The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable

Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney are two of the leading academic researchers who have been studying the efficacy of ketogenic diets for decades (a combined 50+ years between the two of them). Phinney actually coined the hyphenated word-phrase “keto-adapted” to describe the process that typically takes at least 2 weeks to go from burning primarily sugar for fuel to burning primarily fat for fuel. In addition to being brilliant, iconoclastic, contrarian scientists (my favorite kind), Volek and Phinney are also funny. In this book they walk us through the SCIENCE behind why a well-formulated (<- IMPORTANT distinction!) low-carbohydrate approach works. If that’s your thing, I think you’ll dig it. Big Ideas we explore include: Who invented low-carb? (hint: look back ~1 million years), the A to Z study (how's your insulin?), the metabolic whodunnit (solved: carbs), exercise (think: wellness tool not weight loss tool), and the battle to bliss (see ya there!).


“We believe both history and science now dictate that it is time to transcend the myths and sound bites that dominate the discussion of optimum dietary fat and carbohydrate intakes. We need to get beyond the simplistic idea that all humans can and should eat the same ‘perfect diet’ across all phases of life. Given the obvious metabolic diversity among humans, we need to accept dietary diversity as an important variable in achieving optimum health across the whole population.

Thus the purpose of this book—scientific evidence now supports inclusion of well-formulated low carbohydrate diets in the list of safe and sustainable dietary options to promote individual optimum health and well-being. And this is where the ‘art’ must join the ‘science.’ Just because you decide to stop eating sugar, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta doesn’t mean that you have a low carbohydrate diet suitable for long-term use. That path to a well-formulated diet is more complex. In fact, understanding the ‘how and why’ of this formulation process takes a whole book.”

~ Jeff S. Volek and Stephen D. Phinney from
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

This is our second Note on one of Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney’s books. The first was on The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. I loved that one and decided to dive into their more general book and here we are.

As we discussed in the other Note, Volek and Phinney are two of the leading academic researchers who have been studying the efficacy of ketogenic diets for decades (a combined 50+ years between the two of them). Phinney actually coined the hyphenated word-phrase “keto-adapted” to describe the process that typically takes at least 2 weeks to go from burning primarily sugar for fuel to burning primarily fat for fuel.

In addition to being brilliant, iconoclastic, contrarian scientists (my favorite kind), Volek and Phinney are also funny. In this book they walk us through the SCIENCE behind why a well-formulated (<- IMPORTANT distinction!) low-carbohydrate approach works. If that’s your thing, I think you’ll dig it. (Get a copy here.)

They also make fun of themselves by saying, One of the authors was once characterized by the statement: ‘Ask him directions to get to a certain bridge and he’ll tell you how to build one.’”

So… Although they do offer plenty of practical “pearls,” if you’re looking for a more practical guidebook to making a transition to the keto world, I think you might prefer Mark Sisson’s The Keto Reset Diet (especially if you’re athletic) and/or Mark Hyman’s Eat Fat, Get Thin, Dr. Mercola’s Fat for Fuel or Will Cole’s Ketotarian (which is especially good if you’re vegetarian/vegan). (Other great books by scientists echoing this wisdom: Fat Chance by Robert Lustig and Always Hungry? by David Ludwig. Then there’s Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat and The Case Against Sugar that echo the same themes!)

The book is packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some favorites, so let’s jump in!

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About the authors

Authors

Jeff S. Volek

A Professor in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University
Authors

Stephen D. Phinney

A Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of California-Davis.