Before we start…Let’s get one thing straight. All three of these diet variants can be used to get success for fat loss purposes and has more than enough proof to give them validity.

This article will focus on which of these works best to produce long-term results in a bodybuilding environment. 

There is enough science to support all three approaches. There is no obvious looser.

So that said, let’s focus on the negatives of each approach to help us come to a conclusion.

First up – KETO

For those that do not know what KETO (Banting) is, it is an approach that replaces most carbs with fat. Protein and Fat is high and carbs is low in calories in the diet structure.


  1. The adaption process can be uncomfortable for some. It is called Keto flu and involves headaches, fatigue, nausea, etc.
  2. Dramatically increasing your fat intake while drastically cutting carb intake may cause gastrointestinal issues, ranging from constipation to diarrhea.
  3. It can take a while for the gall bladder, pancreas and liver to adapt to digesting the high amounts of fat.
  4. May cause cholesterol for those who are genetically predisposed. Many had to stop Keto as a result.
  5. Although not as unsocial as IF, it still present a problem for most to interact and eat in a social environment. However, it seems many restaurants are catching up to the craze and quite frequently one will see Keto options on the menu.
  6. There is a concern about harm to the sensitivity of insulin for long term use. Carbs raise insulin levels. When carb intake is severely restricted insulin responses tend to become desensitized.

Second Up – IF (Intermittent Fasting)

It is exactly what it says. A diet structure defined by regular fasting periods (16:8 or 5:2) and which gives you freedom during the non-fasting periods to eat pretty much what you want. Technically there are no diet restrictions with IF.


  1. Some big studies found that Intermittent Fasters have a HUGE dropout. The biggest among any diet group. Nearly 40% of everyone who started IF drop out in the first month. This increases even more for month 2 and 3.
  2. Hugely unsocial diet structure. Probably the most social unfriendly of all diet structures.
  3. Due to the drop of insulin during fasting periods it might interfere with focus and concentration and impact your job/studies.
  4.  In a 12 month study ( amongst Intermittent Fasters it found that amongst all the participants, the LDL cholesterol had increased significantly after 12 months. This spell trouble for your heart and arteries.
  5. IF users tend to fill up the non-fasting periods with not so healthy food which lack nutrients. It is thus generally not considered the healthiest diet even if you take all the positives into account.

Third up – The 40/30/30 caloric restricted diet split.

The 40/30/30 refers to the caloric content of the protein/carbs/fat. Although this is considered the healthiest of the 3 approaches, it is by no means devoid of negatives.


  1. Only work when one put in effort the previous night to prepare all meals for the next day in ready to use containers.
  2. If above not done the risk for diverting from diet is very big.
  3. Considered an expensive diet as one has to ensure all required foods are available. 
  4. The caloric restriction can lead to hunger pains (although splitting meals into regular smaller 5-6 meals a day can easily bypass that problem and keep insulin levels stable).
  5. This diet requires the most prep time per day to keep correctly in place compared to the other two.

Let’s score these 3 diet approaches

(Determining how they stack up against each other.)

  Values out of 10. Higher value better.
How easy is diet to follow?675
Freedom to eat what you want?6107
Social stumbling block?-5-8-3
Long term solution?438
Health risks-5-30
How easy do people drop out?-4-8-5

It is clear that for most people the caloric controlled 40/30/30 split diet will be the best solution, especially for a long-term solution. But not for all, MANY people have reached great success with both Keto and IF. However, it is not everyone’s cup of tea and also not working for everyone. But not all is so simple. There has been people who combined Keto with IF and got great success and they claim discomfort (like Keto flu) was very short term.

Also, although IF is considered a unhealthy diet (due to the fact that technically one can eat what he/she wants in the open window), if one follow either the Keto or Caloric Controlled 40/30/30 diets as the eating pattern with applying IF rules, then the whole picture changes drastically and one can have a potent weapon in your fat busting arsenal.

The big negative for the 40/30/30 split caloric controlled diet is the effort one needs to put in to make it a success. If you are not prepared to make food for next day the previous night and put into ready to use containers for next day, the risk for diverting from diet becomes very big.

The good news with the 40/30/30 split caloric controlled diet is that there are short-term tricks where one can force the fat down from that difficult-to-lose-areas (grey fat). This trick is called Carb Cycling an works especially well with this type of diet. Here is an article I have written which explains Carb Cycling in detail:

Here is a good example of such a caloric controlled 40/30/30 split diet:


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The other big negative of the 40/30/30 split is its actual effectiveness, which is considered low for most people. But the truth is, it is because people manage the diet wrong. One cannot follow a diet off-the-shelve and think it will work for everyone, even when designed by a dietician. The diet MUST be aligned for your body’s unique metabolic tempo. And that can only be done by monitoring (fat calipers + weighing scale + measuring tape) the body every 14 days to see if muscle and/or fat was lost or gained. Then the daily caloric value of the diet must be adjusted upward or downward with a maximum 10% value until you have reach the “sweet spot” where you lose fat and NOT muscle. Sure, this sounds (and is) like a lot of work. But this is eventually where the men are separated from the boys. This approach combined with the 40/30/30 caloric controlled diet and using carb cycling when needed is what many competing athletes are following to get to their goal physiques. All of this forms part of my transformation system for the older guy (The ADVANCED SYSTEM II). More here:

Now, everyone – happy dieting and make your dreams come true.

Gert Louw


2 thoughts on “Diet SHOOTOUT – KETO vs IF vs CALORIC CONTROLLED 40/30/30

  1. Hi Gert, Thanks for your post, I have changed to a modified Keto diet some 12 months ago, and train 5×5 strong lifts with 1 day of isolation excises for additional stimulation, but in the main 80% of heavy weights are compound movements. I agree with some of your comments on Keto, but it takes 12-16 weeks to get truly fat adapted. that’s why IF helps get into Ketosis faster, Keto flu is your body not being able to process fat into Ketones quickly enough, because it has to adapt to diet changes. I cheat on the weekends without going overboard, and although my ketones drop, I am back on track by late Monday evening after fasting all day. My body weight has stabilised around 85-86kg from 83kg but the increase in weight has been mainly muscle. My 1 rep max squat is 150KG bench still around 90kg deadlift 155kg overhead press 58kg (tough to get past this figure).
    My blood markers have improved dramatically, cholesterol normal range, Testosterone, increased by 65% from last year. LHL and triglycerides are both good.

    On training days I add 100g black currents to my smoothie (polyphenol and additional benefits), four raw eggs, 30g WPI 1tsp Turmeric, 1tsp organic spirulina, 1tsp Ashwagandha, and 300g double cream. I don’t normally use WPI on other days, and the only supplement I use daily is creatine. Diet is generally 75Fat 20% protein, and 5% net carbs (except on training days, black currents take up to 10%).

    The only negative doing Keto and IF is that you can’t push heavy weights as easy as when you are on carbs, three reps and then you struggle when you close to limit, carbs five reps and you can finish without spotter. What I do to get around this is I increase weights to just to fail on three.
    From a social point of view, when we go out, I eat steak and salad without any carbs, mayonnaise made with olive oil is a nice addition to salads which we make at home, lots of veg, and oily fish. We make bone broth for the additional benefits of minerals, gut health, with the raw eggs and meat most of the essential amino acids are provided and absorbed. For me personally I have found to be major step up in health and IF increases growth hormones that assist in testosterone increase and adding muscle.

    You become more sensitive to insulin, and avoid all the problems of insulin resistance which causes a wide range of health problems and a pre-disposition to cancers. The burning of fat as an energy source is how we have been genetically prepared over 1000’s of years, The modern diet of high carb (because food manufacturing and ease of growing carbs has become front and centre of diets, especially in countries that rely on fast food and supermarkets) is what is causing obesity, type2 diabetes, low testosterone in middle aged men, and an epidemic of age related diseases, Parkinson’s, dementia, thyroid, enlarged prostate and many more, all because insulin is continually elevated through high carb intake, regular meals (6 times a day medical standard). And a stupid drive to low fat diets.

    Don’t mean to disagree with your assessment, I just think that the amount of effort you put into your posts should be respected and a solid response is my way of acknowledging that.

    Thanks for all your posts, Keep it up, God Bless Domenic

    1. Domenic – hey thanks for that detailed input. Info that people certainly can benefit from. It is not always just about the science but a big part is our own experiences. So thanks buddy and wish u an awesome day. God bless you and your loved ones bro. G.

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