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Why does carb cycling work so well for fat loss?

Nov. 5, 2018 13:02

Irritating diets and nutrition restriction, cheat meal once a week or two and frequent disruptions. All of these are common things when you follow a traditional type of diet.

It means you restrict calorie intake while increase daytime activity. Thus every day you eat less than you'd prefer which harmfully impacts on your psychological state.

Here we offer you a review of an innovative kind of weight loss method called "carb cycling".

Carb cycling simply means to rotate carbohydrate intake across the week, usually between low, moderate, and high days. These terms are relative to net calorie intake. 

For instance, somebody’s “low” day might be somebody else’s “high” day, depending on the variables we explained above. Usually, fats will go up as carbohydrate intake goes down for the day, and vice versa. These two nutrient groups typically have an inverse relationship when it comes to optimising fat loss with carb cycling.

Carb cycling is a strategy that can be applied in many different formats, depending on many various factors, including muscle mass, body-fat percentage, training volume, training frequency, age, gender, and genetic tendencies (i.e., carb tolerance). 

However, the fundamentals of carbohydrate cycling are, to a degree, the same regardless of application. Here is an overview of why this works so well for fat loss.

First, cycling carbs makes it easier to sustain an energy deficit because, collectively across the week, your net carb intake is going to be lower. 

Psychologically it’s nice to have “high” days during which you know you’re going to be able to eat, making days where there’s short-term hunger easier to cope with (although hunger shouldn’t really be an issue until you’re very lean). 

However, carbohydrate cycling does have a more specific application than basic energy management. 

By reducing energy intake for short periods of time and then giving your body acute increases in carbohydrates before backing off again the next day, your metabolism is far more likely to remain optimised.

Many people notice a reduction in metabolic activity after spending too long in an energy deficit—periodically feeding carbs back in higher quantities helps stimulate the thyroid. 

It’s also good for keeping leptin levels high as you become very lean, which can be one of the causes of stubborn fat loss.

Of course, there is no universal rule of how to cycle carbs for each person willing to lose fat, but we gathered common laws that should be considered as a starting point:

  1. Have your high days on the leg and/or back day—this is when you’ll be spending more energy. Therefore your body will utilise the extra muscle glycogen. 
  2. Low days are usually best had on rest days, with medium days falling on smaller muscle group days. 
  3. Ensure your fat intake goes up on low days to account for the reduction in energy. This means that your body also becomes more efficient in using glucagon and insulin pathways to burn energy. 
  4. Even on high days, ensure your calories come from wholesome sources because these will give your body more nutritional density. 
  5. Analyze how your weight is coming off on a weekly basis and adjust your carb-cycling formation accordingly. Usually, you will feel hungrier the day after a high day because of the elevation in metabolic output.
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