for the dedication to figuring out the science and working it out into something practical for us.

    Some people are always going to attack without trying to make a difference for the positive. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  41. Christian says

    Hmm, eat LC until lean and have low inflammation and then add carbs back in for performance, especially when you are high level athlete… Sounds like common sense and what you been saying for a long time….

    I was hoping something earth shattering like chubby guys (me) can go back to eating boxes of Mac N Cheese…damnit

  42. Antti says

    Robb, keep doing what you are doing. You are making a huge difference in peoples lives – including me.

    I’ll chip in to buying you a sombrero so you can protect yourself from the sh*t that keeps raining on you for no reason. :)

    In Finland we have a proverb “The dogs bark but the caravan keeps on moving.”

  43. Mike Lancaster says

    Aerobic base training on a diet that restricts carbohydrate (amount), seems like a really good way to put your body under a lot of unnecessary stress.

    • says

      the point of AEROBIC base training is to improve lipolysis…look to Phil Maffetone for this.Now, it may in fact not be necessary to go LC/Keto for this, but I was making a point that if there were a time/place FOR doing this, that’d be it. You will not feel good, it will not be easy, but you may very well get some favorable adaptations.

  44. KDeLuca says

    I’m enjoying this series on carbohydrate intake. I’ve followed the Paleo low carb approach for years and in the beginning it did wonders for leaning me out. Until one day my performance in the gym started tanking, I walked around in a fog all day, couldn’t loose a pound from my midsection for the life of me, started getting depressed, my sleep started becoming interrupted, and my binge eating got out of control. Looking back, I wish I would have added more carbs in sooner having noticed all these changes, but I was too scared of carbs. I think it’s important for people to start listening to their bodies more and really taking self-experimentation seriously. You noted this on a podcast with Keifer and it really struck a chord with me. I like the idea that people should go by day to day feel and looking in the mirror to help assess themselves. Had I not added more carbs in and reduced my fat intake, I would still be floundering and stuck to this dogmatic view that low carb cures everything. Thank you for always sharing your ideas despite all the “dicks” out there!

  45. Brandon says

    Two things are certain in life:

    1) There are stupid people everywhere.
    2) These stupid people all have keyboards and opinions.

    Don’t mind the stupid people, you’re still saving lots of lives with your message.

  46. Mark Power says


    Fantastic piece of writing. Screw the illiterate keyboard warriors (wankers is probably a better word). People have a strange inability to grasp common sense.
    All I know is that what you do changes / improves lives so please keep it up!
    I was a vegan until not so long ago and it worked out fine in the beginning. However I started to get lethargic, depressed, gained weight (fat) and had serious cases of bloating/indigestion. One day stumbled across the work of your good self, read the Paleo Solution from cover to cover and it made sense. Started eating the paleo way, lost 15kg, gained lean muscle mass and completed a marathon with 4 months of training and almost no prior running experience.
    Have now started crossfit, enjoying it immensely and improving each week.
    If your gym was not 5000 miles away I would pop by for a spot of weightlifting, a firm handshake and a big caveman cuddle.

    Looking forward to more great posts.


  47. says

    This was my favorite line: “Based on the comments from some folks I’d like to take away their driving privileges as I’m suspect as to their ability to continue breathing while executing fine-motor skills.” Well said :)

  48. Jeremy says

    Responses like this are what made me buy into the Paleo/Primal dealio in the first place. Changed, and is still changing much of my life (what??…I don’t have to take nexium and a few other drugs to survive confortably?…WTF!? lies! hehe :D).

    Robb, keep being awesome.

    Question everything.

  49. WPJ says

    fair to say your views are evolutionary, not revolutionary! Why expect anything else from you??

    Great piece, both in terms of the science, and the intellectual rigour/dissection of “the fervour”.

    Interestingly, although the book is called “Paleo diet for athletes”, Loren Cordain wrote in 2005 (2005 ed,Rodale, paperback):

    p16: “Rapid recovery is the biggest issue facing such an athlete. While it’s not impossible to recover from such training loads on a strict Paleo Diet, it is somewhat more difficult to recover quickly. By modifying the diet before, during, and immediately following challenging workouts, the Paleo Diet provides two benefits sought by all athletes – quick recovery for the next workout and superior health for the rest of your life.”

    “There is considerable research showing that consistently low carb intake during and following exercise may contribute to overreaching and eventually to overtraining. As the training intensity increases, this becomes even more critical. …Just a few days of inadequate eating at these critical times [recovery after training] when training intensity increases, can easily set you up for a disastrous season.”

    Read pages 51-52 as well for more info.

    He is talking in context of endurance athletes, but seems to me the position is same for high intensity anaerobic training – once glycogen stores depleted, if you don’t adequately replace, then continued ‘depletion’ training will wear you out; and Low Carb will not allow you to replace adequately.

  50. says


    I really enjoyed your post but it is concerning that open minded, competent and thorough guys like you need to spend time demonstrating how open minded, competent and thorough you really are. We need you to focus on the good work you do to move ancestral health principles into the mainstream . Nobody in our community does more in this area than you do! Paleo is still largely stuck in a small early adopter community, some of whom are a little too smug and high minded for my taste. You are doinb great work to change that and i am personally in awe of you energy and tennacity. Keep it up!

    I have gone through the journey of loosing a considerable amount of weight and regaining my health and well being eating a LC Paleo/Primal diet. I was insulin resistant and it worked great for me. Now that I am back to normal weight I am finding it difficult to contemplate introducing more carbs. I have no idea if I am still insulin resistant and I don’t want to go anywhere near to what I was before. I think this kind of psychology might contribute to some of the engrained views around LC.

    I am interested in getting some kind of feel for how well I have restored insulin sensitivity and what I can do to restore it further. I am not involved in any high intensity athletic activity, but it would be nice to know that I am getting metabolically more robust.

    C0an you point me to any resources that

  51. says

    Sorry pressed the submit button by mistake.

    Do you know of any resources that can help me and others like me understand insulin sensitivity recovery and it’s implication for my carb tolerance? Does this question even make sense?

  52. says


    Your ability to speak honestly about how your knowledge has evolved is one of your best qualities. It’s how I know you’re legit. Scientists are wrong all the time and constantly refine their views, Jihadis have all the answers (and well, they suck).

    Don’t pay any attention to the noisy assholes. There are legions of people like me who appreciate who you are and what you do. I had a similar story to Mat Lalonde about trying to do CF on LC. It was similar to that scene in Trainspotting where the guy who OD’s is sinking into the floor. You told me to eat more carbs.

    That was at least two years ago people.

  53. Joshua says

    Wow, I’m sad so many people were such dicks. Like you said though – that’s just the way the world is.

    One thing I’ve been curious about is “flirting with Ketosis”. I recently started doing an N=1 where I eat no carb at breakfast, random lunch, and try to eat low fat for dinner. This usually results in something under 150 grams of carbs total. I’ve lost 115 pounds, so at this point I’m just trying different stuff to keep from getting bored.

    The question I’m trying to get a handle on is whether there is any DISadvantage to not being in either sugar-burning mode or fat-burning.

  54. says

    Robb, I want you to understand that one of the major reasons that I (and I am sure, so many others) follow you and would also accost and hug you in Whole Foods is because you seem to genuinely care about MY health. Posts like this only reinforce that feeling.

    Although I worry for your stress levels, I never want you to stop kicking against the pricks, getting angry and ranting at the ignorance. I never want you to hold a line despite mounting evidence against it just because you believed it once or to save face with detractors. I never want you to lose sight of what you call your moral imperative because you ARE changing lives. Every day. Mine included. Your lack of complacency and inertia is what keeps compelling people to you. So rock it.

    • says

      Thanks Brooke! I really re-framed the whole hater thing. It’s just redoubled my resolve to make the site bigger, increase reach and success. that little perceptual tweak makes all the difference.

  55. Adam says

    I have found the ketogenic adaptation to take far less time with MCT oil. Has anyone else tried this when inducing a state of ketosis?

  56. Juan Carlos says

    Happy New Year Robb!

    What a great series of articles! The people who do not understand the process of updating your “believes” in the face of new evidence clearly do not understand science. Keep up the great work!

    PS. May I suggest Panama as a substitute to Nicaragua when you retire and start your new live as a coconut farmer? You’ll love it!

  57. Claudette says

    Robb, you make me want to learn, learn, learn!!! I am in Basic Human Nutrition this semester and I can tell that my instructor wants to see failure in me already!! Thanks for all that you do. I am down 25 pounds effortlessly for the most part, on Paleo. Keep it up!!

  58. Peter says


    I am a high school physics teacher and I am fighting the good fight as best I can to help people to read for comprehension and understand how to think like a scientist (and like a philosopher as well)–to steal a phrase here–Holy Cats it is tough! Keep on helping those willing and able to read and think for themselves. Please please please keep on doing what you do until the coconuts can wait no longer!

    Get a good night’s sleep too :)


    • says

      Thanks Peter!

      I credit my HS physics teacher with taking an innate interest in science and fanning it into a lifelong passion.

      It looks like we both have job security in our endeavors!

  59. Dave from Oz says

    Robb, I’m not religious either but…Amen, hallalujah brother! Finally some more rational thought on the carbs issue. I highly respect people like yourself who are prepared to adapt and evolve from their learnings (pun intended!).

  60. says

    I read Art & Science of LC Performance. Overall it was good, but I was bothered by the lack info about which sports are not Keto-appropriate. The authors gave examples of benefits to endurance athletes, but never mentioned any limitations or activities where ketosis would hurt performance.

    So when experts imply “cure all” and neglect nuance and context it’s no wonder laymen do too. Sorry you had to fight off dummies Robb.

  61. says

    Am I the only one who loves Angry Robb? Am I alone in fantasizing about going on a rampage with him and personally kicking the butts of the jerks of the world? Hmm.

    Regardless, there’s only one reason people get angry like this, and it’s because they passionately believe in what they’re doing, they hold themselves to a super-high standard, and they want to change people’s lives for the better!

    Robb, sorry you have to deal with the Richard Craniums of the world. But the gal giving you a hug and showing you YOUR book…that’s the juice in life, man! I hope that makes it all worth it.

    I’m thrilled to see you posting more often. Let the fallout occur and give the rest of us your observations and insights. It’s valuable to people who spend the time to investigate and integrate.

    • says

      Thanks Bill! Like I mentioned to someone else, each time I get some pile of crap like that mentioned in the piece, it forces me to set a goal of more site traffic, more book sales etc. So, if sufficient pricks do manage to surface, it will all but guarantee the growth of our little operation.

  62. Bret says

    My life is one of the innumerable lives that has been impacted positively by your efforts- at no charge, and we have never met. Thank you! I am a perpetual lurker and do not post on blogs or websites generally. Your continued efforts, despite the negative vocal few out there, inspired me to want to affirm back to you- you are changing the world for the better. You have my respect and best wishes for a happy 2013! Bret

  63. Dave says

    Hey Robb, thanks so much for this post! It got me excited all over again about changing the health of the world. I can’t wait until you do a TED talk, and then Oprah, and then coconut farming while remotely organizing a team to draft each country’s respective nutritional guidelines.

    I have a request that might be a lot to ask. I would like to see from you a list of things you don’t know or aren’t sure about. Things you’d love to see a good study on, not to verify what you’re already pretty sure of, but to set straight some evidence which, in your model of the body/metabolism/etc, is conflicting or incomplete.

  64. Rath says

    Great post Robb,

    Low, medium and high carb are all relative terms. This seems lost on many people.

    The goal (at least from an athletic performance perspective) is to optimise performance via establishing a minimum effective dose of carbs.

    Having gone back to professional rugby I found the need to increase carb intake or pay the price of poor performance. The correlation between increasing my carb intake and an immediate performance boost is clear. It’s strange that more and more athletes are punishing their bodies by ignoring the obvious. I can’t help but feel it’s the lack of proper tracking, record keeping or intelligent experimentation that leads to many of these problems.

    If one pays attention to the variables optimising carb intake hardly rocket science (though it’s important to acknowledge that we are all standing on the shoulders of a long line of scientist and critical thinkers who’ve provided us with the excellent starting points for experimentation)


  65. says

    Wow Robb, great stuff…and at the risk of sounding too familiar (funny how you can read a guys blog all the time, then feel like you’re buddies) I think I know what your next post will be…

    1 block = 7grams protein, 9 grams of carbs, and 1.5-3 grams of fat…

    Hahahaha!!! I’m totally having some fun…joking! joking!!

    Honestly, there are a LOT of us out here in the coaching world, who are constantly humbled by all the “real” work that you and your team do. I know just enough to know that I don’t know anything, and am so grateful that people like you are out there out there sharing your work & findings so the life long learners of us can help to bring that awesomeness out into the world.

    And next time I meet you, I’ll be sure to give you a big bear hug instead of a polite hand shake! You’ve been warned!!

  66. says

    Great Topic, great posts. I’m looking forward to part 3. My experience mirrors your own. After about 2 years of maintaining a pretty good body composition on a semi-strict paleo diet (inspired by your book),I read “why we get fat” by Gary Taubes and started chowing down on butter, avocado, coconut oil and large quantities of meat. Not long after that I started to get fat. I concluded that, for me at least, calories do matter.
    Love your work, don’t let the little people get you down.

  67. says


    Just wanted to say you’re a badass and to ignore all the haters. Thanks for everything you do. I can’t say you’ve cured me of any major diseases, but your work and the content you put out has made a significant difference in my life and my understanding of how my body works. Thanks again. Keep Rocking.

  68. says

    Hi Robb,

    1st time visitor to your blog. I’ll going make sure never to piss you off.

    You make mention of “Perhaps most interestingly I had some folks go up my hoo-ha because I came clean with the fact that for years I fully subscribed to the Insulin Hypothesis of fat loss et-all. ”

    I tried searching for new blog post per the Insulin theory. Can someone point me in the right direction?


      • says

        Hi Robb,

        I understand the insulin theory per Dr. Lustig’s video series.

        Do you think the insulin theory is inaccurate? That’s the question I was kind of after.

        On a very different note: Did you ever make it out to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The guys at the crossfit gym here said you coming to visit.


  69. says

    Hi Robb,
    I am an Italian medical doctor…I would like to replicate here in tuscany your Police Intervention Study…do you have any material and suggestion you can send me?

  70. Jessica C. says

    I think you said it best, Robb, when you said something along the lines of Low Carb being agnostic. Simple enough.

    Thanks for the article.
    P.S. I’ve been a fan of yours for a while and when you showed up on the Joe Rogan Experience I was ecstatic! Two great people in one room – it was almost too much!

  71. Karina says

    Hi Robb,
    Thank you for all you do! You have changed my life.
    Quick question: Every time I would eat starches, I would wake up with a headache and with my hands, face and feet swollen. I would not pay much attention to it but I would feel very uncomfortable throughout the day. Then, after I read your book, I started eating Paleo and I felt full of energy, lost my after pregnancy wait and never woke up swollen.
    However, when I do Paleo super low-carb, even though I lose a lot of weight, I start having palpitations, and very strong heart beats. I went and had bloodwork done…everything was perfect! I even had an EKG done. Then I would stop dieting and the palpitations would go away. But now, that I read your answers, it seems to me that I may have been consuming too much protein, and that donating blood could have taken care of that…Could that be it?
    Thank you for your passion and drive to help us!

    • says

      Karina- when you ate “starches’ previously, was it paleo carbs? And have you tried using paleo carb sources now? What you described reminds me of gluten sensitivity.

  72. Stephen says

    hey Robb, very good info. Each person should trust their body and listen to their intuition. I too tried strict Paleo and then added back carbs. I have found that non-gluten carbs like potatoes and rice have no ill effect, while breads/grains do get me bloated.

    The thing is I am Asian, and what’s funny is all the “eat like your ancestors” talk. Well, my parents, grandparents ate rice and rice noodles every day. My dad is 5’7 and 135 lbs, not barely a hint of fat.

    I have too many Asian friends who are athletes and eat carbs with no problem. They do high intensity work like martial arts, basketball, triathlon.

    I think one factor is if you never were overweight and ate carbs all your life then your body can handle it.

    Look at some former pro athletes and you can see it is not carbs per say but excess calories. Michael Jordan was super lean in his prime, but gained some weight after retirement. same with Charles Barley, Magic Johnson…

    • Anna says

      Wish I could say the same. I was an underweight, rice and noodle-eating Asian all my life until I got diabetes, which runs in my family. Looking around me, a lot of thin Asians have gotten type 2 in their later years. Be vigilant as you get older.

  73. Joan says

    Damn Rob!
    Your ability to ask all the tough questions and take the heat is the reason I follow both The Paleo Solution AND The Controversial Truth podcasts.

    Rock on, brother!

  74. Russ says

    From a newbe-Paleo, primal, no carbs, low carbs…it is all so overwhelming for someone starting out. I guess trial and error and listenting to your body is really the best way to go. I appreciate your honesty.

    • says

      Russ, yes, some tinkering is almost inevitable unless we magically hit the sweet spot on the first go around. If you start on the lower side of the carb spectrum (50-100g) that is pretty solid for most folks. You may need to go up, possibly down, but that get’s most people pretty damn close to center. Then you keep an eye on performance and body comp.

  75. George Mounce says

    Great write up Rob. I agree people get so caught up in low-carb for looks that they don’t realize that it isn’t good at all for performance in athletic ventures in many cases.

  76. Alan says


    Oh come on Robb! Of course you have an agenda! I see it! Fortunately you do too.

    Your agenda is to help improve people’s health (also a form of performance), improve athletes’ health and athletic performance, improve the nutritional economy of the world, and help the medical community improve its too often band aid approach. As an MD, I appreciate all of those, absolutely including the last. You do all this by thinking and applying the most appropriate means, including a well aimed GFY.

    Thanks for getting that off your chest! Bad part is that I’m going to have to read most of the comments, re-read Part Une and wait for Part Trois. You and Kiefer are my current favorites… with Kresser, Sisson, etc., etc., etc.

    Thanks for the link to Nut&Met and please continue to use examples from the performance arena as a teaching tool.

  77. Brian C says

    Thanks for this Robb. Had just finished the LC book and was having a dilemma of bringing it to the fighters I’m working with and I guess for good reason. :) thanks for broadening my view. The one question I had was in cutting weight. My goal had been to get the athletes at a comfortable walking around weight so that when cut time came around there was less they had to lose. With the folks you worked with was there a general time period they were able to exist in VLC and still be productive? Sorry if you already addressed this.

    • says

      This could be a whole blog post…and if you fish around in the podcasts I’ve talked about this a bit. First, what type fo fighter are we talking? Or more specifically, what is their weigh-in vs fight schedule? In mma we usually have a 24 hr period (or there abouts) between WI and fight. In BJJ, it might be minutes between WI and fight. So, that is critical to keep in mind. As you said, keeping the athlete lean is very importnat so we do not have as afar to go, and we have optimized power/weight and VO2. From there wee can carb restrict folks pretty aggressively as part of the weight cut starting 3-4 days out, couple this with my hyperhydration protocol (wrote about this in the Fight Prep article for the Pmenu) and you are rolling. Each gram of glycogen associates 4+g of water. Figure out how much muscle mass the individual is carrying, average glycogen storage in muscle for trained athletes, and you can very accurately predict weight loss form that part of the equation. This should be practiced a time or two prior to fight so the fighter cna wrap his head around feeling like shit, then bouncing back post weight in and feeling great.

      As I’m writing this i can almost see a short e-book on this…is that something you think folks would be interested in?

      • Brian C says

        Robb I’d definitely be Interested in that ebook!!! I work with guys who do both MMA and NAGA so we are working both time frames. Appreciate this info tho!

  78. says

    So glad you’re not farming coconuts – but are you optimistic that we will see this change in our medical and food production system in our lifetime?

    Thanks for all that you do, you are a true inspiration!

    • says

      Lisa- I think we will see big change. Ironically, I think part of this change will be an outgrowth of bad economic policy…farm subsidies might finally disappear, folks will have to take their health into their own hands to a greater extent.

  79. says

    True, I think we are already seeing change with people taking charge of their health. It also feels like we are at a point where things are getting so bad (economical/political) that it can only get better…

  80. Gabby says

    Thanks for what you do. It literally changes lives for the better. (Pssst, God isn’t religious. He is Love. ) What you are about is a manifestation of loving care for your fellows! On the right track you are IMHO.

    Carry on. Catching flak may mean you are over the target…..

  81. Mike says

    Quick question about the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism paper you mentioned. Toward the bottom of the paper is a section on protein dose. It says a mid-range value of 1.5 g/kg reference body weight, for adults translates into total daily protein intake. So for example, I’m 75kg BW(165lbs) so my protein intake for the day should be 112.5g. Am I reading this right, or did I miss something in the units? Thanks, look forward to part 3.

    • says

      that’s correct. A legit ketogenic protocol requires protein to be on the lower end lest we nudge out of ketosis via gluconeogenesis. I talk about this in part 3

      • Joss Delage says

        It sounds like a keto diet is also not recommended for strength gain, if one has to keep protein low…..

  82. says

    You just made my day.

    My co workers asked me to give a talk about how I improved my health and lost 35 pounds. All morning I have been thinking, where do I start? what if some of them need to gain weight? what do I say about carbs (in my case I needed to go VLC to get healthy). I know, there is no “one size fits all” but I felt like there was so much to say that I couldn’t explain paleo and low carb in a couple hours.

    You made it clear and simple. Thanks for the examples and inspiration.

  83. Ricardo says

    With this article the veil fell off my eyes. Before paleo I was 30 lbs overweight, on Lipitor, pre-diabetic and mildly anemic. Now all normal BF% went to 8. Then I discovered very LC and went to 7.2%BF. HOWEVER, I also do very HIT a la Body by Science, and noticed that my performance has been getting stuck –even though I was taking extra time off to recover, as recommended.
    Now I will tinker with extra carbs (sweet potatoes perhaps) the day before my WOW and see what happens.
    As to the critics: man, don’t let that get to you; think of where your cortisone level is going 
    Don’t even think about them: stay focused on the lady that hugged you at the supermarket.

  84. stuart says

    Hey Robb —

    I completely agree with where you’re going with this. I’d pretty much come to the same conclusions myself. My question is how do we know when it’s time to start adding carbs, and more importantly how much? Are there any rules of thumb?

    For example, a while back I had hit a wall on my backsquats that I just couldn’t get past. I added a little pre WO carbs and a lot of post WO carbs, and I blew past that wall. But I also seemed to be putting on more fat around the gut which made me panic so I backed off the carbs. Now my backsquats are back down to where the wall was originally and I’m stuck again.

    I have no idea what I’m doing in regards to adding carbs back into the diet. Life was so much simpler when it was all LC. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • says

      Out of any other lift, BS’s LOVE and benefit from a thick midsection and weight gain. You will not see wight gain/loss affect cleans or DL’s to nearly the same degree. It’s just kinda how it is!

  85. Helen says

    Gee Robb, this post really spoke to me. Especially that bit about the demon…”wanting to save the world”. I just finished a conversation with someone about a close friend who is coming apart at the seams health wise….No way to reach them. We just have to sit back and watch them disintegrate. I’ve lost close family members who would be alive today if they had known about the Paleo diet. There is no way to not carry on doing the best we can do. My main area of interest right now is coming up with good strategies for getting information out there. Nutrition groups, articles, blogs, films etc. It’s very time consuming and sometimes very disheartening….I’ve never been in this position before but it doesn’t feel like there is an alternative. I feel like we have been abducted by friendly aliens who want to help the world and they’ve implanted chips in our brains that make us try our best to get the message out. Golly, so much time and effort, I sometimes think ahead 10 or 20 years and imagine how the world will look back at this time and at the work done by people like yourself. It’s a dirty job Robb, but somebody has to do it. Hang in there…..

  86. old man crossfit says

    I’ve read your book twice. Once, 2 years ago as a skeptic and once this last fall as a convert. Perhaps I didn’t read close enough as I don’t find the tweaking you are doing here of your ‘opinions’ in stark contrast to your writings. I know some ‘primal’ writers (think Sisson) advocate an unrestricted fat intake and an avoidance of calorie counting. I never took your advice to that extreme. It seems you advocated an examination of our carbs, abstinence from those that would cause inflamation and a sensible approach to ‘good fat’ intake. I appreciate this additional examination you give us of a balanced approach. At almost 60 years of age, I can’t afford to go wrong at this point. Thanks for your willingness to take the shots from the peanut gallery for us all. Grow not weary…

  87. Lainey says

    Robb, Just shows you are a true scientist as you are willing to consider all new information and reevaluate your view or hypothesis. Also shows that you are more invested in presenting what is true than being a nutrition deity. Thanks for all the work you do, I’m sure you don’t REALLY know how many people you help, and the knock on effect it has. But i assure you its WAY bigger than you probably even think. I too would be that lady in the supermarket if I stumbled across you. Remember that lady, remember why you are doing this and keep up the very very important work you do, it is part of THE change.

  88. Keith says


    Allow me to join the general tenor of comments appreciative of your writing these two pieces about LC/Paleo. A friend and teacher once told me: “Never be afraid to get caught learning.” To which I would add: “Don’t worry when dogmatists try to bust you for it (daring to learn out loud).”

    Actually I’m struck by the similarities between the mindset of Hippy-Vegan types (about whom you wrote so amusingly in The Paleo Solution), and the mindset of Fundamentalists from the Church of Carbs Are Always Bad. Both camps provide remarkable support for your three-part tentative thesis:

    1-Some people are incapable of learning and change.

    2-Some people are assholes who snipe from the Peanut Gallery while not lifting a finger to better the world around them.

    3-The vast majority of people are fucking righteous and if we know something that can help them, that could improve the world, we have a moral imperative to do something to help. ( How do I have morals, yet am not religious? Hmm?)

    By the way, your closing question (#3) is quite apt. When you want to take a break from the Health and Fitness Paradigm Wars, I strongly recommend the book “The Moral Landscape” by Sam Harris. Harris makes a compelling case that 1) only religion can anchor morality and 2) without religion we have no alternative to moral relativism. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, and to consider the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a “moral landscape.”

    • Keith says

      In my post above, I unintentionally stated the *opposite* of what I intended. Here’s what I meant to say:

      Harris compellingly challenges the idea that 1) only religion can anchor morality and 2) without religion we have no alternative to moral relativism. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, and to consider the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a “moral landscape.”

      (In other words, Harris makes clear that 1) religion is not required to establish moral truth, and 2) absence of religion does not necessitate slipping into moral relativism, as many science oriented people tend to assume.

  89. Corrie says


    This brings to mind a wonderful quote from Seinfeld, “people…they’re the worst!”

    I’m coming up on my one year anniversary with Paleo. In my former life, I was a Paris-trained pastry chef who defined herself by flour and sugar. In the beginning of my new Paleo life, one of the biggest things I struggled with was an identity crisis. “Now who am I?” I thought it might be nice to start a Paleo retreat, but the thought of hosting a bunch people, even if only one of them was a whack job brought me back to my senses. Thank goodness you haven’t given up on us!

  90. says

    Robb, you are now “the enemy”. Welcome to the club. Anyone who dares to acknowledge the limitations of low-carb, even if they continue to accept its usefulness as a tool in certain situations, receives vicious criticism from a (probably small, but highly vocal) subset of the LC community. This in no way reflects on the rest of the LC community, but it is highly irritating nonetheless.

    To these people, loyalty is paramount. Anyone who breaks rank is persecuted.

    Anyway, you have my support.

    • says

      Stephan! I’m glad I’m in such dubious company as yourself. And I’ve got to say while we have a bit of an audience, you have influenced my thinking and understanding of how all this stuff comes together in the most profound way. I owe you an enormous debt for your work and perseverance.

  91. says

    Thanks Robb for writing this. You don’t become successful by being infallible. Please continue to work and enrich all of our lives. Let us know when the hat is being passed for study support, we all owe you more than we could ever hope to repay.


  92. Mike says

    Possibly the most entertaining blog post I’ve ever read.

    I really don’t get where all those assumptions were derived from part 1.

    Keep fighting the good fight, brother!

  93. Jesse says

    Thanks, Robb! The world is a better place with you in it. I appreciate all that you do to educate me and the rest of the world..even the righteous jerks.
    I’m a fitness instructor who teaches cardio/strength training and I’m trying a very low carb way of eating because I’m never satisfied with my body composition. But some days I’m just feeling pathetic. I seem to teach my classes okay in the a.m. fasted but the rest of the day can just go to hell. I’m sure my kids and husband would prefer me to be a bit more even. I’m looking forward in reading part 3 and learning more.

  94. says

    Hey rob, I’m kinda new to a lot of this stuff. I’m 5’5″, 15bs. I train mma 3 hrs a week and crossfit 2-3 times a week. I’m pretty strict paleo during the week with a sweet potatoe only after my workout. I do cheat a little on weekends. Ive been like this for almost two years. I feel great but have noticed I’m a little tired and sluggish in the morning time unlike when I first started paleo. Is my one sweet potatoe not enough? Should I add more carbs on Weekends? When u say it might be good to cycle carb load. What kind of carbs? Just sweet potatoes or anything else?

    • Amy Kubal says

      Try adding a bit of carb with your evening meal and/or pre training too. Sweet potatoes, rutabaga, cassava, yuca – roots and tuber based carbs. If you don’t have autoimmune issues white potatoes with the peel removed are good and occasionally white rice can work too.

  95. Kristina says

    I think anyone attempting to explain scientific concepts over the long-term has an automatic handicap when new information comes into play. Most people–even some who are academically trained–have NO IDEA how much we DON’T know, and how much “research” is actually just a correlative conjecture. They expect that research simply happens, and then scientists understand everything about cancer, or diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis down to the trajectory of the organic molecules involved. They don’t grasp the vastness of biology, the uncertainty of experimentation, or the stonewalling of funding that’s involved in learning about these processes. They don’t understand the language of research or its limitations. So, I can kind of understand why it’s so common for people to cling to a single smart-sounding theory, and refuse to adapt and assimilate new knowledge: That would mean admitting that their knowledge–our knowledge–was incomplete to begin with, and instead of embracing the euphoria of understanding something new, they allow themselves to be trapped with the fear of the unknown.

  96. says

    I love this series Robb. Anyone who posts things on the internet to support themselves understands the plight of the trolls.

    Side note, your work and perspective on ever-evolving research (and the work of those around you like Mat Lalonde) helped shape my opinions and put me on the path to where I am today. Where I can use the appropriate tools for the job, be it a Olympic Weightlifter, CrossFit Competitor or Type-2 Diabetic and know that I’m not fucking them up. My clients know that if I change my mind on something or tell them we have to switch priorities as their goals change, there’s a damn good reason for it.

    Also, I was following Kiefer back when CNS came out and he was working CBL. Always knew you two would get along…

    Keep Soldiering.

  97. Wiz says

    As usual, you need to use the right tool for the right job. Ketogenic paleo is probably good for someone who needs to lose 100 lbs, or is prediabetic, or has a condition that is relieved by very low carb eating.

    Performance athletes simply can’t get away with the no-carb formula.

    Still, odds are that moderate carb paleo for athletes is still way less carbs than the standard American diet.

  98. Randi says

    Robb, keep fighting the good fight and thank you for what you do. It’s funny to me because I always thought that the flexibility with regard to carbs was one of the characteristics of Paleo that set it apart from Atkins. just goes to show what is obvious to one may not be so to another! I was never metabolically deranged and going too low carb makes my hair fall out! But I’m still parroting the values of this lifestyle to anyone who will listen.

    I’ve finally talked my mother-in-law into doing a January Whole30 with me in hopes of improving her psoriasis and Raynauds. You are changing the world one person at a time!

  99. says


    I’ve read your book, read your blog and love your work. This from a low carb, ketogenic dieter who believes this diet saved his life.

    We’re not all “low carb jihadists”. Low carb may be working for me, but I’d be loathe to suggest that it’s the (only) “right” way of eating for everyone. People have unique physiologies, health problems, health goals, and pursuits in their lives…and I don’t see a way to acknowledge this with the ideal of a single diet that’s supposed to be optimal for everyone.

    I would rather have dissenting opinions, a rich dialog and a greater understanding of nutrition and health as a whole than a very narrow view where the only acceptable dialogue is that which adheres to a specific ideology. Screw that.

    I doubt significant amounts of carbs are in my future, but if I see the science that says they should be (as opposed to, they could be), and I see results in my own body from (re)introducing them, you bet I’ll be including them in my way of eating… Nutrition is just too damned important to approach with the close-minded irrationality of a macronutrient Talib.

    So yeah, as a pretty hard-core ketoer: thanks for your original post, thanks for this response, and keep sharing your thoughts, opinions and ideas with the world.

    Down 130lbs on a ketogenic diet, and more to go.

    • says

      Great stuff Michael. And why do we need to rely on “science” when you can tinker and find the right level of carbs for YOU? How do you look, feel and perform? How do your biomarkers look? One of the drawbacks of RCT’s is it looks at a group average…trends in the herd. This can inform the direction the individual takes, but leaves much room for missing the individual needs we can find in the population.

  100. Kelley Folsom says

    Hey Robb,

    One of the many things I appreciate about you is your honesty. lol. Of just about anyone I know, I can REALLY relate to the part about being frusterated with the way other people can be sometimes. But, after raging about it for a couple of years online, and, unfortunately, ending up mildly infamous for it, I finally learned that it isn’t worth all that energy. I know that there are wonderful people in this world from all backgrounds and walks of life, and those are the people I choose to focus my attention and energy on. Life is too short to let other people get you down, especially the ones that make a career out of being negative towards other people. Like you said, why don’t they just try to make the world around them better? Well, it’s because they need some inner healing, somelthing that nothing you or I can do for them. May the Creator bless them, that’s all I can say. Keep on rocking with the work that you are doing. You are a grand gift to humanity. Much love.


  101. says

    I think it is sane to say, that when one is presented with conflicting information to what one has once preached as the gospel, it is the most brave of acts to own up, present that information, and question one’s self–openly– which is obviously what you have done here. I respect you for it. I am so thoroughly finished with anyone who claims they have all the answers, or those who think one solution is right for everyone in every situation.

  102. Robert Palmer says

    Great post, Robb. Many people are attached to their belief that LC is the Holy Grail of health and performance without much understanding or experience in the areas of performance which you mention. I’ll add a few random thoughts:

    – I think the “nutrition world” (e.g. forums, blogs, etc.) would be better off if everyone had to first read the work of Alan Aragon and Lyle McDonald. If you have no idea who I’m talking about, google them and read their stuff (Lyle’s site has lots of great free articles). I read their work early in my time in the nutrition world, but drifted away from them over the years despite knowing they were brilliant. Why? Because dogmatic belief systems such as LC had “the answer.” Their ideas were compelling, sexy, and make promises which seem too good to be true (impossible results are what everyone is looking for)–it’s just too bad the evidence isn’t there. Had I not gotten sucked into the dogma of LC and simply stuck with the research-based opinions of McDonald et al. (whose opinions are usually either “it depends” or “it’s somewhere in the middle of the two extremes), I probably would have had better performance in my various sports over the years.

    – People cling to their beliefs and perhaps some people more so than others. The problem is that monisms often cannot capture the complexity of reality because monisms are reductionist. Maybe all the dogmatists should read Alan Watts’ book, “The Wisdom of Insecurity” to get a better appreciation for the importance of “letting go.”

    – In case you forgot: read Aragon and McDonald (James Kreiger is also a good guy).

  103. Stephanie says

    Ha ha, I love that you made fun of The Secret and pointed out that it is possible for non-religious folks to have morals while you were pointing out to the world HOW SCIENCE FRACKING WORKS! It is assumed that we will get stuff wrong along the way. But science is a process, not a body of “facts”. If people are getting mad at you for thinking like a scientist and changing your theories when they don’t agree with the evidence, then they deserve the spanking you just gave them.

    The problem is fundamentally that we are all human and we are prone to group think, whether we are religious followers, scientists or LCJ-ists. I like science as a form of self-correction within that psychological groupthink, since in science we value being highly critical, analyzing things from different perspectives and using evidence to back our theories and changing our theories when the new evidence doesn’t fit our theories. It’s not a perfect process, but over time it evolves closer to “the truth”, if that even exists. But some people just don’t understand the nature of science. It doesn’t help that science education in this country is awful and only getting worse because it’s not on no child left behind.

  104. says

    Great followup Robb, and a sensible perspective, regardless of what the naysayers think :-)

    I’m really interested in your ‘risk assessment’ protocols. How are you planning to roll this out around the world? I spent 17 years in the UK fire service, and can definitely vouch for the fact that many within the service are in need of some intervention.

    I am a personal trainer in the UK, would love to be involved if you need advocates, flick me an email if you decide to roll it out over here.

  105. Chris says

    Hey Robb/Amy,

    Don’t know if you’ll see this way down here, but any chance you could touch carb considerations when it comes to high cholesterol? I went through Kresser’s program on High Cholesterol Action plan, which was great. I think I’m in the FH zone with my LDL-P close to 2,000. Have enjoyed low carb for body comp stuff, but scarfing 5 eggs every morning and enjoying the satiety of higher fat may not be the best for someone like me. Just don’t want to the higher carb stuff to be to much for the other mechanisms that could be deleterious to cholesterol related stuff.

    You guys effing rule and I’ve pointed many friends to Paleo and surprisingly (but awesomely!), many have stuck with the template and have had many positive changes. Love your site and the podcast. All the best!

    • says

      Cris-The high cholesterol action plan lays this out pretty well. Folks with FH likely will benefit from a moderate level of fat and carbs. I;d also get iron saturation/ferritin levels check and start donating blood if not on the lower end of those numbers.

  106. wilberfan says

    I went “primal” just over two years ago–after 18 years of being vegan. I’m not an athlete by any stretch. A few 30 minute walks every week, some push-ups and pull-ups in the park…

    I read several paleo blogs, and I must say being in the middle of the Carb Wars these last two years as a non-athlete is quite confusing. I appreciate that it’s an, uh, *evolving* diet (heh)–which I think is one of it’s biggest strengths. (Well, at least with those open-minded individuals who are constantly re-evaluating their ideas.)

    It would be *easier* if there was a consensus on the ‘best’ way to eat…but I suspect that will NEVER happpen.

    In the meantime, I continue to read posts like this with great interest–and hope that one day I’ll be able to figure out the best diet for *me*.

        • Joe says

          Typical response from a Harley / Harley wannabe raw vegan troll.
          No actual intelligent debate so straight to irrelevant personal attacks based on a crap YouTube video.

          Move along ya boner!..

          Thanks for doing what you do Rob, great work.
          Thanks to you and Mark Sisson 4 years or so ago I managed to cure my IBS after suffering for over 20 years and drop (and effortlessly maintain) my pant size from 33/34 to 30/31 (38 this year).

          Also cured my 64 yo dad’s IBS that had crippled him for 30+ years to the point where virtually the only “food” he could eat without a reaction was mushrooms on toast! He’s now back to enjoying a high vegetable diet with good meat and fats. This has also seen his doc take him off simvastatin as his cholesterol levels have much improved (funny that), unfortunately he’s already suffered apparently irreparable muscle damage. He’s body comp is better than it has been in decades, while never obese, he’s always been active but his belly fat has been steadily increasing with muscle mass decreasing.

          In addition, my mother (63) has also found that her lifelong insomnia has improved drastically along with her wrestless leg syndrome almost vanishing.

          Thanks again!

      • Sharon says

        I am really enjoying your work, Robb.
        I was quite pleased to see you are not religious and a Libertarian. You’re a man after my own heart. In part 1, I noticed that a poster named Rachel slammed you for being Libertarian and said she was going to leave the fold. Geez..what happened to freedom of speech, freedom of religion or lack of it, etc?

        Anyway, I am 58 and have been weight training and cardio working for 30 yrs. I was shocked to find out a couple of years ago to be pre diabetic. My FBG was 78 at the time, but my A1C was 5.9. So I started low carbing and brought the A1C down to 5.5 in 2 yrs. I also tried IF last year and got really thin, but I decided to go to 2 meals a day, delaying breakfast. I probably eat too many nuts and cheese and I know I’m going to have to cut back on that as I am gaining belly fat.

        My last TSH test in Nov. showed 5.08 which is not good. The other T hormones were rather low as was the DHEA. I’m wondering if I should add sweet potatoes to my post workouts to add some carbs into the mix. The only carbs I am currently eating are veggies and an occasional 1/4 cup of berries. I’m just worried about raising that A1C. Ideally, I’d like it to be 4.8.

        I was following Dr. Rosedale, Dr. Richard Bernstein and Dr. Robert Su who are all advocates of low carb. My exercise now includes 2 days of Peak 8 cardio and 2 days of slow type weight training. I walk 2x a day on my rest days for 30 mins each and I walk after dinner almost every night.

        I always work out on an empty stomach using IF and then eat after the workouts.
        I am wondering if this is contributing to low thyroid or any other complications.

        Any input would be greatly appreciated.

      • says

        Hi Robb,
        You raise a good point about nutrition being perverted into a religion. I’ve been combating this mindset for the better part of two decades. It just astounds me at how rabid people get about their views and insist on believing what they believe….well, just because they do. It sounds logical to them and perhaps maybe their personal experiences with different diets have influenced these beliefs. But this isn’t science. And it certainly isn’t research. It’s mere speculation.

        Given the vast majority do not have any formal training in the foundation sciences (i.e., physiology, biochem, nutritional biochem etc), they spout off half-baked theories about what “seems” intuitively right. As you are likely aware, there are so many variables that can influence how the human body processes calories and the respective macronutrients contained therein, that it’s not a simple case of one-size-fits-all.

        I think the mass (religious) hysteria over sugar is completely blown out of proportion and the mass media isn’t helping. There seems to be two main arguments consistently absent from sugar zealots’ points of view.

        1) Conditioning level of the individual. Obviously a trained athlete can get away with eating more refined garbage given his/her localized and systemic adaptations and an ability to oxidize these calories without any ill after effects. Clearly nutrient-void garbage isn’t good for you but, the fact remains, an athlete can probably have a can of Coke without packing on any extra weight. Highly unlikely unless the training stimulus and energy expenditure is inadequate.

        2) The activity levels of most average people are woefully inadequate in this age of the desk jockey. Sure people are getting fatter, but it’s not carb alone that’s the culprit. It’s the excess energy against a backdrop of perpetual INACTIVITY. Think sloth desk job. Refined garbage diets pass through the GI tract quicker, leaving the dieter feeling hungrier sooner, and more likely to overeat (factor in leptin resistance etc here). The religious dieters think they’re getting fat because “carbs are fattening” when in fact that’s only a minor piece of the puzzle. They are still eating excess calories (an inconvenient truth) and doing nil exercise/physical activity.

        Try to speak evidence-based logic to these people and you might as well be banging your head against a brick wall. Interestingly, your own followers are turning on you and attacking the guru because they have grown so inculcated with their own self-indulgent beliefs about “what is” or “what should be.”

        Here’s an article from one of my health writers regarding the sugar wars which may be of interest to you or your readers.

        I hope you’re able to shut down the rioters without calling in the national guard!

        Yours in health,
        Bill Sukala,PhD

  107. says

    Hey Robb,

    whatever they tell you, you do an amazing job.

    Thanks to your book I fixed all my problems and after 20 years of sufferings, I finally got my life back into my hands.

    All gratitude.

  108. says

    I started with low carb on may 28th 2012, went Paleo a few months in and now I added some potatoes and cheese (for K2).

    It’s really annoying that a part of the LC community becomes more and more like veganism. First, they all claim “Oh, there is no one-diet-fits-all”, but wait until you mention “safe starches” or going above 50g carbs/day. Then it’s war.

    It’s really frustrating that

    1. people don’t seem to get that different people with different states of metabolic health might be able to handle vastly different amount of carbs and that someone who is exercising ten or twenty hours a week might have different needs when it comes to diet than someone for whom exercise is getting up from the desk to take a piss. and

    2. that once the discussion about “safe starches” began, you could see the “but starches are evil. how can you call them” panic kicking in. Most of the opponents probably still don’t understand that “safe” was used to describe foods without known anti-nutrients and therefore “generally safe” and not “safe for metabolically deranged people to eat”.

    The sad thing is that I am sure that most of the religious idiots in our community are the ones who haven’t even thought 5 minutes about anything they hear. They do what is so common in nutrition: Believe everything the person on the stage is saying and defend it to death against other opinions. And the less they understand the topic, the stronger they will defend what they have been told.

    I can only hope it’s just a very vocal minority.

  109. Trevor says

    I want to say thanks for all the free information you have given both on the blog and your podcasts. As well I appreciate your credibility. You really do follow the science and there is always something new to learn. You correct things as they are proven and need to be correct rather than say you were always right on something. That is honourable and requires integrity. My science background is computer science and physics but even if you look at the history of physics it was corrected along the way. Biology takes so much more to figure out. So I appreciate all your hard work. And I admit I was disappointed about one late podcast. I just missed you and Greg but it’s totally understandable. Keep fighting the good fight.

  110. says

    I have read Paleo Solution three times. I have formed a group of 3 and we are
    going “whole hog” Really we like bacon! Our ages range from 57 to 65 and health issues include autoimmunity and fatty liver disease and that’s just the beginning. Both friends have ordered their books, I’ve printed off the shopping list and can’t wait to start feeling better. I’ve discussed this with my doc and have to tell you I didn’t get a good vibe but he could benefit by joining my group. I’ll keep you posted. Oh yes the event that catapulted me off the couch and back to the book shelf is low WBC, 3.58 and after scaring the bejebers out of me that I might have lymphoma I’m ready to committ.I’ve been hyped up on steroids for three weeks. Gotta be a better way and I believe it’s your way. Thanks for all your research and humor, I’ll keep you posted

  111. says

    What are the symptoms of hitting the point in glycolysis where ketogenesis is insufficient? I’ve been practicing BJJ while in ketosis (verified by blood strips), and don’t feel a difference in performance. But then again, I’m not competitive or professional. What symptoms should I be looking for. I don’t think I can blame my getting tapped out so much recently on my ketosis… but rather being completely outclassed by my training partners.

    Also, Since it seems like low intensity endurance exercise requires energy that can be matched by the ketones generated by ketosis, do you think this is the best way to achieve weight loss/fat loss while being in ketosis? I mean, to maximize fat burning without hitting the ketotic wall, wouldn’t low intensity aerobic exercise be the best?

    Last question.. have you found that a ketogenic diet is effective for losing the last 10-15 lbs of fat? It’s effectiveness in helping to lose 30+ lbs of fat have been demonstrated repeatedly (ie with Jimmy Moore).

  112. Sarena says

    Labs done and yes ferritin was high and other as well as some other levels etc. doc really thinks now some adrenalfatique and wants me on hydrocortisone trial. He does not believe its myfood….i am seriously anal.

  113. Logan says

    Hey there Robb,
    I’ve been a casual crossfitter for about 3 years. I’ve been eating high protein, LC to VLC, & high fat paleo. I produce pretty mediocre WOD times & desire to be more competitive. I understand I need to tinker, but would like a basis to start from. Do I need to back off the fat in exchange for carbs? Should I consume carb throughout the day, or concentrate to post WOD? Approximately how many grams of carb per day. Looking to support two WODS + OLY/Power lifting in a training day.

  114. Thea says


    I really like the info on LC, I think it’s on point, I’ve seen the Same things in my practice and gym.

    But what I’m really interested in is the coconut farm in Nicaragua.

    Please keep me informed.


  115. Polly Anderson says

    Incredible stuff. As yet another person that shoved more fat servings into my pie hole just because I “could”, I’ve got to thank you for this.

    Now, just wondering where I fall, as someone who is trying to lose about 20-30lbs weight (female, 5’10, 180 lbs), but is quite active and has a fair amount of muscle already (6 hours of ultimate frisbee practice–intense sprints and drills– a week, a couple of heavy lifting/high intensity gym sessions, walks/skateboards around college campus all day) so not quite “an athlete”.

    Is it totally the n=1 situation, where I just have to experiment what works? Is there some sort of carb amount recommendation you might offer, given what we just learned?

    Again, thanks for all that you do.

      • Polly Anderson says

        Robb, I totally realized the folly of my question soon after asking. I’m sure you’re sick of these questions.

        It’s all about the experimentation. (Sometimes it gets lonesome on my individual path!)

        Sorry about that :) Great articles.

  116. Brad says

    Rob, I’m trying to make sense of all this given my experience in doing 16/8 IF, eating lowish carbs, and weight lifting. I have found that I have much more energy when I work out fasted – where my glycogen levels are obviously lower, but more importantly I think, I am in a state where the my fat can be more readily mobilized for energy. Granted it’s not the same as doing an 800m foot race or wrestling, or doing BJJ, but it’s still intense exercise. Also, what do you make of Vince Gironda, arguably one of the most successful personal trainers ever, who advocated a low carb diet with a carb re-feed every 4 days or so? I’ve been doing his 8×8 (8 sets of 8 reps) with 30 seconds inter-set rest, and I do it in a fasted state to maximize fat burn, and I don’t feel lacking in energy at all. I should eat more carb’s even though my goals are lean mass and I don’t give a rats ass how much I can bench? Not trying to be argumentative, but a CKD diet is OK by you for this goal?

  117. says

    Hey Robb,
    You may have already answered this but how would you define an athlete that is glycolytic? Most of my workouts consist of heavy lifts and metcons at Crossfit which are usually under 15 minutes but I do a lot of them throughout the week (from 6-7/week).

    I have been eating paleo (meat, veggies, nuts) now for 2 months and haven’t noticed a decrease in energy but have noticed I am not losing fat at all. Do I need to add some carbs back in and if so what kind? Are we talking sweet potatoes or carbs like rice and oats?

  118. Andi Lynn says

    Robb, thank you thank you thank you for all you do. I am brought TO TEARS in this post by your enthusiasm and almost defiant reliance to stick with all your hard work to bring this information to people who need it. I admire you greatly for doing so much for free because it comes with a high price to you, dealing with ignorant, non-invested key-board totin’ snipers, but if you didn’t put yourself out there like this, for free, I’d never been able to come across you as a lowly personal trainer in Wyoming. :-) Your information has armed me with ways to help people self-discover what is right FOR THEM instead of just given them catch all answers. Your passion for this deeply important cause has inspired me to my core. In fact, I’m printing this post to come back to anytime I feel discouraged. Much, much love from Wyoming xoxoxo

  119. Terri says

    How do I find out whether I’m insulin resistant and should start LC or if I am ok with skipping that part? I am 5’5″, 160#, 35 YO female, & my scale says I’m 33% body fat. I started CrossFit a year ago & lost about 5# initially, but then the scale stopped lowering. Recently, I tried a LCHF diet (although I have been falling off the wagon & eating sugar here & there) and I seem to be gaining & feeling flabbier. I CrossFit (mostly metcons) @ 6:00 am 4-5 days a week & do Wendler’s 5-3-1 2 days a week. What should my approach be to cut fat fairly quickly, but not tank in the gym? I would like to know approx macros per meal, as well as meal times. Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

  120. says

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment
    is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service?


  121. Malika says

    Hi Robb its people like you that change the world for the better. unlike overweight medical professionals repeating the same “Scientific advice” and still adhering to the traditional pyramid of foods which should actually be turned upside down if we want the numbers of sufferers of metabolic syndrome, alzheimers, cancer to come down by any margin. I applaud your work and an ardent follower of your beliefs and theories

    I just need a bit of advice Mr Wolf. i am 5’1 and weigh 59 kg. would love to weigh 45 kg. I am severly insulin resistant with a fasting insulin level of 30. i started doing insanity but my workout are suffering because i dont ingest any pre workout carbs and tank just after 15 mins in. also my workouts at the gym are not productive and i cant lift heavy after a cardio session. if i do eat carbs i gain weight rapidly.

    my question sir is, should i try and spend some reasonable time in ketosis and try and reverse my metabolically deranged system and get my fasting insulin down, and stay away from HIIT and weights or should i just add a lil pre-workouts carbs and continue insanity program (shawn t). is it possibe to re-establish ketosis after ingesting PW carbs just to sustain high intensity exercise or will i have to wait for a week again to re -enter it? also what your thought on Ucan superstarch on its claims? dr peter Attia swears by it but i am curious as to what your opinion is MR Wolf.

  122. Kareen says

    Where is part 3? I didn’t see a link! It’s like reading a really good book and getting to the the last chapter to find it is missing.

  123. Franco says

    So cutting down carbs solves all kinds of issues as stated in both articles but you recon people should use them to perform better in sports, isn’t part of the point of lower carb diets also to avoid long term problems?

    So because other athletes take steroids, to compete I must now take steroids, therefore steroids are good regardless of long term issues they may cause.

  124. Evan says

    Thank you!

    For years I cycled on and off LC paleo. Every time I found that:
    1. My athletic performance went to absolute shit (I play volleyball and basketball principally)
    2. I couldn’t sleep, I felt depressed and lethargic

    But the LC lobby is so strong that I kept trying and thinking maybe I needed to push through this time, maybe I gave up too soon, etc. It’s a shame because when I failed I went back to something like a SAD diet instead of accepting that I just needed to add in healthy carbs.

  125. eric says

    Hey Robb, so after all this time being a paleo expert, you still ended up thinking calorie matters more than carbs when it comes to loosing fat? it s kind of tricky, when i counted calories i lost weight but than it got stucked, I guess my metabolism dropped… with paleo as well, lost some weight very quick, but than I begun regaining it… it s like a never ending answer :)

  126. Pack says

    I’m not doubting this I just wonder how and when I need to concern myself with this. In a nutshell I’ve lost over 100 pounds on a pretty strict low carb paleo. About a month ago though I started going to the gym 5-6 days a week and doing anywhere from 20 to 80 minutes of pretty heavy cardio (heart @ 145 or so) followed by what is for me heavy weights … I go by myself so I use the machines so as to not hurt myself. I do four sets of eight reps as heavy as I can manage on chest press, overhead (military) press, pulldowns (over and underhanded grip), and leg press … some days I’ll use variant machines to mix it up or occasionally target machines like biceps or triceps.

    So, I’ve done this all while staying low carb paleo and haven’t had any problem putting on weight/muscle, getting tired, etc.. I’m just wondering if it’s just matter of time before this catches up to me and if I should proactively add a few carbs on workout days. I’m a fan of sweet potatoes and I’m open to basmati rice. One thing I do on workout days is have about 12 oz of whole raw milk.

    Thanks for your input and all of the valuable information you make available.

  127. Danielle says

    I seem to be struggling recently with getting leaner and still performing, I feel as though my BF has incresed and I don’t know why. Eating LC and doing crossfit 5 days a week was fine at first and then it got the the point where i wasn’t able to perform up to par with what I needed to time wise so I increased carbs to about 80-90 a day, keeping fat high (80-115) and protein moderate (90-140) so about 50f/30p/20c or less. Now since upping carbs during the week while doing CF I seem to feel thicker and flabbier but I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I was diagnosed with Gastritis and gluten sensitive, this is when I switched to Paleo.


  128. Austen Miller says

    Mr. Wolf,
    I have an injury that requires surgery, so intense workouts are out for me. I have gained some weight since my injury, eating Paleo caused most of it go away, but I have been experimenting with cyclical ketosis in order to get rid of the last bit, is this one of situations were you would recommend ketosis? I work on my feet, and usually am doing some kind of activity such as rock wall climbing or random things, but some days I will read and be quite sedentary. I am not the running type (did crossfit before injury), and don’t want to be a calorie counter. Please me get my six pack back! :)

  129. Merp says

    ETA for part 3? Curious to see macronutrient recommendations … for me about 100g-200g starch a day is my sweet spot where I can still hit it hard but not gain fat. I follow the Jaminet safe starch recommendations including Basmati rice, sweet potatoes of various varieties, plantains, yucca and taro roots and white potatoes. An occasional piece of fruit after a workout is a treat.

  130. Richard Shaffner says


    Thank you for all of that. I’m sure you’re right, of course. Some people get too dogmatic (from all sides).

    My step-daughter is getting a PhD in Nutrition from Harvard. (Yes, she’s aware of the praise, and the criticisms.) She hates talking about nutrition in social settings because people have such different beliefs, and some like to argue their points. To end the debates gracefully, she’ll often say, “Everyone is different, and you should eat what works best for you.”

    That’s true, of course. I love this study because the crossover design proves it: . The authors focused a lot on the averages, but for me the key finding is that most subjects had quite different results on the three diets. It would be absurd to tell them all to follow the diet that had the best average result. Obviously, they should do what my step-daughter suggests, which is to find out which diet works best each of them.

    I’m sure you agree. Thanks for keeping it real.


  131. Dale Rowe says

    Rob, I liked your article. I am 57 and live a paleo natural bodybuilding lifestyle. I changed my eating habits july 2013. I have never felt better in my life. Shed 32 puonds of scale weight. Maintained my LBM. I LCC every 4 days….works for me. The real health concern is balancing micronutrients. Its took some research but I worked out. Keep up the good work and sharing of your vast knowledge and experience.

    • Mike says

      Hey Dale, great to see your having such great results! What’s your macronutrient breakdown?How do you time your carbs and what are your sources of carbs on the paleo diet?..respect man

  132. Pat Turner says

    I am a 64 year old male that likes feeling 45 (in my dreams). I did Atkins a couple of times, at first with good success. Gained most back and went on it again. Lost about 15 lbs. and hit a plateau. Funny, but I had my physical with my GP and complained I could not do better. He IMMEDIATELY said for me to try Paleo! He gave me a one page summary that I read and thought “what the hell”.
    That was 3 months ago. I have bought your books, added Paleo apps to my IPhone, enjoyed the change in lifestyle and now have lost over 40 lbs. I am within 5 pounds of my weight at my wedding (42 years ago). I love how I feel, I love the success, and will lose 25 more to get below my high school football playing weight. My key is two-fold….more sleep and the enhanced vitamin supplements that drastically reduced my desire for food. I am training for another 10 K in March…..not a runner because of knee issues…..but a finisher I shall be. Thanks for my new lifestyle…..I cannot thank this movement enough. Lost 5 inches in waist…..1.5 inches in neck size. Just unbelievably easy, painless, and enjoyable!

  133. Jack Delaney says

    I do understand that Robb tried Ketosis for a certain amount of time and that it did not seem to work for him in regards to Jujitsu and so forth. However, I feel as if allot of this ‘campaign’ in regards to carbs in paleo is coming from a personal experience and that the research shown is done with the intention to validate personal experience rather than look at the whole situation. Robb has said that he experiences a great mental benefit from ketosis but that it does not work with Jujitsu but also has said that he did not spend an extended period of time adapting. I train mma which includes wrestling, muai thai and jujitsu and at first my training was very bad. However, I can say now that my performance has improved greatly and recovery now happens overnight as oppose to before when I would have to take 2 days off a hard weeks training. I understand the point he is making, but I feel like the bashing of the diet is not done from a position in which a proper adaption has taken place (that seems to be the problem with many of the studies).

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