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The Anabolic Diet Paperback – 1995
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About the Author:
Dr. Di Pasquale at one time held world records in 5 different weight classes. Not only does he know what he is talking about academically but he practiced what he preached. He holds an honors degree in biological science, majoring in molecular biochemistry and genetics, and a medical degree from University of Toronto. He is certified as a Medical Review Officer by the Medical Review Officer Certification Council, and as a Master of Fitness Sciences by the International Sports Sciences Association. He's the only Canadian to ever total (in the 3 main lifts) 10 times his body weight
Some Additional History:
Vince Gironda AKA "Iron Guru" was a bodybuilder from the 50s that championed this style of dieting. From watching interviews of some of the "old timers" who used to train with the greats at golds gym; Arnold and his posse would pretty much eat like this (high fat and protein with a cheat day on the weekends) (Not over his whole career). Other notable past proponents of this type of diet are: Charles Poliquin, Chad Waterbury, and Rob Faigin.
It's a high fat diet with a weekly carb load. Weekdays your carbs are under 30g. You become fat adapted and function well on fats after a few weeks of eating this way. Some have a hard time with the initiation phase, however, after they become fat adapted they tend to have more energy in general and "feel like they're running cleaner."
Guidelines: (Can vary some per the individual)
Weekday = 60-65% Fat, 30-35% Protein, <30g of carbs
Weekend Carb Load (12-48 hours) = 60% carbs, 20% Protein, 20% Fat
This is not a ketogenic diet. If you’re in ketosis you’re not fully fat adapted. This comes straight from Dr. Di Pasquale. I can verify this with personal empirical data. After 2 years on the diet I have used keto sticks multiple times and have never had high levels of ketones.
My History on the Diet:
I've been on this diet for the most part since 2011. There have been some times when I went off for various reasons, but for the vast majority of the time this is how I eat. I see it as "the way I eat" not as a diet. For me it has been the easiest diet to follow. I’ve been on many other styles of dieting over my years lifting and none of them have yielded results as good as AD. If I’m cutting I lose less muscle when on AD, if I’m bulking I gain les fat. The biggest complaint I hear on this diet is “what do I eat at corporate lunches if I can’t eat carbs?” The answer is easy: steak, fish, chicken, cob salad, fajitas, veggies, etc. It’s not hard. I've bulked on this diet, I've cut on this diet, I've chased strength goals with this diet. It does well in all regards.
I want to note right of the bat that my blood work has always looked good on this style of eating and my testosterone levels (via blood test) have also remained high.
My first pass at this diet was at the end of 2011. My goal was to “recomp.” I did not want to lose much weight, but I wanted to lean up and get stronger in general. I went from 192lbs to 180lbs over 4 months. According to body fat calipers, which I took bi weekly, I lost 5% body fat. During this time period my strength levels increased. My calories during this time period also increased from 2150/day to 2800/day while losing body fat. Needless to say, I felt at the time like I hit “pay dirt” and I was right.
I’ve also used this diet to gain weight. I will caution lifters that this is not for the faint of heart. You will need to be eating 4-5k calories per day. I got very strong and gained at a good rate eating on AD. The weight I gained on AD was defiantly “cleaner” than when I bulked with the traditional higher carb diets in the past.
More recently I decided to go for another body “re-composition.” I went from 211lbs to 202lbs over 8 months while continually getting stronger in the gym. My body fat %, which was tested at the start and end with a DEXA scan, dropped by 3.9%. At the end of this “recomp”, and at a lower bodyweight weight than before, I hit a PR total (Squat, Bench, Deadlift).
In regards to performance… People freak out when they hear you’re going on a diet where you eat <30g of carbs a day. I can attest that after one becomes “fat adapted” their performance will not suffer. I complete my hardest workouts on Fridays before I carbup, which is my most “depleted” day. This includes not only weight training but also HIT cardio (Rower, Sprint, Strongman, etc). You will be at your strongest, however, on Monday and Tuesday since you’re chalked full of glycogen from your carbup.
It must also be noted that there surly are some people who will not perform well on this diet for various genetic reasons (I’d say this is a minority). If I remember correctly Charles Poliquin once said that 70% of Americans would perform optimally on a low carb diet. On the flip side there are people who are destined for it. I recently had my DNA sequenced by FitnessGenes. It turns out this diet is ideal for a genotype like my own. On the PPARA Gene ("Fat Burning”) I am a CG (23% Globally). Having one of each allele indicates that I have the ability to efficiently switch between carbohydrate and fat burning. Not as good as a GG but better than a CC. I could only imagine this to be an advantage on this style of eating at least in the beginning while I’m becoming “fat adapted” or if I’m forced “off the rails” for one reason or another it should make it easier to transition back on. With a combination of factors, I tested as having a below average insulin efficiency, which could lead to difficulties metabolizing glucose. "For people in this group it is particularly important to avoid excess sugar and starchy carbohydrates." This is excellent validation of what I've found empirically. I also have an RR on the ACTN3 Gene ("Speed"). This means that I am suited for "speed/power" type training opposed to endurance. I have always been of the thinking that AD is better suited for a "speed/power" type athlete.
Also some will argue that long term high fat/low carb diets will destroy one’s insulin sensitivity… this may be accurate for a standard ketogenic diet, however, it does not hold true on AD. Probably due to the weekly carb load. I recently completed an oral glucose test to verify that my insulin sensitivity is still excellent. My fasted glucose was 71mg/dl, 15min after a glucose drink my blood glucose was 120mg/dl, after 30min it was 173mg/dl, after 60min it was 111mg/dl, after 90min it was 93mg/dl. It should be noted that I completed this test at the end of the day since I don’t eat more than 30g of carbs during the week. Even at the end of the day my fasted blood glucose was in the “excellent” range. (Excellent fasted glucose is ~70mg/dl, excellent insulin performance puts the time to hit peak glucose levels at 15-30min and time to get back to fasted glucose levels longer than 60-90min)
One last note: In this version “Anabolic Diet” 1995 the good doctor suggests not eating MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) (AKA coconut oil). To my understanding, he has since changed his opinion on the topic.
I wish everyone luck if they decide to give this a go!
Today's research proves that a diet high in carbs and low in fat is healthy for most people. If you follow this diet, prepare to get high cholesterol, increase chance of cancer, and diabetes. I say skip this garbage diet and go for a vegan or at the very least a vegetarian diet.