T Nation

What is the Fascination with High Carb?

You always read articles stating that carbs are necessary for muscle growth but, as long as you are getting adequate protein, enough carbs to fuel a hard session and your overall calories are high enough why would you need more? What is the fascination with trying to get carbs as high as possible?

I have been moving towards lower carbs not because I am cutting but, because I feel a lot better. I am never ravenous for more carbs (which was a huge issue for me). Just eat starchy/fast acting carbs peri-wo and go veggie, pro, fat the rest of the day.

What are your thoughts? Can you build muscle on less than 100g of carbs?

Yes, people have done it. How long have you been consuming a relatively higher fat diet? You said it’s working. That’s what matters, right?

I was doing the 100gram carbs before and after training, found that by day 6 I was getting weaker tired brain fog… Normally would have to up the carbs with a refeed by day 7, sometimes that would turn into a binge fest which wasn’t good.
Trying something a bit different now.
1 week: carbs up around 300grams every day bodyweight x18 protein is up there and fats go down. Training is intense as possible around the 1 hour and 15 mark.
Soon as I feel a bit of pudge coming on, 2 days low carb under 50 grams try to build up some insulin sensitivity. Then 1 week 100grams of carbs before and after training rest is fats and proteins bodyweight x12. Training short and sweet 45mins max. Rinse and repeat.

What’s the fascination with low carb?

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There is nothing fundamentally bad about using carbs for fuel. The main problem is a pragmatic one. There are only three fundamental sources of carbs: 1) fructose containing carbs like sugars and sugary plants (fruits). 2) Low GI glucose polymers (starches) that all contain proven inflammatory compounds that raise cortisol and increase the risk of autoimmune disease. These would be whole grains and legumes, and most particularly, high gluten wheat products which ALL contain proven inflammatory compounds (in fact the inflammory fibers, lectins, and proteins are the very reason why they are “low GI”. and 3) high GI glucose polymers that can cause blood sugar excursions both in the high (140+) and low range, both of which are linked to greater health hazzard ratios.

If you don’t get more fructose than your liver can manage per day, you avoid the proven inflammatory starches and you manage the high GI starches to avoid blood sugar swings (either by consuming them around periods of high activity, or in combination with fat, or in small doses throughout the day) then carbs are fine. Unfortunately there is currently no such thing as a low GI, non-inflammatory, low fructose yielding carb source.

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Everyone loves carbs. If you can have them and get lean at the same time, why deny yourself? I’m getting leaner every day ---- and while I haven’t gone out of my way to have more carbs, I’m not trying to avoid them either. Just today I had 250g in a 2200 cal diet and that’s pretty much my average.

Been realizing that gym performance is very important, even while leaning down.

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This has been my experience too. My own personal history strongly suggests that carb usefulness is directly related to muscle mass: the more muscle you carry, the better you will use carbs even when dieting and quite fat (25% or thereabouts).

I really like carbs, especially when training intensity is at a high. I like to use meso cycles for carbs.

Exactly. I don’t think I would recommend eating a lot of carbs to someone who carries a higher body fat percentage. I doubt their nutrient partitioning is in a place yet to deal with a higher carb diet. But it should be once the tipping point of muscle vs fat is reached.

One other thing I don’t like about having less carbs is I look flat and not very vascular. A couple hours after a sweet potato, the veins are popping and the muscles look hard and full.

I think carb cycling is a useful tool, keeps the body guessing a few days high and then a couple low. Does anyone find the more clean carbs you have say over 200grams the more you crave sugar in between meals? I find my off days which a low days I don’t crave sugar at all.