Should you Separate Carbs and Fat when Dieting?
Updated: May 10
To be honest, I did this quite a few years ago. At the time, I was just getting into bodybuilding competitions and I was told by a “guru”, who heard it from another “guru”, that you should separate carbs and fat.
Since, I was fairly “green” and looking for any advantage I could use to get leaner – I decided to give it a shot.
The result? I got in fairly good shape. I even won the contest I was preparing for. Therefore, was the key to my victory keeping these two macronutrients apart? Not likely.
As I’ve come to learn over the years, and I’ve written about this quite extensively, it’s your total daily caloric intake (and the macronutrient breakdown of those calories) that will have the greatest influence on physique changes. At least diet wise. In fact, there’s even some research to show that splitting carbs and fat doesn’t improve fat loss.
In one study, printed in the International Journal of Obesity, a research team put 54 obese people into two diet groups. Both groups were put on an energy-restricted diet. The macronutrient and calorie intake for both diets were about the same. They also performed a couple hours of aerobic training each day.
The difference between groups was that one followed a diet plan where meals included protein, carbs and fat. While the other consumed a diet where carbs and fat were kept apart. They followed this diet for 6 weeks.
The results showed both groups lost weight and body fat, but there was no significant difference in their outcomes.
With the above in mind, it doesn't look like separating carbs and fat will give you any fat-loss advantage. So, feel free to combine them. Or don’t. It shouldn’t matter.
What does matter is that your calorie and macronutrient intake are adequate.
And now you know. :-)
For more information:
Golay, A et al. Similar weight loss with low-energy food combining or balanced diets. International Journal of Obesity. 2000. 24, 492-496.