T Nation

Upping Carbs a Little

Right now I am working with a daily carb limit of 30 g per day (not counting fiber). Admittedly some days I am probably getting a bit closer to 35 but I figure that since 90% of the carbs are coming from veggies and nuts and they are spread throughout the day that a slight “excess” is not going to make a difference.

I am thinking about cutting out (or at least cutting down) on almonds. I am starting to suspect I may have an allergy (or possibly just a generally sensitive bowel that does not digest nuts well). If this proves to be the case I will be losing a major source of fiber (7g in just 2 oz of almonds) and will have to make it up with veggies. Veggies tend to have closer to a 1:1 ratio of fiber to other carbs, leaving no room for the small amount of carbs I am getting elsewhere (1 carb in 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 carb in each serving of sausage I eat, 1/2 carb in each egg).

Is upping my daily carb limit to 40 g going to make a big difference in my body recomp potential? This may bump me out of ketosis (possibly a good thing since I frequently have acid problems).

I am thinking that since I have been eating sub-30 g carbs for over a month now (going on 2 months I believe), that my insulin sensitivity should be up and I should be adapted to burning fat for fuel. Therefore getting out of ketosis but still eating low carb is not going to negatively affect my potential for losing fat by much.

I just like to check my thinking with others since the opportunity is here.

If you’re not concerned about ketosis (not that I’m an expert on ketosis), then I really don’t think upping from 30 to 40 grams of carbs per day is really doing to make all that much difference in your body comp goals.

So long as you stay under 50gs you should be good.

Also if you are already fat adapted and maintaining below 50gs of carbs, than even if you go over 50gs one day, you should not be kicked out of ketosis. Just get right back on track.

are you currently taking glutamine?

psyllium husks are a good fiber supplement, there is no sugar and easy to chug

Why are you concerned about being in ketosis in the first place? Being in ketosis has little to do with losing fat, and in my opinion in wholly unnecessary in the vast majority of cases.

People on this forum seem to have lost sight of the fact that fat loss is about creating a calorie deficit, not about avoiding carbohydrates. It doesn’t matter whether you cut calories from carbs or fat, as long as there is a deficit, your body will mobilize fat from your fat stores to compensate. Net result = you get leaner.

Additionally, if you are doing any sort of anaerobic training (which I assume you are)you NEED carbohydrates in your diet to fuel your workout. The only people who can get away with a strict ketogenic diet are the sedentary, or those only performing slow low intensity cardio.

My point: excess calories, not necessarily excess carbs, make you gain weight. Your body transformation efforts will not suffer if you decide to transfer to a more sensible macronutrient split, provided you keep you calories in check.

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
Why are you concerned about being in ketosis in the first place? Being in ketosis has little to do with losing fat, and in my opinion in wholly unnecessary in the vast majority of cases.

People on this forum seem to have lost sight of the fact that fat loss is about creating a calorie deficit, not about avoiding carbohydrates. It doesn’t matter whether you cut calories from carbs or fat, as long as there is a deficit, your body will mobilize fat from your fat stores to compensate. Net result = you get leaner.

Additionally, if you are doing any sort of anaerobic training (which I assume you are)you NEED carbohydrates in your diet to fuel your workout. The only people who can get away with a strict ketogenic diet are the sedentary, or those only performing slow low intensity cardio.

My point: excess calories, not necessarily excess carbs, make you gain weight. Your body transformation efforts will not suffer if you decide to transfer to a more sensible macronutrient split, provided you keep you calories in check.[/quote]

I like a lot of what you posted, but you don’t actually NEED carbs.

you can use glutamine to refill glycogen stores

and as you probably know, sometimes a calorie isn’t just a calorie.

If you are over 16%body fat and you are seeking to lose fat, Thibs and Poliquin suggest the keto diet for losing the fat. Not saying that this is the only way, but if you have a higher percentage of fat is just will work in your favor to become fat adapted and use your fat for fuel.

[quote]OctoberGirl wrote:

So long as you stay under 50gs you should be good.

Also if you are already fat adapted and maintaining below 50gs of carbs, than even if you go over 50gs one day, you should not be kicked out of ketosis. Just get right back on track.

are you currently taking glutamine?

psyllium husks are a good fiber supplement, there is no sugar and easy to chug

[/quote]

I put 5 g of glutamine in all of my shakes. I have a shake in the morning, a shake before and after training, and occasionally I will have a shake with natural peanut butter (I actually use a brand of PB that has flax seed and wheat germ and egg whites in it so it has added fiber and omega oils and protein) as my pre-bed meal as a treat.

I have been thinking about adding more though, perhaps double. I noticed that Coach Thibaudeau recommended .2 g per lb of bodyweight in a post (I believe it was in his Q & A thread). I imagine it would help with acidosis too.

I have psyllium husks and ground flax seed, either of which I could use for fiber but I have been trying to avoid it because quite honestly I do not enjoy chugging a grainy glass of water. I may just have to suck it up though.

As regards your later post in response to someone else, I am over 16% bodyfat, probably over 20% though that is just a guess. I am trying to build a base of strength and lose fat gradually for a few months while I get comfortable with lifting again and work out the kinks in my dietary regimen and get my general health back in line. Then I will switch to a targeted fat loss routine, add in some cardio (just doing GPP right now on off days), cut calories a little more (currently working at a slight deficit), and add HOT-ROX Extreme.

in response to OctoberGirl:

your muscles do need glycogen in order to perform high intensity exercise. this glycogen can be synthesised in the liver from certain amino acids (such as glutamie) via gluconeogenesis OR from ingested carbohydrate. My question is this: why would someone want to ingest mass amounts of glutamine post workout when carbohydrates are (1) more tasty and (2) cheaper.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “a calorie is not a calorie” but my feeling is this: “Assuming caloric intake can be controlled (and protein is adequate of course), shuffling of carbs and fats tends to have a minor, approaching negligble effect.”*

*taken from: bodyrecomposition.com/Articles/calorieacalorie.html

as far as using fat for fuel, what difference does it make if your eating a ton of fat?

On a ketogenic diet you burn more fat, but you also eat more fat. On a normal diet, you burn less fat, but you eat less fat, therefore assuming the deficit is the same in both diets, the amount of fat lost will be also be the same.

[quote]OctoberGirl wrote:
JMoUCF87 wrote:
Why are you concerned about being in ketosis in the first place? Being in ketosis has little to do with losing fat, and in my opinion in wholly unnecessary in the vast majority of cases.

People on this forum seem to have lost sight of the fact that fat loss is about creating a calorie deficit, not about avoiding carbohydrates. It doesn’t matter whether you cut calories from carbs or fat, as long as there is a deficit, your body will mobilize fat from your fat stores to compensate. Net result = you get leaner.

Additionally, if you are doing any sort of anaerobic training (which I assume you are)you NEED carbohydrates in your diet to fuel your workout. The only people who can get away with a strict ketogenic diet are the sedentary, or those only performing slow low intensity cardio.

My point: excess calories, not necessarily excess carbs, make you gain weight. Your body transformation efforts will not suffer if you decide to transfer to a more sensible macronutrient split, provided you keep you calories in check.

I like a lot of what you posted, but you don’t actually NEED carbs.

you can use glutamine to refill glycogen stores

and as you probably know, sometimes a calorie isn’t just a calorie.

If you are over 16%body fat and you are seeking to lose fat, Thibs and Poliquin suggest the keto diet for losing the fat. Not saying that this is the only way, but if you have a higher percentage of fat is just will work in your favor to become fat adapted and use your fat for fuel.

[/quote]

You must remember that glutamine, although an amino acid, is being used as a supplement in your context. You can’t assume everybody as access / funds to supplement with glutamine; which in this case is probably a better idea to use carbohydrates, just at necessary timing.

To the initial question; I doubt adding 10 grams of carbs to your diet is going to halt fat loss. To be honest, if you added a bowl of steel cut oats in the morning, although its ~22g of carbs per serving, the benefits of the fiber content and its ability to speed up metabolism to give you energy in the day will probably speed up fat loss more so than if you did without it.

Everyone has to find what works for him or her, but it doesn’t hurt to find out what top coaches say they’ve found works best for them.

Here are just a few posts that I found by just using the SEARCH function on this site.

Charles Poliquin: A lot of people are kidding themselves about how many carbs they need. “Man, I need my carbs.” Yeah, right! What you need to realize is that there’s a difference between a mouth and a vacuum.

It should be more “low-carb lifestyle” than “low-carb diet.” Forty to fifty grams per day of good carbs is plenty for most of the population. That is why there are so many fat dieticians and personal trainers. I recently saw a former author of this site at a nutrition conference. He’s a legend in his own mind for his dietary counseling prowess and a record holder of never healing weight training injuries.

Christian Thibaudeau:
Ok, you don’t ‘need’ carbs to grow. You need protein and calories to grow. Carbs can play a role by increasing insulin production and insulin is anabolic (but it’s also anabolic to fat… especially in endos) and it can also keep the muscles fuller. But to stimulate muscle growth they are not 100% mandatory. If you have sufficient amounts of protein and are consuming a caloric excess (e.g. by jacking up your good fat intake) you can grow even without carbs.

Well if the individual is carb adapted it means that he is at the most 10% body fat, and probably lower.

If you are planning a fat loss phase use the guidelines from my Refined Transformation article:

Above 20% body fat: no more than 30g of carbs per day

15-20% body fat: 0.25g of carbs per pound of body weight per day

12-15% body fat: 0.35g of carbs per pound of body weight per day

10-12% body fat: 0.45g of carbs per pound of body weight per day

Less than 10% body fat: 0.55g of carbs per pound of body weight per day

So is the individual is well carb-adapted (so who is 10% or lower) he would consume around 0.55g of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day. So if he is 180lbs that means around 100g per day.

If he is in a muscle gain phase he can obviously have more carbs… probably 2-3x the amount of the cutting phase.

Carb-adapted means that your body responds well to carbs. This means that your are insulin sensitive and as a result that your body is not efficient at storing carbs as body fat. Someone who is not well carb adapted will tend to put on more fat when he overeat carbs.

Once your body is adapted to functioning in a ketogenic state there is no need for a carb-up!!! At that point the body is as efficient as using ketones as it is at using carbs. So there is no real ‘‘strength training’’ reason for the carb-up.

The human body stores around 400-500g of carbs in the muscles. But understand that a ketogenic state is glycogen sparing. This means that when your body is adapted to ketosis (not transient ketosis like with the AD since it takes you 3 days after the carb-up to get back into ketosis) it will not rely on muscle glycogen primarily for fuel. So even if you consume no carbs all week, you are still not fully depleting your glycogen stores and a 150-200g carbs intake once a week is enough to maintain glycogen stores almost full.

The secret is that for this to apply you MUST be in a long-term ketogenic state not a transient one.

END QUOTES

so, for the OP, take what is going to work best for you.

You don’t need carbs. If you are fat adapted you don’t need them.

If you are over fat, you may want to do low-carb or even carb cycling although as Thibs mentions, a lot of folks fall off that wagon.

a calorie isn’t just a calorie if your body is best adapted to burning a carb calorie or a fat calorie. One might get stored while one might be burned.

You sound like you already have a good handle on your nutrition though.

So just eat clean and keep track.

OctoberGirl

What you posted is very informational and a good guide-line BUT what doesn’t works for some works for others. Some people might be able to lean out with a lot of carbs and some might need to go as low as 30g per day. The only way to know is by trying different ways until you get it just right. Thats why I think experience is worth much more than some written TEMPLATES.

Some people make things wayyyy to complicated(I’m very guilty of this)…I mean “0.25g of carbs per pound of body weight per day”…what if this certain person is doing a load of running or has a physical job?. There are to many things that come into account and the only way to know what works is to try it out your-self.

[quote]ronaldo7 wrote:
OctoberGirl

What you posted is very informational and a good guide-line BUT what doesn’t works for some works for others. Some people might be able to lean out with a lot of carbs and some might need to go as low as 30g per day. The only way to know is by trying different ways until you get it just right. Thats why I think experience is worth much more than some written TEMPLATES.

Some people make things wayyyy to complicated(I’m very guilty of this)…I mean “0.25g of carbs per pound of body weight per day”…what if this certain person is doing a load of running or has a physical job?. There are to many things that come into account and the only way to know what works is to try it out your-self.
[/quote]

I did say that everyone has to find what works for them… that was the very first line of my post

and also, some things may seem complicated but really aren’t.

stay below 50gs of carbs a day if you are over 15% bodyfat and trying to lose fat

and another thing… don’t disregard a boilerplate breakdown because it is boilerplate. It was created because more times than not it was what worked.

I appreciate everyone’s input, especially OctoberGirl’s. That breakdown from Thibaudeau was actually part of what I have been going on since breaking with the Anabolic Diet. Coach Thibaudeau’s rationales for limiting carb-ups in persons over a certain bodyfat % who were trying to lose weight made sense to me and gave me a more solid guideline than Dr. Di Pasquale’s more general “carb-up until you start feeling smooth”.

I’m going to double my glutamine intake, eliminate almonds, and increase (and vary) veggie intake. Hoping for the best, and again thanks everybody. I like to think I know a bit about what I am doing but it’s reassuring to hear other takes.

I’m on about 450 grams of carbs a day and have been having difficulties gaining.

I salute your strict guidelines. Well done.

but why not just eat a moderate amount of carbs while controlling your calories? everyone here plays the game of “exclude the middle” where you either are eating 75% of your calories as carbs or you’re under 30g a day.

Second of all, what’s the point of keeping your carbs under 50g per day if you’re over 15% bodyfat, if you are OVEREATING fat? limiting your carbs is just a roundabout way of limiting caloric intake. you wont magically gain fat if you bump your carbs up an additional 100g and lower your fat intake 50g because the calories will remain the same.

Carbs are VERY seldom stored as fat. the reason people say “carbs make you fat” is because when there is sufficient carb intake to fuel activity, the body stops the burning of stored bodyfat for fuel. HOWEVER when you are eating below maintenance (i.e. when you’re on a diet) then it doesn’t matter where you get your calories, bodyfat will be mobilized to cover the deficit.

And for every Poliquin or Thibaudeau, there are plenty of nutrition authors that take a much more moderate and rational approach to dieting. John Berardi, Lonnie Lowery, Alan Aragon, Layne Norton, Leigh Peele, Jamie Hale and Lyle Mcdonald are just a few names that come to mind, I suggest you familiarize yourself with their work.

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
but why not just eat a moderate amount of carbs while controlling your calories? everyone here plays the game of “exclude the middle” where you either are eating 75% of your calories as carbs or you’re under 30g a day.

Second of all, what’s the point of keeping your carbs under 50g per day if you’re over 15% bodyfat, if you are OVEREATING fat? limiting your carbs is just a roundabout way of limiting caloric intake. you wont magically gain fat if you bump your carbs up an additional 100g and lower your fat intake 50g because the calories will remain the same.

Carbs are VERY seldom stored as fat. the reason people say “carbs make you fat” is because when there is sufficient carb intake to fuel activity, the body stops the burning of stored bodyfat for fuel. HOWEVER when you are eating below maintenance (i.e. when you’re on a diet) then it doesn’t matter where you get your calories, bodyfat will be mobilized to cover the deficit.

And for every Poliquin or Thibaudeau, there are plenty of nutrition authors that take a much more moderate and rational approach to dieting. John Berardi, Lonnie Lowery, Alan Aragon, Layne Norton, Leigh Peele, Jamie Hale and Lyle Mcdonald are just a few names that come to mind, I suggest you familiarize yourself with their work.[/quote]

Fella I don’t know why you think this is a pissing contest.

It is kind of obvious the OP is eating low-carb, this is his preference. It is also a way of eating that is effective, healthy and easy.

I was answering the OP’s question and giving him info. There is no debate here.

I eat less than 30gs of carbs a day and I like it. I eat a ton of food. Folks should do what works for them.

are you purposely ignoring that a person does burn either fat or carbs for fuel and can have a more pronounced sensitivity to one over the other, that makes a calorie more than just a calorie.

and then you get all insulting and personal telling me to familiarize myself with this list of other authors/coaches. Fella, I don’t know why you think I live in a vacuum. If it makes you feel better for your one-sided argument then knock yourself out.

If you start a thread about debating the worthiness of one type of eating over another I think your post will fit right in.

I don’t mean to come off as confrontational, all I am trying to do is make fat loss / nutrition a little more understandable to the average Joe who wants to improve his body.

believe me, a few months ago, I was right where you were, I bought into every bullshit nutrition myth out there. I bought the “clean foods” myth, I bought the “insulin makes you fat” myth, I bought the “more meal are better than fewer” myth and the “milk and oatmeal are bad for you” myth (thanks Poliquin and Thibaudeau!) I bought the “grains are bad for you” myth (thanks Paleo diet guys), I bought the “low GI is better than high GI” myth, and the “no carbs in the evening” myth too.

It seems that too many people are focusing on the trees (i.e. staying below 30g carbs, avoiding certain “unclean” foods) and not the forest (i.e. controlling your calories)

body transformation isn’t magic people, there are no “secrets”. track your calories, workout, eat a good amount of protein for tissue repair and you’ll reach your goal 95% of the time.

Nobody asked for a diatribe on why you don’t like low-carbs. This was about fine-tuning my diet (which will remain low-carb).

I had great success years back eating low-carb, and that goes to both losing weight and feeling more healthy. This time around I have run into some problems I did not face, or did not face to such a great extent, last time. Hopefully they will work themselves out with the changes I mentioned above.

I probably will eventually increase my daily carb intake once I have lost the fat, but it is never going to be above a low-moderate level. I know that I personally feel better and look better eating fewer carbs, especially grains and sugars.

[quote]Moon Knight wrote:
Nobody asked for a diatribe on why you don’t like low-carbs. This was about fine-tuning my diet (which will remain low-carb).

I had great success years back eating low-carb, and that goes to both losing weight and feeling more healthy. This time around I have run into some problems I did not face, or did not face to such a great extent, last time. Hopefully they will work themselves out with the changes I mentioned above.

I probably will eventually increase my daily carb intake once I have lost the fat, but it is never going to be above a low-moderate level. I know that I personally feel better and look better eating fewer carbs, especially grains and sugars.[/quote]

His point is to consume fewer calories, and you’ll lose, regardless of your carb intake. But keep doing what you’re doing if you feel its right.

To your orginal question. I don’t think you will have any issues increasing carbs, by consuming more veggies, from 30g to 40g. Like I always tell people, try your idea out, give it a week or 2 and if you aren’t getting the desired results then re-evaluate.

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
I don’t mean to come off as confrontational, all I am trying to do is make fat loss / nutrition a little more understandable to the average Joe who wants to improve his body.

believe me, a few months ago, I was right where you were, I bought into every bullshit nutrition myth out there. I bought the “clean foods” myth, I bought the “insulin makes you fat” myth, I bought the “more meal are better than fewer” myth and the “milk and oatmeal are bad for you” myth (thanks Poliquin and Thibaudeau!)

I bought the “grains are bad for you” myth (thanks Paleo diet guys), I bought the “low GI is better than high GI” myth, and the “no carbs in the evening” myth too.

It seems that too many people are focusing on the trees (i.e. staying below 30g carbs, avoiding certain “unclean” foods) and not the forest (i.e. controlling your calories)

body transformation isn’t magic people, there are no “secrets”. track your calories, workout, eat a good amount of protein for tissue repair and you’ll reach your goal 95% of the time.[/quote]

you seem to have a lot of knowledge on nutrition. I hope you start posting more.

I would also be interested in reading a thread about debunking some of the nutrition hype you were referring to if you happned to start one.

sorry for the thread hijack OP!