The Metabolic Diet is a diet created by Dr. Mauro di Pasquale, Canadian physician from Italian origins.

Like many other diets that were born in the last few years, it promises to achieve outstanding results in a short time and, as often happens, it is supported by numerous scientific studies which testify the effectiveness.

The basic idea of this diet can be explained with a simple comparison.

Metabolic diet

Our body is a machine that can run either on gasoline (carbohydrates) or propane (fats).

However, the current lifestyle brings our body to use mainly gasoline (carbohydrates), accumulating propane in the tank (fats). When refuel (eat), if we introduce very little gasoline, we learn to use mainly propane (fat), gradually emptying the tank (weight loss).

However, to function at its best, our car also needs a minimum of fuel (carbohydrates) and that amount that varies from individual to individual must be discovered by listening to the engine and evaluating the performance (importance of the initial assessment phase).

How to Plan the Metabolic Diet

You start with a trial period, which is essential to find out the amount of carbohydrates needed for the optimal functioning of the body.

This initial phase of the metabolic diet, which lasts about 4 weeks, is characterized by a drastic reduction in glucose intake. The person is thus forced to deal with the side effects of such a dietary approach (fatigue, nausea, headaches, etc..).

In this first phase the food plan will be structured as follows:

  • 12 days of unload (low in carbohydrates and high in fat)

followed by:

  • 2 days of reloading (carbohydrate)

According to Di Pasquale, such an approach would train the body to burn fat to meet its energy demands.


Unload phase (12 days)

  • 50-60% fats
  • 30-50% protein
  • 30 g of carbs
Load Phase (2 days)

  • 35-55% carbs
  • 25-40% fats
  • 15-30% protein

If, during the unloading phase you feels very tired, the metabolic diet includes a series of solutions related to the type of symptoms manifested.

The general line that unites all of these solutions provides a gradual increase in glucose intake, until the the side effects disappear.

And it is at this point that, after a few more days of testing in which you believe you have found the optimum amount of carbohydrates, you switch to the second phase.

In the second phase of the metabolic diet the body has become an efficient fat burning machine

And to keep this ability, you need to have 2 days of load after 5 days of unload. In the five days of unload you will maintain the caloric breakdown successfully tested during the test phase. Same goes for the loading phase.

Possible Side Effects of the Metabolic Diet

Once again we are facing a diet that leads some concepts to the extreme.

If the direct experience is not enough, it is sufficient to learn the story to find out that extremism, beyond being unproductive, has always been one of the worst evils that afflict humanity.

Let us see what the critical points and the main "absurdity " of this scientific diet are.

Low Carbs

The metabolic diet suggests a drastic reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates (30 grams in the test phase). Maybe Di Pasquale forgot that the human body requires glucose to survive.

The essentiality of glucose is linked to the fact that the central nervous system and erythrocytes only use glucose for their energy metabolism. It is estimated that the minimum daily intake of glucose to allow the normal functioning of these systems is about 180 grams, well above the amount imposed by this type of diet.

Formation of Ketone Bodies

However, under the particular conditions of extreme deficiency of glucose (starvation), the body relies on ketone bodies to survive. This is a desperate mechanism, effective in sustaining the vital functions, but not without side effects (chronic fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, coma).

Energy Efficiency from Fats

At constant oxygen, consumed carbohydrates have higher energy efficiency than fat. It follows that, with such a dietary approach, athletic performance in endurance disciplines would be seriously compromised.

If you do not believe me try asking a marathon runner who, in the process of overcoming the barrier of 32 km, incurs the famous "crisis."

High Fat and Protein Intake

Di Pasquale allows freedom to the consumption of cheese and meats high in protein and fat (bacon, sausage, mayonnaise, butter, eggs, etc.). It could not be otherwise since consuming lean meats you would not reach the quota imposed by the metabolic diet.

And so it was that, while everybody else advised to limit saturated and trans fat to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (and some forms of cancer), Dr. Pasquale had the "brilliant" idea of  designing a diet where the intake of these substances was high...

Low Fiber Intake

There is a clear shortage of fiber imposed by the metabolic diet. Fruits and vegetables, in fact, contain a certain amount of carbohydrates and is therefore recommended not to exceed with their consumption.

A real shame given that the fiber could reduce the damage caused by excess fat and cholesterol!

Carbs Intake Load and Insulin Rush

Remember that each of us can store a limited amount of glycogen and then such glycogen reserves in excess will inevitably be turned into fat.

To calculate the approximate level of maximum glycogen storable in your body simply multiply your bodyweight (in Kg) by 30 and divide it by 4 (calories developed by a gram of carbohydrate).

So, for example, a 70 kg man can store up to 30 x 70 = 2100 kcal, which roughly amounts to 525 grams of carbohydrates.

Two days a week eating "everything and more" are more than sufficient to reach these reserves.

Assuming that during the unloading phase of the metabolic diet a person consumes on average 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, after five days he/she accumulates a deficit of 500 grams (considering a daily intake of carbohydrates of 150 grams).

Practically, on the 5th day that person will have emptied all their glycogen storage and the subsequent load of carbohydrates will prevent them from producing and using ketone bodies.


But at the end of the day, wouldn't it be better to just cut down carbohydrates instead of eliminating them almost entirely?

At least that will save our bodies unnecessary insulin and hormonal changes, avoiding all the side effects of this "crazy " metabolic diet.


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