Criticism of the Anabolic Diet

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    Criticism of the Anabolic Diet


    Ok, I'll be honest. I am very interested in the Anabolic (metabolic) diet. I am planning on ordering the book. I have been doing research on this forum and across the net. I WANT to believe in it.

    However, I am going "to play Devil's Advocate" here. I would like someone who is knowledgable of this diet, or lifestyle should we say, to address these concerns:

    • With such powerful fruits out there such as blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate, etc., why would depriving yourself of these on a daily basis be good for your overall nutrition and health? Berries and their antioxidant levels protect your heart. Vitamin deficiencies from lack of fruit consumption could occur on the Anabolic Diet.
    • In “The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding”, the man himself (Arnold) states that, “Your body requires adequate amounts of carbohydrates in order to properly metabolize body fat….Any kind of serious deprivation is detrimental to your health, training intensity, and ability to build maximum muscle mass…the body requires about 60 grams of carbohydrates simply to carry on the basic processes of the nervous system (the brain, for example, is fueled almost entirely by carbohydrates)…I praise carbohydrates as an excellent source of nutrition and energy…”. (page 726,728)
    • Anthony Ellis, author of “Gaining Mass” states you should ingest a high carb recovery drink immediately after your workout. He goes on to say, “After exercise, your body is in a catabolic state. Your muscle building hormones are suppressed, glycogen stores are low and cortisol levels are rising. To stop the rise of cortisol levels, fast digesting carbs should be ingested immediately…a high glycemic carb will get nutrients into your muscles quickly…this will jumpstart your recovery…In addition to stopping the rise in cortisol levels, this immediate ingestion of carbs will dramatically raise blood sugar levels, which stimulates a large insultin release. This starts protein synthesis and signals the production of the mass building hormone IGF-1!” (page 122). Mr. Ellis suggests 100 grams of carbs, such as “Ultra Fuel” or another malodextrin base drink.


    Due to these reasons, I don't see how this diet could possibly be good for your overall fitness level, your overall health, and your chances of achieving your overall goals.

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    Yes, carbs are required to metabolize fat (specifically a metabolite called oxaloacetate), but this is why there are refeeds. This is a diet that is not for everyone, but, for endos (who are generally carb-sensitive), it is a good idea.
    M.Ed. Ex Phys
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    No, the whole idea behind the AD diet is that your body switches from carbs to fats as a primary fuel source. This is how it used to work before carbs were in such an abundant supply.


    I actually have more energy and think more clearly when I'm on less than 30 carbs a day.
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    Okay, I'll give it a shot:

    Point 1: Actually if done properly you can fit in some servings of wild blueberries and still get in tons of veggies and be fine. The Anabolic Diet is the original hardcore diet, but DiPasquale has done a lot of work with this diet type and it's quite flexible to meet the demands of the individual and to change to their body. But generally speaking 0.25*bwt in carbs is still fine for this diet to be very low carb. And in all honesty you could get away without even counting carbs in low carb veggies and only counting fruits and higher carb veggies.

    Point 2: Carbohydrates are required for ZERO. There is no essential carbohydrate. Humans can be fine on zero carbs. Will performance be best? No, obviously, but carbs aren't by any means essential for anything in terms of functioning. Good luck trying to get big or have good workouts without any carbs, though However, again the diet ideas from DiPasquale are flexible. Charles Poliquin worked with him to develop the method Poliquin uses, which is PWO carbs depending on how lean you are (which indicates how you handle carbs), and carb meals up to carb days every 4-7 days depending again on how lean you are. Very lean guys (6%) can do 200g carbs PWO and do a carb day every 4-5 days and still be perfectly lean and their health markers don't worsen, either. Fat guys need to keep the carbs low. I can go into more detail if you want...

    Point 3: uhh, wait, I think I actually already hit point 3. The idea is basically that the diet is flexible, however the newer ideas are using the basic template and adding carbs as needed depending on a person's individual metabolism, how lean they are, and how much work they do. A sprinter is going to need a lot more carbs than a guy doing 5x5 workouts 3 times a week, and a guy at 6% BF can eat huge amounts of carbs and be fine while a guy at 20% arguable shouldn't be doing any carbs other than a carb meal every 5-7 days, and using glutamine/glycine with whey PWO to restore glycogen to decent levels (glycogen can also be restored somewhat from lactic acid and glycerol, which is cleaved from triglycerides (fat).
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    But can fat, as a primary fuel source, provide the brain and nervous system with the same kind of fuel that carbs can?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CryingEmo View Post
    I actually have more energy and think more clearly when I'm on less than 30 carbs a day.

    This is absolutely the case with arguable most people (75% of people according to Poliquin), myself included. Low carb dieting is cake for me.

    However, not ALL people function properly on that low of carbs. There really are people that need more carbs to function properly and in a healthy manner. Those people should stay away from this kind of low carb diet, however most people kid themselves with how many carbs they need and don't give this diet a fair shot.

    It really does take a minimum of 2 weeks of low carb/high fat eating to get decent adaptation to the diet, and arguable 3-4 weeks for a stronger adaptation. There have been studies on athletes put on low carb/high fat diets and after 4 weeks their performance was the same! The body does adapt if you're meant for lower carbs, which most people are (but again not all!).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcinator View Post
    But can fat, as a primary fuel source, provide the brain and nervous system with the same kind of fuel that carbs can?
    "Same", technically yes but it's rather difficult. Glycerol from triglycerides can be converted into glucose, but this is very inefficient. The actual fatty acids cannot make glucose. Protein is a better source of glucose via gluconeogenesis. The 30-50g of carbs on the diet is to just make things a bit easier on the body so it doesn't have to produce much endogenous glucose. The idea is basically to stay out of ketosis. The brain can run on ketones in a very low carb, high fat diet, though. This is actually arguably healthier in some cases since glucose leads to more glycation in the brain than ketones would.
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    From what I understand, this diet can be tweeked to either focus on more Mass Gain or Fat Loss depending on ones goals......not sure if you can have both at the same time - maybe someone can clarify.

    My biggest concern is it affecting your overall health....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil5585 View Post
    "Same", technically yes but it's rather difficult. Glycerol from triglycerides can be converted into glucose, but this is very inefficient. The actual fatty acids cannot make glucose. Protein is a better source of glucose via gluconeogenesis. The 30-50g of carbs on the diet is to just make things a bit easier on the body so it doesn't have to produce much endogenous glucose. The idea is basically to stay out of ketosis. The brain can run on ketones in a very low carb, high fat diet, though. This is actually arguably healthier in some cases since glucose leads to more glycation in the brain than ketones would.
    Hey Neil...rep points for your knowledge on the topic

    Is 30 grams of carbs a day enough to keep you out of Ketosis???
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcinator View Post
    Is 30 grams of carbs a day enough to keep you out of Ketosis???

    Supposedly, according to DiPasquale. Although I never tested with keto strips. I guess that's the only way to really tell

    But even then, so long as you're at 0.25g/btw in carbs or lower, it's still a very low carb diet and you should be fine. That's 50g for a 200 lb guy or 62g for a 250 lb guy.

    I like the version Poliquin and DiPasquale came up with. The PWO carbs and carb refeeds every 4-7 days depending on carb needs and leanness. Also I believe he doesn't count carbs if it's coming from low carb veggies. Honestly, do you think if you ate 40g of carbs from spinach and broccoli that you'd not be able to lose fat??? It's neurotic and a waste of time counting these carbs. Then you see idiotic posts (not from people that are stupid...just from reading diets that are so hardcore on low carbs) about people saying "do eggs have too many carbs?"

    Poliquin's guidelines for carbs are quite strict. He thinks if you're over 10% BF you're fat and should only use whey, glutamine, and glycine PWO until you aren't fat anymore. With that he recommends ONE carb *meal* every 5-7 days until you again are not fat.

    Then in the 8-10% range he says 2 carb meals every 5-7 days, and you can start adding in PWO carbs.

    In the 6% ballpark you can go up to 200g of carbs PWO if needed Key...IF needed. You don't need 200g carbs PWO when you do 5x5 3 times a week. And someone this lean can have a carb DAY every 4-5 days and not really even worry about the macros much. They can stay lean this way and gain muscle. Pays to be lean.

    The diet for gaining weight is similar to that of losing fat...basically the difference is calories.

    The whole idea is to get lean in the first place so you can take in the carbs to gain muscle properly and NOT get fat or damage health. Someone 20% BF isn't handling carbs properly and taking in large amounts is not only going to harm his body composition, but also his HEALTH. Get lean and you can take in more carbs in a healthy manner while staying lean.

    Afterall, insulin is the most anabolic hormone. When you're leaner you control insulin better, and when you control insulin better, you can take advantage of the ability of carbs to build muscle better. Better muscle gains and less fat gain since you're lean and the muscles are a lot more insulin sensitive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil5585 View Post
    Supposedly, according to DiPasquale. Although I never tested with keto strips. I guess that's the only way to really tell

    But even then, so long as you're at 0.25g/btw in carbs or lower, it's still a very low carb diet and you should be fine. That's 50g for a 200 lb guy or 62g for a 250 lb guy.

    I like the version Poliquin and DiPasquale came up with. The PWO carbs and carb refeeds every 4-7 days depending on carb needs and leanness. Also I believe he doesn't count carbs if it's coming from low carb veggies. Honestly, do you think if you ate 40g of carbs from spinach and broccoli that you'd not be able to lose fat??? It's neurotic and a waste of time counting these carbs. Then you see idiotic posts (not from people that are stupid...just from reading diets that are so hardcore on low carbs) about people saying "do eggs have too many carbs?"

    Poliquin's guidelines for carbs are quite strict. He thinks if you're over 10% BF you're fat and should only use whey, glutamine, and glycine PWO until you aren't fat anymore. With that he recommends ONE carb *meal* every 5-7 days until you again are not fat.

    Then in the 8-10% range he says 2 carb meals every 5-7 days, and you can start adding in PWO carbs.

    In the 6% ballpark you can go up to 200g of carbs PWO if needed Key...IF needed. You don't need 200g carbs PWO when you do 5x5 3 times a week. And someone this lean can have a carb DAY every 4-5 days and not really even worry about the macros much. They can stay lean this way and gain muscle. Pays to be lean.

    The diet for gaining weight is similar to that of losing fat...basically the difference is calories.

    The whole idea is to get lean in the first place so you can take in the carbs to gain muscle properly and NOT get fat or damage health. Someone 20% BF isn't handling carbs properly and taking in large amounts is not only going to harm his body composition, but also his HEALTH. Get lean and you can take in more carbs in a healthy manner while staying lean.

    Afterall, insulin is the most anabolic hormone. When you're leaner you control insulin better, and when you control insulin better, you can take advantage of the ability of carbs to build muscle better. Better muscle gains and less fat gain since you're lean and the muscles are a lot more insulin sensitive.
    I didn't know we had this AD guru in the house.


    So do you think someone with 15% bodyfat should eliminate 12-24 hour refeeds, and instead make them single meal refeeds?


    I seem to tolerate refeeds way better when I have a very strenous workout, and then load a refeed meal. Maybe that would be the proper timing for the one meal.
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    Oh man I'm no guru. I'm no expert here.

    From what I've seen, it seems that the refeeds are best when not done after a workout. Apparently this has more metabolic benefits than taking in carbs after a workout. On off days if possible is generally a good idea if that works in the schedule.

    As far as if it'll work better or not, I can't say. If you're trying to lean up, give it a shot and note the results. Is it better than the longer refeeds? If so, then I'd stick with it till you get leaner. If you see no improvement in body fat loss, and say for example your workouts go to ****, then maybe stick with the longer carb loads.

    That's one thing nice about this style of diet is that it's quite flexible, and the intent is to find what kind of diet works best for your genotype, and also phenotype. What that means is you have your genes that determine if you're geared more towards low carb, but if how those genes are expressed and "turned on and off" is determined by a lot of factors, such as diet and exercise. So yes, you can be a non-carb type but require more carbs if you become very lean and have a high volume of energy systems training. Uhh, I think i got off track. Just experiment and see.

    Poliquin has a handy method to gauge the effectiveness of the carb load. Have accurate skinfold calipers on hand, and test after your carb load, especially the suprailliac (lovehandle) as it indicates if you're taking in too many carbs. If this goes up then I'd cut back the carbs. if it's not really reducing and you're cutting, I'd also cut back the carbs. You should basically be taking in as much carbs as you can without causing adverse effects, which changes the leaner you become and the more work you do (something else I am convinced people need to do...more work).
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    By the way, a quick side note here.

    Some things on health:

    1. PWO carbs like dextrose, maltodextrin, WMS, etc are NOT healthy. They're refined carbs. The only benefit they have over table sugar is the lack of fructose so they cause a great deal less glycation, but they are still refined carbs nonetheless. If you truly want to be healthy then you have to explore more natural forms of PWO carbs such as bananas, rice, fruits, etc.

    2. Doing 2 day carb loads with tons of carbs at 15-20%+ bodyfat is NOT healthy. The reason I say that is because people with higher BF are not handling carbs properly, and then they load up on a ton of them. That's no bueno. Once they get leaner then they can handle the carbs in a healthy manner.
  

  
 

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