Carbs and Fat Loss – The 4 Golden Rules
Okay so we’ve touched on protein, but what about all my “CARBOHOLICS” out there? Where’s the love right? 😉
Don’t worry, this one is for you. Truth be told, carbohydrates (good and bad) are such a controversial topic when it comes to fat loss. Their hormonal impact is HUGE and you’d be surprised to know that contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates aren’t all bad!
With so many carbohydrate trends out there, it gets increasingly difficult to make smart choices. Truth be told, what type, what amount, and when we eat carbs has a significant impact on accelerating our fat loss.
If we make not-so-smart carb choices, it can prevent fat loss entirely (and make us have extreme cravings, fatigue and hunger). If you want to reach your fat loss goals and maintain them beyond this challenge, you’ve got to first educate yourself on how to make smart carbohydrate choices. Understanding carbs and fat loss can be one of the keys that helps you unlock your true health & weight loss potential.
And now, feast your eyes on what we lovingly call the “Golden Rules of Carbs & Fat Loss”.
Limit all carbs to your evening or post-workout meal (Veggies throughout the day)
For maximum fat loss you’ll want to eat your more calorically dense carbs with your dinner time meal OR post workout. Sometimes I’ll have them after dinner as dessert – a baked apple or something like that (but let’s not get fancy). In short, the reason we want to avoid carbs early in the day is that we are MOST sensitive to the hormone insulin in the morning.
Even a slight rise in blood sugar will produce a larger insulin response in the morning because we’ve fasted overnight. The presence of insulin turns off our fat burning machinery so an exaggerated AM response puts us at a major fat-burning disadvantage for the day. (Damn, that means no more breakfast potatoes / hash-browns)
The other reason for avoiding carbs early in the day is that the hormone cortisol is highest in the morning. That’s just part of our normal sleep/wake cycle. Cortisol, a stress hormone, peaks in the morning to help us wake up. We always want to avoid spiking insulin when cortisol is naturally high, because cortisol exaggerates the fat-storing potential of insulin, especially around the abdomen.
So what should eat in the morning for fat-burning? Well that’s easy… Pack your breakfast with protein and vegetables for maximum fat burning!
Choose unprocessed carbohydrates
Let’s first talk about the WRONG carbs for fat loss. You want to avoid the carbs that will send your blood sugar through the roof. You want to avoid the highly processed, chemical-laden kinds of of foods you get in boxes and bags. I’m talking chips, cookies, cakes, etc. If it is made in a factory, it is not the right carb for fat loss. It doesn’t mean you can never enjoy an Oreo ever again, it just means that for optimal fat loss and this nutrition challenge.
You’ll want to choose healthier carbs for the duration of the challenge and follow your meal plan to a “T”. The more processed carbs are generally higher in sugar and starch and will have a more significant impact on blood sugar and insulin than whole food carbohydrates. Remember, the more you spike your insulin, the longer you stay out of fat-burning mode and the more likely you are to experience chronic hunger and carbohydrate cravings (and remain in fat-storing mode).
The carbs you want to emphasize are going to be those that are as close to their natural state as possible. Ideally, we’re talking about vegetables, some fruit, and possibly things like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and squash.
Start by limiting your serving size to 1/2 cup and adjust up or down from there
That means 1/2 cup of sweet potato or 1/2 cup of berries. If you’re cruising along and burning lots of fat, you can add the Frequency nutrition team to add little more and monitor your results. On the flip side, if you aren’t getting the results you want, you can try scaling back to 1/4 cup and see how that goes. For me personally, I try to stay around 1/4 cup with my dinner time meal or post-workout (depending on the length and intensity of my workout) and that’s where I get the best results. (But we’re all different)
Pair carbohydrates with protein or fat
For optimal fat loss, never eat your carbs alone. Always pair your carbs with either fat or protein (or both). Why is this important? Because eating your carbs with either fat or protein will slow down the digestive process as fat and protein are more cumbersome to digest than carbohydrates. By slowing down the digestive process you slow the release of sugar into the blood stream. What does that do? It requires less of an insulin response. This is one of the important ways we can enjoy carbs and still stay in fat burning mode!
Bottom Line = For fat loss all macronutrients are important, even carbs.
Be vigilant and stay the course, and you’ll find that it gets easier… ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE GETTING RESULTS!
See you tomorrow at the seminar!
Riley Phelps, MS CSCS