Todays topic are carbs and how to use them to curb appetite during a a cutting phase.
The inconvenient facts:
As we all know, body fat is the body’s form of stored energy. In order to lose body fat, a caloric (energy) deficit must be created in the body. This is the first law of thermodynamics; energy can only change forms, it cannot be created or destroyed no matter what Dr Oz or Oprah tell you.
All of the above information is factual, but it does not tell the whole story. Your body is a not a caloric bank account. The functioning of your body is governed by hormones, chemical messengers which tell your cells which functions to perform at any given time. For example, when an individual decides to enter a calorie deficit in an effort to lose fat, circulating leptin levels will decrease, which will allow ghrelin levels to rise. Leptin is a “satiety” hormone secreted by your fat cells. It suppresses appetite when the body has enough energy. Ghrelin is a “hunger” hormone. When an energy deficit is sensed, hunger levels will increase, in an effort to prevent starvation.
Inserting fun fact here: injectable leptin is available but only for about 30 k a day. So unless you area Russian oligarch you ll have to figure out how to combat hunger.
The hunger games begin
That said, many physique athletes will tell you that hunger can be a major obstacle to overcome while dieting. This becomes progressively worse as the individual becomes leaner, and the body redoubles its hormonal response, making you physically uncomfortable and irritable in order to motivate you to eat. (have you met me during the last week before a shoot or a comp?)
There is hope!
Despite this inevitability of biology, it is possible to keep hunger in check and achieve your fat loss goals. You just need to make smart food choices.
It helpful to think of your caloric intake as a budget while dieting (or anytime, for that matter). In order to minimize hunger at any given caloric intake, there are a few strategies that can be implemented. Firstly, baseline protein and fat needs must be met. Reducing protein or fat below reasonable levels will vastly increase hunger and also promote lean
What’s reasonable ? 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is the common prescription, while fats amount to .4 grams per pound of bodyweight. Once those needs are met, we can look at carbohydrate intake.
Carbs – there great unknown!
Carbohydrates are different from protein and fat because unlike the latter two, carbohydrates are a non-essential nutrient. Your body can actually make glucose from amino acids (even though I am not a fan of this pathway since it is not very cost effective), and technically there is no such thing as a carbohydrate deficiency.
As a result, the body’s hormonal response to carbohydrate intake is less robust than that of protein or fat, and carbohydrate has less of an effect on hunger and satiety. However, carbohydrate intake is beneficial for fueling weight room performance, so we do not want to remove them from the diet. The key to mastering your carbohydrate intake is to choose carb sources which are the most relatively satiating for the caloric investment.
Fiber and water rule supreme!
In this regard, research shows that plant foods with high fiber and water content are more satiating than those with less (fiber is technically indigestible, and therefore is not counted towards daily carbohydrate intake). Also, the actual volume of the food plays a role. Bulky foods stretch the stomach, which actually has been shown to reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This means carbs with a low caloric density are more satiating than more energy dense ones.
Sugar and how to handle it
Another consideration is the type of carbohydrate in the food. All carbohydrates are sugars, which are plants form of stored energy. Glucose, sucrose, maltose, galactose, and fructose are all different types of sugars.
Fruit – yay or nay?
The one sugar you need to be concerned with is fructose. While generally harmless in the small amounts found in most fruits, large doses in the form of high-fructose corn syrup are associated with numerous diseases, such as type II diabetes. Interestingly, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, and bypasses normal metabolic pathways in the body like other sugars. Therefore, it does not have the same effect on reducing appetite. But do not throw out your apples just yet! In order to accumulate enough fructose to get into the danger zone you would either have to consume large amounts of HFCS through junk food or sodas or live of fruit smoothies alone.
In summary, we want to choose carbohydrate sources which are high in fiber, have a high water content, a low caloric density, and a low fructose content. Below is a chart showing some of the best options.
|Food||% Carbohydrate by Weight||% Fructose by Weight|
Obviously, when bulking the opposite applies. Here one would choose foods with a larger caloric density such as brown rice pasta, white rice or oatmeal to get your carb count higher. But then, nobody ever had a problem eating enough carbs!
Till next time Maik and Kieran!