Nowadays, you’ll find that there are lots of different diets that claim to be effective in helping with fat loss and weight loss. Although others work really well, some are just fad diets that may work only in the short term.
One of the dietary approaches that is gaining popularity recently is carb backloading. But can it help with fat loss? Read on to find out.
What Is Carb Backloading?
As you may know, carbohydrates, along with fat and protein, are one of the three macronutrients found in the foods we eat. They come from foods that are made from sugars, starches, and fibers. They are responsible for providing fuel to the body, allowing us to feel energized especially when we do workout training.
Carb backloading should not be confused with carb loading which is a strategy used by athletes to increase the amount of fuel stored in their muscles to improve athletic performance for endurance events. Carb backloading is basically a process where carbohydrates are eliminated from your diet until in the evening when you workout.
You are allowed to eat whatever you want for as long as you remain in carbohydrate deficit. It works on the theory that insulin can help to shuttle carbs towards the muscle cells post-training instead of the fat cells, thereby leading to fat loss and muscle gain.
The main ideas behind carb backloading are:
• Keep your intake of carbs to a minimum all throughout the day.
• Eat a light breakfast and lunch. After a workout training, you can have a heavy carb-based meal.
• Workout in the evening or late afternoon to increase the amount of time without carbs.
• Start eating carbohydrate foods at least 30 minutes before your workout and throughout the rest of the evening.
The Theory of Carb Backloading
While carb backloading seems like a type of simple nutrient timing, the science behind this is actually slightly more complex. Studies show that we tend to be more sensitive to insulin in the morning instead at night – this applies to both the muscle and fat cells. Insulin is an anabolic hormone and giving it the right environment can help one to lose body fat and build muscles. The moment you eat carbs, insulin will push it further to your fat or muscle cells, depending on environmental factors, such as overall energy intake, physical activity and metabolic rate.
Prior to your workout training, your fat cells tend to be more receptive to carbs. This means that eating lots of carbs earlier in the day could lead to more storage of fats. As such, eating fewer carbs means less storage of fats.
Does Carb Backloading Help with Fat Loss?
The science behind carb backloading sounds brilliant, but is it really effective? A study done about carbohydrate backloading has revealed that this approach is indeed an impressive way of losing fat while gaining muscle mass.
It’s been found that eating most of your daily calories in the evening results in more fat loss. This conclusion was based on a study done on 10 ladies who were asked to follow a particular diet for two periods of six weeks. They were asked to eat 70 percent of their daily calories either in the evening or in the morning. This has resulted in favorable benefits. Unfortunately, while this study is often mentioned when justifying the effectiveness of carb backloading, the number of participants in such study is quite small so it is not considered to be particularly reliable.
More larger studies need to be done.
Related reading: Does Low Carb Dieting Result In Successful Weight Loss?
According to Michael Matthews of Muscle For Life
The myth that carbs should be avoided at night because they are more fattening when eaten later in the day has been strangely persistent. Most experts agree that the timing of your nutrient intake is far less important than your total daily intake. With regards to body composition, neither the type nor timing of when you eat your carbohydrates really matters
If you think that carb loading is the right diet for you, then go ahead and give it a try. However, do not expect miraculous changes in your body weight unlike when you opt for a normal and more restricted kind of diet, such as the keto diet. If you find that carb backloading is easier for you to follow and that it really works well for you, then that would be great!