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Refeeds for Fat Loss

I don’t know what to think about the usefulness of refeeds for fat loss, physiologically speaking. The basic idea, as I understand it, is that, by eating big (especially a lot of carbs) every now and then during a low-calorie, low-carb diet, you make your body think “Ok, there’s plenty of food and easy energy available, so I don’t have to cling to these fat stores”.

But my intuition on this is that, if periodic refeeding does have a physiological benefit, it is pretty minimal, and that the real benefit would be psychological (for those who must have cheat meals to stay sane). Lyle McDonald does advocate them, though he’s careful not to claim too much for them, if I recall his position correctly. Yet there are people who swear by them, and claim that their bf% is lower the day after a big refeed (although bf% fluctuates, so I don’t know if this would be all that significant).

I know without a doubt that I LOOK better the day after eating a bunch of sugar and such, but that might be because glycogen stores are more full than they usually get on my relatively low-carb protocol.

What’s the deal with refeeds? Any science to back them up? And any personal experience?

[quote]PaysageDHiver wrote:
I don’t know what to think about the usefulness of refeeds for fat loss, physiologically speaking. The basic idea, as I understand it, is that, by eating big (especially a lot of carbs) every now and then during a low-calorie, low-carb diet, you make your body think “Ok, there’s plenty of food and easy energy available, so I don’t have to cling to these fat stores”.

But my intuition on this is that, if periodic refeeding does have a physiological benefit, it is pretty minimal, and that the real benefit would be psychological (for those who must have cheat meals to stay sane). Lyle McDonald does advocate them, though he’s careful not to claim too much for them, if I recall his position correctly. Yet there are people who swear by them, and claim that their bf% is lower the day after a big refeed (although bf% fluctuates, so I don’t know if this would be all that significant).

I know without a doubt that I LOOK better the day after eating a bunch of sugar and such, but that might be because glycogen stores are more full than they usually get on my relatively low-carb protocol.

What’s the deal with refeeds? Any science to back them up? And any personal experience? [/quote]

It’s NOT just psychological, and if you read Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss book in FULL you’d see that he prescribes them for PHYSIOLOGICAL reasons as well. Try a severely restrictive diet sometime for yourself (on the order of 8 to 10 calories per day) and see if refeeds are only psychological. Not to mention that so many prep coaches are using them with success.

I know McDonald thinks there’s a physiological benefit. Maybe I’ll try to track down his book. And thanks for your recommendation that I try refeeds. But this is all very unspecific. Any quick and dirty explanations for why we should think that refeeds have a physiological benefit (to tide me over while I search for McDonald’s book)? Have they worked for you?

I have had great success with ULC when cutting, but with one high-carb blow meal out a week. For me, at least, my fat loss stalls without the refeed. Independently, John Kiefer contends the one “carb night” does a number of things, including firing up the metabolism and refilling glycogen stores so you can burn fat more efficiently and get better training sessions in despite going ULC. My experience concurs with his reasoning.

it’s one of those things that you really need to try for yourself

[quote]PaysageDHiver wrote:
I don’t know what to think about the usefulness of refeeds for fat loss, physiologically speaking. The basic idea, as I understand it, is that, by eating big (especially a lot of carbs) every now and then during a low-calorie, low-carb diet, you make your body think “Ok, there’s plenty of food and easy energy available, so I don’t have to cling to these fat stores”.

But my intuition on this is that, if periodic refeeding does have a physiological benefit, it is pretty minimal, and that the real benefit would be psychological (for those who must have cheat meals to stay sane). Lyle McDonald does advocate them, though he’s careful not to claim too much for them, if I recall his position correctly. Yet there are people who swear by them, and claim that their bf% is lower the day after a big refeed (although bf% fluctuates, so I don’t know if this would be all that significant).

I know without a doubt that I LOOK better the day after eating a bunch of sugar and such, but that might be because glycogen stores are more full than they usually get on my relatively low-carb protocol.

What’s the deal with refeeds? Any science to back them up? And any personal experience? [/quote]

Go read zraw’s thread and take a look at some of his refeeds which have a ridiculous amount of carbs. Then look at his pics. Then tell me if he’s doing it wrong.

http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/zraws_first_bbing_show?id=5257420&pageNo=10#5321870

also refeeds can be used on high carb diets too

I thoroughly believe in refeeds and have used them pretty much every cut Ive done. Basically go incredibly low carb until you feel like shit or until your weight loss has stalled then go out and eat WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT one day. YOull come back maybe 2-4lbs higher than you were the next morning. However for some reason every time I do this I break the weight loss plateau I had within 2-3 days and continue to go lower. Depending on how fast or slow you want to lose weight you could do them once a week or every other week. Experiment. They work well if you experiment to find your sweet spot.

And dont try to plan them in advance youll know when its time to do a refeed when you stall in weight loss or feel horrible and run down.

Theres also a big psychological improvement for me at least because I feel awesome that I got to eat what I wanted to and still am able to lose weight.

[quote]PlainPat wrote:
I thoroughly believe in refeeds and have used them pretty much every cut Ive done. Basically go incredibly low carb until you feel like shit or until your weight loss has stalled then go out and eat WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT one day. YOull come back maybe 2-4lbs higher than you were the next morning. However for some reason every time I do this I break the weight loss plateau I had within 2-3 days and continue to go lower. Depending on how fast or slow you want to lose weight you could do them once a week or every other week. Experiment. They work well if you experiment to find your sweet spot.

And dont try to plan them in advance youll know when its time to do a refeed when you stall in weight loss or feel horrible and run down.

Theres also a big psychological improvement for me at least because I feel awesome that I got to eat what I wanted to and still am able to lose weight.[/quote]

Hey man, have you ever been leaner than what you look like on the avatar?
just curious

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
It’s NOT just psychological, and if you read Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss book in FULL you’d see that he prescribes them for PHYSIOLOGICAL reasons as well. Try a severely restrictive diet sometime for yourself (on the order of 8 to 10 calories per day) and see if refeeds are only psychological. Not to mention that so many prep coaches are using them with success. [/quote]

Perfect.

It’s pretty eye-opening to wake up noticeably leaner and tighter on the morning after an earned (and intelligent) re-feed.

(and while the wonderment will eventually fade, the actual success of the approach will not)

[quote]alXito wrote:

[quote]PlainPat wrote:
I thoroughly believe in refeeds and have used them pretty much every cut Ive done. Basically go incredibly low carb until you feel like shit or until your weight loss has stalled then go out and eat WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT one day. YOull come back maybe 2-4lbs higher than you were the next morning. However for some reason every time I do this I break the weight loss plateau I had within 2-3 days and continue to go lower. Depending on how fast or slow you want to lose weight you could do them once a week or every other week. Experiment. They work well if you experiment to find your sweet spot.

And dont try to plan them in advance youll know when its time to do a refeed when you stall in weight loss or feel horrible and run down.

Theres also a big psychological improvement for me at least because I feel awesome that I got to eat what I wanted to and still am able to lose weight.[/quote]

Hey man, have you ever been leaner than what you look like on the avatar?
just curious
[/quote]

2 year old post bump… yes I have been. I took myself from probably around 140 when this was first posted to around 215 right now

I’ve also read somewhere (might have been Lyle McDonald) that carb refeeds help regulate leptin levels. Too lazy to cite my sources though.