Calorie Tapering And Fat Loss - AnabolicMinds.com
    • Calorie Tapering And Fat Loss


      By Tom Venuto Iron Magazine

      “Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper.” This maxim can be attributed to nutrition writer Adelle Davis, and since her passing in 1974, the advice to eat less at night to help with fat loss has lived on and continued to circulate in many different incarnations. This includes suggestions such as:

      “Don’t eat a lot before bedtime”
      “Don’t eat midnight snacks”
      “Don’t eat anything after 7pm”
      “Don’t eat any carbs at night”
      “Don’t eat any carbs after 3 pm”
      and so on…

      I too believe that eating lightly at night is usually very solid advice for people seeking increased fat loss, especially for people who are inactive at night. However, some fitness experts today, when they hear “eat less at night,” start screaming, “Diet Voodoo!”…

      Opinions on this subject are definitely mixed. Many highly respected experts strongly recommend eating less at night to improve fat loss, while others suggest that it’s only “calories in vs calories out” over 24 hours that matters.

      The critics say that it’s ridiculous to cut off food intake at a certain hour or to presume that “carbs turn to fat” at night as if there were some kind of nocturnal carbohydrate gremlins waiting to shuttle calories into fat cells when the moon is full. They suggest that if you eat less in the morning and eat more at night, it all “balances itself out at the end of the day.”

      Of course, food does not turn to fat just because it’s eaten after a certain “cutoff hour” and carbs do not necessarily turn to fat at night either (although there are hypotheses about low evening insulin sensitivity having some significance). What we do know for certain is that the law of energy balance is with us at all hours of the day – and that bears some deeper consideration when you realize that we expend the least energy when we are sleeping and many people spend the entire evening watching TV.

      I had the privilege of interviewing sports nutritionist and dietician Dan Benardot, PhD, and he gave us a very interesting perspective on this.

      Dr. Benardot said that thinking in terms of 24 hour energy balance may be a seriously flawed and outdated concept. He says that the old model of energy balance looks at calories in versus calories out in 24 hour units. However, what really happens is that your body allocates energy minute by minute and hour by hour as your body’s needs dictate, not at some specified 24 hour end point.

      I first heard this concept suggested by Dr. Fred Hatfield about 15 years ago. Hatfield explained how and why you should be thinking ahead to the next three hours and adjusting your energy intake accordingly.

      Although it’s not really a new idea, Dr. Benardot has recently taken this concept to a much higher level of refinement and he calls the new paradigm, “Within Day Energy Balance.”

      The Within Day Energy balance approach not only backs up the practice of eating small meals approximately every three hours, AND the practice of “nutrient timing” (which is why post workout nutrition is such a popular topic today, and rightly so)… it also suggests that we should adjust our energy intake according to our activity.

      Let’s make the assumption most people come home from work, then plop on the couch in front of the TV all night. Let’s also assume that the majority of people go to bed late in the evening, usually around 10 pm, 11 pm or midnight. Therefore, nightime is the period during which the least energy is being expended.

      If this is true, then it’s logical to suggest that one should not eat huge amounts of calories at night, especially right before bed because that would provide excess fuel at a time when it is not needed. The result is increased likelihood of fat storage.

      From the within day energy balance perspective, the advice to eat less at night makes complete sense. Of course it also suggests that if you train at night, then you should eat more at night to support that activity beforehand and to support recovery afterwards.

      Those stuck on a 24 hour model of energy expenditure would say timing of energy intake doesn’t matter as long as the total calories for the day are in a deficit. But who ever decided that the body operates on a 24-hour “DAY”?

      Try this test (or not!): Eat a 2500 calorie per day diet, with nothing for breakfast, nothing before or after your morning workout, 500 calories for lunch, 750 calories for dinner and 1250 calories before bedtime.

      Now compare that to the SAME 2500 calorie diet with 6 small meals of approximately 420 calories per meal and then tweak those meal sizes a bit so that you eat a little more before and after your workout and a little less later at night.

      Both are 2500 calories per day. According to “24 hour energy balance” thinking, both diets will produce the same results in performance, health and body composition. But will they?

      Does your body really do a calculation at midnight and add up the day’s totals like a business man when he closes out the register at night? It’s a lot more logical that energy is stored in real time and energy is burned in real time, rather than accounted for at the end of each 24 hour period.

      24 hour energy balance is just one way to academically sort calories so you can understand it and count it in convenient units of time. This has its uses, as in calculating a daily calorie intake level for menu planning purposes.

      Ok, but enough about calories, what about the individual macronutrients? Some people don’t simply suggest eating fewer calories at night, they suggest you take your calorie cut specifically from CARBS rather than from all macronutrients evenly across the board. Is there anything to it?

      Well, there’s more than one theory. The most commonly quoted theory has to do with insulin.

      The late bodybuilding guru Dan Duchaine was once asked by a competitor,

      “I want to get cut up for an upcoming contest. Should I eat at night? I heard I shouldn’t eat carbs after six pm.”
      Duchaine answered:

      “It’s true that insulin sensitivity is lowest at night. Let’s discuss what is happening in your body that makes it dislike carbs at night. Cortisol, a catabolic hormone, is highest at night. When cortisol is elevated, your muscle cell insulin sensitivity is lowered…”

      More recently, David Barr wrote a tip on “lower carbs at night” for T-Muscle Magazine. He said:

      “Even when bulking, you don’t want to start scarfing down Pop Tarts before you go to bed. Our muscle insulin sensitivity decreases as the day wears on, meaning that we’re more likely to generate a large insulin response from ingesting carbs. Stated differently, we’re more predisposed to adding fat mass by eating carbs at night because our body doesn’t handle the hormone insulin as well as it does earlier in the day.”

      Mind you, Barr is a not a “voodoo” guy; he is a respected scientist who also happens to be well known as a “dogma destroyer” and “myth buster”… and Duchaine, although he had a shady past and some run-ins with the law, was nevertheless highly respected by nearly all in the bodybuilding world for his ahead-of-his-time nutrition wisdom.

      As a result of advice like this, word got out in the bodybuilding and fitness community that you should eat fewer carbs at night. Real world results and the “test of time” have suggested that this is an effective strategy. I also don’t know a single nutrition or training expert who doesn’t agree that insulin management and improvement of insulin sensitivity aren’t effective approaches in the management of body fat.

      However, it’s only fair to point out that not all scientists agree that cutting carbs at night will have any real world impact on fat loss, outside of any additional calorie deficit created by it. Dr. Benardot, for example, doesn’t think there’s much to it. He says that exercisers and athletes in particular, usually have excellent glycemic control, so the ratio of macronutrients should not be as much of an issue as the total energy balance in relation to energy needs at a particular time and the meal frequency (eating every 3 hours).

      Regardless of which side of the “carbs at night” debate you lean towards, if you consider the within day energy balance principle, it makes perfect sense not to eat large, calorie-dense meals late at night before bedtime.

      Keep in mind of course, that cutting back on your calories and/or carbs at night makes the most sense in the context of a fat loss program, especially if fat loss has been slow. It’s quite possible that I might give the exact opposite advice to the skinny “ectomorph” who is having a hard time gaining muscular body weight.

      Also consider that this doesn’t necessarily mean eating nothing at night; it may simply mean eating smaller meals or emphasizing lean protein and green veggies (or a small protein shake) at night.

      Many programs suggest a specific time when you should eat your last meal of the day. However, I’d suggest avoiding an absolute cut off time, such as “no food or no carbs after 6 pm, etc,” because people go to bed at different times, and maintenance of steady blood sugar and an optimal hormonal balance even at night are also important goals.

      A more personalized suggestion is to cut off food intake 3 hours before bedtime, if practical and possible. For example, if you eat dinner at 6 pm, but don’t go to bed until 12 midnight, then a small 9 pm meal or a snack makes sense, but keep it light, preferably lean protein, and dont raid the refrigerator at 11:55!

      An important rule to remember in all cases, is that whatever is working, keep doing more of it. If you eat your largest meal before bed and lose fat anyway, I would never tell you to change that. Results are what counts. On the other hand, if you’re stuck at a fat loss plateau, this is a technique I’d suggest you give a try.

      Night time eating is likely to remain a subject of debate – especially the part about whether carbs should be targeted for removal in evening meals.

      However, perhaps even those who are skeptical can consider, that if cutting out carbs at night is effective for fat loss, it may be for the simple reason that it forces you to eat less automatically.

      In other words, setting a rule to eat fewer calories or to eat fewer carbs at night may be a very effective way to keep your daily calories in check and to match intake to activity, whereas people who are allowed to eat ad libitum at night when they’re home, glued to the couch and watching TV, etc., may tend to overeat when food is readily available, but the energy is not needed in large amounts.

      Me personally? Unless I’m weight training at night, I have always reduced calories and carbs at night when “cutting” for bodybuilding competition. It’s worked so well for me that I devoted a whole section to it in my program, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM) and I call the techniques “calorie tapering” and “carb tapering.” For more information on how I use these methods to help me reach single digit body fat, you can visit: BurnTheFat.com

      Source: http://www.ironmagazine.com/2012/nig...nd-fat-loss-2/
      Comments 12 Comments
      1. AaronJP1's Avatar
        AaronJP1 -
        Energy is stored in real time & burned in real time. Makes sense but it does throw the old 24 hour "clock" out of the window.

        What about people who wake up @ 8 and work all day but may lift late at night around 9pm?
        Still center most calories after work out right before bed?
      1. supersliced's Avatar
        supersliced -
        oh boy, the great debate continues lol. AaronJP1 got a point bout the calories at night when people train at those times. post workout anabolic hormones are raised and the body would less likely store energy as fat in that time frame after intense training. this is still debated and hopefully we can get some experiments in. I eat carbs at night about 2 hours after my postworkout meal and i aint fat lol
      1. compudog's Avatar
        compudog -
        I think the idea of preventing your body from storing fat is not the same as fat loss. In fact, instead of fat loss, let's call it *net* fat loss, because I'm pretty sure a body both stores and burns fat all the time. Sure if you want to get down to 4% or 5% body fat then you might want to micromanage your body's fat storage, but otherwise I think it's more important to go with what you can manage. For instance, I perform better on an empty stomach, so I don't eat much during the day. Conversely, if I go to bed hungry it drives me nuts and I don't sleep well, so I eat more in the evening, including carbs. And yes your body does have a 24 hour clock, it's called the circadian cycle and it's why we sleep for the same 8 hour period every 24. All in all I'm not terribly impressed with this article. It reads like exactly same cookie-cutter theory-based advice I took years to unlearn.
      1. supersliced's Avatar
        supersliced -
        It reads like exactly same cookie-cutter theory-based advice I took years to unlearn.[/QUOTE]

        lol true that! There is so much information about the human body we have not even begun to scratch the surface. Honestly I think it really comes down to individual perspective and thats why I choose to be a Bodybuilder because it gives me the best possible route to understanding more about what I want to learn which is the Human body. There are def. other ways but Bodybuilding get you muscles ;D lol. I just wish that the information thats placed out there had a little bit more relation to other concepts and ideas but then we would be reading one article for quite some time.
      1. AaronJP1's Avatar
        AaronJP1 -
        Originally Posted by compudog View Post
        I think the idea of preventing your body from storing fat is not the same as fat loss. In fact, instead of fat loss, let's call it *net* fat loss, because I'm pretty sure a body both stores and burns fat all the time. Sure if you want to get down to 4% or 5% body fat then you might want to micromanage your body's fat storage, but otherwise I think it's more important to go with what you can manage. For instance, I perform better on an empty stomach, so I don't eat much during the day. Conversely, if I go to bed hungry it drives me nuts and I don't sleep well, so I eat more in the evening, including carbs. And yes your body does have a 24 hour clock, it's called the circadian cycle and it's why we sleep for the same 8 hour period every 24. All in all I'm not terribly impressed with this article. It reads like exactly same cookie-cutter theory-based advice I took years to unlearn.
        So you believe in the 24 hour clock with not eating much at night? Or cals in vs cals out. Seems cals in vs cals out since you eat mostly at night.
      1. supersliced's Avatar
        supersliced -
        YO Aaron! you still chekin my log? :D ima post some veinyass pics soon lol.....anyway, this is interesting because then theres the factor of food itself. Sucks how all of these things play a role but it really is about making a choice. I prefer to incorporate both concepts and other concepts as well. Changes pretty often though, since the body keeps you guessing lol.
      1. compudog's Avatar
        compudog -
        Originally Posted by AaronJP1 View Post
        So you believe in the 24 hour clock with not eating much at night? Or cals in vs cals out. Seems cals in vs cals out since you eat mostly at night.
        I think our bodies store fat basically on a priority system, so that there'll be short term & long term fat storage. I think that because it's the only thing that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. It's very unlikely we've evolved to eat 6 times a day, IMO. It's difficult to manage a schedule like that in modern times with all the excess food we have due to industrial food production. In ancient times it would have been impossible. It's more likely we evolved to eat basically whenever we could, and probably too much so we could store up some fat for when food was scarce. Which is probably why everyone is fat now, when there's a lot of food available.

        I think there must also be a short term fat storage mechanism at work, because I've seen it in myself. Some fat goes away quickly, other fat takes more effort to get rid of. Also a lot of people seem to have success with intermittent fasting, particularly in regards to staying lean. I think what's happening there is the short term stores of fat are being continuously burned up, on a day to day basis, in real time you might say.

        So yes I think there's a 24 hour clock, but I don't think it has that big of an impact on fat storage, except that you don't eat while you're asleep and it's not possible to store fat if you don't eat.

        Cals in cals out is a simple fact of physics. You can't get more energy out of any system than you put in, and that applies to people. There's going to be inefficiency and some of that may be due to meal timing, but basically that's it.

        I think nutrient timing might be important for optimal muscle growth, but in terms of fat loss I think the only important variable is how much you eat.
      1. AaronJP1's Avatar
        AaronJP1 -
        Originally Posted by compudog View Post

        I think our bodies store fat basically on a priority system, so that there'll be short term & long term fat storage. I think that because it's the only thing that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. It's very unlikely we've evolved to eat 6 times a day, IMO. It's difficult to manage a schedule like that in modern times with all the excess food we have due to industrial food production. In ancient times it would have been impossible. It's more likely we evolved to eat basically whenever we could, and probably too much so we could store up some fat for when food was scarce. Which is probably why everyone is fat now, when there's a lot of food available.

        I think there must also be a short term fat storage mechanism at work, because I've seen it in myself. Some fat goes away quickly, other fat takes more effort to get rid of. Also a lot of people seem to have success with intermittent fasting, particularly in regards to staying lean. I think what's happening there is the short term stores of fat are being continuously burned up, on a day to day basis, in real time you might say.

        So yes I think there's a 24 hour clock, but I don't think it has that big of an impact on fat storage, except that you don't eat while you're asleep and it's not possible to store fat if you don't eat.

        Cals in cals out is a simple fact of physics. You can't get more energy out of any system than you put in, and that applies to people. There's going to be inefficiency and some of that may be due to meal timing, but basically that's it.

        I think nutrient timing might be important for optimal muscle growth, but in terms of fat loss I think the only important variable is how much you eat.
        I can dig it.
      1. supersliced's Avatar
        supersliced -
        Originally Posted by compudog View Post
        I think our bodies store fat basically on a priority system, so that there'll be short term & long term fat storage. I think that because it's the only thing that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. It's very unlikely we've evolved to eat 6 times a day, IMO. It's difficult to manage a schedule like that in modern times with all the excess food we have due to industrial food production. In ancient times it would have been impossible. It's more likely we evolved to eat basically whenever we could, and probably too much so we could store up some fat for when food was scarce. Which is probably why everyone is fat now, when there's a lot of food available.

        I think there must also be a short term fat storage mechanism at work, because I've seen it in myself. Some fat goes away quickly, other fat takes more effort to get rid of. Also a lot of people seem to have success with intermittent fasting, particularly in regards to staying lean. I think what's happening there is the short term stores of fat are being continuously burned up, on a day to day basis, in real time you might say.

        So yes I think there's a 24 hour clock, but I don't think it has that big of an impact on fat storage, except that you don't eat while you're asleep and it's not possible to store fat if you don't eat.

        Cals in cals out is a simple fact of physics. You can't get more energy out of any system than you put in, and that applies to people. There's going to be inefficiency and some of that may be due to meal timing, but basically that's it.

        I think nutrient timing might be important for optimal muscle growth, but in terms of fat loss I think the only important variable is how much you eat.
        some really great points you got there! :D i can agree with majority of what you say but even still theres just so much more to it than that, nonetheless its what you take out of the article itself and it seems you just solidified your own principles by speaking your from your perspective...props bro ;)
      1. AaronJP1's Avatar
        AaronJP1 -
        Take a look @ this, the nutrition part specifically.

        http://www.muscleandstrength.com/art...ng-muscle.html
      1. compudog's Avatar
        compudog -
        Originally Posted by AaronJP1 View Post
        Take a look @ this, the nutrition part specifically.

        http://www.muscleandstrength.com/art...ng-muscle.html
        The author says in the section on nutrition

        "Restricting calories does not work"

        Then in the section called Meals he says

        "When trying to lose body fat we have to eat less then our body requires in the day"

        What? Isn't that calorie restriction? Doesn't make sense. At the end of the day though, the second statement is right. If you want to lose fat you have to burn more energy than what you consume.

        There are some good points in that article, I think it's well intentioned and written by someone with a good deal of experience, but I don't think it's 100% correct.
      1. compudog's Avatar
        compudog -
        Originally Posted by supersliced View Post
        some really great points you got there! :D i can agree with majority of what you say but even still theres just so much more to it than that, nonetheless its what you take out of the article itself and it seems you just solidified your own principles by speaking your from your perspective...props bro ;)
        Thanks man. I agree there's more to it, thanks for giving me the opportunity to rant a little though.

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