View Full Version : Optimal?

Paul Stagg
04-05-2002, 08:57 AM
I'm of the school of thought that the main determinant of body recomposition remains linked to the laws of thermodynamics.

Now, certainly, there is something to be said for getting you rmacronutrient mix right, for a variety of reasons.

So, lets look at a couple of approaches.

First, we'll look at something complicated. Something great attention to detail of refeeds, carb intake, etc, to maximise the effects of processes in the body. Assuming the diet is below maint cals, there should be fat loss, and the goal is to make that process as efficient as possible and retain as much muscle as possible.

Now, look at something more simple. Eat less, move more.

Cals still below maintenance, but no attention at all is paid (or very little) to carb ups, refeeds, and the like. Simply the application of the basic idea of cycling calorie intake, with days well below maint and days above maint.

Both have a similar macro mix on the whole, something close to 40/30/30.

Which one will be more effective?


How do we know?

04-05-2002, 08:59 AM

are both diets "clean"?

or do they jsut have macros in common?

Paul Stagg
04-05-2002, 09:24 AM
Does it matter?

04-05-2002, 09:27 AM

Thermodynamics does play a role on at the holistic level-- but you can't ignore the hormonal effects of the macronutrient ratios, either. I think to be *optimal* you need to pay attention to both, as well as your activity type and magnitude.

04-05-2002, 09:31 AM
I'm not sure I understand your question but...

In my opinion, the diet with refeeds will be better, healthier. If you eat below matenence with cardio for an extended period of time your metabolism will grind to a halt. A refeed will throw your metabolism for a loop, so to speak, so it will have a harder time adjusting, slowing down.
Both ways will help you lose fat, but I think you can keep more muscle with refeeds.

04-05-2002, 09:41 AM
yes i think whether the diet is clean or not makes a huge difference.

40% of your diet coming from essentially white sugar is gonna have a different impact from 40% of it coming from veggies, fruits and whole grains (if necessary)

Paul Stagg
04-05-2002, 09:46 AM
OK, good.

So your positions would be that the hormonal response to specific refeeds is different and better than what you would get by simply cycling daily caloric intake?

The reason for the questions: I've been lax in keeping up with all the stuff on leptin, etc.. and the application of the CID idea. I'm trying to decide if it is worth it to get up to speed.

The big question is:

Would two people following the above criteria have significantly different body composition changes after, say, 12 weeks?

If so, how do we know?

(This isn't a trick question - I'm not trying to start a debate, just discussion)

04-05-2002, 09:51 AM
well i'm not real hip on the whole refeed idea. but then again, i've got a different belief on grains and such then the rest of the world.

i think the only way you'd know is by doing body composition tests, and even then.....who's to say, if the method you give to each person is the correct method for them?

i personally don't believe any one diet is perfect for all people.

04-05-2002, 09:53 AM
Paul-- I think both approaches have plusses, it would just depend on what you're trying to do. I don't know if one is necessarily "better" though.

Paul Stagg
04-05-2002, 10:29 AM
Exactly what I'm after... is one 'better'?

Seems to me the answer is no. The small benefit to hormonal manipulation via specific refeed strategy seems inconsequential when compared to simply eating below maintnenace with occasional days above maintenance.

04-05-2002, 10:32 AM
i think this refeed strategy stuff is much ado about nothing. way too much thought, with very little return.

you want simple easy and well balanced, and pretty much guaranteed to do a body good?


04-05-2002, 12:46 PM
I can't answer this question, but may I suggest giving both diets a whirl and decide which one YOU like better? There are pros and cons for every diet, but sometimes it just comes down to the individual. Like the guy I work out with at the gym - he eats whatever he wants as much as he wants and maintains 7% bodyfat at 215 lbs and doesn't take any supplements. Then there's me who has to eat very strict to maintain single didgit bodyfat.

Personally, I find the more traditional diets with some drastic elements added work the best for me. For instance, on workout days, over half of my daily carb intake comes in my post workout shake(100g in shake, 75-80 rest of day), but the rest of the diet is pretty traditional as far as the foods eaten and calories consumed.

I was totally unhelpful here, but I'm the type to try stuff first and ask/answer questions later.

04-05-2002, 01:06 PM
I think there are some very compelling reasons to incorporate refeeds into a diet. Read the series of articles by Par Deus at Big M'Fr and do a search on MFW to see some of the reasoning/evidence supporting them. I myself am fairly endomorphic by nature(Even after I started lifting/bodybuilding and eating quite healthily, my bodyfat did not dip much below 19-20%.) Even after I began to diet seriously using approaches as varied as the Zone--which is essentially isocaloric--a CKD, and simply eating below maintenance without much attention to details, the lowest bodyfat I've ever been able to achieve was about 16.3%. Using a CID, I am currently at 14% bf or so, and am still getting leaner while maintaining/increasing my strength. For me, the results speak for themselves. There is no one diet that is ideal for everyone, however.

Refeeds are not particularly important, however, if you are not already fairly lean--at least relative to your bodyfat setpoint. But even if you are not, I think they are not a bad idea. Sure, they may slow weightloss a bit, but--at least for me--they obviate any need to have "cheat" days, and give me something to which I can look forward every couple of days, making it much easier to diet for a very extended period of time.

Paul Stagg
04-05-2002, 01:19 PM

How is a refeed different from a 'cheat' day, other than the increase in calories (which I would incorporate in any diet).

04-05-2002, 01:25 PM
I am not exactly sure, but I think that refeeds tend to be structured around mainly carbs with as little fat as possible. A cheat day doesn't have this kind of restraint.

04-05-2002, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by Paul Stagg

How is a refeed different from a 'cheat' day, other than the increase in calories (which I would incorporate in any diet).

There are several fundamental differences, as Jane pointed out. Now the importance of these has been given varying levels of importance by different proponents of the diet but generally they are:

1)Minimal fat intake
2a)Very high carb, generally 500+ grams
2b)Carbs should be primarily glucose/glucose polymers
3)Protein at about 1g/lb

How low fat needs to be and how important the source of the carbs is debatable. I think even Par Deus, who initially, made the recommendation listed as 2b has reduced the emphasis he places on this point(Not entirely sure, though.) Lyle McDonald has also suggested having fructose at every meal, while previously it had been recommended by many that fructose be minimized.

Basically, the simple version is:
Eat low fat
Have a lot of carbs.
Get a fair amount of protein.

A thread from several months ago that may shed some light on things:

Also here is a good page summing up much of what has been stated on MFW:

List of back issues of Big M'f'r, which contain Par Deus' articles on the subject :

Paul Stagg
04-05-2002, 01:56 PM
I skimmed the big M'fr articles today. Interesting stuff.

Seems to me it is good in cases where fat loss has stalled, or in cases where someone very lean is trying to get leaner (5% to 4.5%).

For the run of the mill fat ass (yours truly), I'm not sure of the importance at the beginning of a diet... perhaps at the end.

Thanks for the links.

04-05-2002, 02:12 PM
The refeed is an interesting idea and I think commonsense dictates that it is more important as your BF drops.

The body has evolved so many clever mechanisms for stopping further fat loss after periods of calorie deficit that to give yourself the mini break of a refeed day (or two?) is bound to slacken the defences that you are fighting against.

Also it is good psychologicaly to know that you can enjoy plenty of good food for a while as let's face it it does take considerable discipline to stick to fat loss diets for long periods of time.

It aslo stands to reason that if you have been losing fat then your levels of muscle and liver glycogen must be low for this to happen in the first place as the body will burn glycogen before fat.

Topping up those glycogen levels can't be harmful. My only concern is that the body only stores very small amounts of glycogen that it could be easy to overdo it and have excess carbs convert to fat.

I wouldn't have thought your entire body's glycogen levels were above 500 g.

04-05-2002, 02:18 PM
I have to say this is a very good discussion. Shows that debate can be done without bickering, taunting, abuse, and all the other shiat. Just thought I wouls share.

04-05-2002, 02:24 PM
f*ck you eric. assface. :swear:

04-05-2002, 02:25 PM
You can both kiss my ass, bitches.

04-05-2002, 03:12 PM
Another question? What would happen if one were to employ a low-carb bulking diet. Ample protein, insane amounts of fat, and carbs from just vegetables and fruits/fruit juices. No breads or pastas. Minute amounts of rice. I'd be willing to be the guinea pig (no pun intended) and try this.

Anyone know what would happen? Would I be more likely to put on only lean mass? Isn't higher insulin from the carbs a good thing for building mass? How about workout recovery?

04-05-2002, 03:17 PM
My guess is that the bulk would happen slowly, but it would be quality (without as much added fat as well). ALthough, I would probably go for a post workout insulin spike on that diet.

04-05-2002, 03:22 PM
I'm ok with bulking slowly, 1-2lbs a month is super in my book. Tryska, are you thinking that the bulking would occur slower than normal, strictly in reference to lean mass, not total weight.

To add to that idea, what if one was not working out. Could a diet like I mentioned above still lead to small muscle gains or even maintaining current mass without excersise, just from the overeating?

04-05-2002, 03:27 PM
In reference to lean mass and total weight. I mean by adding glucose-inducing carbs into the mix you are going to add the weight on fast, just because insulins is anabolic.

But if you are eating in a low-carb fashion, you don't have insulin working in your favor. Overeating you will stil gain mass, albeit slowly, but you have ot train for it to be muscle.

04-05-2002, 03:37 PM
Thanks Trsyka - Sounds like maybe I'd be better just doing what I'm doing and dealing with the little bit of fat gain that occurs from time to time. Also, if I drop some of the wheat carbs out of my diet it might cost me more to be replacing it with juices and fruits. Oh well.

04-06-2002, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by MarshallPenn
Another question? What would happen if one were to employ a low-carb bulking diet.

I kinda do that, but carb load after training.

non training days = ~80g carbs

training days = ~300g carbs over a few meals after training.

Another thing, i think the refeeds on a CID are too frequent. Every 2-3 days seems a bit excessive IMO. Once every 6-7 days seems more effective.

04-06-2002, 10:14 AM
if you must, i agree.

04-06-2002, 10:37 AM
Originally posted by The_Chicken_Daddy

Another thing, i think the refeeds on a CID are too frequent. Every 2-3 days seems a bit excessive IMO. Once every 6-7 days seems more effective.
Uh...there is not set schedule to refeeds. You are confusing my and some others implementations of a CID with the actual diet. Refeeds can occur as frequently or infrequently as you feel is necessary. Some have a refeed every 14 days and some every other day. Ideally, you have a refeed when you feel an increase in lethargy, cravings, etc--not on a set time-schedule. But if you find there is a set time frame after which these symptoms occur, you should have your refeed pre-emptively to avoid them.