Low carb diets area great in theory, but often not sustainable in the long term and can do metabolic damage. The reason low carb diets work in the short term is because by removing carbs, we avoid insulin spikes, the hormone that stores fat. Instead, low carb diets promote leptin, the hormone that simulates fat loss. This works for a while until the body adapts, causing us to “plateau.”
Carb cycling works by cycling through low (or no) carb days, moderate carb days, and high carb days. By giving your body a different ratio of fat, protein, and carbs everyday, it doesn’t have a chance to adapt, helping the body balance its hormones and avoid the plateau. And let’s be honest, adding in some carbs makes eating a lot more fun!
CARB CYCLING RULES:
• Pair your high carb days with your most active days of the week.
• Do not plan two high carb days in a row.
• Carbs preferably come from healthier sources such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
Everyone approaches carb carb cycling differently, depending on your level of physical activity and how your body responds to carbs. It’s all about finding the right ratio for your body. The simplest way to approach it is to keep your protein intake the same each day. Fat intake should also be about the same, increasing some on low carb days. Your high carb days may be only 50% more carbs than moderate carb days or it could be double or triple a moderate carb day. Maybe you prefer more low carb days to moderate carb days during a week. There isn’t one “right” way to carb cycling, so experiment and find out what works best for you!
TO GET STARTED, CALCULATE:
• Total weekly calories = target daily calorie intake x 7
• Daily protein intake (in grams)
Total weekly calories: 12,000 (average daily intake: ~1700 calories)
By Laurenne Hom