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Refeeding

Losing weight and getting a lower body fat percentage is often not easily to reach for most people, this is caused by the energy deficit our body endures during a diet. Below certain levels bodyfat percentage our body protects itself and goes more or less in a saving mode, this slows down our metabolism and thus fat loss. These low energy levels makes doing sports / exercising not pleasant. There is a way of getting around this, that way is called "refeeding"  a way to trick the body. 


Part 1

Simply explained: "refeeding" means recharging the body with glycogen, glycogeen is a stored carb in the liver and muscle. A refeed can therefore used in periods of a kcalories deficit. This almost always causes our glycogen deposits (barb reserves) to go empty.


During a kcal. deficiency, our metabolism slows down. The body signals a shortage in food intake and slows down, this to be able to survive longer if needed. From a survival point of view this is very positive. But for us people in the Western world we don't have to worry about starving, we have always food around. Nowadays we are forced to a restricted diet due to lack of food but to get ride of excess of body fat/weight. And a decrease in metabolism does not help here.

Not only has the metabolism decreased during a diet. The feeling of hunger will increase and many other changes take place. For example, the amount of testosterone will become lower, thyroid hormones and activity of the sympathetic nervous system slows down, among other things. In addition, the amount of cortisol(stress hormone) will increase. After all for our body a diet is a stress situation

Most of these effects are caused by the hormone leptin. During a diet leptin decreases caused by two factors:

- Kcal. - Reduction of fat mass -> Long term

The reduction of leptin by the kcal. deficit is a short term change. In the long term, the amount of leptin is mostly determined by the amount of fat reserves a body has. A high body fat mass will give a larger amount of leptin. If you have plenty of energy reserve, your body does not need to stress, if needed it can do without food for while.

When a diet has the goal of reducing body fat percentage (which it most often is). This will, in the long run, always lead, to a decrease in leptin levels. less fat simple means less leptin production. 

If you want to keep your leptin level high, and you should if you want to loose fat, you could try to fool your body. Earlier I already pointed out that a kcalorie deficit creates a decrease in leptin production. A kcalories surplus on the other hand hand causes an increase in leptin production. And here comes the purpose of a refeed. The purpose of a refeed is to increase leptin. And by doing this, increasing the metabolism again, lowering the feeling of hunger, and bringin back the various hormones to work again.

It is ofcourse not the idea of wasting the effect during a refeed. For this reason it is not advisable to just eat anything, but do it smart. To effectively increase leptin, without letting the fat amount grow, we must first look at what does.

The short term changes in leptin are caused by the uptake of glucose into fat cells. Fat cells take in glucose to form glycerol. Glycerol is a component of fat, but it is not fat yet. Three fatty acids and one glycerol molecule together can form one fat molecule (triglyceride).

Now again back to the uptake of glucose in a fat cell. This uptake makes the level of leptin increase. A solution for leptin increase in the short term therefore seems quite easy, eat a lot of carbohydrates, this way a lot of glucose goes into the fat cells and here you go.

In fact, this is actually what a refeed does. This even means eating carbohydrates that are incorporated quickly (high GI). Stronger even, those carbs are preferred during a refeed, as carbohydrates with a high G.I. provide glucose faster.

A refeed seems sounds nice and easy. But it is important that you need to take into account a number of possible pitfalls. As already described is glycerol a component of fat. To form fat it needs three fatty acids. So if you eat fat next to the carbohydrates this will mean production of fat. For this reason it is recommended that during a refeed the fat intake needs to be low. This way the glycerol is esterified and won’t turn into fat and can later on just flow out of the fat cell again.

Another problem may be caused by fructose. Fructose does not break down to glucose in the bloodstream, but will first be stored as glycogen into the liver. When the liver stores are full, the fructose will be converted into fat. This ensures that there get's more fat into the bloodstream. This means less glucose can reach the fat cells and less leptin will be produced. The intake of fructose should therefore also be limited during a refeed. Please note that sucrose is half fructose. And sucrose is an ingredient in many products in large quantities. So read the labels when you eat something.

In short a refeed is to speed up the metabolism again. To reduces ones appetite and provides for a favorable action of various hormones. In addition, a refeed makes sure that the glycogen stores are replenished. This has positive effects on the upcoming workouts. Because of the amount calories the body will be in an anabolic state for a while. The large amounts of carbohydrates will enhance the anabolic effect.

The advantages of a refeed in short glance:

- Accelerate metabolism
- Enhancing hormone action
- Decreased appetite
- More energy to train
- Temporary muscle gain

The basis of the term "refeed" is mapped. The next section shows how and when you can apply a refeed the best and for whom a refeed is the most advantages.


Part 2



The previous section indicates that during a diet the amount of leptin decreases.As indicated a diet decreases the amount of leptin by two factors:

- Kcal. - Reduction of fat mass -> Long term

The purpose of a diet is to lose fat so a kcal deficit is inevitable. This reduces the amount of leptin. Bodyfat also plays a major role. Leptin is for a big part produced by our fat mass. Increased fat mass therefore implies a greater leptin production. People with a relatively high fat mass see in the beginning, for this reason a less stronger decrease of leptin during a diet. A lower percentage of fat on the other hand means a larger decrease in leptin. Think also of the fact that the decrease of leptin has ensured we could survive longer in times of food shortage. With a higher fat percentage, this danger is much less present.

For the above reasons it is recommended that a refeed takes place more often at lower fat percentages. And as in most cases it is impossible to draw a general guideline which applies to everyone.
Each individual is different.

An important individual variable is determined by the set point. This set point is largely genetically determined and takes place at a level of body fat percentage that a body likes to persist. A lower set point means that your body can more easily function at a low body fat percentage. It is therefore accompanied by a slower decrease in the amount leptin. In the past those people during a prolonged food shortage were more likely to die, but now, in times of abundance this is an advantage.
But nevertheless a general directive:


Men bodyfat %:

above 20% <= No need to refeed
between 15% / 20% = 1 x every 2 weeks
12% / 15% = 1 x a week
below 12% = 2 x week

Woman:

30% <= No need to refeed
30% / 25% = 1 every 2 weeks
25% / 16% = 1 x a week
16% <= 2 x a week

Just looking at the physically side, people with a higher percentage of fat for the above mentioned reasons, do need less frequently to apply a refeed. But in this 
the psychological aspect is disregarded.

As in the previous section as it did a refeed should not only speed up the metabolism, but also as a pleasant break from a diet. Due to this break, many people are able to recharge for another period of dieting. The most important aspect of a diet is always being able to keep it doing! In addition, a refeed ensures that some muscle can be gained. It is difficult to indicate how often and when to apply a refeed. 
Everyone can decide for themselves how far they want to go.  But if you listen to your body, it will tell.

Earlier guidelines have already indicated, how often a refeed can be applied.
This does not take into account the timing during the day of a refeed.

In order to get an opinion on the most optimal time of a refeed, it is first important to assess the benefits of a refeed once in a view.
The advantages of a refeed at a glance:

- Accelerate metabolism
- Enhancing hormone action
- Decreased appetite
- More energy to train
- Temporary muscle gain

In particular, the temporary muscle gain and for intensive training the energy you get form a refeed are in this context the relevant factors. The other factors are an advantage at any moment of the week. A refeed can therefore best be used between workouts.
As an example, in this case the following commonly training can be taken: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

By applying refeeding on Monday and Thursday evenings you get the most out of it. After the training is when the muscles need the most energy. By a refeed the muscles get a large supply of glucose. The training on the following day can make use of the large amount of stored glycogen in the muscles. The amount of glycogen plays an important role in the intensity of training. Without the necessary glucose the muscles and central nervous system will have less energy, which you certainly feel during training. Training intensively is often not really possible on low glycogen levels. An intensive and rigorous training is needed to maintain muscle tissue and possibly even put some extra muscle on.

It is also preferred to refeed in the beginning of the evening. This ensures that the refeed does not lasts too long, with the risk of additional fat production and storage. Also there is a night between the time of the refeed and some more fat intake. In the previous section it has already explained that during a refeed the fat intake needs to be as  low as possible. After a refeed the sleep is often better but it also ensures that the fatty acids are eaten the next day.
At that time all the glucose has gone into the muscle and won’t be able to flow back into the blood.
By refeeding after training, there is the advantage of the overcompensation. The training makes sure that the glycogen is depleted, in which the body reacts by storing more glycogen. This is beneficial because the refeed will get more glucose stored into the muscles. More glucose to the muscles again ensures that there goes less glucose into the fat cells. So a
fter training, it will be less likely that you will put fat on.

For people who find it more important to maintain muscle and strength then to loose fat it is recommended to start the refeed just before the beginning of training. In this way training will also be optimal. This is probably slightly less optimal for fat burning, but the differences are not that big. Therefore it might be wise to first choose the latter way, and if needed, later transfer to refeeding after the training. If you have chosen for the beginning of the refeed before training, then the carbohydrate intake for that time best very be limited.
This turns the body over to burning fat and glycogen during training and the more exhausted the glycogen depots are the better it works.

The sort of foods during a reefed can be based on an individual basis. But at the beginning of the reefed it is preferred to opt for carbs with a high GI. The last meal of the refeed can best consist of complex carbohydrates with a low GI, so that the muscles still get glucose during the night. When the refeed starts before training begins, it can also be started with complex carbohydrates, but after the training switch to faster carbs.






There are also some general guidelines:

- Limit the intake of fructose and sucrose
- Limit intake of fats
- Provide a kcal.
surplus of about 500 kcal.


The fructose intake should be restricted because fructose initially it can't be stored into the muscle, but goes to the liver first. The storage of glucose in the muscle is the most important goal of the refeed! And because fructose is stored in the liver there is also more fat created. The intake of sucrose must be limited, because it is half fructose.
For the above reasons, the best fructose intake does not exceed 50 grams.

That fat intake should be restricted should be clear now. We are speaking of an optimal refeed thus allowing the storage of fat as low as possible. And although even with more fat intake during the refeed the body still can lose body fat, but it will be less.
Therefore, during a refeed best stay below 10% of energy taken from fat.

Finally, it is important that at the end of the day eventually kcal. surplus arises. This kcal. surplus can be achieved in different ways. Because the refeed will begin in the evening, you may have chosen to limit the carbs intake at forhand. By doing so you are making more room to load carbs in the evening. But this is something you have to decide for yourself.

Above, a number of options are displayed how a refeed can be applied. Obviously, a refeed can be adapted to personal needs and wishes, and therefore it is impossible to draw a strict plan that is ideal for everyone. The above may be helpful in putting together a schedule.
 
 
 
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