Underweight trainees: increasing fat vs increasing refined carbs Underweight trainees: increasing fat vs increasing refined carbs

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Thread: Underweight trainees: increasing fat vs increasing refined carbs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Default Underweight trainees: increasing fat vs increasing refined carbs

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    People who struggle to eat enough calories to facilitate strength gains must adjust their diets by getting more calories from less satiating foods. There are two real options here: fat and refined carbs.

    Starting strength has a reputation for thinking that increasing fat is the way to go.

    Is increasing carbs just as good? If a 6' 160 pound kid doing the program is getting 1g/lb of protein and a respectable amount of fiber, is it appropriate to drink soda or eat candy to hit the calorie minimums?

    Why or why not?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    No one here has advocated for refined carbohydrates other than for pre-,intra-, or post-workout nutrition and even then there are limitations. I have a carbohydrate paper coming out soon but in general I like to hike up the carbohydrates before intentionally increasing fats. Fats are easy to get enough of without even trying so if carbohydrate and protein is met and weight gain is still stubborn then we can start intentionally increasing fat intake to see if it facilitates more gains. Regular soda has empty calories and the carbonation is not well tolerated for most during a workout. It also has a high fructose content from the high fructose corn syrup, which in it of itself is debatable whether this is "bad" or not but it's just not easily accessible because fructose is a slow digesting carbohydrate. Since those carbohydrate sources are 45-50% glucose (depending on whether HFCS is the sweetener vs sucrose) then it can be useful post-workout but I wouldn't go eating it leisurely just to fill macro totals unless you were desperate. Starches and fruits digest a bit slower and contain micronutrients so that would be the better option over m&ms and regular Coke. Then there is also blood glucose swings to consider when consuming a concentrate sweet by itself. In addition to the potential long-term implications of that, it typically has a blood glucose "crash" that follows consumption, which makes for a less productive human being.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2016
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    Other than satiety, what exactly makes a carbohydrate that is "slower-digesting" better than one that isn't? Remember, our kid has trouble eating, which is why he needs to gain weight. Feeling fuller could be a drawback rather than an upside to him, at least for this short period of time at the very beginning of his training career.

  4. #4
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    The fiber content, the type of carbohydrate (mono-, di-, oligo-, polysaccharide), and the protein and fat content of the carbohydrate source. For example starch has many glucose chains bound together vs a disaccharide such as sucrose, which is comprised of glucose and fructose. He is going to feel full no matter what and drinking Coke, which contains minimal micronutrients beyond phosphorus, is not a very productive way to get calories if that is all he is drinking. Remember these micronutrients are involved in metabolic reactions, energy production, and muscle contractions. You are free to drink a gallon of Coke a day if you are that adamant about it "working" but you won't get my, or any other competent professional, endorsing such a thing. There are plenty of easy ways to get lots of calories without resorting to a junk food diet that will need to be undone later on.

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