How to Follow a Diet

Metabolic diet - carbohydrates only when the body needs them

In contrast to the anabolic diet, there is no phase in the metabolic diet in which carbohydrates are completely avoided. Nevertheless, the metabolic (metabolic = "concerning the metabolism") 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 more 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 specified days or phases, but depends on the physical activity of the respective day.

How does the metabolic diet work?

This diet variant assumes that the right timing of moderate and balanced carbohydrate intake leads to long-term weight loss. Carbohydrates are given a firm place in the daily diet and they are not demonized as "fattening food" per se. Rather, one wants to promote the metabolism and the hormonal balance so that the body uses them correctly, utilizes them in a targeted manner and uses their advantages.

With regard to the amount of carbohydrates to be consumed, a distinction is made between days on which you are active and days on which you rest or move less. First and foremost, however, the diet should 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 non-training days, the amount of protein consumed should be adhered to, 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 in the form of nuts (e.g. walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts and hazelnuts), oils (e.g. olive, coconut or linseed oil), fatty fish and meat, avocados, olives and eggs.

The high protein content is noticeable in the macronutrient ratio. On the one hand, this should promote the maintenance of lean cell tissue, supply the body with sufficient amino acids and create a feeling of satiety.

The following foods should cover your protein requirements:

  • Eggs
  • poultry
  • Pork, lamb, beef
  • Various types of fish
  • lowfat quark
  • tofu
  • Almonds
  • lenses
  • cheese
  • Beans

Which carbohydrates should be included in the metabolic diet?

In principle, increased amounts of short-chain carbohydrates (i.e. sweet things such as cakes, chocolate, soft drinks etc. but also white bread) are undesirable.

Long-chain carbohydrates in the form of rice, potatoes, pasta and oatmeal are preferable, however. Fruit should only be consumed in moderation to provide the body with necessary vitamins, but not to overload it with fructose.

When should carbohydrates be included in the metabolic diet?

1. Carbohydrates should be eaten immediately after getting up because the body has not filled its glycogen stores over the night and needs energy. As a macronutrient, carbohydrates can most easily be converted into energy. This gives you strength for the day and makes it easier to get out of bed! On non-training days, the largest portion 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 consumed before exercise to provide the necessary energy. In addition to this, protein should be consumed. As a result, you are efficient and the body does not fall back on the body's own muscle tissue.

3. After exercise, carbohydrates are also required to replenish the glycogen stores used and depleted during exercise. This means that a carbohydrate supply is provided exactly when you need it. The body burns them off through physical activity and there is no fat storage. Rather, it accesses excess body fat as soon as the supplied carbohydrates are used up.

The daily intake - depending on individual circumstances such as everyday life, weight and gender - should be 50 to 130 grams.

What are the goals of the metabolic diet?

Only supply energy when you need it - this is how the motto of the metabolic diet could be summed up. The body should therefore neither be over nor undersupplied and one is able to cope with everyday life without "walking on the gums" or storing superfluous energy in the form of fat.

The metabolism should also get going, as the body is signaled to mobilize the correctly timed carbohydrates and to transport them to the muscle cells.

The intake of long-chain carbohydrates at the right time also counteracts an increase in blood sugar levels and the associated insulin output. Furthermore, when the carbohydrates are consumed, the body is forced to access its own fat reserves.

Criticism of the metabolic diet

The biggest point of criticism of the metabolic diet is probably the permanently very high protein intake. How high this actually is can best be explained using an example:

We assume that a 85-pound man would want to consume 3000 calories per day. On training days, the macronutrient distribution would be as follows: 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 10% fats.

Protein intake would be unchanged on non-training days. At 3000 kcal that would be 1800 kcal in the form of proteins. This means that you would have to get around 440 grams of protein with your food every day, as one gram of protein corresponds to 4 kilocalories.

If the 440 grams of protein are to be covered by food such as chicken breast, you would have to eat around 2.2 kilos of it. Because chicken breast contains around 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of meat. In the case of chicken eggs, this would correspond to around 62 eggs per day.

At least now it becomes clear that protein intake is hardly or not at all feasible in practice.

If we now assume that the body is constantly busy breaking down these large amounts of protein, it is questionable whether this form of nutrition can be regarded as healthy in the long term.

Another point of criticism of this form of nutrition is the lack of nutritional diversity. There is no day, with the exception of the difference between training days and non-training days, on which the diet is different. This could quickly seem monotonous and it may be difficult to maintain motivation for this diet.


By and large, the metabolic diet has both advantages and disadvantages. It is good that there is no phase in which you have to do without carbohydrates, 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.

By avoiding carbohydrates at times when you do not necessarily need 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 should be questioned in this dietary recommendation and, if necessary, at least partially replaced by the intake of fats.

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