What is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is just what it sounds like: eating more carbohydrates on some days (high carb days) to promote muscle growth and eating less carbohydrates (low carb days) on same days to promote fat loss and minimize fat gain. Using this technique combined with intermittent fasting, your body will enter extreme fat burning mode. However, intermittent fasting is just as important as carb cycling. This is where you have periods of time without eating at all, letting your body rest from insulin production. It is a conscious decision to skip certain meals, shortening your feeding window as well as resting your body during your fast.
When you consume carbs, insulin is released into the bloodstream to help transport those carbs to the liver for fuel for later or to our muscles for storage. When these storage areas are "full" (which is the the case when we eat too many carbs), they are stored as FAT. With carb cycling, you are continually utilizing these carb stores as well as burning more stored fat.
When trying to lose weight and potentially gain muscle, our bodies need the right combination of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins.
Carbohydrates turn into the source your body uses for fuel for day-to-day functions. These can come in healthy versions such as veggies, fruits, potatoes, grains and legumes however a lot of people tend to lean towards the not-so-healthy versions such as processed foods, breads, cookies, cakes, sweets etc. Healthy carbs are an essential part of digestion and keeping your blood sugars steady!
Proteins build and maintains muscle as well as breaks down slowly thus burning more calories during digestion. Ladies, don’t let “muscle” scare you. Muscle is imperative to help you lose weight and keep it off. Muscles increase and ramp up your metabolism as well; one pound of muscle can burn up to 20 calories per day at rest whereas one pound of fat only burns 5 calories per day.
Healthy fats are also an essential part of any diet. Eaten in moderation and in conjunction with the right amount of carbs on each particular day (high carb day vs. low carb day), they help your energy levels steady and keep you from feeling hungry.
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