The Metabolic Diet


Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s first version of this diet was the “Anabolic Diet”. “The Metabolic Diet” as it is now called is a hight fat, high protein, low carb diet where there is a carb reload period, usually on weekends – similar to the “rebounding diet” of Zumpano in the late 1970s or so.

There has been traditionally an ideological split in terms of popular diets: one group of people who think that high fat diets are the cause of obesity and the other – the low carb camp who claim that not dietary fats but refined high gylcemic carbohydrates are the cause of rising obesity rates around the world. The problem with the former approach, the traditional high complex-carb, low-fat diet is that it lacks the proper amount of protein to build muscle. The issue with the latter, the low carb diet, is that prolonged periods of carbohydrate restriction cause one to get into a state of “ketosis” which occurs when glycogen stores are not available in the cells, so the body looks for other sources of energy and uses fatty acids as an alternative source of fuel. Ketones are molecules generated during fat metabolism and provide a backup fuel source for the brain.

The body experiences a new condition when a person goes on the low-carbohydrate diet. The more commonly used glucose fuel is no longer available. The body reacts by dropping the pancreas’ production of insulin and increasing the hormone glucagon. The glucagon draws stored fat reserves in the form of triglycerides for use by the cells as the new energy source. However, the cells are slow to react to this new fuel source, and the individual feels weak or lacking energy. Quoting Di Pasquale :

“Dietary ketosis, whether or not it can lead to the dangerous ketoacidosis, is not a desirable state to stay in. That’s because it has been shown to be a starvation state, and unless there is adequate protein intake it leads to excessive muscle breakdown (catabolism) if it’s allowed to continue unabated for any length of time. As such, at least in the case of continuous ketosis, the results on muscle mass and energy can be counter productive for anyone who exercises as the chronic ketosis is conducive to losses in muscle mass, strength and exercise performance.”

The big difference in the Metabolic Diet and something like the stock ketogenic diet, “The Atkins Diet” is that there is a scheduled reloading of the body’s glycogen stores by eating a high carb intake on the weekends for 24-36 hours, so the breakdown of muscle tissue that would have happened if one were to stay on a low or no carb diet for a prolonged period of time is avoided. The muscles get replenished with glycogen and come Monday morning, your muscles will look bigger and fuller than ever.

One similarity that the Metabolic Diet shares with the Atkin’s diet however is that there is an induction, or “Assessment Phase”. This Assessment Phase of the Metabolic Diet can be anywhere from two to six weeks. It all depends on your level of comfort or for that matter discomfort. The Metabolic Diet is designed to be a phase-shift diet. That is, the weekdays are lower-carb, while the weekend is higher-carb. The Assessment Phase of the Metabolic Diet is pretty easy to follow as it calls for a higher-fat/high-protein/low-carb diet from Monday all the way through to the following Friday (a total of 12 days) before carbing up. The Assessment Phase is basically 50-60% Fat, 30-40% Protein, 30 grams Carbohydrates. Since some people are more insulin resistant than others and gain fat easier, there is variability in the time span of the weekend reload.


Carbohydrate Intake Weekday Maximum % Fat % Protein % Carbs
Weekday Maximum 30 Grams 40 – 60% 40 – 50% 4 – 10%
Weekend (12-48 Hour Carb Load) No Real Limit 20 – 40% 15 – 30% 35 – 60%


After the assessment phase, comes the “Moderate-Carb” phase , your carb content is limited to about 15 to 25 percent of your diet. So, if you were on a 4,000-calorie diet you would take in roughly 150 to 300 grams of carbs per day. preferably using low glycemic carbs, like lentils, sweet potatoes, basmati rice, oatmeal, etc. The weekend carb reload is an “anything goes” consumption of carbs, according to Di Pasquale, you can have pancakes, beer and pizza! This works wonders for satisfying some mental deviation from the restriction and discipline through the week. (To calculate your daily caloric requirements, visit John Berardi’s site)


Example Of A Weekday Menu

  • Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, peameal bacon, tomatoes, cheese (or omlette containing some or all of these).
  • Morning Snack: Cheese and cold cuts, pepperoni sticks.
  • Lunch: Ground beef, scrambled eggs and walnuts with flaxseed oil.
  • Afternoon Snack: Hardboiled eggs, tuna, sardines with olive oil.
  • Pre Workout: Oatmeal.
  • Post Workout: Whey protein shake, “just peanuts” peanut butter.
  • Dinner: Ground beef, 4-6 egg fritatta with sauteed vegetables and cheese, mixed greens with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and shredded cheese, some berries.
  • Bedtime Snack: Cheese, nuts, 1-3 grams Omega-3 capsules.


Example Of A Weekend Menu

  • Breakfast: Buckwheat pancakes, grits, eggs and hash browns.
  • Morning Snack: Fruit, honey, fresh whole grain bread with cream cheese.
  • Lunch: Chicken alfredo with whole wheat pasta, ceasar salad.
  • Afternoon Snack: Ice cream or pastry.
  • Pre Workoutt: Oatmeal.
  • Post Workout: Whey protein shake.
  • Dinner: Chicken wings and pizza.
  • Bedtime Snack: Samosas or Jamaican beef patty.

    Foods You Can Eat Unlimited Amounts Of On The Metabolic Diet

    • Steak
    • Hamburger
    • Sausage
    • Venison
    • Salmon
    • Lamb
    • Shrimp
    • Lobster
    • Chicken
    • Turkey
    • Tuna
    • Sardines
    • Anchovies
    • Cheese
    • Eggs
    • Butter
    • Oils
    • Walnuts
    • Pot Roast
    • Pastrami
    • Bacon
    • Mayonnaise
    • Diet Soda
    • Sugar free Jell-O
    • “Just Peanuts” Peanut butter