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Lyle McDonald on insulin and fat gain

I’ve been reading Lyle McDonald on insulin and he says that it is VERY DIFFICULT for carbs to be converted into fat. Instead, they increase insulin which deposits the fatty acids which are in the bloodstream (or soon to be). What does this say about our caution with carbs in a bulking phase?

According to this POV, glycemic index is not as much of a big deal in the short run, with regard to fat gain for example. Maintaining good insulin sensitivity is important for health reasons, but for non-diabetics, GI doesn’t really matter on a higher carb bulking phase. You’re not going to lay down much fat if dietary fat is low.

For example, caffeine won’t cause a P+C meal after the workout to increase bodyfat. Any thoughts from anybody on the validity and ramifications of this theory?

Brian
inquisitive post.

Please take a look at my “issue of De Novo” post on the Diggity Dog.

At any event, let me shed some light on the issues you bring up, which are all valid

Again, it involves a very fine distinction between lipolytic, anti-lipolytic, and lipogenic. Lyle is right, the process of de novo is very inefficient, and generally speaking, the body does NOT convert carbs to fat, except of course, in a carbohydrate overfeeding situation. Now, here is the fine point. On a high carb bulking phase, you are going to jack the GI a ton, which is anti-lypolytic, so forget about fat gain…the problem becomes that on a high carb bulking phase, most likely any dietary fat intake is going to be converted (esterfied) into triglyceride, because the esterfication raw materials (glucose-insulin-LPL) are in place. In addition, a key point that I feel is being missed on the refeed posts etc. etc. is that there is only a specific (but flexible) storage amount for glycogen. This will depend on one’s level of muscle tissue, but in general, the numbers i have seen most frequently thrown around are:

muscle tissue: approx 400-500g
liver: 75-100g

of course this depends on issues such as level of depletion…however, i think for “approximation purposes” these numbers are pretty good targets…now, once these bad boys are full (particularly the liver, as it controls the over state of the body). then de novo will indeed begin. Its nice to think that excess carbs will be burned off or otherwise metabolised, but this is not the case as it is in ketosis, when at least some excess calories (ketones) are excreted in the urine…My questions on the refeed were primarily at what point does de novo begin to occur…well, I guess I answered some of my own question…I really don’t agree with those who constantly refer to the fact that you can eat and eat on a refeed (CHO) without risking fat regain…there are rate-limiting factors, but the fact remains you have to pay attention to caloric balance, even if glycogen stores are empty…

another fine point is this: I don’t think people realize that glucose (CHO) loads are generally split in that at least 50% of all glucose loads are accepted by the liver…thus, its not like all ingested glucose goes to empty muscle tissue and then the liver…the liver begins filling up from the moment refeeds begin…and once the liver is full, the possibility for hypertrophic processes to begin (particularly lipogenic hypertrophic processes) is engaged.

I think there is some flexibility with refeeds/CHO loads…between 3500 and 4500 calories maybe and 400-800 carbs…but after that, lipogenic properties are going to predominate…What I am inquiring in my post is to get a more specific scientific or even anecdotal report of when people see this process start to occur, independent of the water retention associated with refeeds/CHO loads…

One final point on a CHO based bulking phase…You risk enhancing your T-levels and any fat loss that MIGHT occur with high insulin levels. I advocate an approach similar to Timbo’s with CHO following workouts…but even then, I do think CHO’s post-workout can even be overrated…my personal preference is for a high protein, low carb shake following bulking workouts…if I do have carbs during a bulk phase they are temporally situated during the morning food matrices…

Alright, I am goign to copy and post this “post” on my thread as well, maybe some good conversation can generate.

Vain

Brian
Void the first reply
this is a copy with a few minor corrections after I reread what I hastily wrote.
Vain

Brian
inquisitive post.

Please take a look at my “issue of De Novo” post on the Diggity Dog.

At any event, let me shed some light on the issues you bring up, which are all valid

Again, it involves a very fine distinction between lipolytic, anti-lipolytic, and lipogenic. Lyle is right, the process of de novo is very inefficient, and generally speaking, the body does NOT convert carbs to fat, except of course, in a carbohydrate overfeeding situation. Now, here is the fine point. On a high carb bulking phase, you are going to jack the GI a ton, which is anti-lypolytic, so forget about fat loss…the problem becomes that on a high carb bulking phase, most likely any dietary fat intake is going to be converted (esterfied) into triglyceride, because the esterfication raw materials (glucose-insulin-LPL) are in place. In addition, a key point that I feel is being missed on the refeed posts etc. etc. is that there is only a specific (but flexible) storage amount for glycogen. This will depend on one’s level of muscle tissue, but in general, the numbers i have seen most frequently thrown around are:

muscle tissue: approx 400-500g
liver: 75-100g

of course this depends on issues such as level of depletion…however, i think for “approximation purposes” these numbers are pretty good targets…now, once these bad boys are full (particularly the liver, as it controls the overall state of the body). then de novo will indeed begin. Its nice to think that excess carbs will be burned off or otherwise metabolised, but this is not the case as it is in ketosis, when at least some excess calories (ketones) are excreted in the urine…My questions on the refeed were primarily at what point does de novo begin to occur…well, I guess I answered some of my own question…I really don’t agree with those who constantly refer to the fact that you can eat and eat on a refeed (CHO) without risking fat regain…there are rate-limiting factors, but the fact remains you have to pay attention to caloric balance, even if glycogen stores are empty…

another fine point is this: I don’t think people realize that glucose (CHO) loads are generally split in that at least 50% of all glucose loads are accepted by the liver…thus, its not like all ingested glucose goes to empty muscle tissue and then the liver…the liver begins filling up from the moment refeeds begin…and once the liver is full, the possibility for hypertrophic processes to begin (particularly lipogenic hypertrophic processes) is engaged.

I think there is some flexibility with refeeds/CHO loads…between 3500 and 4500 calories maybe and 400-800 carbs…but after that, lipogenic properties are going to predominate…What I am inquiring in my post is to get a more specific scientific or even anecdotal report of when people see this process start to occur, independent of the water retention associated with refeeds/CHO loads…

One final point on a CHO based bulking phase…You risk reducing your T-levels and any fat loss that MIGHT occur with high insulin levels. I advocate an approach similar to Timbo’s with CHO following workouts…but even then, I do think CHO’s post-workout can even be overrated…my personal preference is for a high protein, low carb shake following bulking workouts…if I do have carbs during a bulk phase they are temporally situated during the morning food matrices…

Alright, I am goign to copy and post this “post” on my thread as well, maybe some good conversation can generate.

Vain

Interesting. Maybe one of the reasons high protein intakes (over 1.5 g/lb.) may assist hypertrophy is that the protein converts to glucose, which helps fill the liver–since protein does not raise blood sugar very much [see “Effect of protein ingestion on the glucose appearance rate in people with type 2 diabetes” in J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001 Mar;86(3):1040-7 and the recent studies by Donald Layman]. That way you need less dietary carbs to keep the liver full and with protein, a safety valve to prevent the roller-coaster blood sugar.

Vain, I’m not very biologically inclined so could you please elaborate on the following:

  1. “On a high carb bulking phase, you are going to jack the GI a ton, which is anti-lypolytic, so forget about fat gain”

Are you saying that high GI carbs are less likely to be stored as fat?

  1. “On a high carb bulking phase, most likely any dietary fat intake is going to be converted (esterfied) into triglyceride”

Does this mean that most/all of the fat from something like a 30/40/40 diet will be stored as bodyfat and not burned for fuel?

Would the situaltion change if the majority of your fats are EFAs (fish/flax oil). Would that be different in that it won’t get stored as bodyfat?

A7

on point number one:
I meant “forget about fat loss, not gain”…i changed this in my second post

Point two: in the presence of jacked insulin, FFA (free fatty acids) will be estserfied into triglyceride

Point three: With the zone diet, you have to consider two things:
how bad you jack insulin (what types of carbs you eat)
and two: your overally calorie balance.

So, again in the presence of high insuslin levels, triglyceride storage is very likely to occur…however, this is going to be rate-limited depending on a number of factors that would antagonize insulin rise: I.e., exercise, use of supplements such as ALA etc. If you remain in a state of calorie balance, there will be a ying and a yang of triglyceride flux such that during fasting some triglyceride is mobilized (insulin down) and during refeeding triglyceride is stored (insulin up)

Does this help?

I’ll be happy to elaborate

Vain

Vain, I’m going to have to take exception to your 400-500 values. To say that anything past this intake on a refeed/carb up is I think too simplistic. Whether or not it can be backed by research, I also think is irrelevant, at least in this case.

Case in point - I work with a lot of competitive bodybuilders and in my opinion have finally, after 3 years, nailed down the final week of the prep, which is arguably the most important week. I’m not sure if you’ve looked at any of the topics revolving around competing or photo shoot prep, but I had some numbers posted that I use. For example, I would have someone like Patricia consuming over 400g of carbs alone on the first day of a carbup.

Take a guy with 220lbs LBM. My normal suggestion would be 1000g on Day 1, and 500g on Day 2, BEFORE starting to fat load, which is basically simple sugars (more carbs) and long chain fats. As you watch someone go from being dry, yet flat, to big, full, vascular and extremely separated in a matter of days following this kind of eating, you’d be hard pressed to convince many people that they’ve put on any (regardless of how little) fat in this time. And we’re talking 1500g before starting the junk food eating.

No matter how much one ate in one day, if they were depleted enough, there is no way they could reglycogenate 100%. It just doesnt happen. It would take a good 3 days for this to occur. Obviously rate limiting factors influence this as well.

Again, I say this based on my experience alone.

Recent research suggests it is possible to maximise carbohydrate stores of the muscle in 24 hours but requires ~10g/kg CHO over the period of the day after a depletion training.

Trust me when I say that is incorrect. I use those figures already, but to say you can maximize glycogen levels in one day is crazy. Rate limiting steps will not allow for it for one, and more importantly after years of working with competitors I can assure you that one day of carbing up does not fill you out. If that were the case, a second day of carbing up wouldn?t do anything and that is definitely not the case. Experience often speaks louder than theory. This is exactly why most competitors come in looking flat, flat, flat. 10g/kg is the maximum for the first 24 hrs and this is the time frame that is most researched, yes. But to say this is the amount to maximize all muscle glycogen is overly simplistic and flat out wrong.

Thunder:
I am very open to your suggestions…and I have experimented myself with a bunch of numbers
for example, this past weekend, I had approximately 750 carbs with no smoothing, thus suggesting that a complete carb-up was not acheived…

however, the rate-limiting steps you point out that prevent maximum reglycogenation in that time fram are also the ones that will lead to rebound fat gain…Now, obviously, even with an excessive CHO load, your fat-regain will be somewhat minimal given the fact that excess carbs will be preferentially shuttled to empty glyco stores versus de novo processes…However, the point is that fat regain should begin to reoccur…

Out of curiousity, two questions regarding most of the competitors you have worked with:

First, what has been their carb intakes prior to refeeding/loading sessoins?

Two: what is your indicator for when to stop carbing…is it the mirror? or is it a particular number you arrive at…

Three: what do your recommend as fat intake while refeeding?..

Four: Keep in mind that as weight goes down (as does muscle mass) so will the amount of carbs necessary for optimal glycogenation and/or leptin response.

Five: What about supplements such as ALA, etc?

I think this topic needs more investigation, and that is why I posted…I guess the important thing to differentiate is why are we doing the overfeeding session:

Is it
A) to resucitate leptin activation for continued fat loss
or
B) to maximally glycogenate depleted muscle and liver glycogen stores.

Hope to hear from you

Vain

Vaines, on the two-day carb refeed, to what extent are excess carbs turned into triglycerides and then stored in the muscle cells?

Oops, I should of said “Vain” not “Vaines,” that’s someone else. Sorry.

Vain, brother, if we are speaking of A), then individuals need not be as ridgid; I’ve given a bunch of set numbers and calculations, but rarely do I follow them myself. Why? Not that I don’t think they have validity, of course I believe in them, that is why I prescribe them as a “starting point” for everyone I work with; however, I know my past experiences and my body, which carries more weight (pun intended) than prescriptions.

Joel

JM: Brotha, I can’t agree with you more on the refeed issue…since the point of refeeding is to upregulate leptin levels for continued dieting purposes, then I think being less stringent is actually more beneficial. Hell, if de novo occurs on a leptin refeed, that would most likely be a good indicator or a sure bet that leptin has indeed been upregulated…screw the minimal fat regain, since you are going back to dieting once again

On the issue of the two-day carb refeeds…here again we come to a crucial point…at what point does de novo occur…you know, we always talk about the need to control insulin becuase of its particularly devastating effects on fat gain…however, what if we ate simply carbs without fat?..Sure T levels and everything else is adversely affected, but would fat gain occur?..I think the research is going to bear out that de novo occurs at varying rates depending on a number of factor…the bottom line is that in the presence of high insulin, FFA’s are going to be stored as fat bing bang…this fat is going to come from any caloric intake that is over and above mntc…Unless your genetic makeup predisposes you to a high NEAT or other metabolic profile, you are going to store such excess as fat…

Now on the two day refeeds:
Hell, I like to keep mine at one
but I have gone up to around 600 with no noticeable fat regain. I Guess total calories would be in the 4000 range for a refeed…The question is interesting…I think it is crucial however that you literally minimize any fat intake when ingesting your refeed carbs…its tantamount to not having any type of fire spark if you were swimming in a pool of gasoline…

Thoughts/Comments?

Vizzy

So according to this message, a bulking diet should be higher carbs and lower fat? something like 40CHO/40PRO/20FAT?

Okay, someone please enlighten me on this. A few competitors from other boards have been talking about sh*t-loading before a competition. Basically they are throwing out numbers and eating lots of carbs and fat. These guys are coming in lean, muscular, and full. They look great and are absolutely vascular as hell and hard as a rock. I must confess that the leaner I get, the more frequently I need to refeed…every three days or at least twice per week for 8-10 hours. I am currently about 6% and I find that when I refeed I do best by getting AT LEAST 600g carbs and not worrying about the fat. Hell, I might eat 200g fat, and enough protein, I would estimate about 200-300g protein…this is during the 8 hour refeed. This is not counting another 100-200g prot and more EFA’s after the refeed before bed. I find that the day before the refeed I am starting to crave carbs, and the morning of the refeed I am usually stating to drop in body temp. By the middle of the refeed I am sweating nuts and hyper as hell, also I get full and vascular. I am losing approximately .5mm on my ab skinfolds per refeed, or a little less than 1mm per week. I am starting to think that numbers should be thrown out of the refeed and people should just eat as much as possible. Even if you are gaining .25lb of fat back per refeed…if you are losing 1-1.5lb fat between refeeds, you are still doing pretty damn good. And I think with steroids, or the great pro-hormones we have out right now, there is absolutely zero reason you shouldn’t be losing 1.5lb fat consistently per week. And IMO, if you are trying to diet w/o anabolic support giggles you shouldn’t be dieting at all.

Perro: This approach will work for some people, but not all. This is what I originally prescribed in my Cheater’s Diet; however, some individuals need a stricter approach to avoid throwing all their recent progress out the window. But yes, you’re body will certainly get the message that you are not starving after such an overfeed.

Joel

Thanks Vain. That helped. Regarding what you said:

“there will be a ying and a yang of triglyceride flux such that during fasting some triglyceride is mobilized (insulin down) and during refeeding triglyceride is stored (insulin up)”

I have been wondering about this myself - wouldn’t eating every 2-3 hours (whichever type of diet one is on) keep insulin constatly elevated and thus inhibit any possibility of fat loss?

Perhaps it would be better to eat slightly bigger meals further apart (esp. for cutting). But it might also be beneficial for bulking - the protein pulse feeding theory?

A baby
I agree wholeheartedly…I think that esp. on a cutting diet, one should space their meals apart…Foret about metabolic drop (as it involves much more than just meal timing)…but it increases time spent en absentia of insulin activation and this is huge (Fasted state).

On a bulking diet, we can discuss more, but I still think spacing meals is a good idea…further than has been offered to keep metabolism up…if you look at the percentage drop in metabolism soley attributed to three meals per day versus five, you are going to see that it is very small (particularly on a bulking phase)…

Re: protein : I tend to like the protein cycle effect as well…LM has wrote extensively on the issue and I have modified my approach somewhat…particularly on refeeds I actually DECREASE the protein amounts…since protein is jacked during diet times…keep in mind the concept of homeostasis and what we are trying to acheive (increased protein synthesis).
if we can do this with leptin, why not with protein?
same theory applies

Vain

not true about the bigger meals. They will only release a proportionately larger amount of insulin. Eating every 2-3 hours will stabalize this along with low GI/II carb choices. No matter what you will have some insulin present and no matter what there will also be some glucagon present. Your body always burns fat ever second of the day. It’s just a matter of what activities your involved that regulates how heavily it’s depended as a fuel. Trust the standard - eat every 2-3 hours.