John Kiefer: Carb Backloading, Insulin Hacking, and Dropping 100 Pounds with Ice Cream

john keifer carb backloading

This week we’re joined by John Keifer, a supergeek and cutting-edge researcher who teaches people how to eat cheesecake and drop fat through what he calls “carb backloading.” Met up with him a few weeks ago and we ordered the same thing for lunch. A massive meat and veggie omelet covered in bacon, cheese, and avocado. That’s my kind of diet.

Great news – The Fat-Burning Man Show won the People’s Choice Award for Health & Fitness! Thank you so much for your reviews, feedback, and support over the past year and a half – I couldn’t do it without you. I wasn’t expecting to have to make a speech, but here it is anyway:

Thank you to  Emily, our community manager, Rolly who brilliantly edits audio and video, Alyson, who helps us with tech and operation, and Lewis Howes, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, and our other friends at the Integrity Network. Finally, I had the chance to meet Elisa Maria from iTunes Podcasting, so thank you so much to Apple for making all of this possible. Alright, enough gushing. Let’s talk about the curious link between cheesecake and abs.

On this week’s show with Kiefer, you will learn:
  • How to drop 100 pounds with carb backloading
  • The science behind why insulin hacking works
  • How to leverage adrenaline to naturally upgrade your workouts
  • Why eating carbs in the morning can make you fat (hint: cortisol)
  • Why carb backloading works for women by embracing indulgences
  • And much more…

Fruity Pebbles are Paleo because the Flintstones were around in the Paleolithic…  Click to Tweet!


Discover how to drop fat with chocolate, bacon, and cheesecake. Plus: learn the 3 worst foods you should NEVER eat and the 7 best exercises for rapid fat loss. Click below to to claim your FREE gift ($17 value)!


Show Notes:
  • Here’s the crazy transformation that Kiefer talked about on the show. Competitive powerlifter Paul Emmick dropped 100 pounds using carb backloading, then hit a PR!

Paul Emmick CBL Transformation - The Fat-Burning Man Show

What would you use as YOUR Carb Nite feast? Cheesecake? Leave a comment below!

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  1. Hi Abel! Great show! I’m in the process of trying carb backloading, can you provide the name of the women Kiefer mentions in this podcast?

    • Hi all….

      Great podcast~
      The name of the woman that Mr. Keifer mentioned was Andrea Jingle who goes by AJ. I found it at 22:15 of the video podcast….
      Question…he has two different programs Carb Back Loading and Carb Nite Solution. One program is $27 and the other is $77….why and what’s the difference?
      Julie B

  2. Awesome show Abel. In my opinion this was one of the most informative shows I have heard in a long time. Probably will have to listen again just to get it all. I just wanted to clarify something. Low or no carb/ high fat throughout the day, then workout mid day or evening. Is he then recommending a protien/high carb meal every night, or just on workout days? I would assume non-workout days just eat a clean paleo style dinner. Your thoughts.

  3. Hi thank you for this episode! I will have to listen to it again and again as I feel I have a lot to learn from it! One question: how do you carbload when you workout first thing in the morning?

      • Great question Cindy & Jeremy. Checked in with Keifer and he said you still eat carbs at night, but the best time to do so is normally the night BEFORE the morning training. Hope that helps! – Emily, FBM Team

  4. The sound on the iTunes version of this episode stops working at 29 minutes — both the video and the sound-only versions. Can you please fix it? 🙂

      • It’s not up yet unfortunately – the podcast doesn’t officially launch for another month, but “fans” will get access to it (and other interviews) really soon! So I’d encourage you to connect with Keifer via his website or social media to stay on top of those things! – Emily, FBM Team

  5. I’ve been listening to the John Kiefer: Carb Backloading, Insulin Hacking, and Dropping 100 Pounds with Ice Cream” and am interested in the way a type 1 diabetic should deal with this same protocol. I have been exercising most every day most of my life and have been at a good body weight for many years. Do you have any suggestions for the same type of outcome for diabetics on insulin that would work in the same manner?

    • Judy,

      I am a t1 diabetic, have been using backloading to augment my training (strength training mostly). Rude awakening for me was to realize that exercising almost every day and keeping it lighter on the weights but more consistent with the frequency does a better job at stabilizing sugars. If you have serious training goals, that’s another story. Based on what works for me, for maintaining sugar levels I’d skip carbs until the evening, then have some for dinner, based on the activity I’ve done. This may be every day. Hope this helps

      • Unfortunately the FBM Team, nor Keifer can provide that kind of medical advice. We would recommend though to check out Dr. Rakesh (Rocky) Patel who uses CBL and Carb Nite with Type 1 patients in his clinic. He can be found through Twitter: @drrcpatel. – Emily, FBM Team

  6. This was an interesting show. I have the same question as Cindy. What about those of us who are morning exercisers? How would this work for us? With my schedule, the only time I have to work out is at 5 or 6 am. Plus that is when I have the most energy to complete a workout.

    • Checked in with Keifer and he said you still eat carbs at night, but the best time to do so is normally the night BEFORE the morning training. Hope that helps! – Emily, FBM Team

  7. Hi Abel, Great show with Keifer. I don’t know if you can answer this, but do to my schedule I need to work out in the morning. Would Keifer’s protocols work if your workouts are in the AM?

    Keep up the great work!


    • Checked in with Keifer and he said you still eat carbs at night, but the best time to do so is normally the night BEFORE the morning training. Hope that helps! – Emily, FBM Team

  8. Since insulin is supposed to remain low before the workout, is it recommended to not take BCAA’s before a workout because of the leucine?

    • From Keifer: “Correct – No pre-training aminos. Studies have not shown a significant effect of BCAA’s pre-training, and the rise in insulin could force the body to depend on liver-glycogen stores rather than intra-muscular. Your best pre-training drink would be coffee (decaf or caffeinated) with a tbsp or two of MCT or Coconut oil.” Hope that helps! – Emily, FBM Team

  9. For those who workout in the am, Keifer recommends backloading the night before. Go to his website, he has ton’s of articles – Mr. Abel I’m new to your site, keep up the good work.

  10. Good podcast. Slight correction – at about 13:15 in he states “there is no insulin…” Unless you’re a T1D, there is always insulin. There is always fat flowing in and out of the fat cells. More during meals, less when fasting. But there is ALWAYS insulin.

    Also, you’re only going to store the carbs as glycogen if you’re severely glycogen depleted.

    And if you’ve been weight training properly for a few years, you’ll have built all the muscle mass you’re going to build. So how will this “carb back load” add to muscle growth unless you’re a beginner?

    • Thanks for commenting Fredrick. Here is Kiefer’s response to your inquiry:
      “Yes, that is technically correct that insulin is always present in the system. But for that matter, so is cancer. When we say someone has cancer, we’re referring to a condition in which the amount of cancer cells is great enough to disrupt homeostasis and causes bad things to happen. When referring to “no” insulin in the system, I’m simply speaking tongue-in-cheek to mean that insulin levels are low enough as to not disrupt homeostasis and cause bad things to happen, which is, on average, when insulin levels are over 60 pmol/L.

      As to the unqualified statement “you’re only going to store the carbs as glycogen if you’re severely glycogen depleted”, this is known to be false in the scientific community. For an extensive review of glycogen utilization and recompensation via carb ingestion after exercise see

      Finally, if you’ve built all of the muscle that it’s possible for your endocrine system, genetics and training modality to allow (I’m not sure how you would assess this, but we’ll assume for the sake of argument that it’s true), CBL can be used to effectively lose body fat while maintaining maximum muscle retention. Also, by the nature of changes in hormonal rhythms and activation, CBL can increase strength density of the maintained skeletal muscle tissue.”
      I hope this helps! – Emily, FBM Team

  11. Excellent show! Found FBM doing research on Ori Hoffmekler earlier this year. I paused the podcast and went to the bathroom thinking, “this is a lot of what Ori preaches” and then I push play and Abel busts out, “I had Ori Hoffmekler on and he…”. Awesome show; the only explanation I have for losing %20 bodyfat while gaining a sweet tooth. I pretty much did carb night for 8 months, lost all the weight and then switched to carb back loading.

    In the podcast John talks about his epic feasts. I have to confess that once I put myself into a sugar coma, blacked out for 20 seconds, woke up on the floor after going some weeks without sugar and then binging. That was my version of an epic feast!

  12. Absolutely loved this episode. Been trying to listen to it again (on a different device – iPhone) but the audio keeps cutting out about half way through. Happens on the video version too. Any ideas?

    I also have a question for John – is it a bad idea to add some resistant starch in the evening? Would this blunt the insulin spike that is required? I have been adding unmodified potato starch to mashed potato. If the answer is yes then would it be better to have it at lunch time?

    • That’s very strange about it cutting out – is it still happening? When we check it on our end the issue doesn’t seem to replicate…
      Here is Kiefer’s reply about resistant starch:
      “Resistant starch (RS) (or any fiber for that matter) can blunt the insulin response to a meal. The extent to which this happens for resistant starch is not great, however, there are very few human studies on the effects or even benefits of resistant starch. Adding something like galactooligosaccharides (GOS) does have the proven benefits people are hoping to get from RS (and GOS is one of the best fibers for colonic bacteria health). You can buy GOS in it’s pure form and add it to meals earlier in the day if you want to maintain maximum insulin release at night and get even greater benefits than are likely possible from RS.”

    • I would also like an answer to this please. I tend to eat reheated potatoes and would like to know if this is going to blunt the insulin response.

  13. I’m not going to argue the science nor the anecdotal results….the regimen may work exactly how Kiefer says. I’ve read CBL and think there’s enough data to make it absolutely plausible. There’s no doubt that he’s reviewed a lot of literature and quotes many, many research studies in the book.

    But c’mon man….. Lucky Charms? Abel, as someone who created “The Wild Diet” and professes all things natural, how could you let that one slide? Your lack of busting his chops about that is tantamount to you agreeing it’s okay to eat that kind of crap. Sure, it creates the super high glycemic response that the program is looking for, but couldn’t you achieve the same thing with something you can hunt or gather? I’m guessing the same effect could be created without having to eat a bunch of over-processed junk, but I’m also guessing that doesn’t “sell” as well as telling people they can eat whatever they want.

    • Hi JK – I suppose you’re right about what “sells” or doesn’t. I do think though that both Abel & Kiefer were just trying to have a bit of fun, as most of the show was quite serious in regards to the technical terminology being used throughout the discussion. Lucky Charms are obviously not something we’re encouraging folks to have on a regular basis by any stretch of the imagination. Thank you for listening in! – Emily, FBM Team

  14. Hi, i’m a bit confuse after seeing this

    so grains aren’t good for you but if you carbload you can eat Pizza/Donuts like once a week ? Please tell me about it.

    How about HIIT and Carbloading or is a must only for Weightlifting ?
    Also do you consider Calisthenics as Weightlifting (i consider them as using your own body weight = weight lifting)

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Cosmin, here’s Kiefer’s response to your questions:
      “Well, “grains being bad for you” is an entire topic unto itself as well as the place for pizza and pastries in CBL. That’s why I wrote a book. HIIT is acceptable on CBL. And calisthenics is weight lifting, but the maximum benefit in the context of CBL depends on the amount of force (acceleration) you’re achieving through the movements. Greater acceleration of body mass = better for CBL.”
      Hope this helps! – Emily, FBM Team

  15. That’s a Great Podcast!!!
    I was sorta hoping alcohol was going to be mentioned??
    I’m a bit of a fitness junkie with a drinking problem…..
    As per carb back-loading, would I be accurate in assuming hoppy carb loaded beers fit the same ticket as pizza, cheesecake, and ice cream???

    • Haha sorry Scott, seems they skipped over that topic. Feel free to reach out to Kiefer directly for your questions. He’s best suited to answer them in regards to the research! – Emily, FBM Team

  16. I really enjoyed this podcast today!
    I work at night from 4:30pm to 2:30am and I try to work out before I go to work and sometimes I have to do it when I arrive home at 3:30 am, so my question is if by working night shift, carb loading would be good for me with my schedule since I have to sleep during the day?
    Thank you for your kindness and response.

    • Seems like you’re just working on an opposite schedule, so it should match up just fine! Feel free to reach out to Kiefer directly for your questions. He’s best suited to answer them in regards to the research! – Emily, FBM Team

  17. I have a question. In the interview, Kiefer said that CBL worked even if people resistance trained or not. How would you use this if you don’t resistance train? I only train one day a week usually, although I’m considering bumping it up to at least two times. But, can you do a CBL on days that you don’t work out or do you need to be doing some kind of work out along with CBL?

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  22. Abel,

    Love the Wild Diet. You recommend 50-100 grams of carbs per day.

    John is recommending 580+ carbs for a guy of my size when carb backloading. I am sure that the difference is in the details. I have gone through John’s Carb Backloading book.

    What is your view on this?

  23. Carb-backloading is very unhealthy – in the long term. Short term it works like a charm and you feel great. But long term, it messes you up big time. The studies he quotes are all short term studies. There are no long term studies. But what long term studies there are that are related show that adrenal system is compromised and that’s a big concern. Insulin has 2 pathways – not just the one with blood sugar that everyone knows about. The 2nd pathway was only recently discovered – it deals with nitric oxide. Lower insulin turns off NO. That affects antioxidant reaction. So low NO will allow free radicals to really mess you up long term. You need balance. Carb backloading is not balanced.

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