Building High-Performance Muscle™

The Low-Carb Roundtable, Part I
Featuring Charles Poliquin, Cassandra Forsythe,
Dan John, David Barr, and Joel Marion


Preface: Is Low-Carb Really Best for Body Re-Composition?

Low-carbohydrate diets have certainly received their share of attention in recent years. While the popularity of Atkins, South Beach, and other low-carb diets peaked last year, it remains an interesting topic among physique athletes.

In the scientific community, research is continually published, whether low-carb popularity with the lay public wanes or not. A recent meta-analysis (study of other studies) suggested that lower-carb, higher protein diets are indeed best for body re-compositioning (Krieger, et al., Feb. 2006).

Of course, differences in opinion do occur regarding how to best derive the metabolic benefits of lower-carb (or even very-low-carb) diets. But, I think readers will agree that this collection of experts will echo at least some of their existing beliefs as far as how much carbohydrate is too much and how much is not enough.

So without further preface, let's take a look at this commentary that Greg has assembled for the benefit of your brains and your love handles.

— Lonnie Lowery, PhD


T-Nation: We have a big group here so let's jump right into it. How do you define the term "low-carb nutrition?"

Dan John:

Joel Marion:

T-Nation: So how do you know if you're really in ketosis?

T-Nation: Okay, let's let Cassandra chime in. For those who don't know, Cassandra has a fitness/figure background, a Master of Science degree in nutrition, plus she's working toward her PhD, and she's barely into her mid-twenties! Take it away, Cass.

Cassandra Forsythe:

T-Nation: Dave, lay your definition on us, then we'll move on.

Dave Barr:

T-Nation: Okay, clearly, "low-carb" can mean a lot of different things to different people. Next question, what are some advantages and disadvantages to a low-carb nutrition plan? Danny?

Dan John:

Dave Barr:

Charles Poliquin:

T-Nation: That's a pretty convincing list, Charles. Any disadvantages?

Charles Poliquin:

T-Nation: Interesting stuff. Cassandra, what advantages and disadvantages do you see?

T-Nation: And the disadvantages?

Cassandra Forsythe:

T-Nation: Okay, Cassandra makes me want to go low-carb year 'round! Joel, I think you have a different perspective though.

Joel Marion:

T-Nation: Okay, when most people throw the term low-carb around, they're usually in a fat loss phase. Seldom do you hear a low-carb approach discussed when someone is placing their primary focus on hypertrophy and strength. What are your thoughts on a long term, low-carb approach for a weight trainer whose primary objective is muscle gain and/or maximal strength development?

Dave Barr:

Dan John:

Charles Poliquin:

T-Nation: Cassandra, what are your thoughts on low-carbing when pursuing muscle gains?

Cassandra Forsythe:

Joel Marion:


Note: In Part II, the contributors will discuss low-carb diets for competitive athletes, carb cycling, and much more! Stay tuned!

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