Is Carb Cycling Right For You?

Losing the winter weight is never easy but carb cycling may be what you need to reach your fitness goals. Here we break down what it is and how carb cycling affects the body.

Before deciding on changing your eating habits, it’s always recommended to consult with your doctor. In addition, natural supplements can help curb your appetite and assist you on any new diet plan.

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What Is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is a strict dietary regimen that encompasses alternating periods of consuming low amounts of carbohydrates with moderate to high amounts of carbohydrates. The idea is to obtain the physiological benefits of a low carbohydrate diet without any of the adverse effects of low carbohydrate intake over a long period.

The intervals for consuming high carbohydrates and consuming low carbohydrates can vary but the consensus appears to be that a person should consume low carbs for three days followed by two days of high carbs.

How Carb Cycling Affects The Body

The main chemical reactions for generating energy in the body rely on the breakdown of glucose molecules. Carbohydrates are the main source of dietary glucose.

On the days where a person is consuming very low amounts of carbohydrates, they do not have sufficient glucose to sustain their energy needs. The body then breaks down the stored glucose (in the form of glycogen) from the liver and muscles. This goes on for 24 hours after low carbohydrate consumption.

After that, the body enters a state called ketosis. The body generates molecules called ketones which allows it to break down stored fat and convert it to energy. This will occur from day two of low carbohydrate intake.

The Pros Of Carb Cycling

  • It improves insulin tolerance: On the days where carbohydrate intake is low, the body increases the number of insulin receptors on its cells. On the high carbohydrate intake days this allows for better glucose uptake.
  • It reduces ketone formation: Regular low-carbohydrate diets cause a massive build-up of ketones in the body which can lead it to become quite acidic. Ketoacidosis is when there are extremely high levels of ketones which can cause damage to the body tissues. This is a very dangerous state and is known to affect people who have diabetes as well as those with hyperthyroidism and alcoholism. By replacing carbohydrates on high intake days, ketone formation is reduced and the existing ketones are given a chance to be eliminated.
  • It reduces muscle breakdown: When muscles need immediate energy they can break down their proteins to produce glucose. Unfortunately, this reduces muscles mass, leaving bones in a weakened state and vulnerable to breakage. Replacing carbohydrates prevents muscle wasting.

The Cons Of Carb Cycling

  • It requires strict adherence: The diet only works if a person sticks to the plan very strictly. It has no room for cheats or slip-ups because this disrupts the physiological cycles that are occurring.
  • It is unable to reprogram metabolism: Metabolic reprogramming refers to the body’s reliance on one source of energy. By switching between glucose and fats, neither source is allowed to be stable in the body which can cause energy and mood fluctuations.


There is sufficient scientific merit behind a carb cycling diet because it manipulates the body’s physiology to enhance weight loss. The important thing for a person to understand is that it is not a miracle diet and it requires only healthy carbohydrates to be eaten.

Therefore, carb cycling needs just as much commitment as any other diet in order to achieve good results.


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