T Nation

High Carb v. Low Carb

I’m confused. I was on another message board listening to two guys argue about how to get lean. One was saying that
-High fat diets make you fat (cut out all fat)
-Do lots of cardio
-Drink juice before morning cardio for energy
-Do abs every day to develop them
-Eat a little bit of carbs (bread & salad) before bed

The other said:
-Eat higher fat, lower carb
-eat protein before bed
-don’t do a lot of cardio, do weights to build muscle
-eat some protein before a workout so you have lower insulin

Now I’m confused! Who’s right? They both said some things that seemed correct.

Didn’t have a lot of sleep last night so I will keep my answer short… 2nd one makes much more sense…

Let’s just make this simple. Guy #1 is a dolt. A moron. An idiot. I could get a cardio workout just describing his idiocy. Guy #2 is a T-man.

Do abs every day to develop them?? The high-carb guy probably thinks that working your abs will burn fat off of them, too. He’s a moron. First of all, you don’t want to cut out ALL fat from your diet. Fat is required by your body to build hormones and in other functions. Healthy fats such as flax oil and olive oil are good for you. SOME cardio is ok, but if you get psychotic about it you’re just going to end up burning off muscle. Juice before your morning cardio is likely to give you heart burn or an upset stomach - I know when I drink orange juice and try to work out I get this. And carbs before bed are going to end up as fat because you’re doing nothing to burn them off. The second guy is correct for the most part; I disagree with him in that I think you should take in carbs before a workout.

Look up the “diet manefesto” article on the t-mag website it will explain several of the diets avaiable. All diets work just some faster than others. It depends on the person. IT always depends on the person. I do not think high carb diets are very effective myself but that is what works for me. Try a book called the metabolic typing diet. It will give you a better idea of what kind of metabolism you have.

We have become so scared of the word FAT in this country that the marketing companys are using this to their advantage to hype products. EATING FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. We only absorb about 15% of the fat we eat. The type of fat that you eat is the issue. I remember reading about a study in which three groups of people were compared. One group ate a high fat diet, another a high carb, and the third group a high protein diet. The group on the high fat diet lost the most fat, while the high protein group came in second. The carb group lost very fat. Unfortunately the high fat is not the healthiest of diets because of other issues such as cholesteral. So the conclusion of the study was that a high protein diet with an appropriate level of fat was the best diet for losing fat (Not necessarily weight because the protein will maintain the muscle). I can’t remember where I read this, but I have followed a low carb diet for over two years now. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesteral. All of these problems are under control now since changing my diet and I have lost a lot of inches while building muscle.

I use six different diets and revolve them every month.

Mike: The basic key to getting lean is eating below maintenance in calories, properly managing your insulin levels while at the same time providing your body with enough energy and nutrients (at the right times) so that you don’t waste away and feel like shit. Both examples are similar in that they each address the caloric deficit required for fat loss. One with cardio and one with diet. Example #1 in your post basically stressed a low fat diet and lots of cardio. Lets say you eat 2200 cals/day in typical lowfat style. Well, if you are a 2200 cal/day machine and you place an extra energy load of say 500 cals/day through cardio you are in a caloric deficit by 500 cals/day. Not to mention your weightlifting energy expenditure. On this plan you WILL get lean. You could achieve the same net effect by only eating 1700 cals/day (even if you eat a fair share of carbs). Excess calories and mismanaged insulin spikes are what make you fat not carbohydrates by themselves. So if you are eating 5 to 6 meals a day at or below maintenance level insulin spikes are not going to be a problem and fat gain will not occur. In fact on wieght training days you will want to load more of your carbs into your post training meal so as to induce an insulin spike (or you can simply supplement with Surge). Of course fasting all day and only eating one 1700 cal carb laden meal right before bed will buy you a first class ticket to fatsville. Generally speaking though, don’t worry so much about excess carbs. Eat as much of them as required to give you the energy you need. I always followed a lowfat diet because fats are more calorically dense than carbs and proteins. If I was only going to be eating 1700 cals/day then I knew that by eating lowfat foods and supplementing with an EFA I would be eating a much higher volume of food, getting the carbs i needed for my cardio as well as getting my essential fatty acids. I routinely do both diet and cardio. But that’s just me. I find a diet that will put me in a deficit, but still give me enough energy to get through my cardio. Double the deficit. I know lots of bodybuilders who don’t like cardio because of the potentially catabolic effects. But anytime you operate below maintenance level on calories you flirt with muscle wasting. Cardio is an extremely useful tool for fat loss as long as you enjoy aerobic type activities. You can employ either diet, cardio or both. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on how the body works so that you can sift through the info and make choices that work for you. T-mag is a wonderful resource with an enormously insightful staff. Tap into their knowledge and the knowledge of this forum and you will reach your goals. Good luck.

Who’s right? They’re both right? I know that’s hard to understand; but it took me three years to get lean; and during that time tried both ends of the extreme; and neither worked. Finally, I found that somewhere in the middle was what worked for me. The answer, for you, lies in experimentation, hard work, and perseverance.

Both are right in their own way. Any diet will work, as long as you stick with it. I agree that cutting the carbs helps to bring about more fat loss, but a low fat diet works too. It comes down to what you can stick to the best, high fat-low carb, or higher carb-low fat.