Your Guide To Carb Cycling For Weight Loss
8 months ago, 16 Jan 21:01
Here’s the ish with carbs: You need them to power through muscle-building workouts, but eating too many can contribute to fat storage and excess pounds. That's why some experts say that carb cycling for weight loss, or boosting your carb intake on some days and cutting back on others, might be the happy medium we’ve all been looking for. Here, we delve into whether this trendy way of eating can actually help you drop pounds without giving up the best food group. What Carb Cycling Means There are a lot of carb-cycling regimens out there. For example, some serious athletes, like bodybuilders, who know exactly when and how long they’ll work out each day follow a weekly pattern, says Brian Murray, an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and certified nutritionist. That might include a high-carb day followed by three days of eating very little carbohydrates. For these kinds of plans, dieters keep track of each gram of carbs they consume, says Murray. (Start working on your fitness with Women's Health's Look Better Naked DVD.) The exact amount of carbohydrates they eat totally depends on their weight, muscle mass, goals, and activity levels, he says. But for the average active woman looking to lose weight, the best way to take on carb cycling is on a day-to-day basis, says Murray. How It Works On days when you’re crushing it at the gym or training for a race, carbs are your BFF. Your body burns through them (along with fat) for energy instead of protein. That allows the muscle-building nutrient to focus on doing its job. But on days when you don't leave the couch, eating extra carbs could encourage your body to store that unused glucose in your fat cells. By eating less carbs on a rest day, your body turns to fat for energy instead of the sugary and starchy foods it usually gobbles up, says Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss. Can It Help You Lose Weight? For those days when you’re playing desk jockey or couch potato, there are definite weight loss benefits to chowing on fewer carbs. “You don’t need to be hoarding all these extra calories if they’re not going to be used," says Fear. "Unlike your fat and protein intake, your carb needs vary from one day to the next.” Also, when you swap carbs for protein and veggies, it becomes trickier to overeat (most of us don’t binge on broccoli and chicken), so that helps your waistline. Should You Try It? While there's nothing dangerous about switching up the way you consume carbs, "measuring things down to the gram puts you in a restrictive mindset, which can leave you craving those foods you’re missing out on,” says Fear. Carb cycling without a set of gram guidelines seems like it would be less effective (especially compared to the plans bodybuilders follow). But since everyone's needs are different, sticking to a one-size fits all plan isn't the best method for meeting your weight-loss ...
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