Should I follow a keto diet?

Hello all,

this is a short post containing an audio that I recorded yesterday after watching yet another debate in social media about weight loss and cycling performance and low carbohydrate/ ketogenic diets. Today diet is a battle ground between opinions; the science doesn’t often seem to count for much I am sad to say. That said, we do live in exciting times as more and more interesting studies emerge on who a keto diet may work for, and why a keto diet may not be recommended for most athletes except a few. It may be that the anecodotal stories do hold weight and I for one will never ignore what people share as their personal experience.

Perhaps there is a category of elite persons, normal persons, and those with metabolic issues and we all don’t thrive on the same diet nor perform our best on one prescribed type of diet. Science will always struggle to get into the finer details. So I guess this leaves the hard work down to us as therapists and individual athletes to find what works best for us in terms of health and performance with minimal fuss or extremes.

PLEASE take time to listen before you decide on taking a more drastic dietary approach which may harm your endurance performance and possibly also your gut microbiome health and micronutrient balance, never mind your energy for training at the top end intensities.

The best approach is not always the most drastic approach; often the simple changes done in the long-term create the most influential changes regarding our health and performance. BUT…. this takes time and patience. Something not many have these days. Just like your training, you reap the benefits when you step up your nutrition.


To clarify I believe in utilising a nutrition approach that ebbs and flows the macros across the training cycle.

I believe in optimising our ability to utilise body fat stores and glycogen stores while employing dietary strategies such as carbohydrates to fuel the gaps.

I believe that the correct training is a powerful tool to optimise both metabolic flexibility and fat adaptation and that this can be further enhanced with dietary strategies (end result = performance gains).

I advocate a diet focused on food quality (local, seasonal, minimally processed, and ethically produced) when possible, and centred around increasing micro-nutrient density; i.e. more of the good stuff.

I believe that humans are highly flexible when it comes to carbohydrates, fats, and proteins but that there is a balance that fluctuates around moderate protein, low-moderate natural carbohydrates, some intake of unprocessed fats and well vegetables are so important I almost want to give them their own food group.

I intuitively feel that eating according to where we come from is important. For example, I am Irish and Northern European and the foods indigenous to this location probably suit me better than say those from a hot central hemisphere location.

Most importantly I believe that food should be enjoyed and that the body is so utterly complex that we should avoid getting overly consumed by calorie and maco counting.

Listen to your bodies, nourish you body, respect your body and thank your body for all that it does.


I have linked some articles and papers below that may interest you:

The Ketogenic Diet’s Impact on Body Fat, Muscle Mass, Strength, and Endurance

Low-carbing for endurance: the oxygen problem

Low Fat versus low Carb round 1 Metabolic Advantage

exciting paper! Keto-adaptation enhances exercise performance and body composition responses to training in endurance athletes

Critical analysis of McSwiney et al’s 2017 keto study



Listen here for Endurance Sports Nutrition advice on a recent chat and chill session with Theia

Kona ironman nutrition

Sports Nutrition Chat and Chill ride guest interview opportunity with Theia Friestedt. October 16th 2017

Who knew that you could cycle, play Zwift, and give sports nutrition advice all at the same time AND have a hurricane (Ophelia) going on outside.

So I had the opportunity yesterday to turn my training session into an advice giving session all at the same time along with fellow Zwifters all under Zwift leader Theia’s guidance. Let’s just say that my multi-tasking can do with a bit of work, but, if you listen in and pay attention you will get some gems to assist your nutrition journey.

Sports Nutrition with Andrea Cullen

Follow the Volyoom link here: and here is the direct link to YouTube: Zwift Chat and Chill with Nutritional Therapist Andrea Cullen

Cycling topics discussed this week

During the Zwift ODZ Chat and Chill ride this week, I interviewed Andrea Cullen…

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Gut microbiome resources

Hi all,

I have a long blog in the making to bring you up to speed with what I have been up to. This sums up a busy year.

I want to share with you some very helpful and informative resources regarding gastrointestinal health and the science emerging on the gut microbiome. This field fascinates me.

I always start every client evaluation and journey centred around gut health. If we need to test we do, if there are symptoms we find the cause, if the diet is lacking we make improvements and if there is imbalance we rebalance and heal. It is astounding but not surprising how many health conditions are linked to the gut and improve after investigation and healing.

The gut is the cornerstone to your whole health, well-being and emotional balance. 

If you have tummy symptoms, food intolerance, auto-immune or immune issues, emotional health or mental health problems or suspect that your gastro health isn’t optimal please do contact me as it is easily remedied. If you suffer with a condition such as IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, athlete gut issues, diverticulitis and so on please don’t take your consultants word for it when they say that there is no link to diet and that it cannot be significantly improved with attention to food and the microbiome balance: it can!

World Gastroenterology Organisation tools and resources

International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics page 

Gut Microbiota for health resources page

All the above have twitter feed and social media pages worth following for up to date and accurate advice.

Lots of love



Three and a half “Must-Reads”

I am never afraid to give credit where credit is due nor am I afraid to encourage clients to read other people’s amazing work. I see my job in part as not only a source of information, support and guidance but also as a stimulus to client’s education and so I do my best to review and then link on what I believe to be accurate, well-thought out and correctly researched science.

Here are a few recent ‘good-uns’ to enjoy.

John Barardi and his team at Precision Nutrition write excellent articles and here are two (and a half) links that I highly recommend:

  1. Nutrition is not a belief system.
    Why wishful thinking won’t get you results, but science might.

    To read this refreshing article please click this link.

    This is WORD. Of late I am fed up to the eyeballs of people and their OPINIONS on nutrition; social media is a minefield and these days  I am left firefighting science-fiction in my clinic on a daily basis. The big one that gets me is former overweight person turned expert and the only way they know IS THE ONLY way in their opinion…. aghhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
    I am not fat shaming here; please understand this however losing weight does not make you a fully trained and experienced health professional!

    I have 20 years of experience and studies in the bag (degrees and diplomas and numerous fitness, nutritional, functional medicine and medical conferences) and I barely feel I know anything compared to what I don’t know in this fast evolving field.
    I am in awe of those with hardly any training that feel they do know it all; HOW?

    And then we have the celebrity or retired athlete….

    I eat therefore I am a nutrition expert.

    I train therefore I am a coach.

    Really? All I can say is thank goodness that doctors still have to go to college; because the rest of the health and fitness industry is going downhill when you evaluate who is considered expert these days and people without a basis to understand are like flies to the nearest light, running from one diet and false promise to the next and buying book after book. People are utterly confused and thoroughly convinced of each new ‘diet’ or else doggedly stuck in one cultish way of diet/ exercise thinking.

    The body is complex, health is complex, diet and exercise are more than opinion or “just” experience because there is a science to it also: physiology, biochemistry, endocrinology, for example! It may be fine until we have a complex patient, with individual and different needs from the easy ‘norm’, or an athlete that is fatigued or has a health issue. Those without the underpinning science and stuck in their beliefs and emotions about health and fitness are ill-equipped to best advise these individuals which to be honest is everyone as most people aren’t straight forwards. I cannot recommend enough times that you work with an expert. It doesn’t have to be me!

    Please click the link given above for wise words from JB and his team…

  2. Can eating too little actually damage your metabolism?
    Exploring the truths and fallacies of ‘metabolic damage’.

    Follow this link


    “‘Energy in’ is trickier than you think and

    ‘Energy out’ varies a lot from person to person.”

    PN go into excellent detail describing some ‘whys’ which also sheds some light onto why I don’t recommend that clients obsess on counting calories or measuring what they believe is their daily energy expenditure. The best science struggles on this!

    2.5 While reading the above I had a go at the linked body weight calculator for weight loss. I am impressed!  It actually told me off for being light; which I am and this is how I have always been since my twenties and I am healthy and strong and eating well and racing strong and striving to be stronger. I am very impressed by this TRUTH message which may prevent people trying silly weight loss targets 🙂 

  3. The final article is from Myprogramgenerator Coach Freddy Lampret who shares his expert insights into endurance nutrition. There is so much BS out there these days (to be honest an all out war of High Carb Vs Low Carb High Fat and all other extremes) that is highly refreshing to read this article and it is definitely worth a share. Credit to Freddy for doing some strong writing based on science AND experience.

    Click here to download the full article:

Happy reading!



I can help YOU heal….

To heal complex health problems we must look at everything and this starts with the gut…

This will be a short post!

I deal with chronic and complex health problems almost daily in my clinic. To solve complex health problems such as fatigue, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal issues, modern complex conditions such as Lyme’s disease and post-viral syndromes, auto-immune issues and functional issues that we are told to live with, requires getting to the bottom of everything to the core of what is really going on.

I can help!

THIS is what I am good at, and why is probably a function of a mixture of my nature (wanting to know why in every possible way!), my training (pharmacy, nutritional therapy, and functional medicine training all lead to the desire to get to the core of the issue and treat from there) and my passion (I want you to feel not only better but well in all that this means for you).

The internet and social media is where people turn to for answers and I wont even attempt to try to answer all your questions here about why you are unwell because this is so very complex and so highly individual that to attempt to will miss many factors unique to you.

Google will not diagnose nor treat your problems; you have to let go and start to trust someone who has the science, the knowledge, the wisdom and the passion to want to truly help empower you with the tools to heal. I may, or may not be that person; only you will know this.

So all I can offer really is this:

My word!

That I care and will do everything I know to help you on your journey back to health.

That I am continually studying to ensure that I am up to date on all relevant and important research in all these fields.

That I understand your concerns, anxiety and at times inability to trust that we can do this because I know just how overwhelming it feels when chronic ill-health strikes.

That although what I may ask you to do seems simple and easy it is based on a lot of research, study, and expense on my behalf to ensure that I am doing the very best job possible.

That I want to listen to you; how you describe your journey with your health is of crucial important.

That I am here 100% to support you.

Chronic health issues suck, and happen as a result of many complex and intertwining factors that start as far back as before our birth, to the antibiotics we received as a child, the stress that we suffered at times in our lives, the appendix or tonsils surgery, to that gastritis bug we suffered on holidays or the accident we had, and on and on. Then add to this our lifestyle and diet choices, ongoing stress, our genetic weak sports, where we live and we start to see that things are complex.

My job is to make it simple. You effectively employ me to be your health detective, and then your advisor and guide, and from there hopefully your friend and support system.

Have a think about the following triggers and if you feel that I can help using a combination of the skills that I am fortunate to have (science, medicine, nutrition and herbs, healing and a giant heart) then please do contact me.