Carb Back-loading in a nutshell

A term that has surfaced quite a bit recently is “carb back-loading.” In simple terms, this means that the athlete eats proteins and fats in the morning and afternoon and eats most of the carbs around dinnertime. The goal is to become efficient at using fat stores for energy during workouts and replenishing glycogen stores in muscles while you sleep (when your muscles recover and repair.)


  • Protein + fat increases thermic effect of food, satiety, and lipolysis through cortisol release.
  • Carbohydrates, timed at night AFTER this effect, attenuate cortisol, increase serotonin, and preserve hormonal health. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is released after eating carbohydrate that helps with sleep quality.
  • Over-consumption is less, due to 1) depleted glycogen from the day, and 2) higher protein earlier reducing hunger
  • Inflammation is lower likely due to lower overall glucose intake.

A study was done by the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture on carb back-loading. The research concluded that greater weight loss, abdominal circumference, and body fat mass reductions were observed in the experimental diet (carb back-loading at night) in comparison to controls (normal carbohydrate distribution.)

Will this work for you? You need to experiment. We still want you to eat healthy, whole foods and carb-back loading is simply manipulating the timing of consumption.

For more information on how many carbohydrates are optimal, play with the ETP calculator (reference below) to get an idea of the macronutrient content that you should be consuming



Carb Back-Loading: What’s the Deal?

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