Lately, I have been getting a lot of messages on my Instagram Dm about a Carb diet and Carb cycle. Here you have more information about it on my website.

Carb cycling is a dietary approach in which you alternate carb intake on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

It is commonly used to lose fat, maintain physical performance while dieting, or overcome a weight loss plateau.

Some people adjust their carb intake day-to-day, while others may do longer periods of low, moderate and high-carb diets.

In short, carb cycling aims to time carbohydrate intake to when it provides maximum benefit and exclude carbs when they’re not needed (56).


You can program your carb intake based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Body Composition Goals: Some will reduce carbs during a diet, then add them back during a “muscle building” or performance phase.
  • Training and Rest Days: One popular approach is a higher carb intake on training days and a lower carb intake on rest days.
  • Scheduled Refeeds: Another popular approach is to do 1 or several days at a very high-carb intake to act as a “refeed” during a prolonged diet.
  • Special Events or Competitions: Athletes will often “carb load” prior to an event, and many physique competitors will do the same before a bodybuilding show or photoshoot.
  • Type of Training: Individuals will tailor carb intake depending on the intensity and duration of a particular training session; the longer or more intense the training is, the more carbs they will consume and vice versa.
  • Body Fat Levels: Many individuals will cycle their carbohydrates based on their level of body fat. The leaner they become, the more high-carb days or blocks they include.

A typical weekly carb cycling diet may include two high-carb days, two moderate-carb days and three low-carb days.

Protein intake is usually similar between days, whereas fat intake varies based on the carb intake.

A high-carb day normally means low-fat, whereas the low-carb days are high-fat.

Carb cycling is an advanced diet strategy requiring more manipulation and programming than a typical diet.


Carb cycling is a relatively new dietary approach.

The science is primarily based on the biological mechanisms behind carbohydrate manipulation.

There aren’t many controlled studies directly investigating a carb cycling diet (78).

Carb cycling tries to match the body’s need for calories or glucose. For example, it provides carbohydrates around the workout or on intense training days.

The high-carb days are also in place to refuel muscle glycogen, which may improve performance and reduce muscle breakdown (910).

Strategic high-carb periods may also improve the function of the weight- and appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin (1112).

The low-carb days are reported to switch the body over to a predominantly fat-based energy system, which may improve metabolic flexibility and the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel in the long-term (813).

Another big component of carb cycling is the manipulation of insulin (14).

The low-carb days and targeting of carbs around the workout may improve insulin sensitivity, a vital marker of health (15).

In theory, this approach will maximize the benefits carbohydrates provide.

Although the mechanisms behind carb cycling support its use, it should be interpreted with caution due to the lack of direct research on the approach.


BOTTOM LINE: The proposed mechanism of carb cycling is to maximize the benefits of carbohydrates and teach the body to burn fat as fuel. While this makes sense in theory, more direct research is needed.


The mechanisms behind carb cycling suggest that it can be beneficial for weight loss.

In theory, carb cycling may help you maintain physical performance while providing some of the same benefits as a low-carb diet.

As with any diet, the main mechanism behind weight loss is a calorie deficit, as in eating less than your body burns over a prolonged period of time (16).

If a carb cycling diet is implemented alongside a calorie deficit, then you will likely lose weight.

However, its more complex nature may cause adherence issues and confusion for beginners.

In contrast, many people may enjoy the flexibility of carb cycling. This could probably improve adherence and long-term success for some people.

BOTTOM LINE: The mechanisms behind carb cycling suggest it can help you optimize performance. However, further research is required.

Cycling for Muscle Growth and Sports Performance

Many people believe that carb cycling can be beneficial for muscle gain and physical performance.

The regular high-carb periods and targeted carb intake may help improve performance (17).

Carbs around the workout may also aid with recovery, nutrient delivery and glycogen replenishment (910).

This may also promote muscle growth. However, some research suggests carbs are not needed to build muscle if protein intake is sufficient (18).

While these mechanisms make sense in theory, direct research comparing carb cycling to other diets is needed to provide an evidence-based answer.


BOTTOM LINE: The mechanisms behind carb cycling suggest it can help you optimize performance. However, further research is required.

Does Carb Cycling Have Any Other Benefits?

As already mentioned, carb cycling has the potential to provide some benefits that other diets cannot.

By having periods of low and high-carb, you may get many of the benefits provided by both diets, without some of the negatives.

Benefits of low-carb periods may include better insulin sensitivity, increased fat burning, improved cholesterol and enhanced metabolic health (813151920).

High-carb refeeds may also have positive effects on hormones during a diet, including thyroid hormones, testosterone, and leptin (1221).

These factors may play an important role in long-term dieting success since hormones play a key role in hunger, metabolism and exercise performance (22).

BOTTOM LINE: Low-carb periods may provide a number of health benefits, and high-carb refeeds can have positive effects on your hormones.

Source: Healthline

Date: 04 Aug. 2018

Published by thatblackirishfitgirl

Welcome to my Blog, I post everything relating to health, nutrition, and fitness. My name is Bola! I'm a Certified sport scientist. Thanks for stopping by!

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