Carbohydrate Fuel no longer means giving up your favorite starchy carbohydrates. You can literally have your cake and eat it too-provided you eat it after working out. By using the Magic Window, your chances of long-term successful weight loss are fat greater. First, it is much easier to stick to this diet because you can eat your favorite kinds of pasta or sweets once a day as long as you use the Magic Window. Thus, you won’t feel deprived and won’t be tempted to give up your diet.
Also, you will be keeping your muscles full of carbohydrate fuel from your postworkout Magic Window Meals. This is important for maintaining strength and energy during workouts and for preserving muscles. Most low-carbohydrate diets will deplete your muscles of carbohydrates and lead to loss of muscle mass. And, most important, by paying attention to the type and timing of your carbohydrate intake, you will be maximizing the power of your hormones.
When you are not in the Magic Window, you need to pay very close attention to the types of carbohydrates you are eating. Many diets, including the zone, regulate carbohydrate intake based on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates enter your bloodstream as sugar. Overstimulation of insulin due to excessive carbohydrate intake leads to fat storage. But I find diets that heavily emphasize this fact misleading, as carrots end up having a high glycemic index (meaning they strongly provoke insulin activity), whereas pasta has a low glycemic index. Yet I am sure that nearly every doctor and dietitian will agree that carrots are much less fattening than pasta!
Therefore, to determine more accurately which carbohydrates you should include in your diet, I categorize them based on their fiber content instead of their glycemic index rating. Fiber is technically classified as a carbohydrate, but it is far different from other carbohydrates in several important ways. One major difference is that fiber has zero calories. In fact, since chewing and digesting it actually burn calories while you eat, fiber is often classified as having negative calories.
Fiber also can be a strong appetite suppressant. The bulk that fiber provides in your stomach is a signal to your brain that you have eaten enough, allowing you to get full without calories. The amount of chewing required when eating high-fiber foods such as crunchy vegetables also signals your brain to turn down your appetite.
Fiber also slows down your digestion and delays the absorption and breakdown of starchy carbohydrates. Fiber coats and protects starchy carbohydrates, making it more difficult for your digestive enzymes to reach them. As a result, carbohydrates are digested more slowly, which means that your blood sugar levels will not increase as much when you include high-fiber vegetables in your meals. The combination of the slower emptying of your stomach and lower blood sugar levels will signal your appetite-regulating hormones to make you feel fuller and more satisfied.
In order to take advantage of the appetite-regulating benefits of fiber, I recommend eating at least 30 grams of fiber a day, with each meal (except the Magic Window Meal) containing 5 to 10 grams. You will learn in this article how to implement foods with varying levels of fiber content-high moderate, and low (Magic Window only)-into your meals at the time of day that maximizes their benefits.