- Christian Thibaudeau

YES, carbs can have their place in a fat loss diet. Some people can have more, some less, some almost none. It depends on many factors.
  1. Insulin sensitivity: those who are more insulin sensitive produce less insulin in response to eating carbs and can thus eat more with less negative impact on fat loss/fat gain. The leaner you are, the more insulin sensitive you tend to become. BUT if you are not genetically to be sensitive to insulin you will always tend to stay that way even if you can improve somewhat. The only way to know for sure if you have good insulin sensitivity is to have medical tests done, but there are other ways that can give you an idea. a) if you carry most of your fat in the “love handle and upper back” then you likely have BAD insulin sensitivity, b) if there is a history of diabetes in your immediate family you are more likely to have poor insulin sensitivity, c) if you eat a big carbs breakfast (pancake with syrup for example) and you have a drop of energy around 30-45 min later you have bad insulin sensitivity, etc.
  2. If you have a high serotonin dominance (do the Braverman assessment, you can find it on the internet). Serotonine “dominance” means that the need for serotonine dominates your actions. In other words you make choices that will elicit an increase in serotonine because that neurotransmitter is naturally low. On top of the Braverman assessment you can simply look at your personality. and training preferences: are you meticulous, can you do the same thing over and over without getting bored, do you have a naturally good work capacity/endurance, are you calm and have a high attention to details? If yes, then your serotonine is likely low (so serotonine dominance) and you will probably do better with some carbs in your diet.
  3. If you have a physically demanding job you will likely need more carbs, otherwise your stress response during a fat loss diet will be too high which will raise cortisol making your hold water, make it harder to build muscle and lose fat.
  4. If you have a mentally stressful life: same as above.
  5. If your training volume is very high.

If your fat loss seems to have stalled it could mean several things:

  1. a) You have accommodated to your nutrients/caloric intake. Your body has adjusted to how much nutrients or calories you provide and is no longer requiring a lot of your stored fat for fuel
  2. b) You have been dieting excessively, for a fairly long period, and your cortisol is high making you retain water (which looks like fat)…. masking fat loss.
  3. c) Your body is accommodated to your type of training. The less efficient your body is when doing an activity the more calories you need to do the activity and adapt to it. So if you’ve been doing the same “TYPE” of training for a while it might not be super effective at stimulating changes anymore.
There are other possibilities but they are for extreme cases.

So a simple answer: YES carbs can be used in a fat loss diet.

The amount you can take in will depend on your insulin sensitivity. My advice would be to:

1) Take supplements that improves insulin sensitivity (r-ala, fish oil, berberine).

2) Take foods additive that also improves insulin sensitivity (cinnamon , apple cider vinegar).

3) Take you carbs around your workouts (pre and post) I would actually recommend a small amount of fat (either MCT oil or fish oil…. about 10 g) with your carbs to slow down their absorption…. which is what you want when you aren’t insulin sensitive.

4) Completely switch your training style (not just program, the way you train) and do stuff you never or rarely do (farmer’s walk, prowler pushing, sandbag carries, sprints, etc.)

5) If you are serotonine dominant you can add low intensity cardio.