Atkins. Paleo. Gluten-free. Vegetarian. Low-carb. No-carb. There are so many diets and rules to losing weight that it can be difficult to know which ones are healthy, which ones are fad diets, or whether or not they’ll work for you. Carb cycling is not a diet per say, but it is a way to consume food that will help you lose weight or at least minimize fat gain. Carb cycling is the process of eating a lot of carbohydrates some days and eating few carbohydrates on other days.
When you carb cycle, you’ll have high carb days that help you power through your workouts and promote muscle growth; and low carb days that encourage fat loss. Over the course of a week, you’ll alternate between high carb days and low carb days, but the total number of carbohydrates you consume will remain consistent from week to week. You’re not depriving yourself of any certain food group, you’re just choosing to consume them in moderation, on alternate days .
You can make your carb cycling more effective by combining it with Keto1, a product designed to help your body get into ketosis and burn fat for fuel instead of glucose (even when you consume carbohydrates).
Who Benefits the Most from Carb Cycling?
People who have a lot of weight to lose don’t need to cycle their carbs, as they primarily need to focus on a caloric deficit in order to drop the excess weight. But, as you get closer to your goal weight or if you only have a few pounds to lose, carb cycling eliminates the plateau you may be experiencing. People who are fairly lean but have a few extra pounds may find themselves in “starvation mode”. Your metabolism may have slowed down as a result of severe dieting, and your body can’t tell the difference between restricting calories for a diet or starving. If the body thinks it is “starving”, it may decrease your metabolism to prevent further weight loss and try to restore balance .
Carb cycling will offset the effects of this decrease in metabolism by showing your body you’re not starving and keeping your metabolism revved up and ready to help you lose those last few pounds!
Psychologically, carb cycling is beneficial to people who have trouble sticking to a diet since you really only have to diet every other day. For most people, foods that make the “favorite food” list contain carbohydrates – pizza, bread, chips, crackers, etc. If you try to cut out carbohydrates all the time, you can become miserable. But what if you only had to reduce them every other day? So you still need discipline, but it’s much easier when you know that making it through the low-carb day is rewarded with a high-carb day where you can eat your favorite foods.
How to Cycle Carbs
Carb cycling is one of the easier “diets” to understand. Make your high-carb days the days that you will do your most intense workouts. You can have your carbs, protein, vegetables, fats as long as you’re going to lift weights, do bodyweight exercises, or high-intensity training. On the days that you will rest from the gym, or switch to cardio exercise, skip the starchy carbohydrates but eat a small amount of fruit along with your regular protein, vegetables, and fats. That’s all you have to remember about carb cycling to be successful with it!
- Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial
J Am Diet Assoc. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Dec 1. Published in final edited form as: J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Dec; 111(12): 1826–1835. doi: [10.1016/j.jada.2011.09.014]
- Section 30.3Food Intake and Starvation Induce Metabolic Changes
Copyright © 2002, W. H. Freeman and Company. Bookshelf ID: NBK22414 Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. New York: W H Freeman; 2002.