One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how many carbs should I eat per day for Fat Loss.
When it comes to losing fat the most important thing you must do is create a calorie deficit. Without a calorie deficit you won’t lose weight. However the next question is how do I create that calorie deficit? Plain and simple the most effective way to create a calorie defecit and maximize fat loss is by reducing carbs. While getting plenty of protein and fat into your diet.
Low carbs are the key to fat loss
As I write this article I am probably in the most carb depleted state of my life. I am on my 5th day of ultra low carbs. Around 50-80 grams of carbs per day. I just finished an exhausting 2 hour workout to deplete my body of all its stored glycogen. My body is in the ultimate fat burning state. This is because there are absolutely no carbs left in my body to be used for fuel. As a result my body must tap into its fat stores to supply energy. In addition my insulin levels are stabilized. Insulin is the storage hormone and when chronically elevated from a carb based diet will cause you to easily store fat. In addition by keeping my insulin levels in check I can exploit the bodies most powerful fat burning hormone! HGH. Yes – if you didn’t know HGH is the most powerful fat burning hormone. Many athletes and celebrities take it in injection form to build strength and burn fat. (HGH will run you around $600-1000 per month btw)
So the good news is there are ways to naturally boost your HGH levels. Moderating insulin levels by restricting carbs is one way. Another way is working out – especially high intensity interval training. Combining the two is the ultimate way to maximize HGH. Oh and you can also take amino acids like L glutamine before and after workouts and before going to bed to naturally boost HGH.
But don’t we need carbs? You know to fuel the brain?
It is true that the brain is fueled by glucose. However when carbs are kept very low – under 50 carbs per day for several days there is a process the body goes through to create a molecule called ketones from burning fat. Ketones replace glucose. Without this natural human process the human species probably never would of survived. However to maximize fat burning there is no need to even reach this state.
What about grains? Don’t I need to eat them too?
I think everyone should avoid grains. They are unhealthy and humans have not adapted to processing them. Humans just tend to function way better without grains.
How many carbs for fat loss?
The 50-80 gram range is the sweet spot for losing fat. You allow yourself to eat plenty of nutritious vegetables and a couple pieces of fruit per day. Providing your body with plenty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. In addition you put your body in an optimal fat burning state where it must use stored fat for fuel. One of the issues with the full blown ketogenic diet where you can only have 20-50 grams of carbs per day is it restricts your ability to consume very nutritious foods (fruits and vegetables).
Eat Fat to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle
Eating high protein and sufficient fat is very important for maximizing results. Everyone knows protein is important for maintaining and building muscle. What most people don’t know is that fat is also important for maintaining muscle. A diet low in fat will cause a big reduction in testosterone levels. This alone could result in a reduction of muscle mass. In addition when you eat a high protein, low carb and low fat diet your body will burn fat and muscle for energy. Whereas when you provide your body with plenty of fat your body will be happy to utilize stored fat for energy. This is why you must eat fat to lose fat.
Cheating is key for low carb dieting
I strongly believe that its important to fully replenish your glycogen stores once per week when on a low carb diet. The way you accomplish this is by switching to a high carb diet for 1-2 days. Because your glycogen levels will have been fully depleted there is absolutely no fat storage from 1-2 days of high carbs. In addition after this carb up you will likely be stronger and look better since your muscles will appear fuller. After 1-2 days of carbing up you want to switch back to low carbs and get the fat loss process started again.
What to eat on your high carb days?
I said before that humans are not meant to eat grains. While this is true there are some grains that are okay. The grains that you can eat on your carb up day are gluten free grains. This includes rice, brown rice pasta, potatoes, yams, corn and any other gluten free foods. When your carb up day comes there are very few limits. Indulge in carbs as much as you want. Just don’t over do it. There will come a point where you will look incredible – full muscles. If you overeat you will pass this point and spill over. Overtime you will have an idea of how many carbs you can eat without spilling over.
Putting it Together?
Sunday to Friday afternoon = low carbs (50-80 grams per day)
Friday evening until the end of saturday = high carbs (as many carbs as you can eat without spilling over)