High Protein Low Carbohydrate Diet: Details On How This Diet Helps Your Bodybuilding
The high protein low carbohydrate diet has been used by bodybuilders to gain muscle and lose fat.
Does it work?
Well yes, if you do it right.
More importantly, if you do it correctly, you become healthier at the same time that you’re gaining the body you want.
What we’re talking about here is not a zero, or extremely low carb diet like the Atkins diet, which is probably not the safest diet to try.
We sure need our carbohydrates every day, so what we’re talking about is using the right “kinds” of carbohydrates to achieve muscle growth and fat loss at the same time. And it’s also about the right types of carbs to keep healthy during your bodybuilding.
After all, bodybuilding is a form of stress on the body, so it’s even more important for us who build muscle mass, to get healthier, as we get bigger muscles.
So what do we mean by doing this low carb high protein diet right?
Well, let’s go through both the carbs and the proteins and other crucial factors in this diet plan.
1. The Good Carbohydrates: Fruits And Vegetables
Have plenty of, and a large variety of vegetables (of all colours), and to a lesser extent, fruit.
Vegetables and fruits are carbohydrates. Yes, that’s right. Many bodybuilders do not realise this. We need a generous variety of vegetables every single day, but a smaller amount of fruit, since fruit contains more sugar. The exception to this is immediately after a workout where its OK to have high GI carbs (we’ll come to this later).
The reason why vegetables and fruits are high priority is because of the important variety of vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants that they supply, as well as the fuel that carbohydrates supply to the body.
Bodybuilding is a source of oxidative stress on the body. And antioxidants have been shown to reduce the oxidative stress effects of exercise. Another words you’re reducing the damage and premature aging to yourself because of working out.
As a great example, look at the Okinawa study over 25 years, of this population in Japan with the highest longevity on earth, and one of the lowest rates of cancer and heart disease in the world.
They possess this unique combination of daily and lifelong exercise and excellent supply of antioxidants. The folks aged in their 80s and 90s (mistaken for 60 year olds by one of the are doctors studying them) are physically active every day, walking up slopes with heavy bags of grain on their backs. And they have a diet rich in vegetables (9 to 13 types per day – more than what we have in Western countries) with blood antioxidant levels five times that of Americans.
The bottom line is: exercise combined with good antioxidants.
2. Low GI Carbs (But Denser) Breads, Pastas, Rice: Need Watch The Amount
Choose low GI breads, pastas and rice. If you’re then still having a problem with losing fat, then reduce the portion sizes of these foods.
You’ve heard of the advice to change the type of, or to even cut down on breads, pastas and rice when trying to lose weight. But why?
The reason is that the density of energy in these foods can be 3-4 or more times that of fruit and vegetables. So if you eat a bowl of pasta, it will have much more energy than a bowl of vegetables.
So do we get rid of them then?
This is where people can go too far!
What you can do is to not get rid of them, but to choose the right types of breads, pastas and rice, so that these foods that you do eat, though they are more energy dense than vegetables, will not spike your insulin, and therefore cause fat gain.
What do we mean by this?
High GI or high glycemic carbohydrates, are the types of carbohydrates that are absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream. As a result, you produce a massive amount of insulin, in an attempt to bring your blood sugar level down. What does this do?
Well, insulin is a hormone that stops fat from being metabolised. So you retain fat and will find it hard to burn it off.
The second problem is that chronic abuse of insulin production may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. There has been studies showing that people who drink a high GI drink every day like soft drink, have a higher risk of diabetes than those who don’t.
The third problem is that your sugar levels come crashing down to below where you started half to an hour later, causing you to crave sugary foods at that time, which can lead to a binge. It has happened to the best of us!
So what are the high GI carbs then? These are white bread, sugar, white potatoes (not sweet potatoes ironically), processed cereals, fruit juice (especially the ones without the pulp).
The low GI alternatives? These are:
Bread (sourdough, brown, wholemeal, multigrain)
Rice (Basmati, Japanese short grain (sushi) rice, Dongara)
Pastas (whole durum wheat)
Stick to these types and not in large amounts. If you still can’t lose fat, then have smaller portions.
To learn more about how much protein you need per day, see this page on doing the high protein diet.
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