Before you cheat, you should make sure that everything else in your diet is on track.
Regular cardiovascular activity is a must, and supplementing with a quality fat burner such as RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED will give you an extra edge. In order to maintain muscle mass, consuming a high-quality whey isolate shake made with ISOFLEX before and after workouts can be very beneficial as well.
So if you’ve got it all dialed in, what should you do about cheating?
You’ve probably heard that cheaters never prosper. While that’s the case most of the time, you may be able to bend the rules regarding your body. For example, giving yourself a little break or cheating on your diet from time to time can do more for you than against you. There’s no question that eating tiny meals or restricting yourself to certain foods can be difficult and take quite a toll on your mind. When your stomach starts rumbling and decadent desserts start appearing in your dreams, it’s easy to start reconsidering your attempts to whittle down your waist size. While dedication and will power do bring about results, studies have shown that caving to your cravings can help you out in the long run.
Recently, a study measured the metabolic differences between a group that engaged in “overfeeding” (also known as a ‘cheat’ or a ‘refeed’ in the dieting and bodybuilding world) and a group that engaged in fasting. While you might think that the fasting group, by consuming fewer calories, would come out ahead in their pursuit of weight loss, this was not the case. The group that engaged in the overfeed experienced an increase of nearly 9% in a 24-hour resting energy expenditure, which meant that this group burned up to 424 calories more over the course of the day, without factoring in activity.
But that’s not all. The fasting group actually experienced a decrease in their 24-hour resting energy expenditure – more than 9% – leading to the burning of 526 fewer calories throughout the course of the day. The positive effects of the overfeeding weren’t just limited to the waking hours, however. Sleeping metabolic rate (SMR) in the overfeeding group increased by an impressive 18%. This translates to up to 464 additional calories burned per day. In this respect the fasting group fared worse as well, as that group’s SMR slowed significantly, by 4.4%. The researchers found that this would mean fasting could cause a decrease in 257 calories expended during a 24-hour period. And the extra calories did not appear to sabotage body composition either, as body weight did not significantly change.
While this is good news for dieters – everyone needs a break once in a while – it’s not a license to go crazy with calories. Ultimately, consuming fewer calories than one expends over the long run is what determines weight loss. So if you’re going to cheat or overfeed – keep it within reason. Several studies have also suggested that what you eat on your refeed can also make a difference.
One study compared the difference between two groups that overfed – one on predominately carbohydrates, and the other on predominately fats. Despite the traditional diet dogma that carbohydrates make you fat, those in the carbohydrate group fared better in terms of storing the excess energy. Only about 75% of the excess energy from the carbohydrate overfeed was stored by the participants, while between 90 and 95% of the excess energy was stored from the fat overfeed. Additionally, the carbohydrate overfeed triggered an increase in carbohydrate oxidation and energy expenditure, while the fat overfeed had minimal effects on fat oxidation and energy expenditure.
But that’s not to say that all fats should be avoided. A study that compared overfeeding with mostly medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, and long-chained triglycerides, or LCTs. Despite the fact that the amount of calories in each scenario was identical, the MCT group gained an average of 20% less weight than the LCT group. The researchers found that MCT intake resulted in reduced body-fat deposition, due to the fact that MCTs were oxidized in the liver rather than stored as fat. This lead the researchers to conclude that MCTs “may have potential for dietary prevention of human obesity.”
So if you’re going to cheat, cheat smart. Opt for a higher-carbohydrate cheat rather than a higher-fat one. If you do find yourself in the mood for fattier foods though, try to include some sources of MCTs, such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil or butter.
Dieting is tough, but don’t make it impossible. Give yourself an extra edge with RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED and when you cheat, cheat wisely.
- Weyer, C., et al. Changes in Energy Metabolism in response to 48 h of overfeeding and fasting in Caucasians and Pima Indians. International Journal of Obesity, 2001; 25(5): 593-600.
- Horton, TJ, et al. Fat and carbohydrate overfeeding in humans: different effects on energy storage. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1995; 62: 19-29.
- Geliebter, A., et al. Overfeeding with medium-chain triglyceride diet results in diminished deposition of fat. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1983. 37: 1-4.