What is Carb Cycling? – The Basics

There are many different types of diets out there to choose from, including many that restirct or regulate carbs. If you have tried a traditional low carb diet, but you have a hard time eliminating carbs altogether and typically end up stopping the diet, there is another option. Carb cycling is a type of low carb dieting that doesn’t cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely, but instead regulates how many you take in each day. Carb cycling is often a method used by body builders that want to achieve the health a low carb diet can provide, but need those carbohydrates for fuel for pushing weights. You don’t have to be a weight lifter to get the benefits of carb cycling, however. Read on to learn about carb cycling to decide if it is a good low carb diet option for you.

Carb cycling diets consist of exactly what the name implies – you cycle your carbohydrate intake. There are a few different ways to do this, however. For some, they have low carb days and high carb days and these are rotated equally. For others, they will have no carb days, moderate carb days, and high carb days. When this type of carb cycling diet is followed, the days can be rotated equally, or you can opt for more low carb days than high carb days. 

The carb cycling diet is good for those who exercise a lot (particularly those who lift weights), and the higher carbohydrate days can be beneficial on days that training is strenuous. For off days or light days of working out, the low carb/no carb option is the best. If you don’t typically do strenuous workouts, but you are interested in carb cycling because you think you might be able to stick to this type of diet longer than a completely low carb diet, it is best to have fewer of the higher carb days. You may want to opt for one no carb day, followed by two low carb days, followed by one higher carb day. Repeating this cycle for carb intake can allow you those “cheat days” you may need to help you stick to a prominently low carb diet. 

When you opt for carb cycling, your protein intake stays consistent throughout and is not limited, but many will opt for lower fat foods on the days that they allow a higher carb intake. Traditionally, carb cycling diets are based on eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of just a few larger ones. This helps aid digestion and keeps the metabolism at a high level, which prevents those higher carb days from causing unwanted weight gain or fat storage. Many carb cycling dieters will consume 6-8 small meals throughout the day, and they do so on low carb days as well as the higher carb days.

 If you decide to try carb cycling, you can find a wide selection of great-tasting low carb foods that will make those low carb days easier than ever by visiting us at Linda’s Diet Delites