The ABCDE diet

Discussion in 'Diet & Nutrition' started by stingblood, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. stingblood

    stingblood New Member


    Does anybody know if this diet is effective, tried it once, etc?

    I just read this on Muscle Media and googled it also to see what were the feelings and results.

    It sounds too good to be true. For those who don't know it's about cycling calories, eating two weeks + 1500 cal above maintenance and for other two weeks cutting at 500 under maintenance... I plan to try it or include it in ma Anabolic diet (already cycling macronutrients)....thus I will be also cycling calories which seems to the the ULTIMATE fine tuning in terms of being lean ( in regard to what I have already been experimenting with intermittent fasting protocol)

    Thanks guys, this site rocks!
  2. coach hale

    coach hale New Member

    I reviewed this diet in Knowledge and Nonsense

    If you monitor your weight closely and regulate your calories, this can be a good diet for body composition. The problem is most people who I have seen use this diet structure it very loosely and don’t really manipulate their calories the way the diet suggests. They eat way too much during the overfeeding phase and cut the underfeeding phase short. So the net effect is huge increases in fat gain. In my experiences shorter phases seem to work better. After two weeks of overeating many people seem to have a hard time returning to the undereating phase (varies with individual).

    Coach Hale
  3. the_dark_master

    the_dark_master New Member

    I believe the original plan was based on 10 day cycles; much like Body Opus, this was also bastardised to fit within "normal" 7 day week cycles...
  4. nkl

    nkl Member

    Surprisingly, I did read about the ABCDE diet just the other day. I have incorporated some ideas from it into my layout of a cyclic diet in the Optimal Bulking/Cutting PSMF/IF diet (see this post and forward).

    Lyle have a book out there called The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, that outline a modified PSMF for crash dieting. It would be optimal for cutting if you combine it with the following:

    ABCDE talks about micro cycles, for example protein cycling (to reduce excessive protein oxidation). Here is my modified verison of it:

    2 weeks of bulking with a protein intake of 2 grams/kg, then 2 weeks of Lyle's PSFM with cycled protein (3+ grams/kg for 3 1/2 days, then a slow decrease to 1 grams/kg over 3 1/2 days, then begin again). 1 gram/kg is not ultra low. If you are a 220 lbs lifter, that is still 100 grams of protein. All the time lifting heavy to stimulate PS and get the hormones flowing.

    If you throw in a carb re-feed at the end of the first week on the PSMF, during the low-protein days, you counteract falling metabolism, making the cutting more effective, while preserving protein. The carb re-feed could be 4 h, 12 h, or 24 h. It is like putting UD2.0 into the mix.

    Phew. We end up with ABCDE-PSMF-UD2.0 with protein cycling while on HST. How hard could it be?  [​IMG]

    Edit: Like Coach Hale said, you are not supposed to go all out on the bulking and then cut the cutting short. Follow the recommendations. If you usually feel hunger cravings on the first days of the cutting, try easing into it, by lowering caloric intake to maintenace at the very end of the bulking cycle (last 2 days or so).
  5. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    For bulking eat this sentence every day.
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Phew. We end up with ABCDE-PSMF-UD2.0 with protein cycling while on HST. How hard could it be?</div>
  6. nkl

    nkl Member

  7. nkl

    nkl Member

    Now there has been some T-nation thinking (and experimenting) on the matter a while back. Read it here. It's called ABCD diet, the next generation, or the Delta 1250 diet. The critique is that on the original diet you put on too much fat if you gorge all out for two weeks and then diet. The author of the Delta 1250 diet proposes a bulking period of 5 days, and a cutting period of 5 days. To make this simple I quote: <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">You'll start with a five-day underfeeding program. Simply take your bodyweight and multiply it by 12-14 calories, depending on whether you have what you consider a slow, moderate, or fast metabolism. For instance, if you have a slow metabolism and you weigh 200 pounds, multiply 200 by twelve to get 2400. That's your maintenance level. Now, during the diet phase, you'll subtract 500 calories from that to get 1900. That's how many calories you're going to ingest daily for the duration of your diet phase. Simple, huh?

    Now, after the five-day underfeeding phase is up, you need to start the five-day overfeeding phase. Remember your maintenance level of calories which, in your example case, was 2400 calories? We're going to add 750 calories to that and get 3150 calories. That's how many calories you're going to ingest daily during the five-day bulking phase.

    Therefore, if you look at one full, ten-day cycle with its five days of 500-calorie deficits and five days of 750-calorie excesses, you'll have ingested a total of 1250 surplus calories, or a &quot;delta&quot; of 1250.
    </div>Sounds ok, but I still think it would be more practical to make it a full 7 days. And a 500-calorie deficit is a little small for a weeks cut. I do the numbers for you.
       Case A. 7x500=3500 kcals equalling approx. 360 grams of fat (~19% of the kcals to fuel the body, if total BMR expenditure is 7x2400=16800, and 2% of the fuel comes from protein). *
       Case B. A 1000 kcal restriction during 7 days would cause a loss of approx. 750 grams of fat (40% of the kcals), with a minimal loss of protein (2%).
       Case C. For the daring or desperate: 800 kcals a day during a week on a PSMF diet (mix of protein and carbs - minimal fat). The fat loss is a staggering 1210 grams!! Protein loss is still at a meager 2% (that is 70 grams). You can expect your BMR to drop 12-15% during this week, so you may take this into consideration when hitting a bulking stint again. *

    A 750 kcal surplus a day during one week would provide 5250 kcals extra. With heavy weight training, the favorable P-ratio would make this perhaps a 40% fat gain, equalling 230 grams.
        In case B, a two week stint of cutting and bulking would result in a fat deficit of 750-230=520 grams . That is a great deal, and in the long run noticable. The other up side is that 60% of the extra calories goes into producing fat free mass. What is the delta of this? A 1750 deficit.
        For case A you get a fat deficit of 360-230=130 grams. Not even noticeable!
        Run case C and the numbers are foretelling a 980 grams fat cut during a cycle! The delta is minus 5950!! Do three of these hard core ABCDE cycles and cut from 15% BF to 10%! It only takes 6 weeks according to these calculations!  [​IMG]

    Is this possible? Depending on your P-ratio, current BMR and current BF% the gains and losses may give you some different numbers (In case A, an unfavorable P-ratio would mean disaster and in case C the severe deficit would make your BMR drop). What can we do to make sure the gains of fat free mass is preserved and fat gains are minimal? Make sure you get adequate protein and carbs. Minimizing fat intake to 20% (that is hard - I promise you), you will neither add that much unwanted fat into the fat depots while you have insulin surging inside from your meals (you will need fats - they are essential building blocks).

    The next generation of the ABCDE diet is not impossible to make work if your calorie surplus and deficit are properly adjusted. Also, make sure to include the calorie expenditure for your workouts and other activities as the numbers used here are based on a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 2400 kcals. Also, do not make big eyes when stepping on the scale - a great deal of the weight loss or gain will be water.

    * Calculations and numbers based on empirical data from a study called Composition of weight lost during short term weight reduction, by Yang and van Itallie.
  8. nkl

    nkl Member

    To continue the thought: What difference do BF% result in? I dug up this article:
    Basal and postprandial substrate oxidation rates in obese women receiving two test meals with different protein content, by I. Labayen et al.
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Abstract
    Background &amp; aims: Fuel utilisation and storage in lean and obese subjects seem to be differently affected by the macronutrient distribution intake. The aim of this intervention study was to explore the extent to which the fat mass status and the macronutrient composition of an acute dietary intake influence substrate oxidation rates.
    Methods: Fuel utilisation in 26 women, 14 obese (BMI=37.1±1.1 kg/m2) and 12 lean (BMI=20.6±0.5 kg/m2) was measured over 6 h to compare the metabolic effect of a single balanced protein (HC) meal and a high protein (HP) single meal, which were designed to supply similar energy contents (1672 kJ). The macronutrient composition as a percentage of energy of the HC meal was 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 30% fat, while the HP meal contained 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat. Nutrient oxidation rates and energy expenditure were calculated by indirect calorimetry (hood system), whereas exogenous amino acid oxidation was estimated from the 13C isotopic enrichment of breath after oral administration of  [1-13C]leucine.
    Results: Fasting lipid oxidation was higher in the obese than in the lean women (P&lt;0.05), and it was significantly correlated with body fatness (P&lt;0.01). A single HP meal consumption produced higher postprandial fat oxidation as compared with HC meal intake (P&lt;0.02), in both obese and lean subjects, with no apparent changes in glucose oxidation rates. Furthermore, postprandial fat utilisation after the test meal intake was higher in obese than in the lean women (P&lt;0.01). The time course of 13CO2 in breath followed a similar pattern in both dietary groups, although a non-statistically significant higher trend in protein and 13C-leucine oxidation was found in the HP group.
    Conclusions: Net lipid oxidation depends on both short-term dietary composition intake and fat body mass, being significantly higher after a relatively high protein meal as compared to a balanced diet intake and in obese women as compared to lean controls.</div>
    In the full article there was some interesting stuff as well:
    - BMR does not differ between obese and lean individuals, when adjusted to fat free mass. [That is, fat mass is a strong predictor of BMR, besides the body weight).
    - Another important finding: <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">These results point toward the role of insulin resistance on promoting fat oxidation in the obese, since whole body FFA uptake and oxidation are regulated by the rate of lipolysis in the adipose tissue. Based on this, the greater rate of fat oxidation could be the result of a metabolic adaptation to FFA availability that has been also described in non-obese subjects.</div>
    I attach an image of the differences between the two groups.
  9. nkl

    nkl Member

    Another image from the article above. Edit: forgot the image.... [​IMG]
  10. soflsun

    soflsun New Member


    What are the benefits of increasing or decreasing the bulk/cut length. Why is 16/8 or 24/24 or 5d/5d or 7d/7d better or worse? Also why do the bulking days HAVE to be at a surplus, can they simply be at maintenance for a recomp/cut?
  11. soflsun

    soflsun New Member

    The main benefit that I can see by having shorter cycles is that there &quot;should&quot; be more energy for workouts, which means lifting more pounds, which means preserving more lean body mass?
  12. nkl

    nkl Member

    Soflsun, you are right. You do not have to have a surplus if you simply aim to cut, but you will not gain much muscle without a surplus. But the main idea behind ABCDE or my Optimal Bulking/Cutting IF/PSMF proposal is to alternate bulking and cutting strategies on a shorter time span than usual. The length of each cycle depends on the practicality and dedication of the practioner. A 16/8 or 24/24 scheme would give you some hours when liver glycogen is depleted and more fat oxidation can occur. Beyond a 7d/7d scheme you risk becoming obese during your bulk and then crash your metabolism (plus other rather nasty effects) while cutting. I tend to think of the 16/8 IF as the abolute minimal time to make any difference. It's all about how the oxidation of different substances shifts depending on the availability of other substances. As long as there is no deficit of dietary protein you won't be too protein starved and loosifn beef, hence the importance of PSMF (not needed on a 16/8).
  13. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    Why not change the caloric consumption on a daily pattern such as I have done, or even better yet, what beingisbeing has done with great success?
  14. nkl

    nkl Member

    Looks like it is the same (change the caloric consumption on a daily basis = 24h/24h) and Being is switching between EOD and UD2 I believe (same kind of theme, different name). ABCDE diet is similar to UD2 but not that elaborate in protocol (as for what I know) for glycogen depletion.

    From my standpoint I favor the every other day (EOD) diet strategy, mostly because of its practicality. I think a whole week on cutting/bulking might be a bit too much for my taste. However, I do not know what extra benefits a full week of bulking might accomplish in form of elevated growth promoting hormone (test, GH, IGF-I, etc.) levels. On the other hand, that is exactly what the IF people claim will happenduring food deprivation during a fast... On thing is for sure - we will not have a metabolic dip on an EOD approach. I prefer the safe approach, rather than the sorry approach. [​IMG]
  15. nkl

    nkl Member

    This just in (old news actually): Bill Philips ABCDE diet review might be somewhat off from the original (source: here) <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The researchers: Torbjörn Åkerfeldt, Dan Henrohn and Johan Månsflod at Uppsala University (Institution of Nutrition)

    Nine young men with an average of seven years of training experience were put on a carefully monitored diet and exercise program. Six men completed the nine weeks the study took. In that time they put on an average of over 7 kg (about 16 lbs) of lean body mass while losing 1.3 kg (about 3 lbs) of bodyfat. They were also tested on the bench press and single leg leg press. The bench press went up from 116 kg to 131 kg (from 255lbs to 288lbs) and the legpress showed similar improvements. (These exercises were NOT trained during the nine weeks of the study.) Finally the girth of the upper arm increased on average 19%.


    On overeating phases (12 days): Regular diet + 1500 kcal from good oils, protein powder, a sugarmix that contained creatine and a multivitamin. Ten minutes before every workout they took a disgustingly sweet” sugar drink w creatine (70g carbs) and another one after the workout. A proteindrink was consumed at bed time. Other than that just follow your regular diet.

    Cutting phase (12 days): Eat maintenance calories or a modest deficit (10%) with protein drinks 4 times per day. Drink one of these at bed time and the other spread throughout the day.

    Training method:

    I don´t think the training program was anything unusual. During bulking phase they trained heavy with low reps. NO cardio.

    During cutting phases the trained with light weights and high reps. Add to this walking or some mild form of cardio for 40-60 minutes every day.

    - Was the study published in a peer review publication?

    It was presented and well recieved at the annual conference for doctors in Sweden. I guess this is the place where a lot of new studies are presented to other doctors and stuff

    Fredrik Paulun, one of the most respected sports nutritionists in Sweden wrote in a mail:

    The ABCDE diet is one of the hottest topics ever published on nutrition and training for bodybuilders. A new study, published by Torbjörn at the Annual doctor´s conference showed very good results from this method.”

    A quick translation from one of the study participants:

    The researchers were very strict about everything. We went to a lab twice a week for tests. First you had to breath into a mask which measured your metabolism. They also took your temperature to see if the body temperature would rise during the study, and it did. Then you were weighed, measured with calipers and measure tape. Then they measured the amount of fluid in your body by electrodes.

    After that you had to jump into a water tank, where you had to breathe a helium mix for five minutes until they weighed you under water (sitting on a small metal construction in the water) to get exact numbers on how much body fat you had. After that there were blood tests and every participant were tested for steroids during the study.

    Torbjörn Åkerfeldt himself said in a mail to a forum member:

    I have actually never claimed that you should lower the energy intake by more than 10% during the cutting phase. Bill Phillips didn´t believe in this so he changed the information in the article series in MM.

    In my study the participants were even allowed to eat maintenance calories during the cutting phase and lost fat nontheless.

    I also recommend a 12 day overfeeding cycle and 12 days cutting, and not 14 days + 16 days as BP says.</div>
    And here is what Lyle had to say about it:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Most of the people that tried it mainly reported that they got smaller and fatter.
    I thought that the caloric levels were too high during the overfeed and too low during the diet.
    If it's true [Bill Philips] changed this from akerfeldt's original concept, that would change it a bit.
    I also think that nothing but high reps/light weights on a diet is stupid. It's a great way to lose muscle.

    FWIW, I think TC's Delta 1250 (over on T-mag) makes more sense.

    Lyle </div>
  16. nkl

    nkl Member

    Another review from T-Nation on the ABCDE diet and the Delta 1250 diet (source: here):
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The Delta 1250 Diet

    Synopsis: You may remember a diet called the ABCDE Diet (Anabolic Burst Cycling of Diet and Exercise) proposed by Torbjorn Akerfeldt in an old issue of Muscle Media 2000, you know, back when it was a bodybuilding magazine. Basically, you were supposed to eat your lungs out for two weeks, which would elicit all sorts of cool anabolic reactions and cause you to add muscle like gangbusters. Then for the next two weeks, you'd turn things around by going on a strict cutting phase. Done correctly, you'd lose the fat you gained during your hog fest and keep most of the muscle.

    The only drawback was that, well, the darned thing didn't work! Personally, I tried it three times and every time I'd gain and lose the same ten pounds, even after modifying the diet. Most others who tried it either gained too much fat or lost too much muscle. Some did both.

    Enter the Delta 1250. Basically, our man TC modified the diet, tweaked the caloric recommendations (the caloric changes aren't as severe in this new version), shortened the overfeeding and underfeeding phases, and improved the training recommendations.

    Reader Feedback: This proved to be one of the more successful diets we've published. Most every reader who tried it liked the diet and was pleased with his results.

    Conclusion: The Delta 1250 allows you to lose fat without losing muscle or hitting any big plateaus. This is the diet I usually recommend for those who don't want to use a low carb approach to fat loss. Give it a shot. ...</div>
    Once again - two weeks on high-calories and then cut for two week seem a little too much (Bill Philips variant)! At one swedish forum a member said that Akerfelt himself once said that 500 kcals/d surplus might be enough during the overeating phase.

Share This Page