Carb Back Loading (CBL) - Weight Loss Magic?

March 30, 2015

Carb Back Loading – “Weight Loss Magic?” 

 Reference: Mol Cel Endo, Int Journal of Sports Medicine 2012

How CBL Works John Kieffer is the training guru who worked out CBL on his own as a means of building strong muscles and losing weight. It appears to be the latest fad, which is not to say that it might actually work! The question is, “How can I lose weight, and really lose fat, not muscle?” We are becoming aware that our body has a variety of tissues that have different sensitivities to glucose and insulin at different times of day.   In the morning, fat cells and muscle cells are both quite capable of taking up sugar.   If you eat carbs in the morning, you will induce insulin, which has an effect of 8-12 hours and your fat cells get fatter. 

Hence, the argument is to eat and exercise in a rhythm that matches your natural human physiology. The method of carb backloading is as follows.   Eat only fat for breakfast, or skip it altogether.   Have a light protein, fatty lunch.   Then, do a resistance training workout in the gym for an hour at 4 pm. Get sweaty. THEN, have all the carbs you want! 

 The physiological argument is as follows. The glucose transporters GLUT4 and GLUT12 are actually hidden inside the cell. They become activated and actually move to the cell surface of muscles with intense exercise. Kieffer claims that once they are activated, energy (glucose specifically) moves into muscle cells but not fat cells. Your muscle cells get bigger and stronger, your fat cells don’t. 

 His argument is based on several research studies about eating later in the day. In one, 10 women were given standardized calorie meals with either 70% of calories in the morning, or in the evening.   The evening schedule lost more weight from fat.   The problem with the study (though well designed and controlled) was only 10 subjects – with fat content measured by electrical impedance – not DEXA scan. 

The second study was on 78 police officers who were overweight and on a weight reduction schedule – either eating throughout the day or eating mostly at night.   The night schedule folks lost more weight. That study had tons of problems too. Calorie intake was self-reported as proven by a protein intake that was way too low. And the evening group only lost 5 pounds over 6 months. That’s not much more. 

 What’s my read of carb backloading?   It’s interesting physiology, and there likely is some benefit, particularly if you burn 500 calories a day with an intense, one-hour workout. But, I believe that’s the benefit of one hour of intense muscle work. What I do believe is that in the rest of us folks, to lose fat weight, you have to get rid of insulin, and the only way to do that is to cut carbs AND protein.   Yes, protein. Protein is very insulogenic when you get too much of it. In fact, too much protein is just as insulogenic as white bread.   

So, to lose weight, you don’t want to eat too much protein or too many carbs. That leaves fat.   Yes, fat. Delicious, appetite satisfying, satiating fat. And that’s what the Adkins, low carb diet is, a low carb, modest protein, butter, egg and bacon diet. 

 WWW. What will work for me.   I’m currently making FAT BOMBS. Little snacks of pure fat. Delicious.   Well, some of them are. But I’m now down 20 pounds in three months and I haven’t really been hungry.   My diet is about 70% fat when I track myself on the LoseIt App.   Most days, for me, it’s two jumbo eggs for breakfast and two for lunch. Then a varied, most fatty meat supper. Not very interesting, but only 360 calories by supper time. I walk an average of about two miles a day and eat 70% of my calories at supper. I getting about 1,650 calories a day. That’s something you can do too.  (My abs, well, are not photogenic) 

 Pop Quiz

  1. CBL or Carb Back Loading is claimed to be the best way to build muscle and lose fat on the market? T or F                        Answer:  That’s his claim
  1. The method is to eat very little carbs in the morning, work out heavily at 4 pm and then eat carbs in the evening.   T or F                        Answer:  In a nutshell
  1. Physiological fact is that exercise induces the activity of glucose transporters in muscle that induce intake of glucose only after intense exercise. T or F                        Answer:  That’s the physiology John Kieffer claims makes his method work.
  1. Some people seem to succeed massively with this method. T or F                   Answer:  Just like every other method out there in media land.
  1. Randomized controlled trials are thin with CBL. T or F                        Answer:  None exist.
  1. It’s reasonable for you to consider this method.                         Answer:  Sure: just fat in the morning, a huge workout and then MODEST calories afterwards, and you will lose weight. Burn 500 calories and you can eat 500 extra, and then still lose weight if you only get to a net of 1500 calories a day.