30> Tweaking the TNT Diet Plan by Adam Campbell

This was originally posted by Adam Campbell on the TNT Forum on February 5, 2008:

Jeff and I don’t think most people need to get overly caught up in the details, which is why we “left stuff out.” Considering Jeff has actually conducted over 100 scientific studies (and more on low carb than anyone), it’s hardly that the research wasn’t thorough. But the problem for most people is that the info in studies, etc, just isn’t accessible or written for the layperson. So our philosophy in this book was to write it for the population that wanted the basics, yet provide information that they hadn’t had access to before. In retrospect, I would have had a troubleshooting chapter, but when you’ve done that type of thing in other books, you tend to not want to do that again because you feel like you’ve gone through it already. (That’s my bad, but in my defense, we were under a pretty tough time constraint.)

Now, ketosis isn’t necessary to lose fat. People do it every day without being in ketosis. For instance, one guy I worked with lost over 70 pounds and kept carbs at about 30% of calories, and those sources included sugar. So you don’t have to be convinced that everyone needs to be in ketosis to burn fat. If you create enough of a caloric deficit, you’ll burn fat. That said, some people respond very well to being ketosis, not just for burning fat and building muscle, but for the therapeutic benefits (ie reduced inflammation). I happen to be one of those people, so it’s easy for me to be enthusiastic about ketosis.

And let’s not forget that some people lose lots of weight on low-fat, high-carb diet if they cut calories low enough (I’m still not a fan of this approach for the reasons we cite in the book)). In fact, Jeff’s studies show they lose weight. We just don’t think it’s as effective as low-carb, high-fat based for a number of reasons based on his research. The question then becomes, how low should you go? Well, this is where experimentation comes in. We intended TNT to really be Targeted Nutrition Tactics. That is, we show you a few ways (plans A-E) you can use them, you try one or two out, and then tweak to fit your lifestyle. For instance, I never have a full reloading day. I tend to eat low-carb all the time, except when I don’t–like maybe on Friday night we make pizza or I have a sandwich on Sunday. Also, I work some fruit into my version, which is easy to do.

One of the philosophies in the book is that your body will better process carbs after exercise and/or in glycogen depleted state. So having a carb-protein shake after cardio is fine. It’s not necessary as some will tell you, but it’s not going to simply switch off fat-burning for the whole day.

The key with carb intake is that for many it helps control your appetite–so when you start adding carbs back in, you may not see the same automatic regulation of your calorie intake. So this is where it can get tricky. Ketosis appears to suppress appetite, which is why some people really benefit. As you start to add more carbs in, ketones go down and perhaps hunger starts to increase. Now you’re creating less of a calorie deficit, unless you’re good at eyeballing portion sizes. Part of this is why we came up with our “rules” for the fat-burning zone. Even if you don’t stay in ketosis in this zone, you won’t likely overeat vegetables, and most don’t overeat proteins/fats. So for lots, it works very well without ketosis for regulating calorie intake while being satisfying. Now, when you start putting milk and fruit and even some grains in, you need to monitor intake because you could find  yourself suddenly eating more calories even if carbs are still reasonably low. Or you may also find that carb intake slowly starts to creep up so that it’s significantly higher than you intended–unless you’ve installed some rules (x amount of fruit, y amount of bread, eyeball meat portion sizes, etc).

Did I just give away all the secrets?  🙂

Seriously, I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but maybe it gives you some insight on how/why you can break the “rules,” and tweak the diet to work best for your lifestyle and goals.

So the bottom line is to do a little experimenting. If you want exact numbers of carbs, etc, for ketosis and carb-up days, Dr. DiPasquale’s book might be good reading. I have heard great things about it and seen summaries of it, but haven’t ever read it myself, believe it or not.  I believe Lyle McDonald also has excellent material, but I have yet to read it either. (It’s on my list, though.)

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