What Is Carb Cycling? How To Do It?

There are many popular diets which are followed worldwide for weight loss. Some of them include the Atkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, the Paleo Diet, and the Vegan Diet. Whatever the type of diet one may follow, it is not surprising that many people reach a plateau after a few weeks or months of starting a diet. People also find it difficult to stay motivated and start craving for food.

It is easier to lose weight in the beginning. That is because of losing ‘water weight.’ Foods such as sugars, salt, and carbs cause our body to hold on to extra carbs. By cutting those foods from the diet, a person experiences rapid weight loss in the beginning. Also, due to low-calorie intake, the glycogen stores are burnt and get depleted. Just as our body gets used to certain exercises, in the same way being on the same type of diet for a prolonged period of time makes the body passive to weight loss. However, there is a diet which helps to lose weight while not starving the body off carbs. It is called Carb Cycling.

What is Carb cycling diet?

As the name suggests, carb cycling involves alternating between a high carbohydrate and a low carbohydrate diet. By depleting the body of carbs (the main source of energy), our body uses the stored fats thereby causing weight loss. Carb cycling or carbohydrate cycling tricks the body into burning fat and losing weight consistently by cycling between high-carb and low-carb days. On the high-carb days, the body replenishes the glycogen stores and on low-carb days, the body burns fat. This diet was first introduced for bodybuilders as they need to keep the body fat low while maintaining and building muscle mass.

For weight loss, one should aim for four low-carb days and two high-carb days per week.

Which foods should one eat?

On low-carb days:

  • Eat healthy fats. Some examples include;
  1. Avocados.
  2. Cheese.
  3. Whole eggs.
  4. Nuts.
  5. Fatty fish.
  6. Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eat enough protein, preferably non-animal protein. Some foods with high protein content are;
  1. Eggs.
  2. Quinoa.
  3. Pumpkin seeds.
  4. Yogurt.
  5. Lentils.
  6. Almonds.
  7. Milk.
  8. Broccoli.
  9. Chickpeas.
  10. Pistachios.
  11. Tofu.
  • Eat low-carb foods. Examples include;
  1. Leafy green vegetables.
  2. Fruit such as apples, strawberries, pears, guavas, oranges, grapefruit, and kiwis.
  3. Cauliflower and broccoli.
  4. A handful of nuts.
  5. Baby carrots or regular carrots.
  6. Curd or unsweetened yogurt.
  7. Low-fat milk.
  8. Beans or legumes.

Limit the intake of simple carbs – those which consist of easy-to-digest sugars. Processed and refined foods such as white flour and sugar contain simple carbs. White rice and white bread also are sources of simple carbs. Avoid soda and cookies.

An exception to this rule is eating fruit – fruit contains simple carb fructose. Though it is a simple carb, it does not raise the blood sugar levels as glucose does. Moreover, fruit contains many micro and macronutrients which are very beneficial for our body.

On high-carb days:

  • Eat foods high in complex carbs. Examples include;
  1. Sweet potatoes.
  2. Whole-wheat bread.
  3. Oatmeal.
  4. Quinoa.
  5. Brown rice.
  • Preferably consume non-animal protein;
  1. Nuts such as pistachios and almonds.
  2. Soy products.
  3. Legumes.
  4. Pumpkin seeds.
  5. Lentils.
  6. Almonds.
  7. Broccoli.
  8. Chickpeas.
  9. Spinach.
  10. Black beans.

Animal sources include;

  1. Lean meat.
  2. Tuna.
  3. Salmon.
  4. Dairy.
  5. Whole eggs.
  • Always consume healthy fats such as;
  1. Avocados.
  2. Cheese.
  3. Nuts.
  4. Fatty fish.
  5. Extra virgin olive oil.

Takeaway: People who follow a low-carb diet constantly may experience a plateau in weight loss after some time. Cycling a low-carb with a high-carb diet tricks the body into burning fat constantly. Carb cycling can also help mitigate the risks associated with a low-carb diet such as lack of energy, craving, brain fog, reduced athletic performance, constipation, and cramping. By making a meal plan in advance before grocery shopping and preparing for meals in advance, this diet can be followed very easily.

Important note: Studies have not been conducted on a large-scale population to assess the benefits of carb cycling compared to other diet forms. Diabetics should be careful to prevent hypo or hyperglycemic episodes and should preferably speak with their doctor before going on this diet. Whether it is a high-carb or a low-carb day, ensure that you get enough micronutrients in your diet. Including chia seeds, berries, and fruit in your diet can help the body get beneficial nutrients every single day.

The psychological effect of dieting: An improved body image and easy movement can definitely create elated mood and bring a charm to your personality. Attaining a good weight will have benefits such as increased alertness and energy levels. You will also have improved health and a more positive relationship with food.

Mesmara brings to you a range of cold-pressed oils which contain healthy fats required for any diet plan. Cold-pressed oils are rich in nutrients and Omega 3 fatty acids. They help in maintaining good cholesterol in our body while lowering the bad cholesterol. Click here to buy Mesmara’s cold-pressed cooking oils.

So friends, if you are truly looking to lose weight and sustain/maintain the weight loss, try the carb cycling diet and see for yourself!


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