What Is Carb Cycling And Does It Work?

Carb cycling is an approach to eating that varies how many carbs you consume on a given day. More carbohydrates in your diet can mean greater athletic performance due to their ability to fuel and refuel muscles. Thus, it's possible to tailor your carb intake based on your health goals and energy needs. For example, you may want to vary carbs to lose weight or build muscle (via Healthline).

The idea behind carb cycling is to limit carbohydrates on days when your body doesn't need quick fuel for a workout, and to boost carbohydrate intake on days when your energy needs are greater, according to Healthline. For example, on days when you have more intense exercise, you would eat a higher number of carbs (roughly between 150-200 grams) and a lower amount of fat. Rest days, or lower intensity workouts, would require fewer carbs (around 30 grams) and a higher amount of fat. Protein levels remain roughly the same regardless of your carb intake. It's important to note that this formula is an estimate and the exact number of carbs you need will vary depending on your height, weight, and other factors, per Health.

Carb cycling can work, but it might not be for everybody

You may be wondering if carb cycling is worth the time and effort. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is its ability to help you push past a weight-loss plateau if you are struggling to shed additional pounds (via Healthline). If you decide to give carb cycling a try, Verywell Health suggests evaluating your results periodically and modifying your diet as needed. It can also help to work with a nutrition specialist to help you track progress.

While carb cycling may yield results, it's best not to rely on it as a long-term weight reduction strategy, Healthline suggests. Because it's the kind of eating plan in which you need to pay close attention to your macronutrients, it's likely not going to be sustainable over the long run. Additionally, Verywell Health explains that carb cycling may not be a healthy choice for certain individuals, such as those who are pregnant or nursing, people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, or eating disorders. Always check with your doctor and discuss concerns you may have before making any sudden changes to your diet.