What is a Carb Cycling Diet and How Does it Work?
Carbohydrate consumption has long been a hot topic of debate. Successful diets restrict carbohydrate use, and some even eliminate this nutrient altogether. Although it is not possible to completely eliminate any of the macronutrients, carbohydrates are something that should be determined for each person. To make full use of carbohydrate intake, some people took it periodically.
This method is known as cycling carbohydrate or carbohydrate cycle.
In this article, we are going to explain in detail the diet of carb cycling.
What is carb cycling?
Carb cycling is a diet regimen in which carbohydrate intake is changed daily, weekly or monthly. Recently, this method has been used to lose weight, stabilize exercise performance, or cope with stopping weight loss during a diet.
Some people adjust their carbohydrate intake daily while others observe longer periods of low, moderate and high carbohydrate diet.
The short-term goal of carb cycling is to get the carbohydrate consumed at times that have the highest advantage.
Plan your carbohydrate intake based on a variety of factors, including:
- Bodybuilding goals: Some reduce carbohydrate intake during the diet, then reuse it during muscle building.
- Practicing and Resting Days: One of the common approaches is to increase carbohydrate intake on training days and lower it on rest days.
- Special events or competitions: Athletes usually perform a “carb load” before an event in which they maximize carbohydrate intake by increasing glycogen (or energy) stores in the muscles and liver. Many bodybuilders do this before displaying bodybuilding or photography.
- Exercise Type: Individuals adjust their carbohydrate intake according to the intensity and duration of their exercise, the longer the duration and intensity of exercise, the greater the amount of carbohydrate consumed.
- Body Fat Level: Many people adjust their carbohydrate intake based on their body fat levels. The thinner they are, the more carbohydrates they put into their diet.
In a one-week carb cycling program, usually, two days consist of high carbohydrate intake, two days of moderate intake, and three days of extremely low intake.
Protein intake is usually the same over a week, but fat intake will vary based on carbohydrate intake. A high carb day means low fat intake, and a high fat intake on a low carb day.
Carb cycling is an advanced diet method that requires more planning, manipulation and planning than a simple diet.
Carb cycling scientifically
Carb cycling is a new dietary approach. From the scientific point of view, this method is basically based on biological mechanisms besides carbohydrate manipulation.
Carb cycling tries to match the body’s need for calories or glucose.
For example, carbohydrates are available for you on the days you exercise or your activity is high. On days when carbohydrate intake was high for glycogen refueling, muscles were considered to improve performance and reduce muscle tissue loss.
Strategic periods, increasing carbohydrates even improve the performance of weight and appetite control hormones (leptin and ghrelin).
Low carbohydrate days cause the body to consume fats as a source of energy, which enhances metabolic flexibility and the ability to burn fat as fuel in the long run.
Another prominent part of carb cycling is insulin regulation. Days where carbohydrate intake is low and carbohydrates are used for exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, insulin sensitivity is one of the vital health indicators.
Such a method would maximize the carbohydrate benefits to the body.
Does carb cycling help to lose weight?
The carb cycling mechanism says this type of method is useful for weight loss. Carb cycling helps to stabilize your physical performance while also enjoying some of the benefits of low carbohydrate diets.
Just like any diet, the main mechanism of weight loss in this method is calorie deficiency.
If you implement a carb cycling diet along with the right amount of calories, you lose weight.
However, the sophisticated carb cycling regime makes it difficult for newcomers to adhere to the diet. In contrast, many people enjoy the flexibility of carb cycling. If done correctly, this will increase long-term adherence and success in weight loss.
Carb cycling for muscle growth and athletic performance
Many people believe that carb cycling is good for muscle growth and physical function. Periods of increasing carbohydrate intake and targeting carbohydrate intake improve people’s performance. Along with exercise, carbohydrates help to recover, deliver nutrients and replenish glycogen reserves. It also increases muscle growth.
Some research suggests that if protein consumption is sufficient, carbohydrates are not needed for muscle building. Although such a mechanism may be theoretically possible, direct research should compare carb cycling with other regimes in order to provide scientifically valid questions to answer.
Are there other benefits to carb cycling?
Carb cycling has the potential to provide benefits that other diets cannot. Take advantage of both diets by applying periods of reduced carbohydrate and increasing it without experiencing negative side effects. Priority periods for lowering carbohydrate intake include better insulin sensitivity, increased fat burning, improved cholesterol, and increased metabolic health.
Periods of increased carbohydrate intake during the diet also have positive effects on hormones such as thyroid hormones, testosterone and leptin.
These indicators play an important role in the long-term success of the diet, as hormones play a key role in hunger, metabolism and exercise performance.
Complications of the Cycling Carb Diet
Each diet has its own side effects that some people may experience and others may not experience it. Specialists say these effects are temporary, and it takes one to two weeks for the body to adapt to a diet.
- Lowering body function
- Decrease focus
- Feeling very tired
- Increase hunger and increase appetite
- Slow down metabolism
- Sleep disorder
Suggested food sources of carbohydrates
It is best not to use some carbohydrates except under certain conditions. In contrast, there are many healthy and tasty carbohydrates that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When you set your carbohydrate increase days, don’t use them as overeating days and focus on these healthy carbohydrate choices:
- Whole grains: Unrefined grains are extremely healthy and are very beneficial for health.Sources of these foods include: brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa
- Vegetables: Each vegetable has different vitamins and nutrients, so include different varieties in your plan to get the benefits
- Unprocessed fruits: Just like vegetables, any fruit is special, especially berries with high antioxidants and low glycemic load.
- Grains: A great choice as slow-digesting carbohydrates. The reason for their slow digestion is the presence of high fiber and minerals. Just make sure that you are properly prepared.
- Starches: potatoes, sweet potatoes and more.