Protein King – Hi everyone, thanks for joining us on Proteinking.com.au’s interview series, I’m James, this is Ellie, and we’re super excited to have John Kiefer – author of Carb Nite and Carb Backloading joining us. How are you doing, Kiefer?
Kiefer – Good, how are you two? I guess this morning for you two?
PK – It is morning for us, yep, 9am Sydney, and you’re in Phoenix today aren’t you?
Kiefer – Yeah, correct.
PK – Perfect. Well Kiefer, we just want to say to start off thank you for joining us, it’s an absolute treat to have you here. Ellie and I both are big fans of your diets, and we do follow your diets so it’s great for us as well as our readers, so thanks for being here.
Kiefer – Yeah, thanks for having me on.
PK – Kiefer, if you could just give us a little background on yourself, and how you came to write Carb Nite and Carb Backloading.
Kiefer – It’s funny, I have to tell this story so many times I should just do a little video clip of it… Overweight growing up and unfortunately in school I got made fun of, so I started trying to figure it out and did all the conventional stuff – ate less, exercised more. Which was kind of funny, I achieved a lot of athletic achievements doing that but I never had the body that I wanted. So I started doing more and more research about the body and actually going to the medical literature instead of depending on what I read in magazines and books and things like that. So after years and years of doing that, I was helping people along the way and helping them make transformations and, you know, actually part of the story people don’t know is that a friend of mine passed away. It kind of made me realise I should be doing what it is I really love doing, and so I did. Another friend challenged me to write a diet book, because every time they told me what they were doing I told them it was stupid. So they’re like ‘why don’t you write your own damn book?’, and I was like ‘alright’. So, you know, I wrote Carb Nite and that kinda started off, I had some trouble understanding marketing, getting it out there to people when I first wrote it, but kinda got some feet under me and wrote Carb Backloading, and here we are.
PK – That’s great. Can you touch on what Carb Nite and Carb Backloading are all about? Who they’re written for, what sort of results you’d expect from each of the books?
Kiefer – Yeah, Carb Nite originally was written for people who just wanted to be healthier and lose body fat. It wasn’t meant for performance audiences or athletes, and the basics of it for the people who don’t know; you don’t eat carbohydrates most of the week, really, except for fibrous vegetables, and then eat them on one night of the week. That’s taking advantage of a lot of hormonal rhythms that occur over anywhere from three to seven days, sometimes ten days. So it’s really targeting a lot of hormones. And then Carb Backloading is designed for athletes, and in that one, you are only eating carbohydrates at night, and that depends on your training. There we’re trying to take advantage of some hormonal responses, and also some circadian rhythms – how the body reacts during the day, and a couple nice tricks we can do to get muscle mass soak up fats and glucose and keep body fat from doing that.
PK – You touched on training protocols with Carb Nite and Carb Backloading, so if Carb Backloading is more geared towards athletes, is there a training protocol that works best for Carb Nite? Is it weight training, is it cardio, is the couch potato going to get good results from following Carb Nite?
Kiefer – Oddly enough, the couch potato will get good results, good fat loss results, just from following Carb Nite. Just that shift in diet makes a huge difference. Actually Carb Nite is hard to do a lot of resistance training with. That’s actually why I came up with the Shockwave Training Protocol that you can download for free. It was really designed for low carbohydrate diets, to keep resistance training and not overstress yourself and beat yourself up, basically. And of course any time you resistance train you’re going to get better results with your lifestyle in general. Although I recommend resistance training with Carb Nite, people can still get great results even if they haven’t started that exercise portion yet.
PK – Is there a difference between how men and women should be following the Carb Nite?
Kiefer – Carb Nite, luckily, is, I don’t want to say ‘idiot-proof’, because people do manage to screw it up sometimes. But, you know, for men and women it’s pretty much the same. Carb Nite’s pretty robust that way, the hormones that it takes advantage of, even out pretty well for men and women. Women at first might have to be careful with how many carbohydrates they eat on their Carb Nite, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same for both men and women.
PK – If we’re correct in assuming, the main function of the fat loss during Carb Nite and the ultra-low carb portions of Carb Backloading is getting into ketosis?
Kiefer – So Carb Nite, you probably will go into ketosis. That’s not always the case. Depending on how long you’ve been overweight, or how out of shape you are, you actually may have a very very difficult, if almost impossible time getting into nutritional ketosis with Carb Nite, or even taking carbs out of your diet for long periods of time, weeks on end. So ketosis isn’t really the goal in Carb Nite, just taking carbohydrates out of the diet and controlling insulin gives you the vast majority of effects. On Carb Backloading, it’s probably rare that you will go into ketosis very often. You will probably wake up in ketosis, but again the goal there is those circadian rhythms and making sure insulin load is low particularly in the first half of the day, particularly before training – because that gives us the ability to wipe out intramuscular glycogen stores, to perform better, to get better response from our stress hormones, all that good stuff. So the ketosis really is over-emphasised in the industry right now, and there’s more and more research showing it’s just not that important.
PK – So probably don’t go for the two cups of brown rice or six oranges before a training session?
Kiefer – No, exactly! That’s something to stay away from.
PK – But that’s what we’ve been reading everywhere, Kiefer! I know that in Carb Nite the idea is when you remove all the carbs you can replace them with fat, but how do you know if you’re eating too much fat, or too much protein for that matter as well?
Kiefer – It’s actually hard to eat too much fat, other than just way too many calories. I’ve had people amazingly consume 10,000 calories a day, most of which came from fat, and it was funny. They were frustrated because they weren’t losing weight; I’m like ‘you should be happy you’re not gaining weight!’ The fat content really isn’t important as too much protein, and that’s really, it really changes depending on if you’re training or not. If you’re not training, then your protein need actually can be pretty low during the fat loss period, and that could be 100 grams maximum for the day, is all you might actually need of protein. So it’s really important to get a lot of fat and not worry too much about your protein. If you exercise a lot then you can get up to at least a gram – one to one gram ratio of fat to protein is probably the max you’re going to want to go and see some good fat loss results without feeling horrible.
PK – So just on that, what role do calories play in this whole thing? I know you said if you’re eating 10,000 calories a day you’re probably not going to lose too much weight. Is there a sweet spot for most people? We’ve heard, you know, 500 calorie deficit, 10 percent deficit, does it matter that much in your experience?
Kiefer – It doesn’t matter that much. It’s interesting if you just go off of the equations that we use for metabolic rates and you try to target that for your calories on the low carb portions of Carb Nite, you’re going to lose weight. It instantly is going to put you in energy deficit, just because the body is working so differently at that point without carbohydrates. Carb Backloading very interestingly, people can see they can eat about 10 percent over their metabolic rate worth of calories and still see body recomposition, so they’re losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. So calories do matter, you can’t just say calories don’t matter at all, but we have a much wider range of what is going to work.
PK – And so from a health standpoint, we’ve seen several studies showing that ketogenic diets can lower risks of disease, mortality and all that sort of thing. Would you say Carb Nite would be an optimal diet for somebody who is suffering from some of these illnesses, or would Carb Backloading be better if they can get in the training sessions and then put some cherry turnovers away, is that also going to contribute to better health for most people?
Kiefer – Both of the plans will definitely contribute to better health for people. Even if they do have cherry turnovers once in a while, or some sort of junk on Carb Backloading, it’s that power of not having carbohydrates for so much to the day, you get so many benefits – you get less free radical production; you get more of the beneficial cellular processes that allow cells to heal and operate more functionally; mitochondria – the transport mechanisms that help mitochondria to function correctly don’t get as damaged as they do as when you eat carbohydrates, and actually they have a chance to repair; and we even see in cancer cells not only for people who do have cancer, let’s say they have unfortunately gotten to that stage, you take carbohydrates out of their diet and they go into remission. It’s amazing the success they’re having with those ketogenic diets.
PK – It seems to go against what most doctors are telling you, you know.
Kiefer – Yeah, it really is amazing, you know, stripping carbs out of the diet for the majority of the week. Carb Nite – not only could you cure a lot of metabolic diseases and terrify people, like cancer, you can prevent them from happening in the first place. So it’s really a powerful technique. And the carbs are necessary. I threw them in there on Carb Nite not so you can cheat, but so you can keep an optimal healthy balance hormonal milieu, you know, everything keeps running the way it should so you can lose weight and get healthier and healthier.
PK – So with the carbs on Carb Backloading, for example, an athlete who’s going to need those carbs for training probably isn’t going to have any health issues from having 200 grams of carbs from sugar every couple of nights? That’s not going to be as big of an issue, is that correct?
Kiefer – Correct. You know, if you start looking at the numbers and you look through the day, you’re going probably about 18 hours without carbohydrates possibly. That’s a long time for your body to operate at its’ maximum health, maximum efficiency, maximum tissue repair, maximum cholesterol usage, all those things. Even if you throw in the junk at night, you’re eating sugar; it doesn’t disrupt the system very much from a health perspective.
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