T Nation

Keto Curious


As near as I can tell we've got a couple of "keto-esque" protein diets, and I'm wondering if any of you all have insight to provide as to the effectiveness of them relative to each other.

On diets like Stillman or Dukan, what we see are low-fat proteins (chicken, turkey, fish, lean, trimmed cuts of beef, etc.) and extremely low / zero carbs.

Contrast this with the high-fat contents of Berardi's GSD or DiPasquale's Anabolic diet and I'm wondering what the advantages/disadvantages are to each. Is it a question of "weight loss" vs. "fat loss" - where the high amounts of healthy fats in the ladder two help you burn more fat?

Does either one put you into ketosis faster? Is a high fat content to the diet a critical component?

I've searched the forums and articles for anything touching on a 1:1 compare and contrast of low-fat protein diets vs high fat, and haven't found anything. So apologies in advance if I'm re-treading covered territory. I'm really just curious what others think, have read, know or believe to be so when it comes to these two similar, yet opposing, diet strategies.



You're gonna feel like shit if you don't include some fats into the diet. You'd be way to low on calories if you didn't include them. Fat loss will be mostly influenced by lowering your calories to begin with, however you still want enough energy to train properly in order to preserve muscle and maintain performance in the gym.


You raise a good point here. Probably the key missing element in any discussion of the Stillman & Dukan diets is the amped up training component. There's probably a reason there is practically 0 discussion of "leaner" two on forums for bodybuilding and lifting, which is the essential "fat for fuel" part.

I wonder... Would a body with a lot of excess fat, however, burn more stored fat on a somewhat leaner hybrid of the two? Where protein and fat macros were reversed to more like 60-70p/30f/0-10c?

Not a specific question in search of a "real" answer necessarily. Just wondering aloud, so to speak.


Remember, a ketogenic diet could theoretically be used to maintain weight. The original use was in epileptic children.

I hadn't heard of the Stillman or Dukov diets until just now. I don't see the point in eliminating vegetables at any point in their diets, but maybe I just listen to what my grandma used to tell me.

A low-fat protein diet is a protein sparing modified fast. Like Rapid Fat Loss or (pretty much) V Diet. You're going to feel like hell, but weight and fat loss are going to be faster because there are fewer calories.


Yep, I agree with Rhino. I did the V-Diet, and I lost a ton of weight, but I felt like SHIT all the time. I'm now bulking with an Anabolic-esque approach, and as it happens, I eat less carbs now than when I was V Dieting, but I feel GREAT - and the reason is my HIGH fat intake. I'm taking in around 220 ish grams fat, 220 ish grams protein, and less than 30 g carb (not counting fiber of course). I feel awesome, I didn't suffer the first week, and I'm gaining about 1-2 pounds/week without feeling bloated and shitty all the time - but that' sjust me. Bottom line - if you're going to do low carb, go high fat, and vice versa.


Too much protein will keep you out of ketosis, and you don't want to drop calories too far below maintenance. A basic keto diet would be 0.9-1.0g/lb LBM of protein, < 30g of carbs, and 10-20% below maintenance calorie levels.

That should let you figure out how much fat you need, then you can adjust depending on how fast the weight is coming off. This is basically the recommendation in McDonald's 'The Ketogenic Diet', which is a suggested read.

(Also, The Anabolic Diet isn't necessarily a keto diet, I think DiPasquale says it is a 'near-keto' diet.)


I lost 30 lbs of fat in 12 weeks using a diet that kept me right on the edge of ketosis.

3 days starch carbs/no fats then 4 days fats no starch carbs.
I could eat as many fibrous carbs as I wanted to throughout the week.

I was cutting. I was not bulking. Maintained muscle mass.

It was a difficult diet to maintain for the first week and the last week, but the results were excellent.


Wow Yetta, those sound like awesome results! Would you mind posting a sample menu of the starch carbs/no fats and fats no starch days looked like?


Yeah Yetta, I'm interested in seeing that menu myself. Impressive weight loss in 12 weeks. While on the keto diet I did feel like crap and was an asshole to everyone for those few weeks lol. BUT I got ripped really fast, the results were worth it.


Are there different versions of PSMF the only one I have reaaly seen talked about is RFL. I was wondering if there was a version where fat intake was a bit higher.


You can do whatever you like with the nutrients. Quite some time ago, they used just a very low calorie diet as a PSMF, but weren't happy with the results. So what did they do? Cut down on other nutrients and just stick with protein!

You don't need to find stuff to come up with your own diet. If you want to add more fat to a diet and make it more tolerable (albeit SLOWER working), then go ahead. However, the bottom line is that "real" PSMF's will always work faster than anything else, despite the fact that they are barely tolerable!

I did the RFL twice (I'm actually the one that started the original RFL thread here two years ago) and my brother lost 35 pounds in six weeks with it. Both of us look back and don't even know how we got through it! I'm not a smoker - AT ALL - but the last time I did it, I tolerated the diet better with one to three cigarettes a few nights per week (never smoked a cigarette since, and before that didn't smoke a cigarette in 15 years)!


V Diet is not even as restrictive as RFL CALORIE rise. V Diet is more restrictive in that you're drinking nearly all your diet (I couldn't deal with that shit).

Although both approaches work, I believe the RFL diet is healthier and reinforces good eating habits because you're actually eating! Anyone who wants to know the whole background deal with PSMFs should read the RFL book in FULL.

As well as reading here: http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/1/1/2

And here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC371554/pdf/jcinvest00695-0284.pdf


Twice? Damn! I actually just picked up RFL this weekend, since I was basically already doing it (from what I gathered) I thought I might as well buy a copy and make sure I was doing it "by the book" ... i'm glad I did, because apparently I shouldn't be having re-feeds, but rather just two "cheat meals" a week.

Anyway... I was wondering, what did you do for your training while on the diet? How were your energy levels? Did you have to work lighter than you ordinarily would?



Check the original RFL thread on here titled V Diet versus RFL or something like that. Training was twice per week, full body, with 6 exercise per workout for 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps. I also ran or walked three to four times per week.

When you say work lighter, do you mean were my poundages down or did I did I tone it down with effort? Because my volume was cut way down and I try hard, my poundages were not affected. However, I did NOT attempt to break PRs in anything. I stopped 1 or 2 reps shy of failure most of the time.

I did not feel tired on the diet. I wouldn't say my energy levels were good either though. I just always felt hyper and restless.

I don't think I'd be able to do that thing again as it caused me to think of food far too much.


I dug up the thread you mentioned. It's amazing! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Brick.

You totally answered my question on working lighter (poorly phrased)... i was just wondering if you'd decreased volume or loads.



Well everyone who works out pretty serious is gonna have to really cut down on overall volume unless all they were doing was two full body sessions with some light cardio beforehand. OCCASIONALLY I did three full body sessions simply because I like lifting, but I don't think that's necessary.

Are you on the diet now? I don't even know I tolerated five weeks of that thing.


Not a bad post, but you're looking at it from the wrong standpoint. When you take into account protein need (regardless of total calories), the lower you go in calories, the less room in the diet you have to take in other nutrients.

For example, let us say that you need 2.5 grams of pro/kg when on a hypocaloric diet. You need this no matter how hypocaloric you go. So with the intention of a low fat, PSMF being to lose weight as quickly as possible while taking in the bare minimum nutrients you need, you're really left with nothing but that protein amount and a tiny dose of EFAs. If you were to remove some of that protein from the diet to make it higher in fat, then you wouldn't meet your protein need. A PSMF is a ketogenic diet without the fat.

They're not opposing strategies. They're just different, and you really can't compare them other than the fact that one produces FASTER results and is more torturous.


I use the Diatia menu meal plan and tweek the ratios to make 4 days no starches and 3 days no fats.

Take your diet and cut out all the starches for 4 days and eat your allotted fat ratio. Eat all the fibrous carbs you want.

The most difficult task was separating the starch carbs and the fats because many dishes are prepared combinations of starch carbs with some sort of fat, such as spaghetti and chicken.

It was an exercise by my trainer to open my eyes to how food is prepared and learn how to choose my food more judiciously.

When I started, most of the foods I ate were a combination of fats and starches and most were from a fast food joint or a restaurant.
I needed to learn how to cook and prepare my food.

It's no wonder Americans are obese because of the food they eat 'on the run'.

On my no fats days
on the menu were any fibrous fruit and fibrous vegetable.
chicken, spinach, tuna in water, fish -grilled without oil or butter, beans sans any fat, rice sans fat, potatoes sans fat,

No eggs because I want the egg yolk which has fat in it.
No olive oil, cheeses, butter or anything that contained fat

On my no starch days
On the menu were any meat, eggs
all the fibrous veggies and fruits I wanted
No breads, rice, potatoes, beans, carrots and corn (carrots and corn are high sugar veggies and so are considered starch veggies for this diet)

Foods that were not eaten during the 12 weeks because they were a combination of starch and fat
nuts ( I missed my nuts)
french fries
ice cream
spaghetti and meat balls
and more combinations that you can discover and fill in for yourself

Basically this diet weaned me off of the junk food early on in my training and made me aware of the food macros in combination foods such as spaghetti and meat balls or tacos.

Portions would have to be calculated for your own particular needs

Dieting is all about portion control and eating healthy nutritious foods.

The only difference in the diet is a conscious effort to avoid either the fats or the starches.
I ate most of my calories and nutrition in 3 meals and had 2 snacks in between those three meals.

meal one
protein powder
a fibrous fruit

meal two
fibrous fruit

meal three
grilled chicken
fibrous veggies steamed
rice with spices
fibrous fruit

meal four
fibrous fruit
beans/rice/grilled chicken

meal five
tuna/apple/spinach/fibrous veggies/salad


meal one
Canadian bacon
fibrous fruit

meal two
hard boiled eggs
fibrous fruit

meal three
lean roast beef
fibrous veggies cheese sauce
fibrous fruit

meal four
fibrous veggie salad with olive oil dressing
fibrous fruit

meal five
fibrous veggie/meat/apple salad

I learned to use spices instead of fat to liven up my foods.


For all intents and purposes. Although, I just had a "carb up" day, which technically isn't allowed on this diet, so I'm counting tomorrow as official day one, now that I've read the book and plan stricter adherence. When I was doing it myself (before I even really knew what the RFL was) I just basically took the Stillman diet and added weekly "carb days" ... so I imagine with the RFL I'll actually find the relative rewards more swift what with only two weekly "free meals"

Also, I'll probably feel less "backed up" because I'll be eating broccoli and spinach quite a bit (those are my two fav veggies).

One thing I wonder about, though is just how "freely" i should be eating these. I don't want to go overboard with them, so is there a ballpark range of how many carbs from fibrous veggies I should be consuming? Would a couple cups of spinach or 3-4oz. of broccoli suffice? I'm going to try and stay around 30-40g. of carbs per day from all sources (including the veggies and whenever I use protein powder w/ cottage cheese).

One other thing I wondered is, would a protein shake made with 8oz. of almond milk be okay as a "carb drink" pre/peri workout rather than gatorade? I was thinking it would make for a quick, relatively "fast-acting" breakfast/mini-meal prior to a morning workout so I'm not trying to fit in AM weightlifting 90 minutes after choking down eggs or chicken.

I'll keep this thread going as my RFL log for as long as there's interest. It'll keep me accountable, and should be fun.


You're questions regarding PWO nutrition and vegetable intake are addressed in the RFL book.