Carbohydrate is very much a necessity for our body, but in excess leads to weight gain. The challenge lies in taking it in just the right amount, at right times. Carb cycling helps in losing weight by manipulating carbohydrate consumption by minimizing negative effects. Carb cycling is a way of dieting that involves planned increases and decreases in carbohydrate intake. This diet format which started with athletes and fitness models is now a favorite among common people to lose weight.
How Carb Cycling Works
In carb cycling, the week gets divided into: no carb days, low-carb days and high-carb days
NO CARB DAYS: Include vegetables in diet like leafy greens, onions, peppers and mushrooms along with good source of protein and fat in moderation. Total carb intake must be less than 25 grams per day.
LOW CARB DAYS: Total carb intake that comes from food intake must be less than 75 grams per day. Add in along with veggies small portions of any carbohydrate food like rice, rotis, potatoes and fruit.
HIGH CARB DAYS: Women can consume between 150 and 200 grams whereas men can have up to 300 grams. But this also depends on physical activity level. This day can be made into a day for cheat meal too, but do not binge eat.
This alternate cycle of No carb, Low carb and High carb will help to balance out energy requirement without making body to gain excess fat.
Simple science of Carb Cycling
Carb cycling enables muscle growth and fat loss simultaneously, by influencing the hormones, namely insulin, serotonin, leptin and cortisol. Low-carb and no-carb days promote insulin sensitivity and minimize fat storage, while high-carb days encourage muscle growth. Carbohydrates are essential for maintaining mood enhancing hormone serotonin. By opting for carb cycling, the level of serotonin levels stays at optimum. Leptin, the satiety hormone, responsible for blocking hunger and controlling appetite is kept under control with this diet. Carb cycling stop the build-up of cortisol and helps to promote muscle growth and avoid muscle catabolism.
Carb Cycle: Things you need to know
- The best part about this diet plan is that, since carb cycle also includes high carb day it will help to fight off cravings and makes it easier to adhere to the program
- To get best results from this diet plan, one must opt to work out at length on high carb diet days
- Choose Carbohydrates wisely. Opt for food high in simple glucose or complex carbs that will break down into glucose. Complex carbs like corn starch with more of fructose can get converted into body fat
- Reduce overall fat intake on high carb days
Word of Caution
Do understand one thing, Carb cycling is not designed as a long-term solution for body fat management. Body can handle short-term carbohydrate deprivation very well, but if it is followed for a long period it can harm the body.