Low Carb Diet – What is the purpose of a carb refeed?
If you have ever been on a low carb diet, you have probably heard of the term “carb refeed” or “carb up”. You may not know what these are, but they are essential to the success of a carb restrictive diet.
A low carb diet works by depleting the carb stores in your muscles.
In simple terms, if your body needs energy, and there is no muscle glycogen (energy solution in your muscles that carbs produce), it is likely to go find some body fat stores and eat that instead, leading to weight loss.
But, being on a low carb diet for a long period of time has a negative effect on your hormones, and specifically your thyroid function.
When your body doesn’t have adequate amounts of carbs to run on, leptin production, an important compound closely related to metabolic rate, begins to drop, and all sorts of bad things start to happen.
You start to get lethargic, and eventually, your metabolism will start to decrease.
But, by overloading your body with carbs once per week, you stimulate your thyroid and normalize your leptin and hormone production levels.
It is important to not that it takes a lot longer to fully restore these production levels, but refeeds as short as 5 hours have been shown to have some effect.
By eating almost nothing but carbs, your body quickly replenishes your muscle glycogen, and some of the spill over carbs go to help restoring hormone production.
The science behind the refeed process and it’s benefits are quite complicated, but you don’t really need to know all the details. The important thing to know is that it is important to incorporate a weekly refeed into your diet, especially if you are restricting the amount of carbs you intake!
Do you have a carb refeed scheduled in your Low Carb Diet? Please leave a comment below…