Lately, many people have jumped on the Keto bandwagon. It is a wagon that you do not want to jump off if you get on.
A person that starts keto will most likely get good results. When you remove carbs from your diet, your primary energy source, your body has to use your fat source for energy. As a result, burning fat will cause you to lose weight. However, if you decide to increase your carbs again, you will gain your weight back. The human body was not created to function on a low-carb diet for a long period of time. For that reason, a better option for weight loss is something called carb cycling.
Carb cycling is the process of fluctuating between low-carb foods and high-carb foods. This is needed to help lose fat while building muscle, regulate stress/hormones, and transform your body while improving your exercise performance.
So what are Carbs?
Carbs are used by your body as energy. Too many carbs can cause problems though. Instead of adopting a ketogenic diet, where a person takes in little to no carbs, carb cycling allows a person to benefit from a low-carb diet while enjoying the benefits of consuming more carbs. Let me explain!
Carbs cause our blood sugar to go up and release a hormone called insulin.
- Insulin is needed to store fat and use glucose for energy (Glucose is a sugar found in our blood). This energy is needed for daily functions and exercise performance.
- Insulin also regulates another hormone, called leptin. Leptin is needed to cause satiety. This keeps a person from overeating.
So, carbs are needed for energy and satiety. Without carbs your body may go into survival mode, telling your body that it is dying of starvation and you should eat more! If you do not, your body will then store more fat and cause metabolic adaption. This will lower your metabolic rate. Although carbs are needed, too many carbs are bad. This is where carb cycling comes into play!
Carb cycling allows you to limit your carbs on low carb days – (rest days) and increase carbs on your high carb days-(training days). This can be done daily, weekly, or monthly.
If you prolong your low carb days you will need to have a refeed process. A refeed process is when you slowly reintroduce carbs into your diet after a break of a week or longer.
How is Carb Cycling Done?
For short-term goals, you should practice carb cycling on a daily basis, by alternating your low-carb and high-carb days. Weekly and monthly schedules can be practiced by more advanced athletes, on a long-term basis. Adopting a Carb-cycle diet will require the assistance of a nutrition professional. They have the needed knowledge to accurately calculate your macronutrient split for your low-carb days and your high-carb days. Even with carb cycling, you must maintain a balanced diet.
Overall, If you are someone that wants to have your cake and eat it too, Carb cycling is for you!