The Classics – Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living – Phinney and Volek

IHMC - Phiney and Volek

To be honest, I first read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Steven Phinney and Jeff Volek, which is about increasing your physical output while being under ketogenic nutrition. The book is quite good but it does not go into details with the science of very low carbohydrate nutrition. It’s a good read and it’s only 170+ pages.

I read it while starting my ketogenic experiment. I finished it quite quickly and I wanted to know more about the science behind it, which is why I started reading The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, written by the same two authors. This one has 315+ pages and it references 140 research studies.

They first tell us a little history lesson and talk about how Phinney researched the case of an explorer who lived only with fat and meat during a one year expedition to a very cold location.

Their book is divided into 5 sections and 21 chapters. They cover the perspective of low-carb nutrition, then they further into the physiology behind the program, then they talk about clinical applications of ketogenic diets, while the last section is covered by guests such as: Eric Kossoff, Jacqueline Eberstein, and Jimmy Moore.

I remember that I had a few questions that I couldn’t find answer to before reading this book. I wasn’t sure about the total-carb – net-carb concept. I learned that fiber does not spike insulin levels, which is why only net carbs matter. It can become tricky for a less-initiated persona who’s not able to hit ketosis (the special metabolic state).

I like the way they go explaining lipoproteins (how fat is transported in our body) and what really happens with cholesterol and triglycerides levels when carbohydrate is restricted.

I also emphasize on the fact that there are so many good research studies on low-carb nutrition out there and they are very little cited. But, the time will come. I know.

People suffer a lot from high-carbohydrate intake and the implications that are tied to them, so this has to end.

I also enjoyed the chapter dedicated to insulin resistance and the section dedicated to treating health disorders such as: type 2 diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, seizures and other neurological disorders.

They don’t go into detail when it comes to cancer research and also when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. There are a lot of studies right now on these topics and I’ll be keeping an eye on the public health database to make sure that I can write about them as soon as they are out. We need to create awareness within the population.

Phinney and Volek don’t talk a lot about food choices and possible menu plans. There are readers who don’t like this but I find it very reasonable because this is more of a science book and not a cookbook. Though, I don’t understand the word “art” from the title. It would have been more representative for a book that speaks about nutrition alternatives and choices under ketogenic diets.

Here’s a paragraph from the book:

“Twisted logic? Most energy drinks and sports beverages use sucrose or high fructose corn sweetener as their primary energy source. Given that the average exhausted athlete still has tens of thousands of fat calories in body energy reserves but is running out of carbohydrate (glycogen), why would one want to add a sugar that cannot be used for quick energy, with most of it eventually ending up as fat?”

Overall I find it a very good read and I think it should be a must-lecture for any reputable ketonian :). I’m pretty sure these guys will come up with another great book in a few years to make up for missing points from this one.

I’ll leave you with an interview of Phinney and Volek conducted by IHMC. This is, in part, what they describe in the book as well.

I’m also writing a book on ketosis and the ketogenic lifestyle. You can subscribe to the List below if you want to know when it’s out.

L.E.: The book Ketone Power has been out in May, 2014. See below.


1. Steven Phinney and Jeff Volek – The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

2. Steven Phinney and Jeff Volek – The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance

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