Carbs have quite a bad reputation.
Most of us believe we should run as fast and far as possible from carbs if we want to lose weight or look a certain way. But this isn’t necessary. We need carbs for optimal function and muscle growth. The key is to pick the right carbs because excess consumption of processed carbs can lead to a whole host of problems such as obesity, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and diabetes.
So the focus shouldn’t be on totally avoiding carbs but rather picking the right carbs, timing, and overall amount. Research shows that this methodology has helped countless people transform their bodies and keep the weight off.
Why Carb Cycling Might Work for You
How it works:
Through the process of carb cycling, you can reap all the performance and muscle-building benefits of carbs without experiencing the consequences (i.e. weight gain, increased body fat). You’ll change how your body responds to carbs and alter hormonal responses, which can drastically change your body and help you see food in an entirely different way.
How it looks:
Carb cycling is typically broken up into three types of days throughout the week: a no-carb day (25 grams or less via high-fiber vegetables), a low-carb day (75 grams or less via high-fiber vegetables and two to three servings of “clean” starches) and a high-carb day (150-300 grams dependent on body type and goals). A sample carb cycling week might include two to three no-carb days, two low-carb days and two high-carb days.
When carb cycling, it’s important that you continue eating plenty of lean protein and one to two servings of healthy fats. Don’t do more than two high-carb days in a row; follow your high-carb day with a no-carb day for the optimal hormonal response and fat loss.
Lower-carb days help us remain insulin- and leptin-sensitive; this increased sensitivity teaches our body to react in a more desirable way to the food we eat and avoid excess storage of fat. During the high-carb days, our body will experience muscle growth and a boost in energy and serotonin (feel-good chemicals).
Why it might work for you:
Carb cycling might work for you if you’re at a plateau and need to lose those last five to 10 stubborn pounds. It can be easier to adhere to this diet than other plans because as you start to feel lethargic and hungry, you reset your hormone level and minimize the miserable aspects of a diet by integrating a higher-carb day.
Managing a healthy carbohydrate intake and cutting back on processed carbs in your diet usually results in a positive weight change. When you add in a cycling program like this, you can create faster results and manipulate your hormones to work for you rather than against you!