What are the “Benefits” of Carb Cycling
Hello Health Advocates!
Today we are talking about the “Benefits” of Carb Cycling
Why do it? "The rationale behind carb cycling is that when your body receives limited carbs, it relies on fat as the primary fuel source, which can be helpful for weight management, body fat losses, and boosting carb storage when carbs are reintroduced," Clark says. The idea is that by being strategic about when and how you eat carbs (your body's preferred fuel source for exercise), you can more efficiently power your workouts and achieve better results in terms of both performance and body composition.
So understand carb cycling does the following:
• Accelerates fat loss
• Lowers insulin sensitivity and improve Leptin resistance
• Reduces overall “craving” of carbohydrate.
While these are all potentially great benefits, they are secondary benefits at best, and they are not at the roost cause of this diets effectiveness. The secret reason carb cycling works is the same reason any other diet works, through a good old fashion caloric deficit and should pulse in ketosis which lets face it longevity.
But there are some general guidelines you can use to figure out a starting point. On high-carbohydrate days, individuals often consume about 60 percent of their calories from complex carbs, On low-carbohydrate days, individuals will switch out some of their carbohydrates for healthy fats like avocaodea and seeds and nuts
Another option is to use your low-carb days as a starting point to calculate your medium and high carb days. "If you consider that 50 grams of carbs per day is what is generally needed to reach ketosis, and that would be for a adult weighing 50-60 kg you could start there as your low-carb day, Work your way up from there and max out at 200 grams of carbs per day.
So your week might look like this:
Day 1: 50 grams carbs
Day 2: 50 grams carbs
Day 3: 100 grams carbs
Day 4: 150 grams carbs
Day 5: 125 grams carbs
Day 6: 200g grams Carbs
Day 7 : Blow out day and have fun !
Day 4 or 6 would be your most intense training day (heavy weightlifting, HIIT, or a long run), and day 1 and 2 would be your least intense (light cardio, mobility work, or a rest day). Then, you'd cycle back to day 1.
As for what to do with the rest of your calories, you have a couple of options. You can keep your protein and fat intake the same and only change the amount of carbs you eat on a daily basis, Try to match high-carb days with tough workout days, that way you get the boost in energy you need for your workouts from the extra carbs. Another option? Keep protein the same, but adjust fat when you adjust carbs. So if carbs go up, fat intake goes down to compensate for the shift in calories. This may be a better choice for those trying to lose weight or body fat.
My Thoughts on Carb Cycling:
While I as an anti-aging practitioner I do not necessarily buy into a lot of the fluff around this diet, and love prolong fasting cycled monthly until your goal weight is reached. I do use this method in between prolong fasting for rapid fat loss. But this is my take
Step 1: Understand what each day is supposed to do.
Low carb days allow for a rapid reduction in overall calories from the one nutrient you don’t need to survive (carbs). Moderate carbohydrate days will allow you to still maintain the ever important deficit, but work to increase training intensity/recoverability. High days allow for a “refeeding” effect for many and promote a more anabolic internal environment while maintaining calories at maintenance or slightly above.
Step 2: Calculate your caloric needs, cycle carbs accordingly. If you need to eat 1800 OR LESS to lose weight you might calculate your high days at 1800 calories, your moderate days at 1200, and your low days at 800, for example. The drop in calories should come from removing carbs. The caloric drops don’t even need to be that steep if a dieter feels the need for more they can add calories from fat, but this may slow down fat loss.
Step 3: Cycle your carbs around your workout programming. This is a logical yet often forgotten part of this diet. Your cycling of carbohydrates should align with the demands of your training, for example – one should have their high carb day on their harder training day to promote recovery and glycogen repletion, and I would suggest aligning the low carb/no carb day(s) with the days you either rest or have the lowest training demand.
Step 4: Protein and Fats are your friends: If you want to optimise this you need to ensure that you are performing well and are nourished. When carb cycling protein generally runs a bit higher then it might in many diets, and fats tend to inversely follow carbohydrates. So as carbs go down, fats should go up and protein should at the very least stay the same. As carbs go up, fats should drop and protein might drop some, but I wouldn’t recommend dropping it below 1g/kg of body weight.
Step 5: Longevity is absurdly eat less each day as long as not not under nourished !
Take Home Points:
• Carb cycling works. Not magically, but by creating a deficit in calories and carbs
• It may work well for you if you only train a few times/week.
• It may NOT work well for you if you do a great deal of endurance work/hard training.
• It is imperative that even on your high days you don’t go overboard and lose your deficit , this often happens with CC, binge episodes on high days are quite common. Not good.
- Fiber matters. Prioritising high-fiber carbs on low carb days is a solid and important way to go. Such as twice cooked rice. . Fiber supports satiety, cholesterol control, and your microbiome, among other things!"
- Quality matters. High-carb days shouldn't be filled with pizza and french fries. Whole ancient grains such as brown rice, quinoa, are healthier choices than more refined options such as sugar, cakes, cookies, and soft drinks
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