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Exercise 30 – 60 minutes each day, six days a week.  Alternate resistance training with aerobic training. Eat a high protein breakfast within one hour of waking up in the morning.  Carbohydrates should only be low glycemic and no more that 30% of the total meal. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome.
Join for free and you'll gain instant access to our tracking and reporting tools, expert coaching tips, and a free trial to our personalized training and nutrition programs. Not surprisingly, lists began popping up categorizing carbs as good or bad, depending on the glycemic index value. High glycemic index, or bad, carbs are those found in highly processed foods (white breads, sugary drinks, and candy). For a more comprehensive list of foods and their glycemic index values, check out this information from Oregon State University.
Eating combinations of foods can change the glycemic index value for each food in a meal. There is mixed research to show that the glycemic index of food has an impact on weight management. It provides a standardized measure of carbohydrates based on their potential as an energy source.
It can help an athlete recognize that changes in glucose levels may affect body composition and physical performance. The glycemic index doesn't take into account individual responses to glucose and the production of insulin by the body. There are too many variables to support the use of glycemic index values alone to structure a diet. The glycemic index load (amount of that particular food) should also be taken into account. From the perspective of a serious exerciser or athlete, both high and low glycemic index carbohydrates are needed for optimal performance. The premise of using the glycemic index in weight control is that diets that are low on the glycemic index foods will help people lose weight and reduce their risk for heart disease and diabetes.
In a controlled environment, a low glycemic index carbohydrate is broken down more slowly, which produces a more consistent glucose level. This scientific research doesn't really apply to real life because breakfast is the only time we truly eat after a fast. For those of you who've jumped on the glycemic index bandwagon, don’t get off just yet. Foods that are found lower on the glycemic index tend to be more whole foods with more nutrients and  fiber. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. People on simple low-carb diets tend to be less concerned about the other macro nutrients (protein and fats) and eat them in any proportion they want. The LCHF diet takes this idea one step forward by significantly increasing the fat percentage in one’s diet, which is supposed to force the body to use fat as energy. I’ve sold a few loaves of my paleo bread to people on this diet recently and it started me thinking about the difference between the paleo diet and the LCHF diet. For example, artificial sweeteners are generally discouraged in the paleo diet because of potential health risks.
And related to the point above is that the motivation for monitoring fat, carb and protein percentages is to get one’s body into a state of ketosis. The last point is written about quite extensively in Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney’s book, which states that high carbohydrate diet locks a person into a dependence on carbohydrate as the dominant fuel for exercise.
If you are in Singapore and want to join the low-carb high-fat (some are paleo eaters!) community, there is a forum at Hardwarezone here. In this first part of a two-part series, Joe McQuillan and Alan McCubbin introduce us to high-fat, low-carb diets, discuss the benefits of such diets and look at how you can try one for yourself. To understand why this is interesting we first need to look at existing approaches to fuelling athletic performance.
There’s been plenty written on CyclingTips in the past about the importance of carbohydrates in training and in race situations. Studies have shown that beginning endurance exercise with more carbohydrate stored (as glycogen in muscles and the liver) improves performance when the duration is more than 2 hours long and when the exercise is performed at a moderate-high intensity.
Consuming additional carbohydrate during exercise further improves performance by adding to the total amount of carbohydrate available to the muscles. A recent study showed that increasing the amount of carbohydrate consumed during endurance exercise (2 hours of constant moderate intensity cycling followed by a 20km time trial) improved performance (see Table 1, above right). The need for such volumes of carbohydrate stems from the need to avoid running out of muscle glycogen during periods of high-intensity training or racing. At lower-intensity exercise our body requires very little energy to move the bike forwards. So while the body’s glycogen stores are fairly limited, fat stores are near inexhaustible for any given period of continuous exercise.

The following data are taken from my (Joe’s) lab at the Auckland University of Technology, and show how individuals differ dramatically in their use of fat and carbohydrate as fuel sources. In both cases the athletes rode for 20 minutes at 100 watts; thereafter the wattage increased by 25W every 5 minutes with heart rate and blood lactate measurements taken at the end of each 5 minute stage. The 20-minute warm-up was used to allow the athlete to increase their reliance on fat as a fuel.
As you can see in figure 1, the first athlete preferentially used greater relative amounts of carbs over fat even at low intensities, despite not eating for four hours prior to the test. Figure 1: Percentage fat and carbohydrate use during incremental cycling exercise in Athlete 1. Very different findings are seen with Athlete 2, tested under the same protocols (figure 2). The Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) was very similar for both athletes, however the substrate (fat or carbs) contribution to TEE is markedly different (figures 3 and 4).
Figure 2: Percentage fat and carbohydrate use during incremental cycling exercise in Athlete 2.
As well as Athlete 2 having a 50W higher peak power output, it is obvious that they use a far greater percentage of fat as an energy source compared to Athlete 1.
Note that ~70% VO2max represents a moderate exercise intensity, around 85% VO2max represents closer to a tempo type effort (representative of a hard bunch ride).
Being dependent on carbohydrate as the major energy source during exercise has some obvious limitations (limited supply, depletion results in hypoglycaemia), and therefore adapting the body to utilise more of our body fat stores to fuel exercise makes practical sense. This may not be achievable at very high exercise intensities, as athletes usually approach 100% reliance on carbohydrate at 100% VO2max.
While the concept of fat adaptation and low carb diets for athletes has only risen to prominence recently, research in this area goes back almost two decades. Five years later a string of studies on the topic were conducted by husband and wife team John Hawley (RMIT University, Melbourne) and Louise Burke (AIS Sports Nutrition).
They also found that athletes struggled to perform high intensity training intervals after a period of high fat, low carb eating.
The issue of lowered carbohydrate availability in training re-surfaced in the mid-late 2000’s, this time looking at the effect of performing every second training session with low glycogen stores, over a period of 10 weeks.
They also noticed that athletes who undertook every second session carb-depleted actually performed less work in training, but interestingly performed just as well at the end of the training block. But until someone completes well controlled studies of low carb diets, over longer periods of time and with a variety of performance measures (i.e.
That’s not to say you should not exercise but it takes a lot of exercise to undo the negative effects of elevated insulin which is the predictor of fat storage and illness.
Porridge, Weetabix and unflavoured shredded wheat are good choices, as is plain buttered toast with marmite or a meat or cream cheese spread. This is important because sugar levels impact athletic performance, weight loss or gain, heart health, and diabetes. The truth is that both high and low glycemic index foods play an important role in providing energy for athletic performance. It ranks foods against white bread or glucose by potential to raise blood glucose levels. The original studies evaluating the glycemic index of foods were conducted in a controlled environment on subjects who fasted overnight.
Additional factors such as the length of time the food is cooked, the body’s hormones, and any other food (protein or fat) that is eaten in combination with that carbohydrate can alter how the body uses glucose. The glycemic index has taught us a lot about carbohydrates by helping us realize that all carbohydrates aren't created equal. People should know about the glycemic index, but at the end of the day they should choose the least processed form of food possible. They have been popular in recent years and even my rice-loving mum would tell my brother not to eat so much rice if he wants to get rid of his tummy fats.
So they may cut out the rice and bread from their meals and eat lean white chicken breast, for example. So instead of eating lean white chicken breast meat, the dieter eats the fattiest part of the chicken, while keeping carbs low at the same time. But the LCHF diet is more relaxed about this because of the psychological necessity to get some sweetness into meals (fruits are not allowed because of the sugar). When you exclude grains and sweets from your diet, you tend to eat a lot less carbs than the average person. I always believe that everyone is different and the only way to find out what works for you and what you thrive on is to experiment on yourself and monitor your well being. We know from research findings that carbohydrate is necessary for improving both high intensity and endurance performance. Not only that, but they’ve seen additional benefits to overall health and body fat levels. These recommendations stem from research showing that the reliance on carbohydrate (as opposed to fat) to provide energy increases with the intensity of the exercise.

When this occurs (without additional carbs coming in from food) the muscles draw on blood glucose as the only remaining source of carbs in the body. When the body can keep up with demand for oxygen, fat can be used as the major energy source. If we could better access this pool of energy at higher exercise intensities we might be able to reduce our dependence on carbohydrate (dietary and stored) and prevent bonking during a race. You’ll notice a greater use of fat as an energy source in the early to mid-stages of the assessment.
To this end, Figures 3 (fat comparison) and 4 (carbohydrate comparison) compare the two athletes’ data by way of percent VO2max given that this is a relative measure.
In 2000 they published data showing that as little as five days of a high fat, low carb diet altered the body’s use of fat and carbohydrate during exercise, although there was no benefit to performance.
Again these studies found evidence of fat adaptation, but no difference in performance at the end of the training block. Some people who support the approach acknowledge it’s actually not about improving performance, but about other health benefits that can be achieved without a loss in performance compared to the traditional high carb approach. Buy with confidence as the condition of this item and its timely delivery are guaranteed under the "Amazon A-to-z Guarantee".
The role of the glycemic index in weight management and other physical problems is less clear and more controversial.
It's best to include lower glycemic index carbohydrates in meals throughout the day and before training or activity.
During these two hours, cells are most receptive to foods and beverages that will replenish depleted glycogen stores. They ate a single carbohydrate in a prescribed amount and had their blood glucose measured two hours later.
Lots of studies link dietary fiber to a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. However, the glycemic index isn't the complete answer to controlling weight, preventing heart disease, or managing diabetes. The advantages of this range from weight loss to blood sugar stabilisation to improving sports performance.
But recently this theory has been challenged by a number of endurance athletes and researchers.
It is fair to say that Athlete 1 is heavily carb dependant even at lower intensity exercise. This means energy is released evenly over time, which keeps the body from experiencing an insulin spike.
During intense and prolonged exercise (an hour or more), it may be better to have a high glycemic index sports drink to maintain blood glucose levels. This improves the quality of recovery and ensures a full energy supply for the next game, event, or training session. This questions whether it 's really the glycemic index value that makes a food healthy or the components of the food that make it fall low on the glycemic index. But in the paleo world, canola, which is a genetically engineered hybrid derived from rapeseed, will not be found in our cupboards because it is highly processed. You could live the rest of your life without any carbs and be healthy as your body makes ample glucose (sugar) from protein. The diet also has to be high in fat (around 70% of calorie intake) rather than high in protein because excess protein can be converted into glucose, which will kick you out of ketosis.
The process is called gluconeogenesis, and for the process to occur, your body burns as much as 33 calories per 100 calories of protein metabolized. This is much more calories burned than your body uses to burn fats and carbs or worse a€¦ store them as fat in all the wrong places on your body.
Most people consume far too many carbs and far too much fat and especially unhealthy fats.High protein foods take far more work (calories burned) for your body to digest, metabolize, and use. Protein takes longer to leave your stomach due to increased digestion time over other foods so you feel full sooner and for a much longer amount of time. These are obvious benefits for anyone wanting a diet to lose weight.Cycling your diet to include 50% protein has been shown to increase weight loss. If you do this for 4 weeks, then decrease protein back down to 25% or 30% (2 times RDA), you can see significant weight loss.High protein naturally means low carbs and low fat.
If you consume quality fat and less carbs with higher amounts of quality protein, you have the success formula for weight loss. Pasta, potatoes and rice are great with anything as long as you are careful about the sugar content of the sauces.

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