Carb Cycling

Carb cycling has been used for a long time by bodybuilders and professional athletes as a way to quickly increase body mass.  Recently this concept of carb cycling has become popular with the average person who is looking for a plan to lose weight.

The concept of carb cycling is to alternate between high carbohydrate intake days and low carbohydrate intake days.  If you research carb cycling on the internet you will find that there are many versions of this plan.  It’s important that you eat quality carbs on both your low and high carbohydrate days.  Don’t waste your carbs on foods that don’t provide any nutritional value.

Some people alternate every other day between high and low carbohydrate intake.  Others opt to change their cycling periods on a weekly or monthly basis.  Still others will follow a low carbohydrate intake during the week and then follow a high carbohydrate intake during the weekend.

Although carb cycling claims to help a dieter get over a plateau or increase metabolism or burn fat faster there has only been one very small short study regarding the benefits of carb cycling and weight loss.  However, there are many people who say they have been successful at losing weight by following carb cycling.

Many people have tried using a low carbohydrate diet to lose weight and have become discouraged because they got bored with eating only low carb foods.  Carb cycling does give you the opportunity to eat a more varied diet and still lose weight.  However, some people find the concept of carb cycling too complicated and time consuming.

If you are someone who exercises strenuously then you want to make the days when you are engaging in this exercise your high carbohydrate days and the days when you are less active your low carbohydrate days.

To lose weight while carb cycling you will need to limit the number of calories you eat as well as the carbs.  The amount of carbs and calories will be determined by your gender, activity level, weight, exercise plan and goal.

To give you some idea of how carb cycling may work here is an example of a day-to-day plan; for females on the low carb day when there is only light activity the calorie intake would be 1200 calories and the carbohydrates would be up to 25% of the calories or between 40 and 75 grams.  For a man on the low carb day the calories would be 1500 making the 25% of carbs between 50 and 95 grams.

On a high carb day when exercise or activities are more vigorous the calories for a woman would be 1500 while the carbs increase to 45-65% of calories or 170 to 245 grams.  For a man on the high carb days the calories would be 1800 making the 45 to 65% of carbs equal to 200-295 grams.

With carb cycling you are not cutting out any food groups so some people will find it easier to follow than other more restrictive plans.

Before you begin any new diet program it is important to consult with your health care professional. Carb cycling is safe for most people, but is should not be used if you are pregnant or breast feeding.  It is especially imperative that you talk with your health care professional before starting carb cycling if you have a history of diabetes, heart disease, hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome, binge eating or any other eating disorder.