Ladies and gents, today we are very lucky to have the super knowledgable Mr Craig Leonard as our guest blogger. Craig is the owner of the very well read blog www.rippedout.com
Make sure to read all the way to the bottom so you don’t miss out on the juicy bits.
Carbohydrates will make you fat, right? Wrong! Carbohydrates consumed in excess and/or at the wrong times
will make you fat.
People kill themselves following boring diets containing little or no carbs, avoiding them like the plague, because they think they’ll get fat if they eat a cup of rice, a baked potato, or a piece of their favorite fruit.
If this describes you, I have good news…
You absolutely can enjoy some great tasting carbohydrate options when working on reducing body fat. In fact there are certain benefits of doing so, as I’ll discuss a little later on in this post.
Before I can adequately explain the proper role of different carbohydrates, and how to use them to your muscle building and fat loss advantage, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of how consumed carbohydrates are used once inside the body.
Carbohydrates and Their Effect on the Body
I’ll do my best to not make this too boring, but the next several paragraphs are going to be somewhat technical, so try to bear with me
After consumption, the body immediately begins breaking down carbohydrates.
This process begins as soon as the saliva in the mouth comes in contact with consumed carbohydrates and continues as they progress through the digestive system.
As carbohydrates are broken down they’re turned into glucose. Glucose is the simplest form of energy and is the easiest for the body to oxidize and use to fuel the body’s immediate energy needs. As such, it’s the body’s primary source of energy.
When the body detects that glucose is present in the blood (e.g. blood sugar) the pancreas responds by releasing insulin.
Insulin forces the sugar in the blood to be transferred and stored in the liver, muscle tissues and fat cells in the form of glycogen.
Glycogen stored in the body’s muscle tissue has several benefits. Most notably, it’s used to fuel intense physical activity, such as exercise.
It also helps to prevent the catabolic breakdown of muscle tissue that occurs when intense physical activity is performed without an adequate amount of stored glycogen present in the muscles of the body.
This is why diets that restrict carbohydrates for prolonged periods of time actually result in a decrease in muscle mass, which is always undesirable.
Muscle mass reductions can wreak havoc on the metabolism, cause losses in strength and functional ability, and is less than desirable for anyone concerned with building the ideal physical appearance.
The Two Types of Carbohydrates Explained
There are two types of carbohydrates that each cause slightly different reactions once ingested in the body:
- Simple Carbohydrates
- Complex Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are those that have an un-branched molecular structure, which is where they get their name. I realize this doesn’t mean much to the average person, so let me put it into terms that are easier to understand…
Simple carbohydrates are those that consist of sugars. Examples include fruits, juices, honey and dairy. Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down in the body and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar.
Simple carbohydrates are great for supplying the body with a quick shot of energy before and after performing physical activity, but should be mostly avoided at any other time than these (more on this in a moment).
Complex carbohydrates have a branched molecular structure and are much more difficult for the body to break down.
It is for this reason that complex carbohydrates provide a slower rise in blood sugar, which takes place over a longer duration of time than simple carbohydrates.
This is why complex carbohydrates are the ideal type of carbohydrate to consume with meals that do not precede or follow intense physical activity.
However, there is one caveat… Starches can actually be broken down and absorbed quickly, so they are actually best timed before or after physical activity like simple carbs.
Sorry, but there’s always an exception for every rule.
Examples of complex carbohydrates include breads, pastas, grains, starches and rice.
Now that we’ve gotten the boring scientific sounding stuff out of the way, let’s get into the actionable information and go over how to time and track your carbohydrate consumption when focusing on fat loss.
How to Properly Time Your Carbohydrates
As I’ve already alluded to, diets that restrict carbohydrates to significant degrees will eventually lead to muscle
So, while low carb diets are an effective way to lose body fat in the short term, they shouldn’t be considered by anyone looking for a viable long-term fat loss solution, or those concerned with maintaining their hard earned muscle mass while cutting fat.
A more realistic and healthy fat loss option is to integrate carbs into your daily meal planning, but to be intentional about timing them in a manner that’s conducive to fat loss.
Now I’ll break down when you want to consume the different types of carbohydrates and why you should structure your carb consumption in this manner.
Even though simple carbs provide a rapid rise in blood sugar, consuming them within an hour or two before exercising won’t lead to gains in body fat.
Since your body will have an immediate need for this sugar energy as fuel for your workout the majority of the sugar will be sent to your muscle tissue, not the liver and fat cells.
After you exercise, assuming you’ve exerted at least a moderate level of intensity, your muscle’s glycogen reserves will be mostly depleted and in need of replenishment.
Including mostly simple carbohydrates with your post-workout meal will quickly build back the glycogen in your muscles.
This will serve to prevent muscle loss and also aid in the growth and recovery process as your body sends nutrient rich blood to your stimulated muscles.
And since your muscles will have an immediate need for storing this sugar energy as glycogen you won’t need to worry about it being stored in the form of fat.
Now that we’ve covered the right way to time simple carbohydrate consumption, it’s time to break down the complex carbohydrate side of things…
Because complex carbs are digested much more slowly than simple carbs, and provide a relatively slow rise in blood sugar, they should be consumed at all other times throughout the day (i.e. other than before and after your workouts).
The slow digesting attribute of complex carbs serves to keep the body’s glycogen levels from falling too low throughout the day without causing the kind of magnitude in blood sugar spike, and corresponding insulin release, that’ll cause gains in body fat.
Again, this is only true as long as complex carbs aren’t eaten in excess. If you pound back a high number of complex carbs in a given meal it will cause extreme spikes in blood sugar that can last for hours.
This is a horrible scenario for anyone concerned with reducing body fat that you’ll obviously want to avoid.
Don’t worry if you’re still a little confused with how to time your carbs for fat loss. I’ll provide you with a sample daily meal plan in just a moment. First, I want to explain an extremely important aspect of any fat loss nutrition plan.
Tracking Your Calories and Carbohydrate Consumption
As with any fat loss diet plan, tracking the number of calories you’re consuming each day will be fairly important. You don’t have to know what you’re eating to the exact calorie, but you’ll want to know within a hundred or two each day.
As a general rule, to determine the number of calories you should be consuming each day to reach your goal weight you should simply multiply your goal weight in pounds by 0.6 and multiply this number by 24.
So, if you’re a woman who desires to weigh 130lbs, your daily caloric intake would be calculated as follows:
(130) x (0.6) x (24) = 1,872 Daily Calories
Bear in mind that this is a generic way of calculating a person’s daily caloric needs. There are several factors that will affect the true number of calories needed by each individual person to reach their goal weight.
So, you can use this calculation as a starting point, but will need to decrease this number as necessary if your weekly fat loss stops.
In order to simplify things I usually advise my clients to consume one gram of protein for every pound of their goal weight and then consume their remaining calories using carbohydrates and healthy fats from sources like olive oil, fish oils, nuts and legumes.
Using the example above, a woman desiring to weigh 130lbs will always consume 130g of protein per day.
If she were to decide that she needed to reduce her daily caloric intake from the 1,872 starting point, she would simply reduce her carbs and fat, while leaving her protein intake at 130g per day to get to her reduced daily caloric allowance.
Example Daily Meal Plan
Now that I’ve hopefully done a great job of breaking everything down for you I want to wrap things up by giving you a sample meal plan just to make sure there isn’t any confusion with how your meals should be structured in order to consistently cut fat while eating carbohydrates with each meal throughout the day.
Eggs and Lightly Buttered Whole Wheat Toast (Complex Carb)
Grilled or Baked Chicken Breast and Pasta Noodles (Complex Carb) with Olive Oil
Grilled or Baked Salmon, Steamed Broccoli (Low Volume Complex Carb) and a Side of Almonds
Sirloin Steak and Grape Juice (Simple Carb)
Whey Protein Shake, Baked Potato (Starchy Carb) and Banana (Simple Carb)
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling hungry
Carbohydrates aren’t just healthy, but can also provide some great tasting meal options as well. I’ve followed low carb diets in the past and they’re an absolute drab!
I would find myself constantly craving fruits, breads and other foods that were considered off limits.
I hope that after reading this you realize there’s a better way to reach your fat loss goals without depriving yourself of some of your favorite foods.
By properly timing your carbs and keeping your calories consistent with your goals you no longer have to worry that eating a piece of bread is going to make you fat.
Carbs are not the enemy of fat loss. In fact, when properly integrated they can be an extremely effective tool for quickly lose body fat without sacrificing muscle mass and decimating your energy levels.
Craig is a certified nutritionist, personal trainer and author of Ripped Out – The Ultimate Guide for Getting Ripped. He has a passion for helping others transform their physiques through expert instruction
and inspiration. For more inspirational articles to help you reach your fitness goals you’ll want to check out his blog at RippedOut.com.
Thanks so much Craig, that was fantastic. Ladies and gents if we’re super nice to Craig he just may pop by again.
As always, please leave comment below or you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Health,
P.S – Now i now you enjoyed this so i sure you would also like Boost Metabolism & Burn Fat – The 10 Commandments.
Powered by Facebook Comments