Round Rock Trainer: Fat Loss, Understanding Carbs, types and timing

By Jade Teta ND, CSCS

The Carbohydrate Tipping Point has three primary parameters, Amount of carb, type of carb and timing of carbs:

Amount of Carb

For fat loss, each person needs to find the right amount of carbs that will deliver sustained energy but not slow fat loss. This is different for everyone.  To us one bite is approximately the size of a tablespoon and equal to roughly 5g of carbohydrates. For beginner fat loss seekers we suggest no more than 10 bites of carbs eaten exclusively at each of the major meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). This can then be adjusted up or down based on your fat loss results as well as your responses to hunger, cravings and energy.

Type of Carb

In a fat loss lifestyle the carbs with the highest fiber relative to sugar/starch are basically eaten in unlimited amounts (for most people). These include non-starchy vegetables and low sugar fruits (berries, apple, pear). But the starchy carbohydrates and sweet carbohydrates have to be managed tightly. These include white grains, whole grains, beans and other carbs. This is often a point of confusion for people as they have heard that the “healthiest carbs” are whole grains and beans because of their high fiber. These carbs ARE high fiber, but they are much higher in starch/sugar and therefore are not as beneficial. This is an essential insight to the carbohydrate tipping point.

White grains have nothing but starch/sugar with little fiber. Whole grains and beans have more fiber and less starch, but they are still over 70% starch. They may be healthy, but they are not the best for fat loss. Vegetables and fruits (best to stick with the less sweet ones) may have less fiber than whole grains and beans, but they have far less starch/sugar and also much higher water content. This means they have a low glycemic load and make for great fat loss foods. I have included a graph below to demonstrate this point. If you get nothing else about carbohydrates you should know that the only truly free carbs are non-starchy vegetables and low sweet fruits (even fruits can be an issue for some). All others carbs should be consumed as bites.

 Timing of Carb

The timing of carbs involves using carbs to control your hunger rhythms and fuel partitioning. A high carb meal induces an insulin response which has been shown to adjust the leptin rhythm determining how hungry we feel from one day to the next. For some having carbs at each meal is still too much to allow fat loss. In this case it is helpful to reduce carbs further and focus all of the carb intake at specific times. Eating all your carbs at breakfast can help allay hunger at night. Eating all your carbs at night can help allay hunger in the morning. A carb load at night also helps sleep by dampening the stress hormone response many insomniacs experience at night. This leads to faster times falling asleep and less waking at night.

Another great time to include a higher carb load is post workout. Because exercise makes us uniquely carb sensitive, especially weight training, carbs taken post workout will be partitioned to liver and muscle glycogen stores first and aid muscle building before they are stored away as fat. This means higher loads of carbs as well as higher

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