Jeff Anderson

Do “Low Carb” Diets Really Burn Fat Best?

Do “low carb” diets burn fat?

In a word?


A recent look at 87 long term studies have proven that when it comes to burning body fat, reducing your carb intake DOES work best.

BUT…“Low carb” diets can be VERY frustrating for most people and hard to stick to.

As an experiment last year, I went 10 full days with ZERO carbohydrates.

I mean, not even a blade of GRASS in my diet…straight protein…not a single carb or gram of fat in sight.


No, I don’t mean that “figuratively”…I mean I LITERALLY went INSANE!

I went from near sobbing fits over my computer not working properly to hysterical laughter at the thought of even undertaking such an experiment.

You see, your brain NEEDS carbs just to function properly so doing without any at all was an extreme example of how your body does need to get some carbs to function.

So how can you burn fat using low carb diet plan WITHOUT worrying about whether you’ll be fitted for a straight jacket?

Well here’s what I tell my clients of my “Combat The Fat” program ( to allow them to easily burn fat and still enjoy carbohydrates…

…limit your intake of “dry” carbs and fill up on “wet” carbs!

This is a little twist I’ve created that allows you to EASILY reduce the WRONG kind of carbs WITHOUT counting calories and NEVER going hungry.

You see, you need more carbs on training days to help your muscles recover from your exercise.  Therefore, you can consume 2-4 servings of “Dry Carbs” on those days (like oatmeal, pasta, bread, etc.)

“Wet Carbs” include most vegetables and fruits and don’t contain a lot of carbs so you can eat MUCH more of these each day.

Use them as “fillers” in your diet to keep from getting hungry and helping you avoid the real culprits…those “dry carbs”.

I know this is a very different way of looking at the food you eat and doesn’t really follow the normal “low carb” pattern.

But it’s a glimpse of the way that I’VE structured the RIGHT way to use “low carb” to lose weight and forms one of the foundations of my daily eating guidelines within Combat The Fat (

16 Responses to “Do “Low Carb” Diets Really Burn Fat Best?”

  1. Kev says:

    I have been on a very low carb diet for 15 months now and the results are great! I have never been leaner.

    I have been eating mostly protein based foods, such as fish, seafood, poultry, lean meats, etc, and the only carb intake i have had have been mostly veggies to accompany my meals (in the form of peppers, tomatoes,onion, spinich) and fruit as fillers.

    I completely cut out bread, potatotes, pastas, wheat, etc for over a year. recently I have re-introduced some of these into my diet, but ini a very strictl way, limiting myself to a pasta meal for example once every fortnight.

    Important to note that in the last 15 months I have had a few “cheat days” mostly during a rest day (Saturday / Sunday) and these cheat day meals have mostly consisted of a large pizza from my favourite pizza place – but never more than one pizza every six weeks or so!

  2. Ryan says:

    Haha….anti-spam word was toast…clever. Many civilizations live on a no carb diet and do just fine. They do, however, have more natural and healthier protein supply chains. I like your look at carbs as wet and dry, this may make it easier to track what you are eating. Nicely done.

  3. lj says:

    How do you do a high protein-low carb diet without too much meat?

  4. Bridgett says:

    Finally, someone who differentiates between vegies (and fruit) and pasta, bread etc. I like veggies a lot (I like bread and such too). This sounds very interesting, especially the part about upping the dry on the workout days and lowering it or eliminating it on the nontraining days. Thanks!

  5. Mike says:

    I experimented a year or so ago with rotating my carb and fat intake, particularly with “dry carbs”. I guess it depends on how your body handles things, but when I totally stopped my carbs and worked out I found i got dizzy, at one point I got so confused I couldn’t even count my reps or sets. I stopped it after a week. As soon as I went back to carbs I was back to normal. That was when single figure bodyfat was really important to me. I’ve pushed on since then.

  6. James Atkinson says:

    I think the key is that you said you went on a no carb and NO FAT diet, who said a low carb diet is supposed to be without fat?

  7. Jeff:

    I’d love to see those “87 long term studies that have proven that when it comes to burning body fat, reducing your carb intake DOES work best.”

    Short term carb depletion is effective for “looking lean” for a bodybuilding show or figure competition but, long term low carb diets lead to muscle glycogen depletion and thus, lower adaptive ability for the muscles to hold glycogen. This results in an increased sensativity to dietary carbs. Long term carb restriction decreases performance in muscle due to the same.

    Therefore, you want to perform better in the gym and be a better fat burner? Research is unequivically pointing to higher glycogen storage capacity in the muscle and a greater aerobic capacity. You need carbs and oxygen to burn fat and a lot of both. Carbohydrate loading, tempered to the gram, will afford proper nutrients for glycogen replenishment and protein synthesis. As athletic performance improves, so does muscle density and fat burning ability. The ability to do HITT at a lower heartrate and high workload is what burns fat.

    An instantaneous mild calorie deficit, meal by meal, ensures bodyfat loss, NOT carb restriction. Carb restriction reduces muscle mass and makes you flat. SO long term carb restriction is going to make you skinny and flabby and a super fat storer when you finally return to moderate carb intake.

    As recommended by the National Association of Sports Nutrition, contemporary Sports nutritions plans should gradually increase the amount and/or percentage of carbs over time so as to increase the ability to store glycogen and improve the oxidation rate of carbohydrate during exercise, rest and recovery.

  8. Jeff, the clear labels of wet carbs and dry carbs makes the whole process much easier to understand for sure. Combat The Fat is an excellent program that, as you know, I used to get into better metabolic shape for climbing up to Mt Everest Base camp last fall.

    It’s a truly useful program that can be put into practice anywhere. Even a school yard playground if need be.

  9. Jeff L says:

    I have been manipulating my carbs for about the past couple of years. I had tried very low carbs and also had dizzy spells while working out and big time lack of energy. I now consume my dry carbs on workout days first thing in the morning and an hour after a work-out which is also after my post work-out shake which contains 60-100 grams of simple carb such as honey.

    Like Jeff I keep the dry carbs out of the equation on non-workout days and feel fine. The thing that we have to remember is to keep the leptin levels high by cycling higher amounts of carbs in at the right times. When leptin levels are high the metabolism is working fast, when it is low the metabolism slows right down and fat loss becomes very difficult. That’s a basic explanation but one that anyone can get.

    Also we have to remember that each person is different and handles carbs differently. Some experimentation and you will find what works best for you.

  10. Michael says:

    I just wanted to post a response to lay to rest the fears some might have about a lower carb lifestlye. I’m going to briefly lay down some info about it.   1. “dry carbs” were only introduced into our food supply 10,000 ago  with the invention of agriculture. We’ve been around as a species for over 1 million years! how did we live without bread or pasta oh my!   2. Our ancestors were lean, strong, and healthy with a set of good teeth.      their diet was mainly meat. 80% of it was meat in fact! rounded out with      what nuts, berries, and leafy veggies they could gather. They didn’t eat       lots of fruit either. Remember, fruits are seasonal and are not available      all year round.   3. For those who think carbs are needed,remember our ancestors ate very       little carbs not even enough to “glyocogen load”. Yet they raced down      their prey to kill it and eat it. Sometimes they were out hunting for 3      or more days with no “carbs” for energy. Their lean,muscular bodies       were fueled with protein and fat.    4. Lastly, this is for the die hard “carbers” who still think dry carbs are       essential. Your brain doesn’t need carbs, your brain is made up of fat!       It craves the long burning energy of fat. There are essential fats, and       essential amino acids. they are essential because our liver cannot       recreate them. There are no scientifically labeled “essential carbs”!       What about glycogen you say? For one fat from healthy sources are a        longer burning energy source. If you want quick bursts of energy       given to you from sugary carbs, think MCT fats. Remember, what        glycogen your body does need it gets from the leafy greens and lower       carb fruits. The rest of it can be created by the liver using the       glycerol molecule attached to all forms fat.    I hope this was helpful in any way. One last thing, remember this. Their are very very few animals on this planet whose “natural” food source comes from grain.It was only introduced to our livestock 10,000 years ago. Herd animals prefer to graze on what? Green, leafy grass and leaves. Think about that. 

    -Michael from Texas P.H.D.-            

  11. Alan says:

    Jeff, I need to correct you on a couple of things.

    When you say: “You see, your brain NEEDS carbs just to function properly so doing without any at all was an extreme example of how your body does need to get some carbs to function.”

    That’s not strictly true. Yes the brain needs a small amount of glucose but the body is perfectly capable of making this via Gluconeogenisis when fully keto adapted. If you were to restrict or eliminate carbs for 4-6 weeks the body adapts by producing ketone bodies and easily burning them in place of glucose. In fact more efficiently than glucose, it is the bodies preferred fuel evolutionary speaking.
    I have been low carb zero carb for 2.5 years and have no trouble with 5 intense heavy weight 1 hour workouts every week. I have made great gains and my photo has even been used to promote Charles Staley’s Massive Arms Program, which I used to great effect. I have trouble stopping after an hour and recovery is also much easier.

    The other big mistake you made is eliminating fat. 60%-80% of calories must come from fat. Preferably saturated. Forget the lipid and cholesterol myth. It’s all bunkum. Excess protein is easily stored as body fat.
    Thanks for the article.


  12. sean watson says:

    well that dick from 10,000 years ago and that is where his brain is still,
    think what was life span in those days.

  13. Steve says:

    Sean, are you really insulting someone from 10,000 years ago when you can’t even put a proper sentence together? Brilliant.

  14. Hans says:

    Sean, you (and most people) think that an average life span of 25, or 30 (or whatever) in a population means that that is how long people live. Not so! This seemingly short life is just a statistical result of the huge number of infant deaths. So if they survived the first couple of years they lived to be 60-70-80!

  15. Paul Wann says:

    I have one up on you..I went 21 days with zero carbs (only trace carbs). My diet with tuna fish, white fish, turkey breast, and chicken breast. I really cut the weight but my mental state was just that…mental. I lifted 6 days a week but it was as if I was a shell, no brain waves just movement. My trainer at the time was getting me ready for my first contest and his concept was to cut carbs to lose weight, period. Therefore my big days of carbs would not exceed 25-50 and those where from protein shakes.

    In short, I would never do it again. It has been a year and a half and my body still does not respond like it should when I cut out carbs (meaning no weight loss). Cutting to many carbs for to long can mess up your system, at least it did mine.

  16. Alan says:

    Not too sure who you’re one up on but I’m puzzled as to why you experienced such a bad mental state. 4 weeks should be ample time to become keto adapted. I understand some people feel crappy until their body adapts to the ketones, although I never had any problems. I have been very low carb (one or two green veggies at night sometimes) for 2 and a half years and lately absolutely zero carbs, only tuna, turkey and chicken breast and kangaroo steak, (apparently one of the leanest meats around) 5 meals a day. I feel fantastic and my workouts kick arse. I don’t know who said you can’t get a pump on zero carbs but it’s untrue.

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