Carb cycling is a diet where carbohydrate intake is alternated with protein and fat to help lose weight. Read on to know more!

Whether it’s the ketogenic diet or any other FAD diet you decide to follow, the first thing they ask you to cut down on is carbohydrates! However, we know that all micro and macronutrients are equally important when it comes to a healthy balanced diet for optimal nutrition and preventing deficiencies. So, what if we tell you there is a way to eat carbs and lose weight? One such method is carb cycling.

Carb cycling is a diet where the intake of carbs is alternated with other nutrition groups to help lose weight. Health Shots Contact Dietitian swedal ​​trinidad To understand what carb cycling is and how one can do carb cycling to lose weight.

What is carb cycling?

Carbohydrate cycling is a process in which carbohydrate intake in the diet is alternated with varying amounts of protein and fat. “Carb cycling is followed for a month or more, and during this time, the body shifts its fuel source from carbohydrates to fat. Unlike other fad diets, Carbohydrate cycling must be done with precision to maintain optimal protein intake, says Dr. Trinidale.

Healthy carbs like multigrain bread should be preferred instead of processed foods. Image Courtesy: Freepik

What factors do you need to consider when following carb cycling?

Your carbohydrate intake can be based on a variety of factors when following carb cycling.

1. Reducing body fat percentage

High carbohydrate diets can cause the body to produce excess amounts of insulin, gradually leading to the development of insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, which is an imbalance of lipids such as cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, etc. Carbohydrate diet to deplete glycogen stores and burn the desired amount of body fat,” she explains.

2. Balance between physical activity and carbohydrate intake

For optimal energy use it is best to combine carbohydrate intake with physical activity such as cardio activity, weight training and rest days, thereby preventing unwanted storage.

Also read: Experts say, for weight loss, focus not on calories, but on nutrition.

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3. Planned Carbohydrate Diet

Ideal carbohydrate cycling involves frequent feeding intervals to balance the hormone leptin which is responsible for satiety and hunger. “During periods of starvation leptin levels decrease which tells your body that fat stores have declined and you need to eat,” says Dr. Trinidale.

4. Marathon and sports activity

Carbohydrate loading pre-event is recommended to prevent hypoglycemia and metabolic stress during extreme activity.

What is the science behind carb cycling?

Changing the source of energy from carbohydrates or carbohydrate cycling enables the body to use carbohydrates as fuel only during times of intense activity. Dr. Trinidale says, “The body utilizes fat by controlling the amount of carbohydrate in the diet at rest, i.e. high carbohydrate at exercise and low carbohydrate at rest, thus depleting glycogen stores and body fat. The percentage goes down.”

How does carb cycling help you lose weight?

In carb cycling, the body uses carbs for energy, as well as recovery on days when one is eating carbs. And, on days when one’s carbs are low, the body uses fat for energy. Carbohydrate loading is known to improve athletic performance and muscle recovery after exercise. While long-term carbohydrate cycling reduces body fat percentage, adequate physical activity preserves muscle mass and thus helps in weight loss. The study, published in Journal of the International Society of Sports NutritionSuggest that this type of diet cycling proves effective in weight loss.

In an ideal scenario, carb cycling should be accompanied by a calorie deficit diet. A study published in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome JournalSuggests that a diet that helps you eat less than your body consumes helps you lose weight.

Benefits of Carb Cycling

Besides weight loss, there are other benefits of carb cycling you should know about:

1. Prevents dyslipidemia

Dyslipidemia refers to an imbalance of lipids in the body. A well-planned diet with carbohydrate cycling can improve lipid profiles.

2. Reduces insulin resistance risk

Insulin sensitivity increases fat burning over time and maintains a higher metabolic rate. Carb cycling can cause this.

Also read: 5 Expert-Recommended Healthy Diets for Sustainable Weight Loss

Healthy carbohydrates such as legumes and fruits must be consumed. Image Courtesy: Freepik

How to do carb cycling?

There are some variations on carb cycling that can be followed while following this type of diet. However, there are some things that need to be kept in mind.

1. Get the right guidance

Carbohydrate cycling should be done under professional guidance to prevent incidents of hypoglycemia and metabolic stress.

2. Adopt a customized plan

The care plan had to be tailored to the individual’s activity, health status, hormonal profile, presence of other diseases, and current weight.

Here’s a simple way to follow carb cycling.

Day 1: Weight Training

Here carbohydrate intake should be high and fat intake should be low.

Day 2: Cardio

On the second day, carbohydrate and fat intake should be moderate.

Day 3: Rest

On days you plan to rest, eat less carbs and more fat.

Day 4: Weight Training

Here, you have to maintain high carbohydrate intake and low fat intake.

On carbohydrate days, eat healthy carbs and avoid processed foods with added sugar. You can eat whole grains like brown rice and oats. Also, be sure to consume vegetables and a variety of whole fruits. Legumes and tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes are also good choices.

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