To make a low carb diet work, timing is everything.



By now we have all heard about the virtues of low carb diets and how much to eat of the three macronutrients, carbohydrate, protein, and fat. But what about when to eat?

The Importance of Nutrient Timing

The most important determinants of weight gain and weight loss are the laws of thermodynamics, which tell us that, all other factors held equal, calories consumed = calories burned + calories stored. What this simple equation does not tell us is how increasing or decreasing carbohydrate, protein, and fat affects body composition. If most of our weight loss is muscle and most of our weight gain is fat, we are not taking advantage of the principles of nutrient timing.

Eating the wrong foods at the wrong time undermines any diet escpecially a low carb diet or exercise program. Eating the right foods at the right time ensures that diet and exercise produce their intended results.

The human body uses different types of macronutrients at different times. Timing consumption of carbohydrate is as important as limiting consumption of carbohydrate in most programs for weight management.

When to Eat Carbs

The human body can handle carbohydrates best during and immediately after exercise. During exercise, carbohydrates are burned as fuel. Anaerobic exercise uses carbohydrates especially inefficiently. The process that creates the lactate burn in your muscles requires 34 times as much glucose as the aerobic respiration that occurs when you are lying on the couch.

Resistance exercise temporarily makes the skeletal muscles approximately 50 times more sensitive to insulin. During recovery, muscles need carbohydrates to be able to absorb the amino acids they use to repair themselves. If you have not consumed at least a small amount of carbohydrate, about 25 to 50 grams (100 to 200 calories) of healthy, low-glycemic index carbohydrate during exercise or in the first two hours after exercise, your muscles will not be able to remodel themselves into a larger, firmer, more powerful shape.

Which Carbs Should You Choose for Your Low Carb Diet?

There really is no more than an occasional place for refined sugar or foods made with refined sugar on a low carb diet. All your carbohydrates, however, do not have to come from low-glycemic index vegetables and fresh fruits.

The best time to eat whole grains and small amounts of dried fruit is during the three hours after exercise. The only time to eat any kind of high glycemic index carbohydrate is as a "reward" for exercise. Vegetables such as beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, kohlrabi, onions, pumpkin, radish, Swiss chard, and watercress are safe anytime.

It's never a good idea to eat any kind of food until you are stuffed. Eating a head of lettuce, for example, activates stretch receptors in the small intestine that trigger the release of insulin, in preparation for a load of digested glucose into the bloodstream. If the bloodstream does not then receive the glucose, blood sugar levels fall, and the insulin is used to store fatty acids instead of glucose, a task it does 300 times more efficiently than transporting sugar. Moreover, insulin resistance does not reduce cells' ability to respond to insulin as a transporter of fat.

The Advantages of Timing Carbohydrates in Fitness

One of the key advantages of timing consumption of carbohydrate to match exercise is the creation of glycogen stores in muscle. Eating carbohydrate after working out stores glycogen for your next work out. The carbohydrates stored in this way pump up muscles rather bulging belly fat—and give you more stamina the next time you exercise.

Low Carb Diet to Fitnesstempo