Posted by Dayne Hudson in Weight Loss
Estimated reading time: 4mins
Firstly, let's recap how these bad boys are supposed to help us.
Whilst it sounds counterproductive when you're used to hearing mainstream weight loss crap, eating more carbohydrates at certain strategic stages can help with fat loss.
This is because the hormone leptin drops during periods of dieting which ultimately means we burn fewer calories, whilst feeling hungrier, too.
And (how convenient), it just so happens that the way we INCREASE leptin again is by eating carbohydrates!
And we do this as part of a "refeed day", the process of eating lots of carbohydrates to replenish leptin.
By implementing a refeed day, research suggests leptin may only be boosted by 5-10 hours. But the additional benefits of a refeed are:
Scientists have no definite guidelines at the time we wrote this article. However, here are some strong guidelines:
And if you happen to be <10% body fat (irrespective of gender) then have one refeed day per week. Keep in mind that these guidelines are just that: guidelines. Just don't go overboard and enter a calorie surplus too often, as that's obviously the worst thing you can do for your diet!
Dietary fat will also need to be drastically slashed on refeed days because fat doesn't increase leptin levels. But now for the fun part: how many carbohydrates you can eat!
You can work this out by taking the following steps:
And remember that in order to keep dietary fat intake low, you'll need carbohydrate sources low in fat. We're talking about:
So, that's the refeed day.
But what has science been saying about it lately?
Well, this study in 2021 into bodybuilders looking to enhance performance, concluded:
"Our results suggest that a carbohydrate refeed may help to attenuate the perception of muscle soreness and maintain exercise performance, especially when severe energy restriction is combined with an intense training protocol such as German Volume Training."
In English: subjects experienced less muscle soreness and kept up exercise performance with refeeds. Great.
Another study of 27 men and women looked at two-day carbohydrate refeeds and concluded:
"A 2-day carbohydrate refeed preserves fat-free mass, dry fat-free Mass, and resting metabolic rate during energy restriction compared to continuous energy restriction in resistance-trained individuals."
So refeeds in this recent study (2020) were found to help preserve muscle mass and prevent the resting metabolic rate from falling down. Now that's worth getting out of bed for.
And the key point is that long term refeeds help with weight maintenance.
So, whilst refeeds might not directly cause fat loss, they help with the maintenance of the fat we've lost and prevent the mechanisms that cause weight regain. That's important.
Since the refeed phenomenon first came to light, the subsequent research has backed up its popularity. Refeeds will not only help us lose weight but help us reduce the perception of muscle soreness and maintain exercise performance, along with helping us preserve muscle mass and stop our metabolisms (resting metabolic rates) from dropping as far as they otherwise might do. Refeeds should still be practised by the whole population when weight loss is the goal.