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Carbs or Low Carbs to Gain LBM?


I agree honestly.

As far as my knowledge goes, anything can be bad if used wrong or for wrong purposes.
And anything can be good when used smart.


Building muscle while on a low carb, or even a ketogenic, diet is of course possible, and there is some research showing this. Protein is the driver; not carbs or fat. However, the reality is, you will struggle to find many advocates promoting low carb for mass gains.

As other posters have said, it depends on your priorities, as well as your own personality. Some folks thrive on lower carbs; others don’t.


Well, given time they should be. Ketosis is simply the absence of carbohydrates, regardless of their remaining macronutrient intake.


I like low carbs, i am an easy gainer so i find myself managing calories on low carbs better. The only draw back is the level of energy. After doing a carb refeed, i seem to do better at the gym. Might be in just in my head tho.


I can relate to that. I’ve done both approaches and for me it’s a no-brainer. I’m a typical endomorph so I have above average genes when it comes to building muscle. However, the war against fat is continual so the ketogenic diet has become a longer term strategy these days.

Without going off on one, the danger of the cyclical ketogenic diet is that you never become fat-adapted. So you may enjoy your session after a ‘refeed’ but for the succeeding days your going through that adaptation phase again - complete with low energy and other symptoms. I used to do the same but would not go back to it following further research on the topic. I appreciate the Lyle McDonald Ultimate Diet crew will be sharpening their knives at the suggestion but that’s where the evidence is pointing these days.


No, ketosis is the state of being in ketosis, no matter what one’s carb intake is.


You’re an intelligent guy. I expected much better than a circular argument.


There’s nothing circular about it. Being in ketosis means one’s metabolism is employing ketone bodies rather than glucose as the predominant fuel source, full stop. It is assessed via measuring the amount of ketone bodies in urine or serum. It doesn’t matter if the person is eating 1 g of carbs per day or 1000; if they have elevated levels of ketone bodies they’re in ketosis, and if they don’t, they’re not.

Now, to enter ketosis, individuals with non-deranged metabolisms have to significantly decrease their carb intake. How low it needs to be will vary from one individual to another, and as a function of the other components of their diet (more shortly). This is why one cannot simply equate the terms ‘low carbs’ and ‘ketosis.’ Further, even if one drops carbs as low as is practically possible (10-20 g/d for people eating real food), it still doesn’t guarantee they will enter ketosis, as some individuals will continue to convert protein into glucose (via the gluconeogenesis pathway) at a rate high enough to forestall ketosis. For such individuals, it is necessary to restrict both carbs and protein to enter ketosis. So even the term ‘carbs as low as possible’ can’t be used as a synonym for ketosis.

So like I said: Ketosis is the state of being in ketosis.


Barring metabolic disorders and other abnormalities, that is patently false. Absence of carbohydrates will eventually result in ketosis, even on a very high protein intake (assuming overall energy intake is still low - n =1 but I’ve observed this very thing in myself). As for this ‘ketosis is ketosis’ thing, well I’m not going there.


Yes. Not so sure if its the best approach tho


OK, so now you’re resetting, post hoc, the parameters of the discussion in an attempt to make yourself correct. Not cool, but as it’s not going to work anyway, I won’t object.

You’re simply incorrect. Check out the info at the following link. Admittedly, it’s not an ideal source (I’m not inclined to take the time go to the primary scientific literature simply to prove someone wrong when it’s so patently obvious they are); however, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a better source than the personal anecdote (“n=1”) you’re citing:



I’m gonna have to agree with @EyeDentist on this one…nearly everything I’ve read on ketosis explicitly states that if protein intake is too high (differs from person to person, but 20% is a common figure), GNG prevents proper ketosis and can even be catabolic. Keto is pretty restrictive, there’s a reason it’s not just called low carb.


Dude, I started the discussion talking about the general populace. However, when you start citing cases when that doesn’t apply (to paraphrase what you said, some folks won’t reach ketosis despite eating less than 1g CHO) then I indeed qualified what I said. Perfectly reasonable, I suggest.

Regarding your link, even ‘well-formulated’ ketogenic diets result in an element of GNG. This whole process is overplayed (ever wondered why PSMF works so well in the obese). Efficient ketosis can be maintained on higher protein intakes, without turning to chocolate cake!


What do you consider higher protein, as a percentage?


No, because I know what the ‘F’ stands for.

I’m not sure why you felt the need to tell me this, but OK.


Doesn’t pan out in terms of percentage or ratio. In terms of available evidence, thinking in grams is better. 0.8 to 1g per lbs of LBM is a good starter. However, lower kcals can allow greater intake with similar levels of ketosis.


Fair enough EyeDentist. You’re still on my Christmas card list!!


That’s what I thinking. If you take me, at 220lbs and ~17%(ish). 183lbs LBM X 4 = 732/2500cals (looking for fat loss) is 29%. I’ve found, while in Keto, protein between 25-30% is the sweet spot for me. Too much more and I don’t stay in.


As I’ve posted elsewhere, it depends on a few factors including how fat-adapted you are. For example, while only anecdotal (let’s face it, a lot of this stuff is), Luis Villasenor, of Ketogains, has posted blood ketone readings of 0.4mml after a 16 hour fast and workout. My highest reading to date is 1.1mml, and that’s on PSMF with 5-10g fat. So much for gluconeogenesis.