Carb Backloading: Does it really work?

Is carb backloading the new wonder dieting technique to getting that physique you’ve always dreamed of, read on to find out more about it. There are also couple of neat, thought provoking videos, so check them out too!

Carb backloading is unlike many diets people use to get lean as it promotes using carbohydrates as a primary source of energy rather than totally disregarding it like in other diet protocols.

The reason people usually disregard carbohydrates when attempting to lose body fat is due to it raising blood sugar levels. This sets off the release of insulin (which is a hormone) to get your blood sugar level back down. If you’ve just done your weight training, that’s fine because insulin will use the food energy you’re consuming for the muscle cells and rebuilding. At any other time of day insulin will just store those calories as fat.

The secret to carb backloading is that you eat your carbohydrates in the evening, usually after training and this would be even more effective if you train in the afternoon/evening. Consuming carbs and protein together makes the muscle cell grow but due to being able to control when you can eat carbs, you can also dictate which tissue grows; muscle tissue being the choice. The only drawback is that you need to exercise in order for this to be effective.

The body’s sensitivity to insulin is highest in the morning and lower in the afternoon but the misunderstood concept of carbs and insulin ensures the general population eats the highest amount of carbs in the morning and don’t have any at night which is detrimental to any person’s goal of getting lean. It only takes around 30 grams of carbohydrates to be digested in order to effect the fat burning process for the rest of the day and it also effects another hormone -cortisol.

Cortisol will in fact burn fat but when carbohydrates are introduced, it actually creates new fat cells in the body.

Studies have shown that your body’s muscle cells are able to absorb carbs for a number of hours after a workout. So the logic is that if you do train at night, by the time you finish eating all your meals you’ll soon be hitting the sack and carbs are great for inducing the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.  With this improved sleep follows improved recovery which is not the case with those on low carb diets.

The take home tip for this diet is to limit all your carbs to the night time. If you train in the evening insulin will be less sensitive but when you do stimulate an insulin response, all the nutrients will get shuttled to the muscle cells for a number of hours. This will stimulate muscle growth responses well into the night so the body is able to use every gram of carbohydrate for recovery rather than storing it as fat which is what would happen if you ate carbohydrates throughout the day.

Antonio Linardi

Antonio is a Sports Scientist and Personal Trainer and currently works with people with a range of goals but specialises in muscle building, fat loss and improving athletic performance. An a FDSC and BSC student at Teesside University (in Sport and Exercise Applied Science, Fitness Instruction and Sport Therapy) his current research study involves finding out the effects of Intermittent Fasting on lean body mass increase and fat loss. He was also a former amateur boxer for Middlesbrough ABC and Natural Progression ABC and currently uses his experience to help improve the strength and conditioning of aspiring boxers and other athletes.

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