Carb Cycling: Here's What You Need To Know
Another "health hack" gaining popularity today, "carb cycling" involves periods of intense carbohydrate restriction while keeping protein and fat levels relatively consistent.
At it's most basic form and the method most commonly followed is 5 days of complete hell + 2 days of eating like you're a 17-year-old football player (AKA "re-feed" days). In other slightly more scientific words, following a strict 1500 calorie diet Monday-Friday and then indulging in two days of 2500 calories/day menu plans - the predominant source of increased calories coming from clean carbohydrates - think quinoa, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, oatmeal, etc. There's often a slight reduction in fat and protein on these "re-feed" days in order to allow for the carb-splurge.
Generally, because you're too damn good at dieting, and have become a pro at it - for too damn long.
Okay maybe that's not all (or any?!) of us, but it's still worth reading on to understand the science behind it...
If you cut calories, lower carbohydrates, even skip a meal or do a 24hr fast - sure, you'll almost certainly lose weight. IN THE SHORT TERM.
Keep up the good work and you're shooting yourself in the foot. Your basically wreaking havoc on your metabolism, and eventually your metabolic rate will decrease. That means you'll be burning less calories overall, so you'll have to eat less calories overall to maintain your same weight. Furthermore, for those interested in "gains" - you're also screwed. Essentially, your metabolism response to starvation (over the long-haul) brings body composition gains to a standstill.
Enter carb-cycling - your answer to a slightly less-depressing diet regime that will maintain your metabolism as well as workout performance. You've even get 2 days of the week that you don't want to punch someone in the face!
Okay, all kidding aside: this is a diet strategy that if used correctly, by someone with a lot of nutritional "willpower", is a safe and practical approach. With that said: it's advised for the SHORT-TERM - you can't follow this sort of protocol forever (and why would you want to...?!).
Basically, it's a slightly smarter, kinder, and arguably more efficient way to "crash diet".
So why the heck am I sharing this info like I'm some CrossFit Equinox bunny?! (Is that a thing? I just made it a thing.)
Well, there's all this hype around IF, keto, paleo, etc. diets these days - I came across a few carb-cycling food posts on Instagram the other day, and thought: hmmm...is this the new next best thing?
My initial take is probably not, as least not as a long-term healthy diet strategy. I'd also like to send a motherly and gentle "be careful" to those of you who are vulnerable to fad diet trends.