Carbohydrates And Fat Loss - AnabolicMinds.com
    • Carbohydrates And Fat Loss



      by Mike Roussell, PhD T-Nation

      Here's what you need to know...

      •  The amount of carbs you can eat while still losing fat is directly related to your insulin sensitivity. As a lifter or athlete, yours should be good.

      •  For many fit people, cutting carbs from 40% down to 20% of calories won't give them any additional fat loss benefit. So why do it?

      •  Start your fat loss diet at 50% carbohydrate intake, then adjust down from there only if and when it's needed to keep the fat loss going.

      •  Do not go by how you think you "feel." Go by the results you're actually getting.

      Two people come to me for diet help. They both need to drop fat and improve their body composition. One is an out of shape 40-something stockbroker and the other is a fit movie star getting ready for an action movie. What should I do? Cut carbs right? For the longest time, fat loss diet advice has essentially been "eat less carbs." But it would seem ridiculous to give these two individuals the same diet advice, wouldn't it? Well, it is ridiculous, but that's what we've essentially been doing with the "eliminate carbs to lose fat" mantra.

      At its most basic level, eating less carbs is good advice. Most people would benefit from eating fewer carbohydrates. But what we're discovering is that the level of carbohydrates that you can consume while still losing weight is directly related to your insulin sensitivity. More to this point, certain levels of carbohydrate restriction are unnecessary for individuals with good insulin sensitivity as it doesn't further enhance fat loss. So giving our stockbroker and movie star similar diets wouldn't make sense. Besides, everyone I know would like to eat as many carbs as possible and still reach their body comp goals. Wouldn't you?


      The Impact of Insulin Sensitivity
      Let's look at two different studies that have begun to explore carbohydrate cut points for eliciting maximum fat loss with respects to individual insulin sensitivity. In the first study, researchers wanted to look at the long term differences between a low fat diet (a "traditional" weight loss plan) and a low glycemic load diet with respects to changes in body composition. They found that after 18 months, regardless of the diet the participants were put on, they all experienced similar changes in body composition. Chalk that up as a win for the "a calorie is a calorie" crowd, right? Well, not so fast. In a secondary analysis of the data, the researchers separated study participants by insulin sensitivity. They found that the people with the worst insulin sensitivity had the best body composition changes on the low glycemic diet, and it didn't matter what diet the people with the best insulin sensitivity were put on – they got just as lean either way.

      In another study, the A to Z Study, researchers put people on one of four diets: Atkins, Zone, Ornish, or a control diet (the LEARN diet – traditional low fat stuff). At the end of 12 months the people on the Atkins diet lost the most weight. Low carb rules! Again, not so fast. In a secondary analysis of this data, the researchers pitted the high (Ornish) and lowest (Atkins) carb diets against each other with respects to weight loss and study participants' insulin sensitivity. Just as in the previous study, people with the poorest insulin sensitivity lost more weight on the lower carb approach. People with the best insulin sensitivity lost the same amount of weight regardless of diet.

      I'm a believer in the benefits of carbohydrate restriction, but I'm also a big believer in the fact that carbs are delicious. If cutting your carbs from 40% down to 20% of calories won't give you any additional fat loss benefit then why do it? Why not lose as much fat as you can with your carbs at 40% of calories and then reduce it after your fat loss begins to slow?


      Exercise: The Missing Link from the Research
      These two studies show that an individual's insulin sensitivity impacts the level of carbohydrates necessary to maximize fat loss. But in all these studies, exercise wasn't part of the fat loss strategy. Exercise itself increases muscular insulin sensitivity. This increases the amount of carbohydrates you can consume and shunt towards your muscles automatically. It's also important to note that the carbs that you cram into your muscles post-training stay there as your muscles don't have the enzymatic machinery necessary to release sugar from glycogen to the rest of your body.

      As a T Nation reader your insulin sensitivity should be better than most, so you'll find yourself in a place where you can lose just as much fat with a higher carbohydrate intake. Starting your body composition training with a higher overall carb count will give you greater flexibility later in your diet to reduce carbs when calories are at a premium.


      What To Do
      Don't start any body comp diet phase with your carbohydrates any lower than 40% of your total calories, then adjust from there. You may be wondering how much higher you can start since the A to Z study used the Ornish diet, which is upwards of 65% calories from carbohydrates. You can go higher, but 50% of calories from carbs is probably the max you'll want to go as it's important to remember that everything in your diet is connected.

      As you eat more carbohydrates you'll need to eat less of something else (assuming that total calories is capped at a specific level since you're in a fat loss phase). You'll want to keep your protein intake at 30% of your calories and never lower than 1.6g/kg body weight. The rest of your calories will come from fat, which in this case is the remaining 20% of calories. So at the high end of your carb intake, your diet will look like this:

      50% carbohydrates
      30% protein
      20% fat

      Let's put some more numbers to that:

      2500 calories
      312g carbohydrate
      187g protein
      55g fat

      Wait, that's a low-fat diet! What? Let's pause here. I'm not some crazy PhD keyboard jockey recommending a low-fat diet. This won't work for everyone. But if you're looking to lose as much fat as possible while eating as many carbohydrates as possible and you have good insulin sensitivity, this is how you should start.

      The one thing you might be concerned about with this higher carbohydrate/lower fat approach is satiety or feeling full. With only 20% of your calories from fat, will you be satiated enough? No one likes to feel like they're starving just after they finish a meal. But satiety shouldn't be a problem as long as you're eating ample vegetables as part of your 50% carbohydrate intake. Here's how:

      Vegetables Eat them, especially high-fiber green ones and high volume veggies that weigh a lot but don't contain a lot of calories. You body senses how much a food weighs more than it does the calorie content of the food. Eating more vegetables is always linked to eating less calories and greater feelings of fullness.

      Insulin While it's often talked about as the devil when it comes to fat loss, most people don't realize that insulin is a satiety hormone. So the increase in carbohydrates will lead to a hormonal cascade that leads to increase satiety.

      Protein Protein is linked to increased fullness via multiple mechanisms in your body, from signals in your digestive tract to modifications in your brain. 30% of calories from protein will give you the lean body mass protection that you need as well as the fat loss/satiety benefits.

      So satiety shouldn't be an issue. But if you find that it is, no problem, just drop your carbohydrate intake by 5-10% and adjust your fat intake according. Your new starting point would be:

      40% carbohydrates
      30% protein
      30% fat

      Forget How You Feel!
      Don't just eat carbohydrates recklessly and then get upset when your body composition isn't improving. Don't blow this idea off because it doesn't "feel" right and carbs make you "feel" fat. Optimizing body composition is less about how you feel and more about how your body changes.

      It drives me crazy when people say they "feel leaner." You either are leaner or you aren't leaner; it doesn't matter how you feel about it. Treat your body like a science experiment. Put the plan into action and measure how your body responds. Make adjustments to your diet based on how your body has responded, not how you feel about your body's response. Your newly visible abs will thank you.

      Source: http://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-los...ustomized-diet
      Comments 29 Comments
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        And get ready for the haters...

        I agree with this though. Been doin that 50/30/20 for quite some time with success.

        But of course, above 12-15% BF and u need to cut carbs because ur insulin sensitivity probably isnt ideal.

        Good article.
      1. Johnston's Avatar
        Johnston -
        Heck, with my MCT's in the morning and my omega 3's during the day, I'm nearly over that recommended fat intake already!
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        And get ready for the haters...

        I agree with this though. Been doin that 50/30/20 for quite some time with success.

        But of course, above 12-15% BF and u need to cut carbs because ur insulin sensitivity probably isnt ideal.

        Good article.
        Amen brother ...been doing great on just that same macro breakdown
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by Johnston View Post
        Heck, with my MCT's in the morning and my omega 3's during the day, I'm nearly over that recommended fat intake already!
        Got that right...same here
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by Johnston View Post
        Heck, with my MCT's in the morning and my omega 3's during the day, I'm nearly over that recommended fat intake already!
        Dont count MCT's as LCT's. They metabolize differently and should honestly be their own macro. This is the way I do it anyways.

        Dietary fat does not break down in any way like MCT's do.
      1. wiseman's Avatar
        wiseman -
        Never seem a muscular person who eats low carbs and isn't juicing. Low carbers are usually twigs.
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by wiseman View Post
        Never seem a muscular person who eats low carbs and isn't juicing. Low carbers are usually twigs.
        True, but I have seen above average natural physiques that carb cycle though. Maybe carb loading every 4 days or so...
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post

        True, but I have seen above average natural physiques that carb cycle though. Maybe carb loading every 4 days or so...
        I tried the low carb thing and stayed strong but kind of dead ended in any growth.
        Just started an approach as talked about above with carbs as roughly 30% of cal. and do feel better with no noticeable fat gain.
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by dieseljay74 View Post

        I tried the low carb thing and stayed strong but kind of dead ended in any growth.
        Just started an approach as talked about above with carbs as roughly 30% of cal. and do feel better with no noticeable fat gain.
        Yeah, the best macros I have ever done for fat loss are:

        Protein 35%
        Carbs 25%
        Dietary Fat 10%
        MCT 30%

        Yikes, watchout because that much MCT causes the body to become a furnace.

        Combined with T3 and/or mild androgens makes for incredible fat loss with little to no muscle loss.

        Example diet for 2500 kcals

        Protein = About 215g
        Carbs = About 150g
        Fats = About 30g
        MCT = About 7.5 TBSP
      1. JD261985's Avatar
        JD261985 -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        Yeah, the best macros I have ever done for fat loss are: Protein 35% Carbs 25% Dietary Fat 10% MCT 30% Yikes, watchout because that much MCT causes the body to become a furnace. Combined with T3 and/or mild androgens makes for incredible fat loss with little to no muscle loss. Example diet for 2500 kcals Protein = About 215g Carbs = About 150g Fats = About 30g MCT = About 7.5 TBSP
        3 tablespoons of MCT's gets my stomach upset. Even coconut oil. But I have acid reflux disease. Oh well maybe I just can't do it :(
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by JD261985 View Post

        3 tablespoons of MCT's gets my stomach upset. Even coconut oil. But I have acid reflux disease. Oh well maybe I just can't do it :(
        Prolly not then.

        Other solutions are something like baking soda with each MCT dosing.

        Gotta spread those dosages out though. I usually do 1 TBSP per meal, and often times only do it 3 times daily. 8 was excessive but yielded good results.
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post

        Yeah, the best macros I have ever done for fat loss are:

        Protein 35%
        Carbs 25%
        Dietary Fat 10%
        MCT 30%

        Yikes, watchout because that much MCT causes the body to become a furnace.

        Combined with T3 and/or mild androgens makes for incredible fat loss with little to no muscle loss.

        Example diet for 2500 kcals

        Protein = About 215g
        Carbs = About 150g
        Fats = About 30g
        MCT = About 7.5 TBSP
        Well Fueled, that sounds like exactly what I need!
        Trying to drop that last lower ab inch and I think if I up my MCT to that amount it may help break my through. That and some Alphamine and F95
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by dieseljay74 View Post

        Well Fueled, that sounds like exactly what I need!
        Trying to drop that last lower ab inch and I think if I up my MCT to that amount it may help break my through. That and some Alphamine and F95
        If u do the LG, you'll be fine even with more modest amounts of MCT.
      1. pudgypower's Avatar
        pudgypower -
        Originally Posted by JD261985 View Post
        3 tablespoons of MCT's gets my stomach upset. Even coconut oil. But I have acid reflux disease. Oh well maybe I just can't do it :(
        I've had acid reflux disease for 8 years and have tried everything in the books the only thing that I have found that helps is high fiber diet like 40 grams a day. I might get 1 attack every 2 weeks now and it's usually because I don't follow my diet.
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post

        If u do the LG, you'll be fine even with more modest amounts of MCT.
        Good to know...love coconut oil in my coffee
      1. snagencyV2.0's Avatar
        snagencyV2.0 -
        Originally Posted by wiseman View Post
        Never seem a muscular person who eats low carbs and isn't juicing. Low carbers are usually twigs.
        hmmm..you must not get around much
        I lived semi-keto lifestyle for ~4yrs, competed, stayed lean and muscular yr-round even when I was not competing, all while natural back then..
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        True, but I have seen above average natural physiques that carb cycle though. Maybe carb loading every 4 days or so...
        aaand there is the part of my own equation as well LOL :D
        carb loads are a must, in that kind of protocol - hell even in true diehard keto, you still have periodic carb days
        Originally Posted by dieseljay74 View Post
        I tried the low carb thing and stayed strong but kind of dead ended in any growth.
        and this
        you can grow to a point, but tough to keep growing the further in you get - assuming you are concurrently trying to stay lean the entire time anyway



        anyway, overall the article is solid, on point albeit not very earth-shattering or cutting edge
        there is so much more to understanding nutrition and your own metabolism, than simply plugging in random macro splits that everyone else talks about
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by snagencyV2.0 View Post
        hmmm..you must not get around much
        I lived semi-keto lifestyle for ~4yrs, competed, stayed lean and muscular yr-round even when I was not competing, all while natural back then..aaand there is the part of my own equation as well LOL :D
        carb loads are a must, in that kind of protocol - hell even in true diehard keto, you still have periodic carb days
        and this
        you can grow to a point, but tough to keep growing the further in you get - assuming you are concurrently trying to stay lean the entire time anyway

        anyway, overall the article is solid, on point albeit not very earth-shattering or cutting edge
        there is so much more to understanding nutrition and your own metabolism, than simply plugging in random macro splits that everyone else talks about
        I think I have reached the point where it's time to start implementing IF and adding in some carbs see if I can start sparking some growth
      1. snagencyV2.0's Avatar
        snagencyV2.0 -
        Originally Posted by dieseljay74 View Post
        I think I have reached the point where it's time to start implementing IF and adding in some carbs see if I can start sparking some growth
        IF in itself does not lend to growth, and in fact I do not even like it for leaning endeavors (I do not like the concept, period)
        to each their own tho, just would not be anything I'd ever advise, let alone for lean growth
        want to think a funny thought? ask yourself how that guy in your avi would react to IF :p
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by snagencyV2.0 View Post
        IF in itself does not lend to growth, and in fact I do not even like it for leaning endeavors (I do not like the concept, period)
        to each their own tho, just would not be anything I'd ever advise, let alone for lean growth
        want to think a funny thought? ask yourself how that guy in your avi would react to IF :p
        Its good for leaning up, but not the best approach for mass gains. You can retain muscle very well on it if u do ur homework and put the right supps/chems together.

        I tend to use peps for this type of dieting because GH is anti-catabolic and accelerates fat use. Although I did use LG diet once while 100% natty and I lost tons of weight in the mid-section. The best I ever looked "natty".

        If ur into peps, pharma grade fat burners etc and get some IM L-Carnitine along with Leucine, u can cut up really well on that type of diet. The gains, if any, will trult be lean only for sure though. Not much water and probably no fat involved in the growth.
      1. dieseljay74's Avatar
        dieseljay74 -
        Originally Posted by snagencyV2.0 View Post
        IF in itself does not lend to growth, and in fact I do not even like it for leaning endeavors (I do not like the concept, period)
        to each their own tho, just would not be anything I'd ever advise, let alone for lean growth
        want to think a funny thought? ask yourself how that guy in your avi would react to IF :p
        What would you advise for lean growth...I.E. zero to little BF accumulation?

        Definitely open to suggestions.

        Right now at 6' and around 200 lbs. Maybe 16% BF my Cal's are 2700 - 2900 daily

        All while under 50g carbs...the resr split between fats and protein

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