Low carb diets have become all the rage because of their immediate effect on the body's overall fat deposits.
Despite the effectiveness of lowering your carbohydrate intake drastically, the body still naturally yearns for carbs at certain points. Recognizing these points is key to keeping your low-carb diet going strong.
Eating all carbs post workout.
Carbohydrates certainly are a major stimulator of the muscle development and fat storing hormone insulin. Post-workout is a superb time for you to include carbs because exercising is an insulin mimicker. Just the action of contracting muscle tissue will heighten the number of glucose receptors on cells such as the muscle cells. This is the exact same thing insulin does. So, eating the majority of your starch after a workout allows for increased glucose uptake by muscles which increases glycogen storage and muscle protein synthesis with less insulin needed. This accentuates the muscles building impact of insulin and de-emphasizes any fat storing effects?..the very best of all worlds. So, this is a excellent timeto have carbs, especially if muscle gain is what you are after. Do remember though that overloading on carbs post-workout will immediately slow weight loss down.
Eating all carbs in the morning.
Insulin sensitivity is highest each and every morning after an overnight fast and lowest come night time after a full day of meals. What this means is less of a negative impact from starch in the morning compared to the evening with all else being equal. This approach could also cause some adjustment of the leptin curve making it start to peak during the early evening instead of in the middle of the night, which can have benefits in lessening hunger in the evening (we utilize this approach for many clients that have ravenous night-time hunger despite them increasing protein). This plan is also great for those who prefer to exercise in the morning.
Eating carbs at night.
Carbohydrate intake is known to raise serotonin in the brain (this is somewhat controversial) since insulin pushes the majority of amino acids in to the tissues leaving tryptophan with less competition to cross the blood brain barrier raising serotonin during this process. Serotonin is a relaxing neurohormone that will aid sleep. The other thing having starches at night will do is lower cortisol and catecholamine levels, which may be elevated in the evening in people who experience insomnia. This works great for those who workout come night time and/or have difficulty sleeping. Eat carbs before or through the meal where you normally havecarb cravings. If there is a particular time of the day where you tend to crave starchy foods, there are two strategies to try. Strategy 1 would be to have your carbohydrates before that time. As an illustration, let's imagine you crave sweets or bread at 3pm almost everyafternoon. Ask yourself about your last meal at lunch? Did you skip carbs or overload on them? This will tell you a lot about a possible approach that may work for you. Perhaps you need to trade in the gigantic boo-boo burrito for just a salad at lunch? Or perhaps you want to add a bit of starch to your tossed salad and chicken breast? Or maybe you want to save your daily carb allotment for that late afternoon snack so you're able to relax and attack the craving head on. As you have seen, we do not treat these things as simple one-size-fits-all question, so you shouldn?t either. A smart approach to nutrition is one that will fit your metabolic expression, psychological sensitivities and individual preferences. When you get confused about this stuff, take sometime to ask yourself, where are these things coming from? Right now in the health and fitness world there are a couple of trends. These nutrition trends come around every now and then and it is always the same story. Somebody, occasionally quite a knowledgeable person who has done their homework, writes a book or describes an approach to something that has worked for them or their clients. Because we humans crave certainty so much, and are always subconsciously looking for the next thing that can finally deliver us body utopia, we latch on to these things as if they are our new saviors. Unfortunately, the gurus of the health and fitness world are not immune to this natural human tendency. Chances are your favorite fitness guru is preaching some of the benefits of the latest fitness topics as we speak. Hopefully they temper their wish for certainty and experimentation with coaching you on whether or not that strategy is a smart one for you.
The email above gives a hint as to what is hot right now???carb back loading and intermittent fasting (IF). Carb back loading is the idea that you ought to have all your carbs at the end of the day. Neither of these concepts are new, but they have been re-popularized of late. And they CAN BE useful tools. Their newly discovered popularity comes about by some very smart people that have been able to effectively use these tools to their own as well as their clients benefit. You too will benefit from these tools, but then again you may not.
I realize this blog turned into a bit of a commentary on a number of things, but to assist you in deciding which carb strategy might be best for you, here is some insight from our clinical practice working with patients. Hopefully this helps you find a solution you can enjoy, remain consistent with and get results from:
First, consider taking your fat loss diet to the next level by first lowering your overall starch intake and second by consuming starches only at specific times of the day. We usually tell our clients who have graduated to this level of sophistication to limit starchy carbohydrates to 20-30 bites each day to start. We equate a bite as one level tablespoon or about 5g of carb. So, this is about 100g to 150g of starchy carbs per day. We like bites because it is easy to titrate down as needed compared to weighing and measuring. Next we have them eat all of these at one time avoiding all starches anywhere else. Here is how you might decide what is best for you:
Workout at night?
Have difficulty sleeping? Crave starch, salt and/or sweets in the evening? Find yourself ravenously hungry in the am? If so, save your entire days carb intake for the evening. If you notice you sleep better and your hunger, energy and cravings are better controlled the next day AND the end of the week shows improvement in body composition, you have moved one step closer to your metabolic formula.
Workout in the morning before eating?
Crave coffee and pastries for breakfast? Notice low energy all day if you don?t have morning carbs? Discover yourself to be insatiably hungry at night? Then eat all your carbs in the morning and skip them the rest of the day. Don?t feel hungry for most of the day until after lunch? Have high energy despite not eating? Tend to hold onto your muscle mass? Get sick and tired of worrying about preparing meals for the day and stressing about what to eat? Are able to go the whole day without food and still eat sensibly at night? Then, consider fasting the entire day and eating only one big meal (including the carbs) in the evening. Feel low energy when you don?t eat? Have a foggy head and can?t think clearly unless you have carbs? Are you insulin resistant and tend to ?feel hypoglycemic?? Overweight or obese? New to the fat loss lifestyle? Then you'll likely be better off eating small frequent meals with each meal containing small amount of carbs (5 to 10 bites). These meals should also be accompanied with a good portion of protein. Have difficulty gaining muscle? Train intensely with weights? Having difficulty recovering from exercise? Are an athlete with performance goals? Then eat carbs post-workout as well. 30 to 50g whey protein plus a large banana could give you just the right insulin kick at just the right time to take your fat burning and muscle building game to another level.