Carb Cycling for Weight Loss

carb cycling

There are many types of diets whenever we search on the internet. In these diets, there include paleo diet, vegan diet, Mediterranean diet, keto diet, the South Beach diet, and much more. In this article, we will discuss what carb cycling is and how does it work in losing weight and also keeping you active.

We all know that carbohydrates are on fire by many nutrition experts as they are responsible for obesity, inflammation, and diabetes. You must keep this thing in mind that not all carbs are bad. We must eat good carbs as these are important for our body.

What is a carb cycling diet?

There are three macronutrients present, which include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. We all know that carbohydrate serves as the fuel for a body and brain when it is broken down into glucose. When glucose enters into the body, a hormone secreted by the pancreas called insulin which settles down the level of glucose in the blood. We also get energy in this process, where some energy is also stored as glycogen in fat cells.

Carb Cycling for Athletes and Body Builders:

Carb cycling is used by many athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness competitors in which they use the carb cycling diet to increase muscle mass and lose body fat. The people who want to lose extra weight must go for it. You must consult your dietitian when starting a carb cycling diet as it is not appropriate for everybody.

In carb cycling, people eat good carbs during the day. There will be a high carb day in which people eat mostly 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. People also go for a low carb diet in which they usually eat approximately 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. The most crucial thing in carb cycling is that you must eat carbs from clean sources and to better utilize fat for burning as fuel as opposed to burning carbs and muscle tissue for fuel.

Exercise with Carb Cycling:

As we discussed earlier that in carb cycling for some days, you will go for a high carb diet, and for other days you will go for a low carb diet. There also comes a day when you will go for a no-carb food. But when you are exercising, your body is using that stored carb for energy. So on exercise days, ultimately, you will go for a high carb diet because you are also burning more calories overall in the exercise days. Finally, you will go for a low carb diet when you are doing less workout. In this way, you can control your calories the whole week.

Who is Carb Cycling Right For?

As we also discussed earlier that carb cycling is more helpful for athletes and active people who are on low carb diets. The people who do certain kinds of sports such as running, cycling or swimming must go for carb cycling, which is very helpful for increasing muscle glycogen stores and performance.

Also Read: Upper Back Pain: Symptoms and Medical treatments

When you involve yourself in a certain kind of activity, your body is better utilizing carbs when it is reintroduced in the body. So your performance level is also increased with the help of carb cycling. The people who are interested in weight control for fat loss must adopt carb cycling as a low carb diet is very helpful in the maintenance of weight and overall health. So when you do certain kinds of intense exercises or work out, your body consumes carbohydrates as it is the primary fuel for your organization.

Keto diet:

You must be heard about the keto diet, which is the high fat and low carb diet, so carb cycling is popular with people who follow the keto diet. But when you are on carb cycling, you must eat a low-fat diet to benefit from it. So it is recommended by many neutralists not to go for carb cycling when you are on the keto diet, especially if you are new to the eating style habits. So carb cycling means you have to limit high carb days to only once or twice a week.

How Carb Cycling Works?

As we all know that when we take macronutrients such as carbohydrates and fats, our metabolism increases. The increase or decrease in metabolism is depended on calorie consumption. But you must keep in mind that during carb cycling, you must eat the required carbohydrates at the right time so that the metabolism boost and signals the body to produce essential hormones in the body. When you are on carb cycling, you can achieve a healthy weight.

According to different studies, it is assumed that taking too many carbohydrates has the opposite effect, which results in weight gain by stimulating insulin to be released too often. In carb cycling, when you are on a low carbohydrate diet for three days. You will become successful in encouraging your body to use stored carbohydrates, which is glycogen, and also increases the burning body fat ketones, which are used for fuel. When the stored body fat is burnt during low carb cycling, then it will lead to weight loss.

Carb cycling plan is dependent on your goals what you want. The actual carb cycling is going for deficient carbohydrate intake for almost three days to achieve the weight loss. Then after 2-3 days, you increase carbohydrate intake, especially on a day when you do a lot of exercise or workout.

When you are on a low carb diet, you must eat 50 to 150 grams of carbohydrates, which usually comes from non-starchy vegetables and very less dairy products. However, in high carbohydrate days, you can eat 220 grams of carbs, which typically come from whole grains, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and dairy products.

Which type of people get benefit from carb cycling? 

  • People who are weight-loss resistant.
  • Those who are insulin resistant.
  • People who are pre-diabetic or having type 2 diabetes.

When carbohydrate intake is decreased, then insulin is released in higher amounts, which burns the source of carbohydrates and using fat for energy in the form of ketones. This energy is used as fuel by your body. 

In addition to better insulin sensitivity and fat-burning benefits from carb cycling, it is also helpful in the improvement of cholesterol levels in the body and also enhanced metabolic health. The hormones level in the body is also improved with the help of a high carb diet. So, the functionality of different hormones, such as testosterone, leptin, and thyroid hormones, is also enhanced. So carb cycling is crucial for the people who want to achieve long-term dieting success. You can also control your essential hormones such as hunger, metabolism, and exercise performance hormones, with the help of it.

Carb cycling is also beneficial for muscle growth and sports


It is an essential and useful for people who want to grow muscles and increase physical performance. Different athletes use carb cycling such as regular high carb diets then their overall performance is increased. Muscle growth is also improved with the help of it. It is also helpful in nutrient delivery, recovery of the muscles, and also glycogen replenishment.

a. What are the excellent essential carbs required in carb cycling?

As we all know that plants are a good source of carbohydrate, and these vegetables are also enriched with vitamins and minerals. So, we must eat a variety of vegetables to get the right balance.

b. Unprocessed Fruits:

When you are on carb cycling, you must go for those fruits which are unprocessed and especially the fruits which are rich in antioxidants such as berries. We all know that the foods which are rich in antioxidants have several benefits for the body. Keep this thing in mind that you are not eating those fruits which have high glycemic content. It means that we must not eat banana or mango because they are rich in sugars and increase your weight.

c. Tubers:

In tubers, sweet potatoes and potatoes are included. But from my point of view, you must avoid the sweet potatoes and go for the regular potatoes.

d. Whole Grains:

Whole grains are a good source of carbohydrates. So when you are on carb cycling, you must eat unmodified grains that have several benefits for your body. Whole grains include quinoa, oats, and brown rice.

e. Legumes:

Legumes include many varieties of beans, such as pure beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, and much more. So you can enjoy the full range of legumes during carb cycling.

Amount of carbohydrate during a week:

First day: 50 grams of carbohydrates

Second day: 100 grams of carbohydrates

Third-Day: 150 grams of carbohydrates

Fourth day: 200 grams of carbohydrates

Fifth day: 125 grams of carbohydrates

On the fourth day, when you will consume 200 grams of carbs, you must go for intense work out such as heavy weight lifting, or long run. On day one, when you consume only 50 grams of carbohydrates, you must do the least practical exercises such as light cardio, mobility work, or only a rest day.

High carb diet plan for a day:

Meal 1: Breakfast

2 eggs boiled or scrambled in coconut oil.

Fresh berries and gluten-free porridge with honey.

Meal 2: lunch

Rice with homemade Turkey burgers.

1 banana and 3 rice cakes.

Meal 3: Snack

A potato with tuna and a side salad.

Meal 4: Workout Nutrition

A milkshake blended with fresh berries and protein powder,1 banana, and rice milk. 

Meal 5: Evening Meal

Chicken breast roasted and served with white Jasmine rice snacks.

Low Carb Diet Plan for a Day:

Meal 1: Breakfast

4 whole eggs scrambled in coconut oil.

Meal 2: Lunch

Turkey burgers with a large plate of salad.

A handful of roasted nuts.

Meal 3: Snack

Small potato with tuna and cheese.

Meal 4: Evening Meal

Chicken breast wrapped, stuffed and served with roasted seasonal vegetables and olive oil.

One week meal plan for carb cycling:


High Carb:


200 ml skimmed milk with 50-gram oats serving with raspberry and honey. You can also use half a scoop of whey protein.


Post-workout shake: Take a hundred ml coconut milk and blend with one scoop of protein powder, also add half banana, 75 ml skimmed milk + 1 tablespoon oats.


Quinoa 100 gram with 1 chopped onion, chilli, garlic, and walnuts. You can serve quinoa with Salmon fillet.


Take a pot and add some hummus with carrot, cucumber, and celery.


Stir fry chicken, a handful of nuts.


Low carb


Omelette, a handful of nuts.


Grilled prawns with salad.


 2 boiled eggs


Roasted chicken with salad.


Medium carb:


Cheese omelette, a handful of almonds.


Lamb steak with cherry, tomatoes, and salad leaves.


A small pot of hummus with carrot and cucumber sticks.


Steamed chicken with brown rice and yogurt.


Low carb


Scrambled eggs with bacon, rashers.


Grilled prawns with avocado and pumpkin seeds.


Ham salad.


Tuna Steaks with broccoli and cauliflower.


Low carb


Omelet with onions and tomatoes. A handful of nuts.


Tuna with salad.


A small pot of hummus with celery, cucumber sticks, and carrots.


Pork Chops with a green salad.


High carb


200 ml skimmed milk with 50-gram oats, add half scoop of whey protein at the end.


Cucumber cut in slices, add some salt and pepper to eat.


Chicken breast and broccoli with 2 boiled eggs.


Baked potato with sweetcorn and tuna.


Stir fry chicken Ginger.


Low Carb


Smoked haddock with asparagus.


Grilled chicken with green and red pepper, onion, and tomatoes.


Vegetable salad.


Cheese salad with spinach and beetroot.

These are the diet plan of 7 days to continue with carb cycling. You can make changes according to your needs.

What portion of protein and fat be eaten with carb cycling?

During carb cycling, the protein intake remains the same as carbohydrates, whereas you can change the fat intake in opposition to carb intake. On low carb day, the fat intake goes up to provide the necessary calories and fuel for the body, whereas, on higher carb days, the fat intake must be lower down to keep the total calories in check.

Final words:

Just like the Adkins and ketogenic diet, carb cycling is also a low carbohydrate diet. All these diets are adopted by different people to achieve weight loss in a short period. When you realize using ketones for fuel instead of glucose, you will be able to lose weight as you feel if you are craving carbohydrates foods. In all these diets, you can maintain sustainable energy levels and keep your blood sugar level steadier.

You may also like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *