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Lyle McDonald - Is he on the right track(s)?

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  • Lyle McDonald - Is he on the right track(s)?

    I came across this guy's work flipping around on the internet researching LBM during weight loss. He seems to have a solid formal education in physiology, is the writer of a number of diet and bodybuilding e-books, and seems up to speed on serious, current research.

    One thing I picked up on in one of those articles might explain some of the arguing going on here recently. It gets down to how does insulin broadly effect us as individuals? And once known, the type of diet practically falls into place. Some people are not insulin sensitive, so higher carb diets are just fine. People like that dietitian woman close to me. Others are insulin sensitive, like me, and do better on low carb diets. (This promises to be an interesting relationship!)

    He doesn't tackle this merely simplistically, but that's the general riff.

    What do you think of his theories? One includes how to lose virtually a pound a day w/o killing yourself. (600-800 calories a day almost all protein, don't exercise.)

    What say you?

  • #2

    You have to understand Lyle. He is a certifiable genius when it comes to nutrition and diet. His advice is solid and backed by research, but the diet plans are not necessarily easy. They work, the work very well, and can take you to a leanness not many others can. He is also a jerk, not my words, more of his. You can take his advice and work, but don't argue with him unless you know for damned sure you are right and have some solid evidence.

    He is good and solid, and quite entertaining to read or talk to, but his hard edge makes some people stray away. It's too bad really, as everyone can learn a thing or fifty from him.


    • #3

      He DEFINATELY knows his stuff. Jazz pretty much summed up my thoughts on him too.

      Added to that I think he's a shining light of no-nonsense, anti-bullsh*t advice in an industry full of misinformation and poor science. His opinions sway little on hearsay or anecdotal evidence so be prepared to back up your arguments with science before disagreeing with him!


      • #4

        I think the point that is constantly getting sacrificed in the name of diet/weightloss/fatloss (the ugly stepchildren of CW, in my opinion) is the overall health benefits of opting out of processed grains, sugars, starches etc.

        You know - the culprits who brought you heart disease, cholesterol build-up, and other nasties.

        Sure, Lyle has plenty of good fat-loss/bodybuilding info on his site and in his books (though if you think a 600-800 calorie/day intake is going to be easy just because you aren't sweating under some iron, I'd challenge you to try it and come back to post the details, because that is a read I could really get into). But you should keep in mind that his training and diet advice is primarily geared towards bodybuilders and athletes (and yeah, I do consider those to be separate categories).

        My wife does fine on higher carbs. But she gets all muckety if they don't come from whole, natural foods. That is to say, she does fine with rice or a potato, but not so much with bread and pasta.

        And I'll hardlink that with the caveat that when I say *fine* I mean with weightloss. She's 36 and has been battling arthritis for over a decade and I honestly believe that that is directly related to her consumption of potatoes, which are nightshades.

        I believe it because whenever I convince her to go off of them the arthritis goes gone. Just like it throttled back when I got her to quit smoking (because tobacco is also a nightshade).

        It sucks that we have so many anti-CW warriors on this forum, but we still let ourselves get sucked into the whole fat loss thing, devoting so much of our time to it like it is of penultimate importance set beside overall health.

        And yeah, I get that the whole before and after pics are probably our best evidence to support this lifestyle and pitch it to others. I just wish we were more health conscious and less image conscious (not just this forum, but at large).


        • #5

          I have 5 of his books downloaded. They are definitely LOADED w/ information. He certainly has the scientific background. I can't comment, intelligently, on whether he's right or wrong.

          I can say that his books tend to address specific, short term goals. Specifically, quick weight loss and and LOW body fat. He doesn't really write for the "long-term, easy sustainable lifestyle" crowd or the "overweight, just trying to get healthy" crowd. Here's a quote from his book The Ulitmate Diet 2.0

          For obese folk just trying to lose weight, pretty much any non-retarded diet will work.</blockquote>

          His work is aimed more at the athlete or obsessive crowd that wants the 3-6% BF and will make heavy sacrifices to get it. IMHO


          • #6

            ^^Agreed. Weightloss diets do not always equate to health, but for your avergae american losing weight is certainly "healthier" than staying at where they were. I think the point Lyle makes is that the average bodybuilder or athlete is healthier than your average couchpotatoe anyway, so they can get away with slightly more dietary flexibility, kinda like Mark&#39;s 80/20 rule...


            • #7


              Exactly. His demographic, to me, is the "eat to live" group and NOT the "live to eat" people. He even admits that if you have "food issues" or "food related anxiety" you won&#39;t possess the mental fortitude needed to proceed with his plans. Just like any fitness or nutrition plan, you have to dial in and perfect the "basics" before you embark on specific, detailed plans.

              I think The PB is great for getting people to make good food choices and live a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their days. Lyle&#39;s stuff is good if you&#39;re at the point of being in the healthy range but you want a temporary "super shredded" look for a specific reason.

              Again, most of his plans are technically sustainable if you&#39;re willing to make MANY sacrifices. He doesn&#39;t beat around the bush with this point, either.


              • #8

                Thanks, everyone. I think those are good summary observations, based on what I&#39;ve read. Even the personality part on some forums!

                So, the bottom line is that generally he knows what the hell he is talking about. The two points I take out are:

                1. As mentioned, higher/lower carb diets work or don&#39;t work because of our leanings into being insulin sensitive or not.

                2. For weight loss, the ratio of carbs and fats don&#39;t matter much, as long as the base of adequate protein is there. He does acknowledge that higher carb/lower fat diets are often harder to stay on due to hunger.

                OK, a third:

                3. Lots of activity during weight loss is counterproductive as it kicks in the "save the fat" gene. Several people here have said this, and my weight loss with just a few hours of walking a week seems to be doing just fine.


                • #9

                  As for #3, if I&#39;m exercising (more than walking) while in ketosis, how can my "save the fat" gene be turned on?

                  You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


                  • #10

                    Ask Lyle!

                    Just anecdotally from posters here, it does seem to happen. Some of the folks saying they are starving themselves AND working out for two hours every other day are the same ones (often) whining about a platea.

                    You may be losing muscle mass instead of gobbling fat.

                    Exercising a lot during weight loss is counterproductive. Absolutely.


                    • #11

                      some of lyle&#39;s weightloss programmes include some SERIOUS weightlifting. I think some hard hitting but short weighlifiting sessions + HIIT is very useful for fatloss and if your nutrition is good you won&#39;t lose muscle. I would say that neitehr starving oneself nor doing 2hr workouts would be helpful, however.

                      I suspect Flexible Dieting may be one of Lyle&#39;s books more popular with PBers.


                      • #12

                        Heavy weight training is extremely important in increasing insulin sensitivity, which is preferable for fat loss. I think there is a little confusion on this point. Insulin sensitivity is a good thing, people who can process carbs rather than store them as fat are insulin sensitive(good). What you are trying to avoid or reverse is insulin resistance(bad).


                        • #13


                          new podcat


                          • #14

                            Thanks Jedi. I&#39;m listening to it now.

                            I like how non-extreme he is on his views. He understands the overall fitness and diet concepts in general.

                            I have a lot of weight-lifting buddies from an old forum who are killing themselves with hours of cardio (hello addicted runners) and extensive lifting sessions.

                            I get so sad when I hear of them having constant injuries.


                            • #15

                              I am also enjoying the podcast, thanks Jedi.

                              I like Lyle, he appears to know his stuff and thinks the fact he takes psychology into account when it comes to dieting is vital.

                              As some said before, he would appear to be more into weight loss and training than long-term overall health.

                              “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                              "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull