How to get a fabulous body with carb backloading on a tight budget
How To Get A Fabulous body with Carb Backloading On A Tight
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Would you like to become super strong, lean and sexy and still eat the carbs you love?
Physicist-turned-nutritionist John Kiefer – the man who developed Carb Backloading – shares his approach to
nutrition. This method of gaining size while losing fat, which entails consuming most of your carbohydrates later in the
day, and it has become one of the hottest topics in sports nutrition. Today’s your lucky day, as Kiefer joins us on the
Optimal health show.
Its time to unleash your inner warrior!
Also, if you get a second today, can you please leave a review on iTunes? Reviews are how iTunes rank podcasts –
and taking 10 seconds to leave a review will be a HUGE help. Thank you!
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
The benefits of Fermented foods
What is carb backloading, and how did you think of it?
Are there any benefits from training without pre-workout carbs?
Who benefits from Carbback loading?
Why is it more beneficial to eat carbs at night?
Circadian rhythm and how to maximize your hormones
How do carbs a night get you a ripped six pack?
The benefits of Ketones for enhanced performance.
What is the real deal with Resistance Starch?
Could Carb backloading and the benefits for type 2 diabetics?
What is the Connection with Glut 5 receptors and Glucose?
The benefit of cyclic ketogenic diet for Optimal performing people.
Optimal Resources Mentioned:
Carb Backloading Program
About the Guest
John Kiefer is an exercise scientist, nutrition expert, and author of the new book Carb
Back-Loading. John applies his knowledge from a career in physics to hack the human
body for fat loss, muscle gain, and improved performance. He is the author of the CarbNite Solution, and is releasing a new book that is designed for rapid fat loss and
Join over 40, 000+ Optimal Health Warriors and Get Your FREE 7 week Optimal
Did you enjoy the podcast?
What’s the biggest take away you received from this episode?
Leave your response in the comments section below.
Hey, Kiefer. How’re you doing, brother?
Pretty good. How are you today, man?
I’m good. I just want to thank you for coming on the show today and educating us about carb back
loading. I think I first heard about you, maybe it was two years ago. I forget what podcast was or maybe it was a blog
article I was reading about and I’m like, “What in the world is this crazy guy talking about?” I’m like, “Wait a second –
eating all this food at nighttime?”
I was astonished and blown away about it because the modern day paradigm has you thinking in the opposite way
that you actually need carbs almost at every single meal and that carbs are the only single thing that’s going to
increase hypertrophic growth.
I’m really curious how in the world did you stumble across this scientific literature?
I don’t know if all of it would be – if ‘stumble across’ would be the right word. I mean, by the time I’ve
come up with carb backloading I’d been looking at medical research for 15 or 16 years at that point. So I had a pretty
good foundation and what I’ve been experimenting with was trying to gain muscle mass while on a Ketogenic diet
which I just really could not accomplish.
I was able to get incredible density and very lean but I just was stuck. My strength was great, I just really couldn’t put
on any muscle mass and I’d remembered a couple – and my problem has always been, when I eat carbs in a lot of
places, I’ll easily start holding some body fat. My stomach will get soft. Carbs have just never been my friends.
But I remembered this article about diabetics and how in Type 2 diabetics, who were completely insulin-insensitive –
insulin no longer had any ability to help their muscles absorb carbohydrates – then after resistance training, they were
actually able to clear blood glucose to normal levels and still remained insulin-insensitive.
I thought, “This is really interesting.” So I really looked into what the mechanisms were there. That’s when I learned
about glucose transportation and how there’s a whole family of glucose transporters – they’re called the GLUT
transporter family, basically. There’s essentially 14 now, maybe, that they have identified.
Anyway, the important one in muscle and fat tissue, it turns out it’s the same type of GLUT transporter – it’s GLUT4 –
and that that is predominantly turned on by insulin. What’s interesting is, whenever you ingest carbohydrates, the only
two tissues that are really influenced as far as using carbohydrates because of the insulin that’s present is fat tissue
and muscle tissue.
That led me to a clue of why, whenever I had carbohydrates, my muscles would refuel but my fat cells also would, too,
and I would hold water, get softer. So I was thinking if Type 2 diabetics could get away with this, that healthy humans
– this is very clear that I could talk about healthy humans – healthy humans are insulin sensitive in the morning,
which means both fat and muscle can absorb carbohydrates and more insulin-resistant at night, which means it’s
harder for muscle and fat to absorb carbohydrates.
I figured if my training were anytime in the evening hours, let’s say 2o’clock or later, that, essentially, my fat cells
would still not want to store carbohydrates because they would be more insulin-resistant. But my muscles now – it
didn’t matter that they were insulin-resistant because they could absorb sugar because I worked out.
So I kept tweaking and looking at more of the science to get the timing down and all that kind of stuff. I started using it
on myself. I got great results. People were asking me what I was doing in the gym. They thought I was getting ready
for a competition. I told them I got some friends doing it and then I got some power lifters doing it and then some
strong men competitors and then some body builders.
It’s just gone on from there to even there’s a Dr. Rocky Patel in Phoenix, where he currently lives, is using it with his
patients to help them manage their diabetes and everything. It just kind of grew organically. But the way I discovered it
was really out of some, oddly enough, diabetic research that tipped me off on a direction to study.
That’s amazing. Now, what is the main mechanism going on? Because you’re talking about having the
carbs later in the evening as opposed to in the morning and you just mentioned the difference between the muscle
cells and the fat cells. On top of that, you also hit on something very important – it is very important when you work out
Correct. There are reasons – it turns out that that’s the very – that’s the most simplistic mechanism
that’s actually going on in that instance. That’s why if you work out, it works. Actually, resistance training amplifies the
effect that you experience.
It turns out, if you keep insulin levels at homeostatic baseline in the first half a day, you get some really great effects.
You get HSL, which is hormone-sensitive lipase, which actually will activate in fat cells which allows them to release
more fat; and LPO which is lipoprotein lipase, also in fat cells – deactivates, which is what allows fat to be stored in fat
So you, by not having
carbohydrates, pretty much – and you could just say ever, if you never eat carbohydrates
– fat cells actually become triggered to try to release more fat than they store. You can get this through the first half a
day and muscles are actually the opposite; when muscles don’t have insulin and they actually switch and they try to
absorb fatty acids to use them for energy.
During the first half a day, if you limit insulin – if you limit the amount of carbohydrates you ingest and you limit insulin
load – then you actually are setting your body up to be a fat burner, and more importantly, a fat mobilizer. I think that’s
where a lot of people get confused because there’re all kinds of ways to burn fat but that doesn’t mean you’re
mobilizing body fat. It’s very key. We’re trying to keep insulin low in the first part of the day to give our body an
opportunity to normalize body fat for energy.
In doing that, then at night, when we’re more insulin-insensitive, we still have a predisposition to dispose those
carbohydrates in ways other than body fat. So even without resistance training, you can still get helpful benefits from
moving you carbohydrates to later in the evening and, basically, resistance training or some sort of – power
production training, essentially, is what I call it. Cross-fit would fit into that. Resistance training fits into that. Even
body-weight exercise will fit into that. That just amplifies the effect.
Do you see difference between – lots of people, for example, have busy jobs. Nine until five they work
and they have to squeeze in and work out in the morning time. Do you see a more beneficial timing of working out
because for myself, right now, at the moment, I’m semi-competing and power lifting and based on my circadian
rhythms and my hormones, my peak performance is usually around 3PM, give or take, compared to, if I’m trying to
train at 9AM.
I’m saying if there’s any kind of optimal time – if you have the luxury of choosing your workout time, would you say
morning versus afternoon?
If you have the luxury, then afternoon is better and you nailed it. Most people’s circadian rhythms
actually allow them to be stronger at night. The nervous system has a higher level of activation and your body
temperature is slightly elevated so your rate of perceived exertion is less. The evening is always the ideal time to
train, anyway. You’ve naturally hit on that. You’ve found 3o’clock is your sweet spot.
Anytime in those hours through the evening, that’s a great time to resistance train. You’re really in the sweet spot
because it can take several hours for that – it’s called GLUT4 translocation – it can take several hours for that GLUT4
to fully come to the surface of muscle cells to absorb glucose at its maximum rate.
If you trained at three or four and then you’re eating carbohydrates at six or seven, you’re in that ideal window of
amplifying the effects of carb back loading for your training.
Awesome. You mentioned, because you found all the studies in diabetic literature – I was looking at
some diabetic literature myself and I found that resistance training, as you just mentioned, as well, activates the
GLUT4 receptors, right?
So you’re getting a double benefit over here. You’re getting the timing benefit as well as you’re getting
the external resistant training benefit.
Yes, exactly. There’s one more benefit we haven’t actually talked about which – usually, when you
take, especially strength athletes or any kind of athlete who’s working towards a strength goal, and you take
carbohydrates out of the first half of the day before their training, you see this really rapid rise in strength. The muscle
itself, the strength in the muscle, hasn’t really changed. What’s happened is that if insulin is low in the system at those
baseline levels – let’s go backwards.
If insulin is elevated, it’s very interesting because when insulin levels are elevated, your body actually won’t let you
access internal muscle glycogen stores or any internal energy stores. It tries to subsist entirely on what’s being fed to
it through the circulatory system. It relies most heavily on what you just ingested.
So there’s this rate limiting problem that you could run into. We aren’t able to mobilize glycogen as effectively as we
can so we’re really rate limited on how fast energy can get into our muscles from what we’re ingesting. That’s why
you’ll see people, not only do they eat – before they work out, they try to eat all three. They work out, too.
If you take insulin away, then you just opened the floodgates for all of that internal energy. Your glycogen stores are
now highly accessible. That’s due – to be able to utilize intermuscular glycogen, then you need to be sensitive to
adrenaline, all those stress hormones. Well, if you work out and you haven’t had any carbohydrates yet that day, you
get a bigger stress response in a good way. You get a quicker stress response in a good way and your muscles are
more sensitive to that stress response.
So you get this immediate boost in performance just by making that small change in when you eat your
I find it fascinating though because if we look at evolution of humans, we didn’t necessarily have
access to a fridge during the day. There’s no fridge.
Maybe the women out there had to go gather, maybe, nuts, berries, whatever they can get their hands
on and the men had to go hunt.
So it took you the whole day to gather all of this nutritious food. That being said, I’m wondering if we ended up eating
more or less later in the afternoon and we actually never ate throughout the day.
Yes, there’s a lot of conjecture there because you can look at – for example, the human eye has its
sharpest resolution at dusk. So the argument could be made that we really only ever hunted at night. And you’re right,
we didn’t have a refrigerator and we knew that the kill wouldn’t last very long so we very likely could have been eating
a lot of food at night and any food that we had during the day, you’re right. It would have been gathered and
scavenged and probably consumed either right before or with whatever kill we might have made.
Yes. I find it fascinating, though, on many counts. As well, this ties into – you mentioned earlier. I’m a
big proponent myself of the Ketogenic diet. Now, you found a way that you combined having carbs but yet you can be
on a cyclic Ketogenic protocol and combine best of both worlds.
Yes, that is the idea. That’s a really interesting piece of the puzzle that I’ve been working on and
actually one of the reasons I came out to Phoenix was to start to look at a lot of what happens in the blood ketone
levels during these types of diet.
We actually don’t have a lot of research on that. We don’t have a lot of people looking into it. So the question is some
people I’ve worked with, their ketone levels never really go above the 0.3 minimal range, which is very low.
That’s really low, yes.
Yes, that’s what everybody is in if you’re eating carbohydrates. What we would like to see is people, in
that first half a day, to at least 3 minimal range. That happens sometimes but sometimes it doesn’t. Even in the people
that it doesn’t happen, they still see a lot of benefits from the diet. It’s interesting to figure out why they’re seeing the
benefits and also why some people can’t get into that Ketogenic state because ketones, they turn on so many
beneficial processes. It’s ridiculous. So we would like to see high ketone levels at some point during the day.
I wonder how to do it, like epigenetic expressions, maybe certain liver enzymes that help you produce
hydroxybutyrate. I’m just curious.
Yes. I’ve actually been looking at a lot of what’s going on. It’s interesting. They keep leading me in the
things I’ve been looking at recently like all the metabolic chains in the liver. There could actually be some deficiencies
there. There could also be – what I’m starting to see a correlation. It’s not very strong. I don’t have hard numbers for it
yet but I’d like to get them.
People who have more body fat and seem to lose the body fat faster are the ones who are the most resistant to going
into the ketosis. What we could be seeing there is they’re mobilizing a lot of body fat from body fat stores and the
glycerol flux is high enough that those 3-carbon glycerol molecules are recombining rather efficiently in the liver to
glucose, therefore, stemming the pathways to create ketones.
It’s hard to say but like I said, there are a lot of questions here. What we have is literally 30,000 plus people who have
gotten these phenomenal results with carb back loading. Then when we go backwards, like when we look at some of
these people, not everything’s working the way it should and yet, they’re still getting results. There’s obviously some
missing mechanism there.
I’ve been seeing other ones. They have hypothesis. I forget what species they’re talking about,
though. If your ketone adapted, you’re more or less prevalent in XYZ bacteria to help you create hydroxybutyrate, or if
your carb adopted these or your species in your bacteria. They haven’t conclusively come to an understanding of that
but that’s an interesting perspective.
That ties in with the whole aspect of the whole Biohex are doing these days with resistant starch. So if you’re having,
for example, good carbs at nighttime, maybe they have RS2 or 3 inside of it: a. you’re feeding your bacteria, b. maybe
you’re giving your body a good boost of serotonin for melatonin for the circadian cycle. All of this is like a really good
stew, I would say, for your ecosystem of your body in every shape and form.
It could be – I’m a little skeptical of the resistance starch myself at the moment. The more research I
look into it, the more skeptical I’m becoming.
So I won’t come at too much on the resistant starch theories at the moment. But you’re right. That’s highly ignored and
something I’m trying to help bring into the performance community. It’s a little slow. We need to feed our bodies but we
also need to feed the bacteria living inside of us and feed it appropriately. I think that’s the message that’s being taken
in the direction of resistant starch. I just don’t think resistant starch is a very effective fuel at feeding the right bacteria
in the right way and, more importantly, getting the right bacteria to colonize.
My problem with resistant starch is people jumping on like that powder and so the actual whole food.
That’s my beef with it. If you’re going to have resistant starch, I’m saying just eat the food. For example, potato, sweet
potato – actually, eat what nature is giving you.
That would make sense, right?
Not that me going to my local nut store or something and getting this weird powder that probably
comes from China – to tell you the truth, I have no idea where it comes from.
Right. That would make too much sense to actually eat real food. I mean, where is the fun in that?
Well, there’s no fun.
That’s really interesting.
Now, how does this tie into, for example, you mentioned earlier, you were talking about diabetics. How would you say
a diabetic – say, Type 2 – would approach the whole carb back loading system?
Type 2 diabetics – and this is very important. A lot of my critics with carb back loading use a lot of data
from insulin-resistant in Type 2 diabetics to say that I’m wrong. What they don’t understand, and really, their argument
only shows their ignorance because what we have in Type 2 diabetics is they are very different.
For example, we have the ‘insulin paradox’, we call it, with Type 2 diabetics and those who are strongly insulinresistant. That is, that first thing in the morning, they have large insulin responses and they are highly insulin sensitive
– sorry, insulin resistant, first thing in the morning. We call it the ‘insulin paradox’ because they have a higher insulin
surge in the morning but they’re more insulin-resistant in the morning and, actually, their insulin sensitivity goes up
slightly through the day. This is only in diabetic population. They’re actually opposite of a healthy individual.
We also have a very different paradigm at the cellular level. Type 2 diabetics have a – in normal, healthy human
beings, we have very little of what’s called the GLUT5 transporter in fat cells and muscle cells. GLUT5 very
specifically transports fructose into the muscle. Your cells can use fructose to produce energy to get into the Kreb
cycle, but it usually doesn’t because glucose has such a stronger binding and affinity for the enzymes necessary. But
they’re diabetic. They can’t get glucose into the cells. So what happens is those cells over-express or they show a lot
of GLUT5 transporters so that they can absorb fructose.
So we’ve got this, literally – Type 2 diabetics, you could argue, metabolically, are completely different from a healthy
human being. Really, the default treatment – I have talked to Dr. Richard Fineman, who’s at Suni Downstate Medical
University, about this. We were both adamantly agreed that the default diet for a Type 2 diabetic is the Ketogenic diet.
Period. They should not be introducing carbohydrates very often, at all, into their diet. At most, once per week, and at
the least, once in every three to four weeks.
Carb back loading really is not an acceptable paradigm for them other than if it’s very difficult for them to go
Ketogenic. They will see some benefits from carb back loading but not to the extreme of a healthier individual.
I agree 100% that Ketogenic diet for 99.99% of the Type 2 diabetics out there is golden. Now would
you say that timing of workouts for Type 2 diabetic would be in the range of in the morning or the afternoon? Because
you have mentioned before, a healthy individual would be optimal in the afternoon because it’s of the circadian
hormone response. But now, since you’re a Type 2 diabetic, your pancreas isn’t working very well, you have insulin
issues; would you say, generally, if you just work out, period, it’s just a win-win or if you have the opportunity, if you
can pick your time, which time would that be?
I think, pretty much, if they just work out, period, it’s win-win because you’re looking at a situation
where you want to try to not introduce carbohydrates to them and if you put them on a Ketogenic diet, you’re going to
have large glycerol flux which means they are going to be producing glucose from those body fat stores.
So if they’re working out at any time during the day, you’re helping them to decrease that glucose load which means
that they can increase glycerol flux, which means they can increase fatty acid flux, which means they can decrease
body fat even faster. Just resistance training period for them, doesn’t matter what time of day. They just need to get it
I agree 100%.
Now switching gears – let’s say you’re an athlete. Now you’re on the opposite spectrum. If you’re a power lifter or
Olympic lifter or whatever out there – MMA fighter – how would one approach the whole carb loading system?
It’s really actually simple. A lot of people try to make it difficult but, truly, you would very strongly limit
carbohydrates for the first half of your day. So we’ll just pretend that we don’t know when they’re training yet and then
we’ll talk about the training part in a second. So for the first half of your day – or more than the first half of the day –
we’ll say until 5PM or 6PM at night, your diet is going to consist mostly of high fat, lower protein foods. No
carbohydrates. By that, you could look at hamburgers fried in butter as some people use ‘healthier options’, or salads
with a lot of chicken, cheese and some oil. If you’re not totally paleo, then you can scratch the cheese and throw an
avocado and things like that.
The protein load is smaller and we’re getting a lot of fat in that first half a day. We want to stay away from the protein
supplements. Those really are going to nullify any chance we have of becoming Ketogenic, by using those. Then, in
the evening, is the time when you would have any protein shakes you want to have to make up for a protein deficit.
You can go ahead and eat your carbohydrates, sweet potatoes, French fries. You can be a little dirtier than normal.
White rice is another good one – white rice with honey turns out to be favored among a lot of people who do this.
Why is that?
Because they get the starch and they get the sweetness, too. It’s not something like pop tarts. It’s
something that’s palatable to them that they enjoy.
Have you seen the connection with Manuka Honey and circadian sleep schedule?
No, I have not.
It’s interesting. A lot of people report and they talk about this at the bulletproof form. A lot of people do,
say, a teaspoon of Manuka Honey at nighttime, notice really better, improved sleep. They hit the REM sleep, they
wake up refreshed. I’m not too sure the mechanisms behind it. I don’t know if we know, to tell you the truth. But it’s
That could be an interesting adjunct then that fits in nicely with carb back loading.
Yes, I agree 100%.
Is there any kind of problems for a body builder? Because body builders are looking for hypertrophic growth. They
want to expand their muscles as humanly possible. Can they benefit from carb back loading?
It really depends on the state they’re in. This is also from with power lifters. Body builders are already
pretty lean or they should be and then a nice comparison on the flipside is power lifters that I work with who were
actually carrying a lot of body fat. What they found was by carb back loading just a few hours at night, they dropped a
lot of body fat and then they hit a plateau. Body builders experience the same thing. If they’ve got a lot of muscle
mass, that just few meals a night is not going to be enough carbohydrates to replenish them.
There are a couple of different scenarios that can work there. They can do something like if they need to introduce
carbs earlier in the day to meet these hypertrophic goals, then they can do what I call glycemic back loading; that first
part of the day you’re trying to go for a very low glycemic carbohydrates.
Then after whenever your training is or at night, it’s when you go for the more high glycemic carbohydrates. I call that
glycemic back loading and still, the optimum procedure is for that breakfast time – which breakfast could extend to,
say, all the way, your first meal maybe is at eight or nine or something like that. That morning window, you still want to
stay as free of carbohydrates as possible – go ahead.
Are you familiar with the anabolic diet? Dr. – he’s passing my mind.
I am. That was actually – his book is what got me interested in Ketogenic diet in the first place way
back in the ‘90s.
What’s your take on his aspect or his view point of not having carbs after a work out? If you have, say,
a power lifter and you’re having your workout later on in the evening or afternoon, are you on that notion that if you
can stretch your carbohydrates, have them a little bit further from your post-workout meal?
It’s kind of interesting because you’ve got – you do have several hours before there’s full activation of
the GLUT4. But you also have this window immediately post-training where your body is still in the catabolic state and
what you want to try to do is soften that catabolic state as much as possible or eliminate it, which carbohydrates are
very effective at doing that because they spike insulin levels.
It’s really going to depend on your goal on what you find works best for you. Most of the time, you usually say, when
you’re done with your workout, wait at least 30 minutes and then ingest whatever your post-workout shakes are going
to be. Then later at night, do whatever. That’s really going to be for the serious gainers.
For people who really are just working out to look better, in the gym, sometimes I tell them just have a glass of milk
with some salt as their post-workout.
Why the salt?
Just to get a good electrolyte profile, to make sure they replete. It works really well. It’s easy on their
stomach. It’s pretty much got all you need. It’s got casein and protein in it so that’s going to be a long-lived or a longtail anabolic response.
Have you seen the studies on, say, you work out and then you don’t take anything. For example, no
milk, no salt, no food for at least an hour, that supposedly, it does increase growth hormone potential?
I’ve seen reference to these studies. I’ve not actually read those studies. The question there is what
does that actually mean – in my mind.
Right. There are always ways to spike hormone release, which intermittent fasting is one of those. But
over the short term, it only lasts for the first week of intermittent fasting and it absolutely makes no difference on how
much body fat you lose in long term studies. Whenever that conversation of growth hormone comes up, I’m always
curious of how it fits into everything. My take on that is that growth hormone response – really, what you want that for
is just overall health and plasticity of the system.
Example, it helps to keep all the cells of your body healthier, essentially. So I’ll just reserve comment on that growth
hormone response question.
Awesome. I’m just curious, though, now. If your goal is just strictly strength – for example, you
mentioned power lifters and a lot of them are carrying extra weight and they took the carb back loading system. They
lost some weight. Have you found a sweet spot for power lifters? Let’s just talk about power lifters because I’m
viewing that at the moment. Have you found a sweet spot that really works well for power lifters?
There’s a general prescription and that’s really leading up to your training sessions, of course – your
‘no carbohydrates’, whatsoever, and then eating your carbohydrates at dinner time. You’re in the sweet spot of
training. You can have whatever you want post-training; a good shake immediately after and this is going to go
contrary to things I’ve said before but protein powders with MCT oil or coconut oil as a great post-workout shake
without a lot of carbs
That’s fast. I just want to pause for a second because I was talking to Dr. Dominic D’Agostino, I think it
was two weeks ago. I had him on my show as well. He was doing the research with the Navy Seals’ ketone
adaptation for oxygen as well as supplementation. I think it’s called Ketone force. We’re talking about optimal
performance. We’re talking about Navy Seals, etc. that they found that post-ingestion of external ketones, right now
you mentioned MCT oil, has found to be significantly beneficial for protein synthesis as well as, on a side note, to
increase anti-oxidant capacity within your body.
Yes. I’ve actually talked to Dom as well. That guy is brilliant.
What I found working with a lot of the power lifters specifically and the exhaustive loads that they were
often handling is that introducing carbohydrates after their workout was causing a lot of stomach distress. They
actually had glucose intolerance. The easiest way to mitigate that was to just not have the carbohydrates after they
worked out and instead have this combination of MCTs and protein powder. Sometimes milk would work really well for
Then later in the evening is when they would do their carbohydrate load. That’s kind of the sweet spot. Then in gain
day, when you have your power lifting meet, ideally, if you can be empty of food when you start your first round of lifts,
you’re going to perform way better.
I agree 100%. You mentioned earlier about intermittent fasting. I looked at some old studies from the
USSR and Bulgarian Olympic weightlifters where they had a really unique approach of having IF couple of times
throughout the week and they’re showing great gains. What’s your take on IF?
You mentioned earlier there is a point of diminishing returns?
I’m just going to say I’m not a proponent of intermittent fasting. I think everything that intermittent
fasting does can actually be amplified and enhanced with carb back loading. Intermittent fasting is like the poor man’s
carb back loading. If you don’t understand how the body works at the cellular level, then you’re best guess is going to
be intermittent fasting.
If you take it to the next step further and say, “Okay, what is it that intermittent fasting is doing at the metabolic level
and then also systematically?”, then you can tweak it and enhance it and it turns out tweaking it and enhancing it gives
you carb back loading. The intermittent fasting studies –I’m not familiar with the Russian research and I’m always a
little skeptical of their research – but what we is after a couple of weeks of intermittent fasting, even these 24-hour fast
once a week or twice a week is – all the beneficial responses we saw initially are totally ablated. They’re just gone.
So you’ve got two weeks of benefit from intermittent fasting. If you wanted to, your ideal prescription would be, say,
once every couple of months, take a couple of weeks. For two weeks, just pick one day and don’t eat for 24 hours.
You might get some benefit then. But even that’s completely speculative.
Yes, I think it also matters on an individual basis. A lot of people have, like, hypoglycemic periods.
They have a lot of other metabolic issues and I’ve seen people, literally, they couldn’t go six hours without eating and
they just fall apart.
That’s another nice thing about carb back loading. You are ingesting some food that allows your
casein body to at least get some society signals and carbohydrates that most people are coming from, or coming from
a carb-based diet, really program your hunger signal. So all of a sudden, you’re taking this strong programming
signal. You remove it and your body is still staying on that track. You’re not eating anything so there’s nothing to help
you follow the program that you’re body is now on which makes it very difficult to reprogram it.
Yes. Now I’m pretty sure the audience is right now scratching their heads and wondering, “What is
Kiefer and Sameer talking about? This whole carb back loading is hard to comprehend.”
Let’s open the veil over here and explain what carbs are we talking about in the first place because it’s very
generalized. I know you talked about before – like French fries. I even heard you say before, ice cream. Let’s just lay
it out before. What types of carbs should be – ideally, you should aim for these but you also have the option of these.
The prescription I usually give – just to break it down really simply. You’re just not eating carbohydrates
the first half of day, eating a lot of fat. Then in the evening, you need to decide what carbohydrates are going to be the
best options for you. It really depends on the amount of body fat you have and the amount of muscle mass you have. If
you are not very muscular, then you really want to limit your carbohydrate types to – whole foods will work fine but you
need to find ways to get a good insulin response, which means you’re going to look for the white starches. You’re
going to look for very well cooked tubers, not making them partially raw or undercooked. Those are going to be some
of your best bets. White rice is a great one. Add things to sweeten it up.
If you want to get a bigger response with a smaller amount of food, you could go for things like fruity pebbles, which I
always claim as paleo because, obviously, if the Flintstones ate it, then it must be paleo.
Some people use a bowl of fruity pebbles to cap their carb back loading because it gives them a really nice insulin
response and they don’t have to eat a lot of it. As you get bigger, as you get more and more muscle mass, then you
can get away with what I call the ‘junk carbs’, things like doughnuts, ice cream, pizza. You can get away with a lot
more food and in general, no matter what size you are, you can get away with food like that once or twice a week.
The only problem I have with that is, once or twice a week, sure – do you ever find that some people
may not have the willpower the very next day to say no to those types of food throughout the day? That’s my only
issue I see. It may not have no issues. It may be beneficial but then it breaks out, like habitual autoplay system in your
Oddly enough, it doesn’t happen very often. Usually, people are right back to normal first thing in the
morning. They can get up and they can be right back on track. I have seen it a few times but it’s very rare and it’s
more likely to happen with the other dieting paradigm that I have, which is called carb nite, where they only eat
carbohydrates, at most, one night per week period.
That, I’ve seen where people use junk carbs on that paradigm, then they risk the possibility of not being able to stop
themselves the next day.
That’s the only thing I’ve seen in my practice as well. The cheat days – by all means, we’re humans. If
you’ve got to go out and socialize, have some fun. But when they go for that cheat day, all hell breaks loose. They
gorge on everything.
But the problem with that it becomes a catalyst and the next day, it’s hard to break that – because it’s a sugar
addiction, too. Sugar is very addictive.
Right. It has long term consequences. We think of, well, we eat some food and maybe it affects us for
a few hours. But we’ve got great research now that what you eat before you go to bed carbohydrate-wise can actually,
not only influence your hunger signals the next morning, but it can influence how your body reacts to what you eat the
next morning. We have to take those things into account, especially for someone that might have some sort of
compromised system, might be slightly insulin resistant, which, if you were a male in the United States over the age of
25, odds are you suffer some sort of insulin resistance.
For sure. Now, I’m wondering, on a different mechanism over here – you’re eating carbs, give or take,
around the evening time. Obviously, it’s spiking insulin, it’s spiking your cortisol a little bit. I’m wondering how does this
tie in to the circadian sleep cycle because if we’re looking at from a black-and-white point of view, we would say that
it’s not good to spike insulin in the evening because it may disrupt cortisol, which disrupts melatonin.
Have you find – or should I rephrase this? Have you found anything in the literature or maybe even from observational
point of view that indicates, “No, it’s beneficial to spike insulin and have a little bit of cortisol at nighttime because it
equals X, Y and Z.”
It’s an interesting conversation because that’s one of my arguments. You want the high glycemic, fast
reacting carbs because you want an insulin spike and you want them to subside as quickly as possible.
This does a couple of things: a. it will clear the blood glucose more quickly, and then b. higher insulin response
actually, for a shorter period of time, can be far more beneficial than long-tailed insulin response, and then c. what we
have is when we’re going to sleep, we want those insulin levels to go back down to normal as quickly as possible. We
get a couple of effects there. Growth hormone and cortisol actually won’t start to release in their normal cycle until an
hour after insulin has fallen back to baseline levels. So we don’t want to be eating all the way to bedtime. It’s the first
The second thing is there’s actually a spark of serotonin production if you’ve been without carbohydrates for several
hours. You can actually get potentially better sleep at night. This is an interesting thing because some people report
better sleep and others report horrible sleep.
Yes, exactly, I’ve noticed the same thing.
Usually, those who have the horrible sleep, what’s interesting is their body temperatures just sky
rockets at night. They’re having some metabolic episode where their thermogenesis is just through the roof which
screws everything up.
People find their sweet spot with the food which usually balances between slightly lower glycemic natural foods and
then, maybe once a week, when they don’t have to worry about what’s happening the next day is when they’ll have
whatever small amount of junk food they desire.
I was always curious for those people who had carbs later in the evening, that their sleep is horrible,
maybe up-regulates thyroid metabolism or T3 or T4. But you’re right; you’ve hit the nail in the coffin. Their internal
body temperature just sky rockets.
Yes. They wake up all sweaty and hot. They’ve got to turn on the fan. It could be several things. You
could have a surging thyroid hormone which is going to cause a lot of uncoupling protein ones to up-regulate. Then
your thermogenesis is going to go through the roof which – it just means you had a large influx of energy that your
body couldn’t necessarily dispose of in any other way other than to just burn it off as heat.
That can also be exacerbated by rising cortisol levels. Without data to see what’s going on with hormone and blood
markers through the night, it’s really hard to say what the cause is and what best solution would be.
I agree 100%. If goes back to self-quantifying it. Try it; see how you react. If you benefit from it,
fantastic. If you don’t, well, back to the drawing board.
Now let’s wrap this up. To summarize, we’ll do this once again so everyone can really grasp and know
what we’re talking about – avoiding carbohydrates throughout the day. If you have the luxury of doing your training
later in the evening or the afternoon, and then at nighttime, having wholesome, whole food carbs. If you feel naughty,
you can have some of the ice creams and other stuff you mentioned, right?
Awesome. Well, that’s simple. It’s not really complicated at all.
It is, right. It doesn’t have to be made complicated. Everybody tries to complicate it. It’s really not – the
reasoning for all of it working might be somewhat complicated but the procedure itself is pretty simple.
Well, at the end of the day, I don’t think so. People really want to know the mechanics behind it. They
want to know, does this help me or not?
That’s exactly – will this make me more awesome?
Exactly. Instead of calling it carb back loading, we should call it the most awesome way to improve
your health. That’s it.
You could just call it the awesome diet.
The awesome diet. That would sell like a million bucks – the awesome diet. Trade market. Awesome,
Where can people find more information about you and about carb back loading, a.k.a. the awesomeness?
I’m kind of in a state of flux. Carb back loading can be found at carbbackloading.com – all one word.
Carb Nite, another one of my books that you can learn about my philosophies, can be found at carbnite.com – that’s
N-I-T-E, all one word.
My old website is athlete.io. You can find a lot of my older articles on there. There’re links to around the web. My new
website, which has not launched and which will be the new hub for everything, is body.io. So just keep checking out
every once in a while. It will launch pretty soon; early this year.
Awesome. Well, thank you, Kiefer, for coming on the show and educating us about carb back loading.
Until we meet again. Have an amazing day.
You, too. Thanks, Sameer.
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