Book Review: The Carb Nite Solution By John Kiefer

Carb Night Solution

The Carb Nite Solution: The Physicist’s Guide to Power Dieting

I first came across this author while listening to Jimmy Moore’s Ask the Low Carb Experts Podcast and then a few days later on Robb Wolf’s Podcast.

What John Kiefer had to say about the ketogenic diet and how he found the best way to optimize it for fat loss was very interesting, so I took the plunge and picked up his book.

Since amazon doesn’t offer a kindle version, I actually picked up the e-book version of it directly from his website.

The author is a physicist who was fat before and tried to get into body building.  As he was training he discovered a very effective method for him to burn fat.  After reviewing over 20,000 articles and synthesizing all that information he came upon this solution.

The main goal of the Carb Nite Method is to burn fat while preserving muscle.  He stresses that this is a tool that should not be used for more than 6 months at a time and that this is NOT meant to be a lifestyle (as opposed to the idea of continuous nutritional ketosis).

The way he describes the most effective way to burn fat is to take advantage of the physiologic benefits of ketosis by eating an ultra low carb diet (less than 30 gm of carbs per day), with periods of once a week carb re-feeds in a window of 6 – 8 hrs.

According to his research, being in a state of prolonged ketosis actually causes the body to down regulate it’s metabolism, and this down regulation eventually works against you if your goal is fat loss.

This made sense to me since during my own n=1 experiment with nutritional ketosis, I didn’t experience the same dramatic weight loss that Jimmy Moore did in his experiment.  After 90 days I only lost a grand total of 1.2 lbs and 1 inch off my abdominal circumference.

During the course of my experiment I developed a bout of hypothyroidism which is apparently common in the very low carb community, and is the body’s way of responding to it’s ‘perceived’ state of starvation during ketosis by trying to lower it’s basal energy expenditure.  This probably accounted for why my weight loss was so minimal.

To counteract the drop in metabolism that comes with ketogenesis, Kiefer uses the carb re-feeds to cause large but brief spikes of insulin.  The carb load during the re-feed window is meant to be substantial: having a carb laden early supper, late dinner, and bed time snack.  The subsequent surge in insulin tells the body that there is actually plenty of food around and aborts the typical drop in energy.  This is a similar concept Tim Ferriss employs with his Slow Carb Diet and weekly cheat days.

Now here’s the interesting part.  The reason this carb re-feed window doesn’t make you fat is because when the body is ketogenic, it actually stops production of the enzyme that converts carbohydrate to fat!  So keeping the body in a ketogenic state for the entire week ensures that this enzyme is inactive when the re-feed window rolls around.  It’s important to restart the ultra-low carb immediately the following day because the large dose of carbs will actually stimulate your body to up-regulate that carb-to-fat enzyme again, until ketogenesis is re-achieved.

Kiefer found that utilizing this method not only prevented the body from slowing down it’s metabolism, but it actually caused the body to burn more fat for up to 4 days afterwards!  He also claims that this eventually leads to the death of fat cells.

I actually don’t want to give too much away because despite the hefty price tag of $27, this is actually a great resource.  The first 100 pages are dedicated to the science and methodology.  This is followed by some testimonials and a really useful FAQ guide.

The majority of the book is actually filled with lists of foods that are ok to eat, specific sample meal plans for an entire month, and a list of recipe’s which as you can imagine is extremely useful, especially for someone who has never heard of ketogenesis or ketosis before.

At the very back he provides extensive citations.

In the end, I still recommend this book.  My main gripe with this book is the price… again it’s $27, but if I had to do it over again, I would still purchase it.  Another thing I wish he did was inject just a little more science.  I understand that he wrote the book for lay people (which is one of the primary strengths of this book), but at least for me, it would be nice to know the name of the carb-to-fat enzyme.

The other thing I didn’t like was that he is ok with the source of carbs being food like ice cream, donuts, cake, etc.  With all the data coming out about the perils of gluten, I’d still avoid those sources and instead turn to safe starches like rice and sweet potatoes.

I have to say that I came away convinced enough to make this the subject of my next n=1 experiment.  I’m currently in the 3rd week of Carb Nite.  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed my Carb Nite Solution Review.  You can pick up the e-book here and the physical book here.

25 Responses to Book Review: The Carb Nite Solution By John Kiefer

  1. […] with the Carb Nite Solution.  If you want to learn more about how it works, you can read my recent book review, but needless to say I was pretty convinced of the potential of this protocol as an effective way […]

  2. rooth says:

    Does he talk about what type of diet to revert to after doing this particular diet for 6 months?

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Unfortunately he doesn’t go into that. I know he puts out a podcast and has a blog so I may go poke around and see what I can dig up.

  3. Jane Reed says:

    Hi BJJ….I found Kiefer’s book the same way you did, via Jimmy Moore and Robb Wolf. Since I had been experimenting with Binx Selby’s protcol (Selby being another of Jimmy’s podcast guests) I had already spent 3 weeks on an extremely low carb diet so I went right into Carb Nite. I think I did the first one badly, i.e., not enought carbs, as I was a my folk dance club’s Hallowe’en party that night and there was little time to snack. I did my second CN yesterday and found it difficult to get the amount of carbs I figured was appropriate for me, 200-300 grams. I was horribly stuffed by the end of the evening. Like you, I don’t do wheat so I stuck with sweet stuff for most of my carbs. Ugh.

  4. Dale Seng says:

    Does the book address the use of beer to accomplish the Carb Nite goal? I find in annoying that in nutritional reporting, the alcohol is typically lumped into the a carb calories. And of course alcohol is metabolised preferentially, and I’m not sure it ‘counts’ in telling the body there’s plenty of food around. I guess in most beers, the real carbs are only about 1/3 of the calories, leaving 2/3 as alcohol calories (a little protien in there, but not much).

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      I’ve paraphrased what he said below:

      Avoid alcohol at all costs during the non carb-nite days. It contains more calories than carbs, and is the preferred fuel for the body, so when theres alcohol in the system, everything else get’s stored until all the alcohol is burned off or flushed out. And on the carb nite no more than 2 glasses of wine is allowed, any more will screw up the goal of fat loss.

  5. […] fat loss and body recomposition using a variation of a cyclic ketogenic diet called the Carb Nite Solution, which essentially has me in ketosis for the entire week with a single day where I am required to […]

  6. […] diet hadn’t changed… I was still taking in 30 gm or less of carbs as per the Carb Nite Solution but taking that Nyquil really derailed my efforts to get into or stay in […]

  7. […] is the 10 week update from my experiment with the Carb Nite Solution, which is essentially a variation on a cyclic ketogenic diet.  The basic idea is to eat ultra low […]

  8. […] I completed a 10 week experiment doing a variation of a cyclic ketogenic diet called the Carb Night Solution, which basically entails eating strict low carb (less than 30 gm per day) with one 6-8 hr window of […]

  9. […] I completed a 10 week experiment doing a variation of a cyclic ketogenic diet called the Carb Night Solution, which basically entails eating strict low carb (less than 30 gm per day) with one 6-8 hr window of […]

  10. […] for prolonged periods of time can down regulate metabolism (hence the need for carb up days on Carb Nite).  Perhaps I wasn’t eating enough carbs on my Carb Nites to stave off the metabolic slow […]

  11. […] I picked up the Carb Nite Solution, I also purchased Kiefer’s Carb Back-Loading (CBL) book at the same time as part of a discounted […]

  12. […] I completed a 10 week experiment doing a variation of a cyclic ketogenic diet called the Carb Nite Solution, which basically entails eating strict low carb (less than 30 gm per day) with one 6-8 hr window of […]

  13. […] on other folks’ podcasts.  For those that don’t know, Kiefer is the author of both The Carb Nite Solution and Carb Back-Loading, both ways of eating that I’ve been playing around with […]

  14. […] as a guest on other podcasts.  For those that don’t know, Kiefer is the author of both The Carb Nite Solution and Carb Back-Loading, both ways of eating that I’ve been playing around with recently.  Here is […]

  15. […]  Now I’ve played around with cutting back my saturated fats, adding in a carb up day (via Carb Nite), or multiple carb up days (via Carb Back-Loading), or by adding in resistant starch, without any […]

  16. […] I first picked these up, I paid a total of $74 for the both of them, so this current sale is a pretty good deal, especially […]

  17. […] not kid around, I mean this isn’t something I would crave on a Carb Nite or cheat day, but I’ve actually found this to be a pleasant, low key way to start the […]

  18. […] this when I’ve encountered the works of folks like Tim Ferriss, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, John Kiefer, Dave Asprey, and Jimmy […]

  19. […] Gymnastic Bodies with Coach Christopher Sommer – The BJJ Caveman on Book Review: The Carb Nite Solution By John Kiefer […]

  20. […] he was doing was specifically focused around training and not trying to replace the carbs on Carb Nite. He still finds a lot of evidence to show that the carbs are important on Carb […]

  21. […] and discovering Kiefer’s work, I was convinced by his research and explanations in the Carb Nite Solution, and decided to try it out for myself.  This is essentially a cyclic ketogenic diet where you eat […]

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