Carbohydrates – When And When NOT To Eat ThemBy Jared DiCarmine On December 1, 2011 Under Nutrition For Fat Loss
Carbs are like the devil.
They can be your friend or your foe. They can be your best buddy or your mortal enemy.
It’s kind of funny like that because fats and proteins don’t give you these types of problems.
I can tell you this, when and how much carbohydrates you eat during the day all depends on what your goals are and your individual characteristics. That’s it. That’s all that it boils down too.
The best times to get those carbohydrates are the times when you are most insulin sensitive. This is just basically when the chances of you storing them as body fat are minimal at best. Here are the best times below to take advantage of this opportunity:
- 8-10 hours after your last meal
- Before a workout
- During a workout
- After a workout
- After a day of fasting
- Periodically during a low carb diet
That’s about it right there.
It might not seem like a lot of options, but these are truly the best times to consume those pesky carbs because the chances of them being stored around the belly are almost nonexistent.
The 8-10 hours after your last meal are ideal because insulin levels are quite low and that’s why people usually say to eat a large breakfast. However, a good point that a lot of people don’t understand is that during this time, adiposity tissue sensitivity is also quite high so there is more of a chance of those carbs being shuttled to your fat tissue as opposed to being burnt up and used for energy.
However after a night time fast, you can have some fruit in the morning. Your body primarily feasts off of its liver glycogen stores at night and the only way to replenish these is actually with fructose. And you can find plenty of natural fructose from fruit, but don’t go overboard with the stuff. Fructose is not the best carbohydrate to be used for energy that’s why ideally you should only eat it after you wake up in the morning. But even then I would hold off…
The reason is because if you let your body fast for a slightly longer period of time, fat burning increases as well as your sympatheic drive AKA your nervous system. You’re going to feel extreme amounts of focus and energy because of this. Carbohydrates blunt this response and cause you to feel tired and groggy.
So I personally would hold off my first meal of the day for a few hours after waking up and even then it would be very light. I would only have a protein shake with a small amount of healthy fats such as almond butter, cashew butter and or fish oil. You could also substitute a whole egg omelet with some greens such as spinach, broccoli, peppers etc…
Since I usually get my own workout in at around 12-1 p.m. right before I head off to the gym I’ll down a shake consisting of some creatine monohydrate, BCAA’s, and casein hydrosolate. Casein hydosolate is the absolute PUREST form of protein powder that you can get on the market. It’s already pre digested and broken down into di and tri peptides. Therefore, its absorption rate is within 15 minutes of being ingested. Even whey concentrate, the stuff that most people buy can take up to 2 hours.
But the problem with this extreme purity is the taste….It tastes like absolute puke because it’s already pre-digested…But you gotta do what you gotta do right?
After my workout, that is when I’ll have my first BIG meal of the day consisting of mostly carbohydrates, protein and some fats. The carbohydrate sources would ideally be from starches such as potatoes, yams, or sweet potatoes.
The reason is because I need to replenish glycogen stores and increase insulin output in order to create an environment for growth and repair. And since I waited to consume any form of carbohydrates until AFTER my workout (like one of the points above) most of the time those carbohydrates will never be stored as body fat.
The next big meal will be about 3-4 hours later and will be made up of protein, fat and tons of vegetables.
And as you can tell, no carbs in this meal since I had the majority of them as my post workout meal.
Now if you were to be doing some type of low carb diet for fat loss purposes, you can periodically have a re-feed every couple of days or every 7 days depending on how low your body fat number is and how long you’ve been dieting for.
This is what I call a cheat meal or cheat day. It’s great because it replenishes glycogen stores, increases anabolism, and enhances your metabolism.
To really kick it up a notch I would do a big time workout beforehand to really increase insulin sensitivity. Load up on the carbohydrates as your re-feed meals, then the next day have a fast day or protein shake only day.
Metabolism will be through the roof so you’ll be able to burn up a ton of body fat in the process.
All in all, I hope this article shed some light on the carbohydrate conundrum. Remember, the best times to have any carbs are at the above points. This will greatly cut down your chances of storing them as body fat.
Oh and another thing, for most people, I would never recommend going over 100 grams a day total on days you train with weights. It just won’t be needed. Of course though this is dependent on how muscular you and the types of workouts etc…