Dave Palumbo’s Ketogenic Diet

The following information was taken from a series of posts written by Dave Palumbo


Developed for use by bodybuilders, the ketogenic diet is an effective method of losing fat rapidly while preserving muscle mass. One variation of this diet is the Palumbo Keto Diet, which follows a very rigid diet plan at specific intervals. Note that any keto diet must be followed precisely to avoid health risks; these diets are intended for very active athletes only and for periods of no more than two months. However, even athletes should consult their physicians before beginning a new diet or exercise regimen.

The premise of the Palumbo diet is high protein (about 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight), moderate fat (about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight) and low low carbs (no direct sources of carbs). During this diet, the brain goes into Ketosis (it uses ketone bodies for energy – fats) and thus the energy requirements by the body can almost all be supplied by fats (which you’ll be taking in plenty of). The only activity that uses carbs will be the weight workout which MAY use 40 grams per workout. You will get these 40 grams indirectly through the foods you’ll be eating. As a backup, the cheat meal you’ll be having once per week will provide a storehouse of glycogen (glucose) in case of emergency. So, you see, very little gluconeogenesis in the liver will be occurring. If we keep cortisol low (by restricting stimulants) we will ensure that muscle is spared.

On the seventh day, you are allowed to eat a “cheat meal,” which can consist of carbs and generally unhealthy foods. This reintroduction of carbs allows the body to briefly exit ketosis and absorb enough glucose to keep it working efficiently. This reduces cortisol levels and spares muscle, as well as effectively resets the metabolism to allow fat loss to continue. Have your cheat meal on the same day every week and make sure it is the last meal of the day, this will reduce the risk of you cheating again compared to if you were to eat the cheat meal earlier in the day. T3 levels are reduced on a low carbohydrate diet, cheat meal consumption leads to insulin production which is required for maximizing the conversion of T4 (inactive hormone) to T3 (active hormone).

Everyone should take fiber two times per day. Fiber actually helps increase the absorption of calcium. When following this diet plan (which includes getting your brain into Ketosis), there will not be any opportunity to eat starchy carbs. You should ideally have a meal every 3 hours that you are awake.

Things to Consider

  • I recommend that women take in around 8-10 grams of fat per meal and men take in around 12-17 grams of fat per meal
  • Keep in mind that it takes 3-4 days to get in to ketosis where your brain is using fats, instead of carbs, for energy – be patient
  • Don’t change the structure of the diet! You are free to change like for like, for example chicken for turkey as a lean protein source. Or asparagus for broccoli as a green vegetable source, but don’t start adding and removing key areas of the diet
  • The diet includes all of your required macronutrients for the day, you don’t need to add in additional pre, intra and post workout shakes.  If you want to time your day so a shake meal is 30 minutes after your workout then that is fine, but don’t add extra shakes into the diet plan otherwise the balance will be off
  • Sticking with the topic of shakes, it is best to get yourself a whey protein isolate shake to use whilst on this diet over a whey protein concentrate or blend as the amount of carbohydrates and lactose is significantly less in whey protein isolate
  • Don’t go mad with your re-feed meal, this can be one of the key areas with the diet where people slip up.  Consume a sensible amount of carbohydrates but don’t over do it!

Types of Foods

Acceptable sources of food can come from whole meats like chicken, fish, beef, lamb and turkey, as well as whole eggs. It is important to get plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in your diet by consuming plenty of eggs, fish or fish oil, and olive oil. Almonds and peanut butter are also a great source, but they do contain carbohydrates as well and should be avoided in excess.

Avoid all sources of sugar and starches except during the cheat meal. Fruits are also not permitted during this time. Fiber will aid in digestion and promote feelings of satiety. Fibrous vegetables like broccoli and spinach should be consumed regularly.

According to Palumbo, the cheat meal can consist of any type of food in any portion for the very last meal of the seventh day of each week.

When Fat-Loss Slows Down

Once fat loss slows, I always increase cardio first, then I increase the amount of fat burners in my stack (Clenbuterol, T3, ECA). After those methods are exhausted, only then, do I play with the diet and start reducing overall calorie intake. Click the links in this paragraph if you want to get more information on each of the fat burning drugs mentioned.


Cardio should be performed at a low intensity (under 120 BPM heart rate). This will ensure that you use fat as a fuel source. As your heart rate increases, carbohydrates begin to become the preferred fuel choice for the body. When on a low-carb diet, your body will break down muscle and turn that into carbs. Remember, fat can not be changed into carbs. Therefore, for bodybuilding, the rule of cardio should be long duration and low intensity if you are aiming to preserve as much muscle as possible. Never do less than 20 minutes of cardio per session.

The bottom line is that low intensity cardio ensures that fat is utilized and muscle is spared. As far as which machine you want to use for cardio, that is up to you. As long as the intensity is low, it really doesn’t matter which piece of equipment you use.

Fat Burners

Start out with 40 mcg of Clenbuterol and 25 mcg of T3 per day. The dose can be increase every 2-3 weeks as you hit plateaus. The increase in dosage should be gradual – so taper up in doses of 20 mcg for Clen and 12.5 mcg for T3. Don’t ever take any more than 120 mcg of Clenbuterol and 100 mcg of T3 per day.

More in-depth articles on specific fat-burning and thermogenic drugs can be found in the links below:

Variations of the Palumbo Diet for Certain Individuals

Example for a 170 lbs male:

  • Meal 1: 3 whole omega-3 eggs, 3 egg whites, 3 slices of fat-free turkey
  • Meal 2: 40 grams of whey protein and 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • Meal 3: 150 grams of skinless chicken breast, 1 table spoon of soy, 1 table spoon of mustard and 30 grams of almonds
  • Meal 4: 40 grams of whey protein and 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • Meal 5: 200 grams of sirloin steak, 85 grams of raw spinach and 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • Meal 6: 2 whole omega-3 eggs and 1 can tuna

Example for a 200 lbs male:

  • Meal 1: 5 whole eggs (Omega-3), 4 egg whites (can be liquid egg whites)
  • Meal 2: Shake containing 50 grams of whey protein, half a tablespoon of natural peanut butter (no sugar)
  • Meal 3: Lean protein meal – 8 ounces of chicken with half a cup of cashew nuts, almonds or walnuts
  • Meal 4: Shake containing 50 grams of whey protein, half a tablespoon of natural peanut butter (no sugar)
  • Meal 5: Fatty protein meal – 8 ounces of salmon, swordfish or red meat with a green salad (no tomatoes, carrots or red peppers) with 1 table spoon of olive oil or macadamia nut oil and vinegar
  • Meal 6: Shake containing 50 grams of whey protein, half a tablespoon of natural peanut butter (no sugar) or 4 whole (Omega-3) eggs and 4 extra egg-whites

Example for a 250 lbs male:

  • Meal 1: 6 whole (Omega-3) eggs
  • Meal 2: 8 ounces of chicken with half a cup of raw almonds
  • Meal 3: 50 grams of whey protein with 2 table spoons all natural peanut butter
  • Meal 4: 8 ounces of salmon with 1 cup of asparagus and 1 table spoon macadamia nut oil
  • Meal 5: 50 grams of whey protein with 2 table spoons all natural peanut butter
  • Meal 6: 6 whole (Omega-3) eggs

Example for a 120 lbs female:

  • Meal 1: 2 whole (omega-3) eggs and 6 egg whites
  • Meal 2: 4 ounces of chicken with a quarter of a cup of raw almonds
  • Meal 3: 35 grams of whey protein with 1 table spoon of all natural peanut butter
  • Meal 4: 4 ounces of salmon with 1 cup of asparagus and 1 table spoon of macadamia nut oil
  • Meal 5: 2 whole (omega-3) eggs and 6 egg whites

Coming off the Diet

When coming off the diet I would advise starting at 100 grams of quality, complex carbs per day and gradually phase in an extra 30 grams of carbs per week.

So it would look like this:

  • Week 1: 100 grams of carbs
  • Week 2: 130 grams of carbs
  • Week 3: 160 grams of carbs

And so on until you find you are putting on fat and then you can reduce it slightly. At that point you will have found your sweet spot. When gains stop again, add in a further 30 grams of carbs per day and follow the above protocol again.


Is gluconeogenesis inevitable in your diet?

What percentage of my protein intake would be turned into glucose?
Very little, maybe 10%.

What do you think of submersion in cold water as a means of burning body fat?
Hocus Pokus!

How about drinking lots of cold water to help lose bodyfat?

Do you think drinking lots of Green Tea is beneficial to fat loss?
Somewhat helpful.

What is the ideal daily intake of Omega 3 for a 220 lbs individual?
Try to take in about 9 grams per day. If Omega 3 eggs are not available they can be replaced with regular eggs and 3 grams of Omega 3 oil pills.

How many table spoons of peanut butter could I have instead of half a cup of cashew nuts?
2 tablespoons. That contains 190 calories and 16 grams of fat whereas 2 ounces of almonds (about 40 almonds) contains 12 grams of fat.

How much coffee am I allowed to consume on this diet?
Try to limit yourself to 2 cups per day. Towards the end of the diet you may need more to help you get through the day but I generally recommend 2 cups maximum.

What is the macronutrient split for this diet?
It is around 60% protein, 30% fat and 10% carbs.

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