We are carnivores

As paleo and primal become more complex, authoritarian, licensed, profit driven, subverted and infected with fear based marketing efforts, Primal North seeks to simplify, unify, and advocate a proper level of scientific skepticism to the world of paleo, primal and low carb nutrition. Meat is food, plants are medicine, food is fuel, and movement is pleasure. Lets stop making a mess of it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sorry Anthony Colpo - Truly Keto Athletes Do Exist

Yet again, we see how the low-carb movement pumps out more bollocks than a room full of politicians. If you are a highly active individual, learn to love your carbohydrates because they are critical for supporting the high volume training necessary to achieve peak fitness and sporting proficiency.  ~ Anthony Colpo


My favorate way to counter sweeping declaritions of certainty is with a clinical trial that proves otherwise.


And another...


It may be true that world class athletes do not use ketogenic diets, or it would be true, if we ignored the fact that ketogenic diets have been used by world class bodybuilders for decades.  Many bodybuilders have "stayed keto" 100% of the time simply because it felt good to do so, rather than cycling in and out.  I have known some amateur powerlifters who follow this approach to stay in their weight category.

But we need to be clear, a world class athlete is likely not going to "Go Keto" because he has likely spent his entire life training and eating reletavily healthy food and has long since found a balance that works.

Why then would a world class athlete change his mind and go keto?  Of course you are not going to find very many ketogenic athletes in ANY SPORT because prevaling advice, an example provided above, is that its IMPOSSIBLE.  And if you are told its impossible without carbs, you are just going to eat carbs and get on with training right?

I will briefly discuss some athletes that are using various levels of carb restriction before I get to the truly keto folks.

Timothy Allen Olson (The moderately low carb runner) and a Red Herring that had the doubters of the world pointing fingers

I thinks its quite obvious Tim does not follow a ketogenic diet at all, but he does follow a "minimal carb approach" and mindfully times his carbs and eats in a way that promotes body fat as his primary fuel source. An earlier article by Anthony Colpo rightly points out that Tim Olson is not a VLC practitioner, however his carb consumption compared to others in his sport is incredibly lower in carbs.

Very Low Carb Athletes
(skirting keto.. hard to say)

They may not be 100% keto but no way total calories from carbs is > 20%

The point is this guys take advantage of a high level of carb restriction to gain competitive advantage.

Ben Greenfield

Usually 30g hemp/pea/rice protein with coconut milk for breakfast, sardines/avocadoes/olives on mixed greens for lunch, and meat + roasted/steamed veggies for dinner. Pre or post workout is typically seeds/nuts/coconut and occasionally dark chocolate or ginger. Average 30-100g carbs/day.
Bear in mind this includes 60-90 minutes of very high intensity exercise on daily basis.
Weekends that may include 2-3 hours of training typically add in sweet potato, yam, fermented grain sources, natto, etc. with either breakfast or dinner, pushing closer to 100-150g carbs/day on one day of week.
Getting ketone monitor and 12 week of hormone/inflammation/lipid panel testing from May 15-August 15 to attempt full blown keto in my buildup to Ironman Canada.   ~ Ben Greenfield
 Source:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PrimalBodyPrimalMind/permalink/10151585706465266/?comment_id=10151587025645266&offset=0&total_comments=9

Of course Ben has long pushed a low carb diet for triathletes.  I wonder why Anothony overlooked Ben?

Ben authored this book years ago... I guess he never sent Anthony a copy.

Larry Scott

Sort of says it all... and we mourn his passing.  Sadly taken from us by Alzheimers, a disease normally that responds very well to a ketogenic diet but has a high genetic component.

Truly Keto Athletes - As Promised!

The Legend - Vince Gironda "The Iron Guru"

Coached and counselled so many successful bodybuilders its impossible to imagine and if you think the training volume of Arnold cannot compare to a crossfit session you lack knowledge of the kind of extremes Arnold and Franco used to put themselves through, to the point of having oxygen masks to recover faster between brutally heavy full body weight sets.

Vince Gironda - The Iron Guru, gave rise to a generation of elite bodybuilders who ate steak, eggs, and a few green veg
Mostly eggs
You can read about his famous steak and eggs diet all over, some versions include a once a week binge free for all, but by accounts Vince himself did not have many "cheat days".

Arnold and many of the bodybuilders of the 60's were on the Vince Gironda's diet of steak, eggs, protein powder mixed with whole cream, etc. It was a healthy moderate fat, high protein, low carb diet with plenty of green veggies.
Source:  http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/becker25.htm

But there are a great many sources to choose from honestly I could post links all day to Vince Gironda's diet, its amazing Mr. Colpo was unaware of it or maybe he does not consider him an elite athlete as I do.

Darilyn Doddy - Power Lifter

From Paleo For Power

First, lets watch this young lady squat 505lbs, which is "elite" by any standard

The above a snip from this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzBSgg28Trc

The diet?  The workload?

I have been in nutritional ketosis for the last 17 weeks.
My diet is around 80% fat, 18% protein and 3%carbs
I have never felt or looked better!
I am a competitive powerlifter that has also added CrossFit into my training. My recovery is so good while being in ketosis that with the major increase in volume i've added to my training, it has not effected my strength one bit. In fact, I am getting stronger by the week while getting leaner.
I train 6-7 days a week, and 3 days out of the week I am getting in 2 workouts.
 Sounds kind of like she has no trouble working out with "intensity" ... hrm

Jamie Caporosso - Power Lifter

Drug free. Not supplementing with HRT.  I'm 40. No spring chicken. I'm not new to the game. Not like I'm in some type newbie in a honeymoon phase. I've added a ton of extra work. That should be beating the shit out of me. Max lifts took a little dip in the beginning but they are back on the rise. I had to dial in my programming. I'll keep you updated on that as it develops cause I know you are interested and that's a whole nother post if not multiple. 
    Stay tuned for more posts on this. I'm going to try and stay in NK until my birthday , Oct 31st,  as well as continue to improve in Crossfit and powerlifting. 
Wow, this also sounds intense!

He does Crossfit 4 times a week in addition to his power lifting training and competing.

Looking at before and after pictures below you can likely figure out why he found low carb appealing...

Hrm... Anthony how do you explain this?

Oh wait I can see it coming...  The skeptical response and rightly so... "Well he hasn't been low carb until recently"

Well and thats the point right? He went low carb and his performance got EVEN BETTER.  And to the point he wants to continue with it.


Mark "Doc Ott" Ultra-Runner

His BLOG:  http://run.docott.com/

Here it is folks, the one that we all know is out there, the nutritional ketosis ultra-runner.

Nuthin' traditional about Doc Ott it seems!
Our vibram wearing, keto eating ultra runner.

Here you can read about his 2nd place overall, first place male finish on a 100 mile run.

Hey Anthony, is this elite??? I'm not sure...

On a side note Doc Ott and I have been comunicating via Facebook messages lately and he is a follower of Primal North.   A really nice guy!

Mike Morton - Champion Ultra Runner

Another ultra-runner who apparently inspired our friend Doc above is Mike Morton

Winner of the Rocky Racoon Trail 100 Mile - While keto

From Mike:

“I switched to a high fat diet about three months ago. I’m in a state of Ketosis; that is when the body turns fat into Ketones for fuel rather than using Glucose from carbohydrates. The tough part for me has been finding a good “comfort food” and cheese with its high fat content has filled that void. The switch has had many benefits but it is tough to give up carbs. The rewards are worth it to me so far. I don’t have the crazy cravings and my energy and mental clarity have been great. Rocky Raccoon 100 was the first race since switching. I had been eating a huge volume of food and if you eat a lot you poop a lot! By eating a high fat diet I eat less volume, have a flattened energy curve and don’t need to poop five or six times in a 100. More to follow on the diet as the year goes along!”  ~ Mike Morton
Source:  http://endurancebuzz.com/2013/02/08/rocky-raccoon-trail-run-2013-results-mike-morton-and-nicole-studer-win-100-mile-dash/

Mike details his diet here:  http://www.runmortonrun.com/fuel

He does credit the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living for his success in adopting the diet.

Anthony Colpo, I forget.. is this 'elite' or does he need to carb up??

20 laps and 30 miles ahead of 2nd place - NICE!


And an entire website of ketogenic runners!

Cause you know we have looked high and low and cannot find truly keto athletes... **cough**


Cherry Picking?  Confirmation Bias?  Who knows and who cares!

I'm sorry but this info took me all over an hour to find and compile.  I imagine if I spent more time I would find more results. I do not think Mr. Colpo searched all that hard.

To state elite athletes cannot be keto and MUST use carbs as a cornerstone is obviously false as some hard requirement, even if these folks are outliers their existence is proof of no universal rule.

My honest take

Training keto is a new approach, it may not be fully tested, but clearly people are having success with it.  It may not be ideal for everyone but it certainly seems to be helpful to a great many.  I have had great personal success in running with keto but mixed results doing HIIT.

Anthony Responds:

Seems I touched a nerve, I'd be lying if I said the worst thing he could have done is ignore me, I feel so validated and infact the angrier this response becomes as I read it, the more I enjoyed it.

Did he really mention me in my undies eating bacon? I haven't got that far yet...



  1. Great work showing one CAN indeed perform very well on a VLC diet. Even in the elite athletic realm...let-alone the realm of the average Joe and Jane who just want to look and feel better, while avoiding chronic diseases. I used to be a fan of Colpo's work, but he really lost me when he started with the whole "eat lots of carbs to be as elite as me" meme. Not to mention goofy and easily disprovable conspiracy theories about 9/11.

    1. Hey Jeff I may just agree with his 911 thoughts I have no idea as I tuned him out for much the same reasons LOL

      Carb loading for elite performance is tried and true, but for some it backfires. For those it does it should not be this difficult a fight to validate other options such as low carb or even ketogenic diets combined with fitness.

      I think you will find an also total denial that this constant carbing up to work out backfires for some. And if you contact every single person in the list you will learn that was likely the case with each.

      Mark Sisson makes no secret that his years of carbing up to perform backfired hard on him.

      So in light of that, Athony Colpo's advise, while correct it will aid performance for many, is possibly dangerous over the long term.

      Of course paleo is now in denial that sugar or insulin can be problematic as now all paleo advice is determined based on food recall studies from 110 people on a remote island.

  2. Colpo doesn't get much right about anything actually.

    1. Thanks Fred I needed a laugh this morning LOL

    2. Hey Fred, didn't you already get owned by Anthony?



    3. Previous bad blood eh?

      Life in the blogosphere.

      Personally though does anyone else find the term "debunked" overly and incorrectly used? Finding holes in a theory does not really debunk it, a theory can explain only part of a result and still be valid. We are always all to eager to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      Debunking is not a difficult thing to do, you can find fault with any claim, highlight and claim "debunked"

      I could have called this article "Athony Colpe debunked!" but chose not to as my goal was merely to point out the wholes not shoot the messenger.

    4. And please pardon my worse than usual grammar... tired day ;)

  3. Let's not forget the Iditarod doggies. No Purina Puppy Chow for them!


    1. Never would :) However I know many dog team owners use 20% carbs as the rules.. not sure if that is ketogenic for a dog but its to high for humans. Dogs also have far more effective livers for GNG and are able to break down lean protein to glucose much more efficiently... they really are tri-fueled animals, superior to us by far in that respect.

  4. Ben Greenfield is NOT a keto low carb athelete!!


    Ben Greenfield – Top Ranked Triathlete and Founder of Ben Greenfield Fitness

    “I follow a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, in which I restrict myself on 5 days of the week to no more than 100g of carbohydrates, then on my 2 most active days, eat anywhere from 100-200g of carbohydrates. When you’re forcing your body to rely on fatty acids as a fuel, you 1) provide steady and sustained fuel for you brain (which protects you from “hitting the wall” during a long exercise session or event); 2) increase your insulin sensitivity and blood sugar stabilization, which lets you avoid energy crashes and blood vessel or nerve damage from high sugar levels; 3) spare protein from being used as energy, which preserves lean muscle mass; and 3) decrease lactic acid production and increase pH, both of which reduce net acidity in the body.”

    I’m always training for some event or another, so this is my strategy year-round. If I were not training, I would actually have a very similar diet but WITHOUT the higher carbohydrate days.”

    Accomplishments: Ben is a multiple Ironman Hawaii finisher and author of several books on fitness, metabolism, and diet.

    I restrict myself on 5 days of the week to no more than 100g of carbohydrates, then on my 2 most active days, eat anywhere from 100-200g of carbohydrates - IS THIS LOW CARB???

    1. You are 6 months out of date with your link

      I quoted him from a few weeks ago and provided the link

      Either way given his work load and total diet he is around 20% of calories from carbs, that IS low carb. Many clinical trials consider the low carb group 20%.

      Ben has been steadily reducing carb intake.

      It is NOT ketogenic, but it is LOW carb. Approx 20% of calories is low carb, less than 100g of calories is the "fat head" level of low carb. He is LOW CARB currently, and he won a triathlon with that way of eating.

      His Canada Ironman Aug 25 will also be purely keto, as posted on his blog.

      His current diet, a far cry lower then the paleo recommendation of 30-40% with even more for increased workouts.

      But thats fine, you can remove him from the list, the main reason was to highly the keto athletes, Ben and others are there only to contrast the approaches.

      You do not have to be "keto" to be "low carb", and I did not ID him as keto, in fact I took pains to point out he is not.

  5. While not an athlete of any sort, I managed to quell my hot flashes into submission by going keto. I'm planning on staying this way until I die.

    Right now, the only greens in my diet are sprouts and microgreens, but since I've found your site (and its companion: Mostly Meat is What I Eat), I know I can safely ditch the greens when the supply runs out.

    1. Im glad you found us useful. Please note that both of us bloggers are only that and the real lessons are found in history.

      If you ditch greens we both recommend to ensure you get a few servings of organ meats and bone broths a week.

      Good luck!

  6. Anthony Colpo has problems with you eating bacon in your undies...well, he ought to come by here and see what I eat my bacon in! :) Let's just say it's a whole lot less than undies. I cook bacon clothed, of course.

    Liver and bone broths, aye! Thanks for the tips.

  7. I'm a bit late to this party, but I read Colpo's article and just so far glanced through yours. I wanted to say that you guys are both wrong about Gironda and Colpo more so. Gironda did advocate low carb but more in a cyclical fashion. He said to eat a high carb meal every 3-4 days if you felt weak. So similar to the Anabolic Diet. Colpo said that Vince's (neck press) was a dangerous exercise for the shoulders. I disagree. You are not doing anywhere near the weight as normal bench presses, you just cannot. It's too difficult. It's a great peck exercise and I've had zero shoulder problems doing it for over 6 months. Prior to that I had shoulder problem doing standard bench press with heavier weight. And Colpo is also wrong about why Vince didn't like standard squats. Yes it was partially building up the glutes, but it was more so about not wanting to build up (widen) ones' waist and hips. Ones mid section. This was undesirable to Vince because he wanted to maximize the taper from shoulder to waist... that "V" shape. This V shape is the number one male attribute and female attracter even if it's subconscious and the women don't know it. Number 2 is probably ab's and number 3 could be glutes, or arms, or legs.

    Just my thoughts as a big Gironda fan and applier of some of his teachings.

    1. Thanks you cleary know your Iron Guru

      I wish I had researched him better but I relied on statements by others or he may not have made this list...

  8. Btw, I'd love to see what Colpo has to say about Dr. Peter Attia's experiences with long term keto eating and cycling. He's a fanatic on both fronts. Web site is The Eating Academy. Not an advertisement. He doesn't sell anything there to my knowlege.

  9. Anthony Colpo 's understanding of science is very poor to non-existent. He fools gullible people very easily. However, the man is a tool and a joke.

    I have personally communicated with the world's best physicists such as Dr. Krauss, Dr. Tyson and Dr. Susskind and many from M.I. T. They ALL agree with Gary Taubes' assement of the misuse of the First Law. Yes, it is valid for life, but is says absolutely nothing about the biology and biochemistry of obesity , nor its many causes.

    Is there a metabolic advantage? Maybe, maybe not.More works needs to be done. Dr. Jeffrey Friedman is open to the idea.

    However, thermodynamics is NOT AT ALL the "limiting factor" to metabolic advantage as many INternet gurus erroneously claim .

    The fact that Colpo does not understand the above point reveals his GROSS IGNORNACE of physics.

    The human body is an open, non-equilibrium dissipative thermodynamic system. It is extremely complex to the maxiumum.

    Dr. Stephen Hawking was kind enough to give me a brief reply. He said "The loss and gain of fat/muscle are extremely complex biochemical processes best understood within the framework of physiology rather than physics. I seriously doubt it can be characterized by any single equation."

    IF it could be done , it would NOT be a singular equation. It would be many- and they would be hellishly complex. The equations would HAVE to account for the transfer of energy between system and environment- as well as various efficiency factors.

    The human body produces a considerable amount of disspiated heat- LOST energy. Also, did you know that when we simply breathe, we are changning the numbers of atoms/mol;ecules in our bodies?

    In short, Colpo is an uneducated Internet crackpot scammer ( with an agenda) who has been conning the public and misrepresenting research for a decade now.

    1. Thanks Honey that is a very interesting reply from Mr. Hawking, clearly you have been tenacious in your pursuit of "the answers" we all look for.


Approximately half the comments I get are only semi interactive, with the real goal of adding a hyperlink to some commercial product. Just enough text to get past a spam filter.

For this reason I moderate all comments, all the time. I do not delete comments that disagree with me, I welcome them.

I do not approve any comment that contains a link to a commercial product. Such links are not required to make a comment.

In short if you came to pretend to interact but instead advertise, you are wasting your time.

Debate is welcome.