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Refeeds / cheat meals and metabolic reactivation

Dugbet

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Refeeds or cheat meals are made for the following reasons:

- Psychological reward after days or weeks of strict diet.

- Fill up the glycogen stores to train (in theory) harder and with more motivation for a few days.

- To look better in a contest or photo sesion.

- Metabolic reactivation to stimulate fat loss.

It is this last point that interests me to deepen.

I remember Matt Porter saying that one cheat day was not enough to reactivate the metabolism, that you would have to eat many days to provoke that kind of stimulation.

On the other hand, there are tons of athletes and coaches who use this strategy and swear that it helps to acelerate fat loss process.

Is there any scientific study on this matter? And what do you think, Matt was right or wrong?
 

DarrenG29

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A refeed should ideally be purely coming from carbohydrates and little to no fats as it’s true it takes at least 3 days of overfeeding carbs to get a better metabolism boost and carbohydrates don’t get stored when in a depleted state so you won’t gain fat if you over fed on them.

unlike fats they will be purely stored if in a surplus as they don’t provide any use protein broken down into amino acids muscle tissue ski hair etc

carbohydrates glycogen stores and used for energy

fats hormones energy but then stored as bodyfat especially saturated fats they provide zero benefit and are stored right away

omega6-3 are more useful but again not in huge amounts in my opinion just enough

I like a low fat diet and respond better this way fats slow my digestion make me feel worse

but again it all comes down to calories in vs out surplus vs deficit but a higher carb will always be stored less than high fat but both if long enough in a surplus will gain bodyfat

now shitloading where carbs fats are both high still works and works more for some than others

but can they make you leaner definitely as higher calories surplus does increase metabolism as well as store fat < more a prolonged overfeeding surplus 1-3 days off then back into a deficit you’d burn up the fat stored again.

they can be a tool to help but more mentally than anything

But again it’s dependant on the person there will be many different suggestions here
Just my two cents on the subject
 

b-boy

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A refeed should ideally be purely coming from carbohydrates and little to no fats as it’s true it takes at least 3 days of overfeeding carbs to get a better metabolism boost and carbohydrates don’t get stored when in a depleted state so you won’t gain fat if you over fed on them.

unlike fats they will be purely stored if in a surplus as they don’t provide any use protein broken down into amino acids muscle tissue ski hair etc

carbohydrates glycogen stores and used for energy

fats hormones energy but then stored as bodyfat especially saturated fats they provide zero benefit and are stored right away

omega6-3 are more useful but again not in huge amounts in my opinion just enough

I like a low fat diet and respond better this way fats slow my digestion make me feel worse

but again it all comes down to calories in vs out surplus vs deficit but a higher carb will always be stored less than high fat but both if long enough in a surplus will gain bodyfat

now shitloading where carbs fats are both high still works and works more for some than others

but can they make you leaner definitely as higher calories surplus does increase metabolism as well as store fat < more a prolonged overfeeding surplus 1-3 days off then back into a deficit you’d burn up the fat stored again.

they can be a tool to help but more mentally than anything

But again it’s dependant on the person there will be many different suggestions here
Just my two cents on the subject
✋STOP......You have so much to learn, it's best that you stick to the search function and lay off the posting for a while!
 

qbkilla

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Imo it comes down to calories in vs calories out. Someone could structure them into their diet with high and low days. But I don't believe that a refeed will spike metabolism where those calories will magically be burnt off quicker and they overrule cico. I do think a diet break is helpful if fatloss stalls so eat at or above maintenance for a week or two. Sort of the same concept but more structured.
 

DarrenG29

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B boy what did I say that you don’t agree with ?
I don’t get your post here at all
 

DarrenG29

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B boy read this I do plenty reading maybe you didn’t read what I said correctly but you can read it here again you come off pretty negative like fouad here from what I’m getting from your reply’s nothing positive and no information to correct it
 

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TheOtherOne55

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A refeed doesnt SPIKE metabolism.
And honestly, i don't know any coaches who believe this also.

At a certain point in a time at a diet, you are severely flat...nothing wrong with that....but it'll affect your workouts AND being flat for TOO LONG makes it even harder when you need to fill up before a show. A refeed is just there to fill your glycogen stores back up. A Cheat Meal is just there for the psychological benefit.

If you do some reading, only a true DIET BREAK, where you bring your cals back up to maintenance for a week or so, is enough time to make hormonal changes to leptin and ghrelin. I saw Darren post up a bit of Lyle's info. Lyle McDonald has a ton of info on this.

The problem is is that most BBer cannot afford to take a week "diet break" for a competition. So therefore, they are just refeed for glycogen purposes only. Their metabolism is slowing. No amount of food is going to reset that until you STOP dieting. So as their metabolism is slowing down, most are supplementing with T3 as a way to keep it humming and keep fat loss going.
 

qbkilla

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A refeed doesnt SPIKE metabolism.
And honestly, i don't know any coaches who believe this also.

At a certain point in a time at a diet, you are severely flat...nothing wrong with that....but it'll affect your workouts AND being flat for TOO LONG makes it even harder when you need to fill up before a show. A refeed is just there to fill your glycogen stores back up. A Cheat Meal is just there for the psychological benefit.

If you do some reading, only a true DIET BREAK, where you bring your cals back up to maintenance for a week or so, is enough time to make hormonal changes to leptin and ghrelin. I saw Darren post up a bit of Lyle's info. Lyle McDonald has a ton of info on this.

The problem is is that most BBer cannot afford to take a week "diet break" for a competition. So therefore, they are just refeed for glycogen purposes only. Their metabolism is slowing. No amount of food is going to reset that until you STOP dieting. So as their metabolism is slowing down, most are supplementing with T3 as a way to keep it humming and keep fat loss going.

Good post mostly agree and it seems that it seems those who really get into the science, a single refeed is worthless and the diet break is the way to go. I know Mike israetel had some good talk about this on youtube. He also talks about the opposite, "mini diets" during a bulk or recomp.

As a non comeptetor who just wants to stay lean with an above average level of muscle I've had success with extreme calorie cycling

Meaning i have a large differential, much larger than most, on my workout vs off days. Also higher carbs on the training days. Really try and get most of my weekly calories around my training sessions during the week.

Not sure if it really serves any of the benefits of the "refeeds" that were all the craze 10 years ago but it works for me.

I guess a good question would be, do high and low days (calories or carbs) have any kind of advantage in terms of keeping the metabolism up during a diet? Another thing I always ponder, if we take a diet break where we bump up calories, is this best served during a deload week or heavy training week? Use the calories in conjunction with a training break to let the body recover vs utilize them for heavy training.
 

Reno911

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B boy read this I do plenty reading maybe you didn’t read what I said correctly but you can read it here again you come off pretty negative like fouad here from what I’m getting from your reply’s nothing positive and no information to correct it

I think B-Boy is referring to 721 posts in 6 weeks. Take some deep breaths and baby steps!! Sit back, relax, read, and chill.
 

buck

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B boy read this I do plenty reading maybe you didn’t read what I said correctly but you can read it here again you come off pretty negative like fouad here from what I’m getting from your reply’s nothing positive and no information to correct it
Some one, even a very smart person, coming up with a theory had better have several good studies to back up each point or it really doesn't mean much to me.
 

Gunsmith

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This is EXACTLY what makes hiring a good coach such a worth while investment.
You can't just look at it like you are paying someone to get you in shape , your are paying someone to teach you.

Key words in that phrase "good coach"
 

FK86

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A refeed doesnt SPIKE metabolism.
And honestly, i don't know any coaches who believe this also

Unless I'm interpreting it wrong; having read the Skipload Manifesto over at EliteFTS, it sounds like Skip does believe it has an effect on the metabolism. Some old posts by Shelby and b-boy (ten years ago) stated they accelerated fat loss.

I'm curious what more experienced guys like you, b-boy, danieltx etc believe is happening then when during a diet someone's calories and carbs temporarily go through the roof in a refeed/cheat. People that do them report sweating and increases in body temperature and then further dropping body fat that typically stalled on a static caloric intake.

I could be a total rube, but wouldn't the metabolism not have a choice but to rev up if it was on a steady intake of say, 2200 calories a day, and then in a four-hour window once a week it was smashed with an additional 4000 calories and very high carbohydrates?
 

b-boy

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Unless I'm interpreting it wrong; having read the Skipload Manifesto over at EliteFTS, it sounds like Skip does believe it has an effect on the metabolism. Some old posts by Shelby and b-boy (ten years ago) stated they accelerated fat loss.

I'm curious what more experienced guys like you, b-boy, danieltx etc believe is happening then when during a diet someone's calories and carbs temporarily go through the roof in a refeed/cheat. People that do them report sweating and increases in body temperature and then further dropping body fat that typically stalled on a static caloric intake.

I could be a total rube, but wouldn't the metabolism not have a choice but to rev up if it was on a steady intake of say, 2200 calories a day, and then in a four-hour window once a week it was smashed with an additional 4000 calories and very high carbohydrates?
Can you show me studies saying that one cheat meal or refeed day speeds up metabolism?
 

TheOtherOne55

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Unless I'm interpreting it wrong; having read the Skipload Manifesto over at EliteFTS, it sounds like Skip does believe it has an effect on the metabolism. Some old posts by Shelby and b-boy (ten years ago) stated they accelerated fat loss.

I'm curious what more experienced guys like you, b-boy, danieltx etc believe is happening then when during a diet someone's calories and carbs temporarily go through the roof in a refeed/cheat. People that do them report sweating and increases in body temperature and then further dropping body fat that typically stalled on a static caloric intake.

I could be a total rube, but wouldn't the metabolism not have a choice but to rev up if it was on a steady intake of say, 2200 calories a day, and then in a four-hour window once a week it was smashed with an additional 4000 calories and very high carbohydrates?
I love Skip, but i think a lot of this is new science that he might not be familiar with. The metabolism just doesn't work THAT FAST to change quickly in the course of hours or 1 single day. We seen the shortest period of time is like 5-7 days of really upping your cals.

As far as the sweating, this isn't your metabolism ramping up. It's a blood sugar swing that is causing a release of cortisol and adrenaline. Its not your metabolism "firing." Your body just isn't working THAT fast. Sweating, carb coma, alllll of that is connected.

I guess a good question would be, do high and low days (calories or carbs) have any kind of advantage in terms of keeping the metabolism up during a diet? Another thing I always ponder, if we take a diet break where we bump up calories, is this best served during a deload week or heavy training week? Use the calories in conjunction with a training break to let the body recover vs utilize them for heavy training.

Realistically, if you are dieting hard, regardless of a high or low day, you're in a deficit. Cals get lower and lower.
What used to be a high day of 500 carbs, turns into a high day of 200 and then lower and lower. Youll eventually STILL need to refeed. It might help at the beginning of a diet when you are 3 low days that are in a really deficit and then 3 days of medium where they are maintenance, but that wont last for long. Eventually every day is some amount of suffering regardless.

As far as the what to do on the diet break, I honestly don't really know. Thats a good question. I personally have never done the "diet break" because my dieting is always on a mission to get lean. Diet breaks make sense for regular guys who are not used to the brutal 4 month diet OR the obese who truly need to diet for 30+ weeks. THEN it makes sense. Even then, i would probably still train during that time. You'd probably have a GREAT week in the gym.
 

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b-boy

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Can you show me studies saying that one cheat meal or refeed day speeds up metabolism?
Slowing metabolic adaptations IS NOT speeding up the metabolism.
 

danieltx

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Unless I'm interpreting it wrong; having read the Skipload Manifesto over at EliteFTS, it sounds like Skip does believe it has an effect on the metabolism. Some old posts by Shelby and b-boy (ten years ago) stated they accelerated fat loss.

I'm curious what more experienced guys like you, b-boy, danieltx etc believe is happening then when during a diet someone's calories and carbs temporarily go through the roof in a refeed/cheat. People that do them report sweating and increases in body temperature and then further dropping body fat that typically stalled on a static caloric intake.

I could be a total rube, but wouldn't the metabolism not have a choice but to rev up if it was on a steady intake of say, 2200 calories a day, and then in a four-hour window once a week it was smashed with an additional 4000 calories and very high carbohydrates?
I'm not a big science guy so I won't try to guess any of that. I'm evidence-based in the sense of evidence being how much muscle I have and how shredded I get.

I don't think a single cheat meal / day when on a hard bodybuilding cut diet is doing much for metabolism, particularly if you're already taking T3. We take T3 to combat the metabolic drop from extended hard dieting.

One benefit we can probably all agree on is the increased gym output it gives you for the 1-2 workouts after your cheat. You can train a bit harder, move a little more weight, cardio is easier, so that probably does impact fat loss, but I bet it's incremental. There's also the psychological aspect of seeing yourself bursting at the seams after being really flat for a few days - it's like a preview of that final product you're working towards and that can be very motivating to stay on track.

For me, cheating when on a hard diet is all about the mental impact. I typically go to 0 carbs on weekdays when I'm 1/3 to 1/2 through a diet and as I've stated before my calories get really low - I had a few days last year where calories were around 990 at 230lbs. shredded.

I have no problem sticking to that because I know when the weekend comes we'll go out for brunch, I'll have a big bowl of ice cream / cookies / protein powder, etc. I'm not eating non-stop all day, just 3-4 meals, but it's pretty much whatever I want - no garbage shit like pizza and burgers; more like sushi, fried rice, a big breakfast with an egg scramble / fruit / toast / sausage, etc.

100% diet adherence is a problem for a lot of guys so whatever can fix that is a valuable fat loss tool. I also think it's absolutely ridiculous when guys who don't pay their bills via bodybuilding are so hardcore they can't ever have a cheat meal, they can't go out with friends, etc. That's not a truly enjoyable way to live for most but many guys delude themselves into thinking it is and miss out on a lot of great life experiences. One meal with friends or wild night out isn't won't radically alter your progress on a diet - if it does, you were already doing other things wrong.
 

qbkilla

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For what its worth, I think I remember the whole re feed speeding up metabolism was pushed about 2003 by lyle McDonald (selling something, ebooks) and a guy named par deus who ran a company called avant labs that sold pro hormones and a supplement called leptigen that was supposed to keep your leptin from dropping lol. So there was always $ incentive for them to hype re-feeds. I think lyle then sold a book on bromocriptine (SP) and how it was supposed to act like leptigen but I never hear of either of these products anymore.
 

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