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Summary of the High-Fat (or Anabolic) Diet
Written by PD
The following is a nutshell summary of "The Anabolic Diet" by Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, together with some additional info on low carb foods, as the list in the book is rather skimpy. To get full details and references, or find out about the finer points of the diet (e.g. competition diet procedures), I urge you to get the book - see at the end of this document.
Feel free to send me feedback, additional info, your experience with the diet, warnings etc. I will update this document accordingly. Please note that I am not Dr. DiPasquale, and cannot answer detailed questions or give medical advice (I'm an engineer).
Before you start on this diet
- Get a complete physical, including blood work. Among other things, this will give you a baseline Cholesterol level.
- This diet is not recommended for children or pregnant women.
- This diet is controversial, use at your own risk!
Additional information on potential problems
Problems with low-fat diets
- Low fat -> body goes into starvation mode, tries to hold on to fat, burn muscle instead.
- When carbohydrate stores are exhausted, will burn protein first before switching to fat.
- Carbohydrates can increase serotonin levels, cause sleepiness. (Based on other references - see below - serotonin may not be such a bad thing after all)
- Insulin swings can provoke mood swings.
- High insulin levels increase fat storage.
- Can cause bloating, water retention.
- Often, protein supplements are needed for the bodybuilder.
- Low-fat foods are often much more expensive than the conventional version, and contain more "chemistry" / are highly processed.
How the high-fat diet works
(This is grossly simplified, for more details follow the links from this page and read the book ).
During the week (Monday - Friday), you eat (by calories) about 55..60% fat, 30..35% protein, and no more than 30g of carbohydrates.
The plentiful supply of fat causes a metabolic shift from primarily burning carbs to primarily burning fats. Insulin levels remains low (which increases GH release). Increased dietary fat is also linked to increased testosterone levels.
Despite popular belief, the human body can run pretty well without carbs (otherwise Eskimos wouldn't be doing too well).
During the weekend (Saturday - Sunday, about 24 to 48 hours), you eat a high carb, medium fat (30..40%), low protein (10..15%) diet. This causes an insulin spike. While this can increase fat deposits, it moves more nutrients into your muscles, and has an anabolic effect. The important thing is to switch back to the high fat / low carb mode before you put on too much fat.
What are the benefits ?
- Increased lean body mass without the use of illegal substances.
- Maximize the effects of your own hormones.
- Reduced cortisol levels -> reduced catabolism.
- Increased energy level compared to low-fat diets.
- Decrease body fat without increasing lean mass, e.g. lose 90% fat, 10% muscle instead of 60% fat / 40% muscle on most other diets.
- Burning fat is less efficient -> increased metabolic rate.
- Plentiful supply of protein.
What about Cholesterol ?
If you keep your fat intake somewhat balanced, i.e. not exclusively saturated fats, you should have no problem. For example, eggs tend to increase your HDL level (good Cholesterol). Your actual mileage may vary - test your Cholesterol level before you start.
Getting started / tips
- Eat 5 to 6 meals daily.
- Eat something when you are hungry - don't wait.
- Keep sodium intake reasonable, some meat products can be pretty high.
- Drink enough water !
- This diet doesn't work if your fat intake goes too low (below about 40%).
- Start at around 3000 calories per day (or 18*bw), then adjust up or down depending on your results and goals.
- You may need to use a fiber supplement (watch out for hidden carbs). I eat salad with lunch and dinner, and never had any problem.
- First week can be rough - stick with it.
- Regularly check bodyfat percentage (for example using calipers).
- During the weekend, be careful with foods with high glycemic index - they can wreak havoc on your insulin level, and switch you into fat storage mode more quickly.
Low carb foods
RTFL (read the f... labels). Try to get as much natural fiber as possible from salad or vegetables, while staying within the 30g carb target.
The usual suspects:
- Beef, Chicken etc.
- Any kind of oil
- Almonds (1oz = 5..6g)
- Avocado (1/2 = 6g)
- Green beans
- Peanuts (1oz = 6g)
- Red / green peppers (e.g. frozen "Melange a trois" from Trader Joe's)
- Tofu, soy milk
- Caesar salad dressing (e.g. Newman's own)
- Oil and vinegar salad dressing
- Mustard (e.g. Dijon from Trader Joe's)
- Sour cream
For the sweet tooth:
- Dole or Welsh no sugar added fruit pops (6g each)
- Sugar free Jello + whipped cream (within reason)
One of the nice things about this diet is that you won't have to spend much money on supplements. All you need is some vitamins, for example along these lines:
- 1 Centrum
- 500 mg Vitamin C
- 800 i.u. Vitamin E
- 50 mg Vitamin B formula
- Some Calcium (at least that's what my teeth tell me).
- Vitamin Z (that's sleep).
The book also recommends Omega 3 fatty acids, e.g. from fish oil capsules. In general, it is a good idea to have some variety on the types of oils you eat.
Caffeine can help burn fat (but only on a low carb / high fat diet).
If you really want to get fancy and start mixing your own supplements, the book also includes some recommendation, but no quantities / dosages.
MUSCLEHEDZ (tm) on the Anabolic Diet (cartoon, follow the link on that page for more...)
The anabolic diet
Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale
Optimum Training Systems
2945 S. Mooney Blvd.
Visalia, CA 93277
Advanced Nutrition Systems (cheaper source for the book)
BodyOpus is very similar to the Anabolic Diet. BodyOpus gives much more detail on a suitable workout program, and on the recarbing procedure. Also includes info on lots of diet drugs and diuretics. For more info, Lyle McDonald posted lots of information on Usenet. The book doesn't have an index, but Robert Ames created one.
The complete book of food counts
Corinne T. Netzer Dell Publishing ISBN 0-440-21271-5.
More low carbohydrate diet info, recipes
USDA food values database
A table of glycemic indices
A low carb cookbook
Neander-Thin - A Cave Man's Guide to Nutrition
Raymond V. Audette and Troy Gilchrist
This diet is based on only those foods that would be available if you were naked of all technology save that of a convenient sharp stick or stone. The main difference from the anabolic diet is that you can eat fruit, but no dairy products, and there is no weekend carb-up. The book includes a week's sample diet, and recipes. The writing gets a little preachy for my taste...