[6:50 PM, 3/2/2019] Szeyat: Learn everything you need to know before starting the Carb Cycling Diet plan including it's history, guidelines & components, & all the science behind it.
Carb cycling is a dietary tool that essentially uses a fasted and fed approach; however it is unique in that it focuses specifically on carbohydrate intake and not any other macronutrient.
It uses long periods of carbohydrate restriction coupled with short windows of carbohydrate referring (aka refeeds).
The theory behind this diet is similar to other diets that manipulate dietary carbohydrates in that they are attempting to leverage insulin signaling to maximize fat loss.
Carb cycling adopts a different approach from other diets like the ketogenic diet or other low carbohydrate diets by including periods of high carbohydrate intake.
Carb cycling is also referred to as the cyclic ketogenic diet as it uses periods of ketosis which are purported to have some health benefits.
History of Carb Cycling
From what we can gather carb cycling as it is currently thought of is believed to have been created and implemented by Franco Carlotto in the late 1980s or early 1990s. It was a riff off of both the high carbohydrate diet ideas that pervaded the bodybuilding scene and the low-carb diets that were beginning to gain popularity in some of the dieting circles.
It was the first attempt to blend several ideas into one diet that might take advantage of the benefits of different dietary approaches that were being implemented during the Golden Era of Bodybuilding. More recently, it has, for all intents and purposes, been repackaged into the modern day Carb Nite and Carb Backloading diets.
Grilled Chicken that is part of the Carb Cycling Diet Plan
General Overview of Components and Main Principles of Carb Cycling
Carb cycling (AKA the cyclic ketogenic diet) typically prescribes 5-6 days of very low carbohydrate intake, usually less than 50 grams per day. On the 6th or 7th day there is a carbohydrate refeed day where carbohydrate intake increases up to 450-600 grams of carbohydrates while keeping fat intake incredibly low.
The goal of the refeed is to refill muscle glycogen levels, “recover” some potential down regulation of hormones that are affected during dieting, and carbohydrate restriction (e.g. thyroid hormone), and to help with mental aspect of restricting food to a substantial degree.
These refeed periods are critical aspects of the diet and are what set it apart from both in practice and in theory from the ketogenic diet. They are designed to allow for periods of being well nourished from a carbohydrate perspective in order to allow for several days of high-intensity, high-volume training.
In practice, this makes a much better approach to cutting, or periods of fat loss, for individuals with high training volume.
As canonically thought of, carb cycling does not prescribe rigid timing or frequency of meals. Some variations of carb cycling, such as Carb Nite or Carb Backloading suggest defined windows of consuming your daily carbohydrates, specific…