Carb Confusion: Three Hidden Carb Truths
Are you a carb lover? Carbs often get a bad wrap when it comes to getting lean, but actually they’re quite beneficial when it comes to any diet plan, the key is understanding how to use them. Here are 3 hidden carb truths to help you make the most out of this delicious macronutrient.
Carb Truth #1 – Women Lose More Belly Fat On Low Carb Diets
We already know women tend to reserve or hold on to their muscle glycogen – the stored form of carb, which means we need much less to survive! But there really is no need to do an ultra low carb diet either, the key is finding the right macronutrient ratio.
In one study, women on a 1600 calorie restricted high protein diet (30% protein, 40% carb, 30% fat) diet for 8-weeks, experienced not only significant weight loss, but had greater reductions in total and abdominal fat mass than those on a lower protein diet (16% protein, 55% carbohydrates, 26% fat).
Basically, eating a moderate to low carbohydrate diet is sufficient to still lose fat while still gaining muscle! The key is determining how much carb you specifically need based on your activity level and your metabolism.
Carb Truth #2 – You Can Eat Carbs Whenever You Like
Carb timing, or nutrient timing really is a thing of the past. Nutrient timing studies showed significant anabolic gains post and pre-exercise with a carb load when participants were truly depleted – in a fasted state.
The truth is most of us never reach a true fasted state – we don’t exercise long enough or at an intensity that can significantly deplete our body. If you ate a few hours before your workout – no matter if it was carbs, protein, or fat, you’re more than likely still experiencing an anabolic response.
One study showed that the anabolic effect of a single meal could last 5 to 6 hours based on the individual’s rate of metabolism. And in another study, it was shown that eating carbs 2 hours post workout resulted in no significant glycogen level differences at 8 hours and 24-hours post workout.
It is more important to provide your body with sufficient nutrients, at regular intervals to help maintain an anabolic state. Going longer than 3 hours between meals may result in nutrient depletion and thus reduce anabolic processes – muscle building! Therefore if you want to eat carbs for breakfast, carbs before bed or carbs after your workout it really doesn’t matter. Your macronutrient ratios are what will ultimately drive your body composition goals, than the exact timing of your nutrient intake.
Carb Truth #3 – Carb Cycling is One of the Best Dieting Methods
Carb Cycling diet is a diet that switches between low and high amounts of carbohydrates, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of being on a low carbohydrate diet, while also allowing you to still enjoy your favorite carbs too. During low carbohydrate phase your body maximizes the amount of carbs you have stored in muscle glycogen, and seeks out alternative energy sources such as your fat! On high carbohydrate days, you replenish muscle glycogen, but you also stimulate metabolic and anabolic responses that can help prevent diet plateaus.
Making carb cycling work for you is as easy as determining your calories, and your macronutrient ratios that will work for you – low carbohydrate phase of 30 to 20% of your daily calorie needs is sufficient, while protein can make up 30 to 40% and fat can make up the remaining portion. On high carb days, carbs can be shifted to 50%, while protein can remain roughly the same and fat can make up the remaining.
Have one high carb day every 4 to 7 days depending on your activity level and how much fat you want to lose, as your body composition changes, you can start to cycle between low and high carb days every 3 to 5 days.
Need some help determining your exact Carb Cycling meal plan?
If your goal is to achieve a muscular, fit body, you will need to eat a high protein diet, with a moderate to low amount of carbs and fat. Carb Cycling can help you get there. Flexible dieting and less regimented approaches are more effective, and will keep you on your diet for longer. Pay attention to how your body feels and responds to what you feed it and when you feed it. Make adjustments based on your own unique requirements and needs.
Until Next Time,
Be Fierce & Rule the World,
Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window. JISSN. 2013. 10:5.
Parker B, et al. Effect of a High Protein, High Monounsaturated Fat Weight Loss Diet on Glycemic Control and Lipid Levels in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2002. 25(3): 425-30.