Dave Palumbo’s Ketogenic Diet

Dave Palumbo created this diet with people who are carb sensitive in mind. He is an IFBB pro, and a nutritionist for hundreds of his clients who compete in bodybuilding shows. This diet he created that will work when extremely well when you want to save as much muscle as possible, and drop fat fast. It is simple and effective, just like a great diet should be. If you would like to contact Dave, he can be reached at his site at http://www.davepalumbo.com/

The Premise

This is a high-protein and moderate fat diet, with no direct carbohydrate sources. While on this diet your body will go into Ketosis (What you achieve on the Atkins diet; your brain will starts using fat for energy) and will not require carbs to keep you going. You will not be eating any direct carb sources so a cheat meal at the end of the week is scheduled so you can re-fill your glycogen.

  • Protein should be at 1-1.5g/lb and Fat should be at .5g/lb. The only carbs will come from trace carbs. Try to limit these though to under 30g. Using this formula, you can figure out how much of each you need at any weight.

Example for 180 pound man: Protein is between 180 and 270grams. Fat is at 90grams.

Enough with the talk, here is the a sample version of the diet for a 200lb man:


5 whole eggs; 4 egg whites

~50g Pro, 20g Fat


SHAKE: 50g Whey Protein with 1.5 tablespoon of All Natural Peanut butter (no sugar)

~55 pro 12g Fat


“Lean Protein Meal”: 8oz chicken with 1/2-cup cashew nuts (almonds, or walnuts)

~50g Pro 16 Fat


SHAKE: 50g Whey Protein with 1.5 tablespoon of All Natural Peanut butter (no sugar added)

~55 pro 12g Fat


“Fatty Protein Meal”: 8oz Salmon, Swordfish, or RED MEAT with a green salad (no tomatoes, carrots, or red peppers) with 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil or Macadamia nut oil and vinegar

~45Pro 30Fat


SHAKE: 50g Whey with 1.5  tablespoon all natural peanut butter or 4 whole (Omega-3) eggs and 4 extra whites

~55Pro 12Fat

Total: ~310Pro, 102Fat, trace carbs

Try to strive for the ratio of 60% protein, 30% fat, 10% carbs

As you can see, you are getting around 50 grams of protein and 12-30grams fat per meal. This is good to know this because if you do not feel like eating peanut butter for a meal, you can substitute it out and have nuts instead. Just make sure the Macro-Nutrients(Protein/Fat content) are the same after the meal. It is also highly recommended that you are eating some broccoli or other green leafy vegetables with some of the meals. Not only will this help digestion and to keep you regular, it will keep you full longer. It must be green and leafy though(Broccoli, Spinach) because most of the carbs come from fiber unlike the starchier vegetables(Corn, Peas, Carrots).

Questions regarding fats in this diet:

  • The best fat sources come from the essential fatty acids – Omega-6 and Omega-3′s. Most of us get plenty of Omega-6s from our cooking oils and fattier dishes. However the Omega-3′s are harder to get. It is recommend to use whole Omega-3 eggs, fattier fishes (Salmon, Swordfish, Mackerel), and nuts such as Walnuts or Almonds to get the O-3’s that you need. Another great fat source is Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Macadamia nut oil. They aren’t essential but they are great for the metabolism (great source of energy) and they are extremely good for your heart.
  • The egg whites do not need to be OMEGA-3, they can be liquid egg whites or normal eggs.
  • You are getting all the fats you need from this diet. But if you wish feel free to also take fish oil to make sure you are getting all of your fatty acids.
  • Try to get a all natural peanut butter. The ingredient list should be peanuts and salt. This will save you some carbs from sugar that is usually added.
  • With any fatty protein meal(Salmon, Beef), you should have the green salad with 1 tablespoon of Olive or Macadamia nut oil instead of the nuts. Only eat the nuts with the LEAN PROTEIN MEAL (chicken, turkey, lean fish)
  • Try to use a cooking spray such as PAM, but if you must use an oil, just lightly grease the pan.
  • If you are worried about the cholesterol/yolk consumption. Don’t be. Check out this article regarding eggs to find out more on this subject.

Questions on Protein:

  • You should try to find a whey isolate, or at least one with 3g of Carbohydrates or less. This will ensure you stay in Ketosis despite the carbs you may get from indirect sources.
  • Getting more than 1.5g/lb of protein is not necessary. You will not keep any more Lean Body Mass (LBM) by doing so since the fat spares the protein when your carbs are low. If you intake to much protein it may turn into glucose (Gluconeogenesis), resulting in you not staying in Ketosis.

Questions on your workout/cardio:

  • Once fat loss slows, cardio should be increased first. If you plateau again, add a fat burner. Only after doing both of these should you start playing with the diet.
  • Your cardio should be preformed at a low intensity (Under 120 beats per minute) to insure that you are using fat as a fuel source. This is because when your heartbeat increases it will break down muscle and convert it to carbs to use as a fuel. This is because fat cannot be changed into carbs. So remember, Long Duration, Low Intensity. Remember: cardio isperformed at a low intensity (under 120bpm heart rate). Try to always do at least 20 minutes (Treadmill, bike, elliptical) minimum.
  • Making sure you do Low Intensity cardio will ensure you are burning fat, and not muscle.
  • Continue to do your usual workout routine, just remember that you may not be able to put up as much weight due to lack of energy.
  • Drinks/Condiments

  • You will get thirsty eventually, so feel free to drink Green Tea or “0″ drinks (Coke Zero, Pepsi Max).
  • You may drink coffee, but try to limit it to 2 cups a day. If you are going to use a sweetener, try for Stevia Balance.  This is because others such as Splenda and Equal add Maltodextrin into their mixture, which is absorbed like a carb would.
  • The best condiments for this diet are mustard, soy sauce, sugar free ketchup(In moderation) and spices. Learn to use them.


Now for the part that everyone wants to know about, the cheat meal. In order to completely make sure your body is in ketosis, it is recommended you follow this diet for 2 weeks straight before you cheat meal. But this meal isn’t only for your mental well being, it also has a purpose. After these 2 weeks your metabolism may start taking a hit causing it to slow down. It will need a re-vamping and the best way to do this is to shock it. While doing this you are also filling all of your energy stores for the oncoming week. The good news is after the initial 14 days, you can have one every 7. Make sure it is on the same day everyweek, and have it for dinner so it does not turn into a complete binge. It is recommended you take in around 400g carbs the first time, and judging by how your body reacts, you can raise or lower this number. If you do not lose weight by your next cheat, lower your carbs next time. You are going to want little to no fat on this day, and you may also lower your protein intake. What can you eat? Anything that you want, just keep your fats low. Ice cream, doughnuts, cereal, bagels. I repeat, just keep the fat low. The next day hop back on the diet and don’t be scared when the scale goes up a bit, it is just water. Some people can exceed 800 grams carbs! It is all trial and error, and figuring out your body!

Once this becomes a weekly occurrence, your body weight will rise up the next few days, and then dip below where it was before your cheat. This is why it is important to have the cheat on the same day every week.

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