Carbohydrate Intolerance and the Two-Week Test

Many people suffer from a condition known as carbohydrate intolerance, or (CI). This is perhaps the most well-hidden epidemic of our time and is being made worse by the prevalence of sugar and other high-carbohydrate foods common to our diets.

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, such as fatigue, that negatively affect quality of life. Gradually, this process generates serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

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 triglyceride levels and LDL “bad” cholesterol while lowering HDL “good” cholesterol, and increasing body fat.

Final Stages

CI 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 the first step in reclaiming your optimal health. The next step is taking the Two-Week Test, which will help determine just how sensitive your body is to carbohydrates. For those who are interested, there’s also the Two-Week Keto Test.

The Two-Week Test

This evaluation will tell you if you are carbohydrate-intolerant, and if so, how to remedy it. It must be emphasized that this is only a test and not a permanent diet — it will only last two weeks and should not be pursued beyond this 14-day period. You should never 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 consistency of 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 — 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. For a period of two weeks, just eat as much as you want from what you’re allowed, and avoid what’s restricted. 

 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 necessary 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. Includes any symptoms or ailments 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 and haven’t improved.
  2. Weigh yourself. This provides another important sign of how your body is working, especially after the test. This is 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/post evaluation. You may lose some excess water (which will show on the scale), but your fat-burning will increase and you’ll start losing body fat (which won’t show on the scale). I’ve seen some people lose anywhere between a few and 20 pounds during the test.
  3. Stock up on the right foods. Before you start, make sure you have enough of the foods you’ll be eating. (Suggestions 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 to eat them if you get cravings during the test.
  4. Plan Correctly. Schedule the test during a two-week period in which you are relatively unlikely to have distractions. (It’s a bad idea to do the test during holidays, for example.) 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 forever.
  5. 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

What makes the Two-Week Test foods acceptable aren’t the foods themselves, but rather their properties. It’s all about eating unprocessed “real” foods that are low in carbohydrates. You can assume any foods that are similar to what you find on this list can be eaten. If you see any foods on this list or the following that are disallowed (e.g. potatoes), you can assume that similar foods (sweet, russet, and gold potatoes and yams) also cannot be eaten.

YES Foods

You MAY eat as much of the following foods as you like during the Two-Week Test.

Plant Foods

  • Raw and cooked vegetables: Tomato, onion, garlic, greens such as spinach, kale, chard, and all lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (for those with thyroid dysfunction, cabbage-family veggies are best eaten thoroughly cooked), carrots, zucchini, etc.
  • Tree nuts (and nut butters): Macadamia, almond, walnut, for example. (Does NOT include peanuts or cashews).
  • Coconut:  cream, oil, milk and flour.

Animal Foods

  • Beef: Look for organic, grass-fed varieties.
  • Turkey: organic.
  • Lamb: Look for organic, grass-fed varieties.
  • Fish: Wild-caught cold water fish (tuna, salmon, etc) are best.
  • Eggs.
  • Shellfish.

Dairy

  • Unprocessed Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, asiago, parmesan, etc.
  • Unprocessed Soft Cheeses: Feta, brie, camembert, mozzarella, etc.
  • Cream: Heavy cream, sour cream, full-fat crème fraiche.

Fats

  • Oils: Avocado, coconut, and olive oil.

Drinks

  • Vegetable Juice.
  • Coffee or tea: If you usually drink it.
  • Vinegar: balsamic, apple-cider, etc.
  • Pure, distilled spirits: Small amounts of gin, vodka, whiskey.
  • Dry red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc, Shiraz/Syrah, Chianti.
  • Dry white wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc.

NO Foods

You may NOT eat any of the following foods during the Two-Week Test.

PLANTS

  • All sugar products: Includes basically anything with honey, sugar, agave, fructose, crystals (e.g. beet crystals), cane, extract, or syrup in its ingredient list.
  • Sweets and desserts: Cake, cookies, ice cream, muffins, candy, gum, breath mints.
  • All non-caloric sweeteners (natural and non-natural): Includes stevia, xylitol, erythritol, aspartame, splenda, etc.
  • Many canned and prepared veggies: Read the labels to make sure they don’t contain hidden sugars!
  • Bread: Sliced bread or rolls of any kind (whole-grain, multi-grain, flaxseed, rye, gluten-free, etc).
  • Pasta: All types.
  • Crackers: Includes chips, rice cakes, and similar foods.
  • Packaged energy bars: And all packaged foods promoted as fuel for athletes.
  • Ketchup and other sauces: They often contain hidden sugars.
  • Corn: Bread, tortillas, etc.
  • Rice: Wild rice, brown rice, white rice, basmati rice, etc.
  • All wheat and wheat products: Whole wheat, farro, bulgur, khorasan, millet, etc.
  • Quinoa: Includes quinoa seeds and all products (e.g. quinoa pasta).
  •  Potatoes: Any kind (russet, red, blue, etc.)
  • Fruits and berries: Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruits grapes, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries grapefruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, fava beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, etc.

MEAT

  • Processed meats: Sausage, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, etc.
  • Smoked products: Jerky (beef, buffalo, etc), smoked fish.
  • Many canned and prepared meats: Read the labels to make sure they don’t contain hidden sugars!

DAIRY

  • Milk: Especially low-fat and non-fat milk.
  • Half-and-half.
  • Yogurt and kefir: All types, including full-fat yogurt.
  • Processed cheeses: Stay away from pre-sliced, single-serving, pre-shredded, high-value corporate branding, etc.

FATS

  • Avoid corn, safflower, or canola and other vegetable oils during the test and after.

DRINKS

  • Fruit Juice: Any type — orange, berry, watermelon, etc.
  • All soda: diet and non-diet soda.
  • All diet drinks: Diet shakes, etc.
  • “Enhanced” Beverages: Vitamin water, mineral water with “health” additives.
  • Sports drinks.
  • Sweet wines: liqueur, Champagne, rum, etc.

If it comes in a box, bag, jar or can, there’s a good chance it’s a no food for the Two-Week Test. Be sure to read the ingredients for all packaged foods, as some form of sugar or carbohydrate is typically added. Better yet, simply avoid all packaged and processed foods for two weeks!

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

Now that you know which foods to eat, you can start the Two-Week Test!

Once you are done with the Two-Week Test, click the button below to read about the Post-Test. The Post-Test will help you re-incorporate carbohydrate foods that are healthy for you without experiencing a return of the signs and symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance.

NOTE: Before you ask a question, search the comment threads for answers. The answer is probably already in there!

1,346 Comments

  • Effendy says:

    Hi,
    I have done the TWT before and going thru the second time. Both times, i have dropped 3 KG within 4 DAYS!! Definitely the answer is that I Am Carbohydrate Intolerant (CI). So my question is, do i have to complete 14 days to determine if i am CI? or i can now henceforth start with the post-TWT sequence?

    What is the point of going thru the whole 14 days when u have already known within the first week?

  • […] Information is power so working out how well your body tolerates carbs could transform the way you incorporate your diet into your health regime, affecting feelings of fatigue, loss of concentration and weight loss. A popular and relatively easy test is a two-week carb tolerance test, which you can find out more about here. […]

  • Andrea says:

    I’m just starting the 2 week test. I’ve noticed that there are some differences between the lists on the app and on this website. (Oranges & grapefruits are listed as yes on app, no here). Which list is more up to date? The one here on the website or the one on the app?

  • Dave GC says:

    Hey guys!
    Just a quick one to share my experience on the 2 week test…

    Tomorrow is the last day of the test and I have felt great all the way through. I am training 4-5 days a week, 3 of them running (using the 180 formula of course). It has come as a surprise to me, I thought I was going to feel sluggish and tired but this is amazing, I feel unstoppable.
    I have also thought that this rush of energy would make me crash at some point but not at all, the further into the week the better it’s got.
    I just would like to say a massive thank you to all the team at MAF, you’ve helped me improve myself, forever grateful.

    Next week I will start fasting (new experiment, read the obesity code by Jason Fung!) and adding carbs into my diet.

    thank you thank you thank you

  • Brian says:

    Thanks for all the information! Wondering about alcohols, specifically whiskeys. What would be an example of a “pure, distilled” whiskey and an impure, undistilled whiskey?

  • Nicola Foulstone says:

    Hello! Please can you let me know if this coconut yogurt is ok for the 2 week test? Coconut Collaborative – unsweetened. Many thanks

    Coconut Milk (73%) (Coconut Extract, Coconut Water, Water), Coconut Water (23%), Cornflour, Potato Starch, Stabiliser (Pectin*), Non-Dairy Cultures (S. Thermophilus + L. Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis), *From Fruit
    Nutritional Data
    Typical Values per 100g:
    Energy 543kJ/131kcal
    Fat 11.5g
    of which Saturates 10.8g
    Carbohydrate 5.8g
    of which Sugars 2.5g
    Protein 1.2g
    Salt 0.05g

  • Anthony says:

    Is ezekiel bread allow after the TWT?

  • Fenix says:

    Hi Ivan,
    not so much a question but a comment to others reading the post that i started the 2-week test back in mid august of this year and been following the maf approach. I have still been on a low-carb diet since the 2-week test but have about 50-80g carbs per day. My reflux issues have gone and only in the last week have i seen the biggest difference in my running/cycling heart rates. I started off running 10km with avg 6’30″/km pace at heart rate of 144bpm and now can do 20km at 5’45″/km at avg of 138bpm. I was a high carb burner prior to starting maf and low-carb diet so it has taken 2 full months to see dcecent progress, but i feel now that i am getting stronger and faster each week. So, for those who need evidence you have some…it just takes patience – and it has certainly tested mine. Even when i did a 3hr marathon years ago i couldnt run 20km with an avg heart rate of 138bpm.

  • Les says:

    I’m having a hard time understanding why coconut flour is ok in the twt. It is really high in carbs. In 100g it is 64 carbs – way more than peanuts and twice as many as cashews. Also flaxseeds are a bit confusing for me because they have a similar breakdown as cashews…

  • Eben says:

    I am 14 and was wondering if the 2-week test will work for me and if it’s a good idea for me to do it.

  • Vincent says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I initially take the TWT to see if I can have reduce the loss of concentration and bloating following meal with high carbs with this.
    4 weeks before I have ever decreased the high carbs as I rode “In Fitness and in Health”. I just keep fruits for carbs with some beans and suppress when I can the wheat food and starches. I felt better during this period.
    It’s when I began the TWT that those signs (constipation and insomnia) appears. Despite eating veggies, constipation was persistant and I prefer stop the TWT. My sleep was better last night but I still had constipation.
    As I am anxious, maybe it was due to stress (I never had constipation before, I love eating veggies)
    Thanks for answering,
    Vincent

  • Vincent says:

    Hello Ivan,
    I am Vincent. I am actually in the third day of TWT. I want to perform this test because I think that I have some signs of High carbs intolerance (sometimes some bloating, maybe some stress or mental fatigue).
    I do not need to loose weight and run the previous two days according to the 180 formula.
    Actually I have some insomnia and constipation issues since thevbeginning of the test. It worries me because I don’t take coffee and eat salads, tomatoes, kale and others veggies. Headache may begin.
    Do you advice me to stop the test ? I am normally in good health with no specific issues.
    Sorry if you have two posts thé first disappear of my screen.
    Thank for your work,
    Kind regards
    Vincent

  • John says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I’ve been doing low heart rate running based on MAF for about 5 weeks now (avg, 65km/week). Recently i started the 2 week test and have followed it strictly. Prior to the TWT my normal average pace at MAF (145bpm) was 5:30min/km. However, since starting the TWT my pace keeps getting slower (i only did x3 10km runs in first week) average pace 5:58min/km first run and today 6:28min/km. I can run a 5k in about 19.5mins in current shape fyi. After i re-introduce some carbs can i expect my pace to improve? I have also dropped 3kg so far in the TWT (185cm started 79.5kg) and for last year train, either cycling or running 5-6days/week. Just seem to be going backwards!

  • sue says:

    Hi. Thanks for the follow-up clarifications. Here’s another query: coconut yoghurt?
    Coconut: Yes…Yoghurt (dairy): No….Cononut Yoghurt?
    Thank you

  • Katie says:

    Just read through all the comments! Whew! But very helpful!
    Question are these things allowed on the TWT?
    Stevia?
    Cottage cheese?
    Baobab pwdr
    Collagen
    Thank you!

  • Rebecca Leech says:

    Hi there, I am good on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. However, when I try to eat almonds or pumpkin or sunflower seeds, which used to be fine with me once, I am overloaded with brain fog and toxic symptoms. It takes me some time to recover. I am unable to go off this diet in any way, or I suffer long-term consequences. Any ideas as to what is wrong with me? My diet consists of meat, eggs. low carb veges. Any deviation results in long term recovery and a lot of suffering to get back to normal (or so-called normal). My health is never ok, but at least I can get some sense of relief if I stick to my diet for a long period of time and do not go off it.

    Cheers

    Rebecca

  • Catherine Leyshon says:

    I have read all the comments relating to yogurt and I would like to know if this yogurt is ok: per 100g: 10.7g fat, 4.1g carbs, 6g protein. Also the ingredients are: Natural greek yogurt (cow’s milk). This yogurt is the highest % fat and the lowest % carbs that I can find in the grocery store, which does not stock coconut yogurt. Thanks!

  • Jonny says:

    Is vanilla extract ok on the test? (water, alcohol, vanilla bean extractives)

  • Emma Watkinson says:

    Hi Ivan
    Forgive me if you have already answered this in your thread, however can you have oats on this plan? On day 1 I had gluten free oats with oat milk as a porridge and then since then mistakenly had a couple of nut bars which were made up of 50% dates and almonds.
    Should I start the plan again or is this ok?
    Thanks
    Emma

    • Hi Emma, sorry for taking so long to get back to you. When this kind of thing happens, it’s best to add some more days at the end of the test, to see if you continue getting an effect. A quick aside – gluten is a protein so note that gluten-free oats are more carb heavy (percentage wise) than other oats.

  • Deepak says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I have got a quick question. I did the TWT and continuing to stick mostly to the TWT diet even after the 2 weeks. So, my question is if my diet is mostly fat, why would I have to train at MAF heart rate since I would be burning mostly fat irrespective of my heart rate (whether it’s 130 which is my MAF heart rate or 150 which is what I I hit when I usually run).

    Thank you

  • Maraea says:

    Hi Ivan – Im on week one of the test. Is Haulomi cheese ok to eat? also why is it important to eat within an hour of waking as I like to do fasted cardio 45mins and find that I am not eating until 30 minutes after that. Everything else is great. cheers

  • Angela VanderMolen says:

    Hi. Just started the two week test and have a few questions. Are Chia seeds ok? I thought Peanut Butter was ok on one list and have had it each day. Do I need to start all over? Also is Almond Flour ok? Also I thought Salami was ok and had some just today but saw just now it’s not and Helmens Mayo as well. For that do I need to start over Thanks.
    Angela

  • mary brannan says:

    Hi Ivan:

    I am just learning about MAF and the TWT. I am a 58 year old female whole food plant based vegan and don’t have weight I need to lose. I am battling with fatigue and minor irritating muscle injuries effecting my running. I cannot see how I would manage the TWT challenge as I am afraid I would lose weight I cannot afford to lose. Without the animal products I would be left with just those nuts and seeds for calorie dense foods and that is concerning. Are avocados allowed or just the oil? Is nutritional yeast allowed as that is an important staple in my diet as are the many beans, grains and root vegetables like sweat potatoes etc. On a day to day basis I eat no processed foods and prepare everything I eat at home. I am really not sure that I have the carbohydrate intolerance you are referring to but am curious about the method. I was considering primarily focusing on the HR training and assuming the carb intolerance is not an issue for me. I do not have belly bloat that is not directly related to eating lots of fiber in fruits and vegetables, I am not overweight and I am not sleepy after meals but I do have some of the other physical symptoms related to injury and fatigue when running and/or other exercise.
    Any suggestions for us whole food plant based vegans?

  • Jacqui says:

    I know it says no cakes and desserts but would it be ok if I made a cake with coconut flour, coconut milk, no sugar and zucchini? Also is baking powder/soda allowed? And what about butter?

  • Michelle S. says:

    I did the TWT about a month ago and the results were so positive, I decided to stay on the program. My father is diabetic and I’m pre-diabetic and been diagnosed as insulin resistant, so this program is a huge help to me. (Plus, I have a horrible sweet tooth!) Not only do I feel better overall, but in the month I’ve been following the program, I’m down about 12 pounds. I have another 10 to lose, and I’m so grateful for this program, because it’s helping me do it while eating healthy.

    I just joined a gym and want to start exercising. Nothing crazy, just cardio (bike, treadmill, elliptical) and maybe some upper-body strength training. In the past, I’ve always been told to eat carbs before a workout. But if I’m following this program, I’m not sure what to eat, as I now seriously limit my carb intake to what’s allowed on TWT.

    What do you suggest I do? What do I eat, and how far before working out should I eat it?

    Would really appreciate the guidance.

    Thank you,
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle –

      What I would do is recommend the post-test, that you can find linked to at the bottom of the article. Here is the link to that article in case you can’t find it: https://philmaffetone.com/two-week-test-post-test/ (It gives you guidelines on how to incorporate foods and will help you identify which foods work for you or don’t.) The reason I led with that is because it will almost inevitably open up a greater meal selection than if you stuck to the two-week test for the rest of your days. In terms of how far before your workout to eat, I would suggest that around 3 hours works for most people, for most meals, but it ends up being a matter of trial and error.

      Does this help?

  • jacqui says:

    Is processed cheese the same as pasturized? and is it ok to have chicken, celery, and peanut butter?

  • Jennifer says:

    Also wondering about squash, like butternut or acorn? Didn’t see them on the list either way. Thank you for your help!

  • I’m used to microfiltered whey protein powder (very pure from Trim Healthy Mana) in smoothies, can I use that and/or 100% cocoa powder with pure 100% organic stevia (also trim healthy mama, called “Pure Stevia”) its super concentrated. I also use Integral Collagen Powder sold by THM is that ok? Guess I have to let my kefir go for now, its low sugar, like 7 grams.

  • Tom says:

    Hello, I have started the 2 week test this morning and I have a couple questions about the MAF App. There are some significant differences in the YES food menu between the website and the App, for example, the app has all the items listed below as YES foods.
    Chicken, Berries, Squash, Legumes(incl. Peanuts), Sweet Citrus, Melon, Peanut Butter, Potatoes, Quinoa, Rice, and Whole Wheat Grains.

    I believe i should be following the website food list and not the App but could you please help me to clarify the App?

    Thank you and I really appreciate the website!!

    • Hello Tom –

      Glad you like our website!

      The app has food lists for a regular diet as well as for the two-week test. You must be looking at the regular diet lists.

      • Wendy Theron says:

        I disagree, my app also has very different foods on in comparison to the website. Making it very confusing, especially with regards to legumes and beans. The website clearly says no lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas. the app, however, has it under yes foods for the TWT. I am vegan, so I need to understand if they are or are not allowed during the TWT. Thank you.

        • Hi Wendy,

          You can trust the lists on the site.

          We had indeed made the app confusing — when you access the nutrition section, before you press the timer, you see the food lists that are on this article, which are foods we recommend eating for a regular diet, outside of the Two-week test. When you started the two-week test timer, then you’d see lists identical to these.

          We’ve (hopefully!) now cleared up the confusion in the latest version of the app, so that you no longer see any lists before the two-week test. When you start the test, you’ll see lists identical to the ones in this article.

          This is our fault, but our testers have told us that it’s better now.

          Ivan

  • Vicky Sluiter says:

    Starting the two week test. I know sour cream and heavy cream are allowed. Can I drink raw whole milk?

    Thanks!

  • Chris says:

    Two questions (and I apologise if you guys have answered these in previous comments but there are so man to check haha):

    1. It says you have to eat breakfast – is this a deal breaker? I do the 16/8 fast at the moment and it works well.

    2. I train 5 times a week. 3 of those days I do strength training and I drink a whey protein post workout drink. It has 3g of carbs per serving. Is that also a deal-breaker?

  • Kate says:

    Hi! I’ve done the TWT test a few times. The first time it was life changing and truly established a new way of life for me. Now, when I feel like I’ve slipped back into a pattern of poor diet and health, I repeat the test as reset. This time… the second week corresponded with the start of my period…. and it has been a very. different. experience. I do not typically associate dramatic hormone swings, energy fluctuation, or cravings with my period but this week has been awful! For 3 days I’ve been super sensitive, crazy emotional, experienced cravings I haven’t had since the first time I did this test years ago… What is happening and why!??!?!?! I certain it’ll pass, but I’d like to understand why this happening and if i should do something differently.

  • Jessica says:

    Hi,
    Are chia seeds ok during the two week test?
    Thank you.

  • Caleb says:

    Is bloating and/or constipation a common occurrence during the TWT? I’m currently in the 2nd week, 1st went well. Wondering if I overdid it on the nuts over the last 2 days? I don’t think it’s a fiber issue, I have a salad for lunch everyday. This is my 2nd time doing the TWT, 1st time a few years ago I had great results; however, didn’t experience the bloating at all. Thanks.

    • Caleb –

      It is, mostly because when the diet changes abruptly, it takes a few days for the bacteria in the intestines—which optimize themselves to your usual diet—to catch up with the shift.

      Changes in fiber content, and other macronutrients, can also have effects.

      Ivan

  • Bonnie says:

    Hi! I am a private chef and cook many different types of cuisine and nearly all of my dishes contain some sort of carbohydrate. Is it okay for me to taste my dishes during the two week test if I spit out the food and don’t swallow? I’m just wondering if the act of tasting will have any effect on my body during the TWT. Thanks!

    • Bonnie:

      Thanks for commenting!

      Yes and no. Your question’s logic is spot on: tasting is the body’s first signal of the nutrients that will land in its stomach. So if you taste sweetness, your body prepares itself to digest that much sweetness, and expects that much of an impact. In other words, it begins the metabolic and hormonal shift of increasing insulin—but this shift doesn’t kick into high gear until sugar hits the bloodstream. So if you taste food and spit it out, it is having an effect, but of a *much* smaller magnitude than if you swallowed and digested.

      Altogether, this means that you can do the TWT and taste your dishes, considering that it won’t have *all* the effect it could have. So depending on how you feel towards the end of the 14 days, considre adding a few more days if you think that it’s worthwhile.

      Does this help?

  • Brandy says:

    I see that smoked meats are out. I’m guessing this is meat that you purchased that are already pre-smoked because there is no guarantee that there isn’t sugar added. However, is smoking meat at home where you can assure that no sugar added allowed? I usually just season the meat with seasoned salt (will have to see if it contains sugar) and use wood chips to smoke the meat. It comes out really flavorful and would hate to have to give up this method of cooking my meat.

  • Naomi says:

    Hi,

    Are these coconut wraps acceptable for the two week test? https://uk.iherb.com/pr/Sunfood-Raw-Organic-Coconut-Wraps-7-Wraps-14-g-Each/57322

    Many thanks, Naomi

  • Lily says:

    Hi, I found out suffering from CI last year.
    For years I suffered from irritable bowel, vitamin deficit (expecialy B12), depression and in the last 4 years a pain in my nerves and tremor in my hands was terrible. Everything disappeared after my doctor had me get rid of carbohydrates from my diet.
    Are thees the symptomes corelate to the CI? Has anyone the same problems?
    Ps. sorry for my english, I’m from italy.

  • Norm Grondin says:

    Hello all,

    Wondering if psyllium seed husk is okay during the two-week test?

  • Erin E says:

    Hello Ivan,

    I’m quitting my two week test at day three AGAIN after a failed attempt a month ago (lasted until day 5 last time). My symptoms (of carb withdrawal I presume) are worse this time and include severe nause-inducing hunger. I eat eggs with veggies (bell pepper, avocado, or tomatoe) and sour cream in the morning with coffee and heavy whipping cream. Have raw carrots and almonds to snack on until lunch. I try to eat every 2 hours but if I go three hours (I can’t always take a break that quick at work) my nausea is so bad I’m dry heaving in the bathroom. This is weird because 1) it feels like symptoms I had in early pregnant with each kid, and 2) I don’t eat a ton of carbs usually, just a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, fruit and whole wheat organic bread in a sandwich at lunch, and some kind of starch or grain at dinner.

    I’ve been a runner all my life and naturally thin. I run anywhere from 15-30 miles per week depending on the time of year, don’t usually train for anything longer than a half marathon to 15-16 mile race. I’ve never really had symptoms of carb intolerance but have wanted to try the two week test to help my body transition to more fat burning while I’m running. I have been using the 180 method off and on (mostly on) for the past year and had good results getting my per mile pace down to 10 to 11 min miles. (Until I go no-carb and then my HR goes crazy on my runs and I have to go back to 14 min miles)

    My question is this: 1) do you ever recommend for people to do a “carb step down” program to minimize these symptoms? 2) am I missing something? Why the severe nausea? Any pointers for the next time I try the test?

    Thanks!

    Erin

    • Erin:

      Sure, I have suggested that. What I would do is slowly take out the “no” foods for a period of 1-2 weeks, and then stay in the TWT diet for another period of 1-2 weeks (longer if you still think that some symptoms have yet to disappear). As far as the nausea – have you started to eat a lot more of a particular food (or kind of food) since you started trying the TWT?

      • Erin E says:

        Yes, I’ve eaten a lot more ground beef and a little more cheese – mostly aged, unprocessed. I have also been running higher mileage in the past month. I’ve read through your comments on other questions and that is something I think may have contributed. I might start by taking out anything with added sugar for a week, keep my runs easy and consistent, and then try a true two week test again with more veggie variety and a little less ground beef. I think I will need to eat a ton, though, to get enough calories, so maybe I’ll plan my meals a little differently. I’ll report back when I can try again. Thanks, Ivan.

        Erin

        • Hello Erin,

          Good to hear you’ve identified a possible culprit.

          In my experience, one of the very best ways to get more calories into you is with a lot of veggie fats, including EV olive oil, avocado, and a variety of nuts. If you eat really big, really rich salads you can get a lot of calories in that way and it will be nowhere near as heavy as if you were eating the same amount in animal proteins and fats.

  • BillieJean says:

    Ok, I attempted to read through all the posts but let’s be honest…. it would have taken hours.
    I have a couple of questions before I try to do this two week diet
    1) How does a Type 1 Diabetic do this diet? I mean I can probably do a pretty good job at keeping myself from going low but chances are in a two week period of limited carbs it’s going to be difficult. When you’re in survival mode you’re not really thinking of the diet you’re trying to keep. Do you have any suggestions?
    2) I don’t think there was anything on it but what about legumes? Black beans, pinto, etc… can I eat those? I mean they’re low carb and sugar so I assume you’ll say it’s ok but I don’t want to be half way through the diet before I find out.

    Thank you for whatever advice or guidance you are able to offer.

    • Hello BillieJean,

      Sorry for taking so long to answer — we’ve been incredibly busy with the start of the year.

      Let me answer in order.

      1) Bottom line you have to watch your blood glucose levels and make sure you’re safe, like you say. What some diabetics have done is to slowly phase out the “NO” foods over a period of time, say two-weeks, and then stay in the full two-week-test diet for a period of two weeks (usually).

      2) Legumes are a NO for the two-week test (they are listed under the “plants” section of “NO Foods.”)

      Ivan

  • Jamie S. says:

    Hi,

    I did the test in early 2017 and felt great. I want to do it again but I’ve seen some conflicting answers in the QA. Could you please clarify?

    – I see full-fat cottage cheese as both a “yes” food and a “no” food in the QA.

    – Last time I did the test, I drank the low-sodium V8. I want to say it was listed as a “yes” juice (I never would have picked it up otherwise, as I’m not a fan). Now, however, I just see “vegetable juice”; in the QA, someone asked if it was OK and you said it was a “no” food. If V8 is NOT allowed, what is considered “vegetable juice”?

    – Are there any veggies that are NOT OK to eat during TWT?

    – Finally, last time I did TWT, I was in a wheelchair due to a broken knee. As I mentioned, I’ll be doing TWT again and now I’m also going to be starting to go to the gym. I’ll mostly be doing cardio (bike, treadmill, elliptical) and maybe some free weights. Nothing too rigorous or muscle building, just enough to burn some calories/get me into shape. I’ve seen a lot of QA about marathon training, etc., but for what I’m describing, is there any part of TWT that will make me feel icky if I don’t have enough? I used to do a mix of lean protein and carbs before a workout, but obviously with TWT the carbs are out. Is this OK?

    Thanx so much, and happy new year!

    -Jamie

  • Claire says:

    I’m about to start this two week test and I’m so excited after nearly 40 years of stomach aches.
    I just want to know what milk (or substitute) I can use in my tea?

  • Chad says:

    Will I be able to keep using my protein isolate during the TWT?
    http://www.amazonia.com.au/raw-protein-range/amazonia-raw-organic-vanilla-pea-rice-protein
    I’m Type1 diabetic and have been gradually reducing my carbohydrate intake in preparation for the test to see how my BGLs respond. All good so far and I actually have much better control than I did before the CHO reduction and I’m obviously taking far less insulin. What food choices do I have if my BGL drops into hypoglycemia? Normally I’d smash a handful of jelly beans but that would probably mean a restart of the TWT. I can see this is where a Type 1 would find the TWT challenging because we need to plan ahead to make sure our BGLs are high enough to account for the drop in BGL during and after aerobic exercise. Is it OK to eat a few dates or sultanas during and/or after exercise over the period of the TWT to raise BGL?

    • Hi Chad,

      You can definitely keep that whey protein.

      You have to prioritize your medical conditions over the TWT every time. If it turns out that you go into hypoglycemia, take the safe road, always, regardless of what the test stays.

      If this does happen, you can always do a modified TWT where you gradually reduce the amount of carbohydrate foods (over say, 2 weeks) until you reach TWT-status nutrition, and then you stay on there for 2 weeks and do the post-test as indicated.

  • ray says:

    I am two thirds of the way through the two week test and just realized that i should not be eating peanuts. I am not sure if i should start over on not. Can you advise

  • J says:

    It turns out that Japanese pumpking or “Kabocha” – in Japan – has a Glycemic Index of 65.

    This is not the same one you usually see in America such as winter squash; it is a unique type of pumpkin.

    What would you say about this for Maffetone’s ethos in general; not the two week test?

    Thanks!

    • J – The ethos is one of individualization:

      If it generates negative signs and symptoms (bloating, low energy) in one individual but not another, then it is OK for one individual to eat it but not another.

      Tolerance to carbohydrates is a very personal thing—of course it can be improved by improving your diet, but ultimately we are all different.

  • J says:

    Hey there,

    Can I ask, what about chicken stock cubes? Each one has about 3g of carbs, and sugar. They all contain this, there is pretty much no no-carb stock cube or one without sugar for chicken stock.

    What would you say about using these? Because if we can’t it eliminates a huge percentage of potential food.

    Thanks

  • Brad says:

    Ivan,

    What is your advice regarding peanut butter (no additives, including sugar) beyond the TWT? (I’m in week 8 now, down 20 pounds, and feeling great!)

    Also, does anyone experience a lessening of allergy symptoms from eating this way?

    Thanks,
    Brad

    • Brad:

      Not a big deal to continue eating peanuts afterward.

      And yes, many people do experience lessening of allergy symptoms: in part, allergies are due to an overactivity an/or overreaction of the immune system. When you are a good fat-burner, levels of stress hormones are better regulated: they neither rise uncontrollably (and suppress immune function) or crash (and destabilize it). So more or less, you will be in a better position, hormonally speaking, to regulate immune function: it will tend ot be less overactive overall, and its overreactions will tend to be fewer and far between.

      • Duncan O says:

        Hi Ivan,
        you asked me in your last post ( Jan 19 ) to give you a nudge if I hadn’t heard anything in a couple of weeks.
        I understand that you’re busy, but when you do get the time, I would appreciate a lead to a good online doctor who understands endurance running, and diet / carb intolerance.
        In the meantime I’ve listed myself with a web md service in which Dr. Mark Cucuzzella is involved, but have to wait until an appointment is available.
        When you get the time, a reply would be very much appreciated.
        many thanks as always

  • Duncan O says:

    Ivan, no problem re the timing of the reply, I understand you’d be a busy man. Thanks for your clarification re the ingredients, I love it, so I’ll continue to enjoy the ‘bread’.
    I’m now on Day 9, and continuing the test successfully. If anything, I’m eating a little too much, but enjoying the good fats. Still not sleeping nearly as well as I’d like, but there are other external stressors also involved.
    Anyway, thanks again for your time, and an amazing resource.
    best regards,

  • Duncan O says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I’m a 50+ ( middle-pack ) distance runner who is on Day 4 of the TWT. I had until this been pescatarian ( for health reasons which now seem misguided ), so I’m enjoying the licence to eat dairy, and meat.

    I have two separate questions for you please;

    1) Yes or no please on the following two products , which I’ve had for lunch:
    a) Today for lunch I let myself get persuaded into a “bread” mixture from the local wholefood shop ( ingredients: ground organic flax seeds, organic sunflower,coconut flour,Psylllium Husks, Nutritional Yeast,Gluten Free Baking Powder,Pink Salt ). I assume that product is OK?
    b) I also ( sans glasses ) bought Vegemite ( I’m in New Zealand ) because I learned it had no added sugar. However, my glasses now tell me it does contain Yeast grown on Barley and Wheat, AND Malt Extract from Barley, which I expect is out? Total sugars 2.4g per 100g. Can you confirm this please?
    If either of those products are out, should I wind the clock back to Day 1?

    2) Part of the reason I started the TWT was that the survey told me I was at high risk of Carbohydrate Intolerance. In my case, I’m not sure if I quality for ‘overfat’ ( belly circumference less than half height ), but I’ve for a long time been relying heavily on carbs, and have a small ‘pot gut’, while at the same LOSING weight gradually. To the point now where I am ( slightly ) underweight ( 17.6 ) on the BMI index. I know Dr. Mafffetone places no stock on the BMI, but I give the figure as a gauge. And not sleeping well. So I’d prefer to gain a couple of kgs. My question is : should I be concerned if I ( continue ) to lose weight during the TWT?

    thanks in advance for your reply, and your patience with the long question.

    Duncan

    • Hi Duncan,

      Sorry for the tardy reply — I hope I didn’t throw a wrench in your Two-Week Test. Let me answer in sequence:

      1)
      a) That bread mixture sounds pretty good to me.

      b) That amount of sugar shouldn’t be a problem.

      2) Questions of overweight and underweight are really best settled by a physician who can look at your situation in detail. But generally speaking, being “underweight” is an issue when it carries signs and symptoms of poor health. If your body is in tip-top condition, you are rarely ill, you rarely get infections, you have great energy, your mood is level and stable, your digestion works ok (etc.) then your body will almost always be at an optimum muscle/bone/fat distribution.

      • Duncan O says:

        Ivan,
        thanks for your time thus far. I hope this is the right forum on this site to bring up issues I’m having related to the TWT and MAF training.
        If not, please point me to another page on the site where I should post the following issues;
        I’m now on Day 12 of the TWT, and have thus far stuck very closely to the recommended list of foods after reading this page fairly thoroughly. Certainly no added sugars, or fruit, apart from tomatoes.
        I had been prior to the test training using the MAF method for about 3 weeks, after having cheated for a couple of weeks with a MAF HR higher than the formula’s 127bpm ( in my case ).
        I’ve continued to try to train adhering strictly to MAF methods through the test, 5 days a week. My issue is that recent episodes of being forced to walk after even the slowest running spikes HR over MAF are happening every other day now.
        I’m worried that this is an indicator of worsening poor health, possibly made worse by the TWT. Specifically, the ban on fruits;
        – I have been eating plenty, but last two days getting intense cravings for fruit, not sugar. This morning I ate quarter of an orange in an attempt to allay them. I have been waking in the morning with tired-feeling lethargic legs, and wonder if lack of fruit may be the cause? ( I’m trying to ensure adequate vitamin C intake with brussels sprouts, broccoli, and red peppers ). That lethargic feeling is persisting most of the day.
        – I should also say that lack of adequate sleep ( average of 5-6 hours / night continuous, 6-8 hours total ) may also be the reason for the above. Is that plausible / likely? If so, should I stop or scale back training until I sort this issue out?
        – I’m also concerned about the weight issue – I have been as recently as six months ago up at just over 55kgs. In the last month or two, despite eating plenty, I have gone down to around 53kgs. I am now 50kg, or just under. I’m 5’7″, 169cm.
        – Lastly, should I persist with the last 3 or 4 days of the MAF TWT despite the above issues? I’m guessing those issues merely point to larger health issues which need sorting?
        Many thanks in advance,

        • Hello, Duncan,

          Sorry for the late response – I don’t get a chance to answer comments every day.

          Let me answer in sequence:

          – there is nothing specifically about the nutrition in fruit that can’t be provided by a variety of vegetables (except for the sugar). If you’re eating a variety of vegetables and you are still craving fruit, it is almost certain that your cravings have to do with the sugar content of the fruit, and not its vitamin content.

          – Yes, lack of sleep can be a powerful stressor. It can specifically throw your hormones all out of whack, which is very important since increasing fat-burning is a hormonal game: when stress hormones get beyond a certain level, it’s like shifting gears out of fat-burning and into sugar-burning. So if you are in “sugar-burning gear” hormonally speaking but you don’t have any sugar in your body or in your diet, there’s no real way to fuel yourself properly, and chaos ensues. The fruit cravings you cite may be your body trying to tell you that you need to fuel yourself with sugar, based on where you are hormonally. This hormonal issue may point to your exercise troubles as well: if you don’t have any sugar but are in sugar-burning gear, you will be exercising extremely slowly, and since the same stress hormones increase the heart rate, your heart rate will be liable to spike continually.

          – Definitely scale back training during the two-week test, especially if you are lethargic or fatigued. In principle, you are only doing the two-week test because your fat-burning system is relatively weak. So that means that if you force your body to depend on that system (because you are eliminating the possibility for it to burn sugars) then you won’t have nearly as much energy to burn throughout the day as you’re used to (until the fat-burning system starts to develop). That lethargy or fatigue is most often because the body can’t supply as much fuel as it is accustomed to (while attempting to maintain the same activity levels).

          – I’d say stop the two-week test, get yourself regulated and with proper amounts of sleep (read: enough to not feel like you need sleep throughout the day), and then begin again with a lower (and lower-intensity) training load.

          Hope this helps.

          • Duncan O says:

            Ivan,
            I really appreciate your time and support this far. Many thanks for your latest reply, I read it Dec 17, so finished the TWT, plus three days. With one exception, I continued to train at sub-MAF, scaling back to walking where necessary ( which was / is very regularly ) – for e.g., I tried to train MAF-method this morning, but canned it after a 15-minute failed to bring HR readings back within MAF, reflecting fatigue.

            The TWT hasn’t shown many benefits for me, except minor improvements in sleep ( still a long way from sleeping through the night ). Weight is slightly lower. I suspect that continuing the TWT diet might continue to improve sleep ( a long-standing issue), but accept that it would likely mean continued scaling back with training.

            CHEESE
            Because there have been no major benefits during the TWT, I’m wondering if I made some errors in the diet, specifically with cheese. I ate a lot of cheese, compared with zero prior to the TWT. The guidelines specify ‘unprocessed’ cheese – I was never clear exactly what this meant? – almost all of the cheese I ate is pasteurized. While I ate brie and camembert ( both pasteurized ) , I also ate Tasty and Colby ( Ingredients – Pasteurised milk, salt, cultures, enzymes . Per 100 grams: Fat:34.5g, protein 23.3g, Carbs < 1g, gluten-free, no artificial colours or flavours ) brands. Does the fact that they are pasteurized make them a 'NO' food for the TWT ? Would the Colby cheese be a 'NO' food?

            I'm still thinking over what to do over the next few days, meanwhile I added a little chickpea and peanut butter to lunch yesterday.

            Many thanks in advance for feedback on cheese, and anything else in the above you think worth mentioning.

          • Hi Duncan,

            Unprocessed cheese really means the kind of stuff you’d find in the fine cheese section in your supermarket—aged cheddars, blue cheeses, brie & camembert, hard parmesan & asiago–that kind of thing.

            I would still put my money on a lack of sleep and excess exercise (especially high intensity exercise) as the big stress contributors to a poor TWT experience. I also tend to relate the extreme difficulty in maintaining a below-MAF HR during exercise to the state of your aerobic system. If going on the two-week test again “cold turkey” is too burdensome (which is totally legitimate) then why not try to work up to a TWT-analogous diet by removing a carbohydrate food from your diet every day or every other day.

            As a point of interest – what kinds of signs and symptoms first led you to want to take the TWT?

          • Duncan O says:

            Hi Ivan,

            Many thanks for your reply December 19, 12.59, which I’m responding to here;
            – Yes, I accept that lack of sleep may be a ( good ) reason for the relatively low impact of TWT. Having said that, my sleep times HAVE improved slightly during the TWT, but nowhere near to the point of continuous 7+ hours. Having said that, this same disturbed sleep pattern has been going on for months.
            – Excess exercise possibly. But I have, on all but one occasion, reverted to walking when HR spikes over MAF happen during ‘running’. Also, before starting the TWT, I was able to maintain a sub-MAF rate while running almost every time. I don’t know whether this is relevant, but I can easily swim ( slowly, around 2m45s /100m in the ocean ) up to 1 km at sub-MAF heart rate, even during the TWT.
            – Yes, I’m seriously considering restarting / continuing the TWT . I’m really trying to exercise some patience here, and forget that others have had more sudden / better results . I think my body has possibly been more jolted than others’ by the huge difference between my diet with the TWT ( lots of animal protein ), and my previous ( primarily wholefoods, but with lots of breads / grains ) pescatarian diet. Is this feasible?
            What lead me to take the TWT?;
            – listening to many podcasts featuring Dr. Maffetone, and becoming convinced that he was onto something.
            – wanting to improve my running long-term
            – taking the Carbohydrate Intolerance survey, which gave the result of me being at high risk of CI. I assume because of the following responses;
            a) Do you experience intestinal gas or bloating after meals? YES
            b) Are you often fatigued? YES
            c) Do you sleep poorly? YES
            d) Do you have a low fat or low protein diet? YES
            e ) Do you crave sweets or caffeine daily? YES ( caffeine, I rarely eat sweets, but had starting making my own desserts from dates / coconut cream / bananas / organic cocoa powder )
            f ) Are you often hungry between or soon after meals?
            I answered NO to the other questions.

            Many thanks again for your wisdom, and in advance for any replies or comments you think relevant.

          • Duncan O says:

            Ivan,
            at the risk of outstaying my welcome, a further reply / comment on your last question to me in your December 19 reply.
            After continuing the TWT past Dec 19th, I slowly added in carbs. But there was no improvement in my ( lack ) of ability to consistently maintain sub-MAF running. I felt continuous muscle fatigue, so I ordered blood tests from my doctor, taken on December 29. The results are more than a little alarming to me, and I hoped you may be able to help me further understand them. I have talked to my doctor’s nurse, but their advice was basically to re-test in 4 weeks. I don’t fully trust conventional medical practitioners, like my doctor, and hoped you may be able to offer some more enlightened and basic fixes if I list the readings which are outside normal range. They’re below;
            – Haemoglobin 115/gL ( normal range listed as 130-175 )
            – RBC 3.48 x10e12/L ( optimal range 4.30 – 6.00 )
            – HCT 0.34 L/L ( optimal range 0.40 – 0.50 )
            – Creatinine 45 umol/L ( 60-105 )
            Other readings which may be relevant;
            – eGFR > 90 mL/min/1.73m2
            – HbA1c 37 mmol/mol ( < 41 )
            – B12 297 pmol/L ( 170 – 600 )
            – Folate 34.6 nmol/L ( 5.0 – 45.0 )
            – Cholesterol 6.0 ( < 5 )
            Triglycerides 0.7 ( 1.00 )
            – LDL 3.0 ( < 3.4 )
            – Chiol / HDL ratio 2.3 ( < 4.5 )
            – C-reactive protein <1 ( < 5 )
            – Serum Iron 19 umol/L ( 10 – 30 )
            – Transferrin 2.3 g/L (1.7 – 3.4 )
            – Ferritin 34 ug/L ( 20 – 450 )
            TSH ( Thyroid ) 0.71 mIU/L ( 0.3 – 4.00 )
            LIVER function tests all within optimal range
            Thanks for any observations you can give me, OR any pointers to ( web-based? ) MDs familiar with MAF principles I could consult.
            best regards.

          • Duncan –

            Sorry for the late reply. I’ll try to find a good MD that can help you with this. Check back in with me if I haven’t responded after a couple of weeks — We’re super busy right now and it’s hard to find a spare moment to answer comments.

  • Julia says:

    I have been consistently training for and running marathons for just short of 3 years now. Things have been going pretty well for me. I occasionally have an injury but it isn’t from overuse/overtraining as much as it is from general clumsiness (falling and twisting an ankle for example). I do not think I suffer from any real carb intolerance and fueling for races has worked fine for me this way. I’m curious if it is worth going through this difficult process and transitioning to this nutrition if I haven’t really had issues with my current nutrition?
    Thanks!

  • Brad says:

    Ian,

    Is almond meal (or almond flour) okay after the two-week test?

    Thanks,
    Brad

  • Brad says:

    This is the second time in about three years I’ve conducted the test, and by the end of the two-week period I’ve started to love how I feel each time. Yes, I’ve shed a few pounds, but I also feel lighter and brighter mentally. Something the test instructions didn’t prepare me for is that each time, at some point along the way, I get overwhelmed by a bizarre smell that seems to permeate the world wherever I go. Indoors or outdoors, rain or blue sky. It doesn’t remind of any other smell, and my wife can’t figure out what I’m talking about so it seems to be something that’s happening inside my body as a result of the change in what I’m eating. Does this make any sense, and does this happen to anyone else?

    • Brad:

      It happens to me too. I don’t know what it is precisely, but I do know that smell has to do with the perception of (good and bad) chemicals around us. So what I think is happening is that as the chemical makeup inside your body changes, the parameters of your smell might shift so you might start perceiving new things, or perceiving differently.

      This is just my opinion.

      • Brad says:

        Thanks very much for the quick reply, and for the validation. It’s been mystifying because I can’t explain or describe it and only I can smell it, but I assume it’s a byproduct of a positive change. The smell is a little unpleasant, but I welcome the implications.

        I’ve let the current test go about two and a half weeks this time, and I’ve started to phase in legumes and beans. My understanding is that rice is also acceptable at this point. Does it matter what kind of rice?

        • Brad:

          Yes, I think we are talking about the same thing! The smell I smell is also a little unpleasant.

          Brown rice is better than white rice, etc. So always go for the less glycemic option.

          I want to stress that the goal of including these foods is so that you can test whether that food works for you; you may end up realizing that symptoms return and so it’s better to keep it out of your diet.

          Ivan

  • Julia Zhou says:

    Hi,
    I saw in many posts that bacon is ok for the TWT. But the sugar is listed in the ingredients of all the bacons that I can find. Is it still ok?

    Also is coconut secret (aminos) ok for TWT? The source contains 2g sugar for every 2 tsp from the natural coconut tap.

    Thanks,
    Julia.

  • Julia Zhou says:

    Hi,

    I started the TWT on Sunday. I have two questions:
    1. I am trying to avoid soy and products at the same time. So to replace soy source I found this organic “coconut secret (Healthy Planet)” from the local natural food store. I checked the ingredients. It only contains pure coconut tap and salt. But I do see “2g sugar” (out of 2 tsp) from the label. It should be the natural sugar from the coconut tap. Is it ok for TWT?
    2. I read from many posts that bacon is ok for TWT. But I do see sugar or maple syrup in the ingredients of all of the bacons I can find, including the organic ones from the natural food store. is it still ok for TWT?

    Thanks,
    Julia.

  • Steve says:

    Bit confused about berries – strawberries, blueberries, cranberries etc.

    MAF app classes them as a YES food. This article classes them as a NO food. Starting the 2 week test today – what’s the official answer?

  • Julia says:

    Is V8 allowed? The cans have 12g of sugar but no sugar listed in the ingredients, and it says all the sugar is from the vegetables. Thanks again!

  • Jess says:

    Hello, I have two questions:
    1) I have eggs for breakfast (omelette, scrambled, fried) but find that I get discomfort in my stomach after eating and can often feel a bit ill until much later in the day. I have read to avoid drinking around meal times, but found this to have no effect. Is this something that is normal for some people, or should I expect it go away?
    2) I have no refrigeration and am away from home all day (often 7am-10pm) so cannot store or freshly prepare lunches or dinners whilst out. I don’t particularly want to be spending money everyday at supermarkets as it can be quite expensive. Do you have any suggestions for meals on the go?
    thanks Jess

  • Wayne says:

    Is the Android App functional? I downloaded it on my Samsung S8 and a message displays saying it is closing.
    So as much as I would like to use the app I can’t.

  • Greg Hatch says:

    What about homemade pasta made with Almond Flour? is that acceptable on the TWT or afterwards?

  • Julia says:

    Is milk with 3.25% milk fat allowed? I am trying to figure out if that is considered whole fat milk, and if it is allowed or not. Many thanks!!

  • janet birkmyre says:

    I am a cyclist training six days a week and think it would be very difficult to fuel my training on this regime – what do you suggest?

  • Matt says:

    I am having a very difficult time with the two week test. Currently 10 days in and have followed it religiously. There are simply just not enough carbs in the diet to prevent ketosis, which I assume is why my resting heart rate (monitored by an activity tracker) has gone up 12 beats a minute since the beginning of the test. I can’t even jog without going over my HR limit… I’m down to alternating between sort of a slight jog/shuffle and walking. I’m guessing my MAF test in the end will be 3-4 minutes slower if things do not improve over the next few days.

    My weight is steady (I wasn’t overweight to begin with) and my blood pressure is still normal, so I guess I’ll just gut it out these last few days. But it has been incredibly frustrating to see such poor results and not really be able to train.

  • Adamski says:

    My Wife and I have just finished the TWT. We both lost significant amounts of weight, and inches from our waists but, significantly we both feel like this is absolutely the way we should be eating. We have both enjoyed our food throughout, though we both missed fruit and yogurt. Neither of us has missed things like pasta, rice or potatoes so we’re going to permanently exclude them from our diet.
    A friend even commented that my skin looked very good….something which has never been said to me in all my years on this planet!
    I’ve been playing Squash and going to the gym (lifting weights) throughout the test and have felt good – full of energy. We’ve both been sleeping better too.
    This has been a real eye-opener for us. After years of trying to lose weight and try to be healthy, we finally feel that we could be on the right track.
    Thank you.

  • Mark says:

    I’m so confused! I clicked on the link for meals to use during the top week test and one of the first I saw was Chickpea soup but somewhere else I read I shouldn’t eat chickpeas.
    Has anyone done a proper 2 week meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner that is appropriate for the 2 week test?

  • Gary says:

    Hi – I’m doing the TWT and was wondering if a bit of Honey in a dressing for a Kale salad is ok??

  • Ashwin Shetty says:

    I am bit confused about whether you recommend inculding legumes like lentils and chickpeas in your diet in the 2-week test. It appears in your No list on this page but appears in the Yes list on the app and on the list of receipes you have so helpfully provided.

    I am on the first day of my test so a response will be really helpful planning my menu for the next 2 weeks.

    Thank you in advance

    • Ash:

      Hello. Lentils and Chickpeas are a NO food. The food lists will be updated in the version of the app coming out later this month. I’ll have to recheck the recipes—some recipes are NOT for the two-week test. In order to see TWT recipes you have to click on the TWT category on the right toolbar.

  • Christine Martin says:

    Lentils and chickpeas appear in the NO foods and indeed this is confirmed in the answers to others’ questions, however the suggested Menu list for the two weeks includes both these ingredients! Am I missing something??

  • Phil says:

    Beer isn’t mentioned on either list.
    I’m guessing it’s disallowed for the 2 week test. Correct?

    I don’t understand how any form of coconut can be allowed. It’s really sweet. Please explain.

    Final question about the iPhone app: When clicking Show Test on the Dashboard I just get presented with the yes and no foods, but I don’t see what else this page is supposed to do. Nothing seems to show that I’ve started the test.

    Thanks in advance,
    Phil

    • Phil:

      Yes, it’s disallowed.

      Fresh coconut is not sweet at all, and coconut products are very low glycemic. For example, 100g of coconut might have something like 35g of fat but only 5g of sugar.

      • Phil says:

        Thanks Ivan, are you saying unripe bananas have higher GI than ripe ones? Why are type 2 diabetics advised to eat unripe rather than ripe ones? Anyway loving the coconut!

        Day 7 of the test. I’ve lost 1.5kg and gained 1.5% bodyfat. Don’t need to lose weight (I’m 74kg for 1.8m or 165lbs and 6 foot tall). According to my wife I’ve lost a bit of belly and love handles so I’m chuffed anyway. I’ve been eating a lot. Not done any sport (usually I run 3x1hour a week). Been suffering from achilles tendon pain and plantar faciutus for about 3 months (it comes and goes) but since starting the test it’s got a bit worse. Also been getting sinus headaches and some itchy spells. Seems like I might be reacting to eating more cheese, walnuts, hazelnuts,almonds or something like that. Not really craving anything except I’d like some fruit. Seems like something is making me more inflamed. I’m eating lots of salad stuff like avacados, carrots, tomatoes, onions. Home made salad dressings. Real cheeses, etc. In the past I’ve had sensitivity to certain nut products , so for week 2 I’m going to roast the almonds and other nuts to see if that changes anything.

        As for improvements:
        Less visible belly fat and love handles
        Need less toilet paper. Sorry for the details but previously this sometimes took minutes to get clean.
        Not sleepy after eating (I already knew that White Rice, Pasta and Pizzas make me want to sleep immediately)
        Less bloating. This could be due to not chewing gum, as I tend to do that a lot!

        Cheers,
        Phil

        • Phil:

          Hey, I don’t know where I got the idea that unripe bananas were more glycemic than ripe bananas. The reverse is true! Sorry about that; I’ll go back and edit my previous comment. Good to hear it’s working out!

  • sara says:

    Ivan , I thought the goal was to understand how our bodies feel sugar free/simple carb free? I didnt understand it was to actually to do a “reset”.
    Being that I am struggling back from overtraining Im not sure I can even achieve a reset. Im working on it. One day at a time. Thanks much. Sara

  • Stan says:

    Hi, I am on day 3 of the TWT & it seems to be going well, just a few questions;

    Am I allowed to eat Kalamata Olives ?

    Bacon ?

    Also, I am set to be doing a hard track session on Sunday morning ( Interval training ) am I allowed to eat fruit on Saturday or Sunday morning before my session ? ( I usually just have a banana & a cup of coffee in the morning before running )

    If yes, what would be a good fruit / fruits to choose ?

    Many Thanks

    • Stan:

      Yes to Kalamata & Bacon.

      However, avoid anaerobic training during the TWT. There is no way for anaerobic training to not require sugar, so doing it in the middle of the TWT alters the hormonal situation that the TWT relies on in order to reduce sugar dependence.

  • Sara says:

    The website is an amazing resource for athletes. I’ve been plowing through podcasts, comments, posts learning and finally, learning the questions I need to ask here.
    I landed here because I was diagnosed with overtraining.
    I’m a 59 year old masters swimmer- a sprinter! My goal was to not loose muscle weight.. which happens naturally at my age. I added in some HIT training with this in mind. This was my undoing. I recognized quite quickly I was unwell and went to Dr who ordered the right tests. four months on I m wanting to come back to swimming using hear rate training.
    I know I am Intoletant w carbs. My liver just doesn’t process them efficiently. I tried south beach years ago and dropped tons of weight.
    I can’t use supplements – wheys powders etc. I was doing all my training w low carb diet loading more on proteins.
    I’ve learned here how wrong that was!! I never thought to load up on good fats! ( even though I consulted w 2 sport nutrionists).
    My question is can’t I just skip the 2 week test? I know I’ll feel better, and react well. I feel I’ll benefit much more going straight into MAF diet with good fats.
    What do say Ivan?
    Your a great moderator here and on overtraining.
    Just wish I saw more Masters swimmers here….

  • Miguel says:

    Hello Ivan:

    What about German Quark “speisequark”? Some people called cheese, some called yogurt…
    Thank you
    Miguel

  • Mircea Andrei Ghinea says:

    hi!

    i am getting closer to read all the articles and comments – read everything form the end till here.
    thank you very much for your work!

    “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.”

    is it about the same mitochondria?

    at the last-end will the body get glucose? so having a strong aerobic engine does it mean to take fuel from the fat-tank and convert it to glucose?

    thank you!
    best regards,
    Mircea

    • Mircea:

      Glucose is a shorthand. Specifically, the body converts glucose, pyruvate lactate, and triglycerides to a molecule called Acetyl-CoA, which is what goes into the mitochondria. So technically speaking, the body burns neither “fat” nor “glucose.”

      So having a strong aerobic engine means taking fat from the fat tank, and converting it to Acetyl-CoA.

      • Mircea Andrei Ghinea says:

        Ivan, thank you!

        I understand that the first part of the aerobic engine takes glucose and converts it to Acetyl-CoA, then takes Acetyl-CoA and place it in the mitochondria.
        The second part of the aerobic engine takes fat and converts it to glucose, then takes glucose and converts it to Acetyl-CoA, then takes Acetyl-CoA and place it in the mitochondria.

        I hope i understood right.

        Is the oxygen used in mitochondria along with Acetyl-CoA, or is it used before to convert glucose to Acetyl-CoA?

        Thank you!
        Best regards,
        Mircea

        • Mircea:

          It is used in both processes, but it enters in force once the mitochondria comes into play.

          • Mircea Andrei Ghinea says:

            Thank you, Ivan!

            About the anaerobic system (fast twitch muscle fibers), is it the same mitochondria there inside the muscle (as in the aerobic system) or is it a different mitochondria?

            Since no oxygen required and only sugar as fuel, is it using straight glucose or Acetyl-CoA (as in the aerobic system)?

            Thank you!
            Best regards,
            Mircea

          • Mircea:

            Only glucose. The one of the big differences between the muscle fiber types is the amount of mitochondria: more aerobic, more mitochondria.

  • John K says:

    Hello Ivan,
    I did the test a year ago, and got good results but am starting another because I got sloppy in June due to birthdays and a trip overseas. Had two questions:
    1) Are tomato juice and lemon juice still OK for the two week test? Most of the affirmatives in the comments are back in 2015 when whole fat yogurt was still allowed.
    2) I love to have an occasional glass of wine or a good bourbon, so not complaining, but could you explain how wine is allowed during the test? I would think even the dry ones must have some simple sugars?

  • Suresh MK says:

    I have successfully completed my 15 day test today. As I am vegetarian for my protein requirements, I want to take Whey protein. Is this advisable, if yes, what is your suggestion?

  • Suresh MK says:

    Have asked few times but did not get any response. Can I use Tofu, Chickpeas, home made yoghurt? I am a vegetarian

  • Suresh MK says:

    I am a vegetarian and I wanted to know if Lentil, soya products (tofu), pulses are included in the ‘yes’ list. I get confused as in the blogs it says Lentil is not allowed but when I browse the recipe section I see items such as Lentil soup, Chick peas and not gluten pasta. Can you guide me which one to follow?

    • Suresh:

      The recipe section include recipes that are not for the two-week test. Lentils, chick peas, etc. are just fine for a normal diet. If you are doing the TWT, then lentils and pulses are not allowed, but tofu is.

  • Suresh MK says:

    I am a vegetarian. can I use Soya such as Tofu? How about Pulses?

  • John says:

    I am vegetarian and rather thin – 182 cm and 66 kg. (This means that losing 4-5 kg will have me become underweighted.) Might the TWT be risky for me as of losing too much weight, since much of the calories I get regularly are of NO foods of TWT?

    • John:

      No. The reason people who lose weight during the TWT is because they are overweight. What the TWT does is it helps fix the body’s energy metabolism. It’s not possible to have a healthy metabolism and to be underweight in an unhealthy sense.

  • Rob says:

    Why is chicken excluded from the allowable meats for the 2 week test?

    • It’s not. It’s not explicitly included, but we present the following caveat at the beginning of the food lists: “You can assume any foods that are similar to what you find on this list can be eaten. If you see any foods on this list or the following that are disallowed (e.g. potatoes), you can assume that similar foods (sweet, russet, and gold potatoes and yams) also cannot be eaten.”

  • Uri says:

    Coconut butter which is “100% coconut”, but “may contain very small amounts of nuts, peanuts, soy”– is it OK for TWT?
    And how about canned Egyptian fava beans, containing only fava, water, salt?
    Thanks.

  • I’m not sure what happened to my comment, but I’m finishing up week 1 of the two week challenge. I downloaded the app and it says yes foods are lentils, beans, and berries are ok, but this article says they are not. Can you please advise, thank you !

  • jasen borshoff says:

    I have the app downloaded and have been doing the 2 week test for a week now. The app says that I can eat foods like lentils, berries and coconut yogurt but this article says you cannot. I’m pretty confused, can you elaborate on things?

    Thanks !

    • Jason:

      We had a problem with our app developers, and the app TWT lists are not correct. The website lists, however, are correct. We’re putting out a new fix to our app that should be out by the end of the month, and should have corrected the problem completely.

  • John says:

    Dates on the TWT, in or the out?

  • john says:

    I am on day 3 of the TWT and am enjoying the change and challenge. My concern was there are some things listed in the app that are under Yes that are listed No above. Under Yes in app are beans, peanut butter, whole wheat grains and Rice in minimal amounts, honey. I was worried about adding these in since they are in the No list above. Any guidance that you can provide?
    Very happy and excited to keep up the changes and slowly see what works for my body after the test.

  • Nick says:

    Hi, not sure what happened to my last question. I just wanted to know if I blew the test by drinking a glass of chocolate milk after a long ride. I was just feeling so depleted after a somewhat punishing 4 hr ride of mostly moderate effort. I did drift anaerobic for a few periods. What’s my recommended best course of action? Re-start? Add a few days?

    • Nick:

      Hi, I thought I had answered it. I apologize.

      It’s not a huge faux-pas but it can put your body back in sugar-burning mode. What I would do is extend the test for a few days in case that you continue to see improvements beyond the initial 14 days.

  • Artie says:

    So did I blow it? After seven days of following the 2 week MAF program to a “T”, I drank a chocolate milk after a 4+ hr, and moderately punishing bike ride. Should I proceed or start over?

  • fjm-NYC says:

    Today’s my last day and I think my metabolism has settled into fat-burning mode. I did an easy run with some fast strides in the middle this morning and did not have the feeling that I was lacking in carb energy, as I had with hill repeats last week. I guess I’ll start with post-test lentils tomorrow, and then some berries when I get to HIT hill repeats later this week. I’m still a little vague on what I’m looking for as I reintroduce carbs. How to navigate the area between no carb TWT and returning to eating everything I used to is vague to me, but I’ll keep reading information on this site, including the post-test page.

  • Emrys says:

    Hi Ivan

    What if some mistakes were made during the test? For example I ate some cashew and hazelnuts before realizing they were out. Then today I went to a Japanese tea ceremony where I had to eat a small piece of cake as part of the event (2 inches…).
    In general, I travel a lot and it is sometimes difficult to know what’s in the food (restaurants, hotels…).
    Does that mean I have to redo the test all over? I’m already 7 days in.

    Thanks for your help

  • Rani says:

    Hi

    I’m on the 2nd week of the MAF test and it’s going really well. I usually get headaches if I eat late or sleep less, but haven’t had any since I started the test. I also feel lighter and more stable.
    My question is – can I eat unsweetened dessicated coconut and drink coconut water?
    Thanks!

  • Jake RF says:

    I’m on day 6 of the TWT. Started it for a few reasons: constant fatigue, my sugar cravings were getting ridiculous and I haven’t been able to lose these 20 lbs I’ve gained over the last couple of stressful years.

    First few days were no problem, besides one day I had diarrhea, but felt great otherwise. Yesterday after getting home via 20-mile bike commute, then eating dinner, I felt like throwing up and had to lay down until it mostly went away. Biked in to work this morning, really sluggish, and the same thing, had to lay down for an hour. I also noticed that my resting heart rate is 60-65 which is at about 15 more than usual. I’ve also already lost a few pounds. I’m guessing this is just my body reacting to switching its main fuel source?

    Also, I’ve been eating every meal, but can’t remember being hungry since starting. I’m thinking of sweets today for the first time (ate them daily or more before), but I’d say more that I’m craving bread, beans, potatoes, things that I normally eat for almost every meal. I’d love a piece of homemade bread with lots of butter and a little bit of honey right now. Or a cheese sandwich. Or a quesadilla. Bread will be the first thing I try to add back if I can make it to two weeks.

    • Jake:

      One of the biggest indicators of poor fat adaptation is craving for foods that are high in carbohydrates—in a very broad sense, the reason we “want” or “crave” something is because on some level (deep or superficial) we feel we need it. So a big part of your challenge in becoming fat adapted (throughout the test and beyond) is not just “not eating bread” but rather slowly gearing your metabolism away from wanting it in the first place.

      Hope this helps.

  • fjm-NYC says:

    This is a long two weeks … Thank God wine is allowed. 🙂

  • Nicola says:

    Hello,

    Please can you let me know if the South African dried meat (not smoked) is allowed -biltong and drywors? Its simply dehydrated meat done naturally (not a machine) also if we can’t have chewing gum or breath mints is there anything you can recommend as a replacement? Sorry last one – freshly squeezed lime for salad dressing – is this ok?

    Many thanks for your help,
    Nikki

  • fjm-NYC says:

    Day 8. Lost 8 pounds in a week (wasn’t at all overweight, but I seem to be becoming a lean running machine). But can I please eat some fruit or berries?! 🙂
    Still having a bit of a time finding enough to eat. Just ate two turkey “burgers” (without bread) wrapped in a lot of lettuce. That was good. Still hungry …

  • fjm-NYC says:

    Ah ha, found the post-test article. For some reason, hadn’t seen that before, despite various visits to the site. Will read now; presumably addresses the issues I raised in my reply yesterday.

    • fjm-NYC says:

      (Although, still struggling with the simple problem of getting enough food in during the TWT, as a runner burning up calories, since I can only take so much meat and eggs. I’ve been eating fish too, of course, but can’t have that 2-3 times a day either… ) Moderator: you don’t need to post all these, unless you have something to add. I’m finding more articles now that address some of these issues.

    • No worries! Let me know if you still have any questions after reading.

  • fjm-NYC says:

    6 days in, no headaches or anything, just hungry a lot. I was in good physical condition when I started and was fairly used to doing long runs without necessairly eating anything before. But I did enjoy bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, chips, oatmeal, granola, the occasional apple pie, and so on. So I’m pleased to cut back on that. I’m not a vegetarian but I ate meat sparingly, enjoying beans and lentils often for proteins, fiber, vitamins. Since I started the test I’ve been eating a LOT more meat, and I’m finding that a bit hard. I just don’t enjoy eating that much meat (and I worry about what it means for heart health). Have also been eating a lot of cheese too, to help fill up (and to keep up the fat intake–aged, hard cheeses, or goat, brie). Also eating plenty of vegetables too. But it’s just hard to fill up on veggies (with potatotes, beans, and other things aren’t allowed) when you’re running 30 miles a week or so. Anyway, what I’m ultimately wondering is, What next after the test? Beans and lentils are definitely coming back, and an oatmeal/porridge breakfast never seemed like such a bad thing. (Hard to imagine life without pasta or pizza too.) In sum, I’m keen to keep training my body to burn fat on runs, and to break sugar and carb dependence, but what’s what’s the ultimate place of wheat, gluten, pasta, grains, beans, lentils, dairy (or beer, for that matter), in a healthy, efficient runner’s diet?

  • Patrick says:

    Hi I started the test a few days ago and have experienced headaches as well. For me they are in the front of the head/sinus area. Also its been hard to wake up in the mornings, but once I get going am fine. Been drinking plenty of water and think the headaches are just from going no wheat/sugar. Today (day 4) seemed a little better. I may be too eager, but I have not seen any movement on the scale…NONE. That said, I do not feel bloated at times like before. Going to stick with this and be patient.

  • Rena says:

    Hi there- I just started this test and I believe I’ve already messed up. I had heartburn today and took two TUMS. I looked at the nutritional value and it wasn’t in the label. I then saw one active ingredient and completely overlooked the inactive ones. Until I’m dawned on me (after I was chewing) that I can check online. Two grams of sugar, two grams of carbs.

    My question is, do I need to start over? Also, if I do (meaning that Tums aren’t allowed), what can I take as an alternative?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Rena:

      Not a big deal. It is the case that a higher-fat diet can trigger acid reflux in susceptible people. Try moving away from animal fats, which tend to relate to a more acidic diet (as they are often accompanied with some animal protein).

  • Toby says:

    Are there any “NO” supplements for this test?

  • Sarah says:

    Started the TWT today, but am scheduled for a 4 hour swim next Friday (I am a marathon swimmer) and wondering if you have any suggestions to keep my glycogen levels up during the swim that would be consistent with the TWT?

    • Sarah: I apologize for the late response. I actually wouldn’t do the TWT at this time as it can interfere with your preparation simply because it is a big change from how you’ve been training. I suggest you start once the swim is over and you’ve had a chance to recover

  • Amy Walsh says:

    Apologies if these questions are already answered above. I tried to skim, but dang there are a lot of comments.

    1. Is the 2 week test safe to do while breastfeeding? (I’m almost 16 months postpartum)
    2. Is it worth doing if you aren’t having symptoms? (I’m interested in curbing sugar cravings and improved exercise performance)
    3. I typically do more weight training, HIIT, and short distance running (though interested in trying the 180 method) does switching over to lower carb diet still have some performance benefit?

    Thanks

    • Amy:

      1) Nothing about the test negatively affects breastfeeding—it’s a very mild intervention from the body’s perspective, and very rarely stressful. That said, different people respond differently to the same thing. So if you see any undesirable effects, common sense takes over and you stop the test.

      2) Not necessarily worth doing. You can start doing a modified version of the test (milder) and just increase your fat intake slightly, especially in the mornings (think loading up your breakfasts with avocado & cooking with more coconut oil).

      3) In fact, it’s usually better to have some guarantee that you have high muscle glycogen for your higher intensity training, so typically it’s better that you do your (short) strength workouts when you’re not carb depleted.

      • Jose says:

        Hi Ivan,

        From your response to Amy to point number 3) is it possible to conclude that this whole ketogenic concept is not compatible with high intensity/strength sports? If so, then the fat to energy conversion rate is inherently lower than that of the glucose to energy. Is it so?

        • Hi Jose:

          Great question. In a fat-adapted body the liver develops to provide the body with sugar to cover its sugar needs. While the sugar stores in muscles will never be the same as if you’re eating a higher-carb diet, there will still be enough to power the body through a generous amount of anaerobic work. The issue with the two-week test is that since the body is not fat adapted, it relies on much of its energy from carbohydrates, all of which it has to get from the diet. In that situation, if you eliminate carbs from the diet, you won’t be in a position to do carb-based activities until you become fat-adapted.

          It’s not quite that the rate of energy conversion of a fat molecule is slower than that of a sugar molecule. The primary problem is that in order to use fats, they have to get extracted from fatty tissue elsewhere on the body and then transported to the cells to use. Furthermore, the body can burn sugar anaerobically, but not fats. What this means is that for a non-fat-adapted body, it’s much easier to forget about trying to burn fats entirely and simply use sugar as a dual-purpose fuel (for both the aerobic and anaerobic systems). (The problem with this is that then you become dependent on dietary sugar, get insulin resistant, etc.)

          Technically, the cell’s aerobic motors (mitochondria) don’t burn sugar OR fats—they burn a different molecule that both fat and sugar turns into. So once “sugar” and “fats” hit the aerobic system, they are burned equally quickly. So when we say that sugar burns “faster” it’s really that the anaerobic system burns its fuel (sugar) at a very high speed.

  • Gav says:

    Hi, I’m on day 4 of the test and I feel dehydrated and quite often I am light headed and really sluggish. Are these types of symptoms normal and in general when do things turn round?

    Thanks

    • Brian says:

      I’ve been having the same kinds of feelings. My only guess is that I’m not getting enough food on a regular enough basis and my body is really struggling without the carbs and sugars. It is tough to keep food going in at the right levels while at work with such limited choices. I’m hoping that the sluggishness passes as I progress.

  • Suzy says:

    I have just finished the TWT (last night) and the last 2 days when i went for a jog, I found my resting HR was high and my running HR was out of control. My MAF HR is 133 and it was above 160 just as i started running. It happened 2 days in a row….. Can you explain? Thanks

  • morgan litchfield says:

    Question: I take a multi vitamin and biotin in gummy form that have less than 1g of sugar in them, during the 2 week test am I allowed to take these still?
    Also, do you have any hot sauce recommendations w/o sugar? I put sriracha on nearly everything so that part will be tough for me.

  • Barbara says:

    That is a lot of comments!
    What about grass-fed, raw milk (full fat). Would it be allowed? I could make kefir from it with kefir grains at home if it would be a better option.
    Is there any amount of calories (or at least a minimum level ) that we should be striving for? I worry that I might be under eating with so many things out. I do not want to slow down my metabolism. Additionally I want to get sure that if I lose weight it is due to lack of carbs and not a low calorie diet. Thank you so much.

    • Barbara:

      Full-fat milk is different from full-fat yoghurt or kefir because bacteria break down the sugars in milk to ferment it, meaning that the fermented finished product is always less glycemic than the milk itself. That said, we’ve put a blanket ban on Yogurt because of how often it is high glycemic (but not always necessarily so).

      But if your expertise with fermentation guarantees a low-glycemic end product, then that’s fine to use during the TWT.

      In terms of calories, we are really going for eating until you’re satisfied (and no more). I want to link you to Phil’s latest article, where he really talks about the importance of returning to trusting your body’s natural nutrition measurement system: how hungry you are, and what you’re hungry for. Effectively, what the TWT does, by resetting the metabolism, is getting the hunger system to the point where it is responding to the right things.

  • Stephanie says:

    Ivan,

    As ultra runner, I wanted to hear your take on Garden of Life’s raw protein powder (not consumed during the 2-week test).

    https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/product/why-choose-raw-protein/

    Also, can I eat Clif Bars during competition?

    Thank you,
    Stephanie

  • Sara says:

    Is canned pumpkin allowed as an ingredient in a recipe during TWT? Also cottage cheese if full fat?

  • Tipsy paddler says:

    Dear Ivan,

    I started the two week test, unfortunately, at the same time I seem to have come down with my very first bout of hay fever. The hay fever is affecting my heart rate, especially when training, to the point that it takes very very little to get to the MAF target of 180 – age. Before last week, I had about a year’s worth of LSD training under my belt and was training from 2-3 hours at a good rate at he same target HR, so I am shocked to see how quickly the HR is jumping now when I start to do exercise. My questions are:
    i) Have you ever had experience with this?
    ii) Should I wait to do the test for when I get over this bout of hay fever?
    As I am not getting anywhere near the speeds I was doing before at the same HR, I am wondering if I am wasting the opportunity this time.

    Thanks for always getting back to the commenters Ivan.

  • Rob says:

    Hi,

    Are beansprouts allowed?

    Thank you

    Rob

  • Jamie S. says:

    Hi, I did the TWT last year and had amazing results — so much so, that I stayed on it and lost 40 pounds! Life got in the way back in January, though, and I fell back into some bad eating habits. I gained a few pounds back and feel kind of icky overall, so I want to do the TWT again and get back into that eating lifestyle (with some minor modifications after TWT is finished). There have been some changes since I was here last, so I wanted to ask about a few things:

    I see sour cream (assuming full-fat?) is on the OK list, but cottage cheese is on neither the OK nor the NO list; is full-fat cottage cheese safe?

    Is goat cheese considered an unprocessed soft cheese? And for that matter, is there a full list of cheeses anywhere for TWT?

    Are there any veggies that are not OK?

    Like someone a few questions ago, I noticed that chicken isn’t on the OK list. I get that it’s an “obvious” one, but until I read through the comments and saw the exchange about it, I honestly wasn’t sure it was safe during TWT. Maybe change the OK list to “fowl”, just to cover the bases? 😉

  • Neil says:

    Hi,

    Sorry asking this if it has already been answered, but I am now on day 11 of the TWT and up until today had been going absolutely fine, however this afternoon I started getting some head rushes and feeling a bit heavy headed too. I’m sure it’s down to the change of energy systems but was wondering whether this sounded out of place, or was anything to worry about as I’m a touch more sensitive than normal recently (5 months ago) had a minor stroke- which I fully recovered from within a couple of days- that the doctors have yet to find any causes for other than that it happened at the same time as a migraine. I’ve been eating well, and drinking plenty of water throughout so imagine it is just a delayed reaction but just wanted a bit of reassurance!

    Thanks

    • Neil:

      The head rush and heavy-headedness could be related to a changing energy system (the new energy system isn’t as optimized or trained as the previous one) but stroke is not related to changing energy systems. Does this help answer your question?

      • Neil says:

        Yes it does, I can now report that I stuck with the test until the end and do genuinely feel great now as a result! Thanks for the response

  • Jill says:

    Am I correct in understanding that chicken is not allowed during the test? Or was this a typo?

  • Hi there,

    I’m vegan and so I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me exactly what vegetables are allowed in this test please?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Londoner in Sydney:

      The vegetables we include are allowed because they have certain general properties (very low starch content, very low glycemic content). So the list is potentially very, very long, and includes all sorts of vegetables that we’ve never come across.

  • Randy says:

    Turkey is on the list but not chicken? Any reason? Is chicken allowed?

    • Randy:

      All birds are allowed. Turkey is an example, and we didn’t think of including chicken as another example of birds (silly us—I think we forgot about chicken because of how obvious it is, if that makes sense).

      Let me go a little further into this. The directions included in the text read: You can assume any foods that are similar to what you find on this list can be eaten. If you see any foods on this list or the following that are disallowed (e.g. potatoes), you can assume that similar foods (sweet, russet, and gold potatoes and yams) also cannot be eaten.

      So you can extend this to mean that grouse, quail, ostrich, and a much wider variety of less-common birds (that we haven’t mentioned) can also be eaten. And the same goes for ruminants we may have not mentioned (e.g. buffalo), and any other such examples you may find in the fruits and vegetables.

      Hope this helps.

  • Nitin says:

    I am on day 7 of the test. I have never gone so low in carbs even when I am trying to practice LCHF for two years. Still my weight has dropped only 1kg after a week. I used to blame bloating and flatulence on carbs but I still have bloating after eating only TWT diet. Does it mean I am carb tolerant? Or I am not following TWT properly? Or it is too early to conclude?

    Essentially, what does it mean if my symptoms don’t change after two weeks?

    I am vegeterian but eat eggs. I am eating caprese or omlette for breakfast, spinach based salad in lunch and vegetable curry in night. I assume supermarket mozzarella (under brand Zottarella) and cottage cheese meet the TWT criteria.

    • Nitin:

      To clarify, could you give me a short summary of the other symptoms that led you to the two-week test?

      Both cheeses meet the criteria. I’d like to direct you to this FAQ to see if it applies to you.

      Thanks for getting in touch,

      Ivan

      • Nitin says:

        Thanks for replying Ivan. I am very grateful given the number of questions you get on this site.

        Why did I take two week test?

        I am trying to reduce weight by adopting LCHF lifestyle since a fitness coach here introduced me to it. I get the science. Being vegetarian I used to load up on sugar, bread and rice. Reducing sugar, wheat and rice worked for the first month where my weight reduced from 92 to 88 kg in a month. Bloating reduced. Then weight loss slowed so much that even after 1.5 years I am still at 87kgs. The bloating returned. I was also hoping that my running speed will increase. To stay within MAF limit my run is sometimes slower than a walk (6km/h). After so much effort, I am still waiting for fat burning to start. The running speed hasn’t picked up. I thought that this could be due to some bouts of carb eating .

        I took the test to cut carbs to lowest and ascertain whether this will ever work on me. I didnt eat even lentils, cashews and chickpeas. My weight has only reduced by 1kg during these two weeks which includes water loss. The tummy gets bloated even when I am only eating vegetables. I take your point about stress. There have been periods of stress during two weeks but such periods are unavoidable.

        I run three times a week – two 50 min strength runs above MAF HR and one near 2hr long run below MAF HR. I go for my runs in the morning so that I can run in a fasted state.

        If TWT and the run schedule doesn’t kick start fat burning, what will? I can assure you – if you make it work on me, you can claim it works on everyone! 😉

        • Nitin:

          One of the reasons that your two-week test period may not have led to further fat loss is because of your exercise regimen. High-intensity exercise (above the MAF HR) can become very stressful for the body when on a low-carb period of eating. This is because the body can’t supply the high-intensity fuel, which basically means that the body is forced to run on empty. So it’s very important for you to be sure that your exercise isn’t too intense, or it may be the exercise itself which stops fat-burning and instead kick-starts fat accumulation.

          Hope this helps.

  • STRAUB EDUARD says:

    Are salt, soup with meat and/or vegetables allowed during the 2 weeks test?

  • STRAUB EDUARD says:

    But soup with meat and/or vegetables from YES list? Thank you!

  • straub Eduard says:

    Hi just wondered if pork are allowed during the 2 weeks test ?

  • Luke says:

    I’m a little confused – I am just about to start the 2 week test so have read on this site the list of ‘YES’ foods and the list of ‘NO’ foods – legumes feature on the ‘NO’ list here but on the ‘YES’ list on the MAF App – please could you clarify whether they are a ‘YES’ or a ‘NO’ food?

  • laurent says:

    Hi,

    Being captivated by this method, and following the book for 2 months now I have a few questions :

    1. I’m leaving under the tropics where the temperature and humidity are high and i noticed during hots days my heart beat increase a lot. Is it normal ?
    2. Ultrarunner ( up to 100 miles ) I ‘m still trying to know at which heart beat I have to run the race and what would be my maximum ones on uphills ?
    My MAF beat is 139 . 35 to 45 hours of race in total
    Thanks
    Laurent

  • Sean Cooper says:

    I know that processed meats are on the no list. Additionally I see that meat sticks and salami are called out specifically. My question is…Are these totally off limits even if they are minimally processed high quality with no added sugars? For instance I’m looking at a hard salami with no carbs and a high fat content. I’m also interested in a pepperoni with the same properties.

  • jason hall says:

    hi,

    im a 34yo male runner who has been maf based training for 7 months now,started from 10k a week again now back to 50k a week.i monitor acute to chronic workloads aswell keeping beetween 0.8 and 1.3 .I have done 2 50k events aswell in that time . This wiped out all my previous foot injuries and allowed me to run consistently.so in the last 3.5 weeks i noticed fatigue getting worse and left chest and arm pain,back pain . i went to hospital but tropins were clear,i have had all checks done,chest xray,abdominal xrays, ct of chest,stress test and everything is clear heart wise, bloods are good too and bloods show no inflamation markers or viral infections etc. every item is in range and similar to 18months ago (cholesterol i noticed was 6.7,thats the only thing at upper limit,maybe due to all the meats in 2 week test???)

    1 week ago i decided the i would start the 2 week test to fix my fatigue,heavy legs,lack of performance and low resting heart rate.I was 10-15carbs total per day max,felt fatigued still but ok, on the 3rd day i was horribly fatigued with low rhr, the 4th day i was violently sick with vomiting and diarrhea and a very low rhr. i increased my carbs to 30-40 and now im back to just the bad fatigue on day 8 today. diet wise im coping fine and never really hungry at all. i have lost maybe 2.5kg(70.6kg). my current body fat yesterday was 16.8%. i have started taking a mens swiss ultivite and 2000mg of fish oil this week aswell.

    My doctor has run out of ideas for the fatigue and im considering its over-training?????? my resting heart rate was consistently 52-55bpm and now its 48-50 and on the worst 2 days was 39-41 and is now back to 50bpm. my maf 5k has only improved about 30 seconds or less in 4 months also.

    im not sure where to go from here, im on my 4th day of zero running and normally i would recover from a run of 10-20k overnight,20-30k in a day, a 50k takes me 4days to fully recover from. Im 4 days into rest now and my legs feel heavier i think than before so i dont know if rest is fixing me and im at a loss at what to do, my diet is totally changed and im not getting the “ah ha” moment everyone raves about with low carb either so i think the new diet is good but its not the cause of my fatigue either.

    any help would be great!!!!!!!!

  • Chip says:

    Ivan, hypothetical for you–say I’ve been in fat-burning mode for five weeks and then go nuts and eat a big bowl of pasta. What’s the effect physiologically? Does my body just burn those carbs first and then slip back into fat-burning mode or have I somehow undone everything that led to that point, leaving me back at square one?

    Really appreciative of your quick and informative replies to all of us. Many thanks–Chip

  • Joyce says:

    Dear,

    Is there any other alternative than eggs for breakfast? I’m from Belgium and we rarely eat eggs for breakfast here. Is there a certain Yoghurt/Soya Yoghurt fine for instance?

    Thanks

  • angel says:

    Hi all, I am on my 5th day of TWT and feel with low energy. Actually, my speed at my MAF has declined from the week before the test and also I feel cold most of the day. Reading the comments I imagine it has to do with the ramp-up of my fat-burning system while I stopped eating sugar, but would like to confirm with you if I should not change or pay special attention to something else. Thanks, Angel

  • Jonathan says:

    I’m currently in the middle of my two week test. I’m on day 11, wrapping up on Saturday. While I haven’t experienced any significant improvements, I have certainly noticed improvements. What is puzzling me is the utter lack of short-term negative effects that others have mentioned. I had a headache one day, which I believe was caused by sinus congestion, not what I was eating. I did have one day where I felt that either my blood pressure or blood sugar could be low, but otherwise I’ve felt good. Sleeping well, not tired, improved bowel movements, etc. Is this common for some people to have no negative effects?

  • Michael says:

    So that’s the TWT test completed
    Stats day 0, 161.2lbs &22.3% body fat
    Stats day 8, 158.8lbs & 22.6% body fat
    Stats day15, 157.8lbs & 21.6%

    Also I am sooooooooo tired
    I would love to hear your comments on this.
    Finally which carbs would you suggest that I start with to reintroduce them please, and by the way Ilove this way eating.
    Cheers Michael

    • Michael:

      Check out this FAQ on the topic! Get back to me if you have any more questions.

      • Michael says:

        So I’ve stayed fairly true to the TWT for 14 weeks now, low carbs (hardly any) high fats, nil ready made / processed. Stats have stayed constant as stated above, energy levels constant(not very good) I also tried but gave up on the low heart rate training as I was hardly running at all and walking a lot at HR 121. What do you think?

        Thanks Michael

  • Michael says:

    Hi I wrote to you last night. Any idea why my enquiry has not been accepted?
    Cheers Michael

  • Michael says:

    So tomorrow is day 14 of my TWT and its been great. Meat and two veg, eggs, cheese, meat, salads and I’ve fallen in love with coffee and cream. However tonight I went for my fourth run during this two weeks, abiding by the MAF heart rate and each run has been slower than the previous one. In fact tonights pace was dlower than my Ironman marathon pace. Would love to hear your comments as this pace is seriously challenging. Cheers Michael.

  • Mario says:

    5 days in, energy level is high, sleep is good! So far so good, however I still drink a lot of water but don’t wake up at night as much, why could this be? My normal lifestyle/nutrition does not include many carbs anyway so what happens with the water in the absence of carbs?
    Downloaded and use the app as well!

    • Mario:

      The reason one wakes up at night is because of a hormonal imbalance in which cortisol rises when it shouldn’t. So at face value, this tells me that your hormone levels are becoming more stable. Your high energy levels confirm that for me. Don’t worry too much about your water intake, as long as you are drinking to thirst. Water intake isn’t only tied to carbs: it’s also tied to hormones and electrolytes. So your water intake may be perfectly OK in light of hormone activity. Doesn’t seem to be something to worry about.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi!

    Quick question about the omega fats. What and in what proportions to one another should a person be eating to balance the omega 3 and omega 6 fats? And it seems there is an omega 9 fat, how does it fit into the picture. Thank you!
    Jenny

  • Francisco says:

    It woud be very nice to have the app available for android and in spanish as well 🙂

  • Francisco says:

    Hi!
    My wife and I just started today the test. After the first day we downloaded the app and we are getting confuse with the Yes an No foods.
    In the app we see in the yes foods:
    Citrus fruits
    Melon
    Honey
    Corn
    Legumes
    Berries
    Quinoa
    Rice

    Which is certainly different of what we read here.

  • Mike says:

    Ivan, How about sugarfree gum? I only chew it after meals at work and only for 10-15 min to clean my teeth…

  • Jenny says:

    Hi!
    On day five of the 2WT. All seems to be going well, except my energy is lower. Normally, I eat a lot of veggies, greens, cheeses, protein (meat, eggs), beans and wild/brown rice, and very little processed foods. I try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Since beginning I have not eaten any wheat products, although in the past one of my favorite foods was wheat crackers and cheese. Also cut out the cottage cheese, plain yogurt and 1/2 & 1/2, and any other products not on the 2WT approved foods list. I do still have one to two small glasses of wine in the evenings.

    I am fairly active (I shoe horses for a living, have livestock so there are lifting and lots of moving around chores associated with them). Up until a hamstring injury a year ago I ran small amounts, about 3 miles five days a week. My hamstring seems well now, I just haven’t gotten back to running yet. I do walk for an hour to two hours several times a week currently, and hike in hills when I get the chance. For the last two months I have been doing a HIIT workout as it’s quick and seems to keep my muscles in shape for working on horses’ feet. I also do yoga regularly.

    Is my body using its energy primarily for anaerobic uses because of the HIIT workouts? (Haven’t done any of these in the last three days). Could this be why my energy is flagging during the 2WT? I have gotten a heart rate monitor and plan to begin developing my aerobic capability. Should I wait until the 2WT is over? Also, I live in winter country and the weather has been beastly cold for running. Is a treadmill a good alternative to begin with? I have been trying to go walking or cross country skiing each day for some form of exercise, despite the nasty cold. I am looking forward to developing my aerobic capacity, but also keeping my muscles strong is a concern for the work I do.

    Thank you, and I have also learned much from reading through the comments and your answers.

    Jenny

  • Itzik says:

    Sorry for being a pest , I wonder if raw Tahini is allowed, it is mechanically hulled Sesame seeds very rich with calcium , if I prepare it with vinegar instead of lemon juice it could serve as a very satisfying salad dressing etc

  • Itzik says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Thank you for your response, with regards to root vegetables you have indicated that Onions are allowed I guess Garlic as well.. I thought Radish shouldn’t be a problem as it is very low in sugar much less than carrots

    • Itzik:

      Correct on all counts. We’ll sometimes lump acceptable foods in with the unacceptable ones to make it easier on everyone. It’s very difficult to field everyone’s food choices as we need to cut within food categories with a very fine blade to separate all acceptable from all unacceptable foods.

  • Itzik says:

    I guess Chestnuts are not allowed as well even though they are ‘true tree nuts’ since they have starchy content not like other nuts which are fatty

  • Nat says:

    Hi
    Is coconut yoghurt ok – unsweetened?
    How about coconut water straight from a fresh coconut?
    Thanks

  • Nat says:

    Hi – are Chia seeds allowed on the 2 week test?
    Thanks

  • Kate says:

    I’m about to start the two-week test and I’m pretty pumped. Just one quick food question. Are tomatillos okay?

  • Itzik says:

    Hi just wondered if Onions are allowed during the 2 weeks test ?

  • Julie says:

    Thank you for all of this information. I have my family starting up this test on Monday and have volunteered to do the grocery shopping! I looked through all the comments and havea question….is organic pearled farro okay? was thinking of additional ways to up my salad and stirfry game….any ancient grains allowed? organic and sprouted? What about brussel sprouts? Thank you for answering all of these comments Ivan!

    • Julie:

      Not during the Two-Week Test. What makes foods be allowed or disallowed for the Two-Week Test is their properties, rather than the food itself. So any food that shares its basic properties with the foods disallowed during the Two-Week Test is also disallowed. By this same logic, brussels sprouts would be allowed.

  • K. says:

    Do you ever see a connection between CI and FODMAPS intolerance? If so, what might the connection be and what advice would you offer if they might be linked.

  • Mark S says:

    Hi!

    Long story short. National level time triallist turn triathlete. Effective sugar burning machine.

    MAF watts before two week test: 300-310 watt at 140 heart rate.

    MAF watts 15 days into high fat low carb shift: 250-260 watts at 140 heart rate.

    General feeling quite okay otherwise, feeling better after a sluggish first week, but the decline in performance is dramatic to say the least. When can I expect a change? When will my body reach a better level of fat adaptation? Because I should be able to match my old MAF wattage when I’m fat adapted, right?

    Kind regards, Mark

  • Jordan says:

    I love this test and what you all do, but you all at MAF need to get a full two-week test list together or something. Searching through the comments is growing to be ridiculous. For example, I feel like the conflicting information about peanut butter and peanuts is unnecessarily confusing between the list and the comments. That is one example among many others. I think if you all want folks to be successful, you need to help them by being better organized yourselves!

    • Jordan:

      There is no such list. There are properties of foods that you want to include or avoid, but a comprehensive list would be longer than all of the comment sections of all the articles combined. The lists we give are example foods, so that those with similar properties are either included or avoided. What you see happening in the comment sections is our opinions of certain foods changing, or making snap judgments on new foods as they are presented to us by our readers. What we provide here in the comments is a free helping hand to our readers. We have neither the team nor the time to sift through the comment sections and clean them up fully. It is not a question of organization, but of priorities: we can spend our time either cleaning up the comments, or answering our readers’ pressing questions, but not both.

      • Jordan:

        I think you’ll like to know that we’re currently in the process of doing some edits and re-writes of the “Two-Week Test” article, as we need it to fit within a broader framework of articles, so we’re taking the opportunity to create a more comprehensive list of acceptable and unacceptable foods.

  • Jamie S. says:

    Hi, I did the TWT in mid-February and felt great as it neared the end. In fact, I felt so good on it, I stayed on a modified version, eating very low carbs and sugar. I have lost 40 pounds! With the holidays, following the rules is becoming a bit more of a challenge, so I’m going to go back on a strict TWT starting tomorrow. Here’s my question. I’ve read several conversations in this thread about whether yogurt is OK. I see you’ve said repeatedly that as long as it’s full-fat, it should be fine. However, here’s where I’m stuck: I picked up some Oikos low-fat Greek yogurt last week at the grocery store. It is NOT full-fat, but the label said only 6g of sugar and 6g of carbs — which is WAY lower than any other yogurts I’ve seen. When I compared the label from this one to ones that are full-fat (and unflavored), their sugar/carb counts were double, triple and sometimes quadruple. So my question is, is this Oikos OK to eat? Here is the link that has the nutrition content if you scroll toward the bottom: http://www.oikosyogurt.com/assets/media/Plain-Single-Serve-NutritionFacts1.jpg. I get the one without fruit/flavors; those tend to be around 19g.

  • Murtuza says:

    HI Ivan

    I am in my second day of TWT. I am getting hungry in between meals and if its okay to consume Full Cream Milk/Homemade Full Cream Yogurt during the TWT.

    Thank You!

    Murtuza

  • Matthew says:

    Hello,

    I am reading many of the comments and I am so appreciative that comments are still be answered on this post.

    I was wondering about your thoughts on erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit both on the TWT and in general as sugar alternatives. Would it be ok for the TWT? And would you recommend such sugar alternatives as part of a long-term diet?

    Thank you very much!

    Matthew

    • Matthew:

      We do not recommend such non-caloric sweeteners. The reason we sometimes find ourselves wanting to use them is because of their sweetness—in other words, that they signal our brain that sugar is coming. So the fact of wanting sweeteners tells you something about your body’s preference of sugar over fat as fuel.

  • David says:

    Is cacao (not cocoa) and ground almonds OK? Thinking of makes ng Phil’s bars minus the honey…

  • Steve Muller says:

    Is yogurt still on the Do Not Eat list? I see you said Keifer is OK.
    It would be whole fat plain Greek style yogurt- nothing added.
    Thanks

  • Robert says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Is Lard ok?

    Thank you

    Rob

  • Murtuza says:

    Hi Ivan

    I am going to start TWT next week. I see some conflicting answers about Tempeh. I eat Tempeh 3 to 4 times a week deep fried in Coconut/Olive oil. Is this allowed during the TWT. Beside this if it Yogurt made from Whole Milk, its allowed ?

    • Murtuza:

      Tempeh is not allowed during the TWT, due to its high carbohydrate content. Furthermore, I would not use coconut oil, but particularly not olive oil for frying, as they cannot withstand the temperatures animal fats can. These oils have a tendency to turn into trans fats when used for frying.

  • Murtuza says:

    HI

    During the TWT, is Vitamin supplements allowed ?

  • Peter F Lee says:

    A couple of years ago after a bout with shingles, I found out from a food allergy test that I was intolerant of Gluten and Lactose. After five weeks of eating neither I lost five inches from my waist. I then found because the non gluten carbs did not taste so good ( and I also put in a vegetable garden) that I was not eating many carbs. My BP went way down to 95/70 and I felt great, lots of energy. I now find that I have an immediate reaction when I eat most carbs; my BP goes way up and I start feel tired. I then ate carbs with no gluten and found that my BP still went up, although I felt less tired. I am now living on a diet of fruits (all), vegetables (incl potatoes) and cooked unprocessed meats, fish and seafood. My BP seems to go too low when I don’t have carbs, so I’m in a bit of a quandary. I worked all this out before seeing you diet.

    My problem is that I feel I should be eating some carbs, partly because the water I drink seem to go straight thru’ me so I’m spending a lot of time in the washroom and getting up at night. If I don’t drink then I get dehydrated with leg cramps etc.

    Any views.

    Peter
    ps my doctor just said “oh”

    • Matthew says:

      Wow, this is me exactly. BP hovering around 90/60 and low resting HR of about 36-38 bpm. I am 25 years old male and active. But once I got off of gluten and lactose, I noticed the same thing. My endocrinologist told me to lay off of the protein powder and my Primary Dr told me to stop taking creatine because my kidney function was poor – Creatinine at 1.50 mg/dL (I am vegetarian and was finding it difficult to get in protein, so I got a vegan protein powder). So I am going off of that to see if kidney function improves.

  • Alea says:

    Hello,

    I am about to start the Two Week Test and as a vegan, I am reviewing some larger sources of protein. I have a good list but wanted to clarify. Tofu is okay, meat substitutes as long as there is no added sugar and it is not starch based, tree nuts (no cashews) and seeds, and vegetables. What about TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein?

    Thanks!

  • Laurent says:

    Hello!

    Must i respect The hour after wake up for breakfast? I get up in The Morning at Two, three, four hours.

    Can i eat split peas or green and black olives?

    Thank you!

    Sorry for my english. ?

  • Jurgen says:

    Ivan, thank you for answering my questions. I’m about to start the two week test but I have one more question.

    I know the two week test is (as the name implies) only supposed to be done for two weeks; additionally, it’s not a low carb diet, and in fact it’s not even a diet. But I’d like to discuss a post I found in this article by Chris Kresser, “Is a low carb diet ruining your health?”

    “I tried Atkin’s diet many years ago and within a week I felt so sick with a myriad of weird symptoms that I felt it necessary to stop, though I didn’t know why. Fast forward 5 years and I decide to give it a go again, this time with South Beach diet. I followed phase 1 plan almost to the tee. By day 4 I was feeling really sick again. Many strange symptoms. I kept going because people told me it was must my body in ketosis and I needed to adjust. Within another week I was still sick and I noticed lumps in my neck. They seemed to grow overnight. Went to my doctor and she ran a thyroid test and found my TSH was 76+ and my FT4 was almost non-existent. She called me right away to tell me she had never seen numbers like this in her 30 years in medicine. She then sent me for scans and more bloodwork. My thyroid antibodies were sky high and I had tumors on both sides of thyroid. That is when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I ended up taking thyroid meds for about a year and re-vamped my diet ( I have to include healthy carbs or else I crash and burn.)”

    https://chriskresser.com/is-a-low-carb-diet-ruining-your-health/

    Now, the author states that within two weeks of starting the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet she developed what sound like thyroid nodules and became hypothyroid. Both of these diets start with a two week low-ish carb period much like the two week test. So what the author describes is severe hypothyroidism and thyroid nodules caused by going low carb for less than two weeks.

    Is there anything about Maffetone’s two week test that prevents this sort of thing from happening, or is it an inherent risk of going sufficiently low carb?

    I suspect that she could have prevented her symptoms by including a larger but still small amount of carbs, perhaps just enough to avoid ketosis. Does the two week test still provide the benefit of a (albeit weaker) metabolic ‘reset’ even if you include let’s say ~200cal of lentils?

    • If you add carbs, you get a metabolic reset to a far lesser degree.

      What I suspect is that this person had a pre-existing condition that became exacerbated or apparent by the period of low-carb. That said, it is simply not the case that a low-carb diet is inherently—or even commonly—damaging to the thyroid (or to any other gland). Another possibility is that she led a very fast-paced lifestyle (which is “high-intensity training” of sorts) which then put her body at severe odds with the low-carb diet. But again, the problem would be either the pre-existing condition or the lifestyle/exercise stressor, not the macro combination itself.

  • Michael says:

    Can CI cause acid re flux?

  • dieter pohl says:

    Could you give a recommendation on a percentage of carbohydrates/fat/protein per day maintenance for someone on an endurance MAF based training program?

    • We cannot give recommendations. However, I can tell you that, 20% carbs, 20% protein, and 60% fats is a decent macronutrient combination for some theoretical person on a theoretical aerobic training program. You and I might have to modify this number a little or a lot in response to various physiological, lifestyle, and other life conditions. This is why we can’t recommend specific macro combinations.

  • Marc Thomas says:

    Dear Sir,

    I want to start the test, but have a few questions on foods.

    Is Kefir made from whole milk allowed?

    What about whole grains Muesli with dried fruits?

    Thank you

  • Chaitanya says:

    I am into my 10th day of the 2-week test, cant figure out if my body is reacting right. [My wife too is doing the test with me, and the general feel is the same. She is not loosing as much weight and does not feel dizzy or tired].

    Here is what is happening.
    1. I have lost close to 6lbs, started of at 175cm and 164lbs.
    2. Feel great most of the time, but there were a couple of days when I felt really tired and unable to go on with my daily activities.
    3. My MAF pace has fallen consistently over the 10 days. [ 9.38/km -> 9.49/km -> 10.13/km ]. The runs themselves have been comfortable and not too tiring.
    4. Couple of days where I felt head rushes every time I stood up. [ Could be because I am not consuming enough calories ]. But, once I am up, I could go on doing whatever I stood up for.

    Are there any signs or something, I can look out for to know things are going on right ?

    • Chaitanya:

      These signs and symptoms are typically not worrisome. The reason your MAF pace falls during the TWT is because during regular aerobic exercise, the body fuels itself with both fats and sugars. But when there are very few sugars in the tank, your MAF pace represents only the amount of fats you consume–so it’s slower. This doesn’t mean you are “getting slower”: once the test ends and you begin introducing carbohydrates into your diet, your body will begin to use both fuels again, and your speed will reflect that.

  • Hussain says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Is Indian Lassi allowed? Also fresh milk from cows is out right?

  • Marcelo C says:

    In the 3 week test what about a pistacho it’s ok

    thanks in advance

    Regards

  • Bethany says:

    What about LaCroix Waters?

    • It has no added sugar. It’s a YES

      • Bethany says:

        YIPPEE! Thanks! Just checking on the carbonation or the “natural flavors” ingredient.

        • Bethany:

          On that, your mileage may vary. I personally try to stick to real foods as much as possible, so I wouldn’t make LaCroix waters an extremely habitual source of hydration. It works for the purposes of the TWT, which is to remove the conditions that lead to Carbohydrate Intolerance. I haven’t checked how much sodium it has, for example, so it might be objectionable (but not extremely so) on other counts. Hope this clarifies it more.

  • Rob says:

    Hi,

    I have read the replies above and still unsure if the single and double cream I’m taking in my tea and coffee is OK as the ingredients include milk (no additional wording as to whether what kind). Is double the same as heavy cream?

    Also why is intermittent fasting not acceptable? I normally start my day with coffee with cream or butter in (aka bulletproof coffee) and then consume my meals in a ten hour period later on in the day, is this OK?

    Thank you

    Rob

    • Rob:

      Double cream is essentially the same thing as heavy cream. Pastry chefs will disagree, but the difference doesn’t really matter to us. It is better than single cream.

      Intermittent fasting is acceptable. It’s just hard for athletes to fit into a training strategy unless you have a very specific physiological reason to do so. It’s very, very easy to screw up your energy levels or your recovery from a training week if you do it incorrectly—or alternately, you might recover fine and have decent energy levels, but be prevented from really increasing your training volume in the way you might want. For a normally active person, it can work just fine.

      • Rob says:

        I will stick with double cream going forward.

        Yes the fasting I do is for both physiological reasons to give the system a breather plus I also am a feaster who can’t change his ways so I’m guessing its psychological too.

        Thanks Ivan, this thread has been a brilliant source of info and inspiration.

  • Brian says:

    Hello –

    I see conflicting responses on whether or not tempeh, tofu, and full-fat unsweetened greek yogurt are allowed during the TWT. Can you please clarify?

    Thank you.

  • Slava says:

    Hello,

    I have a question about sensations during test.

    My wife started the test several days ago. And after 3 or 4 days she begin to feel permanent headache.
    The same was several monthes ago when she did her test at first time. And after the test headache disapeared.

    What do you reccomend to do? Live with headache ill the end of the test (with medications or without)? Or stop it?

    Kind regards

    • Slava:

      If the headache isn’t too annoying or worrisome, stay with it. If not, stop it. Some possible causes of a headache while on a low-carb diet are dehydration and too much high-intensity training or stress. Since stored carbs release water when burned, a period of low-carb eating, where fewer carbs are burned, means that less water is released into the bloodstream as usual. So it’s usually necessary to drink water (to thirst) at more regular intervals than usual. And in both high-intensity training and stress, the body uses a greater percentage of sugar, which means that sugar runs out more quickly than usual, and the brain starts having a hard time being fueled. When you eat low-carb but don’t do things that significantly elevate your rates of sugar usage, the brain has no problem fueling itself with the sugar that the liver can produce. I mention this because headaches are a typical response to the brain having to fight with the body for fuel.

  • Marcelo C says:

    i got a question

    in the 2 Week test

    Peanut are wrong but Peanut butter it’s ok

    can you explain me ? Please

  • Kai says:

    Hello Ivan,

    My wife and I started the two-week test right after my competitive running season and we have been doing well so far (with only 5 days to go). We have been eating massive amounts of eggs, cheese and sour cream, vegetables and nuts, salmon and chicken, olive oils, all and always organic. Our two girls (under 6 years of age) have been eating along.

    However, once the test is over, I do not believe we would be able to keep up this way of eating (10 eggs, 3 avocados, many almonds and a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano per day). We are a very active family and this is also a bigger expense. Therefore, I am wondering about the following:

    Should children even participate in this way of eating, seeing that they move and run differently than we adults do when training with the 180 formula?

    They grew up on real oats porridges with berries and cinnamon for breakfast. Is that okay every other day for them and us adults as well on a more active day, seeing that my only other option would be eggs, really?

    Are smorrebrod (the Scandinavian buttered rye bread) with cheese or fish for lunch an okay option once in a while, since that is what there is for lunch here?

    What kind of good carbohydrates, besides enormous amounts of vegetables can I serve (thinking of basmati or risotto rice) to get a bit more “material” on the plate once in a while?

    Sweet and normal potatoes?

    How much cheese is too much and can we eat it every day? We eat all real Gruyere, Parmesan, feta, mozzarella.

    What kind milk would be acceptable for the children? Is 75% fat quark and Fage with 5 grams of fat per 100 grams (made in Greece) in order?

    What kind of fruit is the best to consume once or twice a day for children?

    Thank you kindly, Ivan, for your responses and helping our family.

    Kai

    • Kai:

      Children do not respond substantively differently to the TWT than adults. All of those options seem good in moderation and in combination with an active lifestyle. However, I still must say that several of those foods—sweet and normal potatoes and rye bread—are best avoided when possible. The important part is to look for signs and symptoms of Carbohydrate Intolerance in the hours following consumption of a particular food. If those symptoms emerge, there’s a very good indication that the food or the amount of that particular food is not working for that particular person.

      The best fruits to consume once or twice a day are berries and tomatoes. Bananas, apples, etc. are best avoided unless they are essentially the only sugars the person will eat for the day. If dinner will have potatoes, for example, stay away from sweeter fruits. Other carbohydrates I would consider are legumes (lentils, beans, fava beans, etc.) and quinoa.

      I suggest that you and your family take Survey 5 in this article. If you, your wife or children do NOT (each) answer more than 2 of these questions positively, doing the full Two-Week Test may not be necessary for them. Instead, just adopt a lower-carbohydrate, lower-glycemic diet and modestly keep track of whether you and your family’s answers to the questions in Survey 5 change.

  • Bill says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I am 3-4 months past the TWT. In that time I have dropped 35 pounds while retaining my muscle mass. 0 added sugar, 0 junk food, 2 servings of pasta , and probably 5 slices of bread since the TWT. I am feeling energetic throughout the day and doing 10 mile hikes through the mountains as though they were walks in the park. Many thanks to you and the good doctor.
    One thing I ate frequently with dinner was grilled corn (one ear, who could resist?) I recently read on a web site that eating corn was akin to eating poison. Yet, the very next site said that corn it healthy and full of goodness. I an officially confused. What is you’re take on corn? Also I have been hearing a guy on the radio called “pharmacist Ben ” who states that intermittently fasting does a world of good for the body. Can you comment on that as well? Thanks again

    • Bill:

      I just got to your other comment. I think I answered your question fully. If I didn’t just let me know.

      • Bill says:

        Thank you Ivan. Yes you answered quite fittingly. I am by no means an elite athlete. I basically hike and mountain bike between 20 60 miles a week carrying from a 40 to 80 lb kettle bell or sandbag depending on how I feel.
        I am 56 and because of the way I have been eating, feel pretty satiated all day and… loaded with energy.
        I of course used the 180 method and have been steadily increasing the strength of my aerobic system. Recovery is much quicker when I tax myself.
        What then is you’re take on intermittent fasting? Thanks in advance.

        • Bill:

          I don’t do it very often—usually I need a very good reason to. It can be quite stressful for the body when done in the wrong way, or during a stressful time in your life. It just opens up a big can of worms that doesn’t really need to be opened, unless there’s a clear medical reason to do so.

  • Bill says:

    Hello Ivan,
    It’s now been roughly 3-4 months since doing the TWT. 255 Lbs at the start and now 220 Lbs whilst retaining my muscle mass. Have had maybe 2 slices of bread in this time, no candy, no junk, very little pasta. Feeling awesome. Many thanks to you and the good doctor.
    What is your take on grilled corn? If you read one website it states that eating corn is akin to eating poison while the very next site says “packed with goodness” I’m confused. Thanks

    • Bill:

      Good to hear!

      The issue with corn is not like that. We don’t like corn and other cereals because they tend to have more pesticides, tend to be GMO, and are just more high-glycemic than you absolutely need to eat. Elite athletes and subsistence farming communities have a good relationship with corn since they’re burning through massive amounts of calories (aerobically) and they want to eat very nutrient-packed foods that are easy to digest. Cereals are great for that.

      But they have a strong impact on blood sugar. For elite athletes and subsistence farmers, this isn’t too much of a problem. The sheer volume of aerobic work means that their aerobic engines are not only very powerful, but working all of the time. They can ably convert large amounts carbs to fats (and then burn those fats) without that conversion process having too much of a negative impact in the subsequent fat-burning. So let me make a point here: It’s not that eating lots of carbs make these athletes better athletes, but rather they tend to (but not always do) eat lots of carbs because of a combination of 2 things: (1) they get a lot of caloric bang for their digestive buck, and (2) because of their massive aerobic engines, they can absorb the glycemic impact of those carbs without too much detriment. The combination of (1) and (2) allows them to continue training/working at very high rates, and keeping their aerobic engines strong. But this does not mean that an elite athlete who ingests 4,500 calories a day is somehow shackled to the corn and potatoes train. (They’re not). It’s easier to get that amount of calories that way, but it’s also possible to get them from fats. An elite athlete who eats a high-calorie, relatively high-fat diet has to pace him/herself more throughout the day, but not by much. It’s not that it can’t be done, or that it’s incredibly difficult—it’s just easier to eat the carbs, particularly when your aerobic engine (and your rate of fuel usage) can afford it.

      So here’s my take on it: it’s contingent on the strength of your aerobic engine. It’s not a NEVER food like Pasta and Coca-Cola, but if you can avoid it (most of the time), avoid it. If you’re having grilled corn here and there because you’re going to a family BBQ here and there, then by all means, eat some in moderation. I believe that we take care of our bodies-slash-aerobic engines to be able to take a few exceptions and have the mechanisms to efficiently absorb their (modest) impacts.

  • Marie Tangi says:

    Hello,

    Is cooking with alcohol (red wine) allowed?

    Thanks!

  • brendan says:

    hello,

    am starting this 2 week test, well tomorrow.

    having read through the site a fair bit the breakfast sounds like the main meal. i generally have not tended to eat that much for breakfast for years – and the thought of consuming 800 calories within an hour of waking up is… well, difficult.

    any suggestions for the breakfast ? i did look through the menu ideas, but not being a massive fan of eggs didnt see too much

    thanks in advance

  • Joe says:

    I was wondering why cashews and peanuts are not to be consumed during the TWT. Thank you in advance.

  • Ally says:

    Hi Ivan
    What does it mean if you don’t get any withdrawal symptoms until day 12? I’m completely sugar and carb addicted and don’t really eat anything else, which is a huge problem, but managed to get to day 12 before I got cravings, which really confused me as I thought I’d struggle from day 1.

    I got to 13 1/2 days of the detox before giving in and have basically spent the last 3 days eating nothing but sugar and chocolate again. I’d hoped the detox would break this but clearly not. I’m wondering if my diet is so high in carbs that it took until day 12 for my stores to be depleted?

    I’m not really sure what to do – it seems I can only manage to do all or nothing – and nothing long term isn’t particularly sustainable as I’m a vegetarian wanting to go back to being vegan…

    Should I do the detox again? or for longer than 2 weeks before adding in any carbs?
    Thanks

    • Ally:

      Usually, when cravings happen out of the blue, it’s because some kind of significant stress entered the picture. It takes at most 2 days for your stored carb levels to go down, so it’s unlikely that’s just happening to you. Stress changes the body’s hormonal makeup in such a way that it stops burning fats, so it wants more sugar. But if the diet is relatively sugar-less, which means that there is relatively less stored sugar in the body, cravings can become unbearable. So I would look for some kind of significant stressor that entered the equation in day 10 or 11. The answer, of course, is to remove it and see if you can re-start the test.

      At this point, we don’t have a vegetarian option for the test, but something is in the works.

  • Niki says:

    Hi Ivan
    I’m on day 13 of the TWT. I was utterly carb & sugar dependent before the test & although I noticed my energy levels have been much more stable than when consuming carbs I have also felt fatigued. I’m vegetarian & don’t normally eat cheese or many eggs so have done during this time, & I’ve eaten tons of nuts. I don’t think I’ve lost any weight or any body fat I’m not sure if I put any on as the weighing machine at my gym has been broken the last few days. I’ve done a small amount of exercise, but not much, which is currently the norm.

    My confusion and my question is that because I was so utterly carb dependent I thought I would go through hell and have immense cravings all through the test and actually the only few days I’ve found difficult in terms of cravings have been the last couple of days where I’ve really wanted chocolate, biscuits and diet fizzy drinks. Does this mean that I need to extend the test as I had such a huge amount of car was built up in my body that I’ve only just started now to detox?!

    I’m hoping you see this question very quickly and manage to respond as obviously I’m very near the end of the two weeks now… many thanks in advance!

    • Niki:

      Sorry that I wasn’t able to respond. I was driving down to Baja California, Mexico, and was out of communication due to Hurricane Newton.

      Generally, it’s very unlikely that it takes more than 1 or 2 days for levels of carbs to drop dramatically. But the problem is that the body is still wired to want carbs. As soon as carb levels drop, the body starts re-wiring itself to burn more fats. But until that process has run its course, the cravings still happen because the body has less fuel than it’s used to. If the symptoms only cropped up in the last days, it might be because of some stressor that showed up sometime during that time. Stress changes the body’s hormonal makeup towards burning sugar and away from burning fats. So when you are relatively sugar-depleted (such as when you are eating a high-fat diet), and you don’t have enough sugar to fuel your body, your cravings intensify. The obvious fix, of course, is to search for the stressor, identify it, and remove it.

  • Paula says:

    Hi! I did the two week test, dropped 5 lbs. and felt better than I had in a long time 😀 Now, I am wondering what the opinion is on Shakeology. I’m an avid runner and triathlete, and have no desire/time to do the Beach Body workouts. However, I was recently given a free package of Shakeology to try and it says right on the bag it’s rated low on the glycemic index. The nutrition looks good, packed with exotic fruits and vegetables, but it costs over $100 for a month’s supply. Various blogs and reviews online either swear by the stuff or market it as another overpriced “super” food. As a broke grad student, I definitely don’t have the resources to invest in this product, but does Shakeology even fit the MAF principle of simple, whole, and affordable nutrition? Thanks!

    • Paula:

      Maybe. It doesn’t look like Shakeology has much of an issue in the glycemic department, but generally speaking processed foods are just not as good as natural foods. So, the bang for your buck that you can get from the real foods sections (meat, veggies, eggs) at your supermarket is potentially far, far greater than what you can get from Shakeology. I wouldn’t bother with them.

  • Norm says:

    I had some sauerkraut that was about a half and half mix of cabbage with beets, so maybe like 2 cups worth over two days. Is that a big enough deal to extend the length of the test at all? Thoughts?

    Also, are sun dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers okay or too concentrated? Also, is coconut cream okay for curries or to water down and use as milk?

    Thanks!

  • Charlie says:

    Morning everybody,

    I’ve read the comments about milk and yogurt being not part of the TWT. I’m more of a weightlifter myself and these two are huge sources of protein for me. If I drink whole milk and eat full fat greek yogurt, is this acceptable? Thanks!

    • Charlie:

      Yes, absolutely. We exclude them primarily because whole milk and full-fat yogurt are not the norm, and we want to make the test relevant to as broad an audience as possible—people who might not be well-versed in picking apart nutrition facts, comparing brands, and having the background knowledge of what they mean.

  • Norm says:

    Hey all,

    Just wondering about apple cider vinegar, hemp seeds, nut yeast, Bragg’s liquid soy seasoning (or tamari) and also carob powder. Thoughts?

  • Yogi says:

    I completed the 2 week diet yesterday and lost 11 pounds. My main objective to do this was to improve my metabolism because how much ever i worked out the weight used to come back and was difficult to maintain or reduce further. So im eagerly looking for long term benefits….hope metabolism improves over a period of time. The diet itself was very easy to go through since on the 2nd day itself all the cravings and hunger was subsided. Felt healthy overall except for very few occasions felt bit tired. I ran (45mins) about 7 times over a period of 2 weeks. Even after completing the 2 weeks i dont have the previous strong urge to eat cabro now. I feel lot healthier now and would like to go through the diet again in next few months. I have a marathon in Dec and want to loose another 12 to 14 pounds by then. Could you please advise after how many weeks its best to do the diet 2nd,3rd time. Thanks a ton for the article and your valuable contribution.

    • Yogi:

      Thanks for your comment. Typically, the two-week test is only done for two-weeks, after which you start experimenting with other foods to see if they are healthy for you (judging by whether the signs and symptoms that led you to try the test return or don’t). That said, a lot of people find that their healthiest diet is actually quite similar in macronutrient distribution to the Two-Week Test, which means that they end up “dieting” perennially. In this vein, it is just fine (for a majority of people) to try the test every few months or so and reset their metabolism. A lot of people do the Two-Week test in the early fall and in the early spring—just after the holidays, to “reset” after periods of subpar eating.

  • Scott says:

    Thanks for the quick response! I am a new convert to this angle on nutrition. Of course it seems completely crazy to have 60% of your intake be “fat”. One example is the coffee recipes. Decadent! Coffee will never be the same. But my mental conditioning says “this cant be good for you”.
    A couple of questions on optipizing being in a “ketosis state” and what happens to the fat intake:
    In some of the research I have done, I keep finding reference to protein being recommended as 20% or less of the macro ratio based on the glycogen stored in protein as well as how the body metabolizes protein (producing glycogen). Seems to suggest 70/15/15 or even 80/10/10. Wondering if you have any opinion or data on glycogen in protein (stored or metabolized)? Maybe keeping the carb ratio at 10% as you mentioned balances out with the 30% protein and glycogen generated there.
    Also keep finding that saturated fat is a good fat. Supported by data saying if in Ketosis, saturated fat is the preferred fuel your body wants to burn (avoiding storage in the wrong places). But you need to bee 100% committed to staying in ketosis. If you come out of a ketosis state, the saturated fat could go to the wrong places vs. being burned as fuel.
    Appreciate your thoughts and info on these!

    Thanks,

    SD

    • Scott:

      You’re right! I must have gotten confused or made a typo. I went back and revised my comment. I meant 20% protein plus or minus 5%. And of course, even those numbers might warrant modification based on the points you make.

      We aren’t really worried about the body’s production of glycogen through protein (for the purposes of the TWT), since it doesn’t impact blood sugar in a big way. Rather, in the face of a diet such as the TWT diet, which carries a very small glycemic load, the body’s production of glycogen through protein metabolism has a negligible impact on blood sugar (and essentially no adverse impact in insulin response). So what you are talking about is a consideration that very good endurance athletes might want to make for the purposes of training—but it has relatively little bearing in reducing metabolic disease risk.

  • Scott says:

    Hi, tried my best to find this answer in the threads, sure it is there and this is a repeat.
    What is the ratio of Fat/Protien/Carbs I should be shooting for per the MAF nutritional plan?

    Thanks,

    SD

    • Scott:

      It’s less about the specific macro ratios and more about dramatically reducing your diet’s overall glycemic load. We could say that this typically might look something like 10% carbs, 70% fats, and 20% proteins, give or take 5 percentage points for each macro depending on a variety of factors.

  • Augusto says:

    Just an adjustment to my previous post: by “no carbs” what I really meant was “no sugars and no grains”

  • Tammy says:

    Ivan,

    I am a 49 year old female. I will try to make this as brief as possible. I am on 6 of the test and for the past 2 days, I have been extremely thirsty. I cannot seem to quench my thirst. I am a huge water drinker. I also woke up with a headache this morning. I have a history of severe bloating which is why I am trying this. I have felt great up until the last 2 days, not hungry and very satisfied after and between meals. I have kept my exercise low intensity (walking) while I typically run, after much reading on this site, I know I need to work on heart rate training as it takes me no time at all to go above my target rate of 121. I have been on medication for the past 15 years for restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy so I subtracted 10 from 131. I really hope I can run again so for now trusting the program.

    Is the thirst and headache something I need to be concerned with?

    I appreciate your thoughts.

    • Tammy:

      Sorry for the delayed response. Constant thirst is a symptom of being in a chronically stressed state (although it does not necessarily entail one).

      Sugars fuel the stress response. So, when you have a relatively carb-free diet but have a series of significant environmental stressors (work, lifestyle, bad sleep, etc.) your body can’t fuel the stress response, creating a variety of other physiological stresses—think of these as pressure valves—in the process. So I would start taking inventory of my stresses to see what I might be able to mitigate.

  • Augusto says:

    Hi Ivan, I started following the guidelines dramatically cutting carbs, eating 8 to 10 servings of veggies/fruit a day and not caring so much about fats (only the good ones though) and training exclusively aerobically at or under my MAF. At the same time I stopped taking statins for cholesterol as my lipid test was now excellent. Although I did lose 10lbs to reach a perfect BMI, the combination of the diet plus stopping the medication gave the following jump in my current lipids test (3 months later):
    (all in mg/dl)
    Cholesterol: from 174 to 268
    Triglyceride: from 45 to 63
    HDL: from 63 to 61
    LDL: from 102 to 194
    non-HDL: from 111 to 207

    I read in another article by Phil (in this website) that Triglyceride is the important measure and that Cholesterol is not that important, but still this is a significant jump for 3 months. Could it be that my genes just make me need the statin medication? or is it that I need to do a mostly vegetarian diet with little carbs and fat, but some protein?

    I hope I dont have to return to taking statins and having to reduce an extra 10 bpm for training.

    Thanks,
    Augusto

    • Augusto:

      I really can’t comment on the medical issues, for liability reasons.

      However, I can tell you that if your genes did make you need statin medication, your ancestors who lived before statin medication (who themselves would have needed statins) would have died out. So while it may be the case that you are predisposed to certain conditions though genes, these conditions come about through environmental or nutritional triggers.

      • Augusto says:

        Thanks Ivan, my question was more towards what could have caused such a spike if I am following the MAF training and dietary guidelines. could it be the amounts of fats I am now consuming? Or because as my body trains to use fats as fuel its behaving as if I’m going through a fasting period? Or both? Or other?

        • Augusto:

          Typically, it’s not an increase in healthy fats that makes those statistics jump up like that. But I can’t be sure what it could be; a deeper analysis of your diet might be in order. I would consult with a nutritionist who can review your case in detail. (And you might find that for specific environmental or physiological reasons specific to you, modifications to the TWT-proposed foods might be in order).

  • Vina says:

    Hi Ivan

    I’ve just started the TWT (today day 2), and my question is about intense exercise. On my last 3 days of the TWT I’ll be heading to a triathlon camp. It will be intense but for some sessions (run and swim) we can most likely go our own pace. I’ll have to anyway as I’ve only been back exercising 6-7 months since the birth of my daughter in sept 15. Should I keep going with the TWT or should I wait till after the camp?

    At the moment I’m trying to exercise every second day building up to 5-6 days a week exercise in prep for an Olympic distance tri in the last weekend of October.

    Thanks for your advice!

  • Javier says:

    Ivan,

    thank you for your time and patience answering all the questions. I’m about half way reading this page (pretty long), and have learned quite a bit. Today is my last day on the TWT – I’ve notice a lot of positive changes. The only drawback for me was getting 1 to 2 minutes per mile slower at MAF than before I started the test – granted it’s been pretty hot recently.

    Question about hydration (apologies if this has been answer on the section of the page I haven’t read yet – I’ve searched around using certain keywords, but didn’t find anything). Normally (before the TWT), I used to drink one electrolyte tablet dissolved in 16oz of water after every run (regardless whether it was 3 miles or 16 miles). The ingredients of such tablets are listed as:

    “MEDICINAL INGREDIENTS: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin-c, d-glucose”

    There is no nutritional description as to how much carbs vs sugar they contain. What are your thoughts about this?

    Thanks in advanced.

  • Bobby K says:

    I just wanted to see if you received my question the other day about the amount of carbs I am eating on a daily basis. I’m following the TWT religiously, but my diet is still around 15% carbs. Nuts, avocado and vegetables have carbs, so I guess this is OK. I just want to make sure I am not missing something. The point of the MFT is to avoid all refined carbs, right? I’m good as long as I’m avoiding those?

  • Bobby K says:

    Thanks for all of the amazing content! This is awesome! Two questions:

    1. Can we drink Phil’s shake while on the TWT even though it has fruit? Can we eat blueberries and in season fruit when on the TWT? I thought that was a no-no.

    2. Today I’ve limited my food to eggs, almonds, pistachios, cheddar cheese, broccoli, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter, avocados, homemade salsa, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and chicken, but I still have eaten 53 grams of carbs. Does that sound right? I assume this is OK given that the carbs I am ingesting are not refined carbs?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Bobby K:

      Sorry for taking so long to get to your comments. I’ve been away.

      1. No, Phil’s shake (and blueberries) are not TWT foods.

      2. Essentially. The most important thing that the TWT does is to reduce the overall glycemic load on your body (the impact that those carbs have on your blood sugar). So, if you’re sticking to the rules of the TWT, it’s highly unlikely that this glycemic load is exceeding acceptable levels.

  • Stjepan says:

    To clarify, I generally understand that sugar in any form is the least desirable nutrient in most cases. I just happen to like my post long-run meals sweet in taste. That’s why I’m asking for an advice. 🙂

    Thanks,

    Stjepan

  • Stjepan says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for replying, your insight is much appreciated.

    However, I would like a bit of clarification regarding my first question. If I remove the honey and oats after the long run, what would be an acceptable alternative for a meal? There is one other recipe I’m also fond of – would this be fine:
    1 banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 cup beans, 1 tbsp chia, 2tbsp coconut butter, 2 tbsp cacao powder, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp maple syrup. All ingredients are blended together.

    If not, than I’m lost. 🙂 Those were my 2 staples, for the post long-run replenishment. Your advice on alternatives would be very helpful!

    Thanks again,

    Stjepan

  • Jasmeet says:

    Hi there! I’ve done the TWT once every year for the past 4 years to get myself back on track. Started on it a week ago. I’m also training for a triathlon. Did a swim and run yesterday and had a large breakfast of eggs, vegetables and cheese. My neighbourhood was organising a blood donation drive that I went for and during the pre check up was told that I had low blood pressure. After drinking 2 cups of tea (sweetened, as that was the only option), the BP got better and I donated blood. All was fine till there, but was given a mandatory sugary drink post the donation. Now I’m wondering if I should start my 2 weeks again. Thanks!

  • Stjepan says:

    Hello,

    I apologize if the following questions have been answered, but I couldn’t find them in the thread after an extensive read-through session. 🙂

    I’ve completed the 2 week test, to an extent (I’ve left moderate amount of berries, cherries and a teaspoon of honey once daily in my diet). During this period I’ve lost 6-7 lbs, with good energy levels and eating untill full at every meal. My background as far as activities go: I’m an ultramarathoner and my typical training would be: 5 days running weekly mostly on trails, with 2 long runs on weekends (anywhere from 3-6 hours sessions). After following the 2 week test, my speed has suffered, but that is to be expected.

    I must say that the LCHF diet in general is a fairly new concept for me and after diving into more research (particulary on this site) I have more understanding as to why this type of diet is desireable for the ultramarathoners. I plan to stick to it mostly, with moderate carbohydrate intake. Also, I’m a vegetarian. Which brings me to my questions:

    1. What would be an acceptable immediate post long-run meal? My go to combo up untill now was: roghly 1 cup of oatmeal, cca 350 ml of yoghurt, some sort of berries, 1 tsp of honey, 1 portion of whey, cacao, chia and maca).

    2. Recommendation on what/when to eat prior to an interval training session. I presume it would be more carbo based, because of the anaerobic nature of the exercise?

    3. Lastly, in one of your posts, you indicate that your dinner consists of vegetarian chilli with cheese, etc. Isn’t this a bit on a heavy side, digestion wise? Also, what about glycemic index of beans in combination with cheese? I’m asking because I really like the sound of this combination, but am worried about packing weight with those kind of meals (if one would eat them regularly). 🙂

    Sorry for a long post, but your insight could help me navigate through some changes I’m trying to implement in my life.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Stjepan

    • Stjepan:

      Thanks for commenting. I approve each comment individually and was away at the time. That’s why it hasn’t shown up. Let me answer in sequence:

      1. Try to move away from using honey and oats after a run. However, don’t stop abruptly. Instead, ramp down slowly over the course of a week or two and see if that helps.

      2. Yes, essentially. However, it’s more important to start that day with relatively more glycogen in the muscles than you would for a fully aerobic training day. This is part of why I like the vegetarian chili you mention in he 3rd question.

      3. The vegetarian chili is my personal favorite way of getting a relatively low glycemic meal that does help replenish my muscle glycogen. (Beans, lentils, and other legumes are acceptable to me in terms of glycemic index, although they do not form part of what one would consider “LCHF eating”.

      That said, the chili might be a little heavy for some. Also note that I eat my meals in decreasing size, meaning that my dinner is much smaller than my breakfast. So, while my breakfast may be 800-1000 calories, my dinner may be 400-500 calories. So it’s generally a much smaller serving. But it’s not meant to be heavy. Try experimenting with combinations of various legumes to see if that works, and try decreasing the cheese and increasing the avocado, for example. I also add olive oil as I’m cooking the beans—about 1/3 of a cup of oil for 2 lb of beans. This softens them up and also adds a little bit of fats in the process.

  • Valerie says:

    My husband & I are getting ready to start the TWT. I’m wondering if green peas are okay to eat. I’ve seen conflicting answers.

  • Sally says:

    Is stevia or any sweetener in any form allowed? What about coconut sugar?

    • Sally:

      No. All sugar is metabolized in the same way. There is substantively no metabolic difference between coconut sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. The only difference is that because HFCS is high in fructose, it takes more of it to become satiated. But the body reacts to it in an identical way.

      As far as non-caloric sweeteners go, we strongly discourage their use primarily because the reason we use them is because they are so similar to sugar. In fact, they are so similar that the body reacts to them as it would to sugar: by raising insulin levels in anticipation of sugar. But when that sugar does not arrive, all that insulin just hangs around in the bloodstream, increasing appetite and generally creating all sorts of chaos.

  • Craig says:

    Hi,

    I am nearly halfway through the TWT and I hadn’t studied the list properly an I have eaten about 125g of natural peanut butter spread across two meals. Is this okay as long as I stop eating it or do I need to restart?

    Cheers
    Craig

  • Greg says:

    Wow. First, thanks for the content on this site. It’s almost overwhelming how much information there is and trying to take it all in.

    I am a fireman in Dallas and have been on a bit of a health journey (mainly due to the increased health risks inherent with the job). One thing about the two-week test is how I could accomplish this when I’m on shift. Is there a protein shake or something similar I could make as a meal replacement? There is no hiding the truth that firemen like to eat… and usually it isn’t healthy for you.

      • Trudi says:

        Can Phil’s shake be done in the two week test?

        Also, my husband is very unhappy about giving up his Spark (it has sucralose but other than that is vitamins). Does he really need to give them up?

        • Trudi:

          No, Phil’s shake is NOT a TWT food.

          You cannot take sucralose during the TWT.

          • Trudi says:

            Hi Ivan! We just finished the two week test and are feeling pretty darn good. I, however, am scared to add carbs back in. I want to be careful about falling into old patterns. This morning I had those almond flour pancakes…..with a little bit of honey drizzled over. Wow! That was so delicious. 🙂

            My questions are how would YOU recommend we add things back in? Also, are green beans still considered questionable? And finally, how do I determine my carb to fat ratio? I haven’t seen anything that explained it in a way my brain understood. :/

            Thank you so much!

          • Trudi:

            The carb to fat ratio is best figured out by figuring out where you have no signs or symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance (bloating, low energy, etc.). Symptoms of CI are the most important indicator that you have that your carb-fat ratio isn’t working for you. Check out this FAQ where we discuss how to add foods back in.

  • lisa says:

    I find it odd that the most recent comments are at the bottom, Is there a way to resort this thread, and also do keyword searches. I saw the “is lemon okay on the 2 week asked several times, but couldn’t find the answer. I am going to give it a try. Your site has a great look and the menu pictures are especially good, but I am noticing the recipes in some cases could use a few more details.

    Thanks
    lisa in denver

  • Alice Lemon says:

    I plan on doing the two week test. In fact, i have begun changing some habits, with this in mind and the goal. All changes with me have to be slow and incremental. I do not react well, to pharmaceutical and have a spread sheet of food sensitivities, including all forms of chemical preservatives.

    I have already talked to you about an egg allergy, thank you for your help. All dairy is off the list. All Nightshade veggies. All juices of any type (they dump sugar and cause reactive Hypoglycemia. Many fish, shell fish & Chicken… just to name a few. The only bean i can eat is Black Beans. More importantly, i have Fibromyalgia, with nearly all the symptomatology that goes with it. Plus PTSD, Brain trauma and other Structural issues. (I was a victim of a severe traffic accident) I have taught myself to manage these with out any Medical/Pharmacological intervention. Yes, that was very hard work. Especially, with the constant brain fog.

    To do this test, as you can see whole groups, that are in the do list will be deleted. Is this going to be safe? I have worked hard to manage all this as best i can… however, I have gained 80lbs on a 5’2″ frame… I just don’t want to go back to being bed ridden and totally miserable again.

    The last three days I have made a few changes in areas already identified as problematic. In that three days i have lost three lbs.

    Sorry for the long dissertation, but i saw no one like me on this thread. So, again… will the two weeks, with all the limitations yours and mine, be safe???

    Thank you so much for your attention.

    • Alice:

      There’s nothing inherently dangerous about the test, but in cases of uncertainty, it’s always better to consult with your doctor, explaining the nature and purpose of the test, and the content of your diet over the next 2 weeks. While unlikely, there may be something specific to your particular medical profile that warrants attention, resulting in specific modifications to the test. Your doctor is in the best position to help you with that.

      If you’re looking for substitutes for dairy, chicken, etc., try veggies with an abundance of fats and protein such as coconut flours and oils, avocado, olive oil, etc.

  • Steve says:

    Hello,

    I’ve got a question that I haven’t seen addressed in the comments. I need to take a decongestant, such as robitussin, and the only form available locally is like a cough syrup, and contains ethanol, sorbitol, and maltitol. Is taking this going to negate the two week test? Is it completely incompatible with the test? Thanks

  • Richard says:

    Hi, couldn’t find answer in the comments! Are all mushrooms ok, fresh or dried, any variety? Many thanks.

  • Bill says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Today is the last day of my TWT. I’ve lost only 5 Lbs, though weight was not my ultimate goal here so that’s fine. I do have more energy and no ups and downs during the day.
    I have been working long hours as of late(electrical construction) and am recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus tear(three weeks ago)
    Because of ALL of these factors, I have not been able to get out there and exercise as I normally would. So… Is it still beneficial to eat in this manner even-though I can’t be as active as I would like to be for the next few weeks to a month?
    I have 0 cravings for sugars and junk food and though I love pasta, I feel like I can go without it forever if I had to. Many Thanks

    • Bill:

      Yes, it is. Nothing should stop you from eating exactly as you have been during the Two-Week Test, although we suggest that people re-incorporate a measure of carbs because most people do better that way.

  • Dominic says:

    Good Morning,

    Is it acceptable to consume Chia seeds during the TWT? Also how about tomatoes?

    Thanks
    Dominic

  • Mariane Wray says:

    Hi There – Is the two week test ok to do for breastfeeding women? The baby is exclusively on breast milk.

    • Marianne:

      There’s nothing harmful about the Two-Week Test, generally speaking. As long as you’re not in a stressed state during the test (too much work, too much exercise, traveling, entertaining home guests, etc.), the metabolic and hormonal changes that almost everyone experiences during the Two-Week Test are overwhelmingly positive. All of that aids milk production, rather than hinders it. However, it’s a good idea to cover your bases and make sure there’s nothing specific to you and your baby that could become an issue—unforeseen circumstances such as adding a food that happens to be an allergen or removing the only food providing a particular nutrient. Simply consult with your doctor, make them aware of your intended dietary changes over the 2 weeks, and listen to their advice.

  • Megan says:

    Is hemp milk okay?

  • Bill says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Hopefully the last question. I work out of state 10 months out of the year. I do construction in hospitals mainly so…. Seeing that most hospitals don’t give a lot of choices for good eats. Is it okay to have eggs and cheese for breakfast and again for say 9am snack? Thanks

  • Bill says:

    Thank you Ivan,
    I hate to bother you repeatedly but, I love my burger with just a slice of tomato and mayonnaise. Every brand of mayonnaise I checked (including natural and or organic) say 0% sugar on the DV list but in the ingredients sugar is listed around 5th or 6th.
    And all of the sour cream says 1-2 grams of sugar. No good for these items? Thanks

  • John Carr says:

    Thanks, Ivan.

  • Bill says:

    Hello Ivan,
    Man these threads are long….. Do you have time to sleep?
    I want to do the twt. I do not see butter on the can eat or can’t eat lists. Thank You

  • John Carr says:

    Hi Ivan

    Question: can I eat fruit on its own? e.g. an apple, kiwi and peach in quick succession?

    Background:

    Even before converting to the MAF Method I did not suffer from the symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance.

    After completing the two week test I followed your instructions about reintroduction of food.

    All good and running at the right heart rate for at least 4 months now. Feeling great.

    I do not like to eat fruit after a meal due to rules of food combining.

    So……

    Can I eat fruit on its own? e.g. an apple, kiwi and peach in quick succession?

    It feels fine to me and I used to eat 5 different pieces a day but cut it out for the TWT and for a while afterwards.

    Thanks

    John

  • Antonio says:

    Ivan,
    I completed my TWT test and I could ascertain its positive effects on my body. I lost about 3Kg, feel great and very light when I do my MAF runs, but most of all I changed my diet to avoid carbs, starch and sugar. You mention, in one of your earlier responses, that the TWT is not a diet and should be done for 2 weeks only. In an attempt to understand how to re-introduce a wider spectrum of ingredients without losing the feeling, I stumbled on the keto lifestyle. As far as I can understand right not, it advocates the 70/20/10 ratio, which seems reasonable upon the light of reintroducing — and capping — the daily carbs intake. Would you suggest roughly following a ketogenic lifestyle could be a good follow-up to the TWT?

    Thanks in advance!

  • JH says:

    Ivan,

    I am a 24 year old female who is on Day 9 of the TWT. I am pretty sure that my fatigue and cravings have improved, but I have loosely kept track of my weight and it seems to have definitely increased by about 3-7 pounds so far. It may be a lack of bowel movements, but I don’t think constipation could contribute to that much weight gain. I don’t have a way to measure body fat at the moment, but my whole body feels and looks slightly larger. I can’t tell if it is muscle, fat, or water.

    I know that I should wait for my 2 weeks to be up, but is it possible that my results will be different than most people’s because of my starting state? Before the TWT, I was at a healthy weight, with little to normal body fat. However, I was basically on a low-carb starvation diet at about 800-1000 calories per day, and could not lose any more weight no matter how much I restricted calories. Most of my calories came from protein and vegetables, with very little fat. My carbohydrates were also below 100g per day, usually from fruit or a protein bar.

    During my TWT, I have followed the diet carefully and my carb intake is extremely minimal, but my calories have easily doubled to at least 1800 per day. I drink plenty of water and have not changed my sodium intake by much. It is probably also important to mention that I am a weightlifter and have a fairly muscular frame. I train about 5x a week, about 2 hours per session. I lift heavy rather than light, but I take short breaks and my workouts are almost more aerobic than anaerobic.

    I have read most of the comments, and have read the explanations for possible weight gain. Could there be any other reason why I am gaining weight? I know that most people lose water weight along with their glycogen stores, but is it possible that I did not have much glycogen to begin with? Has there been any research on people that start with a low-carb, low calorie, low-fat diet and suddenly change to a high fat, high calorie diet? While I am at a healthy weight, I do have body fat and would like to lose a few pounds, if possible.

    Thanks!

    • JH:

      I would cut back on ALL anaerobic training and attempt to remove as many stressors as possible from your day. The Two-Week Test is a process which forces the body to learn how to burn fats because, among other things, there are little to no sugars to burn. When you do anaerobic training during the Two-Week Test, the body has to dig very deep in order to be able to produce that sugar—and it can never do so quickly enough, meaning that it is very stressful. On top of that, the hormone that the body uses to increase the availability of sugar is cortisol. This means that, if you train anaerobically while eating a diet like that of the Two-Week Test, it’s very easy to put the body in a stressed state.

      When the body is in a stressed state, not only does appetite increase, but the cortisol means that more of those calories become stored as body fats. So, it’s important to match the type of training with the fuels that the body has available.

      A CRUCIAL note on the topic of starvation diet-related research: when you go on a starvation diet, your thyroid (whose function is to help the body put on straight mass) goes into overdrive, in order to get as much bang for a little buck as possible. This is not normal, it is not healthy, and it creates long-term damage to the metabolism. But when you go on a regular diet, the thyroid can’t just shift gears back: It’s been trained to stay in overdrive. Here’s the catch: there’s no real way to stop the overdrive without letting the body’s well-justified food worries—the one that led the thyroid to go into overdrive in the first place—subside. And the only way to do that is to give it the nourishment that it’s been so desperately trying to obtain for long enough that it understands and becomes reassured that it’s not going away any time soon.

      There is no way to undergo this process without a medium-term change in body composition.

      In this same vein, you cannot be at a “healthy weight” when you are also not at a healthy body composition. And insofar as your thyroid gland (and various other glands) are either suppressed or in overdrive, you cannot be at a healthy body composition.

      Hope this helps.

      • Suresh Kumar says:

        Ivan,
        I completed the TWT recently but during the TWT I did anaerobic training several times. After the TWT I resumed eating normally but reduced carbs considerably and continued my anaerobic training (mostly). About 2 months after the TWT I did a blood test and my TSH level is very low (0.03) but by free T4 is in normal range. Is this because of low carbs coupled with anaerobic training? if yes, what should I do now to get my TSH level to normal level?
        Thanks in advance,
        Suresh

        • Hi Suresh,

          I can’t tell you for certain as we haven’t done studies on it, but the answer is that training anaerobically while in a carb-depleted state will do strange things to your metabolism and your thyroid (since the thyroid is the gland that controls the metabolism). That’s because you are training in a way that requires carbs as a fuel source without having significant carbs in the tank. Basically it requires your body to do weird work-arounds that can have butterfly-effects across the body, and it makes sense that the TSH issue would be a work-around for this kind of thing.

          Basically, the answer is to train in ways that observe your fuel supply: if you are doing low-carb diets, train near-exclusively in a way that primarily uses fat for fuel, especially at the beginning. As your body gets more adapted to this, it’ll begin to produce its own glucose internally, which will allow you to have fuel for higher-intensity efforts.

          Does this make sense to you?

          • Suresh Kumar K says:

            Thanks a lot Ivan. I will now focus on eating healthy carbs and train completely in aerobic zone. I hope my TSH comes back to normal.

  • Sebastian says:

    Dear Ivan,

    Is the liver (f.i. beef liver) allowed during the TWT? Thanks.

  • john rafter says:

    HI
    IS IT OK to drink Braggs apple cider vinegar with soda water during 2week test?
    cheers john

  • TM says:

    I’ve been feeling great on the foods from the TWT (for about 6 weeks now) and have begun adding in a very few new foods (beans, tomato sauce in minestrone – with no pasta, a bit of brown rice). One thing I found very helpful (and I think make me feel so good) with the TWT foods was keeping at the right ratio of good fats/protein/carbs (I am doing 70/20/10). As I begin to add more carbs to my diet I can only imagine that ratio will be harder to keep (unless I also start stuffing myself eating more fats and protein). Do you suggest a ratio of good fats/protein/carbs for after the TWT is completed? Thanks!

    • A big part of the goal of the TWT is to be able to tack your way towards whatever macronutrient ratio is best for your body. How do you know what is best? When you’re eating in a way that the signs and symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance do not return.

      • TM says:

        Thanks! I’ll review my “pre test” list of symptoms and become better at commenting about those issues on my food diary. I appreciate ALL of your responses (they were invaluable in beginning this process) and especially this personal one.

  • Mark and Roz says:

    Hi there

    I don’t think you’ve commented on my 23rd May post. Still like to hear your thoughts. Thanks
    Roz

  • John says:

    Hi! Some more questions — really appreciate the replies so far and hoping the answers generated serve as a valuable resource for everyone else.

    I hear mustard is okay. But most mustard has sugar added as an ingredient. For example, Maille wholegrain mustard has sugar it, with 6g of sugars for every 9.4 grams of carbs, per 100 grams. I take it this is not suitable for the Maffetone method?

    Also, a lot of wasabi and karashi (mustard) products in Japan have things added, such as fructose. I also take it this is bad?

    Other questions I have are about types of vinegar. Are all or most suitable? Some of Dr. Maffetone’s recipes include rice wine vinegar. But there are sugars in this? In Japan where I live there’s a ton of Mirin, nearly every dish contains it, but on the packaging it says per 15ml there is 6-9g of carbs in it. Is this still okay?

    And finally I wanted to ask about tomato sauces. I could always make my own but I don’t always have time so … the one I have lists ingredients as tomato pulp (tomatoes, citric acid), carrots, bell pepper, olive oil, zucchini, onion, sea salt, eggplant and basil. It goes on to say per 125g there is 12g or carbs of which 6g are sugars (perhaps from the citric acid?) I tasted it, and it has a definite sweetness about it, but I know that doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t eat it. What is your take on this? Can I use this (for example, on cauliflower base pizzas where cauliflower substitutes dough), or should I avoid it and take the time to make my own tomato sauce.

    Thanks again! Really appreciate your time!

    • John:

      Organic, “real” mustard is what is fine. “Mustard + X” is different than “mustard.”

      As for Mustard, Wasabi, and Karashi, you’re probably not going to be taking spoonfuls of them, so all things considered the amount of fructose you’ll be ingesting is very small. While zero fructose is better than a little fructose, the amount of fructose that you find in Wasabi is far, far less than that which you’d find in a scoop of peanut butter or a glass of lowfat milk.

      All vinegar is fine. Partly, this is because you’ll be ingesting it in quantities that matter.

      Any vegetable sauces that don’t have added sugar (sugar listed as an ingredient) are fine. However, making your own is always best.

  • Catherine A. says:

    I stumbled across your website after trying to research what was causing my stomach pains. I’ve always had stomach issue my entire life, but now it was really interfering with my job. So much so, that I would be doubled over and would have to go lie down. I was also diagnosed with 2 auto-immune conditions 2 years ago, but with the right medication and therapy, at least I could now walk again. So, I got a Fitbit and off I went! But then the stomach pain really started to rear its ugly head and that’s where this site comes in.

    On the 3rd day of the test, my stomach pain had gone away, and my swelling went down..plus, I was losing a pound a day! Now, I have to preface this by saying that you could have never convinced me to give up potatoes, pasta, bread, sugar, but I figured I could do anything for 2 weeks. Well, it’s been almost 5 months, and I am now following a ketogenic lifestyle. I didn’t start this for weight-loss, but for my health. I’ve taken off 20 lbs, but have lost way more fat than that. I feel fantastic, have more energy, and I sleep better.

    I spent so many years bloated with painful gas, low blood sugar, and lethargy. I also suffered from tremors in my hands since I was 11 months old. I no longer have them, to the amazement of everyone who’s ever known me. I can also go many hours without eating and not shake and pass out. (I don’t skip meals, but amusement parks do not have friendly foods available, so I’d rather go without than put that poison in my body again). Also, my relationship with food is very positive now, whereas before I was a compulsive eater. I just eat when I’m hungry and listen to my body’s signals, which I completely trust now. This has been a life changer for me. Thank you, Dr. Phil Maffetone!!!!

    • Dee J says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Just read your comments on the symptoms you have experienced for the majority of your life. I, too, have suffered with stomach pains, bloating, gassiness, acidic stomach, constant feelings of hunger, and lethargy etc. so read your post with much interest. I cannot remember the amount of nights I have gone to bed with a ‘hot bot’ to ease the pain in my stomach.

      I have just embarked on the 2 week test, and am inspired to read that it has been so successful for you and that you now follow a ketogenic lifestyle. I’d be really interested to hear what you eat on a daily basis now?

      I am already a ‘low carb’ eater, but tend to snack on plain biscuits, plain crisps and crackers because eating fruit and dairy usually leads to a bloating/acidic stomach. I’ve decided that maybe the way forward is to eliminate carbs to see if they are actually what have been causing my stomach problems – ie. I’m carb intolerant. I’d always assumed I was fruit and daily intolerant!

      Funny that you mention being able to go for hours without eating now, as I find that if I don’t eat every couple of hours, I start to get pains in my stomach, which I assume is what you used to get?

      It would be great to hear back from you.

      Dee

  • Clare says:

    Dear Ivan,

    My husband and I are currently in the middle of the TWT and feeling really good on it. We just have one small question. We live in the UK and are not quite sure what ‘heavy cream’ translates to over here. We can buy various types of single cream (pouring or whipping) or double cream. Looking at them in the supermarket yesterday the total number of sugars in each seemed more or less the same (2.1 vs 2.6 g per 100ml) but the proportion of fat is much higher in double cream (47.5g vs 18g per 100 ml).

    I am assuming that the double cream is the best to use, we want to maximise healthy fats don’t we? If it makes a difference we were mostly intending to use it in coffee.

    Thanks very much!

    These are the links to the creams I was looking at if it helps you to look at them.

    single: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/sainsburys-single-cream-300ml
    double: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/gb/groceries/sainsburys-double-cream-300ml

  • MAF Enthusiast says:

    What do you think about the athletes who advocate, and have had very good success with, a very high carb diet (80%+) and strictly low fats (<10% of calories)?

    From what I have read, there are two ways that things can work:
    1) Carbs are only bad in the presence of fats.
    2) Fats are only bad in the presence of carbs.
    So both can work, but problems arise if you have both carbs+fats in the equation (as is the case for most diets).

    From personal experience, my speed/paces (at MAF HR and below) were the best when I was on a high carb, low fat diet. In addition, my endurance (how long I could go for) was better than ever. At my MAF HR, I still felt like I was a very efficient fat-burner inspite of my diet. My MAF tests were improving all of the time.

    For example, although my diet was very high carb, I would still do my runs in a fasted state in the mornings. And at MAF or below, I felt like I had infinite energy and didn't need any fuelling (could have gone for 2-3 hours no problem), and my pace was really good compared to other diets. However, when I was eating a standard diet (a mixture of carbs/fats), my MAF/aerobic ability was really bad, my breathing felt off, my muscles felt tired etc., like my blood/oxygen weren't efficient. The difference in performance was quite literally shocking (MAF tests getting worse, no progress).

    Likewise (although admittedly I haven't tried this fully/properly before), when I did a higher fat/protein and lower carb diet, I had this same "performance boost" feeling as I did in the high carb low fat case. There was a sense of thriving/stability.

    So when I was high carb, having too much fat in my system compromised my performance. Likewise, when I was high fat, too many carbs in my system negatively affected me too. And a mixture of both was even worse.

    This all leads me to a question. If the MAF HR (as per the 180-formula) corresponds to the point of burning 50% fats and 50% carbs, could a very high carb, low fat diet cause the "true MAF HR" to be even lower? Perhaps in this case, the person would be burning 55% carbs and 45% fats at the 180-formula HR? Likewise, maybe the opposite way around for someone with very low carbs, in a ketogenic state?

    Just thought I'd share my experiences and play devils advocate!

    • MAF Enthusiast:

      Thanks for commenting. That’s very interesting!

      The BIG metabolic issue we deal with here at MAF isn’t really eating low-carb high-fat or even burning lots of fats. The BIG metabolic issue is that your body prefers fats and defaults to them over carbs. (Of course, this means that you’ll end up burning lots of fats).

      The thing is this: if your body already prefers fats, you’re already healthy and unstressed, and you already have a very strategic training regimen that helps you entrench fat-burning (such as fasted runs), a high-carb diet may help you maintain an elevated training volume, leading to the “turbocharged” feeling you mention.

      That said, if you are mildly carbohydrate intolerant, stressed, unhealthy, and with poor aerobic function, and you maintain a high-carb diet, you’ll be extremely hard-pressed to develop aerobically, since you’d have stacked the single most important factor—nutrition—against your goals.

      What you say about eating higher carbs affecting the ratios of fat-burning could be the case. However, the MAF HR doesn’t usually correspond to 50-50—that varies for people (but it’s usually close). What it does correspond to is the aerobic threshold (and the 1st ventilatory threshold), which is also where the maximum rate of fat-burning occurs. (For some people, for example, this is 40-60).

  • Antonio says:

    Hi,
    while reading comments I saw that at some point nobody talks about the app anymore. Was that released? If not, I’d be interested in testing the beta, as I just started the TWT.

    Regards.

  • Kate says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I have questions about both the two week test and 180 training method.

    TWT: I am finishing up day 8 of the two week test and I felt great through about day 5: some weight loss, no cravings for sugar/carbs, and able to go straight to sleep with no TV or distractions (which I have not been able to do in years). Although, in the past couple of days I have felt exhausted, I have a low appetite for the foods allowed in the TWT and I usually turn to eating nuts which scares me because of the incredibly high fat content (I would like to lose weight not gain it), sugar cravings have started again (I used to chew a lot of gum and have not had any but have wanted to again in the past couple of days) and on a short jog last night my legs felt so heavy and fatigued I walked on and off. I am not sure why I got better and then worse. I have not had any slip ups – strictly eating vegetables, meat, eggs, and nuts. I feel so bad (exhausted and nauseous even though I am hungry) that I am wondering if I should even continue with the test. I have also been thirsty and craving salt. Should I stick with the test? Is this response of improvement and then deterioration normal?

    As far as the 180 method, I read your response to Cindy on January 24th and you mentioned that the 80% of training should be at MAF levels and the other 20% can be anaerobic. And your response to Michele on March 23rd talked about doing anaerobic exercise just twice a week with the rest aerobic exercise. Having read all the comments it seems a lot of people mention using MAF training for frequent long runs / bikes / swims. What if our goal is not to be a distance runner and several long aerobic workouts do not fit into our week? I was always a sprinter when I swam/ran competitively and now I would just like to be able to compete in short triathlons and 5ks? I don’t even like to run 8ks. And with my schedule during the week it is not realistic for me to work in more than 3-4 1 hour workouts with one longer weekend workout.

    Thanks,
    Kate

    • Kate:

      Your comment sounds to me like the test itself may be a stressful experience to you. (I’m speaking aside from what eating the foods are doing to your body). Because of the way the body responds to stress, stress itself can be a contributing condition to weight gain, poor aerobic function, and carbohydrate intolerance. It might be the case that the deterioration is in part due to the “fear” that you mention at eating high-fat foods. Simply stated, nuts, avocado, and olive oil were never the reasons someone got fat—they were always the reasons that someone’s appetite became quite well-regulated. But if the test is becoming stressful to you, stop. Don’t do it.

      The key is to find a way that it isn’t stressful. Here are a few ideas:

      A big contributor to you general state of nausea and unwellness may be the exercise. The hormone that helps the body increase its blood sugar is cortisol (the big stress hormone). So, when you are in a semi-fasted state and you ask your body for a mode of exercise that typically burns sugar, it has to pump out lots more cortisol in order to bring up your blood sugar levels. So, instead of going for a jog, it might be better to go out for a long, leisurely stroll. (By the way, being overly thirsty and craving salt—particularly if you inexplicably have a dry mouth—are also indicators of stress.)

      What I would do is walk during the Two-Week Test, and include as many stress-reducing activities as possible.

      So the goal of the MAF method isn’t to “train aerobically.” The goal of the MAF method is to keep the body healthy. It so happens that the best way to do this is by having a powerful aerobic system, which has to be trained to stay healthy. A distance runner has to have a much more powerful aerobic system to remain healthy in the face of so many miles, because it is the aerobic system that runs those miles.

      Why mention this?

      The signs and symptoms you mention don’t point to a healthy aerobic system. If I had those signs and symptoms (which I’ve had before), I’d embark on a period of exclusive aerobic training until they’ve been gone for a few weeks (which I’ve done before). The most important thing you can look for in a balanced, healthy training regimen isn’t 80-20 training. The most important thing you can look for is that those symptoms don’t show up.

      For an already healthy sprinter and short-distance runner, this means moderately less aerobic training than for a marathoner. (Keep in mind that the Dutch Olympic speed skating team’s performance increased when they cut their high-intensity training down from 40% to 20%, keeping the same training volume. Keep in mind that this is a sprinting sport.) But if you’re doing 5-Ks and 8-Ks, 70-90% aerobic training will still be the amount of training that keeps you most consistently training and racing—which in the long run means that it’ll be the amount of training that makes you the fastest (and keeps you there).

      • Kate says:

        Ivan,

        Thanks for the thoughtful response! I was particularly stressed out last week and got overly worried about the test. But I distressed a lot over the weekend and stuck it through and am very happy with the results! I have not been getting bloated/nauseated/discomfort after eating all week.

        I am also doing lighter aerobic training now as I transition to mainly aerobic trading.

        As I begin adding back natural sugars/starches – It will just be a small Serving of fruit today – how long should I wait to add back dairy? Also, is it ok to eventually add back quinoa?

        • Kate:

          Yes, definitely. Follow this link, which will take you to a basic FAQ that tells you how to re-incorporate foods. I’d test out milk the 2nd or 3rd day, bumping the suggested food to the next day (making the post-test 6 days instead of 5). You want to add quinoa back in around the time when you add whole grains.

  • V says:

    Hello!

    Seems that my post got lust somewhere, so Iäll post it again.

    Today (26th may) is the last day of my 2 week test. I think i’ve done this properly. Overall body mass has decreased 3,5-4kg. Cannot really estimate the fat.
    Haven’t noticed any changes in overall feeling or mood, but the muscle power seems to have lightly decreased. On the 3rd day of the test did a 6h endurance event, keeping the heart rate at the MAF aerobic level. On the 5th day I had huge cravings for foods which I ended by eating Macadamia nuts. Previously my menu was also quite low carb, avoiding sugars, starches and white flour.

    My two questions:
    1. How to introduce the carbs back into the menu? (amount, time)
    2. Can I train at MAF aerobic level, but still compete above it?

    Thanks

    • V:

      Sorry. I must have missed it. No harm intended.

      1) The best way to introduce other foods is to test them out for a week, 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:

      1) Legumes (beans, chickpeas, peanuts)
      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)

      If you start seeing old signs and symptoms arise again, you know that the type of food or the quantity isn’t good for you.

      2) Yes. Typically, for example, a marathon should be run 15 seconds above the first mile MAF Test speed. This is typically equivalent to a heart rate of 5-15 BPM above MAF.

  • Johnny says:

    Hey there again.

    This may seem like a weird question but what about lemons? I could actually just squeeze a whole lemon into my mouth and drink the stuff haha.

  • Johnny says:

    I live in Japan and wanted to ask if it’s okay to eat “kabocha” or Japanese pumpking. It looks remarkable like winter squash.

    It’s ridiculous sweet naturally so I’m guessing no?

    If it’s ok, how much is safe to eat? Is it in the small red potatoes league of low-carb safety, or can I eat much more of it and not worry about it?

    Here is some info on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabocha

    Online I found this info: “Kabocha is a low carb alternative to butternut squash. A single cup of kobocha squash has only forty calories per cup compared to butternut squash, which has 60 calories. It has less than half of the carbs of butternut squash (7 grams vs. 16 grams) per one cup serving.”

    But it’s so ridiculously naturally sweet I find that hard to believe?

    There’s no accurate info on this particular green-skinned squash online, but in Japanese I found:

    21.3g of carbs per 100g of kabocha.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks!

    • Johnny:

      It’s just fine for the Two Week Test. Butternut squash is also an OK food for the Two-Week Test.

      The reason is because its sweetness is quite unrelated to its glycemic index (the impact on blood sugar). For example, bananas—but not all fruits—have an inverse correlation between sweetness and glycemic index. When they are unripe and acidic, they have a much larger impact on blood sugar than when they are ripe and sweet. I wouldn’t look at sweetness in deciding whether to eat something or not. I’d look at its glycemic index.

      • Johnny says:

        Thanks so much. I have Dr. Maffetone’s book on this and just came across this section.

        Can I ask what number a food needs to be (and below) on the Glycemic Index in order to eat pretty much unlimited amounts?

        • Johnny:

          It’s not about eating unlimited amounts, as I mentioned in another comment. It’s just that lower-glycemic foods (and those with higher fats) help regulate your appetite much more easily so that you’re no longer hungry after you haven’t eaten very much. When you eat lower-glycemic foods (along with higher-fat foods), your appetite makes you want to eat the kinds of foods and amounts of foods that make you healthy—which for the majority of people, also means losing some fat content.

          Typically, these foods are around and below a glycemic index of 40-50.

  • Johnny says:

    Can I ask how suitable cherries are as a fruit after the two week test?

  • Johnny says:

    What is your take on plain yogurt whose only ingredient is milk? Can I eat unlimited amounts, or if this food against the ethos of Maffetone’s advice?

    I always crave it, it’s unsweetened.

    • Johnny:

      It’s full-fat yoghurt that’s OK. This rules out the majority of yoghurts. If you crave it, it’s probably because of the lactose in it (which is a sugar). Whenever you have a craving, even if it’s “purely” psychological, it’s the body trying to get quick relief.

      • Johnny says:

        Thanks for the replies!

        So if it’s full fat I can eat as much as I want?

        Is there a way to know if it’s full fat just going by nutritional info, as opposed to the labelling? I live in Japan and it’s hard to tell sometimes.

        • Johnny:

          Yes, it’s fine, considering that we can overdo any food. Fats have more calories per grams than carbs or protein, but they are very effective in stopping the body from being hungry. So, if you eat too many fat calories, you’ll still gain weight. But by eating fats, your body will regulate its appetite much more effectively, essentially regulating your body mass at a lower fat content (which also typically means a lower weight).

          So the important thing in low-carb, high-fat diets is to eat to your appetite.

          It’s very difficult to figure out what is full fat or not from the nutritional info. That’s why most of the foods in our lists are very basic.

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Mr. Rivera,

        Following on from my yogurt question, the yogurt I like is “Raw Milk” with a long fermentation. Here is the stats:

        Product Summary:
        Type / name fermented milk
        Contents 400g

        Nutrition information per 100g
        Energy 65kcal
        Protein 3.2g
        Lipid 3.8g
        Carbohydrate 4.6g
        Sodium 46mg
        Calcium 110mg

        Is this something I should avoid? It’s not labelled full fat. Sorry for all the questions!

        • Johnny:

          This sounds quite like the nutritional info of full-fat yoghurt. Usually, for example, you might see, say, 11g of carbs for the same protein and fats in a non full-fat yoghurt.

          I’d say this is good.

          • Jurgen says:

            Ivan, what is the rationale for allowing full fat yogurt and eliminating peanuts? Full fat yogurt contains about 25%-30% calories from carbs whereas peanuts are less than 10%.

  • Johnny says:

    Are tiger nuts ok?

  • Monica says:

    Im am wanting to try the two week test and then start using the heart rate monitor while running. I’m about to start train for my first marathon, I have completed three halfs. I’ve just finished Natral Born Heros and interested in trying out the MAF method. My question is have you every had someone do this test while breastfeeding? I’m currently nursing and do not want to loose my milk supply. Thanks!

    • Monica:

      I’m sure people have. None of the dietary changes that we propose have loss of lactation as a typical result, but it’s always best to listen to your gut and not make any abrupt changes while breastfeeding, just to account for the very rare possibility that you do respond negatively. A reasonable strategy is to consider the principles of the Two-Week Test and slowly incorporate them into your diet. That way, you have the chance to observe any gradual changes that happen. You’ll be in a position to easily revert back to your usual diet if you decide things aren’t headed in the direction you want.

      Does this make sense to you?

  • Ben says:

    Ivan,
    Any updates on the app?
    Thanks,
    Ben

  • Roz says:

    Hi there I had an unfortunate experience with the 14 day test. My husband posted about it earlier, but the message was lost due to website upgrade I believe. I became extremely fatigued on Day 2 and this continued until Day 8 when I discontinued the test as I was really concerned about the level of fatigue (could hardly function), heart palpitations and trouble sleeping. I have a history of chronic fatigue which I “manage” by being careful with what I do and how I do it. I essentially experienced bad CF symptoms whilst on the test. However, since then I have continued to be fatigued (it’s about 3 weeks since I stopped the test). I am wondering if other CF sufferers have tried the test and got a different (positive) result. I would welcome your comments/thoughts. My husband had a totally different and positive experience/outcome but decided to try it for quite different reasons and symptoms to mine.

    • Roz:

      Could you describe in a few sentences any atypical (or typical) stresses you may have had during the test?

      Could you do the same for the kinds of activity levels you had?

      • Roz says:

        Hi there
        It wasn’t a particularly stressful time and that was partly why I chose that time period. Day 1 – Public holiday – On call (phones only). Day 2 looking after young (baby) grandson, but that’s usual (1 day per week) – tiring but enjoyable. Followed by 2 not particularly busy workdays and then at the beach (holiday) for 3 days. I think I stopped the day after that.
        I fast walk 4 or 5 days a week for about 35 mins. I usually play tennis once a week (which I have to manage very carefully) but didn’t that week or the next because I was too utterly fatigued.
        I do suffer from anxiety, at times it can be quite significant and I’m not a great sleeper.
        I hope that’s what you were after and will be interested in your response. Many thanks Roz

        • Roz:

          The anxiety plus the difficulty sleeping tells me there may be some hormonal issues at play (which can influence fat-burning). It’s very hard to say what the problem can be, beyond stress. One thing you could do is to take it easy and ease into the Two-Week Test. Instead of going “cold turkey” on sugars, try eliminating all added sugar, and then fruits, and then grains, and then legumes, so that it takes you a full week or more to arrive at “Two-Week Test” eating.

  • Mark Larkin says:

    Hello Ivan
    I see my questions have been taken down or have fallen off this Q&A. Is there a reason for this?
    Thanks
    Mark

  • Raza says:

    I have some social engagements coming up. Can I shorten to 10, 11, or 12 days or does that defeat the entire purpose?

    Almost all of my symptoms are already gone.

    • Raza:

      The reason we suggest 14 days is because it is usually sufficient time for most people’s bodies to reboot correctly and begin burning fats. It’s not a magic number, just enough to work for 95% of people. So it’s certainly a safer bet to go longer (even past 14 days if you need to), but there’s no harm in stopping before, particularly if you’ve already seen some benefits. Just keep in mind healthy eating during your social engagements and try to make the right call.

  • Zach says:

    Any update on the list for vegans? I just started training for my next 100 miler and am curious about trying this out. I also have family history of heart disease and cancer so adding animal products, salt and oils are not an option. Thanks so much!! 🙂

    • Not just yet, but coming up after we conclude present projects.

      However, you can make one yourself: no grains, no sugary fruits (banana, apple, berries, sweet citrus) and no starches (potatoes, etc.) Emphasize the tree nuts, (but do not eat cashews), and also emphasize other veggie fats (coconut, avocado, olives, and associated products). Eat a lot of fibrous greens.

  • Ruth says:

    Hi there,
    Is there a vegan version of this two week trial?
    Thanks, Ruth

    • Ruth:

      Not just yet, but coming up after we conclude present projects.

      However, you can make one yourself: no grains, no sugary fruits (banana, apple, berries, sweet citrus) and no starches (potatoes, etc.) Emphasize the tree nuts, (but do not eat cashews), and also emphasize other veggie fats (coconut, avocado, olives, and associated products). Eat a lot of fibrous greens.

  • Raza says:

    Amazing and unexpected results.

    As of Day 5:

    1. Lost 5 pounds (now back to the college 170lbs at 6 feet; am 46 years old);
    2. Chronic sinusitus with polyps cleared up almost overnight; can smell again after over 1 year!
    3. Plantar fasciitis ache gone;
    4. Achilles tendon ache much less;
    5. Consistent energy throughout the day into the night;
    6. Happier;
    7. Clearer skin;
    8. Post-meal fatigue and bloating gone.

    I am floored by this test. (But missing my plain yogurt:)

  • John says:

    Hi Ivan

    Fruit after the two week test….

    How early on is it reintroduced?
    In what sort of quantities?
    Is there any fruit that should be avoided apart from dried fruit?
    What about bananas?

    Long term how much fruit can be eaten and is it better on an empty stomach?

    Thanks
    John

    • John:

      let me give you the whole post-test guidelines:

      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:

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

      If you start seeing old signs and symptoms arise again, you know that the type of food or the quantity isn’t good for you.

  • Josh says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Getting close to finishing up the TWT and was wondering if there is a list of foods to eat after such as a Grocery List? I only see a list for the TWT but nothing after.
    It wold be really helpful to have a list on hand of foods to eat and foods to avoid. Please let me know!

    Thanks

  • Jen says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Can I have toasted carob powder during the TWT?

    http://www.bobsredmill.com/toasted-carob-powder.html

    Wanted to ask since the glycemic index of carob is about the same as cauliflower and brussel sprouts, which are allowed.

    Thanks!

  • Atif says:

    Dear Ivan,

    I am impressed with and grateful for your tireless efforts to answer everyone’s questions. Keep up the great work.

    For the 2-week test, can I have breakfast at my usual time, 11am and stick to my 2 meal day?

    My typical day begins at 430am, and after some meditation and work, I work out for a couple of hours before sitting down to breakfast at 11am. An early afternoon nap and dinner at 5pm with nothing until the next day. I eat breakfast late because I like to work out on an empty stomach and I eat only twice daily.

    Does not eating within 1 hour of waking up throw the 2 week test off?

    Thanks in advance.

  • George says:

    I’m in day 4 of the TWT and yesterday during a bridge exercise I was getting repeated cramps in both my hamstrings. That has never happened before. Is it because I’m not eating enough vegetables (I know I’m not)?

    • George:

      I’d say it’s more likely a problem with your lower back stability. Check the alignment of your hips during the exercise.

      • George says:

        Ι should make clear that it was during a biomechanical assessment, meaning that I didn’t push myself hard and the PT said that my alignment was ok. The cramps began immediately after lifting my back off the ground. Furthermore, I have a light post-exercise pain you get after working out on several muscles (left lower arm, left quad, both glutes) even though I haven’t done any workout for about a week.
        Can you suggest anything?

        • George says:

          I’m sorry for the repeated messages but have to add that in 3 days of the test I’ve lost 5 pounds (i was worried and weighed myself).

          • George:

            Usually, weightloss when changing to a high-fat diet is a good indicator that the person was carbohydrate intolerant. Usually, the bigger the weightloss, the more carbohydrate intolerant. So there’s a lot of abrupt changes that your body is going through at the moment, to riff off my other comment.

        • George:

          Those kinds of aches are due to fatigue of the type II fast-twitch muscle fibers. Since their fuel is sugar, they’re presently underfueled. When your body has been wired to use Type II fibers for a long time, it takes a while for it to get used to the Type I (fat-burning) fibers. So I’d say it’s likely simply in the middle of calibrations.

  • Michelle says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Since I’ve stopped marathon training I felt was eating too many carbs (mainly fruit and milk), although I’ve cut back I still feel I could cut back more so i have decided to do the TWT again. I’m up to day 4 and feeling fantastic ,I have been following Maf both diet and HR training for a while and experienced great results so Its really not that hard for me to stick to. I just want to confirm which vegetables I can eat, below are the ones I have queries about ( i did scroll through your replies to other questions, very entertaining and informative but I couldn’t find my queries answered , apologies if I’ve missed them).

    Cucumber
    Zucchini
    Cauliflower (for cauliflower mash)
    Bell peppers (red & green)
    Cabbage (sauerkraut)
    Bok choy & Chinese broccoli
    cherry tomatoes
    Aubergine (eggplant)
    Fennel

  • Eric Morgan says:

    Are lentils ok on the two week test? They are some lentil recipes on the page that the link from the two week test goes to, but I thought legumes were out for the two week test. Thanks.

  • Scott says:

    I am 6’5″ tall and weigh about 185 pounds, so I don’t need or want to loose weight. Can I avoid weight loss if I try the TWT?

    • Scott:

      What the two-week test essentially does is to bring the body to a weight (read: body composition) that is more metabolically healthy for it. Since the overwhelming majority of people are overweight in some form (rather, the unhealthiness of their metabolism in part presents as excess weight or fat), the overwhelming majority of people lose weight during the two-week test.

      But this has to do strictly with how symptoms of unhealthiness present. For example, those who may be unhealthy for other reasons (not weight related) will not experience a change in weight during the TWT but will experience a reduction/elimination of negative signs and symptoms.

  • David DeMarxo says:

    Is yogurt on the “May Not Eat” list for the two week test because it tends to have sugars? I have a heavily strained plain Greek yogurt that has nearly zero carbs, would that be permitted? Also, is a cottage cheese permitted? I realize it’s not an aged cheese but it has nearly zero carbs as well. Just thinking through options. Thank you

  • Steve says:

    If i want to make tunafish, can i use a small amount of the normal Hellman’s mayo or will that throw everything off? Thanks in advance.

  • Kat says:

    I am on day 10 of TWT – and I have lost 8 pounds so far and have felt better in some ways. I assume we may even notice reactions to allowed foods during the 2 weeks? I’m not sure if my “reaction” was just a part of adjusting to low carb/high fat eating or it’s really a reaction. I ate two zucchinis (pasta replacement) with spagetti sauce (tomatoes blended with roasted red bell peppers, with some cremini mushrooms, onion). What was different foods for that night were zucchini, cremini mushrooms, and roasted red bell peppers. Do I wait til after TWT to see if one or all of them are a problem for me?

  • Kanwal says:

    Hi could u pls give me any breath mint/chewing gum substitutes while at work. I am gng to start the 2 week test in a week and need some options as i work with patients. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you for an informative website.

    • Kanwal says:

      Hi evan, could u pls give me some options on the chewing gm/breat mint.

      • Kanwal says:

        Ivan sorry

        • Kanwal says:

          Hi ivan,
          Is there a reason my question is not being answered. As far as i know my question is not a repeat and the only thing that was mentioned is not to eat a breathmint gum. Could someone pls help me with this.
          Thanks in advance

          • There’s a chance it may have gotten mislabeled as spam. I haven’t seen it. My sincere apologies.

            If you are asking whether breathmint gums are OK during the two-week test, try to find a natural unsweetened breathmint. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid it—although of course, a couple of breathmints during the day have nowhere near the effect of a spoonful of sugar with coffee.

  • Bryce St. says:

    Hi,

    Just starting the TWT.
    Are sugar free drinks ok?
    For instance zero coke ( 0 grams sugar, 0.4 grams carbohydrates, energy 5 kJ ) or ‘V’ ( similar stats).
    I know they have artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame and acesulphame which may be of questionable goodness, but I’m really interested in if they are ok despite this for the TWT.

  • David says:

    I’ve been following the this approach to diet and exercise for about a year now. I’ve lost a lot of weight and have improved on my two mile test from a 10:30 to an 8:12 pace. I have been really impressed by the impact.

  • Chris Klinger says:

    Hi Gang,
    I’ve migrated the two week test into a lifestyle change and dig the results. In fact, I was just reminded that I haven’t had ANY of the blurry-low-energy-bonks since I’ve sliced carbs & sugar out of my world. Yee Haw. In concert with the nutrition, I’ve always been an disciplined workout person (aerobic & anaerobic), and at 52 (51 when I began the program), it was challenging to slow way down. I’ve made progress AND have a ‘over the weekend’ discovery that I’d like your thoughts on. When I figured my exercise zone, it was 180-51=129; so, my workouts were in the 119-129 range (after a 15 minute warm-up in the 109-119 range). My question is around the ‘other part’ of the 180 equation: either the addition or subtraction of additional heartbeats. Immediately, option 1 and 2 were out, as I did not and have not ever met those criteria. I initially ruled out option 4, because I ‘read into’ the word racing; I settled on option 3, so didn’t add or subtract anything. Well, and here’s where the weekend epiphany comes in, I was reading Phil’s book again, specifically the calculation section, and I stopped on the 4 options. I have been exercising for more than 4 years (uh, way more), and my work outs are formal and challenging. So, while I’m not a racer per se, I am very much a competitor against myself. SO I’ve determined that option 4 (and the additional 5 bpm) is for me. I ran that workout today and it felt good, AND I’m grateful for the lowered heart rate, as it taught me patience and humility (I don’t have to chase down everyone). Here’s the heart of my question…while I did add 5 bpm to my workout today (warmup and workout), I’m wondering if I should sprinkle in 3 beats at first for a couple of weeks and then 2 beats later? What are your thoughts on this? Thanks again for the support . Make today great! Chris

  • Amanda says:

    About to start the TWT and just looking for clarification – Is sprouted tofu okay? I am a vegetarian and I’m hoping to include that as a good source of protein.

  • Michele says:

    Hi Ivan, I have a question regarding pasta. I’m Italian and, as you can imagine, ask me to completely stop eating pasta is like asking Whinny the Pooh to stop looking for honey :). Joking aside, please do not assume I’m an incredible “pasta eater” and I’ve been avoiding it for a long time now in order to follow a healthier “fat-burning” lifestyle. However, if I’ve understood correctly, the point of avoiding refined carbohydrates is that they have a high glycemic index and therefore impair the ability of the body to use fat as main source of energy. Now, pasta, at least the finest Italian brands, does not have a high glycemic index at all. I completely understand and agree with the fact that comfort food and refined carbo must be avoided (rolls, bagels, cakes etc.), but I do not think that have a moderate amount of pasta once/twice a week will massively impair the fat-burning process. What do you say?

    • Michele:

      Let me explain. I myself have quite a hybrid workout routine (although the overwhelming majority of my training is at MAF), which means that I do have a couple of high-intensity workouts a week. For that, my muscles need to be decently fueled with carbs: a high-intensity exercise without fuel in the muscles is far more stressful than one with. So it’s quite necessary for me to eat a dinner with a decent amount of carbs, particularly the day before those workouts.

      Both the diet and the activity reduces my fat-burning for those days. There’s no way around that. In fact, it’s a good thing. And here is the important distinction: it’s far more important to be a good fat-burner than to burn a large amount of fats absolutely all of the time. Quite simply, my body is comfortable switching from carb-burning to fat-burning and back, (and choosing fat as a default) and that’s what’s important.

      So, to recap: pasta will reduce fat-burning, simply because the body can now use an easier source of energy. Is that a bad thing? It could be for some people. But for those who are healthy (and by “healthy” I mean for starters, people without signs and symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance), a couple of slightly more carb-laden meals a week is not a problem. (The problem is when 2 turns into 5, and 5 turns into 7). The thing is this: some people, particularly here on this site, want to be in nutritional ketosis (elite fat-burning) as a way of life. And eating even a modest amount of carbs is hostile to that. Does that means that a few carbs are a bad thing? As long as the person asking doesn’t exhibit signs and symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance, I don’t see how they would be.

  • rboggs says:

    eat breakfast within an hour of waking.

    when i get up i have 4 stalks of celery blended in a bullet, i would like to know if this is consider eating within an hour of waking? i drink the pulp all of it just mix with water?

  • Daniel says:

    Daniel again, just to clarity, it was whole/vitamin D milk that I drank with the cappucino.

  • Daniel says:

    I drank a cappucino and they used Vitamin D milk. I drank half of it before i realized the error. I am one week into the test. Do I need to start over?

  • Tabitha says:

    Hello,
    I hope my questions aren’t repetitive- have tried to find the answers in the thread promise!
    Im a Vegan and have to be careful with my Iron/B 12 intake and also extremely active 🙂

    Is Buckwheat ok (as it is a seed)?
    Is Coconut yoghurt ok 99% coconut milk, Tapioca Starch?
    I assume bee pollen, chia seeds, 100% raw cocoa powder are ok?
    Is raw beetroot ok?
    Finally I have yeast spread for my B12 intake which is purely yeast extract and B12

    Many thanks and apologies if these have been answered somewhere else.

    Tabitha

  • Peter says:

    Day 4. Sounds simple but sour cream, plus a handful of almonds and a small squeeze of lime now makes a sublime pudding! I would not have said that 4 days ago!

  • Jon says:

    Q. Introducing carbs back after end of TWT or before and during ultra races.

    Just coming to the end of the TWT. The diet side of things has been general great, not missed eating carbs or sugar at all, only felt a little empty once or twice. Did expect it to be a lot harder, especially reading other peoples experiences. I would be quite happy to keep all carbs and sugar out of my diet, but not sure if that is a good idea.

    The running on the other hand has been excruciatingly slow as with many other comments, but am sticking at it. As with other people I have had to run on my own, just not fair to inflict my pace on my normal running buddies! Have just subtracted my age (49), but may add 5 at some point. Have ran most days since the start of the TWT (which is normal), approx. 8-10 miles a day, which have been fine apart from the addition time it have been taking. Certainly did not factor this in are first. Ran 20 miles on Sunday morning, the last 5-6 miles I could barely keep under the HR when running even down hill – is this normal? Will adding some carbs before I run help this?

    I am running a 100 miler in 6 weeks and am hoping to run this under my HR, if I can get it lower (it is a pretty flat race). Did read that it would be ok to run at 10-15 beats above my calculated 180 formula (which would be my normal running pace for an ultra). Should I be eating some carbs before and during the race? Normally have carb based food stuff available at the check points.

    As a point of interest – my resting heart rate has consistently been around 50, although during the test it has been closer to 60. Not really to worried about this – should I be?

    Many thanks – all the information and comments have been really helpful.

    • Jon:

      Yes to your first questions. Let me put it to you this way: adding carbs before you run will help you, but not Kilian Jornet. The reason is because Jornet is a far more powerfully ketogenic runner (as evidenced by his 9-hour circumnavigation of Denali, where he only consumed I think 250 calories in energy gels). So, while this does help performance, it only does so because you are using your body’s sugar-burning machinery that much more than Jornet does.

      Usually, it’s a good idea to fuel with carbs during a race—it helps the body stoke the fat-burning engine—but again, insofar you don’t need to, you are the better ultrarunner. What I wouldn’t do is eat anything close to high-glycemic before an event, particularly an endurance event. For example, the night before a marathon, I’ll have a bowl of vegetarian chili with corn tortillas, and cheese, avocado, etc. I want my glycogen levels reasonably full, but a very small impact on insulin.

      And such a change resting heart rate usually doesn’t mean much (other than there being some small stress) when it is not accompanied by other negative signs and symptoms.

  • Sebastian says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Can the people with removed gallbladder go on the two week test? Is the MAF method applicable to them?

    Cheers,
    Sebastian

    • Sebastian:

      This is what Dr. Maffetone answered me: “Generally, yes. Best to say that I’ve not seen any problems with people doing the Test, but people should be aware of any signs/symptoms. Amanda [Stevens] had her gallbladder out 2-3 years ago (and has had no trouble eating high fat).” For medical cases such as yours, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor beforehand.

      • Sebastian says:

        Dear Ivan,

        Thank you a lot for your feedback and for checking it with Dr. Phil. Fortunately for me, I’ve been diagnosed with two small stones so for the time being there’s no risk of removing my gallbladder. I’ll keep remember your response for the future. However, could you please confirm that I can be on the MAF method? I’m on the LCHF diet for almost a year now and see the positive impact on my body it has. I can’t imagine now not being on the MAF method.

        Cheers,
        Sebastian

        • Sebastian:

          I simply cannot tell you. I can’t give you the sort of advice that could contradict or dissuade you from taking the advice of your primary doctor. While I can tell you in general that the MAF Method is a good idea for X, Y, and Z (the many reasons discussed in these comment threads and articles), there is no guarantee that the MAF Method will be good for you specifically. The best course of action you can take is to describe your dietary intentions to a doctor who knows your full medical and personal history and make a choice based on their advice.

          • Sebastian says:

            Dear Ivan,

            Thank you a lot for your explanation. I see your point and I’ll follow your advice.

  • brendan says:

    Hi,
    why is it we can still have heavy cream, but not milk? Its all dairy…
    Looking forward to tracking my results.
    cheers

  • James says:

    Why not cashews for the test?

  • Cristian Andrei says:

    Hello and thank you for this amazing method.
    One question for after the two week test: what is your take over the healthy gut approach, eating fermented foods, taking probiotics and especially over taking resistant starch?