Glucose (blood sugar) is the most important fuel source in your body - preferred over both fat and protein. Your body's total supply of glucose - what I've coined the "Glucose Economy" - ultimately determines whether you're getting leaner or fatter with each passing moment. Surprised?
The secret to building muscle and losing body fat at the same time is mastering your Glucose Economy. Anyone can do it.Your Metabolic "Seesaw"
This "braking" effect of dietary carbohydrate on your fat-burning metabolism increases the risk that any fat eaten alongside that carbohydrate will be stored.
That's a good reason to choose carbohydrate sources that are low in fat ("Lean Carbs"). Of course, at the end of the day, it's how many total calories you've consumed that's most important.
As you reduce your intake of carbohydrate, or your muscles burn glucose up with exercise, your Glucose Economy shrinks. This prompts your body to burn more fat, thereby preserving any available glucose for those tissues that really need it (e.g., your brain). Your body will use fat to fuel the conversion of protein-derived amino acids into glucose. (As you'll see shortly, this is a good reason to consume more protein than is required to satisfy only muscle-building needs!)Muscle Deflation Syndrome
The Glucose Economy Diet: Bigger Muscles, Less Fat
STEP 1: DETERMINE TOTAL CALORIES
Eat 15 calories/lb of body weight.
Keep in mind that the 15 Calories/lb rule is only a starting point. Try it for 2 weeks before decreasing or increasing your total calorie intake according to how you look in the mirror.
• brown rice
• shredded wheat
• vegetables - broccoli, asparagus, corn, spinach (contains lots of ecdysteroids)
• fruit (grapefruit, blueberries, oranges)
STEP 3: EAT MORE PROTEIN THAN YOU NEED
Consume 1.2 grams of protein/lb of body weight.
This may be 20-30% more than you actually need. This extra protein can be a good thing when it comes to losing body fat.
Protein is built of amino acids. Some of the excess amino acids you eat can be converted into glucose. This "costs" energy, which your body gets from the burning of fat. That's at least partly why Forslund et al. (1999), as well as other researchers, have found that healthy subjects eating diets providing more protein than is considered adequate for building muscle burn more fat both at rest and while exercising!
The higher-protein dieters in Forslund's study consumed about 1.2g of protein/lb body weight/day. They burned more fat and they showed signs of achieving a more positive "protein balance" - an essential requirement for building bigger muscles! Those eating the "adequate" protein diet (0.73g of protein/lb), by contrast, burned less fat and failed to achieve a positive protein balance (Forslund et al., 1999).
While you may burn more fat by eating more than 1.2g protein/lb, this will require that you reduce your intake of carbohydrate. This increases your risk of "muscle deflation syndrome."
Whey protein is often marketed separately from milk protein (casein), and sold as a stand-alone protein supplement. However, when combined, whey and casein may actually do a better job at promoting muscle growth. Look for a low-fat protein powder or meal-replacement drink mix containing a blend of casein and whey. Or mix your whey protein into low fat milk, which is about 80% casein. If you need more carbohydrate, simply add some fruit or toss your protein powder on some shredded wheat cereal (very tasty!).
STEP 4: FAT
Don't go looking for fat (it'll be there anyway).
Eat the most nutritious, low-fat carbohydrate and protein sources you can find. Virtually all of the food recommendations below contain some fat. Don't go searching for more.
• protein powders
• skinned chicken breasts
• egg whites
• non-fat dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, milk)
• low-fat fish (tuna, sole)
Fresh fruits and vegetables (e.g., leafy greens) contain essential fatty acids (e.g., alpha-linolenic acid), but if you want extra insurance, take an essential fatty acid supplement or a tablespoon of flax seed oil every other day or so.
Using this approach, you'll likely be consuming no more than 10% of your calories as fat, possibly less. Because of this, you don't need to track your fat intake. If you keep your protein intake constant, all you need to do is adjust your carbohydrate intake up or down with time as your mirror instructs you to do.
STEP 5: WHAT ELSE?
To make your nutritional insurance policy even more comprehensive, add a multi-vitamin/mineral formula to your diet.