Carb Back-Loading Q&A, Part II
written by sean hyson
Here is some more of my interview with Kiefer, father of Carb Back-loading. Remember to go to muscleandfitness.com to hear the audio of our discussion, and go to Kiefer’s site to read more about the book.
Sean: Another one of your recommendations that surprised me was with regard to eggs. I’ll read this section from page 70. “Eggs contain primarily fat and protein and at most one gram of carbohydrate. Despite the overwhelming predominance of those two non insulin-stimulating macronutrients, eggs can spike insulin levels. Don’t, therefore, eat eggs in great abundance during the low-carb portion of the day. One egg, not a problem. Six or more all at once, problem.”
For a lot of breakfast-eaters out there, even those who postpone it like you say to, that’s going to come as a blow. I assume there’s a way to slow down the insulin response.
Kiefer: That is correct. I should have been more clear in this section. That was for people who like to rely solely on eggs. They get up and eat six eggs with nothing else. But if you have some bacon or sausage as well, you’re getting enough fat with it that you’re going to slow down that insulin response.
Sean: Is the insulin response coming from the white of the egg? As the yolk is mostly fat.
Kiefer: I believe it’s the leucine content of the yolk that’s the problem. If I had to guess, I’d bet that you could eat just the egg white and not have as high an insulin response. If I had to guess.
Sean: You designed some great mixtures of whey and casein hydrolysates that are available on proteinfactory.com. Blends D and H. But there’s no mention of them in the book. Instead, you give us specific doses of whey and casein to mix together, but that makes for a complicated and expensive supplement regimen. Do you still recommend those two blends? Is there a simpler way to supplement nowadays?
Kiefer: I still recommend Blend H. I re-formulated slightly. In fine-tuning things, Blend D doesn’t really have a home anymore.
Sean: Is that because of the hydrolysate content?
Kiefer: Correct. You can’t use it at every meal because it raises insulin. You could still use it in the evening meals; it would be an excellent addition. [But not in the early part of the day.]
Sean: You list a very specific dosage for each ingredient in the post-workout shake. Short of buying all these ingredients separately and getting out a funnel and the bunson burners and mixing this stuff in your own kitchen, I don’t really know how you can more simply create a shake. Is there a more simple version you can give us?
Kiefer: If I had to make it quick and simple, I’d go with whey isolate and leucine. Creatine too. That’s dirt cheap.
Sean: So the whey is giving us the protein and the leucine is giving us an insulin spike. Those are the two main components we want?
Sean: And Blend H is still ok. I think it was two scoops you recommended.
Kiefer: Yes. The only thing H is missing is micellar casein, which increases 24-hour protein synthesis. I’m just trying to squeeze every last benefit from the diet.
Sean: You mention the benefits of omega 3s. You write that five grams help to signal hypertrophy. Should these be taken in the post-workout shake or parceled out through the day?
Kiefer: The omega-3’s increase efficiency of nutrient flow and hormonal signaling to the cell membranes. It really doesn’t matter when you take them, as long as they don’t interfere with your insulin spike… And to be clear, it’s five grams of EPA and DHA, not just five grams of fish oil. So that will increase the dose of actual fish oil you have to take.
Sean: Is there a brand of fish oil you recommend?
Kiefer: Carlson’s Finest, which is very high potency, so you don’t have to take a lot of it. I can eat it with a spoon and it doesn’t make me want to vomit. It comes in lemon and orange flavor.
Sean: You say that fast food is junk and should be avoided. That we should back-load with more wholesome sources of sugar and starch. But many have back-loaded with fast food and gotten great results. In fact, Jay DeMayo, one of your case studies, actually ate Wendy’s on a regular basis and made phenomenal progress. Did you prescribe fast food to him and others as a last resort, because they were so busy, or their training was so intense? Or is it something we can all get away with?
Kiefer: It was more because they needed something fast to pick up on the way home. It just made it easy for them. Also their training volume is very intense and they’re packed with more muscle than most people. For smaller people, those sources of carbs are so calorically dense it may cause an overfeeding problem.
Sean: Can you give us a general body weight or fat percentage for a guy who can eat fast food to back-load?
Kiefer: A 175-pound male at around 20% body fat or below shouldn’t eat fast food.
Sean: Another fine incentive to get big and strong—you get to eat bad food.
Kiefer: Exactly. I hold 210 with no problem, and I’ve been eating some garbage lately due to my work schedule. I keep staying lean.
Sean: You talk about the recalibration period—10 days of no carbs to prime your body for back-loading. What if I mess up and eat a ton of carbs for a few days and I want to do the prep phase again, but I want to max out the next week and shoot for PR’s? Should I do the recalibration then or wait till after?
Kiefer: I would continue to back-load. Those carbs are only going to be of benefit when looking for max lifts. If you eat a weekend’s worth of carbs after back-loading, you’re going to store more carbs than normal, and that means you’ll store more water. That’s going to give you more leverage. That’s a mechanical benefit, so I’d stick with it. If you feel soft and bloated after maxing out, then do the recalibration.
Sean: Let me move on to some more general nutrition questions. You have a chart on page 47 of sugar alcohols that indicates that their caloric value increases with regular consumption. Does that mean that if you consume a diet soda that contains one of these every day for a month that you’ll be consuming significantly more calories at the end of that month? How can the caloric value increase when the amount stays constant?
Kiefer: What happens is when your body is first introduced to sugar alcohols, it’s limited on how much it can metabolize. But your gut has a lot of flora, bacteria that can metabolize those sugar alcohols into sugar and fat substrates. So the gut bacteria actually increase the caloric load. It releases those nutrients into your intestines which soak them up. This is a real problem. All fiber is metabolized by your gut bacteria and releases fatty acids. About 50% of the fiber you eat gets converted into dietary fat, but that’s acceptable during the low-carb phase of the day.
Sean: Wow. I noticed that erithrytol is at the bottom of the list, so it doesn’t seem like such a threat.
Kiefer: Yes, apparently we don’t have any bacteria that know how to metabolize it.
Sean: What non-nutritive sweeteners do you recommend?
Kiefer: Splenda [sucralose] and stevia. Not aspartame. Mostly because, although the research is suspect, some people on low-carb diets who drink a lot of aspartame tend to get headaches. I don’t want to blame aspartame for it, but it is strongly correlative.
Sean: Other than that, you don’t see any major health risks with these sweeteners?
Kiefer: No. Splenda especially. It amazes me that it gets such bad press. It’s only the sweetener that, within a 24-hour period of ingestion, 100% of it comes out of the body unmetabolized through sweat, urine, and feces. That means it can’t do anything in the body. It’s not getting stuck, it’s not causing an adverse reaction. It’s totally inert. What I’m not a fan of is that in the sweetener packets, the filler is sugar. It’s maltodextrin.
Sean: So how do we get around that? Just buy the tablets?
Kiefer: Yeah, get the tablets. It comes in micro tablets that you’d think couldn’t be enough to sweeten anything but they’re potent.
Sean: That’s an important distinction and I remember you telling me about leucine peptides. Don’t buy those, get pure leucine.
Kiefer: That’s a question mark. There’s no research to show that peptides have any advantage. There’s no study that I know of. With regular leucine, when you ingest the intact protein and hydrolysates with it, it doesn’t interfere with the other transport pathways and vice versa. Leucine should have the consistency of graphite powder. It looks the same, except it’s white.
Check back here for Part III next week! Pick up Kiefer’s e-book, Carb Back-loading 1.0, HERE. Go to muscleandfitness.com to hear the audio.