Should you refeed???
Refeeds have often been thrown around, alongside their “dirtier” sibling the cheat meal.
One meal or one day in the week where you up your calories (mainly carbohydrates).
It has long been believed that this then has some magic effect on your hormones (mainly leptin) and your metabolism, that gives fat loss a boost.
When deep into a diet and you are very lean, the higher carbs will replenish muscle glycogen stores giving the appearance of being leaner.
For a refeed to truly work on regulating certain hormones, it needs to be done for a longer period (3-7 + days) at maintenance calorie levels or even higher. This is often called a “diet break” and can be good for those who have been dieting for a long period of time.
So if 1 meal or 1 day has no real magical effect, then why are they still useful?
- Gives you a mental break. Dieting can be tough at times and just seeing a big plate of carbs can give you that release from it all. You can also use social occasions at these times.
- More energy. Dieting can be tiring. More carbs in the system (muscle glycogen) will allow you to train harder over the next few days and increase activity away from the gym (this is where potential weight loss may happen after a small refeed. You have burnt more calories!!)
- If you are in a big deficit then one big meal may not even effect your overall deficit.
Refeeds or even cheat meals are not a necessity, and it could be argued that they are only needed at strategic points of a diet.
You also need to be aware of not going overboard with the calorie intake.
Over the 24hr/week/monthly period you still need to be in an overall deficit for fat loss to occur.