Carb Cycling an Alternative to Low Carb Diets
As a sports medicine nutritionist, I am concerned about the lack of awareness and confusion people have over the best way to lose weight. In the 1990’s, we were erroneously told that all fat was bad for us. Now, carbs are being blamed for America’s increasing waistline. Even some athletes have fallen into the low-carb trap. I urge you not to make this same mistake. If you want to lose weight, build muscle, have tons of energy, and even improve your skin and sex drive – you need to eat carbs. It’s true – carbs are good for you! You just need to know when and how to eat them.
First, let’s dispel some myths about low carb diets like the Atkins diet. It is estimated that nearly 60 million Americans have tried to avoid carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, pasta and cereal. Even Burger King is cashing in on this trend by selling a bunless burger! Still, the average person’s weight in this country continues to increase.
What is going wrong? Low-carb diets do not work long-term because they contain too many calories. They also require you to avoid carbohydrates for the rest of your life, which quickly leaves most people feeling deprived and unsatisfied. Eating should be pleasurable, not stressful. Even worse, low carb diets can wreck your metabolism and damage your health. Traditional low carb diets ban fruits and certain vegetables. It just doesn’t make sense to deny your body these foods, which protect against cancer, hypertension and heart disease. Getting healthy is not just about losing weight, it is about gaining health.
For years I helped members of the Russian National Athletic Team drop fat, build muscle, and improve their performances by alternating between days of eating a normal amount of carbs and days of limited carb consumption. This method produced amazing results because it was based on real science, not marketing hype by the diet industry.
When I moved to America, I started seeing clients who dieted and exercised regularly but still could not lose weight. They didn’t realize that a slowed metabolism was derailing their efforts. That’s when I decided to create a plan that could be as effective as the program I developed for the Russian athletes but simple enough for anyone to use. The Carb Cycling Diet was born.
The key to carb cycling is learning how to exploit the two important bodily processes that determine how you look and feel – anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is the process by which your body builds muscle. Catabolism is the process by which your body burns fat. Low carb diets focus only on changing your catabolism – they do not help you build muscle. By alternating between low carb and higher carb days, my clients have been able to get the lean, strong bodies they have always wanted. They also enjoy the luxury of eating the foods they love, as long as they eat them at the right time. It takes a little discipline at first, but it is far easier and healthier than restriction diets like Atkins.
During normal carb days, I recommend eating between 350 to 400 grams of carbohydrates. That’s about what you probably are already eating. Keep in mind that you should focus on eating unrefined carbs from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Limited refined carbs from sugar and processed white flour.
On limited carb days, do not eat any foods containing sugar or white flour. Try to keep your carbs under 300 grams a day. You should never starve yourself or feel hungry, even on limited carb days. Sound tricky? It’s not! Counting carbs is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Plus, the small extra effort will bring you a huge payoff. If you combine carb cycling with exercise, you will protect yourself from age-related illnesses, such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even form of cancer. You’ll also look and feel great.