The Evolution of Weight Loss – Guest Post by Brad Pilon

May 29, 2009

I can’t thank Brad Pilon enough for taking time out of his busy schedule to do a guest post for my site. Any of you who are fans of “Eat Stop Eat” or have been following Brad on Twitter know that his wife just gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Ro Wilder Pilon (cool name). I asked Brad to do a guest post on calorie deficit and I think his son was born the following day! This is an outstanding article, well worth your time, and will challenge much of what you have heard when it comes to dieting and weight loss. Love it!

brad pilon eat stop eat

[Brad Pilon’s ideas challenge much of the mainstream fitness info you see published in magazines, books, and online. Slowly, but surely, his ideas are going to go mainstream. Right now, anyone who studies his materials will be WAY “ahead of the curve”.]

The Evolution of Weight Loss – By Brad Pilon

Well, evolution is probably the wrong word. It’s catchy, but it implies that weight loss has somehow improved or become better. This would be a fallacy because it’s simply not true.

The truth is your body has known how to burn fat since the very day you were born.

In fact, if you want to get technical about it, you were burning fat while you were still in the womb.

So evolution isn’t the right word. It may be sexy, but it’s not correct, so let’s change the title of this guest post to “The Flexibility of Weight Loss”.

And here’s a perfect example to illustrate my point:

In the late 1990’s (1999 to be exact) I first entered the supplement industry working in Research in Development.

Because I was working for a supplement company helping to design fat-burning pills and various other weight loss supplements, people tended to think I knew a lot about dieting and came to me for dieting advice.

Back then I was against low-carb diets. I thought they caused you to lose muscle (don’t ask me why). So when asked I advocated moderate protein, high-carb, low fat diets.

  • And, this approach helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • In 2000-2001 Leptin became a big deal in the supplement industry. I spent countless days locked in my office reading about leptin. It became an obsession in the industry and like everybody else, I started recommending adding a ‘cheat day’ to peoples diet plan.

  • This new approach helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • Then, around 2002 I began reading about low-carb diets. Sure enough the information I read was so convincing that I began advocated high-protein, low carb, moderate fat diets.

  • And, yet again this dieting approach helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • In around 2004, I had given up on low-carb diets and switched to diets that concentrated on low glycemic carbs, these diets were moderate protein, moderate carbohydrates and moderate fats.

  • Not surprisingly this approach also helped people get lean. Really lean. And yes, sometimes even contest lean.
  • In around 2005, people were talking about cycling carbohydrates, so naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon.

  • Not surprisingly, this approach ALSO helped people get lean. Really lean and sometimes even contest lean.
  • In 2007 I took a radical shift in my life, left the supplement industry and went back to school to complete my Master’s degree in Nutrition.

    After completing my masters (concentrating on the metabolic effects of short term fasting in humans) I started recommending 1 or 2 24-hour fasts per week combined with simple, responsible eating (and weight training). I even wrote a book on the topic (Eat Stop Eat).

  • Again, this new approach to dieting helped people get lean. Really lean. Sometimes even contest lean.
  • So the lesson learned was that just about any diet will help you lose weight as long as it puts you in a calorie deficit. High protein, Low-carb, high carb, not eating for 24 hour periods, as long as you eat less calories than you are burning you will lose weight.

    The other important lesson (probably the most important), is that you DO NOT have to be in a calorie deficit every single day.

    What really matters is the trend. You need to be in a calorie deficit on AVERAGE over time. With carb cycling and “Eat Stop Eat” style fasting, you spend a couple days a week where you are not in calorie deficit. But on average over the course of the week, or even a month you are in a calorie deficit and this is why people lose weight.

    This story proves two things.

    First – All the posturing and positioning in the diet industry about which diet is better is laughable – All diets will work, some are easier than others, but as long as they create a chronic calorie deficit you will lose weight.

    Second – This calorie deficit doesn’t have to occur every single day, but it does need to be an average over time.

    So in keeping with the new title of this article, this is a perfect example of the amazing flexibility of weight loss and fat loss.

    The bottom line is this – The diet that will allow you the best weight loss success is the one that you find to be the easiest to follow and most comfortable way to create an ongoing calorie deficit over time.

    Ignore all of the metabolism-science-geek talk and concentrate on what really matters – finding a sustainable way that you can eat less while still enjoying the foods that you eat.

    <---------------End of Article--------------->

    Comments from Rusty: <----(I'm not trying to refer to myself in 3rd person...I'm not that cool). It is funny how it mainly comes down to calorie deficit. Even though calorie deficit is where 80-90% of your results come from, fasting every now and then has an added edge over typical diets. In less than 3 minutes, this video explains why I am a big fan of the “Eat Stop Eat” style of eating…makes staying lean easy!

    [One more thing…I have been advocating working out in a fasted state for years. Brad mentions this at the very end of the video.]

    If you like this article, here is where to find more great stuff…

    Brad Pilon’s Blog:
    Brad Pilon’s Twitter Profile:
    Brad Pilon’s Weight Loss Course:

    ----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

    { 69 comments… read them below or add one }

    matt May 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Really enjoyed this post because it makes fat loss simple. I agree as well that its all about getting as much nutrients from natural foods that were put here for humans to eat. the calorie deficit matters and stressing over exact amounts doesnt, as long as your burning more energy! thanks Brad and Rusty!

    Adam Steer - Better's Better May 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Brad, great round-up of how your thinking progressed and how each new thing was “the thing”… I think every person will react differently at different times and given different situations to whatever nutritional strategy they are using. What will work for one person may not work for another. And what works for an individual in one circumstance may not work in another.

    Fasting can definitely be a keystone strategy though. In fact, someone wrote me last week to tell me they’ve lost 17 pounds in the last couple months using workouts from Bodyweight Exercise Revolution in conjunction with Eat Stop Eat style Intermittent Fasting.


    Grok May 29, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    After I first read of Brad/ESE & fasting my body and outlook changed rapidly. I don’t really “do” ESE, but it really is what opened my eyes to a whole new world of information.

    Bryce May 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    I am a big fan of Brad’s intermittent fasting philosophy, and I use it to great effect for my own weightloss. I usually skip breakfast 1-2 times per week when I’m not hungry, and on a day when I’m planning on doing a tough, hip extension dominant workout (the largest muscle groups), I’ll push the fast out to a 24 hour fast, to maximize hgh production.

    I still find it a bit frustrating that Brad continues to focus on the ‘a calorie is a calorie’ theory, looking at the body as a simple engine. I’m sure he knows that it’s infinitely more complex than that, and to do EatStopEat style fasting without also using the benefits of Paleo style diet where refined carbs are minimized, is to really sell yourself short.

    For me, proper diet was what normalized my weight, and IF is what helps me get that extra level of rippedness, but I truly believe that the body’s mechanisms for down-regulating fat storage can’t work when our hormonal profile is being jacked around from excess insulin. Once you stop eating the garbage that pushes insulin through the roof, the body weight (for me and countless others anyway), normalizes to a healthier range even if you aren’t in a caloric deficit. Getting ripped, however, does in my opinion require such a deficit, and so for that, I have to thank Brad for his contributions to nutrition! I found, also, that once I started eating Paleo, my appetite was so much more under my control that doing IF became much more feasible.

    Great post as usual Rusty.

    Zack P May 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I love Brad! Eat Stop Eat has been the single most effective thing I’ve done to change my body in the 23 years that I’ve been alive (except for finding this blog of course…) I think combining exercise and fasting is not only super effective, but it’s super efficient. If you consider that most people spend 4-5 hours a day eating or preparing/finding food, and most good gym routines are 2 hours or less, you gain 2-3 hours those days and accomplish more than you do on non-fasting/non-exercising days. Thanks a lot Brad and Rusty for giving us something to make us more productive and in better shape!

    shane May 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    im actually becoming a fan of brads work.i like the warrior diet too,but its like way to hard.eating once a day all the time is just to much.once or twice a week is much more doable for me.its actually very easy.mondays i go to work,sweat and work hard skip lunch eat regular tues,wends thurs, then friday one meal a day again.ive lost 15 pounds in a month

    jerdog May 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I love ESE. I’ve been doing it since early January ’09. After about the age of 25 (I’m now 35), I was a guy who hung around the 18-22% body fat range. I’ve tried losing weight to get leaner by eating 3 squares a day of a fairly balanced diet and peforming some cardio and weight training. I never had the discipline long enough to lose enough weight to achieve 10% bodyfat or less using this means of caloric deficit. I found this site in late december and by using the principles of ESE with HIIT and resistance training, I lost 18 lbs in 7 weeks to get in the range of 8% body fat. I’ve been able to maintain my weight for four months now while still using ESE. The nice thing about being in the maintence phase while using ESE is that you can have the occasional treat without packing on pounds.

    Thanks Brad & Rusty for Truly changing my view on nutrition and exercise.

    Studio Element Personal Training May 29, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Very interesting to see the history there. Nice post!

    Greg at Live Fit May 29, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Absolutely! Just like so many things in life, many approaches will get the job done. The best one is the one that works for you!

    Helder May 30, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Truth hurts, and the big companies don’t like it, but that’s just the way it is, simple

    All is really simple, all it takes is persistence.

    No matter how much so called “evolution” diets and techniques appear, the human body didn’t change, the simplicity still rules and will rule

    Rachel May 30, 2009 at 9:31 am

    brad is the bomb. plan and simple!

    Kane May 30, 2009 at 10:42 am

    ESE style fasting is probably the best thing to help people lose or maintain weight that has ver come out. I think the ultimate combo is a primal eating plan (or close to it) and 2 weekly fasts. And keep doing breif workouts a few times week. Its amazing, I’m glad I found it, I just feel better about my body when doing a fast, And it helps me spend less money on food!


    Elle May 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Rusty & Brad: the pied pipers of health and nutrition. I appreciate your work and your commitment to communicating alternative methods. Continually inspiring. As always, great post. ~Elle

    Deanna May 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Rusty!

    I found your website after reading somewhere that jumping rope was an amazing workout. I was looking for a recommended workout and liked yours the best, so I’ve been trying it out for two weeks, just building up to a full five minutes. After exploring a bit, I decided to also try eating Paleo-style with a bit of IF thrown into the mix. I already regularly do strength training, so nothing there changed. Here’s my question: I’m 5’8″ and when I started this about two weeks ago, I weighed 118. I’m not looking to lose weight, just get really toned, but over the course of those two weeks I lost 7 lbs! I didn’t know I had 7 lbs. to lose! Where did that weight come from, and what happened to it? Should I be concerned, or is this my body’s way of saying, “thanks for finally getting it right”?


    sam May 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    ESE is revolutionary in that it is very simple and comfortable to follow and it works well. Brad has done a magnificent job simplifying what it takes to get the physique one desires. I would be interested to get Brad’s thoughts on drinking non-calorie drinks(diet drinks) as well as water during the 24 hour fasts? Does doing so effect the effectiveness of the fast?

    Thanks Rusty for continuing to provide quality, honest information.


    Yash May 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    I’m a fan of fasting and Eat Stop Eat. This is partially because even before I read about the benefits of fasting, I never quite agreed with the bodybuilding approach that missing a meal or not eating enough would result in the withering away of muscle tissue. Somehow, it didn’t make sense that our highly adaptive and intelligent bodies would waste some of the more important tissues in our bodies when there’s a readily available fuel in our fat stores.

    I’m gonna say once again how creepy it is that you make very relevant posts at exactly the right time. I’m actually considering Eat Stop Eat and fasting now for the summer. My original plan has been thrown off due to a broken collarbone during rugby practice on Thursday. I think Eat Stop Eat is good for precisely the reason that Brad stated in the article: there isn’t a calorie deficit every day. I didn’t want to gain a huge amount of body fat while I’m out of commission for the next couple months, but conversely, I didn’t want to diet and risk putting my body in a deficit when it needs the nutrition to recover. That’s why I was thinking about fasting, so I could eat enough on most days, and then get a few fasts in to make sure I don’t turn into a blob.

    Anyway, that’s just the idea I’ve been toying with for the past few days. I’m obviously going to run it by my orthopedic when I go in for a checkup. I’m also probably going to be doing a whole lot of walking. Do you or Brad have any recommendations either from studies or personal experience about what to do when healing a broken bone? It’s kind of a bummer not being able to do anything much all summer when I’ve just started to love being so active.

    fitness-siren May 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Oh man, I love Brad’s work! This post is a good reminder that calorie deficit is king when it comes to weight loss. Many people lose sight of this fact and get lost with all the mystifying diets out there. To me, fasting has been the easiest and most effective diet ever!

    I hope Brad post’s some pics of his newborn son on his blog 🙂

    Katrina May 31, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Love this post. Basically, eat less and you will lose weight. The simplicity is awesome!

    Pyjammez May 31, 2009 at 9:26 am

    BEAUTIFUL! Couldn’t have said it better myself. But I’m going to try in my next blog post. haha. (ONCE I get full speed back to my internet connection.) I went over my monthly download limit so I can barely load webpages at the moment 🙁

    edt freak May 31, 2009 at 10:25 am

    i do edt workouts according to the book: the guide to massive arms(or something like that) and that is 2 opposite exercise done in superset manner for 2 15 minutes PR. But then i read your post on edt and i’ve tried your method(1 exercise 3 rep rest 10 second for 15 minutes). and i must say, your workout sore like hell. so should i kept my old routine(less sore), or yours (freaking sore)……
    i think i tot what your answer might be… must to comfirmed

    RockStar May 31, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Brad’s conclusion is very important: “The bottom line is this – The diet that will allow you the best weight loss success is the one that you find to be the easiest to follow and most comfortable way to create an ongoing calorie deficit over time.”

    This is really the key. However, I think that a more accurate statement would be:
    The bottom line is this – The diet that will allow you the best weight loss success is the one that you find to be the easiest to follow and most comfortable way to create an ongoing calorie deficit over time, WHILE IMPLEMENTING A DIET WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PROCESSED FOOD.

    The distinction is important. Because even on a calorie defecit, you will look like crap if all you eat is pizza, ice cream, and chips.

    Basically 3 points:
    1. Eat less calories than you burn on average
    2. Eat foods that are clean (the less processing, the better)
    3. Do this consistently over a long period of time

    Following these 3 points along with an exercise program and you will probably almost never need to worry about macronutrients.

    tony w May 31, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I totally agree that minus the calories equals less fat/weight loss, same as if i eat burger chips and chocolate makes me feel chubby,un toned and inflated the next few days after this a few sessions at the gym and im back to normal,what i dont quite agree with is starving the body,no doubt it works but its the side affects i could not put up with, by mid morning i would be hungry,by lunchtime i would be starving and by the evening i would have no energy to walk let alone train at the gym,doing it on rest days would make ‘keeping fit’ just begin to take over my life as if im not thinking of how hard my training will be i will be counting the minutes until dinner time And there are ALOT of minutes in 24hours! just my thought and ONE view keep up the good work 🙂

    dae May 31, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I am really addicted to your site. i’m here every day to get info and I’ve refered most of my friends to you. Can you please help me: I’m a female, pear shaped, 5 feet 5 in, 198.7 pound gym rat. I attend gym at least 4 times per week. My instructor’s main focus is lots of weights to break down the fat and cardio 1 – 2 times per week. I am really tring to eat better but that too, is a task!!!
    After reading your site, I’ve seen that you focus on lots of cardio & intermittent fasting. Please guide me as to how to train to get lean (my goal is 150lb or less). My legs arms and neck are not getting smaller and I want to be healthier.
    Thanks in advance and many blessings to you.

    Mikki May 31, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Nice post, ive been doing ESE method for a little time, and I know that you fast maximum twice per week, but how far these two days can be from each other??? and what would be a “good” dinner in a fasting day???some example…well thank you very much, btw great post

    G. May 31, 2009 at 4:30 pm


    Thankyou Rusty,Thankyou Brad.


    Norbi May 31, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Rusty,

    thanks for bringing us this article. I personally didn’t find anything new in it, as I already bought the e-book, and have been following it for a while. I just hit 7 weeks with my diet, and went from 182lbs to 164lbs, 18 pounds less! This is not my goal weight though, but losing this much weight with really not being too strict with myself I think is great. Of course I try to eat healthy most of the time, but occasional hamburgers, french fries, drinking vodka and some beers happen, and I’m still making progress. So, thanks a million both of you for the great advice!

    Norbi May 31, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Just in case someone is interested, I forgot to mention, that I’m doing 2 x 24hr fasts a week, usually dinner to dinner.

    Norbi June 1, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Ohh by the way Rusty, a topic idea that I’d be really interested in: exercises that help develop / promote good posture. I’m pretty sure that quite a few people could benefit from such an article. Thanks! 😉

    Ramon June 1, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Bryce and some others make a good point. I haven’t read ESE yet, but at least for me it isn’t as simple as being in a calorie deficit to lose fat. When I was in university I did the Weight Watchers thing which was fine for getting into a calorie deficit, but at the time I knew nothing about the effect carbohydrates have on your body and the link between insulin and fat loss. I just ate ‘regular’ stuff including bread and pasta so I lost weight, but it was half fat and half muscle and I ended up skinny-fat – far from ripped.

    When I came across The Zone is when I began to learn just how bad carbs can be if I want to lose fat. Now I try to follow Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint and have had much better fat loss results (more definition and better muscle retention). I know at least in my case, if I follow the ‘food pyramid’ guide with low fat and lots of grain products that even in a calorie deficit I still won’t get ripped.

    admin June 1, 2009 at 1:37 pm


    Calorie deficit really is where 80-90% of the results come from. Exercise, food choices and meal timing make up the rest.


    I have heard many, many stories with people losing weight following Eat Stop Eat. It is simple, makes a lot of sense, and is one of the easiest ways to create a calorie deficit over a period of time.


    Even if you don’t do Eat Stop Eat, I’m sure you found the info about maintaining muscle mass helpful. Most people in the fitness industry seem to think that if they don’t get protein every few hours, they will lose mass…which simply isn’t the case.


    I’m sure Brad understands that different food ratios do create different results (to a certain extent). What I like about his approach is that it is most important to get the calorie deficit first..then experiment with different food ratios to fine tune. Calorie deficit will help people reach their fat loss goals…after that, the type of foods that work best depend upon the individual. I do like Paleo as well, by the way.

    Zack P,

    You do save a lot of time and money eating this way. I get a lot accomplished on my fasting days. Sometimes throwing in a meal takes away momentum when you are working.


    Pretty amazing that you lost 15 pounds in a month. Keep it up!


    You got pretty quick results following the formula I recommend…great to hear! Brad really has contributed a lot to the fitness field. Thanks for the compliment about my site and I hop you keep on reading (and commenting).


    The big supplement companies must love people like us. Brad has a unique perspective because he was head of R&D of a supplement company and he especially preaches simplicity. Instead of investing my money in supplements…I spend a little more on organic produce and plenty of vegetables.


    I like the combo of Eat Stop Eat with the Paleo Diet as well. ESE gets great results on its own, but adding in the Paleo diet makes it easier to follow. High carb diets make fasting a tough deal, because the whole insulin and blood sugar spikes make you desperate for food at times.


    Thanks for the compliment. I’m sure Brad appreciates it as well. Currently he is probably a walking zombie, taking care of his newborn…otherwise he would be responding himself.


    Part of this is water weight…no worries. If you body dropped weight that quickly, this is usually the case. I wouldn’t worry as this is probably a normal weight range for you (lighter than most girls your height, but I’m guessing you are small-boned). Keep doing what you are doing and you will get in the best shape of your life. I need to start jumping rope again…it has been over a year since I’ve included that in my routine.


    Brad recommends a lot of non-calorie drinks while fasting…water, tea, coffee, diet coke, etc. I sip on something all day long when I’m fasting.


    Since your level of activity is down, you should definitely consider the Eat Stop Eat way of fasting to make sure you stay at a low body fat level. Typically the less activity I do, the more I watch my diet. I don’t have advice about activities to do while you are healing. The good news is that 80+% of your results come from diet anyways…so you are 100% in control of that even while you are a bit inactive. You will get better soon…hang in there!


    I saw a picuture of his son somewhere…I think it was twitter. Cute little baby!


    I remember growing up in the 70’s and it was all about calories in vs calories out. Then in the 80’s they really started to make things complex…30+ years later, we have come full-circle and are back to 70’s style dieting. Who would have known the disco-era had it right!


    Thanks for the limks to my site. Appreciate it!

    edt freak,

    If you want mass…then stick to the one I recommend in that blog post (that post was about gaining muscle mass). If you want strength, then do the one from the book.


    I definitely like the idea of eating natural whole foods the majority of the time. I’m sure Brad feels the same way. I still like the idea of mixing in some processed stuff as well…just to enjoy life. I like eating pizza, nachos, chips, and all of that type of stuff on ocassion. I also enjoy beer, pie, cake, and ice cream. Obviously, the majority of the time I eat veggies, fruit and free range meat…I just like being social and going out to eat with friends and family as well. I do feel better when I eat mainly the “healthier” food choices.

    tony w,

    I find fasting for 24 hours almost effortless. It was a bit of a challenge, my first few times…but now I just stay active and get into working hard, or having fun. The fat loss results are tremendous. You would think that you would lose energy, but in reality you gain a bit of energy while fasting. It is hard to explain until you try it.


    Thanks for referring your friends. The more the better! Your main issue sounds like diet. You are doing plenty of work in the gym…so you probably don’t need to adjust that. Really watch that diet and do your best to reduce the amount of calories in…that will be your ticket to slimming down quickly.


    It really doesn’t matter how close these fasting days are to each other. Just do it when it makes sense (I never fast on Saturdays, because of picnics and things like that). A good dinner on a fasting day, will be a regular sized meal with healthy foods…stir-fry, a salad, soups, etc. I am a big fan of spicy stir fry and fruit for dessert.


    You are welcome! Thanks for continuing to read after all of this time.


    Great progress. I eat and drink all of the foods you mentioned as well. Like you, I eat healthy most of the time…but you have to live.

    Fit News,

    Thanks for the Trackback! I always appreciate links to my site.


    Good point. I will definitely do a post on posture. I see a lot of bad posture just walking around the city.


    I think Eat Stop Eat really gets the job done, but there is someting to be said for limiting insulin spikes when losing weight. Lke Brad, I have been able to get ripped following a low calorie diet that was low fat and medium amounts of carbs. The problem with this diet is that I would get “really” hungry due to insulin and blood sugar spikes. It worked, but was tough. From both a health stand-point and ease of diet, I like to eat Paleo as well. It makes it easier to create a calorie defict without feeling starved and provides stable energy all day long. I would recommend an Eat Stop Eat diet, with the food choices slanted in the Paleo direction…lowering the carbs a bit…especially at night.


    John June 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I absolutely recommend to everyone I speak to about diet to focus on the AVERAGES . . . a week is more important than a day and the month more important than the week.

    Having said that, however, I take issue with this: “The diet that will allow you the best weight loss success is the one that you find to be the easiest to follow and most comfortable way to create an ongoing calorie deficit over time.”

    Creating a caloric deficit is not all there is to nutrition . . . even for fat people . . . in fact, especially for fat people. Also, the jury is still out on the question of caloric deficits.

    Not everyone agrees that Every Calorie Is Created Equal. For example, there is plenty of debate on the question of low carb (which in my case means deprivation of my favorite food group – pizza). It is not an easy diet to follow but its effect is wonderful and worth the pain.

    So . . . I guess I’m concerned that there’s a little too much “if it feels good do it” fuzzy-thinking in the recommendation that a person should follow whatever is easiest and comfortable.

    Personally, I always find a lot of motivation in statements such as . . . “if you keep eating the same crap you ate at 19, you’re going to die” . . . that makes for a tough diet . . . but a compelling one. 🙂

    Jason G June 1, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    This is a little off topic but I wanted to say that it was the Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain, that got me interested in nutrition. After reading his book I was going to make it my life diet for optimal health and longevity. However after reading numerous health books I think Loren Cordain only got it partly right. The best clean diet includes beans and legumes. One reason for this is that it is really hard to reach the same level of fiber that our ancestors had without them. Another reason is that the lectins in beans and legumes do not affect a large part of the population like gluten. Beans are low in calories and high in fiber so they are the perfect weight loss food. Beans also regulate blood sugar levels.

    I also think die hard Paleo eaters are limiting some slightly high GI foods that are not unhealthy such as corn tortillas (minimally processed), quinoa,wild rice, and sweet potatoes.

    That being said I think a calorie deficit is 85 percent of the game, metabolism boost from the right kind of exercise is 13 percent of weight loss, and type of calories is 2 percent. Insulin increases make it harder for people to resist sugar cravings, but people who are on calorie deficits will be in need of calories and the body will rapidly use these calories as energy and a small part will be allocated to glycogen storage (instead of actual fat storage). Excess glycogen makes it harder to lose weight but this glycogen storage tank will be quickly emptied when people have a calorie deficit and are even moderately active(like most of Rusty’s readers).

    Fit Jerk - Flawless Fitness June 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    HA! When I read the title I was just about to shred it to pieces!

    “EVOLUTION?! BS- FAT LOSS HAS STAYED THE SAME AND WILL STAY THE SAME… the only place where we’ve had ‘evolution’ is the supplement industry!”

    Funny how true the article rang when I read it. Good stuff!Though IMO I don’t see ANY reason to fast. There are just way too many delicious foods that can be combined intelligently and enjoyed without having to “fast”. But, if you’re dealing with insulin sensitivity issues, then that’s a different story.

    Dr. Gregory Ellis June 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

    The calorie “theory” has never been invalidated even though many people have tried to do that. In modern times, the biggest detractor who got it wrong was Dr. Atkins.

    Recently, the journalist, Gary Taubes tried to say the theory was wrong and used some real junk science to support his position. Since he, like so many, doesn’t have the backgound to evaluate what he reads, he gets in lots of trouble.

    His position was that since all the studies over the last 50 years have showed that people do not lose the weight that’s predicted by eating a calorie-reduced diet that the calorie theory is wrong.

    Meticulous studies by Dr. Dale Schoeller proved that in all studies the people did not reduce the calories to the level they were told to follow.

    Why? He did not address that question. The answer is that if the diet contains carbohydrates above a certain level, then they rapidly convert to body fat, the blood clears of fuel, and hunger sets in and you just have to eat.

    We must remember that if glycogen storage is happening, then fat production from carbohydrates is brisk.

    These issues are all fundamental biochemistry.

    We need more discussions of the importance of calorie control in weight loss and control, so this article and these comments go a long way to help in unconfusing a very confused population.

    Good work, keep it up.

    Brad June 2, 2009 at 3:02 pm


    Will cream in my morning coffee totally spoil my fast?

    Thank you.

    gus June 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    hi rusty

    i was wandering, i eat 3 small meals per day, and at night i usualy eat oatmeal, my question is, oatmeal has 61 gram carbs per 100 gram, is this to much ?
    and how many grams of carbs do you think i could eat max per day without ruining my fat loss goals?


    M0L June 2, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    hey rusty,

    what do you thik about the 24hr on/24hr off IF type…like you fast for 24hrs and then eat on the following 24hrs and so on.
    for example, by eating from Monday 6 PM to Tuesday 6 PM, then fasting from Tuesday 6 PM to Wednesday 6 PM etc.
    I will appreciate ur input..thanks!

    admin June 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm


    I think the calorie deficit approach works well, but just finding a way to do it in a comfortable way is a good approach to be able to stick with it.

    Jason G,

    Good summary of important points when it comes to weight loss. I love corn tortillas too much to eliminate them from my diet.

    Fit Jerk,

    The fasting just gives people a little more “wiggle room” in their diets in case they don’t always eat clean foods.

    Dr. Ellis

    Thanks for the positive remarks about this post. It makes sense that calories in and out is where it is at.


    Can’t have cream in the morning coffee when fasting. Drink your coffee black for best results.


    Focus on calories first, then carbs. Once you are losing weight then maybe adjust the carbs. I wouldn’t recommend tons of carbs before bed, just as a precaution. Even though you can still lose weight doing it.


    That is what a typical Eat Stop Eat style fast looks like. On the days you fast, you don’t eat anything between the dinner on one day to the dinner the next day.


    M0L June 4, 2009 at 12:03 am

    oh..ok, I thought it was only two days of fasting on one I right?

    Liam | gym in stevenage June 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Brad – “So the lesson learned was that just about any diet will help you lose weight as long as it puts you in a calorie deficit.”

    That’s the long and short of it really. You can mess about with your macronutrient ratio all day long – if you eat less than you burn you’ll still lose weight.

    Catelyn June 4, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Rusty and Brad!
    So starvation diets will work – ie. 800 calories/day? Won’t your body get used to this lower level of calories, and then you’re stuck never enjoying life. Or, can you slowly add in more calories as you approach your goal weight?

    edt freak June 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

    thx so much, guess i must go back to that sore phase again………
    in yavor’s page, i read that alternating mass gaining and strength training can get better result gotta try that!!

    Richard Nikoley June 5, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve used Brad’s ESE for 18 months, now, in conjunction with a mostly paleo diet and brief but intense workouts. I’ve documented a lot here:

    While I agree that calorie deficit (by itself) will eventually work, it’s no way to live. Hunger is primal and will eventually win out over most people. So, I think a higher fat and lower carb diet, combined with _purposeful_ and acute (not chronic) hunger is really the key to long-term success.

    Both a high-fat / low-carb diet (real foods, i.e., ‘paleo’ is best) and IF I think work hand in hand to really reset hunger. I’m now hungry. It’s 1:30 pm and I haven’t eaten since last night. I haven’t decided, yet, whether to make this a[n extended] fast, or not, or if I do, to break it at dinner, go until breakfast, or wait until our pool party tomorrow at 3pm. We’ll just see, and I have no particular preference either way. If I do take it until tomorrow, I know that I’l wake up completely without hunger for several hours at least.

    Hunger just doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to.

    not going to work June 6, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This idea is not going to work, when fasting the body wants to store up on fat after the fasting sessions is done. So that you will look “thin-fat”. It is proven that fasting is not the way to go to burn fat. You will ruin your muscle tissue and you will store up more fat after the session. Have you ever heard of japanese sea weed powder? Take that with green tea and you will help your body release stored fat. Remember to eat 6 small meals a day, workout 3 times a week, with 2 cardio sessions in between and you will see results;)

    admin June 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm


    Yeah…you are right it is only 2 days of fasting per week. The idea is the same, but just twice per week.


    I do agree. I still think there are a few macronutrient variables that can make it easier to create a calorie deficit, but the deficit is where the fat loss comes from…bottom line.


    Low calorie diets do work, but you don’t have to go to an extreme like that. I would recommend 1-2 days per week at a low calorie level and 5-6 days a week at maintenance level calories.

    edt freak,

    Alternating between mass and strength gaining is the best way to gain dense muscle. You don’t want to get that puffy bodybuilder look, so this is the way to go if you are after mass.


    I think creating a calorie deficit with Paleo style eating is easier and I do get stable energy levels following this method. That being said, some people have a tough time with the low carb way of eating…so in that case they need to create a calorie deficit following a different approach. I do agree with you that paleo makes it easier.

    not going to work,

    We are WAY ahead of you here. Thanks for commenting, but several recent studies have proven you wrong. Look up the term Intermittent Fasting on Google. There are dozens of people who use this way of eating to stay ripped year round. I have been doing this for 2 years and stay around 6-8% body fat year round and haven’t lost an ounce of muscle. The 6 meal-per-day approach is a rough way to create a calorie deficit. The meals are more like snacks…a 120 pound woman would need to eat no more than 200 calories per meal following this approach, if she wanted to lose weight. No wonder why so many people fail with the 6 meal per day approach!


    KCLAnderson (Karen) June 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you for this. I am not a looking to lose weight and build muscle for any type of competition, I’m just a 40-something woman who has played the weight loss game for far too long. I have FINALLY discovered what works for me (in terms of killing the sugar/carb cravings and false hunger that, in the past, derailed me every time): high protein (~75 grams) before 2 p.m. I am finding that my daily ratios usually look like this: 25% fat, 40% protein and 35% carbs. In addition to finding the right formula for me, it took a lot “head work” as I used to feel that my sugar/carb cravings and false hunger meant that there was something fundamentally wrong with me, like I was a lazy, undisciplined loser ha ha. Now I know better.

    Shawn July 6, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Can I use this to cut fat while on a bulking cycle?

    beatcoach September 15, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Good to see Brad Pilon here on your site. The more his views and teachings are disseminated, the better off for everyone!

    Coder96 October 10, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Over the years, I’ve made it a point to cultivate my relationships with the local growers who come to the farmers’ market I helped organize as many of us could see thirty years ago that the American agricultural system was not sustainable for the long-term. ,

    Karen November 14, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Hey Rusty,

    I’ve studied the IF and ESE now and am really intrigued. I totally get the benefits. However, I’m rather dubious as to whether or not I could do this. I had to fast all morning the other day before a blood draw, and I seriously thought I was going to pass out. I’m the type that get really shaky if I go more than 3 hours without food. That’s why I always have a bag of almonds in my purse. My husband can go the whole day without eating and not even think about it, but I think I’d be dead.
    I’d love your thoughts on this since I’m sure I’m not the first person to comment on this. Thanks again Rusty for the great post!

    Sonny December 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Hey Rusty i love this site. It has so much valuable information. This comment isnt specific to this topic but it does involve dieting and radical claims. Im sure you heard of the warp speed fat loss diet and i wondered what your thoughts on it are as is claims one can lose 20 pounds in 28 days. To me thats no different than the muscle mags claiming one can gain 20 pounds of muscle in 28 days.

    BTW after reading your posts on the Warrior Diet, ive decided to try it and so far 4 days later i have lost 4 pounds.


    Don Kanalie January 25, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Well, who didnt know yet? Eat a little less (and maybe also healthier) is one of the key facts. But as usual it´s harder to DO than diet than writing about it. Nevertheless, great post!

    Justin February 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Could have written that comment myself. That is exactly how I feel.

    Patrick Kallie June 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I myself have used fasting to loose weight in the past to a degree. I don’t really like to tell people that they should do this because they usually try to do it too much.

    This is where people tend to get into trouble, doing it to frequently. They will loose the weight and then gain it back. It does work if you use it to your advantage.

    Jojo Mina July 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

    I am on the Warrior Diet religiously for the past two week and have lost since 5-6 lbs.

    My questions is, what is the reason behind not to take-in any calories on the fasting days? It is the insulin? If so, then using
    a Virgin Coconut Oil only on fasting days won’t do any harm and in
    fact will be a good detox day as well.

    Thanks God…I stumbled on your great site.

    gwanfogbe terence November 29, 2010 at 6:19 am

    the perfect site you need to loss that weight whoa what an inspiration

    Mike @ Papa Star Health January 4, 2011 at 1:41 am

    ESE is the best diet protocol by far.

    kayode March 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Brad,i am grateful for sharing your sincere thoughts and experience with us.Just as you mentioned that any weight loss program that make you eat less of calories than one consume will progressively take some pounds off one’s weight.
    Good thinking.

    Zeka April 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Hey Rusty, big respect for your blog! Just started with the fasting routine but have one question. Does the 24-hour fast begins after you have your last meal, or the time you supposed to have the next one? Lets say i had lunch today at 2pm, so would my fast be over at the same time tomorrow, or should i wait until dinner time? Or, how many meals do you usually skip on a 24-hour fast, if you eat 3 meals per day?? 2 or 3??
    Thanks in advance

    Simon July 9, 2011 at 2:34 am

    This is absolutely true, you can never achieve your weight loss goal by just focusing on one method, in fact there is no absolute method that can help you to lose weight effectively. What you have to do is just simply do not overdoing it, keep it simple and easy!


    Jay @ weight loss review September 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Its very much true you have to chose a wight loss method that suits your lifestyle else you will find so much difficulties to go forward.

    PH Healthy Water October 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    The same applies to exercise. A workout with quick bursts of energy, raising the heart rate to maximum, then backing off, rinse and repeat. I like the idea of applying this to a diet as it gives you a break from the same ol same ol. 😉

    HCG Diet Texas December 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    The information is very interesting. I like the post. Thank you, this advice will come in handy. It made me understand something, and it is that I never knew before. Keep Posting!!

    Antibiotic Soap January 18, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Awesome post.I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and informative also .This is really a great web site.

    Medical Alert Systems February 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    brilliant… very informative post Brad.. To loose weight I set my target and work it on.. I got a great information from your article.. Yes I will also follow this “Eat Stop Eat”.. Try to eat only healthy food.. Thanks for sharing..

    Chris G July 12, 2012 at 3:14 am

    My wife did zumba. It really is an awesome way to lose weight. It just keeps changing. Awesome post! September 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Brad, I like your thoughts, As you mentioned that All diets will work, some are easier than others. I followed raw food diet for my 10 Kg of weight loss which have taken 180 days.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas…
    Had a great time on this website.

    Chad Steve March 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Great info. I never thought about weight loss this way before. I’ve been the industry for awhile now too. I like how you mentioned that your calorie deficit doesn’t have to occur everyday. People believe they have to starve themselves to lose the weight. Great post here.

    Chad S.

    Mike Gary February 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog! I am so proud of you!! Glad to hear how happy you are and you look wonderful!! I also want to compliment you on your writing! I think you should think about a book!!

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