T Nation

Iso-Caloric Diet info?

I’ve just started the fat fast diet and plan to stay on it for about 4 weeks to lose the majority of my winter bodyfat deposits. This is a pretty extreme diet and when it’s I’ll be looking for a long term diet that can be adapted for gaining mass or losing fat and won’t be so hard to stick to. I’ve tried a lot of different diets based on multiple nutrient ratios though I’ve never really given the Iso-Caloric diet a try. It seems very interesting and the logic behind it appears to have merit.

Does anyone know where to get some good information for that diet plan? I’ve scoured the net but came up empty for the most part. Seems everyone is crazy on CKDs, TKDs and your garden variety diets. I’d be interested in knowing if you’re supposed to strive for the 33/33/33 ratio at every meal or only to achieve that ratio as a total at the end of the day. Also does it matter what carbs you ingest or is it not that specific? My instincts tell me that the ratio is something you shoot for on an end of the day basis as post and preworkout nutrition isn’t optimized for the iso-caloric ratio.

If anyone can point me to some good information on the diet or even answer some questions on the forum then please do.

I once sent away for and a received a free-Iso Caloric handbook (small wire-bound, 80 pages or so) from Next Nutrition. I think it may have been written by dan duchaine but I’m not not sure. The information was pretty good, even though it blatantly promoted Designer Protein. Can’t complain though - free, plain english, easy to follow, etc.

The Isocaloric diet was a product of the fertile mind of Dan Duchaine and is included as a section in his Bodyopus book. As I recall you are correct about averaging out the ratios of macronutrients.

Don’t get bogged down in the pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. It’s just about the exact same thing, both conceptually and in practice, as the Zone diet.

Duchaine’s Isocaloric Diet was a good response to the dieting errors and fads that weightlifting athletes were prone to at the time. The norm was this ridiculous very high carb, moderate protein, super low fat diet.
This is a failure for the natural trainer
because it greatly depresses natural testosterone. The other extremes were the ketogenic diet, which is no way to gain muscle; or the alternating ketogenic/carb-up diet, e.g. the Anabolic Diet, which tended to have bad problems with excess fat being added on carb-up days due to encouraged pigging-out and overall gains that weren’t that good.

So the Isocaloric Diet is a good way to go that is certainly better than high carb, is better for cutting for some people than ketogenic diets are, and is better for gaining than cyclical ketogenic diets.

However, that being said – I have a strong suspicion that John Berardi’s approach of favoring EITHER protein/carb OR protein/fat, having both types of meals but not having any isocaloric meals, may be a much better concept.

BTW, Duchaine in a way foretold this: he felt
that it was perfectly acceptable for an isocaloric diet to be lacking carbs or lacking fats in certain meals, and making them up at other times of the day. He just didn’t come up with the specific plan that John did.

Well I searched through the archives and came across the Massive Eating article by John Berardi. He seems to only explain it in use with a mass gaining diet that helps with excess fat gain and doesn’t mention it’s use as a cutting phase diet. I’ll assume it works the same but I’m curious about the times each type of meal should be consumed. I workout after I get off work in the evening and usually get in 3-4 meals before I hit the gym and 2-3 after, never going past 6 total. Someone mentioned getting your protein/carb meals in the first part of the day and doing the protein/fat meals in the 2nd half. However I definately need a protein/carb meal post workout. This means one of my first 3 meals should be a protein/fat meal instead of protein/carbs. Which of my first 3 meals of the day should be a protein/fat? If I chose it as breakfast then I could take advantage of my low blood sugar from my overnight fast and continue in a low blood sugar state all morning by not eating carbs right away. Or I could make my preworkout meal a protein/fat meal so that I ensure that I burn of all excess carbs during the workout that I ingested in my first 2 meals. This could perhaps help my post workout meal in absorbing all the carbs into muscle glycogen so that there is no spillover into fat. Or perhaps my 2nd meal of the day should contain no carbs so that my carb meals are kind of an every other meal thing. My final 2 meals after my post workout meal will be protein/fat only as there would be no need for more carbs at night and would only lead to insulin spikes while I’m at my lowest energy output of the day. Forgive me for the questions I’m just trying to clear up a few things as this diet sounds very interesting.