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The Mind-Muscle Diet – A New Alternative To Low Carb Fad Diets



In an age where low-carb diets are more popular than exercise as a quick solution for losing weight, the true facts about such diets as The Atkins Diet and The South Beach diet leave little hope for members of the Health and Fitness community. The truth is that all low-carb “fad” diets cater to individuals who hardly ever work out and lead a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. The question is then, since these people don’t exercise, how do they lose weight?


The physiology behind the popular low-carb diets is the substitution of fat for carbs for energy. When providing the body with just protein and fat, the body will burn the fat first for energy, since there are no carbs and use the protein for muscle function and recovery. And if the all energy stores are used, the body will burn muscle protein, but this still relates to weight loss. For the avid health and fitness enthusiast, losing muscle protein and water is the last thing we want. That is why the Mind-Muscle Diet is considered the true fat loss diet; it preserves muscle while burning fat.



The secret behind the Mind-Muscle Diet is the cyclical process of cycling carbs. Consuming carbohydrates as part of your diet causes a spike in insulin in your pancreas. This hormone is used to store glycogen and amino acids in the muscles, with all excess calories being stored in adipose cells as fat. Cutting carbs from your diet releases hormones instead of storing them and your body will then look for another source of energy. When the liver runs out of glycogen stores, it starts to produce “ketones”, which are by-products of fatty acids. This condition is called Ketosis. When you reach Ketosis, you know your body is burning dietary fat and body fat as energy, and using the dietary protein for muscle repair. During fat metabolism, protein cannot be converted into free-fatty acids for energy, creating a true ‘protein-sparing’ environment.

Consumption of the right proportion of protein to fat is important. You will need to eat at least one gram per pound of lean mass (Bodyweight*Body fat %). You need to eat fat to burn fat, so the rest of the diet is dietary fat. Normally a 500 calorie deficit from the maintenance calorie level is sufficient.


200 lb dieter

20% fat

160 lb Lean Body Mass

Maintenance Calories: 3000 cal (15 x 200lbs))

Fat Loss Calories: 2500 cal (3000-500)

Protein Requirements: 160 g (160 lbs x1 g/BW), 640 calories (160g x 4 cal/g for protein)

Fat Requirements: 1860 cal (2500 fat loss cal -640 protein cal), 206 g fat (1860 cal/9 cal/g fat)

For extended periods of dieting, it is necessary to cut calories as body weight decreases. Make sure you cut fat calories and not protein calories in this case.


Since health and fitness enthusiasts are active people, they will be burning muscle glycogen during workouts. This is the difference between the Mind-Muscle diet and the fad diets. We cannot simply exhaust all our energy stores without having to refill them again. The body will burn muscle protein then and we don’t want that. During the carb load ‘phase’ the dieter will eat 10-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight. Protein will be kept at 1 g per lb bodyweight and fat will be at or below 1 g per KG bodyweight. Eating carbs in this 24-30 hour interval will increase insulin levels which will store amino acids and glycogen into the muscles, while also using the protein for rebuilding and using the fat for energy! The type of fat consumed should be unsaturated and at 9 calories per gram, although it is claimed that essential fatty acids increase insulin sensitivity within the muscle cells, increasing glycogen intake even more.


Bodyweight (KG) = 73 KG (200 lbs/2.2(lbs/KG))

Carb Requirements =730 g (73 KG x 10)

Protein Requirements = 160 g

Fat Requirements= 73 g


The cyclical process of the Mind-Muscle Diet lasts one week starting on Sunday and going until Saturday

o (200 lb Dieter, 3000 cal maintenance)

Monday – Friday Afternoon – Low Carb Day

o Consume fat and protein all day, except post-workout where it will just be protein (fat will slow down absorption)

o 160 g Protein (640 cal)

o 206 g Fat (1860 cal)

Friday Afternoon to Saturday at Midnight – Carb Load

o Eat high glycemic carbs two hours before your workout for absorption and energy

o Eat Carbs and Protein with minimal fat

o 730 g Carbs (2920 cal)

o 160 g Protein (640 cal)

o 73 g Fat (657 cal)


The Mind-Muscle Diet is the Atkins Diet for active people. This diet allows the follower to work smarter, not harder and cut fat while preserving muscle. Although during carb up, you can essentially eat whatever you want, the low carb diet does have its challenges though. For the first 2 weeks, cravings for carbohydrates are intense, thus energy will decrease and other physiological conditions will surface. Most as such, are indicators that you have reached Ketosis. Bad breath is a sign of ketosis, but you can also check your urine using urinalysis strips for the presence of Ketones. Lethargy and cravings come with lack of carbohydrates fuel, but after two to three weeks, carb cravings decrease. As always, listen to you body and carb up if you feel totally energy depleted. Give this diet 6 weeks and watch what it can do for you!


Source by Jeff Harding

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