Weight Loss: What is carb cycling and how does it help in losing weight?

Weight Loss: Carb cycling is followed by many to lose extra fats. Are you curious to know about this diet approach then read on.
weight loss,Health & Fitness,carb cyclingWeight Loss: What is carb cycling and how does it help in losing weight?
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Carb cycling is usually a short term dietary approach and in this, you keep changing your carb intake on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. So, some days you have a high carb diet while low or moderate on other days. It is mainly followed by those who want to lose fat, gain muscles, maintain physical performance, or overcome a weight loss plateau.  A typical weekly carb cycling diet can include two high-carb days, two moderate-carb days, and three low-carb days. Protein intake can be the same, however, the fat intake will depend on carb's intake.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me clear that carbs are not enemy, in fact, they are very much important for the proper functioning of our body and mind. It is especially needed for muscle-building workouts, however, eating too many carbs can lead to fats. And that's carb cycling can help to lose extra fats and maintain a healthy weight. So, coming back to the carb cycling diet approach, the amount of carbohydrates one should eat depends on the person's weight, muscle mass, goals, and activity levels. 

How can it help in losing weight?

For example, if you are working out hard, then you will need more carbs on that day. As the body burns through them (along with fat) for energy. This allows the muscle-powering nutrient protein to get utilized for muscle building (this again aids in fat loss as muscles lead to better metabolism). But on days when you are not working out or have less activity, then more carbs can lead to the storage of unused glucose in your fat cells (which is the common reason for weight gain among many). Also, eating fewer carbs will make our body burn more of the fats for energy instead of burning carbs and muscle tissues for energy (which works like a Keto diet). Those who are having sedentary life and want to lose weight should keep a check on the number of carbs and keep changing the amount as per your body's daily requirement and physical activity.

Example of High carb and low carb days

On high-carb days, around 60 percent of calories should come from complex carbs and it will be complemented with the high-energy workout. On low-carb days, when you are doing low-key exercises like jogging or yoga, one can swap a serving or two of your carb intake with leafy veggies, lean protein, or healthy fats.

Is carb cycling and keto diet the same?

Keto involves only very low-carb, moderate- protein, and high in fat so that our body burns nothing but fat for energy. Carb cycling has many days where we need a higher number of carbs and less fat. They are quite similar as you are managing and controlling carbs in both diet approaches. And that's why many people mix them up and follow Keto cycling. In Keto cycling, one has to follow the keto protocol most days of the week with one or two re-feeding days of higher carb intake. The re-feeding days will give a break from ketosis and offer dieters the benefits of carbohydrates, such as better athletic performance, boost fiber intake, and better variety in the diet among others. 

This diet may not be suitable for all and should be followed for short period of time. One should note that carb cycling is a very strict diet approach which is generally followed by serious athletes and bodybuilders. They do it for the drop in body fat, for more muscle mass, or store more carbs for long-haul exercise like a marathon. However, many are nowadays follow it for weight loss. It can help weight watchers who want to break up the monotony of a low-calorie diet or go past a weight loss plateau. After following the same, one may experience carb flu as it can lead to fatigue, constipation, bloating, sleep disturbances, moodiness and irritability. However, it is temporary. One should also focus on hydration levels and electrolyte levels.

ALSO READ: Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs: Here's the difference between the two

Note: Everyone's body needs are different. So, as per your body, weight loss goals and other factors, chalk up a custom diet with the help of a dietician that suits you.

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