Eat more carbs, build more muscle, burn more fat.
Getting ready for your next bodybuilding competition? Want to drop a few pounds and burn some fat? If so you will want to avoid the fat loss sabotaging trend of completely removing carbohydrates from your diet. You have heard about the ketogenic diet right? You may have also heard it will result in a greater amount of fat loss compared to a diet that includes carbs. Well what if I told you cutting carbs out completely will actually be a detriment to your fat loss goals? Furthermore what if I told you keeping carbohydrates in your diet will actually result in more muscle retention, faster metabolic rate and greater performance in the gym. Still think carbs are the enemy? Here are 3 reasons why carbs should NOT be removed from your diet.
1. Carbohydrates Preserve more muscle mass than Fat
As a bodybuilder retaining muscle during a diet phase is absolutely the number one goal. To understand why carbohydrates are needed to maximize the amount of muscle retained on a diet you must understand how the body uses energy for fuel. Glucose (carbohydrates) is the body’s primary source of fuel. Glucose can be stored in both the muscle and liver as glycogen. This stored energy can be used at times when the body is deprived of available glucose. When dieting the body will always utilize all available glucose for energy first and then it will use stored glycogen as needed. What happens when your body runs out of glycogen? The body will attempt to convert protein into glucose for energy through a process called gluconeogenesis. Converting more protein for energy than is necessary will result in less being utilized to build and maintain muscle.
2. No carb diets provide an inefficient way to fuel the body
What about the argument that ketogenic (no carb) diets convert the body to burning fat primarily instead of glucose for fuel? Wouldn’t that preserve more muscle? While it is true that your body will burn ketones as energy when glucose is not available, it will still attempt to burn glucose through another source. If you are still consuming a large amount of protein that is required to build and maintain muscle mass, the body will still have plenty of amino acids to convert into glucose. Believe it or not a true ketogenic diet would require a lower protein dose, not something conducive to looking like a bodybuilder.
3. Carbohydrates increase leptin
The focus when dieting should always be to maintain a fast metabolism right? After all a higher metabolic rate helps increase fat loss. Lets talk about Lepton, a hormone you may not know about that plays a major role in both metabolism and fat burning. Simply put, when leptin levels are high the body will burn more fat and the metabolism will function at a high rate. Higher amounts of carbohydrates result in higher leptin levels. Ever wonder why cheat meals help keep fat loss from stalling? Its not the junk food, its the higher carb intake.
If your goal is to maintain the maximum amount of muscle while keeping the metabolism boosted during a dieting phase, you may want to reconsider cutting out carbs.
How much carbs are in your diet?
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