Carbohydrate back-loading: diet strategy for fat loss
Carbohydrate back loading is a diet plan that involves eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet during the day and then consuming a high-carbohydrate meal at night/post-training. This basic nutrient timing approach presumes that you are also in a mild calorie deficit using this structure. The theory behind this diet is that by eating carbohydrates at night, the body is able to burn fat more efficiently during the day. Energy levels will also be optimised.
The science behind carbohydrate back loading is rooted in the concept of insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the body. When the body is insulin sensitive, it is able to effectively use the glucose from carbohydrates for energy. However, when the body is insulin resistant, it struggles to use glucose for energy and instead stores it as fat.
By eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet during the day, the body is able to maintain a state of insulin sensitivity. This allows the body to burn fat more efficiently. At night, when the body is in a state of insulin sensitivity, it is able to effectively use the carbohydrates consumed in the high-carbohydrate meal for energy rather than storing it as fat.
Additionally, the carbohydrate back loading diet has been shown to promote muscle growth. Carbohydrates are an important energy source for muscle cells and consuming them at night allows muscles to recover and grow. It will also encourage endogenous release of melatonin, to ensure deep REM sleep, which will in turn potentiate more natural growth hormone release. Remember, when you spike insulin levels in the morning you shut off this release window. This is a paired hormonal relationship.
On this diet either you will be eating high fat high protein meals, or low fat high carbohydrate meals. A reason for avoiding eating meals that combine high fat and processed sugars is that it can disrupt the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in the gut and play a vital role in digestion, immune function, and overall health. A diet high in processed foods can disrupt the balance of these microorganisms, leading to inflammation and potentially contributing to chronic health conditions.
Lastly, consuming a meal high in fat and processed sugars can lead to oscillating blood sugar levels, cravings and overeating. These foods often lack the nutrients that the body needs and can lead to feelings of deprivation, causing people to eat more than they normally would.
It is important to note that carbohydrate back loading is not for everyone and should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Individuals with diabetes or other metabolic disorders should avoid this diet plan.
In conclusion, carbohydrate back loading is a diet plan that involves eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet during the day and then consuming a high-carbohydrate meal at night/post-training. By eating carbohydrates at night, the body is able to burn fat more efficiently during the day and promote muscle growth. However, it is important to remember that this diet is not for everyone and should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.