T Nation

Carbs & cholesterol

Hi Chris (Shugart), you have mentioned a number of times that you have to keep a fairly tight reign on your carb intake. I personally, have to do so or my cholesterol goes through the roof. I recently reduced my readings from 350mg/dl to a more favourable 210mg/dl by utilising a paleo diet.
This is all well and good for fat loss/cholesterol reduction, but this style of eating sucks the big one when it comes to mass gains. My opinion is that carbs are required for mass gains. Any suggestions on how to introduce them without screwing up my lipid profile (again).

Honestly, I don’t know too much about the carbs/cholesterol connection. But as far as introducing carbs back into the diet, there are a couple of things to remember. First, go slow and use mostly “good” carbs. No loaves of white bread soaked in Gator-Aid in other words. Our “Foods that make you look good nekid” article gives a good rundown on that. For me, my main carb source is oatmeal. On bulking cycles I may eat it up to three times a day.

Next, get most of your carbs twice per day: breakfast and post-workout. At breakfast, your body needs everything macronutrient-wise, so this is a good time to get complex carbs. I’m sure you know why post-workout is the other good time. You can take in some carbs at the these times and still get under a 100g per day if necessary. After that, you can work your way up as needed. I’d also suggest always getting protein with your carbs, Massive Eating style, and never having carbs alone.

John Berardi has also written about coming off low carb diets and that info may help you in your situation. This was in a past “Appetite for Construction” column in the online mag. Can’t remember which one, but I’m sure you can find it with a search.

Hope that helps.

Keith,last year a friend and I embarked on a brief,but successful mass cycle on on our low carb diets.The main factors were BIG carb servings right after training and making sure we were getting plenty of good fats and protein.Something else I have been doing lately is consuming my postworkout carbs while lightly pedaling a stationary bike,this is something I originally read in MM2K and then again last year in a post by Lyle McDonald.Apparently aminos and glucose find their way to the muscle cell independant of insulin under such conditons(insulin release is apparently suppressed while excercising).I too have to be careful with my carb intake,and I have noticed that I don’t get that dopey feeling that I often used to get after consuming post workout carbs.Folks with normal insulin metabolism may well want the biggest insulin surge they can get after training,but in your case,with your blood lipid considerations,such a strategy may be worth considering.Good luck.

Chris I was wondering what you thought of JMB’s reccomendations to get all your carbs in from training to up to 6 hours after? I was wondering because I train at around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and end up eating my last meal which is a pro/carb at around 10 oclock pm. Very against the norm for me…All my carbs come from surge(1.5 during 1.5 after) and oats…usually 1 and a 1/4 C in the next two meals. I wonder if you’ve adopted this style? Also what are your opinions? Between that and drinking surge during the workout…I’m a little leery. Thanks…Mike

Carbs are not the enemy, they dont make you fat, and they alone dont mess with cholesterol. your problem is most likely due to insulin problems, such as eating SUGAR, and high glycemic carbs, with no protein to slow digestion. Balance your meals, and take in some fish oils, flax, garlic, and guggl. you could also try red yeast rice, supposed to work really good.

Thanks for the replys guys.
JT, I don’t (and didn’t) eat sugar or simple carbs. I do use flax and fish oils in goodly amounts. To say that carbs aren’t the problem and that insulin is, is somewhat of an over-simplification. Remember that insulin needs a stimulus and that stinulus is sugar regardless of if it comes from a sugar bowl or oatmeal. I too once believed that carbs weren’t to blame. But for me they most definitly are. For you, maybe not.
Thanks for your input anyhow.

Chris, could you tell us your average p/f/c numbers? After 5 months dieting I started doing Massive Eating conservatively (3900 kCal/83 kg bodyweight) and I am not sure I am not balooning up. I am eating approx. 350/90/400-450. Thanks.

Hey Sasa- Sounds like you have Massive Eating down. I know that like me, you don’t have a lightning fast metabolism, so I was just curious how you split up your P&F and P&C meals. I’m not doing massive eating right now, but I might consider giving it a run if my schedule at school allows for it. Right now, I’m starting to bulk with a 40% protein, 20% fat, and 40% carb intake. I find that I do better with more protein and fewer carbs, although eating that much protein can be tricky when you are in the neighborhood of 2g/lb. of bodyweight. Glad to hear you’re doing well with Massive Eating.

Mike- I really like the Massive Eating diet, but I don’t fret too much over when I get certain meal combos. For example, I like P+C for breakfast. John has said before that breakfast is a time when your diet can be a little more forgiving because your body is basically starving for everything. In fact, for breakfast I tend to break the P+C rule a bit and add some fat (natural peanut butter, a whole egg etc), usually over the 10 gram rule.

I stick to P+F up until training usually. Then I use Surge just as you do, half during, half after the workout. My next solid meal is P+C and my final meal is P+F because I just don’t like getting too many carbs before bed.

John has admitted to doing well with carbs and I tend to have trouble with them, so to each his own there. Adjust as necessary I say. It really doesn’t seem to make that big of a difference in the long run, as long as you stick to the basic ideas behind macronutrient combos. My P+F and P+C meal choices are often made based on what I feel like eating at the time. General rule for me: carbs for breakfast, carbs after training, carbs the first solid meal after training. (I train around 5PM.) The rest of the meals tend to be P+F. I usually increase the P+C meals if I’m using an androgen. I’ll eat more P+C meals when on MAG-10 based on the advice of Bill Roberts. Androgens tend to let me “get away” with more carbs and I think carb intake is essential for real muscle growth stages. I would not go low carb while on MAG-10 or Androsol, not if your goal is rapid muscle gain.

Sasa- Don’t have those numbers handy right now. Can’t remember off the top of my head, but maybe my explanations above will give you an idea of how I do it.

I’m glad to see that you consider breakfast more forgiving. I, too, like to have more carbs there, but we all know that whole eggs (I have one) are pretty valuable. I want to use breakfast as a P&C meal, but when you have a cup of oatmeal (6g fat) and an egg (4.5g), you’re already over the 5g limit easily. Throw in some protein powder and that adds some, too. So, I guess it isn’t an exact science. Good call on making sure that certain meals in relation to your workout time or the time of day are always the same. It makes it a lot more feasible for someone who trains at different points in the day. Think I’ll give it a shot.

Eric- It’s a 10 gram limit, not 5.

Yeah-I saw that it was 10g according to the version Chris put forth in the Growth Surge project. If you look at John Berardi’s original outline in Massive Eating Part 2, he says under five grams fat for P&F meals and under ten grams carbs for P&C. Which one is everyone using?

I think you typed that wrong or misread the article. You said: “he says under five grams fat for P&F meals
and under ten grams carbs for P&C”

What you meant to say was under 10 carbs for P+F meals and under 10 grams of fat for P+C meals. See the difference. Obviously you would not keep the carbs that low in a P+C meal. C = carbs. But you may be right about that under five gram thing. I’ve always used under 10 as a guide with success.

I keep the un-used macro to the lowest possible minimum for the two main macros I’m using. In other words, I don’t add any fat or carbs to the meal combos, even if I’m under the 10g mark.

Yeah, that’s what I meant to type- my bad. It does raise an interesting point, though, about whether it is 5 or 10 grams of fat for a P&C meal.

What is everyone’s take on staggering the meals? Do you alternate P&F with P&C, or just make sure that you get the same amount of each every day? I saw that John Berardi recommended consuming all of the P&C meals during the first half of the day when dieting (albeit with lower calories). Is this a strategy that could also be used by those of us who tend to put fat on rather easily?

Personally, I stack my carbs meals around my workout, whenever that may be.

Well, Eric, my numbers are almost the same as you plan them to be. You see, when I said
I am not sure I am not balooning up, I meant that in a negative way. I am not sure I am
not putting too much fat on. I jumped into bulking phase directly from 4.5 months of
strict dieting. I started at 98 kg, ended up at 83 kg and then, two weeks ago, I started
with bulking. I am working in all three shifts including night shift, 5 days on, 2 days off, so I have to adjust my meals to fit the working schedule. Basically I am using the taper
method. I eat 7 to 8 meals, first 4 to 5 of which are p+c meals. For example, this morning
I made a large pancake from 6 egg whites, whole grain flour, natural wheat bran and oats with 250 g cottage cheese and 20 g raisins, I also ate a tangerine. The second meal was 3 hours later, 210 g flax bread with 125 g cottage cheese, a banana and 330 g low fat yoghurt
drink. Three hours later, 240 g green peas, 200 g tomato, 50 g tomato juice, 100 g chicken
breasts. Three hours later, 250 g cottage cheese + 50 g natural unsweetened muesli.
Three hours later, the same. Three hours later, 250 g cottage cheese + 25 g walnuts.
Three hours later, a large salad consisting of lettuce, cucumber, something I do not know
how to say in English :-), 9 g flax oil and 100 g tuna. As you might have noticed, today
I had only two p+f meals, but when I work the night shift, my last four meals are p+f. I
had to adjust things to suit my schedule. The problem is that I think I am putting on a
lot of fat, but I am not sure - however, my pants fit tightly and I can feel them around
my waist when I am sitting, and this is certainly not a good sign. I am an ex fatass and have a lot of adipocites all over the body that can hold water indiscriminately and make me resemble a hot air (in my case - water) baloon. I also lose a lot of water during the
first couple of days of dieting, so I cannot really distinguish between real fat and water
gain in these unfortunate fat cells of mine. :slight_smile:

My training regimen is 4x/wk, doing basic movements, squats, deads, incline bench presses, flyes, you got the picture, approx 16 or a bit more sets per workout, Luke Sauder's calf routine and I have divided leg training to hip and quad dominant days. I also do my abs twice per week and I do 30 minutes of cardio 4x/wk. My recovery is OK, but I am under a lot of stress every day due to work and I change sleeping habits every 5 days 8 hours ahead because of my shift work (I work as a support engineer for American software company located in Croatia and we have 24 hour shifts), so it sucks bigtime and I think this is something I should put in order somehow, but I do not know how right now.

I supplement with 1200 iu vitamin E and a couple of grams of vitamin C divided into a couple of daily doses and a multivitamin/multimineral in the evening and that is it. Of course, I eat high GI carbs postworkout (50 g rice cake + 50 g corn flakes, equal to approx 80 g simple carbs) and 40 g whey proteiof the best quality available to me.

Chris, thank you for your reply, I got the picture, we are using pretty much the same
eating schedule, but I am not sure Massive Eating principles are much better than regular Get Big style of eating, at least not for somebody who is obviously insuline resistant like
myself. I know it should help and this might sound like a blasphemy, but I do not think
I am putting less fat on than I would if I used regular eating principles with the same
macronutrient ratio breakdown. However, I will wait for another 4 weeks and then draw the
final conclusions and post my 6-week bulking results.

Anyway, I plan to stick with this plan for 6 weeks even if I gain, like, 100 kg of
pure blubber, I know I will shed it of, I have figured out dieting in details in the
past, now I have to master the bulking principles. I know I am maintaining at 3100 kCal and I think I am gaining a lot of fat at 3900 kCal - maybe my “lean” gaining numbers are somewhere inbetween. I will have to figure this out by myself, nobody will do my job for me.
At Dec 9th I will do a brief 3-week cutting cycle and round things up for the New Year’s
Eve. :slight_smile:

I know what you mean about it being hard to measure lean mass versus fat gain immediately after a cutting period. I felt like I had put on a lot of weight right away from upping my carbs four days ago, yet I stepped on the scale this morning and had dropped 1/2 pound in spite of a significant increase in calories. Since I’m relatively insulin resistant, I’m considering trying focusing my P&C meals earlier in the day. I’ll always make sure one of them is right after training even on days that I train later in the day. I’ve found that I can actually get about eight meals in per day if I plan my schedule right. I do best with smaller, more frequent meals. For instance, if I train at 3PM, I’ll be sure to eat around 2 (protein shake and some fish oil) for a P&F. I just don’t like the idea of waiting from 12PM (lunch) until around 4PM (post-workout shake) to eat. Plus, my workouts are better when I’ve got a little something in my stomach. From your pictures, I can tell that you’ve made a lot of progress, and I commend you for it. I’ve been down that road before (and the opposite extreme), and it feels a hell of a lot better when you can figure out exactly what you need to do each day to reach your goals. Keep in touch in regards to your progress, and I’ll do the same. Best of luck.

Hi there, first off no matter what alot of so called experts on this website are telling you the fact is that carbs do alter cholesterol metabolism, especially when taken in excess. Much of high cholesterol is genetic. However, excess carbs can easily be converted into blood fats which in turn can raise cholesterol. Keep mono’s and poly’s high for improved hdl/ldl ratio’s. Mono’s in some studies seem to be more benificial. Find the majic carb intake for yourself and stick with it. As for weight gain try mixing up your training style more. I’m not a real big supporter of ketogenic diets. But I followed body opus a few years back to try and get mega shredded. My body fat levels dropped dramatically. Here’s the kicker though. I also gained 5 pds of muscle! Strange huh? But hydrostatic testing rarely lies. Oh and just in case your wondering I was weighed in on day 4 of that particular week. It’s unlikely that it was extra water due to the weekend carb up.
Best of luck with your cholesterol and training.