Carb Cycling: Good or Bad?

Written on: February 4, 2017

Carb cycling has been a hot topic in the past few years when it comes to creating a diet designed to burn fat and lose weight. Does this technique actually work for fat and weight loss, or is it just another exercise fad? Here, we will determine the pros and cons of this nutrition strategy from a personal trainer’s perspective.

The use of carb cycling dates back to the late 1800’s. Although it has gone by many names, this diet technique has always followed the same basic premise. When carb cycling there are “high” and “low” carb days, meaning the amount of carbs that you consume in any given day fluctuates. Let’s go through some examples of benefits:

Carb Cycling Pros:

1. Carbs, in some individuals, can lead to excessive weight gain. This happens if their body is not able to properly breakdown carb effectively, so limiting consumption may help.
2. Controlling carb intake and carb cycling in your nutrition can help you to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
3. Carb cycling teaches us great control in our nutrition and diet. Counting of carbs must be done constantly to make sure you stay on track. This takes a lot of self-control, which teaches great discipline.

Carb Cycling Cons:

Now, let’s go through some potential downfalls of carb cycling:
1. Carbs are a great source of energy, and “low” carb days can be difficult to get through, leaving you with a feeling of being exhausted.
2. If done improperly, carb cycling in your diet can lead to loss of muscle mass, since muscle is made up of proteins and glycogen, a long-chain form of carbs.
3. It is difficult and takes a lot of will power to stay on track with a low carb day.
4. Even more difficult is staying on track on a high carb days. You will need to demonstrate self-control to keep from eating every carb in sight.

So, is this diet technique right for you and your weight loss goals? Before starting you should consult an expert on the subject, including your physician, nutritionist, and in some cases, your personal trainer.

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