Yes, carbohydrates can have their place in a fat loss diet. Some people may have more, others less or almost none. It depends on several factors :
- Insulin sensitivity: Those who are more sensitive to insulin produce less in response to carbohydrate consumption, so they can eat more, with less negative impact on fat loss / fat gain. The more lean you are, the more insulin sensitive you are.However, if you are not genetically sensitive to insulin, you will still tend to stay that way, even if you can improve it a bit. The only way to know for sure if you have good insulin sensitivity is to have medical tests done, but there are other ways that can give you an idea :
If you carry most of your fat in the "love handles and upper back," then you probably have poor insulin sensitivity
If you have a history of diabetes in your immediate family.
If you eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast (pancakes with maple syrup for example) and you have a drop in energy about 30-45 minutes later, you have poor sensitivity to insulin.
- Strong serotonin dominance: Do the Braverman Assessment, you can find it on the internet. The "dominance" of serotonin means that the need for serotonin dominates your actions. In other words, you make choices that will cause an increase in serotonin because this neurotransmitter is naturally weak. In addition to the Braverman Assessment, you can simply look at your personality and training preferences: Are you meticulous? Can you do the same thing over and over again without getting bored? Do you naturally have a good ability to work / endurance? Are you calm and have great attention to detail? If so, your serotonin is probably low (dominance of serotonin) and you will probably do better with some carbohydrates in your diet.
- If you have a physically demanding job, you will probably need more carbohydrates, otherwise your stress response during a fat loss diet will be too high which will increase cortisol making your water intake more difficult to build muscles and lose fat.
- If you have a stressful mental life: same as above.
- If your training volume is very high.
If your fat loss seems to have stagnated, it could mean several things:
- You have adapted to your nutrients /caloric intake. Your body has adjusted to the amount of nutrients or calories you provide and no longer requires a lot of your stored fat for fuel.
- You have been on excessive dieting for a fairly long time, and your cortisol is high, which makes your water retention (which looks like fat) .... Which hides the loss of fat.
- Your body is adapted to your type of training. The less effective your body is doing an activity, the more calories you will need to do the activity and adapt to it. So, if you do the same type of training for a while, it might not be super effective at stimulating changes.
There are other possibilities, but they are for extreme cases.
So, a simple answer: YES, carbohydrates can be used in a fat loss diet.
The amount you can take will depend on your sensitivity to insulin.
My advice would be:
- Take supplements that improve insulin sensitivity (R-ala, Omega-3, Berberine).
- Take food additives that also improves insulin sensitivity (cinnamon, apple cider vinegar).
- Take carbs around your workouts (before and after), I would recommend a small amount of fat (MCT Oil or Omega-3 ... about 10g) with your carbs to slow down their absorption, something you want when you are not sensitive to insulin.
- Completely change your workout style (not just the program, how you train) and do things you never do or rarely do (farmer's walk, "prowler", sandbags, sprints, etc. .)
- If you are dominant in serotonin, you can add low intensity cardio sessions.