Want to shed fat but can’t give up your favorite foods? Are you addicted to pizza and ice cream? If so, try carb backloading! Just like intermittent fasting, this eating pattern has gained huge popularity over the last few years. With carb backloading, you’ll use the natural fluctuations in insulin levels to your advantage. It’s no need to count calories or macros, take diet pills, or weigh your food. Could this be the key to fat loss and lean muscle gains? Let’s find out!
Carb Backloading in a Nutshell
This nutrition method was developed by John Kiefer, a nutrition expert and exercise scientist. Basically, it encourages the consumption of carbs post workout or later in the day when your body is most likely to store them as glycogen in the muscles. At the same time, it limits carb consumption early in the day when the body is most able to store them as fat.
By using this approach, you can enjoy your favorite foods and still lose fat. Meal timing is everything. Carb backloading results are quite impressive, so it’s worth trying it out. The rules are clear and simple:
- Eat light in the morning and early afternoon
- Limit carb consumption until after your workout (around 5 PM)
- Load up on carbs as soon as you complete your workout.
This eating pattern is based on the premise that your body’s sensitivity to insulin is highest in the morning and lowest in the evening and late afternoon. When you have carbs for breakfast, you limit your body’s ability to burn fat throughout the day. On top of that, cortisol levels are higher in the morning, which promotes fat storage. The worst thing you could do at this time is to eat a high-carb breakfast. I have covered this issue here: Want to Lose Fat? Skip Carbs at Breakfast!
Carb backloading is based on the premise that your body’s sensitivity to insulin is highest in the morning and lowest in the evening and late afternoon.
Eating carbs post workout helps replenish your glycogen stores. The muscles will use sugar to grow and recover from training. The key is to schedule your workouts later in the day, and plan your meals accordingly. Forget about eating carbs before training. Your body can perform optimally on protein and fat.
A Nutrition Hack for Quick Fat Loss
John Kiefer recommends a 10-day depletion phase before loading up on carbs. For best results, limit your carb intake to 30 grams a day for 10 days. Any kind of sugar apart from fiber counts. On the 10th day, eat plenty of protein and about one gram of carbs per pound of body weight. Choose high-glycemic carbs like those found in white rice, potatoes, bananas, fries, and cookies. Repeat back-loading on your workout days. Go low carb on your off training days.
If you usually work out in the morning, skip breakfast before training. Have a protein shake or a snack with no more than 30 to 50 grams of sugars. Keep your carbs to a minimum until later in the evening, when you can back load. However, try not to overindulge in sweets and starches. Since you’ve worked out earlier, your muscles are now less sensitive to insulin. If you’re soft or bloated the next day, simply lower your carb intake.
Does Carb Backloading Really Work?
Carb backloading can enhance your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel. The best part is that you can eat the foods you love and stay lean. Let’s say you work out around 5 PM. As soon as you return home, you can lie on the couch and eat a large bag of chips followed by pizza and chocolate. Do the same the next day and the day after that. Remember that you’re supposed to lose weight while on this plan. Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it?
Just like everything else, this eating pattern has its drawbacks. Eat more calories than you need and you’ll gain weight. Food quality shouldn’t be overlooked either. A diet based on junk food and refined carbs is anything but healthy. Your body needs quality fuel to perform at its peak. Even if you shed fat, your health could suffer. Many athletes claim that carb backloading helped them slim down, but affected their overall health and performance.
Eating carbs at night won’t cause weight gain any more than eating them in the morning or early afternoon.
It’s no doubt that carb backloading works. However, it’s not a long term approach to good nutrition. What you should keep in mind after reading this post is that eating carbs at night won’t cause weight gain any more than eating them in the morning or early afternoon. To stay lean, eat your carbs post workout and avoid them in the morning.
My advice is to get your good carbs from whole, natural foods, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole pasta, bananas, and oats. Of course, you can have an occasional treat, but don’t make a habit out of it.