Carb Backloading: Ketosis Carb Loading Strategy
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this video is all about when to time your carbohydrates and when to place them in terms of the time of day when it comes down to being on a ketogenic or a low-carb diet now I originally wanted this video to be about carb backloading versus the ketogenic diet meaning I wanted to talk about the two different methodologies and how they are different from one another however after doing a lot more research I discovered that you could truly apply carb backloading principles into the ketogenic diet let me first off saying that the reason I’m doing this video is because we’ve had a lot of people comment asking about when they should time their carbohydrates when they’re on a ketogenic diet but also inquiring about the carb backloading strategy in the first place so what I want to talk about here first is what exactly carb backloading is you see what carb backloading is is when you’re keeping your body extremely insulin sensitive by keeping carbs out of the equation for most of the day and then allocating your carbohydrates around your workout meaning you’re having most of your carbohydrates if not all of your carbohydrates immediately following a workout the idea behind this is your body’s extremely insulin sensitive at that point in time so therefore the carbs that you consume in theory wouldn’t have a lot of negative impact on your body they’d go right into restoring muscle glycogen and allowing you to have a lot more energy during your workout so here’s what the traditional carb backloading quote-unquote diet looks like so the carb backloading diet has you go into a ketogenic state for about 10 days so for 10 days you’re keeping your carbs below 30 grams or so and then on the tenth day you add all of your cars back into the equation immediately following your workout again with the idea being that you are so carb depleted that when you do have carbs they won’t have a negative impact again that’s the theory that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the truth ok so then from then on out if you’re following the quote-unquote carb backloading diet you’re going to be carb cycling what that means is once you’ve gone through your first 10 days you make it so that when you don’t train on days you don’t workout you keep your carbs very very low like under 30 grams but on the days that you do train you have carbs after your workout with no real limit on them because again in theory you’re not going to be having an issue because your insulin levels are going to be so low and you’re going to be so insulin sensitive now let me first off say that this is not exactly how human body works so it’s not exactly the best protocol you see that’s basically what’s called carb cycling and carb cycling although it has disadvantages can be very very difficult because it makes insulin levels very volatile a lot of times the quickest way to truly be able to change your body composition is to get insulin levels stable that’s why I’m such a fan of the ketogenic diet because you’re never really having these massive massive spikes of blood glucose you’re able to control them a little bit more and having them nice and even and a little bit more easy to manipulate so first let’s talk about insulin sensitivity that’s gonna help make some sense of a lot of this you see in the morning when you first get up you’re in a fasted state so you’re very insulin sensitive which means when you do have carbohydrates they’re going to be taken to the right place but it also means if you consume carbohydrates with fat the fat is going to get absorbed a lot easier too just because your body’s hypersensitive now the same thing happens when you’re on a ketogenic diet or in super low carbs you’re not having a lot of carbs so you’re not eliciting an insulin response so you become a lot more insulin sensitive well insulin sensitivity also occurs after a workout because you’ve been depleting your body of glycogen you’ve been working out really hard and your body’s ready to glom on to whatever you give it so again that’s the whole theory behind it so how do we combine all of this with a ketogenic diet you see because the problem is with ketosis you don’t want to be spiking yourself out of ketosis all the time you need to be making sure that you’re really keeping your blood levels of ketones elevated otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose of the low carb ketogenic diet in the first place however people that train with really heavy weights a lot of times find they need a few carbohydrates in order to get the job done the problem is that you don’t want to be having their carbohydrates too high because then of course you’re kicking yourself out of that ketogenic state but a lot of times people that are training heavy they find that they need to have just at least a few grams of carbohydrates to get through their weight training sessions and that’s okay as long as we’re keeping it within that respective range I generally say the upper limit of carbohydrates that you should be consuming even if your weight training when it comes down to ketosis is about 50 grams so if you want to allocate your carbohydrates to post-workout that’s fine but it’s gonna be very very difficult to keep your carbs super low throughout the rest of the day that means you’re not going to be able to have practically any veggies or any starches whatsoever so here’s what I’m going to recommend and mind you it all has to do whether or not you train in the morning or train in the afternoon if you workout in the afternoon carb backloading could be a decent strategy for you so long as the carbs that you do allocate are within the respective range that you need to be in in ketosis meaning no more than 40 or 50 grams of carbohydrates post-workout ok and that’s only if you train in the evening and here’s why because you still want to be able to have the positive effects of low insulin throughout the course of the day for example if you workout in the morning and then you have your post-workout meal and you have a bunch of carbs even if it’s just 40 or 50 then you’re kicking yourself out of ketosis for a short amount of time and it’s going to take time for your body’s insulin levels to come back down and you’re eliminating the potential fat burning effects throughout the course of the day but if you train in the evening time you have all day to burn fat with your insulin levels nice and low then you workout and you allow yourself to be even more insulin sensitive and you have a few carbs it might kick you out of ketosis for a split second for a couple minutes but at least it’s not going to slow down the fat loss that’s occurring throughout the course of the day but you also get the added benefits that come with carbohydrates in the evening time carbohydrates allocated in the evening time allow tryptophan to enter into the brain insulin allows tryptophan to enter into the brain and that tryptophan allows the processing in the conversion of serotonin into melatonin which allows you to sleep so thereby it’s going to help you sleep a little bit better if you’ve been on a ketogenic diet sometimes you know it’s a little hard to stay asleep and this is exactly what you might need now it doesn’t matter whether or not you train in the morning or night I still recommend allocating your carbs as much to the evening time as possible but again you have to keep in mind that that’s going to mean that your carbs throughout the course of the day are extremely extremely mineralized so I usually recommend having breakfast be exceptionally low carb even lower veggie content and then lunch gradually add a couple carbs and most of the carbs alloc
ated in the evening time so again if you work out in the evening carb backloading strategy might work well for you but there’s something that we also have to factor into the equation when you are in ketosis your body is extremely glycogen sparing it means that your body normally blazed through all the carbohydrates in the body that it normally does we hold about 450 to 500 grams of carbohydrates in our muscles and liver well that means that normally you’d have to burn through 450 grams of carbohydrate to drain them but when you’re in ketosis your body’s utilizing ketones which means that it’s sparing a lot of that glycogen so whereas a normal workout perhaps might burn 250 carbs if you’re in ketosis that same workout might only burn fifty to sixty carbs because it’s predominantly using ketones which means you can get by with a lot less carbohydrates in your back loading strategy than if you were traditionally carb cycling I hope that makes sense it’s a little hard to follow so I’m gonna break it down super simple one more time when you’re in ketosis you don’t need to top off your glycogen stores nearly as much as you do if you’re not in ketosis which means a back loading principle in conjunction with ketosis if you’re training in the evening could be very very effective again so long as you do not exceed those 50 grams of carbs at the very upper limit so I know this is a broad topic and I know it’s a little hard to address but in theory back loading is not necessarily bad it’s just a little bit confusing and doesn’t make a lot of sense when we truly look at insulin so allocate your carbs to the evening call it back loading or call it just allocating your carbs I don’t really care but at the end of the day that’s probably gonna be the best way for you as always keep it locked in here on my videos and I will see you in the next one
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Ketosis Carb Loading Strategy: Carb Backloading- Thomas DeLauer…
Your insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat cells is higher in the morning than in the evening, which means that your muscle and fat cells will be more receptive the glucose sugars earlier in the day.
This is good in the case of muscle as more glucose absorbed into the muscles = better performance in the gym), and bad in the case of fat as more glucose absorbed into the fat cells = more fat storage (1,2)
Idea Behind Backloading:
The idea is that you use insulin to your advantage by not eating carbs when your body is most able to store them as fat (early in the day) – instead, you eat carbs when your body is most likely to store them as glycogen in the muscles (later in the day, after working out) The post-workout point is important: you use weightlifting later in the day to deplete glycogen stores and increase insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells, but not the fat cells, so when you then start eating carbs, your body preferentially shuttles them into the muscles, not fat cells. The theory is that insulin sensitivity will be increased in your muscle cells, but will remain at a lower sensitivity in your fat cells. As a result, when you start eating carbs, they will instantly be utilized by your muscles, rather than being stored as fat (1,2) Good in theory, but you’re not going to see a huge difference in insulin sensitivity if you’re already carb depleted
Additional Benefits of Carb Backloading:
Carbs help transport tryptophan across the blood brain barrier, which is an amino acid that gets converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin gets converted to melatonin in the pineal gland and melatonin is responsible for regulating your sleep and wake cycle (5,6)
Backloading is most preferable for those who allocate their workouts towards the latter end of the day – will reap the benefits of insulin sensitive muscles (carb backloading still encourages a meal in the morning, usually protein accompanied with healthy fats) If you’re following a keto diet, allocating your carbs to this period could workout for you if you keep it within the respective range of acceptable carbs on keto.
For those who work out during the morning, fasted training is more preferable. Exercising in a fasted state increases both lipolysis (breaking down of fat cells for energy) and fat oxidation rates (the burning of this energy by cells) So when you exercise with your insulin at a baseline level (which they are upon waking), your body is able to both mobilize and burn more fat during your workouts than when insulin levels are elevated (4)
An average person stores enough glycogen to last for 12 to 14 hours or over 2 hours with sustained moderate intensity. The body stores approximately 450-550 grams of glycogen within the muscle and liver for use during exercise (3)
1) The Truth About Carb Back-Loading. (2017, August 31). Retrieved from
2) Matthews, M. (n.d.). Does Carb Backloading Work? A Scientific Review. Retrieved from
3) Glycogen. (n.d.). Retrieved from
4) How to Lose Fat Faster With Fasted Cardio (and Keep Your Muscle). (n.d.). Retrieved from
5) Wurtman RJ and Wurtman JJ. (n.d.). Do carbohydrates affect food intake via neurotransmitter activity? – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from
6) Melatonin. (n.d.). Retrieved from m