By now the Atkins, Paleo, Keto and maybe even the “raw til 4” diets are old news. The common theme?
You restrict your carbohydrate intake, teach your body to run off its fat reserves, lose a bunch of weight and end up as ripped as the shredded beef tacos you eat on your Friday cheat day. But now there’s a new game in town – carb-backloading – which promises to deliver all the benefits of a low-carb diet, while still letting you eat pizza and pasta.
How does it work? Basically you stick to a strict regimen of healthy protein and fats (think chicken breast, olive oil etc.) throughout the day, and then let your carb cravings loose once the clock strikes 6pm (or whenever it is you have dinner). Like Cinderella but fatter.
Otherwise known as the “circadian rhythm diet”, carb-backloading has been hashtagged more than 48,585 times on Instagram, with a definite uptick in the last few months. Sure: it looks impressive, but the real question is – does it work?
Contrary to popular belief, eating carbohydrates at night time could be the ultimate life-hack—and the key to shedding unwanted kilos – if carb “backloaders” are to be believed. According to them, the idea is that you should only eat carbs when your muscles are likely to store them as sugar, which is late in the day after exercise, as opposed to early in the morning (when the body stores them as fat).
This means that you follow a standard keto diet (a regime which causes the body to burn fat reserves for energy) during the day, then (unlike its religious advocates) let it go by night. The theory of carb-backloading, whilst in need of further research, sounds promising. However scientists have pointed out most people’s implementation leaves a lot to be desired, which is why it is often perceived as a “fad”.
This is hardly a surprise: across Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, users regularly post their carb-heavy dinners and evening snacks they like to indulge in, justifying their cheesy fries, heart-attack burgers and chocolate ice-cream as ‘backload’. Fried chicken by any other name, etc.
People who stick to a reasonable carb-intake (i.e. who got their evening carbs from healthy sources) report the diet to be a success, claiming it has helped them avoid insulin spikes throughout the day, the dreaded afternoon slump, reduced their bloating, and improved their sleep—all while enabling them to maintain their social lives—something which 24/7 low carb dieters struggle with (due to pizza, pasta, beer etc. being ingrained in many of our social interactions).
Of course true Keto advocates argue carb-backloaders are undoing each day’s good work, and taking themselves out of ketosis, the process by which the body runs itself on fat rather than carbs and sugar. Carb-backloaders see their diet as a healthy compromise, which replenishes muscle glycogen stores—which is harder to do on a 100% Keto diet.
Carb Backloading for Fat Loss by @baumbodies – One of the worst parts about dieting for fat loss is the feeling of deprivation. That feeling like you can’t eat as much or enjoy your favorite foods. The beauty of carb backloading is that it allows you to eat a high carb meal and also feel full while still eating in a caloric deficit. – Backloading is essentially just eating progressively more calories at each meal throughout the day. It matches up well with our body’s daily stores of willpower too. It’s pretty easy to say no to a box of cookies in the morning, but by 9PM that’s a different story. – Limiting carbs during the day will also keep you sharp mentally and help you avoid the 2PM post lunch crash. Then when you eat your feast at night you’ll be nice and full. The carbs will trigger a big release of serotonin, which will help you drift off into a nice deep sleep. – Here’s a sample day for someone eating about 2200 calories to lose fat. BREAKFAST -3 egg omelette -Protein shake LUNCH -Salad w/ chicken -Fruit DINNER -Steak -Sautéed veggies -Mound of potatoes – – – – – #carbcycling #carbbackloading #carbsafterdark #fatlosshelp #fatlosstips #weightloss #fitnessfood #fitnessfreaks #ketoweightloss
For those that want to try it, we recommend healthy carbs like whole grains, pasta and rice, lentils, quinoa and sweet potato (with the occasional ice-cream thrown in for good measure). Another handy tip is to vary your carb-intake depending on your exercise routine: the less you exercise in a day the more important it is to limit your carb intake, and vice versa.