Everyone aims at staying fit. And staying fit entails doing exercises and eating healthy. Well, some people also take supplements to ensure they’re in good shape. One group of people that hold staying fit in high esteem are athletes. Athletes always have to stay fit so that they would be able to give their best during a game. One of the ways athletes stay fit is by following a carb cycling diet. With its fancy name, it has also gained the attention of so many people that aren’t athletes. And now carb cycling is one of the diet plans people are raving for.
We all know carbohydrate is a macronutrient. Which implies that it is needed in large quantities by the body. But too much of everything they say is a problem. This saying is actually applicable to too much carbohydrate consumption. So many health conditions are associated with consuming carbohydrates on a large scale.
That’s why people have come up with diet plans to help reduce and monitor the carbohydrates you consume in a day. And one unique plan among many carb diets is a carb cycling diet. It’s unique because it has to do with cycling the number of carbs you consume. Let’s find out more about this interesting diet plan.
What is Carb Cycling?
Over the years carb cycling has sure gained popularity. From its name you can tell that it involves cycling carbohydrates. High and low levels of carbohydrates are alternated daily. Carb cycling needs strict adherence. At the same time, nutritionists believe that it should only be done for a short period.
One major goal of carb cycling is for your body to burn fats. Normally, your liver has storage of glucose as glycogen. So when you are low on glucose your liver would release glycogen to be used by the body as glucose. But when you are on a low-carb diet and you also exercise there are higher chances that burning fat would be easier.
So different people have different carb cycle diets. But the main point is switching between low carbs and high carbs. Carb cycling diet is based on individual goals and also some other factors. But basically, all you have to do is take a high carb diet when you’re very active. And when you’re not, opt for a low-carb diet.
The amount of carbs you should take daily depends on some factors. Some of the factors are:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
- Your age, weight, and height
- Activity level
- Daily macronutrient breakdown
So on high days when you have to do a lot of work reduce intake to medium level. Which is 15-20% of the normal amount. And on low days, meaning days you work less you are expected to reduce carb intake by 20-25%.
Another approach is choosing the days of the week. For instance, you can choose to take a high carb diet on Mondays and Wednesdays. And then take low-carb diets Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. It’s up to you to choose what to eat these days. And also the days you would prefer is all up to you.
The bottom line of carb cycling is being able to maximize the nutrients in carbohydrates. And also teach your body in burning more fat than carbohydrates.
How Does It Work?
So there’s no precise definition as to how carb cycling should be done. Different people use preferences to determine how they would it. But one common thing among people doing carb cycling is that there’s a goal. So a daily goal is set as to the number of carbohydrates that would be consumed. This well is dependent on the individual. That’s because different people set different limits.
When someone is consuming a low-carb diet it’s expected that the amount of carbohydrate is about 50g. It is lesser than this. But it should not supersede this amount. On low carb days, it’s expected that protein and fat intake increases. That’s so that calorie needs would still be met.
It’s recommended that on low carb days a person eats non-starchy vegetables such as eggplants and cauliflower. Also, a person can take some nuts, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
On a high carb day, higher amounts of carbohydrates are consumed. About 50% of calories consumed should be from carbohydrates. Then the remaining percent can come from proteins and fats. But make sure that whatever amount you are consuming falls within dietary recommendations.
Well, foods you can take on this day are the same as foods you can take on low carb days. You just have to include beans, whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables such as legumes, potatoes, and corn. Also, you have to avoid highly processed foods, refined sugars, and also limit the intake of alcohol.
Eating good foods while on a carb cycling diet is good. But it’s also important to couple it with exercise. Cardio exercises and high-intensity workouts are very important. Especially on low carb days. Because studies show that on low carb days more fat can be burn when exercise is done. While on high carb days strength and endurance can be built. Simply because your muscles have enough energy.
Is Carb Cycling Diet Effective?
According to researchers if a carb cycling diet is well-planned and done for a short period it’s very effective. The important thing is sticking to the diet plan. And also staying away from processed foods and also sugar.
Well, carb cycling is known to place the body in a calorie deficit state. Especially on a low carb day. But the good thing is that it helps with weight loss. So if you’re after losing weight in a good way then this might be the break you’ve been waiting for.
One important thing though is that you have to keep adjusting calorie intake. The reason is so that your body wouldn’t get used to this kind of nutrition strategy. For instance, if a person does not adjust diet plan on a low carb day there would be slower metabolism. And that’s because there’s no glucose available for organs to use.
The truth is that the carb cycling diet has proven to be very useful especially to athletes. But you should contact a good dietician or nutritionist before opting for a carb cycling diet.