Why Carbs At Night For Fat Loss
There are so dang many myths about fat loss it’s horrifying. The vast majority of these myths are about carbohydrates and calories. Many of us are so desperate for the “answers” to our fat loss problems that we’ll try anything any everything to take the weight off. Unfortunately, that means we waste a whole lot of time and energy on strategies that just don’t work and/or aren’t remotely healthy. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself why so many people are *always* on a diet yet can’t sustain lasting weight loss. No, seriously! Is what you’re doing working for you? If you’d rather hear me explain this and watch a video training, click here! One of the most common fat loss myths is that you should eat your carbs in the morning so you have all day to burn them off. That is not true. That does not reflect how your body works and in this post my goal is to explain why you should eat your carbs at night when fat loss is your goal. Before I dive into the explanation, let me see if this sounds familiar to anyone out there: Have you ever had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and felt hungry less than hour later? Or chowed down on a big bagel but it didn’t hold you over for long? When fat loss is the goal and we start the day with carbohydrates (think: granola and fruit, bagel, cereal, pancakes, etc) we set ourselves up to prevent fat burning and trigger extreme hunger, constant cravings and low energy. This is true because of the unique hormonal environment in the body after an overnight fast and upon waking. After an overnight fast, your blood sugar and insulin levels will be low when you wake up. This makes the morning the time of day when we will have the most exaggerated response to consuming carbohydrates. I like to explain it using this analogy: Imagine you wer Continue reading >>
Should You Have Cheat Meals On A Ketogenic Diet?
Damn does that cake look good! Cheat meals. Everyone thinks about them when following any diet, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. You might be wondering if you should have cheat meals while going keto. Is it worth it? Is it okay? Will it mess up your progress completely? Intellectually, why would you want to eat something that isn’t in line with your goals or your health? Let’s face it, cheat day meals are bad for you. We know it. The ketogenic diet is simple, but not always easy, and there are some grey areas, so lLet’s talk a little bit about what happens when you have cheat meals and whether or not they’re worth it. You might know people who do low-carb long-term and schedule cheat meals in at regular times, such as on the weekends or set days each month. While this creates a healthy mindset around not needing to be perfect, things are a little different with the ketogenic diet. Since keto is stricter than other low-carb diets, (see our post on keto vs. Atkins) it’s more tempting to have cheat meals. However, the effects of them can be more dramatic. Disadvantages of Cheat Meals on the Ketogenic Diet Here are some consequences of having cheat meals. These are things to consider before flying off the deep end with some emotional eating. Let’s get the big one out of the way first, Cheating Takes You out of Ketosis Since cheating on the keto diet more than likely will take you out of ketosis—especially if the cheat meal or snack is carb-heavy—you have to be prepared for this fact. Know that it’ll likely set you back some and take some time to get back into a ketogenic state. When you have eaten what you suspect was a “cheat meal,” put it to the acid test, and test your ketone levels. People are often surprised that they stay in ketosis after Continue reading >>
Ketones And Carbohydrates: Can They Co-exist?
For reasons I’m still struggling to understand, the idea of “nutritional ketosis” (NK, to be distinguished from starvation ketosis, SK or diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA) is often discussed and debated in much the same way as religion or politics. Perhaps this can be said of all nutrition, which is a shame. Nevertheless, in my continued defiance of such sensitive topics, I’d like to add another layer of complexity and nuance to this discussion. The “rule of thumb” for NK is that caloric intake is determined as follows (this excludes a subset of ketogenic diets known as calorie-restricted KD which, as the name suggests, is specifically restricted in calories): Carbohydrate (total, not “net”): less than 50 gm/day, but ideally closer to 30 gm/day Protein: up to 1 to 1.5 gm/kg, but ideally below about 120 gm/day Fat: to satiety Let me illustrate what this looks like for Joe (left), Jane (middle), and Jeff (right — an example of a calorie restricted KD), three hypothetical people in NK — but each with different caloric requirements. As a general rule, as caloric requirement increases the proportion of calories derived from carbohydrate and protein decreases (and the contribution of dietary fat increases), even while absolute intake of carbohydrate and protein increases. Anyone who has bought a blood ketone meter knows how tough it can be to get “into” ketosis by carbohydrate restriction (since everyone asks, I use the Abbott Precision Xtra meter which uses two different strips: one for glucose and one for beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB). Most practitioners consider the minimum threshold of NK to be a fasting serum level of BHB above 0.5 mM. I’m a bit more stringent in my practice and like to see fasting BHB levels above 1 mM. To give you a sense of one per Continue reading >>
The 3 Ketogenic Diets Explained: Skd, Ckd & Tkd
Whether you want to gain power, endurance, speed, or muscle, this call all be done through a ketogenic diet. Training While in Ketosis It’s important to know what’s going in your body when you’re training, how those nutrients are being utilized, and how to maximize their effects. Here are some reasons why people find it difficult to stay in ketosis while on a training regimen: Too much protein = knocked out of ketosis Too little protein = lose muscle mass Too many fats = gain body fat Too little fats = low energy levels Too many carbohydrates = knocked out of ketosis Nutritional Needs of a Ketogenic Diet One of the first, and most important things to consider here, is your caloric intake. To find out what your caloric and nutrient needs are, you can visit our keto calculator. If you want to lose weight, subtract 10-15% of your calories from your TEE. If your goals are to gain muscle, increase your calories by 10-15% of your TEE. Easy enough, right? Well, it’s a little bit more complex than that. You have to bring your macronutrients into play and make sure you are hitting the targeted amount. In terms of percentages – you will want to do: For example 110g protein, 150g fat, and 15g carbs will break into a 55% / 40% / 5% split of fats, proteins, and carbs respectively. You can eat once a day, twice a day, or 10 times a day – just be sure you’re hitting your macros and drinking enough water. Once your body enters ketosis, it will start using ketones as your primary source of energy (instead of glucose). While studies show that ketones (fats) are more efficient for the body to use, most people find that they never reach their peak performance without glucose (carbohydrates). Variations of the Ketogenic Diet There are 3 different styles of the keto diet: Stand Continue reading >>
Carb Cycling Diet Plan Benefits & Tips To Maintain Healthy Weight
The carb cycling diet has been popular among bodybuilders, fitness models and certain types of athletes for decades. Carb cycling — eating more carbs only on certain days — is believed to be beneficial as one of the best diet plans to lose weight and gain muscle because it stimulates certain digestive and metabolic functions. What makes carbs so special? Carbohydrates are the body’s first source of fuel, since they’re easily turned into glucose and glycogen, which feed your cells and help create ATP (energy). Your metabolism rises and falls based on your consumption of calories and different macronutrients, including carbohydrates. (1) And many studies have found that adequate carb intake improves performance in both prolonged, low-intensity and short, high-intensity exercises. (2) Perhaps you’ve heard that your metabolism is a lot like a fire: If you fuel “the fire” with the right ingredients, it keeps burning hotter. As Chris Powell, one of the leading authorities on carb cycling, puts it, “If you don’t throw enough fuel on the fire, the flame fizzles out.” Eating enough carbohydrates at the right time resets your metabolic thermostat and signals your body to create enough beneficial hormones (like leptin and thyroid hormones) that keep you at a healthy weight. However, as we all know, too many carbs can have the opposite effect and cause weight gain. What’s key about a carb cycling diet that makes it different from other plans? Carb cycling increases carbohydrate (and sometimes calorie) intake only at the right time and in the right amounts. While other long-term diet plans might seem overly restrictive, daunting and overwhelming, many find that a carb cycling diet is easy to follow and even fits into a hectic schedule. What Is Carb Cycling? Car Continue reading >>
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Why Keto And Not Low Carb – Pitfalls Of Low-carb Nutrition
Intro Update 2017: This post has been deprecated (not in line with my current thoughts. Read more on the ‘about’ page) While reading Jimmy Moore and Dr. Westman’s Keto Clarity, I started pondering on this. Most of us know that reducing carbohydrate intake (especially simple sugars) is very beneficial to one’s health, but if you are following a low-carb diet and you are not in ketosis, there may be some issues. If you consume, say, 100-150g of carbs a day, much of it will be used by the brain , while the remainder will be insufficient to supply for the energy demands of the rest of the cells throughout your body. In this situation, you’re not producing ketones (because of the higher carbohydrate intake) to supply for the energy demands of the brain and most of the cells. No wonder the fatigue and light-headedness you’d experience. Low-Carb vs. Keto When you eat low-carbohydrate but you do not go low enough to become ketotic, you’re still a sugar burner (and a very inefficient one) and you’re likely to fall of the wagon because you do not experience the benefits of ketosis. When you’re doing low-carb and you are not ketotic, some of your body’s cells will use fatty acids for energy indeed, but your brain cannot use them directly as they cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Cravings and hunger are most likely to occur under this protocol as your cells will scream at you to give them sugar. The foggy mind may be persistent. Note that this type of scenario can happen when you are very-low-carb and eat high-protein. You’ll not be able to enter ketosis due to gluconeogenesis (GNG) – synthesis of glucose mostly from protein substrates. This will also occur when you’re just starting out a ketogenic diet because your body needs time to accommodate to Continue reading >>
Breaking A Weight Loss Plateau
I know all about how annoying a low carb diet weight loss plateau can be. In 2008, I began to change my eating habits in order to address some serious health problems. I also wanted to lose the excess weight I had accumulated over the years while eating a poor diet full of processed junk food. It took several years and I still struggle with my weight, but then I'm a work in progress. The Most Common Causes of a Weight Loss Plateau Here is my opinion, born of my individual experience, on the most common causes of a weight loss plateau. If you are following a ketogenic diet, and not losing weight, or the weight loss is inconsistent (going down one week and up the next), here are some of the most common causes: Eating more carbohydrate than you think (fruit, nuts, and yogurt are the particular culprits here). I call this carb creep. Eating more calories than your body can handle without storing (this is usually the result of a very high fat intake - for me, too much dairy). You want to be burning your stored fat, not excess fat from your diet. Eating large amounts of low carb foods that elevate insulin. Dairy protein (hard cheeses, yogurt and whey protein in particular), sugar alcohols, and other artificial sweeteners are culprits here. Eating lots of coconut, coconut oil or MCT oil. Coconut oil has a lot of medium chain triglycerides in it. This type of fat can't be stored, so your body has to burn it first. Again, the goal is to burn your stored fat, not fat from your diet. Not exercising in a way that increases insulin sensitivity to the muscles. (The problem is that for people with a broken metabolism, long, slow exercise doesn't work well - it has to be high intensity exercise, which uses all the glycogen stored in the muscles, and makes them more insulin sensitive. T Continue reading >>
When To Carb Up On A Ketogenic Diet
If you’ve been doing the ketogenic diet for long, you may have heard the term “carb up” used. We are going to explain When to Carb Up on a Ketogenic Diet to help you make the most of your recent choice to live a healthier lifestyle and work toward losing weight. When to Carb Up on a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet is mostly a low-carb and high-protein dietary option. However, many individuals restrict carbohydrates strongly and use what they call a cyclic keto diet by using a few days on a regular basis to “carb up”. Below, I will explain more about the process, and some tips for when you should choose this method. Have you hit a plateau with weight loss? If you have been doing the ketogenic diet for a length of time, your body may be at a point where it just needs a change. That includes those who have lost a lot, but have just a few last pounds to reach their goal. A carb load can switch your body out of ketosis just long enough for the change back to ketosis to boost you back into loosing mode. Are you training regularly for building muscle? Many who are focused on building muscle find that doing a carb up day helps give them the extra boost of energy needed to really push to a goal. This is especially found with those who are preparing for a competition or a marathon of some sort. A carb up day allows them to add extra energy for 1-2 full days to get past that event. Most who do this follow a weekly regimen of ketogenic for a week, then follow that with 1-2 days of carb loading. They may limit this to once a month or do it routinely each week. However, they are using this as part of their high-intensity workout regimen. Do you have the discipline to go back on plan? If you don’t have the discipline to stop and go back on plan after 1-2 days, then this ma Continue reading >>
Not Losing Weight On Low Carb? Try Carb Cycling.
Carbohydrates are just as addictive as nicotine, if not more. The first time I quit smoking after fourteen years, I quit it for two years. Then one night at a party I was offered a cigarette by someone I hadn’t seen for a while and I, figuring I was “cured,” lit it up. The next day I bought a pack and jumped right back into smoking a pack a day for three more years before I finally quit again (2.5 years now!) When it comes to carbohydrates, I don’t see a difference. Last year on my birthday, after doing keto for a solid six or seven months, my wonderful fiance got me a doughnut cake as a cheat day treat. A doughnut, the size of a cake. I figured hey, it’s one day, one doughnut. But it wasn’t. The minute carbohydrates were back in my system it was as if they were never gone. And suddenly we were ordering Dominos and drinking Coca-Cola. And again. And again. In fact, I never ate pizza regularly or drank soda until that moment. It’s like one big doughnut was a gateway drug to everything bad, even things I didn’t eat before. Eight months and 20lbs later we were able to get the will power together to quit them again. Losing Weight on a Low Carb Diet If you’re on a low carb diet, you don’t need me to tell you the benefits. Some do it for weight loss, others for mental clarity, and others for illnesses like cancer and alzheimers. But remember, quitting carbs doesn’t mean quitting real food. Every day I eat grass-fed meat, organic greens like spinach, and even berries. If you choose to drink diet coke and processed things loaded with fake sugars, with a block of cheese for lunch, you’re not making yourself healthier, you might even be damaging your body rather than helping it. One thing I’ve learned from quitting carbohydrates and then falling off the Continue reading >>
Carbing Up On The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
Please send us your feedback on this article. Introduction Although ketogenic diets are useful for fat loss, while simultaneously sparing muscle loss, they have one significant drawback: they cannot sustain high intensity exercise. Activities like weight training can only use carbohydrates as an energy source, ketones and free fatty acids (FFA) cannot be used. Therefore the lack of carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet will eventually lead to decreased performance in the weight room, which may result in muscle loss, and carbohydrates must be introduced into a ketogenic diet without affecting ketosis. Probably the most common way to do this is to do a weekend carb-load phase, where ketosis is abolished. During this time period, assuming training volume was sufficient to deplete muscle glycogen (see last article), the body can rapidly increase muscle glycogen levels to normal or supra-normal levels prior to beginning the next ketogenic cycle. Anyone who has read both "The Anabolic Diet" (AD) by Dr. Mauro DiPasquale and "Bodyopus" (BO) by Dan Duchaine should realize that there are two diametrically different approaches to the carb-up. In the AD, the carb-up is quite unstructured. The goal is basically to eat a lot of carbs, and stop eating when you feel yourself starting to get bloated (which is roughly indicative of full muscle glycogen stores, where more carbohydrate will spill over to fat). In BO, an extremely meticulous carb-up schedule was provided, breaking down the 48 hour carb-up into individual meals, eaten every 2.5 hours. The approach which this article will provide is somewhere in the middle. This article will discuss a variety of topics which pertain to the carb-load phase of the CKD, including duration, carbohydrate intake, quality of carbohydrate intake, fat gai Continue reading >>
Occasional Post Workout Carb Load; Throw Off Keto Adaptation?... Thoughts
Been basically paleo with my food choices for many years, except for rice. I'm 4 months into full on vlc paleo; no carbs except copious green vegetables (no fruit, grains, sugar, or roots) and feel amazing. 9am raw lamb leg, raw egg yolk, fish oil 3pm sashimi (I live in Tokyo) or chicken, coconut oil, avocado, seaweed, cabbage 9pm raw beef, coconut oil sauteed tons of green vegetables. I also add chelated minerals esp mag, Vit D3, E, B, C Felt like crap and could barely work out for 3 weeks, then magically I became a diesel engine! Actually, now my workouts are stronger than ever and I never bonk. I digest my raw meat by itself so easily now I workout an hour after eating 325 grams of it....deadlifts and all. My previous problems are reversing; my mind is clear all the time, my energy is constant, I can finally go more than 3 hours without eating, my moods are more even, I sleep better, and my body feels/looks stronger. I was already lean and hard, if small muscled, but now I seem to be gaining a bit of good weight. I am presently working out to try and gain mass, which my hardgainer body has never cooperated with before. I'm following leangains advice and eating 3 grams of protein per kilogram (I weigh @60kg lean body mass), and filling the rest out with fat; about 180g protein/195g fat/@2500 cal/day/3 meals @8-850cal. I don't count green veggie calories, I just eat em. Before I was really carb sensitive and they were making me sick. In the glycogen window I could eat more of them, but other times more than 40-50g of carbs would make me feel crappy. Now that I am keto adapted, I don't wanna screw that up. But, I do want to gain some mass. I'm at my limit with protein, and I don't think I can stomach more fat (already almost 200g a day). I have no need to add carbs for Continue reading >>
How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?
A perennial question, argument and debate in the field of nutrition has to do with how many carbohydrates people should be eating. While the nutritional mainstream is still more or less advocating a large amount of daily carbohydrate (with fat being blamed for the health problems of the modern world), groups often considered at the ‘fringe’ of nutrition are adamant that carbohydrates are the source of all evil when it comes to health, obesity, etc. They advocate lowering carbohydrates and replacing them with dietary protein, fat or both. This is a topic that I discussed in some detail in Carbohydrates and Fat Controversies Part 1 and Carbohydrate and Fat Controversies Part 2 and I’d recommend readers take a look at those for a slightly different look at the issue than what is discussed here. Arguments over recommended carbohydrate intake have a long history and it doesn’t appear to be close to ending any time soon. Typical mainstream recommendations have carbohydrates contributing 50% or more of total calories while many low-carbohydrate advocates suggest far fewer (ranging from the 40% of the Zone diet to close to zero for ketogenic diets). This article looks at the topic in detail. And while I originally wrote it quite a while back (some of you have probably seen it before), it was nice going over it with fine toothed comb for an update. While the majority of it stands up well over time, I was able to make some slight changes to the values, along with removing some original stuff that wasn’t really relevant. Enjoy. Introduction It’s safe to say that most carbohydrate recommendations that you will see are put in terms of percentages, you should be eating 45% of your calories as carbs, or 65% or whatever number is being used. As I discussed in Diet Percentag Continue reading >>
Why Carb Loading Is A Bad Idea
Carb loading may temporarily increase exercise performance, but these benefits may be cancelled out by water weight gain and bothersome digestive symptoms If you’ve been following a low-carb, high-fat, Paleo-style diet, your body is likely fat adapted and will require very few carbohydrates for fuel, even during exercise Many professional athletes are rethinking carb loading, as low-carb, high-fat diets provide more long-lasting fuel and have an overall better impact on metabolism By Dr. Mercola Carb-loading is a strategy commonly used by endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, in the days leading up to a long run or race. The idea behind carb-loading is to saturate yourself with carbs so your muscles will have plenty of glycogen to use as fuel while you exercise. For instance, Runner's World states:1 "The easiest way to achieve a simple, successful carb-load is to include carbohydrate-rich foods at every meal and snack [starting as early as five days prior to your race]. This means bread, pasta, rice, cereal, potatoes, and fruit should be mainstays. Simple sugars and refined grains… get the green light in the days leading up to the race." This can work well for really fit athletes who have an intense workout regimen or a race on the horizon, but even then it has the potential to backfire if done incorrectly, or if you ordinarily follow a low-carb diet. There are some compelling reasons for professional athletes to rethink carb-loading, in part because high-fat, low-carb diets provide more long-lasting fuel and have an overall better impact on metabolism. Meanwhile, carb loading is totally inappropriate for the vast majority of non-athletes who exercise casually, as this type of regimen could lead to weight gain, digestive issues, and even chronic disease. The Continue reading >>
To Keto Or To Carb? That Is The Question.
When you think of runner foods, what comes to mind? Images of carb-heavy bagels, bananas and pasta likely dance in your head. There’s even a specific expression for how to eat before a long-distance race. (Hint: carbo-loading.) However, there are a growing number of nutritionists and athletes who believe that it’s time for this doughy script to be flipped. These experts say following a ketogenic diet, which restricts carbs in favor of high-fat and protein-rich foods, is the right way to fuel a new personal best. How do you know whether to hit the bialys or the bacon? We explore both sides to help you decide which eating plan might be right for you. Noodle This Experts who believe in reducing carbs argue that high-carb diets lead to weight gain and hinder a runner’s performance. On the other side, those who stand behind higher carbohydrate consumption say that decreasing carbs can actually hinder training. Sports nutritionist, author and coach Matt Fitzgerald recommends looking at the world’s best runners. While some sports nutrition authorities believe that no athlete should get more than 40 to 50 percent of calories from carbs, Fitzgerald argues that if this were correct, then why are the East African runners (who eat much more than this) the fastest marathoners? In his popular book Racing Weight, an analysis was conducted on 10 world-class Ethiopian runners. On average, they consumed nearly 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight daily, or about 2.5 times the amount of carbs that the typical American athlete ate. Fitzgerald sums it up: “These athletes hold the most records, they win the big races, and they eat a lot of carbohydrates.” Fitzgerald has also observed firsthand the negative effects of switching to a very low-carb diet: “There’s a good Continue reading >>
How To Use Carb Cycling To Make Fat Loss Easier Than Ever
Carb cycling is central to every quality nutritional guide I’ve ever come across. It is recommended by some of the most highly-regarded coaches and transformation experts in the world and has been used by fitness models, bodybuilders and athletes to acquire some of the most impressive physiques ever seen. In 2013, a British study confirmed what the fitness elite already knew instinctively, when it was found that this style of diet was superior to a standard, daily calorie-restricted diet for reducing weight and lowering blood levels of insulin (more on this later). Yet, despite its effectiveness and popularity amongst the fitness elite, it’s a method of dieting that is shrouded in mystery. For years, I wrongly assumed that carb cycling was an advanced technique that would make my life more complicated, and that I didn’t need carbs in my diet at all. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Implemented properly, carb cycling makes fat loss easier from a physiological standpoint and, best of all, it makes dieting enjoyable because you actually get to eat carbs (aka pretty much every food you love). Many diets, such as Paleo or Atkins, almost completely ban you from eating carbs. When I tried the Paleo diet for myself, I found this style of eating overly-restrictive, and after months on the diet – and many missed social events – I finally gave in. But here’s the thing: I did lose weight, and lots of it. To get a better idea of why that might have happened, it’s important to understand the effect that carbohydrates have on our bodies. How Do Carbohydrates Affect The Body? When you consume carbohydrates they are broken down into sugars (otherwise known as glucose) that then enter the blood stream. A hormone called insulin is released to remove glucose from the blood Continue reading >>