Low-carb dieting is a great way to lose weight quickly and get that super-lean conditioning that is necessary for a competition-winning physique. However, adding carbs back to the diet after a stint of low-carb dieting can cause a "yo-yo" effect if done too fast or incorrectly. Carbs can cause the body to overcompensate by storing large amounts of body fat. Follow a few simple guidelines to prevent gaining weight after low-carb dieting.
Add carbohydrates to the diet slowly. For example, a typical low-carb diet involves eating 30 to 50g of carbs a day for five days, then carb-loading 100 to 200g for one or two days. Try adding 30g extra carbs a day for the first week, without loading carbohydrates on the sixth and seventh day of the week.
Stick to low-glycemic carbs. Eating high-glycemic carbs causes a huge spike in insulin, which could quickly trigger body fat storage. Instead, eat oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain breads and pastas and fresh fruit. Avoid carb binges to prevent fast weight gain.
Time your carbs to further discourage them from being stored as body fat. For example, add your carbs to a pre- or post-workout meal, when they are less likely to be used for fat storage. Or, take most of your carbs in during the day when they will be burned for energy. Avoid large amounts of carbs close to bedtime.
Drop your dietary fats to keep calories stabilized. You may have added extra fats to your diet while on your low-carb regimen. When they add carbs back, the hike in calories is sufficient to cause weight gain. Do not cut your healthy fats completely--just cut down your fat intake, especially saturated fats. You can also stagger your meals by alternating between healthy fat and protein and low-glycemic carbs and protein.
Continue to have one cheat meal per week. The cheat meal is really a controlled binge that keeps metabolism elevated and prevents a real and uncontrolled junk food binge. Have a couple of pieces of pizza or some ice cream to satisfy those cravings, but do not overdo it.
- "Combat the Fat"; Jeff Anderson; 2008
- "Xtreme Lean"; Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman; 2008
- "The Abs Diet"; David Zinczenko; 2004