A carb cutoff is simply allowing no carbs, other than fibrous, after a certain time. If you are on a typical 9-5 schedule, 6:00 pm is a good time to cut off your carbs – with exception of post workout (which would be about 50 grams of HIGH GI carbs).
Basically you're just riding on glycogen stores (sugar in the muscles for energy) for the latter part of the day and through the night, so you'll wake up slightly depleted, ensuring that carbs you eat during the day are stored as glycogen rather than fat. Morning cardio works synergistically with the carb cutoff if you do it before eating. More likely than not, you’re not going to use carbs at night anyway, so it makes sure that you aren't overloading with carbs when you're already full, which usually leads to fat gain.
Separating energy carbs and fiber carbs also helps to make sure we get in all of our quality veggies and fiber. That chicken breast looks mighty lonely without an accompanying salad or side of spinach or broccoli.
Different Carb Types:
People have been terming different carbohydrates simple and complex. "Simple", being the carbs that hit the system faster than "Complex", which enters the system more slowly. The introduction of the Glycemic Index has proven to be beneficial in knowing the rates at which certain carbohydrates are released into the blood stream. The Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a particular carbohydrate is formed into glucose and enters the body. The Glycemic Index has shown certain carbs known to be "Complex" actually absorb quicker than some carbs known to be "Simple".
The Glycemic Index (or GI) was originally brought about for those people who had Diabetes, but can be useful to many athletes looking for sustained energy and better recuperation. The GI is determined by feeding different carbohydrate foods to people in portions of 50g of available carbohydrates. The blood sugar levels are then monitored over the next three hours and plotted onto a response curve.
The curve is then made into a percent of the averages of the individual responses to obtain the GI for that particular carbohydrate. The more glucose that reaches the blood in the first three hours, the higher the GI for that carbohydrate. Thus, we can now group carbohydrates into "High Glycemic" and "Low Glycemic".
Low Glycemic Carbohydrates
Here is a preferred list of some of the foods that are "Low Glycemic", and are recommended for sustained energy levels (slower absorption, lowered insulin response):
Fructose (Basic sugar found in fruits)
Pasta (Boiled 5 min.)
Dairy ( Ice cream, skim milk, whole milk, yogurt)
Fruits (ONLY-plums, peaches, apples, oranges, pears, grapes, grapefruit)(contains fructose)
Rice (polished), or brown
Most Vegetables ( exceptions- carrots, corn, root vegetables)
Low GI foods can benefit your health and athletic performance. Being that low GI foods are assimilated at a slower rate, they supply a steadier supply of energy. Lower GI foods alleviate hunger, leading to a more controlled appetite. Selecting lower GI carbohydrates will prevent mood swings. Lower GI foods can also result in higher muscle glycogen levels (storing more carbs in the muscle), and less chance of storing the extra glucose as fat. You see elevated insulin levels can turn on your fat storing mechanisms.
So, if you are dieting low GI foods are the way to go. If you are going to eat before training, you should pick low glycemic carbohydrates. Low glycemic foods will prevent any premature lowering of blood glucose levels before training, which can lead to fatigue. I don't know about you, but I need to be 100% for every workout, so I can't afford to experience low blood sugar in the middle of my workout causing early fatigue.
High Glycemic Carbohydrates
Here is a list of some of the foods that are "High Glycemic"(quickly absorbed, high insulin response):
Sugars (from high to low: Maltose, Glucose, Sucrose)
Puffed cereals (white rice, wheat, corn, rice cakes)YES! RICE CAKES
Potatoes ( regular russet, instant, mashed)
Breads (especially white bread)
Instant products ( instant: rice, oatmeal, wheat, grits)
Carrots, corn, peas
Flaked cereals (corn flakes, etc.)
Surprise! Most of these carbohydrates are used in copious amounts for low fat diets, but in reality, people might be limiting their performance and fat burning effects. Research has shown that high glycemic carbohydrates before training should not be practiced as much as you see people do today. It can lead to lower blood glucose prior to training. This will lead to a quicker depletion of muscle glycogen and fatigue as a result. High glycemic carbohydrates before training can also hamper fat release from fat cells. Thus, not getting the complete fat burning effects from your hard workouts.