The Metabolic Diet Plan
In this section, we’ll learn how the Metabolic Diet can be used to maximize strength and lean body mass, while in later chapters we’ll cover the details on how to use the diet in the various training phases. But first, although we covered how and why the Metabolic Diet works in the previous section, let me clear up a few misconceptions about the diet some people may have.
First, let’s make it perfectly clear that, unlike other diets that espouse a constant low carb intake and consider it as such, insulin is not the enemy. We’re not mounting a campaign against it. In fact, it’s only a problem when it’s chronically high or yo-yo’s such as it does on a carbohydrate-based diet.
HAS A PERSISTENT AND DRAMATIC EFFECTS ON DECREASING LIPOLYIS. THE EFFECTS OF INSULIN PERSIST EVEN WHEN INSULIN LEVELS RETURN TO BASELINE VALUES.
In fact in the Metabolic Diet we make use of the anabolic effects of insulin while at the same time avoiding it’s bad effects on bodyfat and insulin sensitivity.
Unchecked, insulin adversely effects body fat by decreasing the breakdown and increasing the accumulation of body fat. What you want to do with insulin, and what this diet focuses on, is to increase it at the appropriate time and place so it works to add muscle mass and maximize it’s anabolic potential by, among other things, increasing the flow of amino acids into muscle cells.
Insulin Must be Controlled
- Beneficial effects of insulin on protein synthesis and muscle metabolism.
- Beneficial effects of insulin on glycogen supercompensation.
- Counter productive effects of decreased lipolysis and increased lipogenesis.
What we don’t want is fat built up at the same time. That’s why insulin secretion is controlled and limited. Instead of the chronically elevated insulin levels of the high-carb diet, the Metabolic Diet carefully manages insulin during the dieter’s week so you get it’s anabolic benefits without packing on all that unwanted fat.
Controlling the Effects of Insulin
- Only allowing controlled increases in insulin for the desired effects on protein synthesis.
- Attenuating the effects of insulin on lipolysis and lipogenesis.
- Accomplished by pulses of insulin and controlled insulin increase at variable times on weekends.
- Increasing GH (and testosterone) at the same time as insulin. For example prior, during and after training.
Another plus of the Metabolic Diet is that there is a decreased effect of insulin on fat metabolism even during the carb-up phase.
Effects of Insulin on Fat Metabolism
- After the phase shift on the Metabolic Diet there is a decreased effects of insulin on fat metabolism EVEN DURING THE CARB-UP PHASE.
Insulin also works its anabolic magic hand in hand with testosterone and growth hormone (GH). GH is very important because of its positive effects on increasing protein synthesis and decreasing muscle breakdown. During the weekdays when you’ll be on the higher fat/higher protein/lower carb portion of the diet, insulin levels stay fairly steady and don’t fluctuate wildly, and growth hormone secretion increases. Along with stimulating a great environment for body shaping, GH also induces cells to use fat instead of sugar for energy thus increasing the burning off of bodyfat and limiting its production.
Growth hormone acts almost like a “starvation” hormone. When your body’s in trouble or when you’re threatened or in a dangerous situation, GH kicks in to mobilize stores of energy in the body to deal with stress and increased energy needs. GH levels also increase under the stress of exercise.
Usually insulin works to decrease the secretion of GH, but it appears that the body sees the great increase in carbs and insulin during the weekend portion of the Metabolic Diet as a stressful situation, much like exercise, and GH can actually increase with insulin. In this way, we potentially can get the positive effects of increased growth hormone both during the week and on at least part of the weekends.
Testosterone, Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor I (IGF-I)
Metabolic Diet Increases Growth Hormone, IGF-I and Testosterone
Increased GH and IGF-1 secondary to decreased carb intake and amino acid effects.
Increased testosterone due to higher fat, higher protein and lower carb intake.
Testosterone, also critical to increasing muscle mass and strength, responds well to the Metabolic Diet. Preliminary research in this area has found testosterone is positively linked to dietary fat. In one study, premenopausal women placed on low-fat diets experienced decreased levels of both non-protein bound estradiol and testosterone (although postmenopausal women didn’t experience the same deficiency).14 In another promising study, animals fed diets high in cholesterol or fish oil experienced increased testosterone production over those fed a low cholesterol diet containing linseed oil.15
- Increased by diets high in fat and protein.
- Decreased in Vegandiets (as is IGF-I)
- Decreased in diets high in carbs.
- Even decreased if soy protein substituted for meat protein. (Habito RC, Montalto J, Leslie E, Ball MJ. Effects of replacing meat with soyabeanin the diet on sex hormone concentrations in healthy adult males. Br JNutr2000 Oct;84(4):557-63.)
A recent study showed that in older men the consumption of a meat-containing diet (like we recommend on the Metabolic Diet) contributed to greater gains in fat-free mass and skeletal muscle mass with resistance training than did an lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.16
Overall it has been my experience that there is an acute anabolic effect on muscle when a short-term lower carb diet is alternated with carb loading. Cellular hydration is maximized by the water and carb loading intracellularly, and insulin sensitivity is increased leading to an intense anabolic stimulus. Constant fluctuations make for an anabolic effect unparalleled by any other diet. This anabolic effect allows you to tone and shape your body as you lose weight.
Along with increasing the anabolic process in the body, it’s also important to insure that the muscles you’ve developed aren’t broken down. To do this you want to maximize the anabolic hormones such as testosterone and GH, and minimize the production and effects of catabolic hormones, the most critical of which is cortisol (cortisol also promotes fat storage). Much of this is done naturally through the Metabolic Diet. Since bodyfat stimulates cortisol production,17 less cortisol is secreted, as bodyfat is lost. CONT HERE