Posted on 22 November 2012.
Carbohydrates have become unpopular in many diet plans. Actually, there are good and bad carbohydrates. Processed carbs lead to inflammation and excess fat storage in the body. They are also blamed for negative effects on blood sugar levels and insulin levels, which can lead to metabolic disorders and conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Yet, all carbs are not bad. Carbohydrates that are free from soy, gluten, and dairy are considered “clean” carbs. These are included in the carb cycling diet.
Carb Cycling diets divide the week into three types of eating plans. No carb days, low carb days, and high carb days. Dieters cycle through the three meal plans during the week. The varying amounts of carbs influence the insulin levels of the body and how fat is stored. Too great of a carb load leads to fat storage. By varying the amounts of carbs consumed daily, the muscle cells stay full, but not overloaded. The principle is that the no carb and low carb days keep the body sensitive to insulin, and allow fat burning. High carb days allow carb storage and promote muscle growth.
What does the plan look like? A sample plan would include the following:
- Day 1 no carb day
- Day 2 low carb day
- Day 3 high carb day
- Day 4 no carb day
- Day 5 no carb day
- Day 6 low carb day
- Day 7 high carb day
Lean meat and protein should be included with each of 5 – 6 meals per day. One gram of protein should be consumed for each pound of body weight and divided equally between the meals. Proteins can be chicken, turkey, tuna, fish, shellfish, lean beef, cottage cheese, and egg whites or egg substitute. Each day should also include one or two servings of healthy fat. Fats can include natural peanut butter, flax oil, mayonnaise, hemp oil, or olive oil.
No Carb Days
Lean protein, one or two servings of fats, and lots of high fiber vegetables including asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Total carbs should be 25 grams.
Low Carb Days
Lean protein, one or two servings of fats, and lots of high fiber vegetables. Two or three servings of “clean” starches are allowed. Choose from brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and starchy vegetables such as beans, pumpkin, squash, and zucchini. Total carbs should be 75 grams.
High Carb Days
Lean protein, one or two servings of fats, and lots of high fiber vegetables. Four of the meals should include a small piece of fruit. Enjoy carb amounts of 150 – 200 grams for women and up to 300 grams for men. Eat the foods you miss on high carb days. Your body won’t go into overload.
Carb Cycling diets help the body drop the percentage of body fat. For this reason, it is popular with body builders.
Having carbs before and after a workout is very important, so plan for this on your no carb and low carb days. The Carb Cycling diet is most effective for dieters with around 15 pounds to lose, and those who are already fairly lean.