When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and eating habits, you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about the importance of carbohydrates — the “good” carbs against the “bad” carbs to avoid. Now, a new carb diet known as “carb cycling” is gaining popularity. However, experts warn that it is not suitable for everyone.
Carb cycling is a short-term diet that is particularly beneficial to endurance athletes who wish to reduce or maintain weight while improving their energy levels.
This can be advantageous for someone in a weight-sensitive activity, according to a sports health nutritionist. Carb cycling isn’t a diet or a weight-loss plan. It is also not the most ideal approach for the ordinary weekend warrior.
How does carb cycling work?
Carb cycling can be an excellent training method for marathon runners, triathletes, and other serious sports.
Depending on your training schedule, you can change up your carb-cycling strategy.
A 5-day schedule, for example, is one option. For three days, you consume a low-carb diet (averaging about 100-125 grammes each day). Then, on physically active days, you eat a larger amount of carbohydrates (175-275 grammes) for two days.
Others follow an even simpler strategy: consume more carbohydrates on days when you’re undertaking intensive physical activity to maximise energy and reduce tiredness. On less active days, you eat less carbohydrates, which may help you maintain or reduce weight.
Your body is more efficient and your metabolism is higher when you’re an athlete. She does, however, add a word of warning. Carb cycling is a new, popular idea with little science behind it.
However, one thing is certain. Any weight reduction will be transient if you do not engage in an intense fitness regimen. On high-carb days, you may even gain weight.
Which carbs are best for carb cycling?
Carb cycling follows the same premise of eating good carbohydrates and avoiding harmful carbs. Endurance athletes should consume a variety of complex, nutrient-dense carbohydrates to assist them maintain energy and control blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrates that are good for you include:
• high in fibre
• slow to digest
• unprocessed (meaning natural ingredients are not removed)
Carbohydrates are found in the following foods:
• Whole-grain starches
• Sweet and white potatoes
• Legumes (beans, lentils, split peas)
Carbohydrates that are bad for you include:
• found in highly processed foods
• low in fibre
• usually made with white flour and/or sugar
White bread, sugary cereals, cakes, and cookies are examples of foods high in the carbs you should avoid.
Counting carbohydrates has never been easier
Many fitness trackers allow you to keep track of your daily food consumption and calories burned.
You may also utilise one of the numerous applications accessible on the internet. My Fitness Pal and Lose It! are both beneficial.
Carb cycling, she believes, is not harmful in the short term. However, it’s critical to eat a well-balanced diet to keep blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels in the healthy range.