How the Body Burns Fuel
Consuming large amounts of carbs raises your blood sugar which causes a spike in insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back to a normal rate. This is great if you have just worked out because the insulin will transmit the calories from the carbs you have just consumed to the depleted muscle cells and the rebuilding process begins.
However, at any other time in the day the insulin that is not used up will simply be stored in fat cells.
You probably have already heard that you should eat a low carb, high protein diet to get in shape. That is sound advice for athletes but for those interested in decreasing body fat, the key to obtaining a strong, lean look is to learn how to manipulate the body’s natural processes and one of the most effective ways to lose the fat is with a process called carb backloading.
What is Backloading?
Carb backloading is the process of training your body to use fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates and there is a specific method to get your body to do this.
First there is the setup which lasts for about 10 days, then there is the carb repletion day followed by a low carb routine for several days, followed by a carb repletion day.
Eventually you make it to a maintenance phase where you can have several carb heavy nights, especially after hard weight training workouts which breaks the muscles down.
But understand, this is not simply an excuse to eat macaroni and donuts all the time. There is a specific process by which the body turns food into energy so you must follow a specific process to get your body into optimal carb burning mode.
First, let’s talk about why this works.
Why Does Carb Backloading Work?
When you wake up in the morning, you have a natural stress and anabolic reaction that if left alone, will allow your body to use a lot of your body fat for energy and keep it away from fat stores.
As you wake from a long night’s sleep, your body is primed to do this on its own. In the morning, cortisol and growth hormone are high, and insulin is low and these combinations of hormones keep the body on a fat burning mission without storing it in the fat cells.
Cortisol is a stress hormone and it will break down fat through the morning if you do not mess with it by raising insulin levels in the blood. What you want to do is to simply get out of the way and let your body do what it has been doing for 10,000 years. Through the night, the cells in your body switch from fat storage to fat release so the morning is the perfect time to get rid of some body fat.
Additionally, when you wake up in the morning, you are insulin sensitive so when insulin is released in large doses into the blood to remove the sugar from carbohydrates, your fat cells are going to try to fill up instead of release fat for energy.
So by avoiding a high fat, high carb breakfast during this first part of the day, you are not going to be storing the calories as body fat.
This response can last for hours even well into the afternoon if you do not interrupt the process by eating carbohydrates first thing in the morning.
Your best option for breakfast would be to skip it altogether, or eat a high fat breakfast such as eggs and bacon with some butter or coconut oil. That probably goes against everything you have heard during the past three decades but it makes sense if you think about it. Stop searching for healthy breakfast foods to lose weight because it is counterproductive.
So to summarize, if your body is naturally insulin sensitive in the morning, eating grains, bread and cereal for breakfast is the worst thing you can do for your body in terms of losing fat cells.
Those types of foods are going to cause an insulin spike, which will be more readily stored in fat cells because your body is really sensitive to it when you first wake up. As soon as you eat carbohydrates in the morning, it stops all of the natural processes within the body that prevent storing of fat and the body switches over to burning carbs.
If you do not eat carbs all day, you can keep your body primed to mobilize body fat for use and not store it in fat cells, by keeping it in the ketogenic phase.
Your fat cells become less insulin sensitivity during the day allowing for carb backloading at night because your muscles are given priority over fat cells to burn that.
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How to Carb Backload
First Stage: Carb depletion
For 10 days, eat no more than 30 grams of carbs to prep the body for the switch. This will prime the body to use fat for energy. Typically skip breakfast or eat no carbs for breakfast or lunch. The longer you keep these natural processes going, the more your body will use the fat cells instead of storing calories from carbs in them.
Second Stage: Carb Night on the 10th day
- At the end of the 10th day, eat whatever carbs you want, including pizza, ice cream, whatever. What is happening here? Well, studies have shown that this will not make you fat. It is taking advantage of a change in enzyme production that occurs in your body throughout your carb depletion days. So you are actually turning those normal fatty foods into fat burning foods because of the process your body is now employing to get energy.
- The next day, go back to 30 grams of a day five to six days a week.
- On day six or seven, do another carb feast at the end of the day to take advantage of your body’s weekly hormonal rhythms.
Third Stage: Maintenance
- After a month, you can start two to three carb nights a week.
- Simply skip carbs throughout the day.
- Workout in the early to mid-afternoon.
- Eat carbs at night when your body is less insulin sensitive.
- Continue the process the next day.
- On days you do not workout, keep the carbs to less than 30 grams.
This is not an all carb diet and most of your carb intake must come in the evening. If you do a weight-training workout right before you eat the carbs, you will maximize your body's ability to break them down for use in your muscle cells. Studies have shown that heavy workouts allow muscles to use and store sugar for several hours post-training, which means those carbs that your body is now primed to burn will be absorbed quickly by the muscles you have just trained.
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Why Carb Backloading Works
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Here is some good news for people that are not very active or hate exercise and cannot give up the carb heavy diet. Once you make the switch to carb backloading, normally inactive people, even sedentary types, tend to lose their intense nightly cravings for carbs within a few weeks.
However, this is not the case with very active, athletic types which require a lot of energy and will continue to crave nutrition for lean muscle.
But again, eating this type of carb diet is not an excuse to pig out every time you want. You have
So the next time someone tells you that you should eat a well rounded breakfast complete with whole grain toast and all of the normal stuff nutritionists and doctors have been telling us for decades, now you have a basis of knowledge to question that advice. Stop wondering what is the best cereal for breakfast. There is no right answer. The best breakfast food for weight loss does not exist so it is best to take advantage of your natural processes in the body.
Focus on low carb snacks when the cravings hit and backload your carbs in the method described above. Do it right and it will lead to more weight loss and better health.