Carbohydrate Intolerance and the Two-Week Test


Thanks to generations of people over-consuming sugar and other refined carbohydrates, many people suffer from a condition known as carbohydrate intolerance, or (CI). This is perhaps the most well-hidden epidemic of our time.

Carbohydrate Intolerance—and the full spectrum of ailments that accompany it—begins as a hidden problem. CI then progresses to a functional disorder producing symptoms that negatively affect quality of life, such as fatigue. Gradually, this process generates serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Perhaps you are carbohydrate intolerant and don’t even realize it. To check how your body handles carbohydrates, use the following survey.

Carbohydrate Intolerance Health Survey. (Some Common Signs and Symptoms):

  • Poor concentration or sleepiness after meals.
  • Increased intestinal gas or bloating after meals.
  • Frequently hungry.
  • Increasing abdominal fat or facial fat (especially cheeks).
  • Frequently fatigued or low energy.
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea.
  • Waist size increasing with age.
  • Fingers swollen/feeling “tight” after exercise.
  • Personal or family history of diabetes, kidney or gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol/low HDL, high triglycerides, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer.
  • Low meat, fish or egg intake.
  • Frequent cravings for sweets or caffeine.
  • Polycystic ovary (ovarian cysts) for women.

While best viewed as a single, escalating progression of the same problem, carbohydrate intolerance has series of distinct stages:

Early stages

The symptoms can be elusive, often associated with difficult-to-diagnose blood-sugar problems, fatigue, intestinal bloating and loss of concentration.

Middle stages

The worsening condition is known in the medical community as carbohydrate-lipid metabolism disturbance or hyperinsulinism. It causes more serious conditions such as hypertension, it elevates LDL cholersterol and lowers HDL cholesterol, it elevates triglycerides, and increases body fat.


It manifests as an array of more serious problems, including obesity, and various diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These end-stage conditions are part of a set of diseases that are now well-recognized by modern medicine. They are referred to as Syndrome X, or Metabolic Syndrome.

Taking the Carbohydrate Intolerance survey is only the first step in reclaiming your optimal health. The next step is taking the Two-Week Test, which will help you determine just how sensitive your body is to carbohydrates.

The Two-Week Test

This evaluation will tell you if you are carbohydrate intolerant, and if so, how to remedy it. Yet I must emphasize that this is only a test and not a permanent diet, and it will only last two weeks—you will not be eating like this forever. Because the Two-Week test is not a diet, it should not be pursued beyond this 14-day period. Nor should you experience hunger during the test—you can eat as much of the non-carbohydrate foods as you want, and as often as you need.

Of all the clinical tools I developed and used for assessment and therapy through my career, the consistent results from the Two-Week Test surprised me the most: it’s amazing how a person can go from one extreme of poor health to vibrant health in such a short time. It’s simply a matter of removing a major stress factor—refined carbohydrates and excess insulin—in a person’s life and allowing the body to function the way it was originally meant.

The Two Week Test was unique because it required individuals to take an active role the process of self-evaluation. He or she would actually feel what it was like to have normal insulin levels, optimal blood sugar and, in many cases, be finally free of signs and symptoms associated with CI—all within a short time frame. This proved to be a far superior method of educating the patient.

Some people didn’t feel improvement because they were not carbohydrate-intolerant. But patients who were overweight, had blood-sugar problems, and simply could not escape the damage of eating refined carbohydrates now knew what it would take to quickly change their health.

It is not the purpose of the Two-Week Test to restrict calories or fat. It merely restricts many carbohydrate foods. And there’s no need to weigh food. For a period of two weeks, just eat what you’re allowed, and avoid what’s restricted. Nor is its purpose to avoid all dietary carbohydrates, or to go into ketosis (an extreme metabolic state of fat burning when little or no glucose is available for energy) like with some diet programs whose long-term success is questionable. It’s typical to gain weight once someone goes off these extreme diets.

How is the Two-Week Test Different?

I’m often asked how the Two-Week Test is different than being on a low-glycemic index diet. Today, there are a number of cookbooks and diet plans all based on a low-glycemic index approach.

The Two-Week Test is neither meant to be blindly followed, nor is it a fad diet. In fact, it’s not really a diet at all. It’s an evaluation that helps you individualize your own optimal eating plan for better health, not just for weight loss and reduced body fat.

Many low-glycemic diets offer gimmicks that teach you how to manipulate meals so you can eat refined carbohydrates and sugar by adding fat or fiber to unhealthy foods.  That is not healthy eating. It’s cheating your body. On the other hand, the Two-Week Test teaches you which foods are best for your optimal health—everyone is different and responds differently to carbohydrates and other nutrients.

Low-glycemic diets just provide lists of foods with associated numbers to eat or avoid. However, the validity of these numbers has often been determined by testing just two or three subjects in a lab, leading many nutritional scientists to question these numbers. The test subject’s previous meals, variations in quality of the test food (where it was grown, how it was processed and prepared), and the effects of taste on blood sugar could create misleading results for a given food. These are among the reasons many people don’t respond well to low-glycemic diets—many of the foods don’t match their particular needs.

While consuming a low-glycemic diet can result in weight loss for many people, long-term success is better achieved by understanding how to eat for overall optimal health rather following food lists.

Let’s summarize the basics of the Two-Week Test:

  • Write down a list of all your signs and symptoms.
  • Weigh yourself before starting.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Plan your meals and snacks—buy sufficient foods allowed on the test, and get rid of those not allowed so you’re not tempted.
  • Eat as much and as often as you need to never get hungry.
  • After the test, re-evaluate your signs and symptoms, including weight.
  • Begin adding natural, unprocessed carbohydrates to every other meal or snack, and evaluate whether this causes any of your previous signs and symptoms to return.

The following sections discuss each of these steps in more detail, in order to help you through the testing process.

Before The Test

  1. Record health problems. Jot down any health problems that you might have, such as insomnia or fatigue. This may take a few days since you might not recall them all at once. You will review these complaints after the test to see which ones have improved and which have not.
  2. Weigh yourself. The main purpose of weighing yourself is to have another sign of how your body is working, especially after the test. This is about the only instance I recommend using the scale for body weight—it’s not a measure of body fat, but it is a good pre and post evaluation. During the test you may lose some excess water your body is holding, which will show on the scale, but you’ll also go into a high fat-burning state and start losing body fat (which won’t show on the scale). I’ve seen some people lose only a few pounds during the test, and some 20 or more pounds.
  3. Stock up on the right foods. Before you start the test, make sure you have enough of the foods you’ll be eating during the test. (These are listed below.) In addition, go through your cabinets and refrigerator and get rid of any sweets, foods containing them, and all breads and products made from refined flour. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted. Many people are addicted to sugar and other carbohydrates, and for the first few days without them you may crave these foods.
  4. Plan Correctly. Schedule the test during a two-week period that you are relatively unlikely to have distractions — it’s a bad idea to do the test during holidays, or when social engagements are planned. Don’t worry about cholesterol, fat or calories, or the amount of food you’re eating. This is only a test, not the way you’ll be eating all the time.

Most importantly, eat breakfast within an hour of waking.

Following the test for less than two weeks probably will not give you a valid result. So, if after five days, for example, you eat a bowl of pasta or a box of cookies, you will need to start the test over.

During The Test: The Menu

You may eat as much of these foods as you like during the Two-Week Test:

  • Eggs (whites and yolk), unprocessed (real) cheeses, heavy (whipping) cream, sour cream.
  • Unprocessed meats including beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, fish and shellfish.
  • Tomato, V-8 or other vegetable juices, but no carrot juice.
  • Water—drink it throughout the day between meals.
  • Cooked or raw vegetables such as squash, leaf lettuce and spinach, carrots, broccoli and kale, but no potatoes or corn.
  • Tree nuts (almond, walnut, macadamia, etc.), seeds, and their associated nut butters.
  • Oils, vinegar, mayonnaise, salsa, mustard and spices.
  • Sea salt, unless you are sodium sensitive.
  • All coffee and tea (if you normally drink it).

Be sure to read the ingredients for all foods, as some form of sugar or carbohydrate may be added. Especially focus on ingredients in peanut butter, mayonnaise, sour cream and even sliced meats.

You may not eat any of the following foods during the Two-Week Test:

  • All sugar products (anything with honey, sugar, agave, fructose, or cane in its name, for starters).
  • Bread, rolls, pasta, pancakes, cereal, muffins, chips, crackers, rice cakes and similar carbohydrate foods.
  • Sweets such as cake, cookies, ice-cream, candy, gum, breath mints.
  • Products that contain hidden sugars, common in ketchup and other prepared foods (read the labels).
  • Fruits, fruit juice, carrot juice.
  • Processed meats and fish such cold cuts and smoked products which often contain sugar.
  • All types of potatoes, corn, rice and beans.
  • Cashews and peanuts.
  • Milk, half-and-half, and yogurt.
  • So-called healthy snacks, including all energy bars and sports drinks.
  • All soda; this includes “enhanced” mineral water, and diet drinks.
  • UPDATE: Quinoa cannot be eaten during the TWT, for both omnivores and vegans.

A Note on Alcohol

If you normally drink small to moderate amounts of alcohol, some forms are allowed during the test.

You may include these kinds of alcohol: dry wines, and pure distilled spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey, etc.), and those mixed with plain carbonated water, including seltzer, tomato juice, or V-8.

Avoid these kinds of alcohol: Sweet wines, all beer, hard cider, Champagne, alcohol containing sugar (rum, liqueurs, etc.), and those mixed with sweet ingredients such as tonic, soda or other sugary liquids. If in doubt, avoid it.

Click here for some meal ideas to use during the Two Week Test.

After The Test

Re-evaluate your original list of complaints after the Two-Week Test. Is your energy better? Are you sleeping better? Are you feeling less depressed? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions or you lost body fat, you probably have CI to some extent. People who have a high degree of CI may feel dramatically better than they did before the test, especially if there was a large weight loss.

Any fat loss during the test is not due to reduced calories, but rather to the increased fat-burning resulting from reduced insulin (many people eat more calories than usual during this two-week period). Although some of the change in weight may be due to water loss, a significant amount will be due to fat loss.

If you are on medication for high blood pressure, ask your health-care professional to check it several times during the test—and especially right after. Sometimes, blood pressure drops significantly and your medication may need to be adjusted or eliminated, which should only be done by your health-care professional. As insulin levels fall to normal, high blood pressure typically falls as well.

If nothing improved during the Two-Week test (and it was done exactly as described above), then you may not be carbohydrate intolerant. But if the test cleared up your signs and symptoms, the next step is to determine how many carbohydrates your body can tolerate without a relapse. This is done by adding a little bit of carbohydrates to your diet.

The Post-Test Period

This period is meant to determine if any of the carbohydrates you eliminated cause the return of any of the original signs or symptoms, including weight gain. At this stage, having just completed the test, your body and brain will be more sensitive to the slightest amounts of carbohydrates. Basically, you’ll become more intuitive to how your body responds to food.

Use these guidelines to incorporate carbohydrates correctly:

  • Add single-serving amounts of natural, unprocessed carbohydrates in every other meal or snack. This may be plain yogurt sweetened with a little honey for breakfast, or an apple after lunch or dinner.
  • For a snack, try tea with honey.
  • Avoid all refined carbohydrates such as sugar and refined-flour products (like white bread, cereals, rolls or pasta).
  • You can also include brown rice, sweet potatoes, yams, lentils and beans.

Most bread, crackers, cereals and other grains are processed and should be avoided. Even those labeled “whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” are typically processed in some fashion. Read ingredient lists carefully. Use real-food whole grain products, if you can find them. These include sprouted breads, whole oats (which take 30 to 45 minutes to cook), and other dense products made with just ground wheat, rye, or other grains. If in doubt, avoid them.

Since insulin production is partly influenced by your previous meal, don’t add carbohydrates in back-to-back meals or snacks. During this period, make a note of any symptoms you had previously that were eliminated by the test. In particular, look for symptoms that develop immediately after eating, such as intestinal bloating, sleepiness or feelings of depression.

If any signs or symptoms that disappeared during or following the Two-Week Test have now returned, you’ve probably exceeded your carbohydrate limit. For example, if you’re getting cravings again, or are gaining weight again, you probably added too many carbohydrates. Likewise, if your blood pressure rises significantly after it was reduced, it may be due to excess carbohydrate intake. If any of these situations occur, reduce the carbohydrates by half. You can also experiment to see which particular foods cause symptoms and which don’t. Some people return to the Two Week Test and begin the process again.

In some cases, people can tolerate simple carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits, plain yogurt and honey, but not complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, whole grains, beans or other starches. (Some people with CI have difficulty digesting starches.) During the post-test period, it’s easy to determine whether an individual can’t tolerate any wheat products due to a sensitivity or even allergy to gluten.

From time to time, you may feel the need to go through a Two-Week Test period again to check yourself, or to quickly get back on track after careless eating such as during the holidays, vacations or periods of stress.

Many people find the loss of grains in the diet leaves the digestive tract sluggish and a little constipated. After years of eating lots of carbohydrates, your intestine gets used to that type of bulk. If you become constipated during the Two-Week Test, or afterwards when a lower amount of carbohydrate in the diet is maintained, it could be due to a number of reasons:

  • Lack of Fiber. If you require a fiber supplement, be sure to use the ones that do not contain sugar, so read the labels. Psyllium is a high-fiber herb that is an effective promoter of intestinal function. Adding plain unsweetened psyllium to a glass of water, tomato juice, or healthy smoothie can keep your system running smoothly. Add one teaspoon a day for a few days to make sure it’s tolerated, then move towards one tablespoon a day.
  • Dehydration. If you don’t drink enough water, you could be predisposed to constipation. During the Two-Week Test, you’ll need more water—up to two to three quarts or more per day—which is a normal amount for a person of average weight.
  • Other Nutrients. Adequate intake of natural fats can also be helpful in preventing constipation. Vegetables, legumes such as lentils, and fruits are also great sources of fiber. So if you become constipated, it may simply be that you need to eat more vegetables and fruits.

Occasionally, some people get tired during or after the Two-Week Test. Most commonly it’s from not eating enough food, or eating often enough. The most common problem is not eating breakfast. Most people should not go more than three to four hours without eating something healthy.

Maintaining Your Food Balance

Once you successfully finish the Two-Week Test, and add back the right amount of tolerable carbohydrate foods, you should have an excellent idea of your carbohydrate limits.

Now, you’re on your way to balancing your whole diet. During this process, take the time to learn which of the choices available in supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and elsewhere are truly healthy, and which should be avoided. While there’s nothing radical about the notion that refined carbohydrates are unhealthy, many radical diet plans make it seem like all carbohydrates are deadly. They’re not. It’s a lot more important to find your level of tolerance. Once you know it, eat only healthy carbohydrates—lentils, fresh fruit, unrefined grains (if tolerated), and organic honey as a sweetener.

NOTE: Before you ask a question, search the comment threads for answers. As they are quite long, the answer is probably already in there!

Join the discussion 975 Comments

  • SteveL says:

    I did this test a number of years ago. One thing I did not expect is that all my allergy symptoms went away. Tree pollen didn’t bother me anymore and at the time I had cats and they didn’t either.

    • Charlie says:

      question – what is regarded as a ‘ hard cheese’? I know cheddar is one, and living in New England, we have lots of that, but wanted to check.

      also, three days in and noted a 5 lb weight drop so far – Excellent!

      • Charlie:

        Cheddar should be fine. Just remember, the more aged the better: lactose is more broken down, and more aged cheeses are less likely to be highly processed (since processing would reduce the quality).

    • Sarah says:


      I decided to do the detox after a friend recommended you web site. I run regularly and last year I was told I had exercise induced asthma , the pumps don’t help. I also suffer with fatigue. I also have other muscle issues.

      I am on day 2 of the detox and feel rubbish. I was also sick after my meal, is this normal ? I feel tired, I don’t have much energy but can’t actually face more food!

      Some advice would be much appreciated


    • Julie says:


      I am on Day 11 of the MAF test. The first week went very well, this second week I have a headache as a detox symptom, I suppose. I am drinking plenty of water but am short on sodium. I’ll begin to add some into my diet. I am an ultrarunner and as it is now almost spring I am ramping up my mileage. I am running 55-60 mpw during the month of March and will slowly increase. I have been able to run at MAF HR, 140, for the past few weeks without any problems. Instead of consuming a gel every 30 minutes as I have been in the past, I am eating a string cheese after 90 minutes or so. I don’t have the energy spikes and crashes that I normally experience as I run. I ran a 50K race last weekend that went very well. I really can’t believe that this is working for me, but it is. I feel as though I am no longer beating up my body. I am 51 years old and want to continue enjoy long distance- 100 mile ultras- well into my future. I am anxious to see how this fat burning continues to work for me.

    • Rach says:

      Hello, I’m just beginning the TWT, today is my first day, but I’m a runner and I have to run a half marathon this weekend, and I’m lose because I don’t know if is a right moment to do the test, because I’m usually do the carbo loading two days before the race. I need some help about it. Thanks

    • Ted says:

      Question – where do sweet potatoes and yams fall in the allowed or not allowed food groups for the two week test? Also, is pop corn allowed during the TWT?

      Also, when is the app going to be out? In reading the posts below I see comments it was suppose to be released back in June 2015. Sorry don’t mean to nag, just looking forward to app being released soon!!

    • wendy neal says:

      wondering about stevia i drink an electrolyte drink that has it in it, need it for cramping that i get

  • Laya Medawar says:

    One more question – do you have any recipes specifically for the two week test? Also, are garlic, lemon juice (on salads) and chick peas allowed during the two week test? Thanks.

    • Ivan Rivera says:


      Thanks for your continued interest. Two-week test recipes will be available with the iOS app, which is currently in development.

      • Matt Witz says:

        I don’t understand why you guys keep referring people to this app. The food list is really simple. Low carbs and no added sugar. Just check the nutrition label when you buy your food. That’s what it’s there for.

        • Matt:

          A lot of people don’t know the terminology we do, don’t have the knowledge base to figure it out quickly, or simply don’t have the time to do so. That is why we provide this information It’s fine to not use an app, but it does suit the needs of a large group of people.

  • Mona Minnie says:

    I stumbled across this test just over two-years ago when I reached the lowest point in my life…could not see my life in the next 20 years and being in more pain than I was. I thought how I felt was part of getting older. Never assume that how you feel is the best you can feel. Now I am down 150 pounds from my all-time high weight of 310 pounds. And I feel 20 years younger! Thank you!

    • Donna says:

      I don’t know if you will even see this, Mona, but scanning through comments I saw yours and wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! I hope you are still feeling great and moving in that direction. I am new to this site so all the encouragement I can get it appreciated. Keep it up! <3

  • Marcin says:

    I’ve stumbled across this test when listening to Chris McDougall’s latest audiobook.
    Now,I’m not overweight yet,but very close to bmi limit.Whenever I limit the carbs in my meals a get an ongoing headache-is this to be expected on the first days of the test? Is there any way to remedy it?
    Thank you!

    • Matt Witz says:

      What people are not understanding about this way of eating and what is not being explained is that the purpose of the two week test is not only to test your insulin resistance but to train your body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy as well. So you’re not going to feel very well, as your body will show signs of withdrawal and low energy since its main source of energy is gone, but by the end of the two weeks you should feel fine. So to answer your question, yes, it is expected, and you have to stick it out to remedy it.

  • Linda Coombes says:

    Will you be having an android version? If not, how do non IOS users access the recipes?

    • Linda:

      Thanks for commenting. Our first version will be an iOS version. We’re talking about an android version but nothing is certain on that regard. I’ll get back to you about the recipes.


      • Chris says:

        Please don’t forget about us Windows phone users too!

        • Tammy says:

          Thanks Chris – we Windows phone folks are ALWAYS forgotten!

        • Rudy says:

          To add to the Windows Phone users, Windows 10 provides a single Device Driver Interface (DDI) that spans all Windows device families, which allows IHVs to develop a single universal driver that can be deployed across all Windows 10 device families (e.g., PCs, phones, tablets, the like). – So a single development will span across all Windows 10 form factors as well as Xbox One!

          Microsoft is also developing a SDK which will allow you to load in your IOS application, make a few lines of code adjustments and output it as a Windows application. But, this will not be the universal app as stated above, you will have to export it for the platform you would like to release it on.

          Didn’t mean to get too technical, but us Windows users need this app as well! 🙂

          • Alice Lemon says:

            Also, a version directly on the site. I don’t use a smart phone of any type…

      • Shannon says:

        Would love to see an android version, please.

  • The 2 week test broke through my weight set point which I was stuck at for 2 months on a calorie control approach to weight loss. I had lost 10 lbs in 5 months and then no more. I lost 4 lbs on this 2 week challenge and I am now my lowest weight for a decade, although still 20lbs over the ideal for my height. Also I felt great doing it. Hungry initially and cravings but they all went after a week and my energy and athletic ability are enhanced, more endurance altogether. I am going to recommend this to my Naturopathic and Chiropractic patients.

  • Jessia says:


    A couple similar questions to ones posted above, that I did not see a response for. I just started the 2 Week Test this morning, and was wondering if headaches are normal, and how long they typically last if so? The other question was regarding using lemon juice on salads. I know it is technically a fruit, and I want to follow this as strictly as possible for the most accurate results. Lemon juice is very helpful to keep my avocados from browning in salads, and I also like having lemon juice in my veggie Nutriblasts.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  • Jenny says:

    Can we eat legumes like lentils during the 2-Week Test?

  • SteveL says:

    Jessia: I’m just a user of this site like you but I have heard of people going wheat free and getting headaches. I know when I first did the two week test a number of years ago giving up wheat was really really hard.

  • Katy Macleod says:

    I’m in my second week of the test and feeling good overall – however I constantly have a terrible taste in my mouth. This is spoiling my overall feeling of well-being. Any ideas for alleviating this? Thank you Kathy

    • Katy:

      That could be due to a variety of things. However, since bad tastes usually come from your mouth either being too alkaline or too acidic (each having a variety of causes) it’s difficult to tell you what to eat. However, most bad tastes come from the mouth being too acidic (plaque, for example, has this effect). You could try making a slightly alkaline drink by squeezing a lime into a glass of water. Although lime is a citric, it actually has alkaline properties.

      It could also be that absence of a particular food is changing your palate.

      Hard to know. Hope this helps,


      • John says:

        Hi Katy,
        I think the terrible taste in your mouth is due to your body producing ketones due to being on a low carb diet. This is a good thing and not a bad thing. I means your body is switching over to becoming fat adapted instead of sugar dependent.


    • Vignesh says:

      Dehydration – reaching the prescribed level of water intake may help alleviate the headache. just my $0.2.

  • Kim Skotte says:

    Hi, it seems that it’s difficult to not go into ketose due to the lack of carbs?

    What should you eat if you train for triathlon, will the increased fat burning provide you with sufficient with energy or should you add energy bars?

    • Kim:

      Training too much during the Two-Week test will certainly cause you to burn ketones. It’s important to remember that the two-week test isn’t a diet. It’s a test period during which you remove carbohydrates to see what your level of carbohydrate tolerance is, and what sorts of carbohydrates it is ok for you to eat. After the Two-Week Test, you can incorporate different carbohydrates into your diet in order to have a better handle on each of their effects. It’s best that people accomplish this two-week period without altering the purpose.

      We’re going to upload a recipe called “Phil’s Bars,” which is one of Dr. Maffetone’s most popular recipes. You should try that as an exercise food.

      Does this answer your question?

      • Chris says:

        Is it okay to eat the Phil’s Bars during the 2 week test? I noticed they had honey in them and from what I understand you should not have honey until after the test. Is that correct?

  • John Dziki says:

    I assume whey protein shakes are out?
    Is Nurasweet ok?

    • John:

      Thanks for commenting. The reason that protein shakes are out is twofold: first, they usually contain an important amount of sugar, and they are usually quite processed. Nutrasweet is a very bad chemical that should be avoided by everyone under virtually all circumstances. It is also counterproductive since the sweetener causes the brain to expect to receive glucose. When it doesn’t, cravings for sugar/carbs and feelings of hunger typically increase.

  • Leokola says:

    I have been eating low carb ever since reading Gary Taub’s book Good Calorie, Bad Calorie 5 years ago. I am gluten intolerant so have not eaten many carbs for even longer, with the occasional exceptions of weddings or setting where I have no reasonable options. I started the two-week carb test and gained four lbs in two days. Yikes! I am rigorous about hidden sugars so this is not a question of not following the plan. Any ideas for why my body reacts like this? Every time I drop a few pounds, my body responds by gaining about 2 lbs a day!

    • Leokola:

      It’s very difficult to know why your body reacts that way without a full physical exam and a review of your medical history.

    • Dana says:

      Hi Leokola,

      I’m on day 6 of the test… and I know you originally posted this last year…but I have gained a few pounds in the first days…and while I do eat the cream and hard cheeses and nuts as snacks during this test… I’m worried about gaining weight too- I don’t think I can “see” the weight in the mirror but it makes me feel worried. How was the rest of your time on this test?

  • Leah says:

    I didn’t see a response regarding lemons. Are lemons okay during this test? Also, would no beans include string beans and can xylitol be used during this test?

    • Leah:

      Apologies. I thought I’d answered before. Lemons should be fine during the test. No string beans. Treat any sweeteners (like xylitol) as if they were sugar. We don’t even recommend organic honey during the test.

  • Olivier says:

    Hi MAF community!
    As I’m in day 3 of the 2 weeks test, I realize that I’ve been using Vega One shake as my breakfast / post morning workout drink. I can’t figure out if there are any ingredients in this shake that would be from the “no” list. It contains some fruits extract but all in all, all the sugar seems to fiber related. Should I stop using it during the test? Thank you for this awesome blog/website !

    • Olivier:

      As a matter of accuracy, it’s best to stick to real foods during the Two-Week Test. If you can adapt, it would be best to forgo the shake during the test: who knows, once you try to re-incorporate it you might find that there are some ingredients that your body doesn’t tolerate well. It’s always good to know these things.

      • Olivier says:

        Got it! Thanks so much for your input and for this great website!

      • Pamela Neimeth says:

        also vega contains brown rice protein. You could try straight Hemp Protein powder, the unflavored type has no sugars, nothing but hemp protein.

  • Sky says:

    I have been training (running) with the MAF method since April first. I started with it after a 5 month running break. My times were very slow (14+ mins) but I stayed consistent, I ran 77 miles in April, 93 miles in May all at MAF and by the end of May I was at 11+ minute MAF felt amazing about these kind of changes in just 2 months time. On June 1st I started the two week test. I have lost 9lbs in 11 days (which feels great) but, my MAF has deteriorated back to the 14+ minute miles. I have kept workouts consistent and have eliminated any extra long runs to prevent training too much during the test. Any idea why the quick drastic change? or why this would be happening? I’m hoping next week as I start to add back foods I will start going in the direction I was before.


    • Sky:

      It’s hard to say. When there’s very little carbs in the diet, it’s natural for performance to suffer. However, if you’re not sick, injured, or overtrained, it’s far more likely that your speed losses are due to the dietary changes from the two-week test. Once you start incorporating carbs back in your diet, this should change.

      Keep us posted with any changes, in particular after you finish the test.

  • Jessica says:

    I see so many different lists categorizing fruits and vegetables on the web. When I think of sweet fruits (apples, bananas, grapes, etc) those seem like common sense to avoid for the Two Week Test. I guess I am trying to figure out the grey area fruits and vegetables: bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, squash (on different websites they appear on both fruit or vegetable side). Is there a hard and fast list to stick to, to help make the most of the two weeks? Thanks for any help!

    • Jessica:

      All the fruits you mentioned below (bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and pumpkin) should be good. Just go by the list, and when in doubt, use common sense. However, if you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to run them by us.

      We’re here to help.

      • Bonnie says:

        …I should add that I’ve been experiencing a slight headache on days 6 and 7 (today’s day 7) and I didn’t have any headaches at all in the beginning…Could this be the carbs only just now leaving my body and feeling withdrawals? I eat too many to start with, but definitely some fruit daily and carbs like oatmeal, the occasional slice of toast a few times a week and starches like potatoes and rice. Do some people get headaches a week into the test? Thanks in advance! 🙂

      • Bonnie says:

        I’m sorry for the additional comments to my inquiry! 😉 I should note as well that my jeans are tight – waist not super tight but tighter, but hips and quads are snugger than they have ever been… And although I wasn’t looking to lose weight, I’m definitely not in a place where I was trying to gain. Thanks again – hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with questions! Sticking this out for another week and going to watch my nut intake – bring on (even more) veggies, eggs and meats! 😀

        • Bonnie:

          Some people certainly do stick to the TWT (or something very close to it) for a very long time. For example, I don’t do very well with lots of high glycemic carbs, and I’m really bad with gluten and dairy, but I can process starches just fine. A big, big question I have for you (I’m thinking of your questions and concerns) is this: what are your previous conditions, athletically and nutritionally? Do you have any of the signs and symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance? Do you do a lot of low-intensity aerobic training?

          I ask because some people were eating just right for their situation, and going on the TWT throws their bodies out of whack (without making them unhealthy). I’m thinking of competitive athletes that start the TWT mid season: the lower carb intake forces them to reduce their training, and the higher amount of proteins and fats just lets their bodies grow, grow, and grow. Now, this isn’t bad, but it isn’t what they want.

          The TWT is best taken on the “off season”—say, after a month (or a lifetime) of bad eating, or as you start the pre-training for your athletic season (hypertrophy, base-building, etc). That lets your metabolism “shake off” the high-carb habits and then more smoothly transition to eating whatever the right foods for your situation (athletic, physiological, etc.) may be.

          Does this help answer your question? Please let me know if you need me to take a different tack, or you want more specifics.

          • Bonnie says:

            Hi Ivan!

            Thanks so much for the response. As far as my background, I’m certainly not a competitive athlete or “in” any season, but I train year round and try to stay fit and active day to day. Doing this now for 9 days has shown me that I think I process carbs like starches okay (potatoes, rice, etc) and don’t feel too different. My headache disappeared yesterday (day 8; I only had it days 6 and 7), but no changes in weight and/or bloating etc – still a little higher, jeans a little tighter, etc. If I was able to tell if that was all muscle that would be fine! But I can’t imagine that much has changed and shifted in a week. Moreover, I’m still training – not at a super high intensity, but in the gym. I’m currently doing a push up/pull up program so that’s been consistent, and then medium intensity workouts to hit everything else throughout the week. That’s been my background athletically; nutritionally I eat mainly real foods but over the summer certainly had more simple carbs (tortillas, trail mix type of snacks, etc) and sugar like marshmallows, more fruit, etc so I thought I would feel different changing things up but I don’t.

            Am I one of the few who doesn’t do well on a diet like this? I do know I’ll be more mindful of which foods I reintroduce for health’s sake and will be watching sugar (NO cravings and I typically have some candy every Friday!) but perhaps this much fat is really too much fat for my body? I’m trying to listen to my own body to tell, but if you’ve experienced others who have had similar results that would be helpful to know too. Enjoying the no headaches, no cravings today, but perhaps I will cut this short and try some potatoes and rice this week and see if there are any changes?

            THANK YOU for all your responses! Very, very appreciated!

          • Bonnie:

            About your question, as to whether you’re one of the few that don’t do well on a low-carb diet: the reason people do well on a high-carb diet is because they’re very skilled at converting carbs to fat and then burning those fats. Generally speaking, people that do well on a high-carb diet have a lot of aerobic competency. Should they transition to a less carb-intensive diet, they shouldn’t gain body fat (because of their aerobic competence), although they may gain muscle.

            So, while it’s hard for me to give you more advice without one-on-one info, I think it’s unlikely that without a history of high-level aerobic training, you’d do “better” in terms of health and fitness on a high-carb diet than on a low-carb diet.

            Again, generally speaking, if 20-30% fats is “too much fat” for your body, it doesn’t really tell me anything about “you” in any essential sense of the word. What it does tell you is that your aerobic engine as it presently stands isn’t fueling your body with fat. Insofar as that aerobic engine becomes more powerful, you’ll have less body fat, because that’s where its fuel is coming from.

            Off the top of my head and without more information, I’d say that you are still giving your body just enough carbohydrates that it’s storing them as fat.

  • Oliver says:

    Dear Ivan,

    To what extent should the two-week MAF test be different from what you are recommended to eat afterwards? What about brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and fruits during and after the two-week test? And finally, what would you recommend as a good nutrition strategy in the week before a marathon?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Oliver:

      One of the things that we at MAF haven’t really explained well is what to do after the Two-Week test. The idea during the two-week test is to eliminate all carbs (absolutely no brown rice, pasta, or fruits) in order to make your body very sensitive to carbohydrates. Then, after the two-week test, you start incorporating carbs to see what kinds of carbs elicit a negative reaction from your body, and how much carbs it takes to do that.

      So you’ll certainly be eating carbs after the two-week test.

      As regards nutrition before a marathon, there’s not much to say, except this: keep off the junk food, and reduce the percentage of carbs in your diet as you taper down to the race. Your pre-race dinner should be something normal and healthy (none of that “carb loading” stuff, since the body doesn’t work that way), and in the morning a light breakfast a couple of hours prior, or a fruit and veggie smoothie, should be perfect. You don’t want to go into a marathon without breakfast, but you also don’t want to go into it with a huge starchy meal the night before.

  • Mathieu says:

    Hi, do you have examples of unprocessed cheeses? I would have assumed that all cheeses are processed. Would you consider camembert, brie, comte as unprocessed for instance? Thanks

  • Benjamin says:

    I’m a week into the two-week test. Yesterday, I had a short (clear) rum on the rocks after examining the nutrition information– If I’m not mistaken, rum, while being distilled from sugarcane and other sugar sources, does not retain any sugar content.
    Your thoughts? Should I restart my test from day one?

    • Benjamin:

      It’s best to stay away from the hard alcohol during the two-week test; alcohol and sugar are tightly related in terms of the body’s use of them for fuel. I think it’s okay, but wouldn’t drink rum again during this period.

  • Russ says:

    Any thoughts Re: making this work as a vegetarian? I eat cheese, I eat dairy (so not vegan; I do not consume meat, chicken, fish. I do not eat eggs. Many store-bought meat substitutes are highly processed, and stuff that I would normally consume, or depending on how you view seitan, made with vital wheat gluten (which I assume would be a no-no here). Any thoughts would be great. Thanks!

  • Leslie says:

    Are almond milk or coconut milk okay while doing the two week test?

  • Sarah says:

    Hello, I have a question about the food for the 2 week test. Nuts and seeds are listed on the menu. Does that mean quinoa and almond milk are allowed? Also, how do I tell if a cheese is processed or not? Thank you

    • Sarah:

      Quinoa should be fine, as well as almonds. My quick-and-easy way to tell if a cheese is processed is if “cheese” is part of a compound noun in the packaging: cheese spread, string cheese, etc. Stay away from Kraft entirely. On a more serious note, keep to the nice cheeses (asiago, parmigiano reggiano, blue cheeses, aged, high-quality cheddars).

      • Bernadette says:

        Isn’t quinoa too high carb? It contains 64 carbs per 100 grams compared to pinto beans which has only 4 per 100 grams but beans are not allowed on the 2-week test. Are lentils okay? Thank you.

        • Bernadette:

          The problem with beans and lentils isn’t the carbs per se, but the starch content they contain (as do all legumes). Quinoa, as a particularly low glycemic food without the starch content, is a good option for vegetarians.

    • Chloe says:

      I buy my almond milk and coconut milk unsweetened but from Trader Joes. I don’t make it myself. Is that ok to have during the 2 week test? My husband and I are starting next week and I’m so excited to see the results!

  • Andre says:

    I noticed that one of you recipes the “Phil’s Shake” has fruits aren’t we supposed to not have fruits during the 2 week test? Are there any fruits that can be part of the diet during the 2 week test?

  • Art Bourque says:

    Hi, I am a long time follower of Phil’s training method. However, I only recently — 7 days ago — dug in for the 14 day test, suspecting I have some degree of carbohydrate intolerance (and being a well practiced sugar addict). I am BLOWN AWAY 7 days in from one metric alone: my blood pressure. On Day 1 it was 134/85; today it is 108/69. I am so stoked. I learned of my 130s blood pressure at the Leadville 100 in 2000 (pre-race check), was really surprised given my high level of fitness, and resigned that it was “who I was.” Of course, I ate high card/low fat at the time. Thank you so much, Phil, for opening this new door. Best, Art Bourque (Fox Lane High School grad many moons ago).

    • Art:

      That’s awesome! We’re so glad you’ve succeeded! Keep us posted with any more milestones!

      • Debbie says:

        Hi Ivan,

        I have also had some noticeable effects on my blood pressure whilst doing the two-week test. I started the test on 10th August, but had to restart on 14th August (because I ate some berries), so I’m due to finish the first stage of the test on 28th August. I have been doing very little running but I have been going to strength and conditioning classes, such as kettle bell training, regularly and I found that my existing low-blood pressure is more acute than normal. I think this because I get more dizzy spells whilst exercising. Other than that I feel very well and like a hidden sugar detector in that I can taste the smallest amount of sugar in food. I do wonder though, whether the blood pressure effect I’m experiencing is normal.

        • Debbie:

          It’s normal for people to experience some drop in blood pressure since their bodies don’t have as easy access to carbs to keep their anaerobic systems going. However, headrush (orthostatic hypotension) is not good if it happens often. I myself get headrushes the first few days that I’m on a low-carb diet, and then it goes away as my aerobic system revs up. That’s how it should work.

          Do you usually take blood pressure medication?

  • Mathieu says:

    Hi, I have started today the 2 weeks test. I noticed carrot juice is not allowed but cooked carrots are. Can you please explain why raw is not allowed but cooked is allowed? Thanks in advance!

  • Tim says:

    How about bean sprouts on the two week

  • Paul says:

    Hi, couple of questions

    – is single cream allowed for coffee?
    – are runner beans allowed (think I saw something above that said maybe they weren’t)
    – are normal supermarket blocks of cheese such as chedder considered ok (i.e. not the fancy cheese)?


  • klaus simmer says:

    how about butter? not shown in either list…

    • Butter (and any other dairy products) are great, as long as they aren’t processed (cream cheese, spread) or not dairy at all (margarine).

      • Leah says:

        i’ve been reading the big book of health and fitness… i thought cream cheese during two week is ok as long as it’s full fat. could have sworn i read that just last night. i’m on day 3 of TWT (and really exhausted by the way…. i imagine it’s carb withdrawal?) so, cream cheese? should i start over?

        • Leah:

          As long as the cream cheese is full fat (read: not light), you should be fine. I’d suggest that you add some heavy greens and TWT-accepted vegetables into your diet, as well as perhaps probiotics to improve digestion. A lot of the lack of energy during the TWT has to do with difficulty in switching from one kind of diet to another (in the switching itself), in other words not just because you’re going low-carb.

          Vegetables, greens, and probiotics can help make this transition a lot easier.

          • Shawna Wright says:

            Hi Ivan,

            In an earlier comment you said cream cheese dips into the processed food category and we should avoid it. I am planning on starting my two week test next week and want to make sure everything on my list is okay!

          • Shawna:

            Yes, cream cheese would be best avoided during the Two-Week Test, but say if you accidentally had some it wouldn’t be a problem.

  • Paul says:

    Hi, I have some questions:

    – Is single cream ok for coffee?
    – The salsa I got says it does have some carbs in it, would it still be ok to use?
    – Would a regular block of chedder cheese from a supermarket count as processed?
    – Above I think it said not to have string beans, does this mean runner beans are off the menu?


  • Sarah says:

    Is jicama allowed?
    Why is bacon (yum!) allowed as it is made with some sugar?
    I have been using a little xylitol in my coffee every morning for 4 years. I thought it was a safe alternative to sugar. I’ve been on the 2 week plan for 8 days…. Should I drop the xylitol and start over? I’ve lost 3.5 lbs so far.

    • Bacon often has added sugar, although sugar isn’t part of the basic processing for bacon. If you find natural bacon, without sugar, it’s perfectly fine.

      Xylitol gets its calories from alcohol, which is sugar as far as the body is concerned. It may be “safe” according to some accounts, and it is less glycemic than sugar.

      However, for best results, I would drop the Xylitol and start over. You’ll know a lot more about your body’s response to Xylitol once you venture to add it back into your diet after the test.

      It’s great that you’ve made progress! keep it up!

  • Chris says:

    Can you have cream cheese on the Two Week Test?

    • Chris:

      Cream cheese dips over the line into being a processed food. I would stay away from it. Try a brie, camembert, or another such cheese instead.

    • Jennifer says:

      -I’m new to MAF and two week test. I’m training for my first marathon in 5 weeks. Which book do you recommend to get started with, his newest “Endurance Handbook”? Also, should I do the TWT after my race, or now, knowing I have a 20 mile long run in the next 2 weeks?
      -Which recipes are okay to use during the two week test?
      -is stevia & coconut oil okay?
      -Glycemic index food list recommendation?
      -Has the app been released yet? What is the name?

      • Jennifer:

        The app hasn’t been released. I would do the two week test after your long run. You don’t want to make any big changes, nutritionally, mechanically, or even in terms of lifestyle, before a big event. The recipes on the website are not yet organized for the TWT. Stick to the foods that you see on the list—avoid foods with gluten, starches, and stick to low-glycemic foods.

        The app hasn’t been released, but we will send out a newsletter about it soon.

  • Sarah says:

    How about jicama on the two week test?

  • Tonya Brown says:

    Hi there. I’ve read the boards, but I can’t find a reference to this. Does anyone on the MAF test ever just feel “full” all the time? I’ve been making myself eat the allowed foods, but after 3-4 days I’m just not hungry- especially for dinner. Is that normal? I mean, I am at least 25 pounds overweight and was (am?) super-addicted to sugary foods- so maybe my body is not hungry b/c it already has pounds of fat to snack on…

    • Tonya:

      That is indeed a possibility. As a rule, we’re better off eating big breakfasts, medium lunches, and small dinners, so your body may be just adapting to that. Hunger occurs because your body’s blood sugar lowers beyond a certain threshold, releasing the hormone Ghrelin. The hormone that suppresses Ghrelin (thereby reducing hunger) is called Leptin, and it occurs when fats come into your diet. So, off the top of my head, I suggest that what is happening is that your blood sugar levels are remaining steady because your body is getting better at processing fats, and that’s why you don’t feel hungry.

      That said, keep an eye on it and keep thinking about it. During the Two-week test, a lot of people figure out things about their bodies that they had no access to before. And if something is wrong (unlikely), you’ll know long before it becomes a problem.

  • Lori says:

    Thank you so much for the great responses, it makes trying to stick strictly to the 2 week plan easier! I’ve started 2 days ago and have already noticed that my constant hunger and sweet cravings are banished! But I wanted to clarify on a couple things to make sure that I am following the plan to the best of my ability.
    unsweetened vanilla almond breeze almond milk (store bought…i’m not as skilled as Leslie to figure out home to do homemade!)?
    for the vegetarian poster you mentioned yoghurt was ok…but its on the no list…should this be avoided during the 2 week for non-vegetarians?
    sugar snap peas or edamame?
    I may come back with more food questions 🙂

    Training…I can’t take off training for the next two weeks as I have a 120mile stage race in 2 months, also I’m starting to use the MAHR in my training and agree that the hardest part is being patient since to keep my MAHR I have had to significant drop my pace! Interestingly i’ve had to bump up my pace a bit on the bike already to keep at the MAHR! Anyways, what I’m wondering is do you have recommendations for an acceptable nutrition plan on long run days during this two weeks, I used to use gels for anything above 1.5hr and would eat something like bananas for pre and post snack. And lastly, I’ve seen people say the trained below MAHR for 70-80-90% of their runs training for a marathon and had significant improvements in their times…I wondered if Phil recommends a strategy for endurance events? Does he feel all runs should be below MAHR, a majority mixed with a day or two of sprints or goal pace running?? I’m just trying to figure out how people came up with their ratio of training mix! Thanks so much for any input you can provide! I’m getting the book, but am not a fast reader so wanted to see if I could get some quick answers 🙂

    • Lori:

      I’m not sure why I said that yoghurt is OK. I’ve gone back and changed it.

      Avocados, and unsweetened almond milk is ok, but not edamame or sugar snap peas (hence the “sugar” part).

      About training:

      You’re doing an endurance race (from what I gather). The most important part of an endurance race is to have a powerful aerobic engine (fat-burning mechanism). Now, think of what training is. Excellent training is when you develop the body’s machinery properly. Training intensity, nutrition, and volume should all be in function of that. As long as you are training at the MAF heart rate, you are training at the right intensity for an endurance event. (And, since training intensity is a function of heart rate, and not of pace or speed, it doesn’t matter what speed you’re going at. As long as you keep to the MAF heart rate, you’re developing the aerobic engine as effectively as you possibly can).

      This means that, if you work to exclude carbohydrates and make sure that your body adapts, during this training period, to work primarily off of fats, and your speed comes from your fatburning ability (rather than the timing of your energy gels), you’ll be that much more prepared for the race when it comes.

      As far as racing:

      The two most important things you can train for a race are (1) knowledge of your race pace, and (2) knowledge of the race duration. As long as your body understands those two things, you will be prepared, regardless of how well you do your training. This is why Phil used to train great triathletes such as Mark Allen at a near-exclusive MAF pace. As long as their bodies were comfortable with those two things, they would perform at top level.

      A word on race nutrition: if you train your body exclusively with fats (while training every week or so with carbs so you don’t forget how to digest or use them), and you supplement with carbs during a race (but not before), your performance will be that much better: instead of using carbs to “stave off” exhaustion, you’ll be using them to top off the tank.

      Remember that your brain runs mostly off sugar and oxygen. When people exercise, muscles start competing for sugar and oxygen with the brain. But if you develop a powerful aerobic system, sugar goes to the brain, and fats go to the muscles. This is important because of how exhaustion works. Exhaustion isn’t the same as being “super tired.” Being tired is when your muscles are out of fuel. Being exhausted is when your brain is out of fuel. When you can readily supply your brain with sugar (because your muscles are happy with fats), you’re readily protected from exhaustion.

      I hope this helps.

    • Peter says:

      Regarding the 2 week test just before a race, I’ve got the same problem, but what I’ll try is stick to the method, treat the 2 week test like a disease – and take 10 bpm off my target HR! We’ll see how it goes.

  • Lori says:

    Thanks for all the great answers its made following the test much easier! I do have a few questions on acceptable foods though and wondered if you could clarify…

    sour cream and heavy cream and even cheese…its ok despite the milk base? could you explain
    store bought unsweetened almond milk with no mention of any hidden sugars on ingredient list?

    After the two weeks, if Agave doesn’t cause return of symptoms I assume its an acceptable natural sweetener? And I’ve seen a lot of labels with brown rice syrup…avoid after the two weeks or ok to use?


    • Lori:

      I think I got most of your questions in another comment.

      Avocados, sour cream, heavy cream, and cheese are fine. However, you want to stay away from Lraft. Keep to the nice cheeses: aged cheddars, hard cheeses, brie, camembert, etc. Almond milk is ok too.

      Agave, though, is mostly really just sugar. It’s got far fewer redeeming features than Whole Foods would have you think. Honey is a good sweetener to stick to: it has a lot of beneficial properties, as well as being of the alkaline persuasion. Agave, brown rice syrup, all of that stuff is basically HFCS by another name. There is really no difference in how the body metabolizes table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, etc. unless that sugar comes with other very particular enzymes and nutrients (which is why honey is fine).

      Does this help?

  • Lori says:

    Yes!!! Thank you very much! Very excited to already see the changes from just a few days of the CI test and even though its small incremental improvements I already feel my body adapting to the MAHR training! Looking forward to the transition from beating my body with hard training runs (often plagued by injuries over the years) to more efficient workouts for longterm health!

    thanks again!

  • Olivier says:

    Hi everyone,
    I have a question regarding the post 2 weeks test. I could definitely notice a difference on how my body was in the carb-for-fuel zone compared to fat-for-fuel. I completed the test 1 week ago, and don’t feel hungry or cravings and my energy is there all day long, this is an amazing feeling! Now, I lost 4 pounds very fast at the beginning of the TWT and after that, nothing. My weight and % body fat has been the same for 1 week (this week post TWT). I’m running / swimming (in the MAF zone) 6 times a week for about 6 to 7h total of exercise. I was expecting to start losing more body fat. I haven’t changed my diet after the TWT. I need to get enough protein and fat as I don’t want to lose any muscle mass. I’m not sure what to expect exactly in terms of weight/body fat loss. Am I eating too much protein compared to fat? I haven’t added much carb (I believe I’m under 30g/day mostly in veggies, berries). Am I impatient?
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Olivier:

      It’s impossible to say exactly what to expect in terms of weightloss. Remember that you aerobic engine develops over the course of months, not weeks. It’ll take a while for you to start burning through a lot of fat. But you will.

      • Olivier says:

        Hi Ivan,
        thanks for being encouraging. You’re absolutely right (and i know) that it’ll take months and I need to be patient. I just need to hear it 🙂
        In the middle of trial and error right now and it’s difficult for me to evaluate what is the right amount of each food, especially while exercising, I’m still trying to find what is the amount of carbs I can have as the right balance for fat burning. Anyways, it’s definitely an interesting exercise of self awareness. Thanks again for helping and sharing!

        • Kacey says:

          You mentioned in previous comment that quinoa is OK but I see it in the non-approved list. You also said to stick to honey. This is also in the non-approved list. Can you explain?

          • Kacey:

            Thanks for your comment. Honey is fine after the TWT. I can see how my answer to Lori’s comment may seem unclear. (If you go back to it, you’ll see that she was inquiring about honey after the two weeks were over, and in relation to other sweeteners).

            I was unclear about quinoa, and Dr. Maffetone confirmed that it is NOT a TWT approved food. I’ve changed most of the instances where I say that it’s OK, but I must have missed a couple.

  • Amanda says:

    Hi! I see that V-8 juice is fine to drink but it contains carrot juice. Is there just not enough carrot juice in it to make it count or should I stay away from it? Also, are tomatoes allowed? I see them in the recipes and tomato juice is on the approved list but actual tomatoes aren’t mentioned (or I missed it). I also thought I saw salsa in a recipe but earlier you said no to salsa.
    Thanks for your help!

    • Amanda:

      Salsa that you make on your own without added sugar is fine. Store-bought salsa is the problem. Tomatoes are also fine. V-8 Juice doesn’t have that much carrot juice: it shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Amanda says:

        Thank you Ivan!
        That clears things up.
        I just wanted to say that I got a chance to beta test the new app (although it was only for about a week as I was late applying). Even though it told me my MAF score was poor, I liked it and am excited for when it is fully released on the app store. Any word on when that may happen? I can’t tell you how disappointed I was the day that I opened the app and it told me the beta testing had expired! I am, however, looking forward to an improved MAF score when I try again in a couple weeks!

  • Megan says:

    What would you recommend a Type I diabetic eat/drink in the case of low blood sugars?

    • Megan:

      Thanks for your comment. For liability reasons, we can’t give direct recommendations on a medical issue. But take note of our general guidelines: the ultimate answer is to reduce carbohydrate intolerance. By doing so, fluctuations in blood sugar should become less and less common as time goes on.

  • Sean says:

    Loving the comments section answering a lot of questions regarding foods to eat (I need to list down the foods mentioned in the comments when I get more time)

    Can’t see an answer regarding chick peas though I’m hoping they are ok because I am hoping to make my own hummus with them to use for snacking

    Also do you have a more detailed list anywhere regarding the “good” foods that we could access somewhere or is it just catergories

    I am hoping to start this on W/C 20th July and looking forward to it

    • Sean:

      It’s mostly just about categories. Chickpeas, like other legumes, should be avoided due to their starch content. But instead of going through every food you know, and wondering whether it is acceptable, think of the goals of the two-week test: the idea is to give your body a break from carbs, processed foods, and allergens. Pass foods by this filter, and your guesses will almost invariably be right.

  • Alan says:

    Why is yogurt out? Greek or Turkish yogurt is more or less like sour cream (which is permitted)…

  • Leina says:

    I am interested in starting the 2 Week test and wanted to know if coconut milk is allowed.

    • Leina:

      Coconut milk (unsweetened, unflavored, without preservatives) is allowed. Foods should fulfill these three requirements: Low glycemic index, low to no processing, and free from starches, gluten, or allergens. Food categories in the list (and specific foods) are chosen based on whether or not they pass these requirements. As long as you use this as your guideline, you’re in the clear.

      • Leina says:

        One more question: is soy sauce or tamari okay during the 2 week test? Or are they too processed?

        • Generally they are too processed, although the real problem is that soy sauce or tamari is rarely made of soy. They’re made of weird stuff sometimes. If you can stay away from it during the two-week test (or find real soy sauce) then that’s great. If not, well, a few dashes of it on your noodles isn’t really going to hurt. Just remember, the more exceptions you take, the less effective the two-week test will be.

          Ideally, stay away from it.

  • Liz says:

    Is agave acceptable in limited amounts?

    • Not in the two-week test.

      Also, be aware even outside of the two-week test, agave, HFCS, sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, sugar in the raw, and just about any sugar you can think of, are processed pretty much identically in the body. The only thing that changes the processing of sugar is when the sugar comes naturally inside of fiber, like in some fruits, and when it comes alongside very particular enzymes, such as those found in honey.

  • Abigail says:

    I’m just starting! after 3 years of awfulness health: low energy, swollen tummy & guts or everything possible… i have great expectations about the diet! i just want to feel good again!

  • Chris says:

    Just starting the TWT, are peanuts OK during the test? I know nuts are fine, but they are a legume rather than a nut. Are they in our out? Thanks.

  • Cindy says:

    Hi…so following the 2 week test… ?

    I have already been toying with less wheat and grains period. Also have never been a soda or pop drinker. I do like sweets and baked goods… potoatoes…are my favorite thing in the whole widest world and if it all ended tomorrow…mashed potatoes with butter and gravy would be on my plate…that said I have also not been eating those either. I have been trying to follow a vegetarian diet since November, (really I do eat eggs and I do eat fish) I enjoy meat of all kinds but a couple of years ago I had a bout with gout. (no rhyme intended). It was excruciating and left me with a larger Toe knuckle which I’m told is irreversible…it’s not so bad, could be worse. I am always looking to ward off disease of any kind. The bottom line is that this style of eating is not that big of a stretch for me personally and it makes sense…so my thought on this is following the two week test…if I continue eating that way… what happens… Also with regard to gout…any suggestions and how do fish and wine fit into that?

    • Cindy:

      There’s a lot of good comments in this thread about the two-week test. As I’m sure you know, gout is associated with metabolic syndrome. One of the primary causes of metabolic syndrome is Carbohydrate Intolerance (CI). The two-week test, by removing carbohydrates (and processed foods and allergens) from the diet for that period, allows the body to “reset.” In other words, it brings down the body’s metabolic reliance on carbohydrates in a relatively short period of time.

      Gout doesn’t come in a vacuum. It follows in the heels of a chronic metabolic problem (metabolic syndrome), usually generated by the holy trifecta of modern sedentary life: a lack of aerobic activity, a brute excess of carbohydrates, and a high percentage of that carbohydrate excess coming from highly processed foods. Clear that metabolic problem, and the requisite conditions for the appearance of gout fall away.

  • Guy says:

    Can you please explain why I can eat cream during the 2 week test, but not yoghurt. This one is confusing me.


    • Guy:

      There are many reasons: In order to protect the yoghurt against bacteria such as acid-resistant E. Coli, it gets scalded, which denatures the whey proteins, which is a bad thing. Furthermore, by breaking down the lactose into glucose and galactose, the sugar content of yoghurt becomes more bio-available. Heavy cream and sour cream, which are 35% butterfat, have much lower sugar content than yoghurt, which typically made from much lighter milk (which has a much greater lactose content).

      Because of that, we choose to say no to all yoghurt, to make the choosing easier on people.

  • Sean says:


    I love the comments sections have been reading and getting loads of ideas

    Another few questions

    Regarding meats can I eat salami or pepperoni are they classed as processed??

    Also regarding mayonnaise see below for the ingredients for a supermarket one is there anything there “ glucose syrup “ jumps out for me as a no no but I might be wrong should I avoid this product all together??

    Water , Rapeseed Oil (28%) , Spirit Vinegar , Glucose Syrup , Pasteurised Salted Free Range Egg Yolk (5.5%) [Pasteurised Free Range Egg Yolk, Salt] , Sugar , Modified Maize Starch , Dijon Mustard [Water, Mustard Seeds, Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Preservative (Potassium Metabisulphite), Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid)] , Salt , Concentrated Lemon Juice , Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid) , Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum) , Preservative (Potassium Sorbate) .

    This is another brand

    Rapeseed Oil (78%) , Water , Pasteurised Free Range Egg & Egg Yolk (7.9%) , Spirit Vinegar , Salt , Sugar , Flavouring , Lemon Juice Concentrate , Antioxidant (Calcium Disodium EDTA) .

    It seems more suitable but still has sugar does it matter?? I’ve read the milk base aspect re sour cream is the lactose content reduced or non existent due to the process it goes through to sour it and aslong as no added suger in the sour cream it should be ok??

    Thanks in advance

    • Sean:

      Salami and pepperoni are classed as processed.

      One of the problems with processed mayonnaise, for example, is that the oils they use may or may not be heavily processed. Furthermore, there are a lot of additives in both products. The guiding idea of the two-week test is to go less and less processed. If you can stick with products that only have one ingredient to them, that would be ideal. But since those two particular brands of mayonnaise have sugar, I would say no to both. That said, there are brands that are no more than vinegar, egg, and oil. (Or, you can make your very own mayonnaise in a blender!)

      You are right about the souring of milk: the more sour, the less lactose it has.

      Stay away from cold cuts such as salami and pepperoni during the two-week test.

    • Guy Dawson says:

      Thanks for the clarification Ivan. Much appreciated.

    • Vignesh says:

      Hi! – Thanks all, fantastic website – very informative discussion in the comments. My question is – while Yoghurt is a no-no during the TWT, can I have home made curd? Culturally we consume curd at least with 2 of 3 meals- the curd made at home everyday, by curdling boiled-cooled milk with a culture that’s passed down generations – with no preservative or other processing. As a vegetarian, if I cut out staples like rice, wheat, pulses, legumes, – milk, potatoes and fruit – there doesn’t seem much left to eat! 😀

      • Vignesh:

        If the curd is made by using the cream as well as the milk, then yes. Would this be possible?

        (As the MAF brand becomes better-known, more and more people are asking whether the two-week test can be adapted for vegetarians. We’re working on addressing that question seriously. We want to do right by vegetarians as well as meat eaters).

        • Vignesh says:

          Thanks Ivan – You careful responses to each post is appreciated ! Yes, home made curd can be mate with whole fat milk! And yes, its great to have a food list for vegetarians, and while you are at it, vegans too! Feel free to mail me for any help, especially vegetarian options in India and rest of SEAsia,

  • Pat says:

    This discussion board (is that what it is?) is really helpful. Thank you Ivan for posting so many responses. I came to the site because of Chris McDougal’s book Natural Born Heros and made it through the first week of the week of the test, but felt incredibly sluggish last night and today. I’m certain it was something I ate (or drank)*. In this regard, the test has already been helpful.

    Some specific questions:
    – Tomato sauces that advertise no sugar added, do not list sugar in any form in the ingredients, and which have 1 g of sugar. Safe, or to be avoided? I was thinking of using for an eggplant parm.
    – Prosciutto? I’ve found some prosciutto wrapped mozzarella in my grocery and I’m very tempted, but not sure how to discern how processed it might all be. There are no sugars, however.
    -Saffron? I see that spices are OK, but wanted to double check.

    My biggest challenge is that I do eat out pretty often and while I ask questions (e.g., s there sugar in the curing process?, etc.), I’m not sure I’m getting good answers, nor has it occurred to me that I need to ask about simple things. For example, we ordered take out the other night and my grilled chicken appeared to have been dressed in “Italian” dressing, even though I didn’t ask. Bummer! So, I just had the salad.

    * I ate lamb last night and while it was delicious and prepared and served with all good stuff – gremolata, summer squash, leeks – there was something in the dish that literally put me down _or_ the one glass of wine I had, after being off beer and wine for a week, was enough to interrupt progress. I actually thought I had done a good job until I was ready for bed 30 mins later. Next time I’m at the restaurant, I’m going to ask if the lamb has any sort of rub or marinade. (The wine was a sauvignon blanc, which are dry)

    Sorry for my epic post here. Thanks for responding so generously to everyone’s questions!


    • Pat:

      First about the wine. Whenever I drink wine alongside meat, I slow down a lot. I’m not sure why. But listening to your story, I would blame it on the wine, or perhaps on the combination.

      That kind of tomato sauce should be fine. That said, the “truest” sense of the two-week test is to use all realfoods, meaning products with only one ingredient that you then mix yourself in your cooking.

      Prosciutto (and serrano) is a good deal better than other processed meats such as ham, salami, and pepperoni, which have all kinds of stuff because they are mashed up, and who knows what goes into them in the process (beyond white flour and additives). There are still drawbacks to prosciutto, since it has a lot of salt, and sugar is often used in the curing process as you suspect.

      If you’re asking how far into the MAF version of Dante’s Inferno you’re headed if you eat prosciutto during the two-week test, probably only into the first level. Salami and pepperoni would put you into the solid third, ham into the fourth or fifth, and if you eat bologna (or any of the above from Kraft), you’re going all the way down.

      What would I do? I’d avoid prosciutto. It’s only two weeks, and the prospect of trying to figure out juust the right kind of prosciutto is (to me) like trying to figure out which shark’s mouth it’s OK for me to stick my hand into without getting bit.

      Ditto with any other questionable food.

      I hope this helps 🙂

  • TerriLynn K says:

    I have a history of hypothyroidism / malabsorption / digestive inflammation. Currently all carbohydrates are causing excessive bloating. I have been mostly off of gluten for years, but now potatoes, corn based and rice based products also cause me distress. I have also discovered I am allergic to eggs, peanuts and legumes. The list of foods I need to stay away from continues to grow, and the bloating and weight gain continues to increase. I have attempted several paleo type diets, however I can never get past the first two weeks. I am fuzzy headed, irritable and exhausted. It is nearly impossible to focus at work and it IS impossible to exercise. These are the only diets that have had any impact on my weight. All of these diets indicate that these symptoms should ebb, however I have never had that experience. Do you have any recommendations on how to mitigate these symptoms? I need to find some way to break this cycle I am in and I need to function at the same time.

    • TerriLynn:

      Stay away from sugars, carbs (and anything processed), and stick with alkaline foods. (These are really pieces of advice that should be followed just by anyone). Your symptoms sound a lot like carbohydrate intolerance. Do the two-week test, and see how that works for you.

    • SteveL says:

      I have known others that are bothered by chicken eggs but can handle duck eggs just fine.

  • Henry says:

    I know protein powders are out but is branch chain amino acid (BCAA) powder? (added to water) i know a lot of their flavours are sweet

  • Simon says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Don’t think you’ve covered this already as it’s quite UK focused but what is the positioning on Butter in the 2 week test? To clarify I’m talking stuff like this: (Country life original Block Butter if the link doesn’t work)


  • Eric says:

    I am a type 1 diabetic. I know the standard answer to my question will be to consult my Dr, but I was wondering if this is ok for me or if you know of any cases where a T1D has tried this. I am not overweight, but am looking to fine tune my diet.

  • Abhi says:

    Thanks for actively responding to the comments. I want to start the two week test and went through the comments, was very helpful.
    Being a vegetarian I wanted to double confirm if sprouted beans or sprouted legumes are ok to eat? You had answered to one of the comments that sprouted beans were allowed.
    Is cottage cheese allowed?

    • Abhi:

      Sorry about the comment about legumes. They are not allowed, due to their higher starch content. Neither is cottage cheese. It, like yoghurt, are made from milk without cream, which means that they have comparatively a much higher sugar (lactose) content than sour cream, heavy cream, or cheeses such as blue cheese, parmigiano reggiano and brie/camembert or other creamy cheeses.

      I hope this helps.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I am starting the 2-week test. I wonder if the following food is allowed.

    1. Soybean and related product (tofu, unsweetened soymilk, etc)
    2. Quinoa
    3. Natural Oatmeal
    4. Beetroot

    Thank you for your answer.

    • Stay away from oatmeal, as well as whole soybeans (because of the starch content). However, tofu and soymilk should be fine. Stay away from soy protein based stuff because of the processing. Beetroot has a fair amount of starches (depending where you read) but it has a high glycemic index anyway. Stay away from it during the TWT.

      • Tristan says:

        Staying away from soy protein based stuff, does that include tempeh?

        Thanks for responding to all these questions, they provide valuable information.

  • Lisa Ramer says:

    I am on day 9 of the two week test and am wondering where popcorn fits into this. Is it a seed, corn or a grain? I love popcorn popped in coconut oil and am missing it dearly and would love for it to be allowed. I have lost 5 pounds in the nine days and had a bit of a struggle yesterday while on a full day’s mountain hike/climb. I found I kept getting wobbly every hour and had to continually eat. My friends had lots of foods with carbs, including a fresh mango, and it was almost torture to have to eat my boiled eggs, nuts and cheese…I made it though and am feeling pretty good.

    • Sorry. Popcorn is absolutely not allowed: it has an extremely high glycemic index, even above straight table sugar.

      A lot of us are in your situation. We’ve been trained into a mindset of trying to negotiate our way into a higher sugar intake. The question of whether we should eat Agave vs. raw sugar, honey vs. stevia, or how much is too much, is part of the problem. The very concept of a “cheat meal” speaks of someone who hasn’t wholeheartedly dived into a different lifestyle, and they still have one foot in and one foot out.

      My suggestion? The two-week test should be followed strictly, but afterwards, just dive into the healthy lifestyle and say “this is me” and find the beauty in real foods. The way I did it was to take up cooking as an art form. I’ve become deeply devoted to real foods because of the artistic potential in flavor, presentation, texture, and color, and I reap all of the health benefits as a by-product. I don’t have to continually turn away from high-carb foods, because they don’t feature prominently in the landscape of my palate anymore. And when I get invited out for a beer or to a friend’s house for some good old-fashioned Mac and Cheese, my health and my body are perfectly positioned to dive into that experience with total abandon.

      In other words, make all the exceptions as long as they remain exceptions.

  • Joanne says:

    Hello there,

    My boyfriend and I are going to *attempt* the two-week assessment over the next 14 days. He’s training for a marathon and I’m just trying to lose weight. I’m taking the laboring oar on preparing all of our meals and had a few questions:

    1. Can I use balsamic vinegar? I would like to use this both for salad dressings and for marinating or braising proteins.
    2. Can I eat non-fat plain yogurt? Again, would like to use this for dressings, marinating and for dessert.
    3. Speaking of dessert, with no fruit, sugar, sugar substitutes or basically anything that tastes sweet, what are some good options? I’m having guests over a couple of time this week and I’d feel sort of silly not serving something for dessert…
    4. Any substitutes for goo? My boyfriend is running 21 miles this Sunday as part of his training and we are sort of striking out on finding substitutes for his “during the run” fuel.
    5. Any tips on how to eat the day/night before a long run, to make sure we don’t bonk? (I don’t run 21 miles, but I do run anywhere from 8-13 miles on my long run days).

    Thank you again for all your help!!


    • Joanne:

      Balsamic vinegar should be fine. However, stay away from yoghurt in general during the two week test, and run like hell from nonfat yoghurt on the off chance that the amount of sugar in it makes it achieve sentience and chase after you. The problem with the nonfat kind (and yoghurt in general) is that even without added sugar, they are separated from most of the butterfat before fermentation, meaning that they have much more lactose (which is a sugar) than say sour cream or heavy cream.

      You can use stevia as a sweetener.

      The problem with goo, desserts, and the such is that the two-week test will get screwed up if you add even a little bit of high-glycemic foods, even while racing. My recommendation to you is that your boyfriend start the two-week test next week. Or you could try Phil’s bars, which are much lower glycemic, and that would be okay, as long as he starts eating them about 45 minutes into the race, and not before.

      The food the night before won’t really help you for a long run (despite what people say). Two things will help you: sugar, or developing a powerful enough fat-burning aerobic system. The bonk is when all the stored muscle and liver glycogen gets depleted, and the brain can’t get fueled well, so it shuts the muscles down so they don’t compete for fuel. Beating the bonk is a long-term training goal.

      Hope this helps!

      • Joanne says:


        You are the best. This was so helpful and very thoughtful too.

        One more question: is Worcester sauce ok? We used 1/2 teaspoon with my onions this morning for our veggie serving with breakfast.

        Again, thanks for all your help! I won’t pester you with any additional questions after this!!


        • Worcester should be fine.

          But when considering other foods, think about it in terms of amounts: 1/2 teaspoons of just about anything consumable won’t spike your blood pressure, or kill you (unless, of course, you are severely allergic to it). If some recipe that you use to serve 10 calls for a teaspoon of simple syrup, well, that really shouldn’t be a problem. But the trick to it is keeping an eye on the amounts to make sure that a quarter teaspoon doesn’t become four.

  • Chris says:

    Dear Ivan,

    Thanks for the answer. I do have a last question about soybeans product.

    I have a bottle of soy sauce which consists of water, soybean, wheat and salt. Is it okay for me to use it for seasoning?

  • Lisa Ramer says:

    Just one more quick question – why two weeks? Why not 10 days or 12 or 21? Why 14? How important is that aspect physiologically?

    • Not extremely important.

      However, two-weeks offers a buffer zone, to make sure that everything is eliminated. If you go below you will be reducing that buffer, meaning that if you are one of the people that needs that buffer (which you can’t know because you don’t know your level of CI yet), the two-week test won’t work as well for you. Going above the two weeks (1) provides diminishing returns and (2) going far beyond the two weeks may not be compatible with people who have very low CI, lead a lifestyle in the power sports, etc.

      Could you do 10 days? Maybe. Is there still a buffer at 10 days? Maybe.

      The fact that there is a buffer on the low end, and room on the high end means that we can apply it to a huge population of people without really worrying about whether it will interfere drastically with their lifestyle or produce the correct results. Although that wiggle room is not physiologically necessary, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that the two week test works for you, your neighbor, and your state senator.

      I hope this helps.

  • Luke says:

    Afternoon people,

    What do we think about olives in oil with chilli?

    Also, every time I leave a comment on the recipes part of the website in never seems to appear, regardless of how many times I write the question regarding a recipe.



  • Katie says:

    on day 5 of the two week test. Just finished a 9mile run, and I feel TERRIBLE– much puking ensued! have been running about 15 mi/ week and had no problems with 2 other runs that I’ve done since started the TWT. I run in my aerobic zone. I started the TWT because I often get GI problems (from the other end) on long runs. This is much worse!

    Any thoughts? Should I stop the test or the long runs?

    • Katie:

      The reason that people often puke during long runs is because they go into gastric shock: their body takes blood away from their stomach and digestive system in order to fuel their muscles, to an extent that digestion stops completely. The best way to stop this is to eat a full two hours before exercise. Additionally, getting diarrhea during a long run is usually for 2 reasons: you are running too hard so your body decides to make itself lighter, or you’re drinking water at a faster rate than you can absorb, meaning that water is just sloshing around in your bowels (and your body has to get rid of it).

      Most likely, this has little to do with the foods that you’re eating. It seems like you’re running too hard for the distance you want to complete.

  • Luke says:

    Hi all.

    Ivan, I’m just wondering if homemade pesto is food for the test. Ingredients are basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, and the one I ain’t to sure about is pine nuts, toasted.

    Only 3 days into the text but I’ve been trying to message this message board forever with questions, and they just seem to vanish each time!?



    • Luke:

      Sorry… We approve each new poster, and I wasn’t looking at the Website on the weekends.

      Pine nuts are perfectly fine. Pesto is great!

      • Luke says:

        Cheers Ivan. Great relief as I’ve just been eating the pesto!

        How about cashews. How do theywork as they have sugar in but everyone mentions snacking on the rascals?

        Cheers again.

        • Luke:

          As long as they are raw cashews they should be fine.

          • Heather says:

            Ivan, could you elaborate on this? I, perhaps foolishly, did not think to differentiate between raw and roasted. I’m on day 9, but have been occasionally eating roasted cashews and almonds. Could this potentially have a negative impact on the results of the test?

          • Heather:

            It’s not so much about whether they are raw or roasted; it’s just that when they are raw you immediately know that they aren’t honey-roasted, salted, or encrusted with stuff. In other words, when something is “raw” you know you are getting that and nothing else.

            Whether they have stuff added (and whether that is a derivative of sugar) would have an impact, but not the roasting itself.

  • Marie says:

    Why is milk not allowed but Heavy Cream is?

    • Because milk has the cream removed, meaning that it has a much lower proportion of fats and therefore a much higher proportion of lactose (which is a sugar) than heavy cream. In this sense, heavy cream and milk are two completely different foods.

      • Rich Cook says:

        Ah, a question & answer regarding milk … that was going to be mine. For clarification on your answer, how does whole, organic milk fit in? Still too low in cream content? Willing to go whole hog on this TWT; just clarifying.

        I’m type 2 diabetic (syndrome X). Can’t afford meds that work only ok (Metformin affordable but makes me sick to my stomach). Blood glucose spiking in the am. Doc blew off my concerns. Trying to find better solutions. Eager to start TWT & see how it effects my blood sugar, especially in the am.

  • Marie says:

    Can stevia be used as a sweetener for the two week test?

  • Holly says:

    I have tried a similar test before but I drank tea with Splenda and made my own “lemonade” with water, juice of lemons, and a bit of Splenda and the test still proved to work wonders for me. I didn’t crave sweets and my energy returned, all my aches and pains went away and I felt so much more calm and at ease. i was able to taper off of the Splenda because I’m certain it’s not safe, even if it didn’t immediately affect me….but I think it’s safe to say that not all artificial sweeteners will cause every person to crave sweets.
    Unfortunately I’ve had 3 back to back foot surgeries and couldn’t continue the diet as I was dependent on others to bring me food….and it was usually something starchy :(. I’m healed now and I’m going to start this test, which I’m SO excited about!
    I tried to read through most of the comments to see if this was answered, I didn’t see it…but is home made Pico De Gallo ok? (Tomato, onion, jalapeño, salt & pepper)
    I love to pair it with Chicken or fish. Yummo!

  • Pamela Neimeth says:

    I have been a vegan for years but have recently added eggs and fish. As I get ready to start the 2 week test I am a bit challenged by what to eat if I do not eat meat. chicken or dairy? So tofu and tempeh are ok? Aren’t soybeans legumes? Any other suggestions on what to eat for 2 weeks?

  • Luke says:


    I have a feeling this is going to be ok, but i’d just like to know If this bacon ACTUALLY IS OK.

    Cheers again in advance,


  • David says:

    Greetings, it has been extremely motivating reading all the comments. I have enjoyed reading and listening to Dr. Maffatone and have elected to take the test. Wish me the best, I will keep you posted on my experiences and most importantly my results.

    All my best to you all!!!

  • Elio says:

    I thought lentils and chickpeas would be out, you say to avoid them on 3rd July. They are amongst your recipe suggestions. Also Fitness Granola advocates the use of honey, as does the chickpea soup. I thought no sugars?

    Would kaffir made from full milk be acceptable?

  • Srivatsan says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for the detailed responses to all our queries. I have a few queries of my own.

    I am a vegan and hence it will be a major challenge to carry out the 2 week test. I do not want to wait until you come out with a recipe for vegans and hence plan to start the 2 week test in a day or two.

    You have mentioned earlier that soyabean contains starches and is to be avoided whereas soymilk is fine. By extension, can one say peanut milk should be ok although peanuts are to be avoided?

    I have seen in the book that avocados are permitted. Fruits are not allowed, right? Any other exceptions in the fruit family :)?

    Is there any fat-protein ratio that we need to aim for or can we eat from the permitted foods as we feel like?

    Thanks once again and looking forward to your answers.

    Warm regards – Srivatsan

  • Srivatsan says:


    Thanks for the clarification on peanut milk….it is dried raw groundnut kernel which is then made into milk at home using a mixer grinder. I was also wondering if water chestnut is allowed..I was excited thinking it is a vegetable (which it is) but the corn is rich in carbohydrates, so that threw me off..Does one have to be very selective even in vegetables? Another query is whether berries (particularly gooseberries) are allowed?

    Would raw Mangoes be ok? The fruit would be a no-no but what about it in raw form?

    I can see how difficult it is for you to address all these queries since all of us would have countless doubts during this journey 🙂 – Thanks for the support

    • Yeah, no water chestnut, and no raw mangoes either. They have too much sugar. A lot of these questions that I’m getting I don’t know the answer to beforehand. I just eyeball or research them slightly. Generally speaking, it’s not just the matter of whether a food is acceptable or not. If someone, for example, is wanting to add stevia or xylitol, or wondering if a teaspoon of honey is good when they already know (or correctly assume) that a tablespoon isn’t, that for me is a sign that the body is trying to find a way through the rules to maximize its intake of carbohydrates. Even if a teaspoon is OK, I would say that it isn’t.

      If you think a food may be on the edge of acceptability, it’s not acceptable. Why we pick a certain food is just as important as what food we pick: “why” implies a pattern of behavior that causes us to pick a lot of other foods in the same fashion.

      (Gooseberries are fine, by the way).

  • Srivatsan says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Further to my water chestnut post…am referring to plain fresh water chestnuts. its glycemic Index levels show it is <50 (says 30 in one website). I had mentioned that its Corn is starchy – actually I meant Corm, not Corn.

    Thanks once again

    • Srivatsan:

      If they are starchy, I would stay away from them (and then include them in your diet to test them early after finishing the two-week test). You can do this calculation with most foods: are they not low glycemic? Do they contain starches or gluten? If so, avoid them during the two-week test.

  • Srivatsan says:

    Thanks a ton for the clarifications.

  • Sara says:

    Looking for more advice towards for us vegetarians in conducting the two week test. I don’ consume any dairy, an usually only a few eggs a week from our chickens. Thanks!

  • Chris Klinger says:

    Hi, My wife and I are both on day 2 of the 2 week test and I’m wondering about organic cashews and Brazil nuts. The one’s we bought were not raw, and the only ingredient is the nut; however, I noticed sugar and carbs. Help! Have we wrecked the test? Thanks.

  • Chris Klinger says:

    Hi Again, I’ve got another question for you about exercising during the twt. I run 6 days a week and do sit-ups before running (we’re now on day 4 of the test), and 3 days a week have an additional strength workout routine on the pull-up bar. I bought a heart monitor and have run 3 days within my aerobic range. That being said, I feel weird. When I woke today (run only), I ran, came back to have breakfast and then my whole body felt tired. I’ve been a mind bonker forever (am pretty sure I have CI), so it didn’t feel like that; just really worn down. My questions are: 1. Does this feeling sound consistent with exercising during the twt? 2. I watched an interview with Phil and heard him say he can feel when fat is used for energy – what does that feel like? I’m sure I’ll have more, and have read through the forum so as not to repeat what’s already been asked. Thanks.

    • Chris:

      If you are a big sugar burner and you do the two-week test, suddenly, your body doesn’t have its preferred form of fuel around. So yes, you tend to get more tired until your metabolism re-adapts. I’m not sure how to describe how it feels to use fat for energy.

      • Chris Klinger says:

        OK, Thanks. Will the adaption happen in the twt?

        • Yes. By which I mean, to the extent that everything happens ideally, it will.

          • Chris Klinger says:

            OK. Thanks. My hope is that anyone else who has had this happen is benefitting from the myriad of questions, as I am on day 8 today. I jumped on the scale this morning and found I’ve lost 10 pounds (I was thin to begin with). My fear (I just don’t know) is that I’m losing muscle – and don’t yet understand the choices my body makes (or the hierarchy) between choosing carbs / sugar, fat and then muscle. I’m looking past the woozy / weak feeling, hoping (from your comments and those I’ve read in other posts) that the nuclear energy is coming! Thanks for your support. If you have any comments on this, I’d love to read them.

          • Mike says:

            Adding on to Chris’ comments since I am in the same ballpark…

            I am on day 4, and have exercised each day (6-8 mile runs and/or crossfit sessions), the first few days I felt fine during and after exercising, but today on my normal 6 mile run, did not feel well at all (felt really sluggish and tired). I have not been using a heartrate monitor, but keep my pace conversational and easy. I slowed down, and ate lunch when I returned, but still feel off. Any idea what would be driving this?

            Also, I am currently training for a marathon. I am pretty sure that I will need to run at a higher heartrate than MAF target (my target =142) in order to run at my target pace (around 7:10 / mile). Are we supposed to be racing at the same target MAF heartrate? If not, how do we train for a faster run if we are trying to hold to the target MAF heartrate?

            Also, just to add, I am a pound or two above my normal weight since starting the 2-week test.

          • Mike:

            Probably, it’s that your body is used to burning sugar. That’s what your mind is used to, as well. It always feels weird when you’re burning fats. When you do a 3 day fast, for example, you feel weird even when you’re not tired. Of course, once burning fats becomes the new normal, that weird feeling should stop.

            Actually, your target pace should be based on your MAF heart rate: you should run at 10-15 BPM above MAF. You don’t really need to train faster to run a race that’s only a few BPM faster, unless you already have an aerobic base strong enough that hitting the wall isn’t a concern any more. When your aerobic base can carry you for the full 26 miles, that’s really the point where you need to start incorporating speed workouts.

            NOTE: There are two important reasons to develop the aerobic base. (1) As a health foundation on which to develop athletic capability, and (2) for endurance purposes. The reason that you want to develop your aerobic base first, to carry you the full 26.2 miles, is because if you add power that your aerobic base can’t sustain for that amount of mileage, you’ll go through all of your liver glycogen prematurely, hit the wall, and miss your target speed anyway. The best way around this is to simply earn the marathon, just like every competitive distance runner ever: in your early teens you run 400 meters, in your mid teens you run miles, in your late teens you run a 5-K, in your early twenties you run 10-Ks, in your mid 20s you run half-marathons, and in your late 20s you get into the marathon. That is the surest progression you can make if you want to run a great marathon. Typically, you develop power at a certain endurance, which you then use to scaffold a greater level of endurance.

            But this implies a powerful aerobic base. If you have a very weak aerobic base (or want to jump straight into the marathon) first you need to develop the endurance to run the full race, and then use that to scaffold power.

            In terms of your weight gain, I’d say that it is inconsequential for the most part. Your athletic output has been reduced due to the change in nutrients. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve put on fat (your body may have taken this opportunity to put on more muscle, or to repair some damage). Also, consider this: your liver holds about 150 grams of glycogen. Per gram of water, it needs 3 grams of water to physically store it in the liver. If you haven’t been burning off your liver glycogen, say that there’s 100 grams in storage all the time. Add the requisite 200 grams of water, and that’s just under a pound. You could be ~.7 lbs heavier just because you haven’t been emptying the tank.

            If, for example, you told me that you had been gaining 5 lbs, that would be different.

            I hope this helps. Shoot back if you have further questions.

  • Bianca says:

    Hi Team!

    On our 3rd day of the test so far! Feeling great and challenged!

    Quick question- in the past I have made homemade chocolate with :
    Coconut oil
    Organic cocoa powder

    Is cocoa powder allowed in the test?

    • Bianca:

      It’s fine as long as it’s not too processed and has no added sugar. For example, raw unsweetened cocoa powder should work just fine. That sounds like a great chocolate recipe though! Let us know how it turns out!

  • Sebastian says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Could you please advice if beetroot is suitable during the test. I’ve just learned they are very starchy and I’m not sure if I need to repeat the test since I was eating one root a day. Thank you.


    • Sebastian:

      Beetroot is somewhat starchy, and it has a pretty high glycemic index anyway. Why not continue the test without the beetroot, and if you start seeing a cascade of positive effects as a consequence, keep it going for a few days beyond the 14.

  • Jennifer says:

    Any advice for fueling during long runs while on TWT and beyond? Water and nuts sound like they may work…

    • Jennifer:

      Two words: body fat. In the long run, the metabolism and not the muscles takes up the burden. The reason people’s bodies break down during a long run is because their metabolism isn’t strong enough that it can keep functioning aerobically for that long a distance. As it gets tired, it has to rely on the anaerobic system to keep up the work. Remember—most runners have enough fat to run from New York to Chicago and back. When you need to fuel before reaching the 26-30 mile mark, it is because there was an important anaerobic component to running.

      Why does this matter?

      Because generally speaking, the point of doing long runs is to train your ability to run far. If those long runs have an anaerobic component to them, meaning that you have to fuel often, then your body is really doing a short-distance (higher-intensity) effort which you are artificially extending by including carbs as fuel. (I know that you said nuts and water, but it’s easier to make the case with carbs). Essentially, if you need to fuel during a run, it means that you are running, say, a half-marathon at what should be your 10-K speed (or whatever). By definition, that is a higher intensity than your body is built to sustain. That is the definition of too much stress. You might ramp your speed up quickly, but at the cost of the physiological infrastructure that sustains that speed. Over too long a period of time, that’s called “overtraining.”

      What I mean is this: ensuring that you’re using body fat as fuel during a training run is not only the best way to train the metabolism’s ability to take you far, but also to protect yourself from overtraining. Combine those two benefits, and you’ll go a lot further than the person who is only running faster than you because they’re sucking down energy gels like they’re free.

      The reason that even elite runners need ~250 calories per hour during an ultramarathon isn’t to fuel your muscles (they should be getting that fuel from fats) but to add a bit of carbs to the mix in order to get that fat-burning process going. They are still burning 800-1200 calories per hour. Over the course of an ultramarathon, that’s a huge calorie deficit. (And even then, the very very best, such as Kilian Jornet, are known to only ingest a couple of energy gels in the course of a 9 hour race).

      Which gets us to where eating fats comes into the equation. If at the beginning of a 100 miler you eat nuts, which are typically fattier and starchier than gels or sports drinks, those nutrients aren’t really going to make themselves available until mile 40. (They take a much longer time to digest than carbs, as I’m sure you well know). The reason it helps to eat them isn’t to fuel your run, but to make your body not freak out on you—it knows that there is energy-dense food coming so it’s not as worried about the energy deficit it is incurring.

      Does eating nuts help? Absolutely. But the way that we think about the long run—how we should “fuel our run”—can hurt us if we’re not quite clear on the physiology. Running far is a huge challenge to the body’s integrity (regardless of whether we were built for it or not, which we were). We have to make sure that our body can meet that challenge. And the way to meet it is by using body fat for fuel.

  • Emily says:

    I’m vegan. What do I eat? It seems as though I would be eating mostly fat from filling up on nuts and seeds. Is quinoa allowed? Hemp seed? How can I do this and be vegan?

    • Emily:

      We don’t have that quite figured out yet. We don’t want to put out a particular combination of foods that restricts some vital micronutrient for 2 weeks (such as vitamin K). We’ll have something soon.

  • Emily says:

    Is quinoa allowed? What about peas? Why carrots but not be juice?

  • Heather says:

    I know this will probably sound stupid and may’ve already been asked and answered (in my defense I tried doing searches and there are A Lot of comments to read thru) anyway…
    Tomatoes? Technically a fruit but usually hangs w/ the veggies, I’m assuming we can eat them as salsa & V8/tomato juice is allowed.
    Lentils? Are they beans – beans are out but several of the recipes include lentils??
    Chick peas? What are they considered beans or peas?? So yes or no?
    Sorry. A friend just told me about you all on Friday. I am trying to figure out how to train myself for a 10k in November and am freaking out. I believe carbs are not my friends – I have weight that won’t budge. Arrived as I hit 40 and almost ten years later I started seriously trying to remove it & dig myself out of the fat suit :-/ I’ve gotten off about 20lbs of the 50 I gained & lost over 19 inches have run 9 5ks but I’m still struggling …

    • Heather:

      No to legumes. Beans, chickpeas, and lentils are out.

      About your 10k. One of the things that makes people’s weight “not budge” is that they stack the acute stress of exercise on top of the chronic stress of life. Since chronic stress (even when it’s not clinical) promotes anaerobic function, doing intense exercise (the kind typically recommended for a 10k or in Crossfit) makes it even more difficult for the body to burn fat, recover, or both. So all that fat stays where it is, and you burn the carbs that you eat.

      What your body needs (as well as most of the people in westernized society) is a fundamental retooling of the way it burns energy. You accomplish that by training the aerobic system. That means training slow, less intensely. Does that mean burning fewer calories? It does. But what it also means is that you will develop your body’s ability to burn fats. Among noncompetitive runners, I am very fast. If I told you just how much I walk, you’d be amazed: about 30-45 minutes a day. And on top of that, I run slowly at my MAF heart rate for about an hour. On top of that I do flexibility and functional training, as well as jumping rope, for about another hour. When I take that huge aerobic base and apply it to my interval workouts, half an hour per week, it pays dividends in speed.

      That’s what I do, but I’ve been fit for most of my life. One final recommendation is to fully reconsider your mental approach to training: here I’m homing in on the word “struggle.” Struggling—even when you’re talking about struggling to burn fats—implies an increase in effort, an increase in stress, and an increase in anaerobic function. And stress, even when it’s not physical, counts towards your anaerobic function. If I snuck up behind you and startled you, your body would start burning energy anaerobically in anticipation of fight-or-flight, even if you hadn’t started moving yet. So, when you “struggle” to burn fats, the preoccupation itself (and the mental stress it implies) may be increasing your anaerobic function from a psychological direction, and preventing you from developing your aerobic system, burning fats, and losing weight.

      Does this make sense?

      • Heather says:

        Thanks for the response- although its difficult to find since I had to scroll through ALL previous comments to get to recent.
        I think I was having some of the same confusion as others who posted – looking through the recipes in preparation for the two week test. I did stay away from those legumes! I am hoping TOMATOES are not banned – they have that fruit thing but V8 & tomato juice were okay. If not, I’m screwed, because I have been having them in salads & scrambled eggs. 😮

        What you said made sense, yes. However, it was not terribly encouraging for the spit I find myself currently. :-/

        I USED to be in good shape, I too walked 30-45 minutes almost daily – I even walked to & from work. I was never a runner. But I used to take aerobics & jazzercise classes (I like the dancey things 🙂 But right as I hit the slowing metabolism of forty, my life changed drastically and stressfully! Marriage, four teenage step-children (one with severe emotional issues), job changes AND I stopped exercising in any meaningful way. There was no time for me.

        As I approached 50 – I decided to get serious and “rage against the machine” 😉 overall I do feel better, stronger, healthier. In the course of the last two years I’ve learned about Clean Eating. But I hit that plateau. And quite honestly lately it all seems futile. So here I am learning about my heart rate and aerobic strengthening. I just got a watch with HR monitor AND discovered our treadmill came with one! I fond it difficult to keep my HR in the zone from the 180 formula, but I have been trying!

        Sooooooo five days no crabs…..

        • Heather says:

          OH! & I meant to ask if Shakeology shakes would be okay in the 2 Week Test? I have been using them since 2013. They are a great breakfast or snack option. I haven’t had any this week as I was unsure – erred on the side of caution.

          • Heather:

            I just perused their website, and it’s pretty scary. The fact that they announce it as a weightloss aid, in addition to the fact that I couldn’t find a recipe list, makes me want to run away from them. There’s a chance that these shakes are exactly what they’re touted to be, in the same sense that there’s a chance (a decent one, in fact) that you’ll walk away from the craps table with more money than you started. Generally speaking, the loss of bioavailability when nutrients are processed or stored is immense. Even if these shakes contain exactly what they say it do (and I’m not sure what they contain—it wasn’t apparent from their website), the jury’s out on whether or not your body can utilize them.

            The two-week test is not just a time to change your metabolism from burning carbs to fat, but also a time to get you eating more realfoods. When deciding what to eat, Michael Pollan’s quote reigns supreme over any other dietary advice I have ever heard of: “eat food, not much, mostly vegetables.”

            I wouldn’t stake my health on those shakes. Might they be exactly as healthy as the website suggests? They might. Would they compare to exactly those same ingredients in real foods? Not a chance.

          • Heather says:


            This is a link to one of the labels. I am going to be really disappointed if this is nutritional crap. It is touted as “dense” nutrition and that to try to duplicate it eating whole foods would be an outrageous feat & expensive.

            I do agree with the simple, real and natural is the best option; however, in the reality of day-to-day it can be tricky to get what we need from what we’re eating. At least I struggle with it @ times. I felt good having a quick breakfast or snack option I could rely on and feel good about!?

          • Heather:

            Sorry, the link goes nowhere.

            That’s just what I think. Personally, I feel that whether you’re getting what you’re paying for (and what’s on the label) is an open question with just about any processed, powdered food substance. Could I be wrong, even after perusing their website? Absolutely. I still wouldn’t put my money on them, though.

            What do I do instead? I make two batches of Phil’s Bars a week.

            There’s a lot of hacks you can use. For example, every 2 days I make enough veggie smoothie to last me 48 hours (about 50 ounces). Also, I hard-boil a lot of eggs, and (when I’m not doing the TWT) make 3 lbs of beans at a time, bake 2 lbs of bacon, make 20 oz of hummus, 3 lbs of steak, you name it. That’s how I spend a good 4 hours of my sundays, every sunday. I’d much rather invent my way around the problem than use just about any processed shake food. A notable exception is Vega shakes, and then again only when I’ve cleaned out the fridge.

  • Davy says:

    Hi just confirming are most root veggies allowed? I made a gren chili/stew with rutabegas parsnips turnips carrots and sweet potatoes.
    They all have some carbs but Are Only the sweet potatoes out? If carrots are the others except potatoes? Thanks, been eating this on greens and skipping rice but might so some quinoa 2nt based on the comments. Also is eating within hour of waking an insulin control thing? Thanks guys!

    • Davy:

      Skip the sweet potatoes. Also, quinoa is just fine. Eating within an hour of waking helps insulin control, but also helps regulate other important hormones such as leptin and ghrelin.

    • Sean says:


      Be careful with parsnips I had some at a carvery meal during my test and had a reaction they are quite starchy although it might have been the fact they were roasted

      Love to see people doing the test

      Keep up the good work

  • Chris Klinger says:

    Hi, I know that during the twt, it’s best to eat within an hour of waking. My process has been to wake, exercise and then eat – sometimes it’s over an hour. I get all this done early in the morning, is a quick snack ok before exercising, or what would you suggest? Thanks again for all of the help and support.

    • Chris:

      That should be fine. Phil has a great breakfast idea: coffee with butterfat as an early-morning snack. That’s a great ketogenic meal. Drinking that before exercise, and then following up with a balanced breakfast afterwards, may be the way to go for you. Try it out.

      • Chris says:

        Ivan, GREAT idea! Thanks. I’ll give it a shot.

      • Chris says:

        Hi Ivan, I went to get some buttermilk and noticed that the ingredients for both the low fat and whole are nearly the same…as are the sugar and carbohydrate grams. Is this ok during the twt?

        • Chris:

          I made a typo/thought error on the last comment: I meant “butterfat” not “buttermilk,” meaning the stuff that collects at the top of the milk, from which you get cream from. Putting heavy cream in your coffee can be a useful substitute.

  • Angie Cordaro says:


    I was wondering if there are any Maffetone approved bread recipes?

    Thank you!

  • Jason says:


    My wife and I are planning on start the TWT from Monday so will be out shopping tomorrow to get in some supplies, we done eat red meat but use Quorn products to get our protien as were Veggi’s this includes no fish, are the Quorn products ok to use over the test period, grateful for your advice ? Jason.

    • Jason:

      As long as they have no added sugar and you stick to the types of foods allowed during the TWT—which excludes soy, because it is a legume—that should be fine. The only other reason I would discourage you from Quorn is that their foods are mostly packaged, which means that the nutritional value has been greatly reduced. (Storage alone reduces the nutritional value, and any kind of processing pretty much destroys it).

      The best way to preserve nutritional value while in storage is by fermentation (as is the case of yoghurt, cheese, kimchi, or sauerkraut), in case you’re interested. The immense probiotic quality of these foods offers an added advantage, as well.

  • donna says:


    I’ve just read through every single comment, getting ready for the twt. Now a type 2 diabetic(borderline) I am here to reverse this diagnosis.
    I need to clarify a few comments
    I think I read no to peanuts, but yes to all other nuts. I’m pretty sure I read yes to peanut butter though! Please clarify.
    If nuts are roasted, and no sugar added, are they ok?
    Can we have Perrier, and other carbonated water?
    How about Tahini(made from sesame seed paste)?
    I’m left confused about the buttermilk/butterfat. Can we have buttermilk with coffee?
    If not I’ve never seen butterfat sold anywhere. Does that exist, and do you use it in coffee.

    Do you feel it is better to stop eating early evening, or not an issue having something before bed?

    Thanks in advance! Donna

    Margarine is a no-no?

    • Butterfat definitely exists 🙂 It’s what collects at the top of the milk when you get it out of the cow. Whole, homogenized milk has the butterfat dissolved into the milk. Butterfat is also what you churn to get butter, and it’s where heavy cream comes from. So, if you don’t have access to a cow (or a local organic farm) use heavy cream instead.

      Tahini and carbonated water are fine, and all nuts except for peanuts. It’s better to stop eating early.

      Margarine is a DEFCON 1. Make sure it never touches the inside of your fridge, in case it somehow achieves consciousness and talks the spinach and tomatoes into being unhealthy.

  • Tajs says:

    I’ve been making some bread from this recipe, should be ok I recon? Since no flour and only nuts and seeds

    2 DL Pumpkin seeds
    2 DL Almonds
    2 DL Hazelnuts
    2 DL Sunflower seeds
    1.5 DL Flax seeds
    1.5 DL sesame seeds

    5 eggs
    0.5 DL oil
    spoon full of salt

    Put in a bread form and bake for 1 hour at 160C.

  • Smata says:

    What about raw honey during the 2 weeks? I may have missed something about it, but didn’t see anything.

  • donna says:


    Thanks for the response above,

    A couple of unanswered questions

    NUT butter is ok, just not PEANUT butter, right?

    Are roasted nuts ok if no sugar added?


    I use organic quinoa flour, and coconut flour, they both say 0 sugar, are they ok for the twt?

    Lastly i just checked the ingredients on a bag of shredded part skim mozzarella, it says no sugar or carbs. still stay away from it?

    Thanks once again, donna

    • Donna:

      Nut butter is fine, as long as the nuts in question are actually nuts and not incorrectly-named legumes (like peanuts). I’m not familiar with all nuts, so I’m not certain that there are not other “nuts” beyond peanuts that are legumes and not nuts. Coconut is fine. Ideally, stay away from quinoa, since it is high in starch. If the mozzarella has no added sugar at all (not just added sugar), then it’s fine.

      • Roberra says:

        I’ve read more than once in the responses that quinoa is ok. Now you say no… We are on day 3 of the twt and have been eating chicken soup with quinoa in it. Do we need to start again??

        • Roberra:

          I was attempting to find a middle ground for vegans who need an abundant protein source during the test, despite the fact that it is somewhat starchy. You don’t need to re-start the test, but it would be good to forgo the quinoa if you have another protein source. Generally speaking, to produce the benefits of the test to the fullest extent, you do NOT want to be eating quinoa.

  • Heather says:

    I am hoping TOMATOES are not banned – they have that fruit thing but V8 & tomato juice were okay. If not, I’m screwed, because I have been having them in salads & scrambled eggs. 😮

  • Chad says:

    What are your thoughts on whole food multivitamins during the test?

  • Alisa says:

    Does the diet include avocados?

  • Donna says:


    My last question did not get published.
    For the twt,
    Is buttermilk in or out?
    How about canned things like tuna, sardines etc
    Also canned veggies, in or out?
    Are all oils ok, cuz I dont know how to distinguish processed oil or not.

    Thanks once again

    Ready to start, and I cannot find any alternative to eggs for breakfast other than veggies, meat etc Any thing come to mind that is breakfast type food?

    • Donna:

      Buttermilk is out. Butterfat (that’s “heavy cream” for you) is in. Coconut is fine. While canned stuff strictly speaking won’t impair the two-week test, it’s best to stick to fresher stuff. As far as oils go, stay away from vegetable shortening, and don’t cook with anything that has a low smoke point. Your best bet is to stick to non-grain oils: coconut, avocado, and olive oil.

      I’m not sure about any other breakfast foods. (I typically go through 16 eggs a week, easy).

  • Jeremy says:

    I’m wondering if Organic White Miso Paste is allowed during the 2-week test?

  • Alexandra says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I posted yesterday a message but it seems it was not published.
    My question was about beetroot during the two weeks test.
    I have seen a contradiction in your answers in the above comments cf. CTRL F : beet, you will see 4 and your two feedback.
    As I love beetroot, let me know if this food intake is allowed 🙂
    Thanks a lot and and my congratulations about this website that I am following from Luxembourg (Europe) 🙂


    • Alexandra:

      Sorry about that. It usually takes me 2-3 days to answer comments, since I let them build up. I have a lot of different duties so I’m not on the comment thread every single day.

      Stay away from beets. I went back and revised my previous answers.

      • Alexandra says:

        Thank you for your feedback Ivan.

        As I have eaten three times beetroot last week, shall I then restart from scratch the two weeks test?

        • Alexandra:

          It’s probably not necessary. What I would do is stop eating beetroot and then see if you suddenly have a cascade of positive effects. If you keep getting additional positive effects at the end of the 14 days, make a judgment call and extend the test by a few days.

  • Jen says:

    It’s wondering about quinoa as I saw a yes (August 18th)and a no answer (28th of August), just wondering what the verdict is?

    Also, if you accidentally forget and get half way through a granola bar (by pure habit), do you have to start completely over?

    Thanks in advance. Great q and a section!

  • Adana says:

    What about onions during the twt?
    Thank you

  • George says:

    Hi Ivan,

    i was just comparing the ingredients of a full fat (6,7%) yoghurt (from sheep’s milk) and the ones of the heavy cream (35% fat) of the same company. What I find is that the sugar percentage is exactly the same (4%) for both. So, according to its producer, this yoghurt is not higher in sugars compared to heavy cream. Is it ok to include it in my diet during the TWT?

    • George:

      I’d say so. To give you an idea of an unacceptable yoghurt, take the traditional plain version of Greek Gods Yogurt, for example. Per serving, it has 14 grams of fat and 15 grams of carbohydrate (all of which is sugar). On the other hand, a coconut yogurt from Coconut Grove, on the other hand, has 14 grams of fat, and 12 grams of carbohydrate (only 3 grams of which is sugar). The serving of coconut yogurt is smaller, but what matters here are the proportions.

      (It’s only fitting that Greek Gods Yogurt slogan is “experience the myth”).

      I hope this helps

      • George says:

        Ivan, thanks. I think I got the hung of it!
        Where I come from (and reside as well) we don’t say Greek Yoghurt. We just say Yoghurt and all the other staff is “things that look like it”.You see, I live in Greece. 🙂

  • Liana says:

    thank you for all your great comments. I’ve been on the Maff 2 week test for 8 days, and I am getting more tired. I don’t ever feel hungry in my belly, though can start to get headaches, or eye sight changes, or aura if I haven’t eaten soon enough after waking. I eat 4-5 meals a day with either fish, eggs, chicken or meat, and vegetables, and sometimes snack on cashews and almonds.

    While I am considerably overweight, and not fit, I usually wake alert and rested. The last 3 days I have slept for 9 hours (more than usual), and am waking tired, quite tired.

    Normally I can cycle for 20km or so within Maff hr zone with ease. I tried to ride my usual 15km ride on the weekend, and my muscles burned at 11km per hour- in a way they don’t usually burn even at 26km per hour. My lungs feel fine, no sense of being sick or feverish, just no energy and burning muscles.

    I work upstairs, and typically walk up and down, maybe 10 times a day- with no problem, BUT, now 8 days into 2wt, my muscles burn half way up 1 flight, and I feel tired when I try.

    My resting HR ~ 75. My blood pressure is ~ 105-115/65 bottom figure drops to 55 on waking and immediately after exercise.

    Is this muscle fatigue, and general fatigue normal on the 2wt?

    • Liana:

      When that happens during the TWT, the reason is almost always this: your body isn’t good at burning fats, so when it is faced with a lack of carbohydrates, your energy levels drop. Added evidence is the fact that you typically eat 4-5 meals a day: the frequent food intake helps you keep up your energy levels. This isn’t to say that eating frequently is bad, but rather that when these three things combine (You eat frequently, you aren’t fit, and when carbs are removed you lose energy), it means that your energy levels were being sustained not by your aerobic (fat-burning) metabolism, but by the food frequency (and specifically) the carbohydrate frequency that food frequency implies.

      Let’s focus on this: your energy levels weren’t being sustained by your aerobic metabolism. When you challenge your metabolism with exercise when you don’t have a lot of carbs to use for fuel, two things happen: your athletic output (which, in your case, depended on carbs) drops because you only have fats to burn, and your energy levels also drop because when your fat-burning metabolism gets exhausted, there’s no other energy system to pick up the slack: even though the anaerobic (sugar-burning) metabolism isn’t exhausted, it doesn’t have any fuel to burn.

      In other words, it’s pretty normal if you’re exercising and are somewhat aerobically deficient.

      • Liana says:

        Thanks Ivan,
        that makes sense. After 2 more days I slept well, woke refreshed – albeit still after nearly 9 hours.

        Should I continue on the twt for longer than 2 weeks, now my body seems to be getting used to it a bit?

        And either way, is there anything in particular I can do to facilitate my body increasing its ability to use my fat for fuel?

  • Derek says:

    Just finished the two week test and i’m feeling great. I’ve lost 2.2kg and 2-3% reduction in Body fat. The two main things i had problems with was the lack of fruit and breakfast (as other people have mentioned) but I was never hungry.
    Breakfast for 14 days has consisted of mainly cheddar cheese omelets with mushrooms/tomatoes and sometimes bacon (be aware: some bacon has added corn syrup!!!) and i could really find anything else to satisfy.
    I did get some headaches (not enough water) and a bit down at one point but both issues went away.
    Its a very interesting test and i’ve learned quite a lots in the 2 weeks, I will definitely be changing my diet going forward.

    Summary: Feeling great
    TWT accuracy: 8/10 (a bit too much wine(dry) one night, peanuts, some mozzarella cheese, some unknown salad dressings)

  • Maurine Lee says:

    Made it through week one – even after throwing out my back and wanting comfort foods but avoiding them. Was pleased to be down 5 pounds – considering I could not get the scale to budge more than a half pound a month in the previous four months.

  • Maurine Lee says:

    One more question – why is edamame allowed when you say to avoid soy? Aren’t edamame immature soybeans?

  • Grant says:

    I am a little confused regarding burning fat and racing MAF heart rate. I understand that training 80% at MAF develops your aerobic system and by reducing processed carbs, sugars and increasing good fats you are training your body to use fat as it’s primary energy source. Is there anytime you would tap into blood glucose or muscle glycogen stores if you remained below or at MAF HR? Or is the point in becoming efficient to use more fat as energy and hence maintain your glycogen reserves for later in the race? Why does your body stop using fat as an energy source and switch to glycogen if you remain at or below MAF? Especially as you have pointed out your body stores unbelievable amounts of fat compared to glycogen (which also needs to be stored with water).

    So as you train MAF over time, weeks, months or even years you can maintain faster and faster paces while remaining at or below a MAF heart rate. Now when it comes to racing are you suggesting that it is best to keep at MAF heart rate for a race? I did read that you suggested going 12-15 BPM above, so for me I have a MAF of 154 so 169 would be my race HR? Is above 15 BPM over MAF depleting glycogen stores too quickly, which a gel won’t fix?

    Now when you go above 154 to say 169 I am now using both my aerobic and anaerobic systems. I cannot use fat for anaerobic right as it is not fast enough to convert to energy? But I can continue using fats for my aerobic? Or does my body just switch to glycogen stores as soon as I go over 154? Is it possible for both systems to be in play at the same time or are you either aerobic or anaerobic?

    I am racing an olympic distance triathlon in 9 weeks and am aiming for sub 2 hours 20 minutes. I am trying to develop a race and nutrition strategy based on MAF for both pre race meals (night before and morning of) and during the event.

    Thanks so much for a response.

    • Grant:

      I’ll get to your previous comment in a day or two. I’m not sure where I said that you stop using fat below MAF. You generally use a lot less glycogen—particularly liver glycogen—below MAF. Let me know, because I have to change that.

      The importance of liver glycogen in particular is that the body uses it to maintain blood sugar levels in order to keep the brain well-fueled. When the rate at which blood sugar is being replenished drops below a critical threshold, the brain freaks out and orders the muscles to stop working. This is fatigue.

      The idea of MAF is to develop your aerobic system in order to use more fat for fuel, for the reasons you mention. Maintaining glycogen reserves during the race helps your brain stay calm and let the muscles continue to contract.

      For different length races you need to be at different heart rates. For example, a marathon is best run 10-15 BPM above the MAF heart rate. A half-marathon is 15-25. In shorter races, it’s OK to consume sugar at a faster rate. For all races, you want to use all the varieties of fuel (sugar and fats) in order to produce the maximum speed possible. So, depending on the length of the race, you want to aim for a heart rate that is going to help you use sugar but not deplete it before you finish. I recommend this podcast by Phil Maffetone and Tawnee Prazak in endurance planet, where they discuss the theory of how to pace marathons, ultramarathons, and triathlons by the heart rate.

      However, I would check out all the endurance planet podcasts with Dr. Maffetone. They’re all gems.

      As long as the body is not under chronic stress (from life, illness, injury, or just too much training) the aerobic system will actually increase its output threefold during anaerobic interval sessions. Your body doesn’t so much “switch” to anaerobic but instead turns on the anaerobic system, in the same sense that fighter jet pilots don’t “switch” to the afterburners to go supersonic but rather use them in addition to current engine power.

      The problem with training the aerobic system at a high intensity is that this typically means too much stress for the body to handle. Although you will certainly burn a lot of fats during high-intensity runs, the wear and tear that this implies means that your body won’t be able to recover fully, particularly if that’s how you do most of your training. Your aerobic system will wear down and your athletic ability will eventually collapse, kind of like a building that you built too high without updating the foundation.

      • Grant says:

        Thanks Ivan for the reply.

        Sorry it was probably me being unclear. I was trying to understand why your body would ever use glycogen below MAF if fat was available, which I believe you answered in specifying that liver glycogen in particular is responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels (for the brain primarily). So the best part of being more efficient at burning fat is that you maintain more glycogen (both liver and muscle) for maintaining blood sugar levels rather than trying to fuel your aerobic system.

        I will take a listen of those podcasts! Thanks.

        So to clarify when you do go anaerobic: a strong aerobic system will allow the primary ‘engine’ to keep running high while you turn on the ‘afterburners’ of the anaerobic system. The solid aerobic base will continue tapping into fat (and sugar) and will be able to help use lactate as energy as well as continue to generate ATP through the presence of oxygen.

        When you say the “aerobic system will actually increase its output threefold during anaerobic interval sessions” do you mean output as in its production of ATP (oxygen present)? So technically if we didn’t breakdown from so many anaerobic sessions we would be doing our best training if we could train anaerobically al the time (as this maximises the development of the aerobic system as well as the anaerobic system to a greater extent). It also demonstrates the vital importance of anaerobic sessions when the athlete has a solid aerobic system to support it, of course while limiting the time / volume of anaerobic work because as you have well pointed out anaerobic sessions ‘break us down’. Do you have some more information or studies etc on the negative effects of too much anaerobic exercise e.g. cortisol, other stress hormones, injuries etc.

        Due to the significant gains both systems get from interval sessions (aerobic and anaerobic) but conscious of the ‘stress’ / ‘wear and tear’ they produce do you have any guidelines or studies on which types of anaerobic sessions are best for developing these systems. E.g. should you opt for short 15 seconds – 90 second work intervals or longer work intervals e.g. 3 minutes at tempo / 3 minutes faster than tempo / 3 minutes faster again then 2 minutes rest x3. Trying to get an understanding of what the science says on this (and in particular you opinion as a trustworthy source), with regards to duration, intensity, rest intervals, work intervals, desired heart rates, RPE etc.

        Thanks so much for your time.

        • Grant:

          That’s right (to all your questions).

          Anaerobic sessions are vitally important, provided a good aerobic base. Noting that there are tremendous caveats that I’ll discuss below, you’re generally right about the fact that we would be doing our best training if we were training anaerobically all the time, or more specifically, somewhere above the lactate threshold. In fact, many of the illegal ergogenic drugs on the market do their thing by enabling the body to recover despite the stress incurred from constant anaerobic training, meaning that the body can rebuild itself from workouts from which it is generally impossible to recover at the rate you’d like.

          However, these drugs accomplish this by screwing around with the sensitivity and hormonal output of a variety of glands, including the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the adrenals, etc. etc. Long story short, this means that you are doing long-term damage to the ability of these glands to produce and respond to various hormones, including the ones that enable recovery. So, there’s no way cheat the body in the long-term, unless you do something like grow new pituitary glands from stem cells and swap one in every time your latest pituitary flames out. Needless to say, we don’t approve of this line of action (or reasoning, or R&D) at MAF.

          That said, these are best one-size-fits-all recommendations I can give you:

          1) spend 3 months developing your aerobic base by doing exclusive MAF training. This doesn’t mean “train at MAF for 3 months.” It means “show steady increases in your MAF speed for 3 months.” If you’re injured or overtrained, you’re doing a favor to your athletic future by extending this from 3 to 6 months.
          2) Once you’ve developed an aerobic base, 20% of your total athletic activity (training+racing) should be anaerobic. This means: if you’re running 1 marathon every 2 months (lets round this down to 25 miles) and a healthy bi-monthly aerobic mileage is 160 miles, then you can do 15 miles of anaerobic workouts (well-distributed) across that 2 month period. Do bi-weekly MAF tests to see if your aerobic base is deteriorating. If it is, immediately return to aerobic-only training for a while.

          IMPORTANT: if you’re doing intervals, the entire training session is considered anaerobic, not just the distance covered at an anaerobic speed.

          A lot of people with a packed racing schedule don’t really need to worry about anaerobic training at all.

          The type and intensity of anaerobic training is generally race specific. Even though distance runners need to train speed at most distances to be competent in any one distance, anaerobic training for marathoners tends to be skewed towards mile repeats, and anaerobic training for 5-K or 10-K runners tends to be skewed towards 400m repeats, for example.

          Also, generally speaking, for any given distance race you want to be competent at 10-15 BPM below race pace, BPM at race pace, and 10-15 BPM above race pace. This is a derivation of what I stated in terms of distance in the above paragraph. (In the case of the marathon, race pace is 10-15 BPM above MAF).

  • Christine says:

    First I want to say, great site. I’ve learned so much. Thank you.

    Now for my question. I’m coming to the end of the two week test (on day 11) which I’ve followed very strictly, and I’m a little confused about whether it “worked”. I started it because for the last year I have had a suite of strange symptoms and doctors have run every test under the sun and declared me “incredibly healthy”. My symptoms have included inability to train (2 minutes into a light run, I feel like I’m at the end of a marathon, no matter how slow I try to take it), nausea, flu-like muscle aches, head cold/allergic symptoms, increased urination and thirst, just to name a few. I read this page and completely bought into the idea that I had blown out my body’s ability to process carbohydrates and ruined my ability to burn fats by training too hard too often, which I definitely did–that was the trigger that brought on all these symptoms, but no amount of rest in the past year has been able to fix it. So I thought this diet might help.

    Initially I lost 3 pounds, but I’ve gained back 1 or 2, so weight loss is a wash. But I’m a perfectly healthy weight (5’7″, 140lbs), so this is fine. Some of the symptoms are better (no overnight nausea, no strange flu-like muscle aches), but some are worse (I can barely jog at all, period, and it all feels terrible, and I’ve been getting post-exercise shaking and nausea. I’ve been careful to keep my HR below my MAF HR). Others symptoms haven’t changed. I also feel completely exhausted on this diet and until yesterday I was STARVING all the time. Yesterday was finally slightly better in terms of hunger. I’ve been following the diet strictly and get a good mix of fats, proteins, and veggies, all prepared by me with whole, unprocessed foods. I’ve also been getting enough sleep and there’s no particular stress in my life right now.

    So I guess I am not quite sure where to go from here. I didn’t have the transformation others describe, and overall I definitely don’t feel better, just better in some ways and worse in others. Assuming nothing changes in the next 3 days, do I keep this up longer? Have I just not given my body enough time to adjust? I know I’m only on day 11, but I just don’t see much changing dramatically in the next 3 days.

    • Christine:

      I need to ask you one question before I can answer seriously:

      Did your “strange symptoms” begin after a period of stressful training / stressful life stuff / injurious training?

      • Christine says:

        Yes, they did. Stressful training. I was training harder than I ever had before. Not that long each day (60-90 mins, with one longer session on the weekend, and 1 day off), but very intense. In retrospect, I think I was pushing too hard.

        • Christine:

          You’re experiencing some of the classic symptoms of overtraining syndrome (OTS). Read more in this article here, and also peruse the comments. Any questions you might have may already be answered there. Your experience sounds a lot like parasympathetic overtraining, which is the late stage of overtraining. Specifically, those symptoms usually happen when the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is designed to get you up out of bed and kick up your activity levels, is absolutely exhausted. So, the parasympathetic nervous system (which is designed to calm you down and put you to bed) just takes over. When you try to exercise in that state, your SNS tries to kick in, but it can’t, and so the system goes completely nuts.

          • Christine says:

            Thanks, Ivan, for this reply, the link and for your wealth of information (in particular your response to Grant’s question above–if I had seen that a couple years ago I’d probably not be in this situation!). I am optimistic that I am on the road to recovery now. One last question: Since I found this site and have started my recovery efforts, I have been training strictly at or below a MAF heart rate of 180-age-5 (=136), because I am clearly recovering from injury. But should I actually be using 180-age-10 (=131)? That is, should this be considered a “major illness/injury”?

          • Christine:

            Absolutely. Overtraining is almost always related to serious aerobic dysfunction.

  • David Burnham says:

    hello I have started the test here in the UK and was wondering if you can eat chick peas?

  • Amy says:

    I am so grateful for the comments on this page (as well as for the Two Week Test)!

    I started 4 days ago (after spending the weekend at a wedding, which was a complete and utter carb debauch).

    The first 3 days of the TWT I did fine — no cravings. Some negative symptoms are gradually abating. Even my waistline seems to be shrinking, but we’ll see — I’m not weighing or measuring myself again until Day 14.

    Today, however, I am perpetually hungry and would KILL for a pizza. I’m guessing that this is adrenal stress coming to the fore. I simply can’t eat enough to be satiated. Anyone else have this response to the TWT?

    Today is re-stock day at the grocery store. Thank you, whoever asked about tomatoes. I skipped getting these thinking they were too sugary.

    Are snap peas (in the pod) all right (or too starchy)?

    Is there a list of “yes” veggies? I’ve been eating kale and Brussels sprouts by the pound. I’m ready for more variety, but will stick with this short test no matter what.

    Lastly, I prefer not to eat meat and have been a vegetarian and often vegan for long periods of time. Is there a protein/fat ratio I need to be concerned about during the TWT?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance!

    • Amy:

      Your vegetarianism is one of the reasons you may be so ravenous. What you want to do is eat veggie fats to reduce hunger (by producing leptin). Make some veggie smoothies with a healthy dose of coconut oil and avocado, and add some nuts such as almonds or macadamia nuts (but no peanuts—they are legumes) toward the end for a little crunch, and yet more fat. (For that last bit, use the “pulse” function in your blender to control how fine the nuts get ground up). That should help you out. No snap peas, though.

      Actually, starting out your day with this as your breakfast will help control your hunger a lot better throughout the day.

  • Bethany says:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of packaged nuts list peanut oil in the ingredients, even some of the ‘raw’ nuts. Since peanuts aren’t allowed, will this compromise the results of the test period?

  • Alexandra says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I will be on the post-term period starting Monday. My two weeks test went fine, not hungry at all (only once in an evening because I did not eat enough during the day), no headache, lets say I faced no issue at all. So far I have lost about 1.2 kg but the final weight will be taken on Monday.

    I am glad I did it despite the fact it was sometimes a little challenging to get the right food for lunch and dinner. I had to quit some restaurants thought because they wouldn’t serve me what I was asking for: a grilled piece of fish (or poultry) with steamed or boiled green veggies.

    My breakfasts are a little boring because there is always the same things on my plate: hard cheese, ham, cucumber and tomatoes.

    I think I am not CI intolerant but I had probably too much CI in my diet which causes me tiredness, cravings and intestinal bloating.

    My questions today relates to the process of incorporating the carbohydrate back in the diet:

    For the breakfast for example, is there anything else than yogurt with honey? I am not keen on diary (except goat and sheep cheese). Thus, what about a slice of Pumpernickel? or sprouted, rye bread?

    For the snacks, same thing, anything else than tea with honey? I really dislike sweet drinks. Are nuts and few dry fruits such like raisins a good option? Fresh fruits too?

    Now I will be on the post-term period, I also should stop to eat whenever I feel hungry, right?

    • Alexandra:

      Sorry for the tardy response. I usually am not on the website on the weekends. Everything that you’re saying is a good idea, except that you typically want to start by introducing legumes, then low-glycemic fruits, then medium-glycemic fruits, then gluten-free grains, then grains with gluten, and finally sugar-rich foods such as honey or raisins.

      The idea for the post-test is to basically re-introduce small amounts of your usual foods (excluding all processed foods you used to eat) to see what works and what doesn’t.

  • Liana says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I’ve been on 2wt for14 days, by the end of which my mind was sharp, I slept like a baby, and had great energy.

    On day 15 I ate some sweet potato for dinner, had a restless night, and woke with puffy hands. Puffiness is dissipating after 3 hours of being up. The lack of sleep ups my HR, so that a bad nights sleep means I can only walk slowly before I reach my maf HR..

    Is that suggestive that I should not eat sweet potato, eat less of it, eat it at a different time of day, or?

    • Liana:

      It’s suggestive that you should not eat sweet potato (or eat much less of it), at least not given the present power of your aerobic system. one of the points of the Two-Week Test is to make your body highly sensitive to foods, so that you notice a lot faster which foods aren’t metabolized well by your body.

      Typically, after you develop the aerobic system to a more powerful version of its previous self, you need greater amounts of high-glycemic foods (which the sweet potato is an example of) to become symptomatic. That happens because aerobic development necessitates much greater insulin sensitivity, which means that higher amounts of sugar can quickly leave your bloodstream (and furthermore, with a more powerful aerobic system you have the machinery to utilize those greater amounts of sugar).

  • JT says:

    Another question….
    I am eating eggs, cheese and oily fish (tuna and sardines in olive oil) every day. Is there a chance that I’m eating too much protein? How can I tell if I am?

    • JT:

      Not necessarily. Unless you have pre-existing kidney disease, you need an absurd amount of protein to get toxicity—much more than the typical person gets on average. This is exacerbated if you’re training: since you’re burning up a lot of muscle, you tend to be able to tolerate more protein intake.

      Think of it this way: eating a 1/2 pound steak would typically stress someone’s kidneys. Doing that (or the equivalent) every meal would probably lead to protein toxicity, along with kidney failure. The classical symptoms of protein toxicity are ammonia-smelling breath combined with unexplained vomiting and lack of appetite.

      Chances are, however, that the amount of protein you’re eating is far below the toxic threshold.

      • JT says:

        Thanks Ivan.

        Did you get my other message about nutrition for shorter, higher intensity sports such as mountain bike racing? Am keen to know what is recommended (if anything) to take during the races to ensure my energy is sustained. Currently I use Hammer Nutrition and gels.

        • JT:

          I think I did answer your question, but I’ll get it again just in case. The only thing that you should be worried about in terms of short (1-2 hour) race nutrition is this: be sure that you DON’T ingest gels or another high-glycemic, sugar laden substance before the start of the race. That will kick up your insulin levels and suppress fat-burning, which is an extremely important source of fuel even for high intensity events. Instead, you want to be 20-30 minutes into the race before doing so.

          If the race is less than 20-30 minutes, you’re better off waiting until the end and ingesting a low-glycemic snack like Phil’s Bars. Hammer energy bars are pretty good but the more homemade, real ingredients you get, the better.

  • Bethany says:

    I just finished the twt. I lost 2 lbs at the start, gained them back, plus an additional 3 lbs. I snacked on cheese and nuts more than vegetables. I continued running without a heart rate monitor and just found out that my heart rate was too high. Should I be concerned about gaining weight during this period?

    • Bethany:

      It depends. Most people lose weight, depending on whether they have too much excess fat, but cleaning up the metabolism with the TWT means that you can put on muscle comparatively easier (because long story short your muscles are your metabolic engine). Note that muscle is a lot heavier than the same volume of fat, meaning that you can put on a few pounds of muscle with few noticeable changes to your body, since those muscular changes can (and often do) happen in the deep muscle tissue such as the hip floor or the muscles that are in charge of spinal integrity.

  • Alex says:

    Is this test also recommendable for triathletes in the middle of training?

    • Alex:

      Honestly? If you have CI to any extent, you’ll do a lot more for your present and future athletic ability by taking time off from hard training to do it. While you can still train, you’ll have less energy, particularly if you are very carb intolerant. But your training quality will almost certainly increase if you do the test right. That said, if you’re not very CI, I’d wait until the off season, and for now just cut out processed and high-glycemic foods.

      • Alex says:

        Thank you very Much Ivan, yes, i’ll wait till off season and then as of now i will remain with the nutrition i currently have which is very healthy. I was just wondering how come i stopped from losing wait even when i train very hard and keep my clean eating. Thanks again

  • Elizabeth says:

    Is lemon allowed during the two week test?

  • Joshua Pepping says:

    Is cottage cheese ok during the two week test? Are there any important updates to the Maffetone Method text, I am about 40% done with it so far.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Is organic mince meat allowed? Or any mince meat for that matter?

  • Tom says:

    Diet Soda has no sugar, no carbs, and no calories; so why is it on the 2 week ban list? I don’t drink coffee, so DC is my caffeine source.

    • Tom:

      Because it is overwhelmingly, obnoxiously acidic. That is a major stressor to the body, which means that you impair fat-burning indirectly, which can only happen under circumstances of low stress (which is why people put on weight under chronic stress). It also contains lots of stuff you just don’t want in your body.

  • Chris Klinger says:

    Hi Ivan! OK, you may remember my chatty questions from when I was on the twt. I finished the test AND we moved to an area that is quite hilly – much different from our last home at sea level. The introduction of heavy hills (fun) seems to have pushed a restart on my training with the HR monitor, just when I was seeming to make progress. I know this will improve.

    On the nutrition side, I added a few blueberries to a kale / spinach smoothie and was fine. I did that for a few days, and then added a couple other berries and was fine. I’ve had a couple super sleepy (drug-like) nights, when I must have eaten something in the afternoon or for dinner that brought back the CI symptoms, and then slept it off and was fine the next day.

    I’ve backed off on my anaerobic work (pushups / dips / chin-ups), and have extended my HR paced runs. I find that my legs are heavy feeling and my energy is waning in the afternoon. While my food intake is up, I feel hungry sometimes (and have lost some weight on my already thin frame).

    So…that being said, I’ve added hard boiled eggs to a morning and afternoon snack today (in a spinach / kale / bell pepper smoothie), and felt a more sustained energy. I’ll admit being a carb junky for my whole life. Would my heavy legs still be a result of my body fighting my kicking the heavy carb / sugar habit? What advice would you give for someone having a tough time on the eating front? I’d love to know of a group where I could talk with someone over the phone or in person to better understand what’s going on with me…I know from he super-sleepy night(s) that I’ve had after a carb-reaction that this is the way – I just want to find a way to make what I’m doing last. I’ve not had the terrific energy that I’ve read about in earlier posts.

    Any help you can give me (and I have to believe others are out there in the same spot) would be fabulous! Oh, I do love the coffee / coconut oil and heavy cream morning starter (get’s me rolling for a workout before I can eat a breakfast)! Thanks. Make today great! Chris.

    • Chris:

      Sorry for the late response; your comment just went by me. Generally speaking, your heavy legs are probably due to you being a carb junkie, like you say. The aerobic system has 2 parts: the mitochondria, which burn glucose in the presence of oxygen, and the rest of the aerobic system, which takes body fat, transports it through the bloodstream, and converts it to glucose for the mitochondria to use. While a lot of people’s mitochondria are pretty capable, eating a lot of sugar/carbs means that the second part of the aerobic system is often underdeveloped.

      One way to help your fat-burning throughout the day is to front-load the fats and protein with breakfast, following the saying “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Towards dinner, I would eat (and usually do) more fiber and low-glycemic carbs, and probiotics to make sure that all the necessary digestion and cleanup happens when I sleep. By bookending the day that way, I have to worry comparatively less about what I eat in between.

      • Chris says:

        Hi Ivan, Thanks for the response. As an example, I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal with about .75TB of honey & heavy whipping cream (about 1TB), 3-4 eggs or an omelet (with veggies), and then a kale / spinach / flax / hard boiled egg / berry smoothie. For lunch, I’m still getting the hang of that – tuna, or chicken and celery with nuts to snack on. Would you give me an idea of the probiotics / fiber for a dinner meal? Thanks for your help. I also switched up my runs in the morning a bit, and instead of hitting the hills, hearing the beep-beep-beep of my hrm, walking until it subsides and then running again, I’m walking the hills, where I can maintain my hrm at the top of my limit. We’ll see how that does!

        • Chris:

          For example, I’ll have a green salad with balsamic and olive oil, topped with tempeh. Alternately, I’ll have a miso soup. Also, I’m a big fan of beans and corn tortillas (I’ll go all the way—add avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime, and shredded cheese) and I’ll have that with a side of kimchi or sauerkraut.

          The beans and corn tortillas is not a TWT approved recipe, though.

  • Sebastian says:

    Dear Ivan,

    Could you please advice is extra virgin olive oil can be used for cooking. The BBoETaR says it can be used, the Endurance Handbook states it can be used for light cooking. The benefits-of-dietary-fat article does not say it can be used for cooking but states it’s very stable to heat and immune to oxidation through cooking or expose to air and light. What I’m really curious about is if I can use it for making my scrambled eggs and heat my meal in microwave.

    The reason I’m asking is that I need to stop using all dairy for some time as Dr. Phil suggests. The 2 week test improved many, many of my symptoms and I felt quite great. Although I was eating very few carbohydrates before, the test was hard to me. I wasn’t able to quench my hunger and had terrible headaches in the first week. During the second week the symptoms from the first week disappeared but eventually I’ve started suffering from another issues related to my gut. I suspect it’s because of too many dairy mainly the Camembert (125g/day) that might have impact on my gut bacteria. After the test I wasn’t even able to tolerate very small amount of even medium glycemic food so I’m nourishing like during the test (6 weeks now). But as the time passes I’m feeling more fatigued and my gut problems seems to be bigger now.

    Thank you,

  • David says:

    I’m on TWT day five and, though I know the timing is not great, am doing an olympic distance tri this weekend, in two days. I’ve been hungry much of the last few days, but that seems to be improving. I’ve been tapering, so I’m not sure I’ve really tested how it affects my endurance. Should I eat some healthy carbs and start TWT over after the race? I’m not really concerned with my racing time; I just want to finish, and if possible, would not like to start over. I’m in good condition, so completing the race normally wouldn’t be an issue. It is a big change for me to eat so much dairy, fish and poultry, as before the test I ate a lot of the same foods, but lots of carbs in beans, bread and fruit. The change is definitely affecting me, though it’s hard to say how much (aside from fewer bowel movements, which were all too frequent before I started the test).

    Also: is regular salt okay, or just sea salt?

    Thanks. This is all very informative.

  • Homera says:

    Ivan – I have tried to make it through the two-week test, but experienced many problems and stopped after a few days.

    Mainly, I feel kind of hungry most of the time, even when eating only superb organic vegetables, grass-fed meats, eggs and olive, coconut oils in generous amounts. Also, I suffer from dyschezia and gain weight during the test days. Is this all because my body is so used to living on carbs when training a lot?

    I have never consumed refined sugars in large quantities, but certainly eat whole wheat breads and morning oats as in European-style muesli. What can I do in order to make it through the two-week test phase without feeling so “empty” as I do not desire to eat 200 almonds or nut butters every day? Am I missing an important point? Do I need to stop training, running during the test?

    Thank you,

    • Homera:

      Did this dyschezia begin during the two-week test? What kind (and what amount) of weight you have gained? Is it muscle, or fat?

      There’s a lot of reasons you may be gaining weight. How often do you eat during the day?

      One piece of advice I can give you is to front-load fats and protein during breakfast (without completely neglecting carbs: for example, a tomato-avocado-onion-bacon omelet). This will increase your levels of a hormone called leptin, which kicks up fat-burning and suppresses appetite. By doing this at breakfast, you’ll spend more of the day with increased levels of leptin.

      One of the problems may be that your body’s solution (since it isn’t very good at burning fats) is to make you continue eating in the attempt to find some carbohydrates. That’s one of the reasons that Phil tells people to eat as much as they want to. If this is the case, the body has to re-learn how to burn fats. A great way to do this is to run at your MAF heart rate in the morning, when there is comparatively less muscle glycogen to fuel your run.

      Perhaps (but not necessarily) we may have to find a different way to break your dependence to carbohydrates.

      Also, consider that weight gain may simply have to do with the fact that there is more mass than usual sitting around in your bowels. Have you accounted for this? (Incidentally, another thing you can do to help digestion and hopefully facilitate the solution to dyzchezia is to make your dinners lighter, with plenty of fiber and probiotics, such as a green salad with miso dressing or a side of sauerkraut or kimchi). This dinner will still be within the requirements of the Two-Week Test.

      • Homera says:

        Thank you, Ivan, for responding.

        No, I only have difficulty in evacuating when I do not have enough mass in me. Thus far, that essential mass has come from whole wheat breads, rice or yams. I have now begun yet another two-week test and hope that by eating more vegetables that problem can be resolved.

        Also, I am unable to fall asleep easily at night, when I did not consume carbohydrates in the daytime. I feel hungry and therefore, I fear that a lovely salad for dinner will not be satisfactory. I do not feel like eating meats every single day or multiple times a day, (especially red ones) as I appear much bulkier in a short period of time. And then, the weight gain I mentioned, is a distinct extra layer of skin on my body. My system must be wired the wrong way, perusing this page and mentioning my issues.

        – Are you suggesting that once my body and system has re-learned how to burn fat for fuel, I will feel less hungry and empty even when running a lot?
        – Later on, will an organic pure breakfast muesli (oats, barley, rye, sunflower seed, spelt, flax seed, amaranth, sesame, almonds – less than 2 grams of sugar per 100 grams) with milk be acceptable?

        Thank you,

        • Homera:

          Hunger is the body’s signal that it needs more energy. When you can burn fats for fuel very readily, your body won’t be signaling that as much. And when you learn to use fats to fuel your body while running, it’s the same thing.

          And even the way that hunger manifests is very different: instead of getting cranky and distracted from this hunger that’s encroaching on your mind, hunger becomes a lot more contained and seems to show up only in the stomach area, as if it’s more removed psychologically. Hard to explain.

          Unless you are a high-end athlete, you shouldn’t need that muesli for breakfast. Part of the reason our bodies are so carbohydrate intolerant is because our diets have enabled that. Generally speaking, muesli is a carbohydrate bomb. For comparison, one serving (28 grams) of popcorn has .3 grams of sugar. However, popcorn has a bizarrely, ridiculously high glycemic index—meaning that it has a HUGE impact on our blood sugar.

          The ideal situation is one where our body’s basic needs can be fueled near-exclusively by fats.

          One of the ways in which I get proteins during the TWT is by eating massive amounts of eggs. That could help you.

  • Andy says:

    Am just about to start 2 week test. One query I have concerns yoghurt. Here in Britian we can buy full fat, sugar free, natural yoghurt – its like double cream. Is this OK?

    • Andy:

      In principle, yes. On august 31st, I made a comment to “George” about what an acceptable kind of yoghurt is, and isn’t (so that you can compare them with your choice). You’ll notice that the cow’s milk yoghurt in that example has much more sugar than the coconut yoghurt. (It is the amount of sugar, not whether it is dairy or coconut, that makes it unacceptable).

  • Tara McCausland says:

    Hello. I started the two test two days ago and I feel awful – like I want to hurl and pass out awful. I’ve heard that some people feel like they have the flu which I do. I am nursing and wondered if that might be why I feel so weak. Is it ok to do this test while nursing or would you recommend I await?

    • Tara:

      When nursing (and pregnant) the body often needs very specific nutrients (which is why a lot of women crave unexpected foods during this period). It’s better (or rather, a safer bet) to wait until after. That said, emphasizing the principles of the Two-Week Test in a general sense (real foods, unprocessed, fewer carbs, fewer starches, more fats, and more protein) without being overly strict about them will only be beneficial for you.

      • Tara says:

        Thank you for your prompt response. I will continue the two week test, but modified so I’m getting the nutrients I need. Thanks again!

  • Michelle says:

    Just started the 2 week test today and read through every comment, and haven’t found a clear answer. What is the best dressing for salads? I went to buy balsamic vinegar and mix with olive oil but the sugar content seemed high in the balsamic.

  • David says:

    Ivan — thanks much for your response re whether I should do the triathlon in the middle of the 2 week test. I didn’t get your response until after. I did the tri just drinking water during and didn’t deviate from the TWT diet, before or after (though admittedly I craved all the post-race carbs available). During the race, I tried to stay aerobic (I don’t have a HR monitor yet), and it went very well. I was comfortable the whole race and had no problems. Despite intentionally trying to keep my HR down by going slower, my time was not far off at all from my usual times. I’m amazed that I was able to do that with such an extreme change to low-carb diet in the 6 days leading up to it. I’ve got another week to go on the TWT.

    Question: I’m fairly light — about 5’10” and before the TWT weighed about 148. I’ve lost 3-4 lbs since taking the test (and before the race). I’m not doing the TWT or going low-carb to lose weight, but to get stronger, eliminate constant hunger, and hopefully reap the other benefits that I’ve been reading about re burning fat rather than carbs. But is there a point during the test at which I should be concerned about losing weight?

    • David:

      Generally speaking, weightloss becomes a problem when it is associated with negative physiological symptoms. For example, many elite endurance athletes are that thin because they have aerobic systems that are so powerful that they burn fats at an extremely high rate. (And yes, they also go through a lot of muscle). But simply stated, if the body’s in perfect working order, then it’s in perfect working order.

  • Praveen says:

    Hi all,

    Would like to share a link where i have maintained the veg recipe for 2 week test . This is what i am following and also my observation during this time i have shared .Kindly have a look and suggest for any changes .

    You can comment in the N column “Readers Comment “area.

  • Careen says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Any restrictions on vitamins/supplements? Specifically I take 500 mg magnesium/calcium 2x/day. I also drink a Sea Buckthorn juice every morning called Sibu Omega 7 Pure. It has 0 sugar and 3 carbs. Is that okay? I HAVE to use liquid stevia with it though to make it drinkable. I’ve seen some sites state that stevia is not permitted on Maffetone, but I don’t think I saw that here anywhere. I specifically use SweetLeaf brand stevia, both liquid and powder because I find it has no fillers. I use liquid stevia in my iced green tea and salad dressings too. Other supplements include d3, B complex and vitamin C. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Careen:

      Generally speaking, it’s best to replace vitamin supplements with real foods, unless there is, of course, a specific micronutrient that you need for a specific condition. But one-size-fits all multivitamins/supplements fit very few people. That said, they are “allowed” during the two-week test.

      I stay away from all sweeteners (and would for the two-week test) specifically because sweeteners trick the body into thinking that glucose is arriving. The hunger response tends to go haywire. But they are “allowed.”

  • Bonnie says:

    Hi! I am currently 1 week in to the 2 week test and am loving it – feeling so much more mindful of my eating and enjoying the food! I’m very active and a personal trainer but have tried to tone down my activity this week and plan to even more so next week. However, I’ve been feeling quite bloated in the evenings and have been gassy the last two days. I’ve been fairly regular in the mornings (although with a more fatty consistency!) so I’m wondering where this all coming from as most people seem to report that their bloated stomachs go down, gas disappears, etc. Any insight into how the Two Week Test might be affecting my system? Perhaps it’s the vegetables…definitely eating more than normal but I’m still not seeing any of the positive stomach aspects, haven’t lost any weight (although I take the scale with a grain of salt and don’t check it often) and have really followed the food list.

    Also, I’m wondering how many people stick to this after the two weeks…I do plan on adding more carbs in (white rice, some fruit, etc) especially around my training times, but if this is so great, can people mainly stick to this? I’ve also read that going too low carb for too long isn’t good…Just trying to find what’s best for my body but any guidance is appreciated. 🙂

    Thanks in advance – I scoured the comments and find your answers (and people’s questions!) extremely helpful!

  • Kay says:

    Just started TWT today and was munching on pumpkin seeds with their shell. Was thinking how satisfying they are, and went to the computer to take a look: seems the shells have carbs. Do you think these are off limits? Or, small enough amount of carbs to be okay? Thanks!

  • John H says:

    Hey there,

    Just wanted some clarification on tofu. I know you said it should be fine on a few posts but I’m not a vegetarian so should I really be eating it or is it best avoided? I’m finding the diet tough going in terms of variation so tofu is really nice for me, but I’m concerned it could affected my fat burning if I eat it every day for breakfast — a block. I live in Japan, and I always choose the lowest-carb type. One block has about 4g of carbs.

    Thank you!


    • John:

      Tofu contains a little starch (not much), so if you can, avoid it. You don’t just want to eliminate the carb calories, but also the type of substance (in this case, starch). For vegetarians with few other protein options, I don’t object.

  • John H says:

    I’d also really like to know how or what to use for any of Dr. Maffetone’s curry recipes. All curry powders and pastes are loaded with carbs on my supermarket shelf, but I’m dying to eat something like this so any basic information on how to make a curry would be massively appreciated.

  • Grant says:


    I have now been training MAF for 5 weeks and eating basically no processed carbs and sugar at all. I have lost 9kg (down from 94Kg to 85Kg) and I was fairly lean as it was (191-192cm tall). However I am really enjoying being lighter and have enjoyed the reduction in body fat. I can see I was storing too much fat on my body even if it was not that obvious and I am working hard on getting my body to try and burn fat as its primary fuel. I never have had any issues with carb intolerance and could eat plenty and feel ok. My questions relate to does MAF promote never eating any carbs again (besides vegetables and fruit), and ideally just increase my level of ketosis. I ask because today for the first time I really hit the wall on a 2 hour training ride. Left on an empty stomach at 6am and didn’t eat till 9am after I got to work , showered and got settled at my desk (standing desk). I only drank water the whole ride and I just could feel my legs were completely drained of energy and my HR was going much higher on flat segments than it usually would.

    I took a look at my eating from the day before and realised I basically had very little carbs from even fruit and vegetables, and my fat intake was possibly lower for the day than it could of been. However this should of just made me very ketosis right? And I should of been burning fat and hence producing ketone bodies for energy but I just didn’t feel it, I was so flat. Now if I am training 8-12 hours a week (80% MAF / 20% anaerobic) is it best to introduce more fat (heavy double cream, greek yoghurt, etc) or introduce some actual carbohydrates? E.g. some weet-bix ( or lentils, beans etc or is this just my body with depleted glycogen stores and my body needs to learn to use fat better and I am in the process of making major adjustments. What does Dr Maffertone suggest here? Increase carbs from fruit, vegetables, lentils or increase fat intake and try go majroly ketosis?

    Here is what I ate yesterday and this morning since finishing ride:

    Monday 22/9/15 (Yesterday)
    Smoothie bowl (raspberries, blueberries, banana, honey, coconut, rawnola)
    Cashews / Macadamia (small handful)
    Black coffee
    Baby spinach, tomato, olives, fetta cheese, cucumber, balsamic + Tuna
    Goji berry ball (dates, almonds, goji berries, coconut, chia seeds, honey, cacao powder)
    Coconut / Almond slice (phil’s bar minus the egg white powder as still on order)
    Roast lamb + roasted onion, garlic, beetroot, zucchini, carrot (roasted in olive oil + butter)
    3 squares dark chocolate (90%)
    English breakfast tea with milk

    Tuesday 23/9/15 (Post this morning’s ride – breakfast + snacks)
    Goji berry ball
    Greek Yoghurt + strawberries and blueberries
    1 x soft boiled egg
    Coconut cream, chia seed and honey pudding
    Cashews / Macadamia

    Lunch / snacks / dinner for rest of day will be:
    1 x soft boiled egg
    Goji berry ball (dates, almonds, goji berries, coconut, chia seeds, honey, cacao powder)
    Coconut / Almond slice (phil’s bar minus the egg white powder as still on order)
    Tinned salmon + Cheese + Avocado
    Eggplant Marinara (your recipe from site)
    2 squares dark chocolate (90%)

    • Grant:

      When training a lot, it’s perfectly fine to increase the proportions of carbohydrates in the diet. Although you probably did go into ketosis, the body has to develop its abilities to produce ketones. It’s not going to produce them in a high volume (or develop the machinery to burn them) if you don’t train that in particular.

      • Grant says:

        Thanks Ivan for the reply.

        So am I best to try remain in some form of ketosis and let my body develop its abilities to produce ketones? Also if I do increase carbs should it be done from vegetables, fruits, lentils, chickpeas or is it ok to increase from oats, rice?

        What sort of time do you need to remain in ketosis before your body learns to develop lots of ketones so you can use that for energy instead of increasing carbs? What machinery to burn them? I am training mostly at or below MAF HR with very few anaerobic sessions.


        • Grant:

          Generally speaking, training at or below MAF will put you into some ketosis, and more so as you speed up: burning fats at a very high level creates more ketosis. What I would recommend is to gradually allow your diet to become lower and lower in carbs (note how I don’t say “gradually remove carbs from your diet”—you want it to be a very gradual and stress-free endeavor), and keep training at MAF. This will mean that your body will basically engineer itself to burn even fewer carbs aerobically and get more and more of its fuel from fats.

          Generally speaking, our body develops commensurate to our activity, so if you stay for one second in ketosis, it will learn to be in ketosis for one second, and so on. The best approach is gradual. By the machinery to burn them I mean mitochondria. One of the reasons people hit the wall during the marathon is that in order to maintain that high level of athletic activity they need to go into ketosis, but they don’t have enough mitochondria to burn ketones at that high a level.

          So generally speaking, staying at or below MAF is the way to go.

  • David says:

    Ivan, I am coming near the end of the TWT. I was wondering if there was any preferential order for incorporating good foods prohibited during the test back into my diet. I know it’s a progression, one new food every other meal, but are there better foods to start with. I would like to go something like this: whole fat yogurt, berries, beans, cacao….. Does it matter? Do you recommend monitoring blood ketone levels to see what changes occur?

    Also, I should mention I’ve been amazed at how comfortably I can continue doing a lot of aerobic training during the TWT — breathing has been easier and recovery quicker.

    Thanks for all the helpful advice.

    • David:

      The best way to introduce other foods is to test them out, one serving (1/2 cup ish) per day with your midday meal, in this order. The serving size references what you actually put on your plate, meaning cooked grains and legumes:

      1. Legumes
      2. Low-glycemic fruits (berries, grapefruit, prunes)
      3. Medium-glycemic fruits (apple, orange, pear, strawberries)
      4. Gluten-free grains (whole oats, brown rice)
      5. Grains with gluten, if not intolerant
      6. 1 teaspoon of organic honey with coffee or tea (excluding agave, or any other kind of sugary substance)
      • David says:

        Ivan — thanks so much for the very helpful list. One thing that I’d like to incorporate relatively soon is yogurt (full fat if appropriate?). You didn’t include that in your list. Can I insert yogurt somewhere early in the list? Thanks!

        • David:

          You can stick regular (unsweetened) yogurt in somewhere with the fruits, maybe as #2 or #3. Full-fat yogurt is OK during the TWT. Did you eliminate dairy products (lactose) during the test? If so this is the perfect time to test for lactose tolerance as well, Just add some dairy during the second or third day (I’m thinking an ounce of creamy cheese, or a small glass of milk, etc.

          • David says:

            Thanks Ivan. I did not eliminate dairy during the TWT, but did not eat full fat yogurt (which I would have loved, esp. pre-morning workout). The above comments suggested to me that yogurt was not okay during the TWT. (See the July 22 comment to Joanne.) I have eaten eggs, cheese, and sour cream during the test. I actually started over because the first couple days I had full fat yogurt along with just a strawberry or two.

          • David:

            Yeah… For the people that know the distinction between normal and full fat yoghurt, eliminating it altogether is a little excessive. The problem is that very few people know this distinction, and normal yoghurt really does have too much sugar to risk making a mistake. I apologize for the confusion. I think it’s important for people to pick apart our reasoning (since it aids in learning the principles) but it also does make for a convoluted (and somewhat confusing) comment thread.

  • Stephanie Jamrog says:

    Are pistachios ok on the TWT?

  • Andrew says:

    Hey Ivan,

    Thanks for all your thoughtful responses.

    You mentioned that one of the body’s responses to the 2 week test was muscular development, specifically spinal correction and something about the pelvic floor muscles (I may be misquoting you a bit). Would you mind elaborating on that a bit? How that works? Why?

    5 days in. Day 3 was the toughest in terms of cravings, those have pretty much passed. Headaches and definitely sleeping more than normal, but I know that’s my body adjusting to a new fuel source.

    • Andrew:

      I’m not sure why I would’ve said that in regards to the two-week test. That seems a lot more like something I would say in regards to some biomechanics-related issue. (I can’t find the part on the comment thread where I talk about that). In fact, your mention of “pelvic floor” seems to be the only one in the comments section.

      Off the top of my head, the best reason I can think of for referring to the spine and the pelvic floor in regards to the Two-Week Test is to make a point about how far-ranging the causes of apparently nutrition/digestion/food related symptoms can be. For example, if someone appears to have a digestive issue but excellent nutrition, troubleshooting nutrition more and more deeply will rarely do the trick. Sometimes, in the case of incontinence, constipation, or trouble urinating despite excellent nutrition, the problem may be dysfunction in the pelvic floor and related muscles, either due to weakness or incorrect patterning, or nerve pinching or damage usually due to scoliosis of the lumbar spine.

      Granted, this isn’t usually the case. But if I did use the terms “pelvic floor” and “spine” in something vaguely digestive related, that’s probably how I’d use them.

  • Andrew says:

    Hey Ivan,

    Here’s the quote I was referring to:

    Ivan Rivera, MAF Editor
    September 8, 2015 at 7:37 pm
    It depends. Most people lose weight, depending on whether they have too much excess fat, but cleaning up the metabolism with the TWT means that you can put on muscle comparatively easier (because long story short your muscles are your metabolic engine). Note that muscle is a lot heavier than the same volume of fat, meaning that you can put on a few pounds of muscle with few noticeable changes to your body, since those muscular changes can (and often do) happen in the deep muscle tissue such as the hip floor or the muscles that are in charge of spinal integrity.

    • Andrew:

      Yeah. Thanks. I looked for “pelvic floor,” so “hip floor” didn’t show.

      What I was trying to say is that there is a thousand reasons for why in the TWT you can gain weight. Let me explain.

      I like to talk about the body a lot in economic terms. At its core, the TWT resets the body’s economy: carbohydrate intolerance/sugar addiction is a problem of resource mismanagement. One of the most common symptoms of resource mismanagement in the body is being overfat (having more fat than is healthy). The only reason I don’t say overweight is because often, being overfat also means being under-muscled. Basically, being overfat is a case of stranded assets.

      There’s a lot of energy (fats) sitting right there on your body that you just can’t get to, and therefore can’t use. So, two things happen (1) you need an easier source of fuel (dietary sugars and more generally dietary nutrients), and (2) the generalized resource mismanagement that led to your fat assets becoming stranded also contributes to mismanaging the resources in your dietary intake. You can’t build muscle as well, and you can’t repair it as well.

      So a lot of times, people that have carbohydrate intolerance also don’t have muscle in the right places. Usually, this means that small but critical structural muscles (such as the intrinsic muscles of the spine or the pelvic floor) are undersized and underpowered.

      Thinking in the same economic terms, what’s going to happen as soon as you clean up your mismanagement problem, and resources start moving smoothly from wherever they are stored to wherever they are needed? Your body is going to gear up to repair, replace, and strengthen all that essential infrastructure—those spine muscles and pelvic floor muscles—that had been underperforming for so long. Your bones might increase in density, making you heavier. You may retain more water, making you heavier.

      I know that this isn’t what you’re asking, but “weight gain,” regardless of how much importance we typically give it, is not really a concept that describes much, particularly when you’re talking about changes of 6-8% of your total bodyweight. It’s very very hard to know what those changes are due to.

  • kate c. says:

    Hi, I apologize if this has been answered, but I’m not finding it in a search – I’m just wondering what the TWT’s take is on winter squash specifically: delicata, butternut, acorn, etc. I know they are more starchy/carby than their summer cousins, but are they to be avoided for these two weeks? How about spaghetti squash? Thanks!

  • Rudy says:

    Once we go through the Two-Week Test, should we revert back to the Two-Week Test at a given interval time?

    This is aside from the recommendation of repeating the Two-Week Test if we need to get back on track.

    Additionally, would it be beneficial to swap out foods for testing during the Post-Test Period?

    To clarify, we have tested ourselves for a week or so with eating yogurt a few time a week, and have identified our threshold.

    The next week, I would like to introduce sprouted bread, but I would stop eating the yogurt.

    Would this provide more accurate results?

    • Rudy:

      Generally, yes. But you don’t have to try something for a full week. After the Two-Week Test (TWT), your body will be hypersensitive to foods that don’t agree with you: in fact, the symptoms will show up when you’ve eaten 1/10th or 1/20th of the amount necessary to create adverse help effects. If, after 1 or 2 meals, the symptoms (or shadows of them) don’t already show, you can be reasonably sure that food agrees with you. During this period you should otherwise be eating like in the TWT. However, as long as the food that you introduced actually agrees with you, it shouldn’t confound your results should you keep eating it when you try a new food.

  • John H says:

    I have a question about nuts, specifically cashews.

    I am a serious glutton and have been known to eat serious amounts of food! I know you said nuts are okay, but to me that’s a green light to go nuts (haha) and eat a ton of cashews as a substitute for crunchy, processed carb snacks like chips and so on. I know Dr. Maffetone says, “Eat as much as you like”, but I’m aware on other low-carb diets over-eating or stuffing yourself is not recommended.

    I think I am seriously Carb Intolerant, and although I have cut out all the foods suggested on your list for about a month now, I could eat bags and bags of cashews every day, perhaps because I’m craving them (?) and because they’re quick and easy to eat and obtain with no preparation.

    If I eat tons of cashews, can that have a negative effect on how my body gets its energy i.e. from not from fat anymore? Because cashews contain a fair amount of carbs I’m concerned that if I eat A LOT then it would be the same as eating a type of food from the banned list i.e. potatoes or cereal.

    Looking forward to your response.

    • John:

      You’d need a lot of cashews to defeat the purpose of the TWT. They have a very small amount of sugar. If you’re craving cashews, it’s probably not for the sugar, or the carbs (you’d be craving something else). For example, cashews are an absurdly abundant source of potassium, which is something that many of us are typically lacking in.

      The reason I’m not too worried is because it’s a lot easier for your body to convert dietary sugars to body fat than dietary fats to body fat. Basically, dietary fats have to be broken down into something a lot like sugar, and built back up into body fat. So, when you eat something with very little sugar, even though your body may use that sugar immediately, the fats are going to be available for longer. Although theoretically your body would eventually turn them into body fat, the amount of sugar is so small that the fats will almost certainly be utilized alongside it: it’s highly unlikely that those fats would make it to storage.

      I mean, don’t stuff your face, but don’t fight your cravings either.

  • Ben says:

    Just a short question: In the comments above I could read that quinoa is ok, because of the low starch content.

    What about amaranth, buckwheat and/or millet?


  • John H says:

    Thanks for all the help so far Ivan!

    May I ask – how about buffalo mozarella? I am praying this is okay to eat because I love it, but I suspiciously love it too much, and it’s very milky, so I fear the worst!

    • John H:

      The problem is the substance (lactose) more than the animal. Why don’t you forgo it during the TWT and add it back in once you finish.

      Typically, when people are carb addicted, they don’t go for cheese or milk, however sugary it might be. They go for cake, and sweet coffee, and cereal. So your Moz addiction is probably not the problem. That said, it probably doesn’t help when it is stacked on top of all the other carbs you may be eating. But it does have enough lactose to confound the Two-Week Test, and make your results unclear.

  • Adam says:

    I did the two week test. I noticed some benefits – more mentally alert and focused, less agitated, etc. However, my physical performance deteriorated to a significant degree. My MAF times increased by over 1:30. Even my resting heart rate is significantly higher. Please advise if this typical and if I should see these detrimental effects disappear as I begin reintroducing carbs into my diet.

    • Adam:

      These are not detrimental effects. What you are experiencing is the capability your body has for fat usage: generally, your body uses carbohydrates as well as fats to drive the aerobic engine. When there are less carbohydrates in the diet, the body has to rely on fats for fuel. While your physical performance may be reduced, your overall metabolic ability has not “deteriorated.” Since the correct functioning of the metabolism hinges on the usage of fats for fuel, it is far more likely that your metabolic ability in general is increasing, bolstered by an adaptive challenge: that you are ingesting far less carbohydrates and it has to rely on a new fuel source.

  • Dave says:

    I am finishing Day 3 and want to add almond butter (as a spread in celery) for an afternoon snack. The jar that I bought is all natural no-stir with the following ingredients: dry roasted almonds, organic unrefined cane sugar, palm oil and sea salt. Is this okay or should I return it and find a product without the unrefined sugar and palm oil?


  • Pen says:

    Hi! I’m on Day 6 of the test and today, I went running for the first time since beginning the test. It was awful. My pace at MAF was 3+ minutes slower (granted it was also a little humid) than normal. I could barely “run” on flat pavement for 2-3 minutes before hitting my MAF HR. And even then, when I slowed to a walk my HR was much slower to come back down. Is this just my body getting used to burning fat? Does it get better?

    • Pen:

      Yes. So during the TWT you have relatively fewer sugars to burn, so your body has to rely on fats for fuel. Exercise during the TWT gives you just about the best example of how much fat-burning capability you have. It’s just like training any other muscle. You grow it if you use it.

  • Andrew Davis says:

    Hey Ivan,

    Thanks so much for the follow up response. What you said makes a great deal of sense. The reason I was seeking clarification is that I feel that I’m starting to experience some of that core muscle strengthening.

    I sustained a pretty painful injury in crossfit several years ago, severe back pain that led to shooting pain down the leg and a constant numbness and tingling, not fun at all and really took me out of the type of exercise I loved doing. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of research and seeking a cure: yoga, chiropractic, massage, AMIT, etc… All of those things have produced some benefit, but what has become apparent to me is that there is some inherent muscular weakness in those core stabilizing muscles.

    I’m 10 days in on the TWT and have already lost 10 pounds which is great, but far more importantly/surprisingly is that I’m starting to feel muscles in my hip floor, glutes and core activate that have been dormant for some time. Beyond that, I see a significant improvement in my mood and much more consistent energy levels.

    I’m a Maffetone believer!

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Thank you for providing such helpful and thorough responses. Many of my questions have been addressed by searching through the existing commentary. I am wondering, however, if grapefruit is okay during the 2-week test. I see that lemons are…

    Also, I am vegetarian and would find it very useful if there was a comprehensive list of vegetables. Would you mind posting something to that effect?

    Thank you!

    • Catherine:

      You want to stay away from grapefruit. It’s just glycemic enough that it can confound the test. We’re working on a vegetarian/vegan 2 week test, but it’ll take us a while to figure out all the ins and outs (we want to make sure that vegans don’t miss some critical nutrient for 2 weeks).

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Sorry – one more question. Is it okay to eat green jackfruit during the 2-week test? Jackfruit is a staple of southeast Asian cuisine and can be cooked in place of meat in vegetarian dishes… thoughts?

    Thank you!

  • JT says:

    Done the TWT and feeling great. Went to the doctor and had a blood test and my LDL Cholesterol is now high (5.3 when the norm is <3.5). My overall cholesterol is also a bit high at 7.9 but my HDL and triglycerides are good (2.39 and 0.6 respectively). This is the meansurements we use in New Zealand so not sure if different elsewhere?
    I am very fit with around 7-8% body fat and a competitive cyclist.
    Should I be concerned? Do I need to cut back on saturated fats (thisd is what the doctor said)?






  • Kontxi says:

    Hello! PUMPKIN yes or not during TWT? Pumpkin is includes In the principal page, but in the comments I have read not. Thank you!!

  • Kay says:

    Hi, Ivan. Just finished the TWT. After the first week I’d lost 2 lb, lost .6 body fat & gained .18 skeletal muscle. However, at the end of two weeks the numbers are reversed. Total weight gain is 2.48 lb, body fat is up 1.22% and skeletal muscle is .6 less than before I started. I adhered strictly, as far as I know. I don’t eat much meat, so ate a good bit of cheese. Bowels have been normal, so don’t think am just holding on there. Don’t know what to make of this. Not carbohydrate intolerant? Not great the scale went up instead of down. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

    • What about signs and symptoms? Did you have signs of carbohydrate intolerance that cleared up thanks to the two-week test?

      How were your activity levels?

      • Kay says:

        Am looking at my list—don’t actually see any changes in physical symptoms (I don’t have any major issues, just small ones). Activity level was about the same as usual. Went through carb cravings for first couple of days, then that dropped off. Then the last few days I was missing them again but didn’t eat any until the two weeks was up. If you are not carb intolerant would that make you more likely to gain instead of lose? Am sure I consumed considerably more calories as I ate a lot more cheese than usual. Ate lots of veggies, eggs, cheese, a little meat/fish, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, generous with the olive oil on salads, used whipping cream in my tea (what a fun luxury!). I’m not that big a person so can feel the extra weight & need to figure out how to drop it; a little confused about what direction to go from here. If I did something wrong am not sure what it is. Thank you!

        • Kay:

          If you aren’t carb intolerant, it typically means that you are burning fats at a high level. It’s rare that people with powerful aerobic systems gain weight quickly. Usually, calorie intake remains very similar (while calorie ratio changes), so in your case it might have been the additional calories. I wouldn’t worry too much about a 1 or 2% increase in body fats. I know that pumpkin is on the approved list but I think that may have been the culprit (if you’re talking about whole pumpkin—scratch that if you’re talking about pumpkin seeds).

          What strikes me initially is that the few days that you were missing carbs (the last few days) are also the days where you reported weight gain in your last comment. When these two things co-occur it should always ring alarm bells. I believe that something happened there that created the weight gain. Go back through the foods you ate and look at something that may have had a high glycemic index OR glycemic load.

          Also, look for any external stressors (unrelated to nutrition) that may have affected you for those few days. Cortisol sends insulin rocketing up and reduces levels of leptin (resulting in putting on fat).

          Could it have been the increased caloric consumption? Maybe. Could it have been the cheese, as you mention? Eh. But probably, it was the combination of that hypothesized nutritional factor (some food with a high glycemic index/load) AND/OR that hypothesized environmental stressor WITH the increased caloric consumption. 95 times out of 100, cheese by itself in a low-glycemic (or low stress) environment wouldn’t have really created weight gain: it would have triggered a massive increase in leptin (the satiety hormone) and suppressed your appetite, resulting in a regulation of your food intake. But combined with a high-glycemic food, you would have seen was a substantial portion of the high glycemic food (not the cheese) quickly converted into body fat, and the fats in the cheese used for your fuel.

          A way out of this? Easy: moderately increase your low-level aerobic activity (at or below MAF). I’m talking about walking, jogging, rowing, jumping rope, yoga, aerobics, easy bike ride. But find what happened the last week of the TWT. Finding that, and changing it, is the real solution.

          • Kay says:

            Thanks for your thorough reply, Ivan. Yes, it was pumpkin seeds, but with the shells (they have some carbs, as we discussed earlier). And, I think I’ve thought of some reasons why things went as they did for me. I think the second week my water intake might have been too little. I usually measure it, and I didn’t that week because—-you guessed it—there was some additional stress that week, and some less sleep. Also, I have not been as physically active the past couple of years as I used to be, and need to be moving more. I think maybe all of these things combined could explain it. Good to know the cheese is not a likely culprit. I stuck closely to the right foods, I think. Wonder if the pumpkin seeds with shells could have affected it. Okay, I think I know what to do from here. Many thanks, Ivan!

          • Kay:

            It could’ve been the pumpkin shells, but generally you need more volume than what “eating some pumpkin seeds” generally implies to cause an important effect. I don’t see how, say, a pound of pumpkin seeds (with shells) over the course of 2 weeks could have really created a massive weight gain. A pound of fat is around say, maybe 3000 calories (a disputed number). The point is, it would have to have been a lot of pumpkin seeds for the seeds plus some stress or nutritional negative to really have caused that weight gain.

            My bet is that the stress created a change in how you metabolized/stored your food intake through that week, possibly causing fat storage in concert with a drop in activity levels, because of those calories being stored as fats instead of available for fuel. (I’m talking about the spontaneous sort of “how easy is it to get up from the couch” kind of activity).

            Thanks for commenting!

  • Peter says:

    Hi all. I’m starting my 4th day of TWT. On the first day I was also running for about 1 hour with MAF pace. On my 3rd day I did some modarate strenght traininig. It is my usual routine. I feel ok. The only problem is i don’t sleep very well. 2nd and 3rd date I woke up at 3 am and could not fall back to sleep. I never had problems with sleep before. Is it normal? Does any one has similar experience?

  • Eliane says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I’m on the TWT since 4 days and I feel pretty well. But I’m nearly not hungry anymore, except for breakfast. At the same time, I don’t lose weight which I find quite amazing. Is that normal?
    I also would like to know if I can use sweet lupine flour. It is very rich in proteins, has a low glycemic index and contains nearly no starches.

    Thx for answering

    • Eliane:

      I haven’t read a lot about lupin flour, but at first blush it seems OK. I’d say go for it in small amounts, since it does have a lot of carbs. Certainly don’t make it your protein option.

      Weightloss is not necessary or guaranteed during the TWT. People typically lose weight because they typically start burning off lots of fats. For example, I didn’t lose weight during the TWT and I’m about 12% fat “despite” training 18 hours/week and running a mean marathon. At least presently, this seems to be my body’s sweet spot. Remember, while health quite often correlates with a reasonably slim body (with a reasonably low body fat), we’re not trying to achieve slimness (or a low body fat) but rather optimal health and optimal function.

      It’s rare to find a body that is very high in fat percentage and also performing optimally (but certainly not unheard of). That said, most healthy bodies that don’t do a rigorous amount of aerobic training tend to have a moderate level of body fat. But getting a low level of body fat (6% for men and 12 for women) while remaining healthy certainly takes a high volume of aerobic activity.

    • Nicole says:

      Hi – I am on day 9 and have experienced the same thing – have not slept through the night since day 1. At this point, should I just finish out the test? Just wondering if it ever got better for you?

  • David says:

    Thought you be interested in this top-half, front page story in yesterday’s washington post, if you haven’t seen it already:

    I know it’s old news to you. 🙂

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Ivan – I thought I had replied to a comment above where I noted someone else experiencing insomnia on the TWT. In any case, I have stress, for sure, but not more than any other week of my life. Starting day 10 today and insomnia continues. Someone else had suggested it might be the quantity of food – that if you reduce carbs without increasing fat, that might be problematic. Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

      • Nicole:

        Did you start doing the TWT because of carbohydrate intolerance issues, or for other reasons? Also, would you say that you have dramatically reduced your total volume of food intake? What are your exercise levels like?

  • Catherine says:

    Are pecans okay? Since they’re naturally a little sweet, I just wanted to check. Thanks!

  • Lisa says:

    So many thanks for your guidance on this site! I understand peanuts are starchy legume…OUT! However, I’ve seen a bit of confusion with peanut butter: ‘check to be sure PB has no sugar’ and ‘ NO PB’ can you please confirm best option and why. (If PB is O K…can you please explain difference with eating whole peanuts…kind of like carrot juice, NO…carrots OK)

    Also, is shellfish OK? Lobster, clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, scallops??? Again, thank you for your time and guidance!

  • Benjamin R. says:

    Hey! I got some “Quinoa Gourmand” with quinoa and some wheat, is that allowed on the 2 week test?

      • Benjamin R. says:

        Ok cool, thanks! 😀 What about sour cream, whipped cream, do you have some in the U.S without sugar? Cause all i got here in Norway, is like “crème fraiche” and “rømme” and it all got sugar and carbs in it. Guess that’s banned as well right?
        Sincerely yours,

      • Benjamin R. says:

        Allright, thanks! And last question, then i will stop annoying you 😉
        What kinda sour cream or whipped cream do you have in the US, cause here in norway we have like “crème fraiche” and “rømme”, but it’s all with carbs and sugar, is that still alright?
        Sincerely yours,

        • Benjamin:

          Straight creme fraiche should be fine. Just make sure it’s not the low fat variety (if there is such a thing); that one will have sugar.

          • Benjamin R. says:

            Thanks! 😀 But i still don’t get why some carbs are allowed and some are not… :/

          • Benjamin:

            This isn’t about removing carbs. It’s about removing carbs with a high glycemic load, a high glycemic index, starches, and certain carb-associated proteins such as gluten. And it’s about reducing the amount of carbs overall to a level that they do not affect blood sugar.

  • Elizabeth George says:

    I am a vegetarian trying to do the test. I do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or dairy. I do eat some eggs. I have searched the forum and can’t find a definitive answer on these items…are these legal or not?

    Nutritional yeast

    · Green beans

    · Sun Dried Tomatoes

    · Chestnuts and/or Chestnut Flour

    · Coconut flour

    · Coconut cream / coconut butter

    Cacao butter

    · Wild rice (its really a grass…)

    · Greens powder? Sunfood Sun is Shining or Amazing Grass brand? (all green veggies and probiotics and enzymes – I have IBS and this helps)

    · Stevia?

    Tofu (sprouted organic)

    · Tapioca Flour?

    · Arrowroot powder/flour?


    spaghetti squash

    acorn squash

    butternut squash


    pea protein

    Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Natural protein powder (pea protein, hemp protein and cranberry protein – 1 carb and no sugar)

    Quinoa – some places say yes and some say no

    Full fat organic unsweetened cream top yogurt

    Full fat organic unsweetened greek yogurt

    Unsweetened coconut yogurt

    Unsweetened coconut kefir


    • Elizabeth:

      All legumes are out (green beans, peas).

      Quinoa is a NO food.

      NO: Sun dried tomatoes, wild rice, butternut squash, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour.

      YES: all mentioned protein powders, unsweetened products, full fat products, coconut products, and cacao products.

  • Bob says:

    If a person loses weight during the test does that mean they are intolerant?

  • Pat says:

    I’ve been doing the TWT for about a week now and was reading through the comments and didn’t see one addressing Feta Cheese, is it an acceptable cheese during this time period? I appreciate all of your comments as I had no idea that peanuts were a legume and I’ve learned a lot about food and myself during this period and looking forward to learning more. I have eaten feta cheese on a couple of times in the past week and wondering if I need to start over because of this.
    Thanks for all the comments.

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I’ve been doing the TWT for 4 days now (this is the 4th day) and I’ve had a headache for the last 3 days… I’m vegetarian, am eating plenty of MAF-approved veggies, eggs, egg whites, cheeses, nuts and some cream although I don’t usually eat much in the way of milk products but am having some cream in my coffee. I am, however, an endurance runner and have a long run planned for tomorrow… it’s just a training run and not a race.

    I want to make sure I’m eating the appropriate things to fuel my body on the run but now the problem is that I’m starting to get a bit queasy eating all this fat. Any suggestions?

    The diet started off easy but now I sort of dread meals in general and am feeling low energy, and have this lingering headache, no cravings but just feel off… Have you heard this before and what do you suggest?

    Thank you!

    • Catherine:

      One of the things you want to consider is to balance the kinds of fat in your diet: increase your intake of kalamata olives and olive oil, avocado, coconut fats, and mitigate your intake of tree nuts and animal fats. You don’t have to do a full 180—just play around with the ratios a little bit.

      A couple of other changes you can make to your diet is to include probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement, and increase your intake of heavy greens.

      Changing your body away from fueling from carbs and towards fueling from fats feels quite different, physically and even cognitively. It felt pretty bizarre for me to have relatively lower energy than before (in the sense that I was no longer buzzing around stressing about every last little thing), but also that my energy levels were a lot more stable. Just the subjective experience, if you will, of using more of this kind of energy (fats) as opposed to that kind of energy (sugars) is a little different.

      Also, expect that your run will be slower at the same heart rate: when you have less sugars to burn, and you are used to that preponderance of sugars, your body isn’t quite capable at extracting lots of fat very quickly. However, the nice thing is that you’ll know that just about every calorie that you’re consuming athletically comes from fats, which means that your body has that much more of an impetus to quickly develop its fat breakdown capabilities.

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Also, I just wanted to check that coconut flour is 100% a-okay… Is that correct? I am craving some veggie-based “bread.”

    Thank you!

  • jmt says:

    First thanks for all of the info you’ve already provided. Several of my initial questions were answered in your earlier responses. Few more though 🙂 I am a vegetarian (not vegan) & I am allergic to tree nuts. 1. Can I eat sunflower seeds? 2. Bulghar? 3. Farro? 4.Can you explain what you mean by the difference between “regular” and “full fat” yoghurt, since it seems like full fat yoghurt is allowed? 5. In addition to answer for #4, is there any guidance about greek v. non-greek yoghurt? Thanks so much. I am very much looking forward to your app and any further guidance for vegetarians.

    • Stay away from bulgur and farro. They are varieties of wheat. Sunflower seeds are fine.

      Regular yoghurt is typically made from the part of the milk without cream, and full fat yoghurt is either made from whole milk or from the cream. Milk without cream has a much higher concentration of lactose, which is a sugar. Greek vs. non greek is a non-issue, as long as the yoghurt is full fat. For example, a yoghurt that is not full fat (and yet is unsweetened) may have 11 grams of sugar per serving, while a full fat yoghurt has 3.

  • JC says:

    I’m in my second week and all is good so far. I am down below 200 lbs. which I’ve not seen in years as a 48 year old male. I took a look at my family and family history and we seem to store fat right where you don’t want to. So I sought out to find a solution as to why this may be possible and so far the 2 week test is confirming many of my beliefs. Genetics to play a part in how you store and process fat and in my case that’s not a good sign so I wanted to find out why and how to change that as I’ve tried every diet, HIIT and exercise program with little luck. This has proven that I can’t change genetics but I now understand how my family processes carbs. I feel better, I’m losing fat in all the places I thought I’d never lose fat and as a guy just use your imagination. I’m not sure why mayonnaise is on the list and I use it in very limited quantities but it seems to help with flavor on occasion. It’s actually been very easy to eliminate carbs and get below the 200lb mark and I’m actually hopeful I’ll hit that 185 mark soon. At the end I’m doing a continued test and integrating fruits slowly as that’s a completely different type of carb and sugar. I’ll extend the 2 week test with the addition of fruits and log my results with the hope I’ll remember to post.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Ivan – I started the TWT last week on Monday due to some stomach issues I’ve been having. I’m a vegetarian and don’t eat dairy (including meat, fish, cheese or cream) so its taken a little finagling but it was going ok. It was going really well recently, and I woke up Day 7 feeling good and having actually had a good nights sleep which is rare. But I ate lunch late and after lunch I came home and was starving all day. I full out binged all day. They were all TWT legal foods – but very calorie heavy and rich – nuts, seeds, carrots, flax porridge with lots of nuts, seeds, flax, coconut, flax crackers etc, just tons of food. I basically ate from like 3pm to 7pm and made myself sick. I’m trying to get back on the wagon today but feel full and gross and bloated. Would that one super-duper-thousands of calories binge day ruin the test? Do I need to start over? Why would this happen? I’ve been eating balanced meals with enough nutrients and didn’t do a particularly hard workout yesterday (I am an endurance runner, but starting a taper so just 12 miles on day 6 and yesterday, day 7 binge day, just an easy 1 hr run)…I’m not a large person by any means but due to stomach issues I was having before I started the test, I have had a very bloated and uncomfortable stomach. By day 7 it finally felt unbolted, but now I feel back where I started after yesterday’s binge day. Just feeling frustrated and wondering 1) why this happened; and 2) how it will affect the test. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth:

      Tell me more about that day. Activity level? Stress level? Unexpected situations? How many carrots? How much flax? If these binges are happening, the answer isn’t just to hunker down and force yourself to stop—there’s a reason they are happening, and as far as the body is concerned, a damn good one (whether the body is wrong in its assessment is a different question). But the last thing you want is to be fighting your body.

      The answer is to ask yourself: what changed. I know you mentioned that you slept well, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Something else in your environment changed. A late lunch may be the case—perhaps you ran out of energy too quickly and your body just kicked your hunger into high gear. Keeping food around you may be the answer.

      Tell me more.

  • GEOFF says:

    Hi ive just started the 2 week test, when eating meat should I trim any visible fat off or is it ok to eat this too? Tastiest bit I think.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Ivan – What do you think about skipping meals? I tried a bigger breakfast/lunch today and found by dinner I wasn’t really hungry. I decided it wasn’t wise to skip dinner so just had a small meal – some steamed carrots with cinnamon, garlic and sea salt dipped in tahini, but felt really full. Should I just skip dinner on nights like these or force a small meal? Also is it normal to not lose any weight on the diet? I am already fairly small (5’1″ maybe 105 lbs) but have little tummy flab. And prior to the TWT I ate clean – no processed foods or added sugars… just wondering…lastly, finding that I was a little “backed up” in the bathroom dept the last couple days (days 8/9) – thoughts?

  • Elizabeth says:

    Ivan – Sorry – one more question(s) – What do you think about meal spacing/timing? Just prior to the TWT and during the TWT I have tried to only eat three square meals a day with no snacking in between as I was told I should leave 4-5 hours in between meals to allow for proper gastric emptying and that that may help my stomach issues. Do you think its better to eat three larger meals per day or to have something every few hours? Also I know you have mentioned eating larger breakfast and eating breakfast within 1 hr of getting up. I typically find it hard to do that. I usually get up 5:30-6:30 a.m. and like to work out immediately thereafter and am not hungry at that point…but that puts me eating breakfast later (a couple hours after getting up) …also with the larger breakfast, I find that I would rather eat my smaller breakfast then maybe a second one a couple hours later then lunch a couple or few hours after that. Although I have not been doing that. What do you think about that? Thanks!

    • Elizabeth:

      Skipping meals is just fine, as long as it is because your body feels energized and not hungry. Generally speaking I don’t skip meals because, regardless of hunger, I know I’ll need those calories (I think I mentioned I do two-a-day workouts), and I don’t want the kind of hunger reaction I was talking about in the e-mail. If anything, I’ll reduce the size of my meals, but never skip them.

      Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve been “hungry” in a while. My reasons for eating have been more and more due to understanding my nutrient needs and particular cycles, and less because of physiological impetus. I go around the day with enough leptin in my body that I don’t really get the hunger response that I used to know so well a few years ago.

      Meal spacing in smaller meals is just fine. However, still try to front-load your nutrient intake—your body will have a much easier time going to sleep and recovering if the majority of your nutrient intake is already digested and in your bloodstream (a.k.a. your breakfast and lunch calories) rather than still being digested (your dinner calories). Conceivably, you could eat a bite of food every 30 seconds (or whatever) and this will still work, as long as more calories are ingested towards the beginning of the day, and more fats happen first, more proteins second, and more carbs at the end.

      To give you an idea of why this works, it’s because carbs start breaking down immediately (amylase in the mouth), proteins start breaking down second (pepsin in the stomach) and carbs start breaking down last (lipase in the duodenum). I’m playing a little fast and loose with the physiology with this example, but I want to give you this logic to appeal to: you want to give a time advantage to the nutrients that get digested last.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thanks so much. This makes sense. What it is now is that I always feel super full. I, much like you, often do 2-a-day workouts (although now I’m in taper so not so much) so I tried to follow the breakdown of getting in enough calories at breakfast and lunch yesterday and today and haven’t quite gotten there, but have upped the fat/protein…BUT I feel super full all day! Like my stomach is distended, bloated and just, well, FULL! Might try skipping dinner tonight. Today is day 10 and was hoping to have had some relief in the stomach department but not so much. I had as of Saturday/Sunday but after Sunday’s indulgence, my stomach has been off again. My sleep, however, has been much improved the last two nights. I typically wake 1-2 hours after going to sleep every night, then wake up every 2 hours or so to go to the bathroom or snack or check my phone or whatever. The past two or three nights I have slept a solid 4-5 hours before waking to go to the bathroom, then go right back to sleep. So that’s been nice. Now if the stomach bloating/fullness/distention can get worked out!

        • Elizabeth:

          The bloating/distended stomach stuff shouldn’t be happening. You mentioned, if I recall correctly, that you were taking medication to help you break down fats? If so, that makes you a pretty special case. You should feel less hungry, but you shouldn’t feel full! I think you’re better off consulting with a nutritionist to study your particular case in more detail.

  • T. says:

    Hi! I’m reading Kale & Coffee right now and found this site via the book. My question has to do with doing the 2 week program when you’re a vegetarian. If I can’t eat beans, or quinoa, what am I supposed to eat other than eggs and cheese for protein? Or is this just not an assessment that will be healthy for me to do?


    • T:

      We don’t need that much protein to be healthy—and certainly not that many complete proteins. If you make sure to include an assortment of veggies you can get all the essential aminoacids in your diet (which are the building blocks of protein). Remember: every plant-eating animal out there builds muscle from an exclusively vegetarian diet. But for example, there are still other sources of protein, such as tofu, that are acceptable.

      This has been a big question for many of our readers, and we are in the process of developing a vegetarian two-week test that suits people’s nutritional needs and leaves no essential nutrients overlooked. It’s a difficult task, and we haven’t put anything out yet because we want to make sure that nothing is overlooked.

  • Jami says:

    How about Olives? Technically they are classified as fruit, but it looks like Olive Oil is ok…

  • Tami says:

    Hi, Ivan.

    Thank you for your many detailed and reasoned responses. I was just wondering if you might be able to provide some sort of glycemic load/glycemic index/starch content cut-off points that qualify a given food as acceptable or unacceptable for this two week test. That way a person could reference information available on the internet rather than contacting you each time. Thanks!

    • Tami:

      As a rough estimate, I’d say that anything below 40 is acceptable. (For example, blueberries are not acceptable–usually ranked between 40 and 50). However, you should also rule out things that have starches (quinoa, legumes), and things that have high absolute values of carbohydrates (fruits, some root veggies, legumes, cereals).

  • Stuart McQuitty says:

    This TWT terrifies me and I’m sitting on my sofa shaking like a s***ing dog on Day 2 of the test. I’ve been hugely addicted to all forms of appalling carbs – sweets, chocolate, crisps and have never even been close to cutting out the bad stuff, and the high Gi carbs.

    So for better or worse here I go. I’m a tennis coach and have for years been diagnosed with M.E. But of course this diagnosis is based on ruling out other possibilities, so really I’m tired all the time and desperately need to make a change. My friend Mark Pollock who is an inspiring motivational speaker told me of the test ( and now it’s my turn to try.

    I’m going to push myself to do this and wonder if Coconut Water is permitted? I really do hope so.

    Thanks for the minefield of good information contained within this section. I hope everyone else is enjoying this process and gaining a new understanding of their bodies and how food makes them react. I’m prepared to gain a new lease on life and cure my M.E. and chronic depression. Love and light to all.

    • Stuart:

      It’s best to stay away from coconut water for the duration of the test: the little sugar that it does have is very easily metabolized. Don’t hesitate to keep us updated with your experience with the test.

  • Dejons says:

    Hi, Could we eat pork during the 2 week test? I don’t see it in the list but as it is not processed food I wonder if we could eat it. Thank in advance!

  • Dejons says:

    Hi, i read many times seeds and nuts are a great source of nutrition. Does it make a difference if seeds/nuts are (homemade) roasted? Could we also include them during the 2week test?

  • Alex says:

    Sir i have been reading all of the comments and info that is out there and this Very informative. I have been half way following the Maffetone’s way of eating and this is a change of life for some of us. I am 61 years old and have had 2 heart attacks, first one when I was 32 yrs old. I have gout also. I have been folllowing the Maf training heart rate for about one month using Dan John method of push, pull, squat and farmers walk. Many of my issues of fatigue, no ernergy, and pain have gone away or if i have pain i can tell if its from to much weight. 3 weeks ago I weighed myself using our scale here at wk ? and i came at 239. I made the mistake today and weighed 241. I have noticed that my clothes are looser and have more energy and no fatigue. I have cut out breads, sweets, less sugar in the morning coffee and tea at lunch. More red meat and cheese. I am going to the Doc wed for some blood wk and yearly ckup.
    Thank You for all that you are doing and showing us the way to a better life, free of Pain, More energy, no fatigue and looking foward to retirement.

    Matthew 7:7-10

  • Bethany says:

    Is bourbon on the “ok” list? I’m from Kentucky 😉

  • Terri says:

    I am on day 3 of the TWT. Before the test I did not eat breakfast. The first day I made myself eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking (I am usually up at 5:30 am). The second day within 20 minutes of waking, I felt as if I hadn’t eaten in days and today I felt even worse. I don’t feel hungry so I feel I am eating enough. Do you have some suggestions on how to get through. I don’t really like eggs.

    Also I ate green beans (thought they were ok) should I start the test over.

    • Terri:

      I’m not sure I understand. Do you mean to say that you feel full but are still hungry? If this is happening, it’s because your body has simultaneously very little stored glycogen (sugar) but is also feeling full due to an appropriate fat content. Has this changed since you last commented?

  • Dejons says:

    Hi, would a homemade mayonnaise be a good thing to add to a salad? The mayonnaise is based on arachis oil, egg, vinigar, salt & pepper. Thanks for the advice!

  • Dejons says:

    Hi, I just surpassed week1 of the 2-week test. I notice my HR is much higher at the same speed during running as it was before (carbo rich intake). Is this a normal behaviour? How long does this body adaptation normally takes?

    • Dejons:

      That’s normal. Becoming fat-adapted takes a while. The reason for the decrease in speed is because, presently, your body can only pull out fats and transport them to the muscles at a certain rate. That’s what you have to develop. And it’s all relative: elite ultrarunners who can run 100 miles in 15 hours are still developing this ability.

      And you are never going to be able to burn fats aerobically as fast as you will be able to burn glucose aerobically (which is what you were doing when you had a carbo-rich intake). You can think of aerobic carb burning as “3rd gear” and aerobic fat-burning as “4th gear.” So it’s not that you’re suddenly slower, but rather that you’re forcing your body to work at (and therefore develop) a higher gear.

      So, while your “4th gear” speed can increase dramatically over the months and years, it will do so only if you train it in addition to 3rd gear.

  • MojoRisin says:

    The vegetable selection is confusing. Is Okra OK? Are brussel sprouts OK? They are not beans or legumes.

  • Beth says:

    I did not see any comment mentioning the use of real butter during the two week test. I saw that almond butter is ok. In addition, I drink hot tea in the morning with cream and splenda. Is there any sweetener that would be acceptable to use?

    • Beth:

      Real butter is fine. It’s in line with the principles of the test.

      All sweeteners (organic or not, caloric or not) are disallowed during the test. The issue is that the body responds to “sweetness” the same way whether or not it actually comes from sugar. In other words, the reason that we like sweeteners like splenda, xylitol, stevia, etc. is because it tricks our body into thinking that it’s getting sugar. This in turn means that the body releases insulin to be able to utilize the expected sugar (in the process blunting the fat-burning response). And when it doesn’t get sugar, the cravings for food, particularly sugary food, shoot through the roof.

      In other words, sweeteners themselves are a problem.

  • Simon says:

    Hi, if I understand it good the human body will produce ketones when insuline is not produced anymore (fatburning). I read on some sites that keyones could have a negative impact on human body? Could you give some more insights on this?

    Thanks a lot!

  • Luke H says:

    A quick question: I did the TWT already and now am helping my wife through it, as she has many symptoms of carb-intolerance. There is conflicting information in both the comments and the article regarding cashews and pumpkin specifically. They are listed as both okay and not okay in different spots. Can I get a final ruling on these? I do the meal planning and cooking (as well as coaching) for my wife and I don’t want to short change her on the benfits from the TWT.


  • Tina says:

    I thought I had posted this question but I can’t find it anywhere. In reference to creamy salad dressings…am I looking at the carb/sugar content to determine what I can eat? Thanks in advance.

    • Tina:

      Thanks for re-posting. I answered it but then clicked the wrong button and it got lost in the ether.

      I suggest that you stay away from store-bought salad dressings on general principle, but particularly for the TWT. Even though appropriate salad dressings are out there, they’re incredibly hard to find. I’d suggest going with a homemade salad dressing. Just about any kind that you can make at home (provided that the recipe doesn’t ask for sugar) is TWT-acceptable.

  • Susan says:

    Am on day three of the TWT.I ate cashews thinking they were nuts. Also ate green beans and some green peas as they are “veggies”. Do I have to start over?
    I made butternut squash with some garlic and parsley, butter and heavy cream. Topped it with onions sautéed in olive oil. It tasted so sweet that I wonder if it is an OK thing to eat during the TWT.
    if I start over, my first day of regular eating will be Thanksgiving day. Seems like that could make me king of sick. (Unless the butternut squash mentioned above is OK. Then turkey and squash will be fine.)

    • Susan:

      Once you get to the “end” of the two weeks, consider extending the test for a couple more days if you think you will get more health benefits.

      Butternut squash is on the edge, which means that you should avoid it. Again, there’s no need to re-start the test, just consider extending it a few days.

  • Susan says:

    One more question: is feta cheese OK?

  • Greta says:

    Are parsnips allowed during the 2 week test? if they are not allowed; are they allowed after the 2 weeks?

    • Parsnips are starchy, so avoid them. They are a good food to test out after it is over: add a small amount, such as 1/2 cup of parsnips (cooked or uncooked, chopped) to a meal in order to see if you have a negative reaction to starches. If you don’t observe any negative symptoms, then by all means continue to eat them. The same goes for other foods such as legumes, grains, etc.

      • Greta says:

        Hi Ivan,

        thank you for your reply! Me and my partner are on 13th day of 2 week test, and yesterday we did eat parsnips.. Without knowing that it is starchy of course 🙂 it wasn’t much, maybe 1/2, or max 2/3 cups each of parsnips pure.. My question is, should we restart the test?

        Also another question that I have. Since the begining of the test I have lost 1kg (in about 10 days of the test), but then from one day to another the same kilogram was back! What could have happend to cause this? I didn’t notice anything that I have done different, salt intake was the same, water as well.. any ideas?

  • Danielle says:

    I’m new to this site, and preparing to start the TWT. My question is do I wait until completing the TWT to begin the exercising program (step 3)? I do not exercise regularly as of now so I wasn’t sure if these were two separate steps to be done apart, one after the other or at the same time ( referring to step 2 & 3 in the get started program).

    • Danielle:

      You can start exercising concurrently with the TWT. The only thing you should know is that people are used to exercising at a very high intensity, and so using mostly sugar for the duration. When you are doing the TWT, you will not have as much sugar, so your body will not be able to produce energy at such a high rate—it will have to get its energy from fats. And since most people are not good at fat-burning, you’ll find that you are a lot slower and less powerful than you’re used to.

      This isn’t because you’ve “lost” fitness, but because you’re forced to train an energy system that has been very neglected. It’s not that you want to be slow, but rather that it’s important to tolerate this period of slowness in order to develop that energy system to a high level. Once you do, you won’t be slow anymore.

  • Tom says:

    I found this site because I was searching online for reasons why my running has not been improving despite training and the MAF method looks like something I will be trying. I am at the beginning stages of a winter base training plan and want to build my aerobic engine substantially following the MAF method, both on the bike and running.

    I was wondering if the TWT would benefit someone who doesn’t have any weight or health issues per se. I’m not over weight (14%BF), I train almost daily both cycling and running and eat a relatively healthy diet. Mostly raw oats and dried fruits and nuts, as well as some meat and also normal amount of veggies – but I do eat some sugary carbs from time to time. I gave up alcohol recently and get about 8 hours of sleep daily. Will switching over to a fat based low GI diet help me build my aerobic base better?

    • Tom:

      Yes, but if you’re not insulin resistance you may not need to for health reasons. So, a weightlifter who has an aerobic base that keeps them perfectly healthy (in other words, that is perfectly competent given their level of activity) cannot run an ultramarathon. But for an ultramarathon, you do want to become more fat adapted, so tailoring your diet to something that looks a lot more like the TWT will help you bring that aerobic base to a much higher level.


      Because it is impossible to burn fats anaerobically. If a substantial part of your diet is fats, your body will have no choice but to use the aerobic system. So, while a LCHF (low-carb, high fat) diet is not NECESSARY for a good aerobic base, you can just about guarantee one if you do successfully go LCHF.

  • Michael D says:

    I am vegan; no animal products for a variety of reasons. Can we use meat substitutes? Like Beyond Meat? Do you have recipes or suggestions or substitutions? I eat a good bit of natural peanut butter (no added sugar; just peanuts and salt); why are peanuts not allowed?

    • Michael:

      Meat substitutes are fine, as long as (1) they have no added sugar and (2) they are not starch based. Peanuts are not allowed because they are highly starchy and because they contain a lot of carbohydrates. (That is why peanuts, like other legumes such as beans and lentils, are disallowed during the TWT).

  • Tina says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for the response…and no worries on pushing the wrong button!! My next question (which may have ended the same as my first) was in reference to doing the MAF training while on a treadmill. While I don’t feel like it would hurt HR wise by training on a treadmill I feel like it would hurt physically as the muscles aren’t working like they would on a normal road run. But with winter and daylight savings here I don’t get off work in time to run during the warmest/brightest time of the day. So I will be in the gym most of the winter (except on weekends). Will I need to make any specific adjustments for this change? Or shall I press with my regular MAF training regiment? Thanks in advance for your reply!!


  • Tina says:

    Not sure if my last two questions have been lost again but I was wondering if anything needed to be done differently if training by treadmill? Since the winter is right around the corner I will be inside more than not. Will I need to adjust for treadmill workout? Or just try to maintain my MAF?

  • Phil says:

    I’ve read through a lot of the comments above and so many people talk of how great they feel as they progress through the TWT with a constant improved energy level. Myself I’m 1 week in and feel terrible! My mental function seems slow and lethargic, I can train fine but feel a constant state of being withdrawn. I’m definitely more depressed now than I was before. Should I persevere or start introducing natural sugars again like fruits and honey? I have noticed an improvement in my gut with less bloating (I’ve always suspected this was caused by too much bread and pasta which love to eat)

    • Phil:

      It’s probably going to take you a little longer to become fat adapted than most people. If you are wanting to introduce natural sugars, and that alone is enough to increase your feeling of well-being and mental function, it is a sign that your fat-burning is very poor. (If it wasn’t you should have no problem fueling your mental function well). If I were you I’d persevere with the two-week test.

  • Danielle says:

    I’m about to start the TWT. Am I to also start exercising at the same time or wait until after TWT? It may be a silly question, but I’m unclear on the subject. I don’t regularly exercise except walking my dog so I wasn’t sure if it was best to start exercising right away or after. Thank you!

  • ANDREA says:


    Just wanting to confirm that coconut in all forms is ok? Shredded, flaked (with no added sugar of course), as well as coconut flour?

    I want to make a breakfast cereal like a granola with flaked coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder, nuts and seeds. I would eat this with homemade almond milk.

    Also, if I am making my own yoghurt from full fat sheeps’ milk and fermenting it for 24+ hours so that barely any lactose remains, is that acceptable too?

    Final question – are sweet potatoes in or out?

    Many thanks – DD

  • ANDREA says:

    Sorry – And pumpkin? Which I think you call winter squash in the US?

  • Phil says:

    My Third and final time/attempt posting to this forum. Been disappointed that my last two posts don’t seem to have shown up either through censorship or ‘vanishing into the ether’. So this will be a long-ish post!
    1st point – I tried the TWT but got frustrated after week 1 and trolling through the posts above to find that I had been ‘cheating’ because it wasn’t clear to me that I shouldn’t eat parsnips, green beans or cashews. I think a more substantial list of do’s and don’ts would help because the recipe section also has many recipes that are not suitable for the TWT.
    I found my mood and energy level suffered during my time on the TWT and I found Ivan’s post which corroborated this feeling. I was able to maintain my training though at the lower intensity suggested by the MAF method. I would not wish to sustain this style of menu in the longer term as a result of my more melancholy mood state that seemed to pervade on this style of diet. I had always intended adding back in un-refined carbs. To check my tolerance. I’m pleased to say I feel much better once again.
    2nd point – I asked if after adding back in those carbs and natural sugars if this would impact my ability to turn my body into a ‘fat burner’ as I’m intrigued to see if this technique can help me in the longer term avoid my usual knee injuries (I have a loose knee following a motorcycle injury 15 years ago) which causes IT band issues in particular on longer runs). I may go back to the TWT after the holiday period if there is benefit in kick-starting my body into that fat-burning method, but don’t want to just stress my body with differing diets for a short term (I do not feel I can sustain a very low carbohydrate diet and not sure I need to as I don’t believe I have a significant carbohydrate intolerance).
    I hope this post makes it through and I hope to hear from you soon.
    PS. I came across the MAF method reading the book ‘Natural Born Heroes’ which is a fantastic read. I love the MAF approach, but would like to more advice for folk not so hard over on the low carb approach.

    Many thanks,

    • Phil:

      I apologize for not being able to answer sooner. I’ve been away for a few days and now that i’m back I’ve been answering comments in order. Your comments were waiting in the queue.

      We’re going to expand the TWT food list for the app—which is in beta testing right now. That’s also the main reason why we haven’t been updating the TWT foods list for the website—we’re extremely busy with existing projects.

      What the TWT does for you is make you hypersensitive to undue amounts of carbohydrates, foods with a glycemic index too high for you to tolerate, or problematic compounds such as starches and gluten. So, the idea is to add small amounts of these foods into your diet after the TWT and see if you experience any negative symptoms. If you do, then you know that the food in its amount, glycemic content, and type, is not agreeable to your body.

      If you eat those foods which are agreeable, you should not experience any impairment in your ability to burn fats. And of course, aerobic training will only buttress your fat-burning ability. Given that you don’t think you are particularly carb intolerant, I expect you’ll find that you can eat a decent amount of carbohydrates without experiencing negative health symptoms.

      Again, I apologize for the delayed response. I hope I’ve answered your question.

  • Ryan says:

    I just finished the two week test on Sunday (today is Wednesday). I have been following the Maffetone method for the last couple years and since this last spring have been following the high fat low carb diet fairly strictly. For the last two or so years i have been having issues with a consistent pain in my left foot. It’s not a point specific pain, instead it moves around the foot but is more regular on top where the foot flexes. I’ve seen a podiatrist (gave me a steroid shot… didn’t work at all), an applied kinesiologist (seemed cool and may have worked for other issues but not for my main issue), and a regular Dr. that didn’t know anything. A week into the 2 week test i went on a 6, 8 and a 10 mile run and had absolutely no pain whatsoever which I haven’t experienced for a very long time… Now, 3 days after the test (eaten an apple, coconut flour banana bread, cocoa powder with coconut oil and coconut palm oil) Nothing else has changed and today I ran 7 miles and have some pain back in my foot.

    Any recommendations to get this all fixed? I would rather not be going the foreseeable future without some sweet foods. Is my only option trying out each of those foods and see if the pain goes away? I am training for my first 50 miler in early April and need to run, obviously.


  • Nicole says:

    I am terrified of this diet but going to give it a go. I don’t need to lose weight so i guess that is one of my fears. Just getting my shopping list together but can I eat:
    Dried fruits e.g. dates, figs, apricots
    Tin Tuna
    Tin sweetcorn

    • Nicole:

      OK. No bananas, no dried fruits, and no sweetcorn. (They all have too much sugar/carbs). The tuna should be just fine.

      This isn’t a “weightloss” diet. This test will allow your body to gear your metabolism to stabilize at a weight and composition that is healthier for it. Because the overwhelming majority of the population is overweight and overfat, this overwhelmingly means that people stabilize at a lower weight and lower body fat percentage.

      If you feel that your body is at a good weight, your metabolism may change a little bit (for example, allowing you to have a higher activity level) but your constitution will remain largely the same.

      Does this help?

      • Nicole says:

        Thanks, that is a great help. I have quite a small build so even losing a couple of kilos is noticeable. Actually I might even put on weight with the TWT as I don’t eat much fat normally. Going to start the diet next week and see how i get on. I am 2 weeks into the training and I am already improving so it will be interesting to see how much further the diet helps me. Thanks for all your help.

  • Kellie says:

    Can you please tell me if, for the TWT, fruit teas are okay? I do not drink reg tea. Thanks so much.

  • Steve says:

    After many years of procrastination, I’m finally doing the 2 week test. After one week, I find I’m missing having some kind of sweet snack. Would organic cacao nibs be okay to have while doing the test (sprinkled on some almond butter)? They contain some natural sugars, but nothing else added.

  • Derek says:

    Is Quark allowed? Incase you’re not familiar

  • Ciaran says:

    Hi there..

    I just have a quick question re Quinoa…

    If your not doing the TWT is Quinoa ok to have?

  • BGreen says:

    I just received the Beta test app. Although I’ve previously done the TWT, I was looking through the TWT information on the app and it lists tree nuts and quinoa as ‘no’ foods and doesn’t have avacado in either category, only avacado oil. Which resource has more accurate information?

    • BGreen:

      The app has been updated to reflect that tree nuts are “YES” foods. Avocado and avocado oil are “yes” foods as well. Both the article and the app state that quinoa is a “no” food. In some of the comments, I’d told vegans that quinoa was OK only if they had no other good protein source, but we have since decided that quinoa is indeed a “no” food.

      I’ve gone back and changed as many mentions as I can find.

  • Hanna says:

    Hi there. I’ve just started the TWT since I’m pretty sure I’m insulin resistant, and maybe carb intolerant too. The 3.5 weeks leading up to this I had already started cutting out processed foods since I need to lose bodyfat to improve in running and cycling.
    This is my second day, and although I will continue stick to the plan, I’m surprised to feel incredibly hungry to the point of nausea in the morning, a mere half an hour after breakfast. This is despite having a smoothie of 1 avocado and half a can of coconut milk, roughly 650 calories! Am I right in assuming that my body needs a while to stabilize blood sugar levels when eating high fat, since insulin don’t respond to fats?
    I am obviously getting enough calories, but it seems my body hasn’t “noticed” and is still sending hunger signals. Does this indicate that my body is currently relying mainly on carbs and not used to buring fats?

    • Hanna:

      Sorry for not answering sooner. I’ve been very busy.

      Insulin is affected indirectly by fats: the presence of fats causes the release of a hormone called leptin, which increases fat-burning and suppresses insulin. However, there is another important hormone to consider: ghrelin. Ghrelin is primarily responsible for the subjective feeling of hunger, and for the motivation to eat. Ghrelin co-occurs with cortisol, which tells me that one of the most important things you can do at this point is to find ways to reduce your stress levels. Try to get more sleep, do breathing exercises, or exercise only at an aerobic heart rate.

      If you’re not constantly tired or have a hard time concentrating, I don’t think that carb reliance is what’s making you be hungry. I think that stress levels are too high, and the lack of sugar in your diet is keeping them high: when your body is stressed out it tries to work anaerobically, so it wants sugar. But because you’re not giving it sugar, it will be difficult for the stress to subside unless you address it from other avenues, as I mentioned above. (Remember, the fix is reducing stress, not increasing sugar).

  • Sean says:

    I’ve just started the 2 week test (it’s day 2 currently), and am primarily interested in the potential benefits of “slowing down to speed up” in my marathon training program. I’ve read The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing and loved it. But my question is: while on long training runs of 10 miles+, what if any fueling options do you recommend during the 2-week test?

    • Sean:

      You’ll get the most out of your long runs by not fueling.

      Generally speaking, and particularly for endurance runners, it’s best to follow this saying, when it comes to glycogen (sugar) utilization: “train low, race high.” In other words, insofar you train with low glycogen levels, your body will become more competitive in endurance events. And when you add glycogen previous to a race, it’ll feel like you just grew afterburners.

      In particular, the point of training runs of 10+ miles is to target and develop fat-burning—which is what the body uses when glycogen is depleted. If you fuel with carbs while doing long endurance runs, you’re essentially turning your long run into an oversize 4 mile run—one that wears you down a lot more than it should. In order to get the most out of your long runs, you want to be burning as much fats as possible. The best way to do that is by emphasizing fats the day before a run (the TWT is excellent for that), doing a slow and easy 15-minute warm-up, and de-stressing as much as possible.

  • Nicole says:

    I’m on day 3 of the TWT and I feel awful. I feel constantly exhausted and eating all that fat and protein is making me feel nauseous. I feel hungry at times but can’t face eating. I do force myself to eat but I don’t enjoy it much except for the vegetables as they have no fat. In the past I was a grazer and snacks included biscuits, bananas, muesli bars etc. I don’t feel like running at all so have just been doing half hour sessions on the elliptical trainer at home. I am doing a group run in 4 days which would be awkward to bale out of. Plus I will be going faster than MAF pace (I know, not ideal!). It is 14km and I am worried that I will keel over half way through. What do you suggest that I eat beforehand or during the run? Also is it normal to feel like I do?

    • Nicole:

      It’s normal. That said, the best way to deal with GI issues during the TWT is to increase the intake of heavy greens and other big fiber sources, as well as probiotic foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso. And don’t worry about the run—go. The point of training MAF is to be able to better absorb the stresses of training and racing, not to be a MAF monk.

      What I’d recommend you do is to go buy one of those 8-ish oz handheld fueling bottles (like amphipod) and make a 3-6% carb solution from honey, adding a teaspoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of whey protein or some analogue. The idea is to make an easily digestible, mostly liquid snack that easily feeds through the valve of the fueling bottle, to keep you going during the run.

      I suggest that you take 15 minutes before the run to do a light warm-up, in order to bring your aerobic system into high gear before the run even starts. Then, don’t start to fuel until 30 minutes have passed since you started exercising (15 minutes into the run if you warmed up, 30 minutes if not). Otherwise, the carbs in the liquid will garner an insulin response, which will impair your ability to burn fats during the run.

      I hope this helps.

  • Tina says:

    Hi Ivan,

    This may be an awkward question…I’ve finished my TWT and have tried to keep the same form of food intake (although I have added apples, honey and quinoa back into the mix) as I find my body feels much better eating this way. However, I have since grown constipated and was wondering if this is normal (I try to stay hydrated and eat plenty of veggies and I’m running a lot more miles than normal since I’m using MAF)? I will say that I have not changed my diet a whole lot than it was before (biggest change is the deletion of sugar or some form of sugar)….so I am surprised by the inability. Have you seen/heard of this before? Is it possible that my body is still adjusting and will conform soon enough? Thanks for any information/assistance.

    • Tina:

      No worries, great question.

      What the TWT does is to allow your body to “reset” its metabolism, so that you can start eating mostly or only foods that agree with you. As part of this “reset,” your body becomes hypersensitive to foods that it doesn’t feel are good for you. So, something that you’ve added after the TWT has created this constipation. I’d say go back to the TWT (or something similar) for a few days and try adding different foods in isolation. That might clue you into what is happening.

      Also, I’d recommend that you up your intake of probiotic foods (my favorites are kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut). That may really help clear up your constipation issues.

  • Tina says:


    Thanks so much for the response. I actually started having the issue during the TWT. But more so toward the end of it. I had also thought about the probiotics as well. So I grabbed a couple of plain yogurts to see if that might help. Will pick up kimche and sauerkraut also. Thanks for the advice!

  • Winn says:

    I’m starting the TWT. Any recommendations on breakfast items apart from eating eggs everyday?


    • Winn:

      Lots of avocado, lots of greens (such as in a spinach scramble) lots of cheese. I’d also recommend upping your natural fiber intake during the TWT, for example by drinking a good bit of veggie smoothie towards the afternoon.

  • Anthony says:

    I did the two week test and and have since reintroduced a moderate amount of carbs to my diet. During the two week test, my MAF pace slowed dramatically by over 2 minutes per mile. Now the test is two weeks behind me and the only variable I’ve changed is my diet. I’ve been training strictly at or below MAF and haven’t done any speed work. I’m eating high fat low carb and have always run fasted to encourage fat burning. I was expecting the two week test to kick start and improve my fat burning.

    Although my pace is slowly improving, why am I still over a minute per mile slower than when I did the test?

    Is it normal to get slower during the two week test, and what can people expect once carbs are re-introduced?

    • Anthony:

      The MAF method does improve fat-burning, but it also improves use of oxygen, generally speaking. So both fat and sugar burning benefit from it.

      The TWT didn’t just increase your fat-burning: for its duration, it made it very difficult for you to burn sugars. This means that you were relying on a slower burning fuel (and a different engine) than the one you use for sugar-burning. Hence the slower speeds.

      The reason that your speed has improved commensurate to your introduction of carbs is not because you have been “getting fitter,” but rather because you are enabling the use of your body’s “carb-burning engine” in that measure. So, it’s not that you are a minute per mile slower, but rather that your fat burning engine can only produce energy at a rate that allows you to run at a speed that is one minute per mile slower.

      Once carbs are reintroduced, people can comfortably expect their body to shift as much as possible back to its “carb-burning engine,” from which it can get energy much more easily than its fat-burning engine. And they can expect to return to their usual speed. So, unless you are doing high-intensity aerobic efforts, you don’t want to reintroduce carbs as much.

      The reason you want to train the fat-burning engine is to be able to produce sustained athletic activity (for more than 1 hour) without any loss of power. For example, the reason that just about everyone hits the wall during a marathon is because just about everyone runs at a far higher consumption of energy than their fat-burning engine can produce—which is why they must rely on relatively small sugar stores for fuel, which is why they run out of energy at mile 17, and start losing power at mile 10.

      You also want to train sugar-burning, of course. But in order to effectively train one engine and then the other it is important to view losses in speed not as losses of performance, but rather the switch from one engine to another.

    • winn says:

      eating all this fat is not going well for me. I feel full and just gross. Will this feeling disappear? When will the fat burning kick in?

      (I can’t wait for some kefir and frozen fruit. 0

  • Luke says:


    I’m back for another round of the TWT, albeit I’m only going to do it for 10 days.

    I have the MAF App but I’m struggling to get my watch to sync with it. I have the Garmin Forerunner 620 with HRM. Not entirely sure his is compatible with the app.

    Also, just looking at foods that CAN’T be eaten in the TWT now and I’ve noticed cashews on the list. When did this change happen because I’m almost sure this wasn’t the case when I did my TWT the first time round.

    Also, between the app and this site it’s say beans and legumes and things like that can be eaten(on the app), but should be avoided(on the site). Mild form of confusion, but I’m totally understanding of the TWT from previous. Just highlighting that fact.



    • Luke:

      Thanks for the feedback. We had a few issues with the foods in the first few days, but they’re fixed now. What you might be seeing is the foods for the regular diet, instead of the 2WT: there’s sets of “yes” and “no” foods for both.

      Phil advised me the other day that Cashews were a “no” food; I previously thought all tree nuts were yes foods.

  • Sarah says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I found this website thanks to Endurance Planet. I know for sure that I’m sugar intolerant, as I have all the signs. I am going to do the 2 week MAF test after Christmas, so that I can stay focused! I have trawled the comments section and just wanted to see if I can eat toasted unsweetened coconut, coconut flour and almond flour on the 2 week test or is any kind of flour a big no-no. I am an endomorph body shape and have heard that a fat adapted diet suits this body type, is this correct? Also roughly how long should it take to be able to become fat adapted (if I’m strict with keeping carbs cut a minimum), as I’m a triathlete and don’t want to lose performance for too long. Many thanks for all the good work and valuable information.

    • Sarah:

      Those kinds of nut and seed flours are just fine.

      Remember that you won’t be “losing performance” during the TWT—it’s really important to me for people to see it that way. Instead, you’ll go slower because you’ll be relying more on a slower-burning fuel (which means you’ll be training responsible for burning it). Your performance will remain untouched: if you went back to a high-carb diet (or fueled with gels during a run) that would become immediately apparent.

      This is why it’s recommended for endurance athletes to train in a low-glycogen state but race in a high-glycogen state—because even though they’re training slower, when that same machinery that produces relatively slower runs during trainer is given a full glycogen load, it seems to sprout afterburners overnight. But those afterburners never went away: it’s just that instead of training them training in a low-glycogen state builds the mechanisms that feed them.

      (For the record, this is a good thing: recent research has shown that the difference in high-intensity interval performance between highly trained runners and less trained runners is due to increased fat-burning, not increased sugar-burning).

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks Ivan,
    I think I’ve got it now! So basically keep yourself ticking over in training low carb (although the pace will be slower, and won’t be so energised), but when racing, after the first 30mins you can use carbs to give you the glycogen kick without affecting your fat burning engine? I can’t use gels as they upset my stomach and I hate them! I’ve used banana chips cooked in coconut oil for longer training runs, would you say this would be an appropriate food? They are highly calorific being high in carbs and fat so wouldn’t need that many over an ironman distance. If you think this is a bad choice can you give me some ideas for healthier non ‘sports specific’ alternatives.

    Also, for long training sessions with some anaerobic intervals in should I be fuelling during, or is it a case of trial and error, as to when you need to start eating?

    One last thing, would I be right in thinking that once you have done the TWT, you will be converted to burning fat as fuel?

    Many thanks again for your time and expertise 🙂

    • Sarah:

      You’ve got it, basically. There’s just one thing: if you’re doing an anaerobic training session and you’re out of sugar, your anaerobic energy system is already pretty tired. While refueling is going to keep you going for a little bit longer, you aren’t going to be getting as much training of as high a quality as before. For that reason, I usually call it a day when I get tired doing intervals.

      Also, there are good reasons to train in a high-glycogen state: for example, in order to test out your race pace. (You want to produce race conditions as best you can). And, in the case of anaerobic intervals, since you’re primarily using sugar, it’s also important to have your glycogen stores topped off. But I’d recommend doing that by emphasizing low-glycemic carbs two meals prior (by “emphasizing” I mean “getting enough,” not “gorging”), and then immediately post-training also fueling with some low-glycemic carbs (I’m thinking Phil’s Bars).

      Post interval, what you want is to give your muscles enough fuel that your body doesn’t cannibalize the muscles THEMSELVES for fuel, or just let your metabolism plummet. Remember, recovery is an activity, and you need to fuel it for it to happen.

      What the TWT will do for you is increase the amount of fats you use for fuel. Doing so will make your metabolism a lot more resilient. That said, intervals and anaerobic training are sugar-fueled endeavors. We can’t get around that. So, what I do is (1) make sure that my metabolism likes fats better than it likes sugars, and (2) shift around my nutrient intake slightly so that it tends towards the kind of fuel I’m going to be using any given day.

  • Gary says:

    are sweet potatoes allowed??

  • Gary says:

    Hello again and thanks for all the great information. I am currently on day 8 of the TWT and feel like I’m floating in space! I seem to be having lots of very vivid dreams which is quite contrary to years of going to bed with a tummy full of beer and chips and sleeping like a baby. I am 51 and have attempted to get in shape and eat right no less than 50 times. I am hoping along with the information about how the body works I will stick with this attempt much longer than before. I have a couple more food questions and until answered I just don’t eat them. Are sunflower seeds, and pistachios allowed? Also, my son pointed out that the bacon I was eating had sugar in the ingredients but on the nutritional information chart had ‘Sugars’ listed at ‘0’?? Does having a couple slices of in a ceaser salad with lots of freshly cooked chicken matter?? I mean, does this void the time I have already spent trying?? I am hoping that the slightly stoned feeling I am experiencing all the time is an indication that I am in fact burning fuel from stored fat and that everything is on the right track. Does this sound right?

    • Sunflower seeds and pistachios are great. The amounts of sugar you ate in a couple of slices of bacon probably don’t matter.

      And that stoned feeling—I like to call it “mellow energy”—means that you’re probably experiencing mild levels of ketosis, which is a by-product of increased fat-burning. So yes, you are on the right track.

  • Nicole says:

    I am 4 days post the TWT and have been re-introducing carbs back into my diet. Prior to the test I was doing MAF training (MAF HR = 120) 4 times a week except for once a week when I would do a club tempo run. During those tempo runs, my HR was averaging around 150. Yesterday i did a cub run but this time my average HR was around 160 + which shocked me a bit. Is this my body just getting used to carbs again or a post effect of the TWT? I have been MAF training for 5 weeks now in total.
    Also when should I do my second MAF test? Is it OK to do straight after the TWT or is it best to wait a couple of weeks?

    • Nicole:

      It’s very hard to say from just 1 run. You were either stressed or excited about something—your heart rate tells us that much. Since you’re getting a different mixture of fats and carbs during the TWT than during a normal diet, your MAF test scores will not be representative of your usual speed. I’d say to wait until you’ve figured out your carb situation, and then do it. (If it takes you 2 days to figure this out, then you can do a MAF test then).

  • Wenikio says:

    Having read through the comments, I haven’t seen raw milk (with cream) addressed. How about raw, unprocessed, unpasteurized milk with the cream straight from the local farm during the TWT?

    • We’ve discussed full-fat milk before (which is milk with cream). The TWT isn’t about individual, particular foods, but rather the fat-to-carbohydrate content of those foods.

      Raw milk with cream (full-fat raw milk) is allowed because it adheres to the same principles that pasteurized milk with cream (full-fat pasteurized milk) does. I hope this helps.

  • Adrian says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I’m on day 11 of the twt. I’m 34 and fit and healthy. My standard diet has a reasonable amount of carbs (homemade sourdough and fruit etc…) not much sugar and little processed food.

    The test has been a real struggle for me. I had mega cravings, then felt like I had the flu, low energy and now headaches! I’ve tried eating more food but then felt sick in the stomach… I’ve been eating combinations of: omeletes, spinach, nuts and seeds, cheese, bolognese on zoodles, salmon, salads and a little wine and coffee.

    Any advice? I keep hoping I’ll start to feel better but I’m thinking its not going to happen….

    Thank you,

    • Adrian:

      Sorry I didn’t answer sooner. I’ve been away.

      Your best bet is to up your intake of natural fibers, such as those found in heavy greens, carrots, etc (keeping within the guidelines of the TWT). That, as well as eating probiotic foods (such as sauerkraut and kimchi) are great ways of mitigating the GI issues that often appear during the TWT.

  • Gary says:

    Hello again and thanks for all the great info!! I am quite happy to say I completed the two week test and have experienced some profound changes in the way I feel and think about food. I experienced the feeling of not having to eat much at all and had several days of abundant energy. I started to see that a small amount of food was all I wanted and even found that if I ate too fast my heart rate would jump up – I did struggle with light crossfit sessions but found that I had energy to keep going even though it seemed my heart rate was always high. I have just been reading the section in ‘Natural Born Heroes’ that talks about food conversion in detail and how cravings are a cyclical event. I’m super excited about potential within and believe I may have tapped into the tip of it. I am 51 and believe that I am heading down the wrong path and have been for years with beer and junk food etc… here’s the question I would like commented on as I believe over the past few days (this is only a couple of days after I finished the TWT) I have re-triggered the cravings by eating a lot of sugar based christmas goodies – (i say goodies because it doesn’t help to be negative about what’s already been done!) Last night I experienced the cycle of craving more goodies and it did not seem to want to end (i’ve been doing this for years thus my 255lb weight! I did lose about 10lbs during the TWT) – today I am back on track but am wondering if I need to do the entire TWT again to achieve what I was experiencing during the last week (mellow abundant energy, never hungry etc…) What’s your opinion on all this??

    • Gary:

      The most important part of the TWT is to know how much sugar is too much, and to know whether you tolerate starches, gluten, etc. well or not. This means that while you don’t need to go back to the TWT per se, you do need to adopt a diet that looks a lot more like the TWT than what you are eating now. For example, my diet is extremely high-fat all the time—I eat 80% of the way that the TWT suggests all the time, because that’s what works for me.

  • Erika says:

    Hello I am starting the two weeks test. I have a couple of questions. Are lemons and limes OK? I also purchased kimchi, I noticed however, it has the addition of date sugar so I am assuming that would not be good correct?
    I also love homemade bone broth. Would this be OK for the TWT ?

  • Michael says:

    Dear Ivan,

    I am training for an ultra marathon in March, and I just switched over to Dr. Maffetone’s training method on December 20th. I am 6’1 190 pounds which is heavy for me. I know my diet is loaded with carbs and sugars. I feel great during my long runs 15 miles + using honey and water. I know the 2 week test is recommended for the off season, so what would you suggest I do? For example, I know to cut out processed flours and refined sugars, but what do you suggest for carbs? I need to lose weight, but I want to healthily. I have already seen an improvement in my MAF after 11 days. It is still an adjustment running slower, but my legs feel much better.

    • Michael:

      I’m not sure what you’re asking. If you mean whether you should still fuel with carbs during your runs while you’re doing the TWT, then you should know that it’s best to avoid high-glycemic carbs such as honey altogether.

  • Dave Lockyer says:

    Am about to embark on the TWT and have trawled through many of the comments but can’t find anything about Chia seeds. Are these allowed during the TWT or not?

  • David Lockyer says:

    …just one other question – is organic cocoa powder allowed on the TWT?

  • David Lockyer says:

    Apologies for the number of postings but I’ve just begun the TWT and I think the moderators must be off due to the holiday. I’m wondering if green olives and extra virgin olive oil are acceptable on the TWT?

  • Jessy says:

    Good Morning,

    The boyfriend and I will be starting the twt in the next couple of days are are trying to be as prepared as possible! I noticed that butternut squash is on the “no” list, does that include delicate and acorn as well? We really like to make squash “fries” 🙂


    • Jessy:

      Squash—including butternut squash—is OK on the TWT.

      • Christina says:

        I am confused now as you’ve menioned several times that butternut squash is NOT ok ? I don’t actually mind either way but some answers are not consistent and as I’m just 3 days in I don’t want to mess up ?

        • Christina:

          I’m very sorry for the confusion. I was wrong about saying that butternut squash is not allowed. It in fact IS allowed. I’ll go back and change previous comments.

          It’s been a trend of mine that I’m ambivalent about lot of vegetables that near the edge of acceptability. As people ask me specific questions about specific foods, I research them to see where they are in certain parameters, such as total carbs, glycemic load, glycemic index, starchiness, etc. (We don’t have a comprehensive list of YES foods and NO foods—it would be almost impossible to create). A lot of times, I have to make a judgment call.

          And i apologize for being inconsistent.

      • Althea Stearns says:

        I’m confused…previous responses to winter or butternut squash was no allow or on the border for TWT.

  • Carey Letts says:

    Hello, just starting the TWT and see some cross-over between the book and the comment section here. Suggested snacks in the book include celery with cream cheese but the cream cheese sounds like a non-starter in the comment section. As well, the book suggests ricotta cheese is ok – no mention in the comment section about ricotta.

    Also, I’d love to use pickled products like dilled cucumbers, jalapenos etc – are these ok as well?
    Thank you!

  • Dionne says:

    Hi, what a fabulous website, I can’t wait for the app! I looked but couldn’t see (and can’t work out on my own), are radishes allowed on the twt? Thanks so much. I’m 3 days in and noticing significant improvements in my mood, appetite, thinking.

  • Gordon Smith says:

    I’m starting my Two week test and wanted to know if seeds were ok to eat during this time? I normally include a couple tablespoons of Chia seeds in my daily diet.



  • Stephanie says:

    I’m confused when I read some of the recipes from the two week test. There are garbanzo beans in a recipe, yet in the instructions it says “avoid beans” and in the “Phil’s Bars” it calls for honey, yet the instructions say “avoid honey during the 2 weeks.”
    Can you clear this up for me?

    I can’t wait to give this a try. I’m a health and wellness coach in addition to teaching yoga. I have a diverse group of students and clients. I like to try these tests before recommending them. What I’m drawn to here is the “no measuring, no fussing, and the recipes that are easy to follow” and the fact it’s 2 weeks “short”. This can be attained, even for the people who swear they can’t give up sugar and carbs. It’s a very friendly plan. Living in the midwest, and in a city that was just voted the “most unhealthiest city in the state” (St. Joseph, MO) I am constantly boasting the benefits of clean, healthy, low sugar/carb eating with daily exercise of some sort. So many people in this community choose to stay this unhealthy and I can’t change the minds alone….
    I’m presented with a lot of different bodies, a lot of fatigued and exhausted students, clients, and corporate executives that skip meals, eat mostly processed foods and binge at night.
    I’m glad I found your site. I look forward to your reply on the first question.

    Thank you,

    • Stephanie:

      You’re right—neither honey or garbanzo beans are allowed.

      However, I didn’t see any recipes with Garbanzo beans in the TWT section, and Phil’s bars is not a TWT recipe. In the categories bar on the right side of the screen (within the Recipes section) you can select TWT-specific recipes.

      I hope this helps. If you see any discrepancies, or you find the recipe that you’re talking about within this section (which I may have missed) please don’t hesitate to point it out. It’s important that we give out very consistent information.

  • Karin says:

    If my question is a repeat I apologize; I haven’t read every single question people have asked. The issue I have is with mayonnaise. It’s on the “yes” list but no matter what bottle I grab or find in various supermarkets they all have the word “sugar” in the ingredient list, it’s one of the very last ones but it’s there. And according to the TWT anything with “sugar” is a no-no. At this point I’m not convinced there is such a thing as “no sugar” mayo and yet it’s on the “yes” list. Can you please enlighten me on the subject because the whole thing is very contradicting! Thanks!

    • Karin:

      That is actually a new question 🙂 There actually in fact is natural, no-sugar mayo which has only 3 ingredients: egg white, vinegar, and oil. All of the “conventional” mayo tends to have sugar.

      Do you think that the “correct” Mayo is too rare for mayo to be on the yes list?

      • Karin says:

        I see. The ingredients you mention are what constitute the homemade refrigerated version. So as small quantities can be made and eaten before spoiling. Such ingredients in a jar on store shelf would spoil. I did however research the “conventional” store bought mayo. Its sugar content is 0.6g per 100g. Is the purpose of the TWT to ingest 0.000g of sugar in this 2 week period?? (would it screw everything up? Is a teeny tiny bit ok? Is it best to wait until the 2 weeks is over to reintroduce store bought mayo?). I have yet to find a bottle of mayo on a store shelf that does not have sugar on its list of ingredients. Therefore, to answer your question, if the only mayo allowed is the one with 3 simple ingredients, then it would be nice to have it specified and maybe even a recipe included? I honestly have yet to find a jar on a store shelf with just those 3 ingredients. If you know of any brand that does make mayo with just oil, eggs & vinegar please let me know!! Thanks!

        • Karin:

          No, not at all. Conventional mayo works just fine when it has very little sugar—although there are low-fat versions that have a lot of added sugar, which is why I recommended caution.

          All things considered, it is impossible to eat no sugar: even if you had straight eggs and butter, you would fail. The goal of the TWT is to minimize the intake of foods that have a strong impact on blood sugar. For that reason, all breads and cereals, and fruits (for starters) are out. There are mayo varieties out there that have only three ingredients, but I’m not in the habit of buying mayo, so I don’t really know.

          In any case, if something has 1 gram of sugar, it’s not really a problem—the problem is servings of regular yoghurt with 16 grams (4 teaspoons) of sugar, for example.