Is Carb Cycling an effective diet format to lose weight and burn fat?
First, let’s define carb cycling. Carb Cycling is a diet in which you manipulate the amount of carbohydrates you take in per day. Some athletes manipulate their carbs or carb load prior to a sporting event like a marathon. Some athletes completely restrict carbs prior to an event like a bikini competition. There are also intermediate methods when carbs are increased to support a muscle growth period or decreased to support fat loss.
The key is in the manipulation of the carbs in order to create a destabilization and a sensitivity for the carbohydrates. When the body is deprived of carbs it uses fat for energy, however long sustained periods without carbs can decrease the fat burning effectiveness. Thus, periods of high carbs, low carbs and no carbs can keep the sensitivity so that your body responds exactly how you intend based on your goal.
At Flexx Sports Nutrition, we are all about burning fat and body transformation. To get your body sensitive to carbohydrates, periods of high carbs and low carbs is key.
Here are some examples
|Week 1-4 Low Carbs||Week 5 High Carbs|
|Day 1-6 Low Carbs||Day 7 High Carbs|
|*Low Carb could consist of 150g Carbs Per Day depending on your weight||*High Carb could consist of 400g Carbs Per Day depending on your weight|
On the days of low carb intake, you will increase your fat intake. Protein intake should remain constant during the process.
This method above is how you will burn fat for energy, however will this help you lose weight? No, weight loss only occurs when you have a caloric deficient diet. Most times however, when participating in a diet like this, by default, you do reduce your calories, in which you will lose weight.
The scientific research to back the effectiveness of this diet is still unclear. There are also some initial side effects of depleting carbs like, lack of energy, poor cognitive function, irritability, etc. Notice these side effects as you go through this type of diet to determine if it makes sense to continue. It is also extremely important to discuss methods like this with you doctor, dietician or nutritionist. Changes in carbohydrate intake can be dangerous especially for anyone that has a condition with their body’s insulin regulation.
Our stance is that carb cycling is effective and unless you are a pro bodybuilder the idea would be to keep this in moderation where you don’t completely eliminate your carbs and you don’t go crazy on the high carb day. A playful balance is the best long-term solution.