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No-Carb "Carb Ups"

Came across an interesting vlog by a popular proponent of fasting/cyclical keto diets, etc. He claims he has abandoned CKD after experimenting with a protein-driven ‘carb up’.

Wondered what others think of the theory behind this: in essence, the idea is you consume a high amount of lean protein, e.g. 400-600g, and nothing else. The process of gluconeogenesis will then convert a chunk of this to glucose to be stored. The effect is you get a carb load without drastic energy swing, rising insulin, etc.

I have researched Lyle McDonald on this but he doesn’t appear to quite address this in depth.

What’s the advantage of doing it without carbs?

That’s pretty clear in the post.

Trying to start a discussion with you.

No need to be a dick


I can see some advantages, mainly due to the nitrogen content of protein vs carbs (Lyle mentioned the possibility of there being an “anabolic drive” in the body caused by amino acid intake, even when they aren’t used for protein synthesis, although iirc he stated that the reasons behind this are unclear), but I am not sure about the energy swings and insulin.

For one, protein are insulinogenic on their own, so ingesting that high an amount would probably still cause significant insulin secretion. Secondly, once the process of gluconeogenesis has kicked in, and the proteins are converted to carbs, they are ultimately going to be carbs to all effects, so insulin will still be produced in order for them to be stored.

I think 400-600g of protein is absolutely nuts to consume in a day. If the desired effect is to have carbs without a big energy swing or insulin spike, there are numerous other ways to go about it, like eating protein first and then having carbs, mixing in some good fats, having slower digesting carbs in general. If he wants to do a carb up to allow glucogenisis to create glucose, why not just have freaking carbs?

I really don’t know what the obsession with low carbs/keto is about. I’m sure people find success on it, no doubt, but in my experience most of those people go from eating absolute crap to keto, of course cutting out the crap will help. For someone that eats a healthy diet of nutritious foods and no processed, insulin spiking garbage, I don’t think keto is necessary at all. Just my .02.

As @samul stated, protein will still cause an insulin spike, especially 400-600g of it.


How exactly do you eat 600g of protein? A whole carton liquid egg whites is 50g of protein - you gonna drink 12 of those in one sitting? A chicken breast is roughly 20-25g protein - you gonna eat 24-30 of those in one sitting?


Practically speaking, what would the menu for the day look like?

Like the guys are saying, I really don’t think it would achieve the intended effect, especially if one side goal is to avoid “drastic energy swing”. That’s a crapton of food to put down, even with a few big shakes, so I’d expect most of the day being spent laying around lethargically massaging the food baby.

Is fat allowed? Cause if it’s the case I think I have a couple of ideas :smirk:

400-600g of proteins would be 1600-2400 calories. For the same caloric effect you’d need
177-266g of fat.

A 113g stick of butter is 91.7g of fat
100g of lard is 99.5g fat

So basically nearly two (1.93) sticks of butter on the low end for 177g of fat, up to nearly 3 sticks of butter (2.90) for the high end.
If we’re doing lard, 150ish g of lard for the low end, and 260ish g for high end.

It’s just as nasty trying this with fats

No what I meant is, since only lean protein sources were mentioned so far, is it allowed to use fatty protein sources so long as we reach the target amount of protein?

Because if so, I can see myself gorging bacon, eggs, ham, salmon, cheese, and ground beef all day till I reach that amount lol

Anyway I was kinda being ironic. I’d never do that. But a man can dream.

I think the point is to down it before a training session

I don’t think so. Refeeds are usually done over 24-48 hours. Especially if that notion mentioned in the op comes from Lyle Mcdonald, who pretty much always uses one to two day refeeds.

Ohhhh. Then hell yeah! I’d go all Carnivore with Eggs, Smoked Salmon, Steaks, and bacon

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Or you could just eat carbs. I’ve done 1200 gram carb loads in 24 hours multiple times on UD 2.0. Anyone complaining about drastic energy swings or insulin is being a child. If you are glycogen depleted and carb up, the insulin surge isnt going to kill you or make you fat.

For fucks suck, the title of this alone bothered me. The whole fun of a carb load is to carb load.


Also I find it ridiculous that the only reason someone would do this is to avoid energy swings and insulin surges. That seems a whole lot nicer than the gastrointestinal distress eating 500g+ of protein. If you try this, hope you sleep in a place with the windows open.


I can confirm that I felt nothing during my carbs up. Neither with UD 2.0 nor with the rapid fat loss diet. I don’t know what’s supposed to feel like, even Lyle mentioned in his book that you can expect energy swings, but nothing happened.

The only thing I can remember about having 350 g of rice for lunch after two weeks of protein only (not to mention the other meals), is how good it felt to eat it haha

I did not feel ‘nothing’. I felt massive levels of euphoria pounding carbs and watching my deflated muscles fill up like a dry sponge dropped in a bucket of water.


Lol yeah, I phrased that wrong. I didn’t feel anything in the way of energy swings, but honestly I am glad I was alone while eating.

I’m pretty sure I jumped on the plate and looked like an animal while eating. I finished a giant bowl of rice (350 g is no joke) with chicken and veggies in a matter of minutes and then proceeded to have some bread. Goddamn that was fun.

I totally agree with all of this.

The whole concept is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.