How To Carb Refeed & Why They Make Dieting Easier

If your diet progress has reached a plateau, a Carb Refeed might be exactly what you need.

So Exactly Is A Carb Refeed?

A carb-refeed is a tool where you purposely increase your carb consumption in a 24-48 hour window to temporarily restore hormones. Carb Refeeds are an amazing tool to minimize metabolic damage, make dieting less painful and keep energy levels as high as possible during the diet. The levels and periodization of the refeeds will depend on several factors.

Please note, this is not a “Free day” or a cheat meal. This day is a calculated surplus that needs to be followed precisely.

How To Carb Refeed


First things first, you need to ask yourself if you really need a Carb Refeed, or if you’re just looking for an excuse to over indulge.

Signs you may need a refeed:

  1. Loss of energy.

  2. Hitting a plateau in your weight-loss while dieting on fairly low calories.

  3. Loss of energy, pumps or libido.

Now, if you are experiencing two or more of the above symptoms, then it might be time for a refeed. The goal for the refeed is to super feed your body with carbs. Now, we want to do this as effectively as possible, when doing this, I recommend keeping fats to 50% of your normal application while increasing carbohydrate consumption to 150-300% your normal intake. If it is your first time partaking in a carb refeed, keep your refeed to 150-200% and see how it affects you.


Individual A:

Dieting macros = 65f/160c/165p

Potential refeed macros 33f/240-480c/140p

What are some good examples of high carb and low fat food sources to eat?

The best answer is whatever carb source you like. This also has an amazing secondary benefit of being a nice mental break. Carb refeeds provide you with a unique opportunity to eat some more fun foods. Here are some of my personal favorites:

-Smoothies (Fruits, vegetables)

-Oats (Oatmeals etc.)


-Cereals (Be careful with milk)

-Potatoes (Sweet and normal etc.)

-Sugary foods (Keep the carbs of the refeed to a maximum of 25% simple basic sugary fun carbs). Do use this to have some fun (( I (Josh) really like donuts! Kyle really likes some candy.))

There are too many options to list, this day is awesome but you need to be weary of fat, it will add up so try to plan the day in advance!

Why Is This Surplus is Beneficial to Your Cut?

When you’re in a deficit, your body goes into “survival mode” testosterone and other vital hormones drop significantly. Refeeding provides a psychological boost as well as a biological boost. By referring we can trick the brain into thinking its escaped its deficit, and that it is replenished and in turn will cause the body to burn more fat by way of increasing your metabolism for up to 4 days past the refeed. Here is some information for those of you interested in the specific biology.

Lack of metabolic efficiency (Sticking, having a weak TDEE) can be attributed potentially to:

  • adaptive thermogenesis

  • increased mitochondrial efficiency

  • hormonal alterations that favour decreased energy expenditure

  • decreased satiety

  • increased hunger

These may also threaten dietary adherence - slowing the result of weight loss. As well as potentially predisposing you to rapid weight regain following the end of your diet. We don’t want that at all.

The endocrine response to an energy deficit:

Hormones responsible for taking prominent roles in regulation of body composition, energy intake and energy expenditure.

1)Hormones of the Throid gland (T3)

  • Increase circulating thyroid hormones which in turn helps raise metabolic function.

  • When dieting and we lose this hormone it results directly with decreased thermogenesis and overall metabolic rate.

2) Leptin

  • Synthesized primarily in adipocytes, functions as a indicator of both short and long-term energy availability.

  • Short term energy restriction and lower body fat levels are associated with decreases in circulating leptin.

  • Moreover higher leptin results in increased satiety and energy expenditure (Better TDEE), means more food!

3) Insulin

  • Inhibits muscle protein breakdown and regulates our metabolism is considered another adiposity signal

  • Like leptin high levels convey provide energy availability and are associated with an anorexigenic effect (fancy way for saying loss of appetite which is good in a diet, unlike Gherlin bellow).

3.5 Gherlin (An orexigenic hormone)

  • This is a double edge sword, this is the hormone that keeps us interested in food and evidently keeps us alive. Regardless, when dieting this is NOT good. Gherlin makes the body hungry, especially deeper in a deficit. By refeeding we can fight back and inhibit this effect.

4) Testosterone

  • Increases muscle protein synthesis and muscle mass

  • May also have a role in adiposity!

  • Changes in fat mass have been inversely correlated with testosterone levels and testosterone may repress cell differentiation.

5) Cortisol

  • Shown to induce muscle protein breakdown. Seen as evil in the bodybuilding world.

  • We can limit this thankfully once again with refeeds!


When you refeed it’s most effective in a 48 hours window. You can be successful by spreading out your eating and eating as you’re hungry as long as you get all the calories in. Spread it out like a normal day. Bear in mind that you’re likely going to be ravenously hungry, once your body get’s the carbs in you’re going to start feeling like a superhero. This effectively saturates the muscle with glycogen, keeping your muscles full and hard. This makes refeeds an amazing time to get some Instagram photos!

Now you see the benefits of a refeed. These are NECESSARY to a healthy cut, and will only mentally and physically refresh you if you do this and report your log to me perfectly. Don’t be scared of this day, drink lots of water and get lots of sleep and enjoy feeling yourself for the day. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask.

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