There can be hormonal shifts during dieting
One of the most crucial, yet neglected factors of being on a diet is the effect of the caloric reduction on the hormonal levels. A study has shown that men who are on a high-protein diet experienced higher levels of IGF (Insulin-like Growth Factor) as opposed to men who were on a low-protein diet, despite the total caloric intake being the same for both groups. IGF has a big effect on metabolism and increases muscle tissue growth.
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When there is a stimulus for muscle growth, even at a time when the total caloric intake is lower than normal, the overall metabolic rate and the ability of your body to burn fat increases. That means that if you follow a low-protein diet you could miss out the benefits of IGF, which translates into having less muscle and a lesser impact on metabolism. Make sure that you eat high amounts of protein (1 to 1.2 grams of protein per 1 pound of bodyweight daily) and you will drastically improve hormonal levels that will help you burn the body fat more efficiently.
Foods’ glycemic index has an effect on fat burning ability.
It’s been confirmed with many studies that being on a diet consisting of foods that have a low glycemic index assists in body fat loss even at a time when total caloric intake isn’t restricted. It’s also been shown that those who followed a low-fat diet have lost a lot less body fat in comparison to those who were on a diet with foods full of carbs with a low glycemic index, despite the fact that the low-fat group ate fewer calories.
Among the foods that have low glycemic index are oats, buckwheat noodles, buckwheat pancakes, red potatoes, cherries, oranges, yams. They are known to digest more slowly, convert more slowly into glucose, which is the body’s main energy source. Carbs that are being digested slowly will make your body less prone to storing them as fat in comparison to other carb sources.
It’s likely that the main reason why this happens is because of effects on insulin release. Insulin is a hormone that has the potential to increase fat deposits which increase with increased carb intake. It’s a fact that the more refined a carb source is, which means it has a high glycemic rating, the higher the release of insulin. Higher levels of insulin, will, in turn, make your body very prone to storing fat, while having low insulin levels will make the body prone to using fat as fuel. If you decrease your total daily calories by 3,500 per week, while you are still eating high-glycemic carbohydrates, it is likely that you’ll fail to lose any significant amount of weight, you may lose less than one pound of fat per week or you may reach a plateau.
That is why decreasing total caloric intake by 3000 calories per week, which is a moderate cut, and eating mostly low-glycemic carbohydrates, whilst consuming a lot of protein, will increase the time period during which the body will continue to burn body fat.
The timing is also important for fat loss
It’s a general recommendation that one needs to eat less as the day progresses, especially carbohydrates since insulin sensitivity is reduced later during the day. Insulin sensitivity is the ability of the hormone to transport nutrients into muscle cells. When it is reduced, the pancreas needs to release more insulin in order to do the same job.
It’s also problematic that insulin increases fat deposits. If you eat meals that have high carb content later during the day, when insulin sensitivity is very low, you will start experiencing bigger spikes in your blood insulin levels and bigger fat gains. During the late hours, substitute high-carb meals with high fiber food sources which are found in vegetables and focus on eating more protein.
At first look, managing body fat levels may seem easy and be simplified to calories in/calories out, but as we’ve seen it’s not that simple. There are more factors that need to be taken into consideration especially when it comes to the dietary needs of professional bodybuilders on a cutting diet. Caloric intake reduction is just the first step.
Afterward, you need to increase consumption of protein and low-glycemic carbohydrates, while at the same time decreasing consumption of dietary fat. Additionally, you need to start eating more frequently, especially in the earlier hours to an optimal hormonal environment inside your body that will be more effective at burning fat while maintaining your hard-earned muscle tissue.