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.

Negatives:

  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.

Negatives:

  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 (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2623528) 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.

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.
QUESTIONSKETOIF40/30/30
How easy is diet to follow?675
Freedom to eat what you want?6107
Social stumbling block?-5-8-3
Effectiveness?786
Long term solution?438
Cost-4-2-5
Health risks-5-30
How easy do people drop out?-4-8-5
TOTAL5713

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: https://gertlouw.com/2015/06/09/carb-cycling-explained/

Here is a good example of such a caloric controlled 40/30/30 split diet: https://gertlouw.com/2014/08/16/cutting-diet-challenges/

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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: https://gertlouw.com/my-transformation-secrets/

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

Gert Louw

MAKE IT HAPPEN