T Nation

Importance of Carbs in Cutting


Alot of weight lifters and bodybuilders, advocate carb intake in the forms of rice, yams, potatoes, etc. during their cutting or losing fat phases.

Are carbs like rice, yams (anything of decent nutritional value, other than green veggies) necessarily important for cutting OR can eating high levels of protein and good fats, w/o green veggies still be effective in retaining muscle mass?


Depends who you ask. (eg.Dave Palumbo will tell you no carbs is the only way to diet, its not). Im not cutting but i know i need carbs.

Your gonna have to find out for yourself


It depends on your carb tolerance. Some people can cut just fine while ingesting a fairly high amount of complex carbs while others (the majority I'd say) aren't so lucky and really have to limit the amount to only around workout times. It also depends on your present state of leaness as the leaner you become, the more carb tolerant you become.


This really sums it up nicely. Also realize that you can allow your carb intake to fluctuate daily depending on what you will be doing training wise. ie. When I cut, I keep carbs really low on my off or cardio days, but then will ingest quite a bit (within reason) on my chest days. You're going to have to play around a bit to see what works for you.



Personally I would stay away from high glycemic carbs while cutting, except for Surge on workout days. With that philosophy, potatoes and rice are out. Quinoa is in.


Low carbs are great for fat loss. Carbs are great for muscle building and performance. Why not get the best of both worlds by cycling your carb intake? In my opinion, this is the only way to go.

Dr Clay





Dr. Clay!!! So well put!


Dr. Clay,

In general where do you set carbs on a low day when carb cycling for fatloss?


I like to set my carbs on 'low' days to 'just low enough'. When I started my last prep at 12 weeks out, my 'low' days still had about 150g of carbs. By 2 weeks out, I had essentially dropped the carb intake all the way down to what would be considered ketogenic levels (<50g). Of course this was en route to obtaining 3-5% bodyfat, most people would never need to push things to that point.



Indeed Stu..I remember an article by CT on carb cycling where he suggests taking in the highest amount of carbs on days you train weak points.