Continuing on with our discussion about carbohydrates, we now need to look at our recommendations for the consumption of carbs. Please go back to the previous parts of our discussion to re familiarize yourself with where we are to date.
When considering weight gain, body fat reduction and general health, carbohydrate consumption or intake should be between 50 and 70 percent of the total caloric intake (TCI). The exact amount can be determined by this formula. LBM divided by 2.2 (kilo) x 16. For example:
Calculate Your LBM
LBM: 125lbs. Divided by 2.2 = 56.18 Kilo's x 16 = 909.09 grams.
* Don't know your body fat percentage, click here to get your own body fat tester!
Glycogen saturation is 909 grams of carbs. To prevent spillage divide by 3 (a 3 day carb load)= 303 grams of carbohydrates per day. This number works well for the 3 days prior to a contest which I find people carb up too slowly or a maintenance number for muscle/weight gain.
In order to reduce body fat one would subtract 100-150 grams of carbs daily to utilize stored calories or body fat.
A diet consisting of 60% carbohydrates is a healthy starting point and should satisfy most. When the total caloric intake is less than the energy output (mandatory for fat loss), then carbohydrate intake must be sufficient to keep liver and muscle glycogen levels high. As a result, you will be energized, hydrated, satiated and spare protein for maintaining or building muscle.
Individuals who want to stave off hunger while attempting to loose body fat need to maintain blood sugar and glycogen stores (see my recommendations for Chromate and Vanadyl sulfate in part 1) Bio-availability dictates that a slightly greater or lesser amount of carbohydrates may result in higher energy levels and satiety for some individuals. The goal is to establish the proper caloric intake for fat loss and help you achieve optimal wellness within this amount. Some people may convert carbohydrates into energy very quickly (oxidation) which causes continual hunger and eventual overeating. These individuals may need to substitute a small amount of fat and protein for carbohydrate to remain within their caloric allotment and satiated.
Conversely, some people may need to add carbohydrates to their diet (60-70% of TCI) if they find that fat and protein cause them to feel lethargic.
When choosing carbohydrates, complex carbs such as whole grains and vegetables are preferred. The only recommended simple carbs are fruits. Fructose, the natural sweetener found in most fruits, causes virtually no insulin response! When caloric intake is below caloric output, fructose increases satiety and aids fat loss. Fructose is the sweetener of choice in meal substitute drinks!
Specialized Healthy Population Variances
The previous information also applies to athletes attempting to achieve very low body fat levels for competition. However, when athletes approach their goal. The total caloric intake may be lowered without reducing protein intake. The original amount of protein is designated to support growth and cannot be reduced. The percentage of protein to carbohydrates obviously increases when calories are decreased but protein intake remains stable.
Click here to calculate how much protein your should consume!
Unlike carbohydrates or fat, protein can be used for either energy or maintaining and building muscle. The body's homeostatic need determines how the protein will be employed. Natural bodybuilders and fitness models tend to loose muscle in their final weeks or days prior to a competition because the body is choosing to use protein for energy rather than muscle support. The body's tissue cells die without energy, so priority is given to energy over muscle building. The percentages of carbohydrates (during this period only) may be below the normal recommended amount and protein intake may be increased. During this time frame, only protein can be used for either energy, maintenance or muscle building, therefore the body can decide which is more important.
Reaching the very low body fat levels necessary for competition is not healthy and is maintained only temporarily. Comparing the dieting needs of a bodybuilder to the average health club member is like comparing apples to oranges!
Following competitions, athletes inevitably return to the body fat percentages they maintained prior to competition dieting. This confirms the fact that high protein diets do not produce lasting body fat loss.
- 1 gram of carbohydrates yields 4 calories.
- Good complex carbohydrates bring in nutrition that fats and proteins cannot.
- Carbohydrates are the perfect and preferred form of energy.
- Carbohydrates need to constantly be replaced, which causes a craving that must be satisfied.
- Carbohydrates maintain satiety by keeping glycogen stores full and adding bulk to the diet.
- Carbohydrates help maintain proper cellular fluid balance, maximizing cellular efficiency.
- Consistent intake of low glycemic carbohydrates helps maintain proper blood sugar levels.
- Carbohydrates spare protein for muscle building.
- Daily diet should include 25 grams of fiber.
- Carbohydrate intake should not be less than 40% of total caloric intake-typically; it should be between 50 and 70 percent.
Note: This is part two, click here for part one!