In contrast to the anabolic diet, there is no phase in the metabolic diet in which carbohydrates are completely renounced. Nevertheless, the metabolic diet belongs to the low-carb diets and is mainly based on the intake of fats and proteins as energy suppliers. In the metabolic diet, it depends on the times at which a certain amount of carbohydrates should be eaten.
In the metabolic diet, in contrast to the Atkins or anabolic diet, the renunciation of carbohydrates is not tied to specific days or phases, but depends on the physical activity of the respective day.
How does the metabolic diet work?
This diet variant is based on the assumption that the right timing of moderate and balanced carbohydrate intake leads to long-term weight loss. The carbohydrates are given a fixed place in the daily diet and are not per se demonized as “fatteners”. Rather, the aim is to promote the metabolism and hormone balance so that the body uses them correctly, uses them in a targeted way and uses their benefits.
With regard to the amount of carbohydrates to be absorbed, a distinction is made between days on which you are active and days on which you rest or exercise less. However, the diet should primarily consist of fats and mainly proteins. The nutrient intake on training days should consist of 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and only 10% fats.
Even on days without training, the amount of protein absorbed should be maintained, while the ratio of carbohydrates and fats should be reversed. On these days, 30% of the energy consumed comes from fats and only 10% from carbohydrates.
Healthy fats can be absorbed in the form of nuts (e.g. walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts and hazelnuts), oils (e.g. olive, coconut or linseed oil), high-fat fish and meat, avocados, olives and eggs.
The macronutrient ratio has a high protein content. On the one hand, this should promote the preservation of fat-free cell tissue, supply the body with sufficient amino acids and cause the feeling of satiety.
Your protein requirement should be covered by the following foods:
- pork, lamb, beef
- Various types of fish
- low-fat curd
Which carbohydrates should be taken in the metabolic diet?
Basically, increased amounts of short-chain carbohydrates (i.e. the sweet things like cakes, chocolate, soft drinks etc. but also white bread) are undesirable.
However, long-chain carbohydrates in the form of rice, potatoes, pasta and oat flakes are to be preferred. Fruit should only be consumed in moderation in order to provide the body with the necessary vitamins, but not to lavish it with fructose.
When should carbohydrates be taken in the metabolic diet?
1. carbohydrates should be eaten directly after getting up, because the body has not filled its glycogen stores overnight and needs energy. Carbohydrates are the easiest macronutrients to be converted into energy. This gives you strength for the day and makes it easier to get out of bed! On training-free days, the largest proportion should be taken in the morning to prevent fat storage. Fat should be consumed separately from carbohydrates so that it is not stored.
2. a moderate amount of carbohydrates is taken before exercise in order to provide the necessary energy. In addition, protein is to be absorbed. Thus one is efficient and the body does not fall back on body-own muscle tissue.
3. carbohydrates are also needed after exercise in order to replenish the glycogen stores that were used and emptied during training. Thus a carbohydrate supply is given exactly when one needs it. The body burns this through physical activity and there is no fat storage. Rather, it accesses excess body fat as soon as the supplied carbohydrates are consumed.
The daily intake should be between 50 and 130 grams, depending on individual circumstances such as everyday life, weight and gender.
What are the aims of the metabolic diet?
To supply energy only when it is needed – this is the motto of the metabolic diet. The body should be neither over- nor undersupplied and one is able to cope with everyday life without “walking on the gums” or storing excess energy in the form of fat.
The metabolism should also be stimulated, as the body is signalled to mobilize the correctly timed carbohydrates and transport them into the muscle cells.
The intake of long-chain carbohydrates at the right time also counteracts an increase in the blood sugar level and the associated release of insulin. Furthermore, the body is forced to access its own fat reserves when consuming the carbohydrates supplied.
Criticism of the metabolic diet
The biggest criticism of the metabolic diet is probably the permanently very high protein intake. How high this actually is can best be explained with an example:
We assume that a man weighing 85 kilos wants to consume 3000 kcal per day. On training days the macronutrient distribution would then look as follows: 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 10% fats.
On training-free days the protein intake would be unchanged. With 3000 kcal that would be 1800 kcal in the form of proteins. That means that one would have to supply daily about 440 gram protein with the food, since one gram protein corresponds to 4 kilocalories.
If the 440 grams of protein are to be covered by food such as chicken breast, for example, one would have to eat about 2.2 kilos of it. Because chicken breast contains about 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of meat. For chicken eggs, this would correspond to about 62 eggs per day.
Now at the latest it becomes clear that protein intake is hardly or not at all feasible in practice.
If we now still assume that the body is permanently occupied with splitting these large quantities of protein, it is questionable whether this form of nutrition can be regarded as permanently healthy.
A further point of criticism of this form of nutrition lies in the lack of diversity of nutrition. With the exception of the difference between training days and training-free days, there is no day when the diet is different. This could quickly appear monotonous and it may be difficult to maintain motivation for this diet.
On the whole, the metabolic diet has both advantages and disadvantages. It is good that there is no phase in which you have to do without carbohydrates in principle, but only limit consumption. On the one hand you have energy when you need it and on the other hand the right timing of carbohydrate intake has a positive influence on the metabolism.
Because carbohydrates are not consumed at times when one is not necessarily dependent on additional energy – for example in the evening before going to bed – the body does not accumulate them as fatty tissue. Only the excessive protein consumption is to be questioned in this nutrition recommendation and if necessary to be replaced at least partly by the intake of fats.