Carbohydrates are part of a balanced diet, but they can affect your weight and health negatively. When they are consumed, carbohydrates are converted into glucose which is released into the blood stream. Insulin is then released to remove the glucose, but some say the problem is that it is then stored as fat. That is why many say that insulin contributes to obesity. While that is not entirely true, trying to lose fat becomes difficult with high carbs intake.
Despite all this, you cannot just stop taking carbs because they are an excellent source of immediate energy. Ironically, fat loss will become more difficult without carbs. Muscle gain will also become a challenge because the muscle-building hormones will reduce. Stress hormones, on the other hand, will increase, and your metabolism will slow down. It is, therefore, important to properly manage your carbohydrates intake. To achieve that, try carb cycling.
Carb cycling involves alternating between high and moderate carb consumption on different days. The low carb days will see you lose fat while the high carb days will help you grow muscles. The fat and protein intake will be consistent throughout.
How to Carb Cycle
Your carb cycling will depend on the activities you are engaging in on a particular day. Carb cycling needs to be in sync with your workout program for effectiveness. When you schedule an intense workout, eat ‘good carbs’, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and fruit. On the days you are doing cardio exercises or resting, avoid the carbs but eat your vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and fruit. Alternate between high-carb and low-carb days throughout the week. ‘Good carbs’ include foods like sweet potato, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal or Quinoa. Avoid carbs like pizza, cakes, pastries, cereal or white bread. Some even add a no-carb day where you take less than 30 grams of carbohydrate, but you might find this almost impossible if you have an active lifestyle.
Why carb cycle?
Carb cycling will boost your fat burning efforts and also promote lean muscles growth or retention. This will help you lose weight. Carb cycling also increases your receptiveness to insulin. It also promotes a healthier diet as you will avoid bad carbs which can cause other health problems.
Side effects of carb cycling
For all the benefits of carb cycling, there are some down-sides to the technique. For those who hold a lot of water weight, you will only increase this with carb cycling. It can also make your body carbohydrate sensitive. The benefits of carb cycling, however, outweigh the side effects.
For the best results when carb cycling, make an exercise and meal plan a week ahead and shop for everything you will need early. This will help you stay on track and be more disciplined. You might feel hungrier on low-carb days and when that happens, grab a fruit. Carb cycling will help you enjoy the benefits of carbohydrates without its adverse effects on fat loss.