WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
There is a lot of confusion around what a cheat meal is versus a refeed day. Both have different structure’s and purpose to them. A cheat meal is one meal that is outside of your normal daily intake. It’s a chance to break from the usual and eat the foods that are most likely considered in society as “BAD”. In my world there are no bad foods. There are more nutrient dense foods and less nutrient dense foods. Obviously you would want to make your nutrition intake full of good nutrients. BUT we can’t go our whole life without having a doughnut, pizza, or ice cream. Hello holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. What a cheat meal does is help you enjoy those foods and have balance with your food intake. One meal out of 7 days of eating WILL NOT undue all your hard work. But it WILL if you are eating these kinds of foods daily. Cheat meals are used for those who already have a structured nutrition plan and know how to balance there nutrient intake.
Ok now lets talk about some rules of a cheat meal. For a lot of people a cheat meal usually takes the place of there dinner and maybe there last snack if they typically have one. Usually a cheat meal is a meal you can enjoy without any macro tracking or having to keep your fats and carbs in a certain range. Cheat meals are pretty free from structure and just a chance to eat what you want without any rules to it.
Now lets talk about a refeed day. This is a more structured and calculated approach to increasing certain macros (CARBS). A refeed day is when you focus on increasing your carb intake and adding anywhere from 100-400 extra carbs spread out throughout your day. There are a lot of factors that go into how many carbs you should add to your refeed day. The rules for a refeed are usually to keep the fats low while increasing your carbs. This is more of a controlled method versus the cheat meal.
Both methods are used for increasing the metabolism, increasing leptin,. increasing satiety, decreasing body fat, and increasing muscle. Now you might be thinking “ok I understand the difference but how do I know which is the right one for me?” I suggest starting with a cheat meal once a week. If you feel like you can’t control your cheat meal portions or your not getting the right results then do a refeed/high carb day once a week instead. This will give you more control of your macros and more information to determine whats working. Also make sure you have your cheat meal/refeed on a day that you are working out and I would also suggest working out the next day as well. This will help you put all those macros to use and use up all that glycogen for energy, rather then fat storage.