So let's talk about types of carbohydrates; I'll deal with amounts in the next chapter. For the most part, I like to see structured refeeds centered around dietary starches such as breads, bagels, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. All of those foods that the low-carbohydrate diet books say are bad for you.
Some junk food is ok (and probably desirable) but too much sucrose (table sugar) or fructose (fruit sugar) tends to cause problems relating to fat regain. I should mention that the fructose content of fruit really isn't a huge problem; rather, high fructose corn syrup, found in almost any refined carbohydrate food you see on the grocery store shelf contributes the excessive fructose intakes that are causing problems in our modern world. You can have some sucrose and fructose, it just shouldn't be the totality of your refeed.
100 grams of sucrose (this is easy to go over if you eat a lot of candy or junk food) and 50 grams of fructose (which is a probably 5-7 normal pieces of fruit or a rather small amount of most refined foods) should be about the maximum during a refeed and this does limit the types of foods you can eat somewhat.
So all starches, moderate amounts of fruit (2-3 pieces total), and even some junk food (again, not too much) is fair game. This should give you plenty of food freedom and allow you to fulfill any nagging carbohydrate cravings (people tend to crave carbs more than anything else on a diet) without causing problems.
So you might focus on breads, pasta, bagels, potatoes, rice and foods of that nature for your starches. A few pieces of fruit and a bit of junky food (think nonfat ice cream or sherbet, Snackwell's types of cookies, candy like jelly beans or candy corns or some such) can round out your total intake.
Finally, I want to mention that some people simply do not feel good when they do structured refeeds; this tends to be especially true of those folks who feel the best on low-carbohydrate diets. This is commonly true with individuals suffering from some degree of insulin resistance (roughly: their bodies don't respond well to the hormone insulin). They get major blood sugar swings (highs and lows) which can cause some pretty large scale energy swings. Most people feel crappy when their blood glucose crashes (this also tends to stimulate hunger) and refeeds can cause that.
Getting adequate protein, fiber and a small amount of dietary fat with each high-carbohydrate meal goes a long way towards solving this problem. If adding those to your high-carbohydrate intake doesn't solve the problem (this is especially true for category 3 dieters and to a lesser degree everyone else), you have basically two options. The first is to pick much more unrefined carbohydrate sources, whole grains and such and avoid all of the refined stuff. Alternately, it may simply be that refeeds aren't a good idea at this point and you should stick with free meals and full diet breaks for the time being. I'll mention this again in the next chapter.
Was this article helpful?