Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

There are many diet plans around these days that revolve around completely cutting out carbohydrates to lose weight. But as carbs are essential, knowing the right way of having carbs is essential to maintain a balance. Let us understand about carb cycling meal plan, which has proved effective in maintaining good health as it manages the intake of carbs very well, without completely removing them.

What is Carb Cycling?

Carbohydrate is an essential part of your nutrition and it provides you the required energy for workouts as well providing the energy to sustain the body throughout the day. Carbohydrates are important as they replenish the stores of glucose and glycogen in the body, thus preventing fatigue. Including carbs in your dieting plan makes it much easier and also allows you to have more flavors in your diet meals. However, if you start eating carbs at the wrong time of the day, they may just end up being stored as fat. This is where carb cycling plays a role. With the use of carb cycling, you can not only lose weight but also enjoy eating carbohydrates. Today we take a look at a carb cycling meal plan and how to benefit from this novel approach.

Carb cycling means distributing the amount of carbohydrates you consume during the entire day and the entire week. This means that on certain days of the week you will eat more carbs, while on other days you will consume lesser carbohydrates. The foundation of carb cycling is that on the days you eat more carbs, you will reap the benefits of consuming carbohydrates, and on the days when you have fewer carbs, you will benefit in terms of weight loss. This blends together the best of both worlds.

How Do You Practice Carb Cycling?

One of the simplest ways to practice carb cycling is to consume a low carb meal for three days straight and then have two days in which you consume a higher amount of carbohydrates. You can also have alternate high and low carb meal in a week and leave the seventh day for regular meals. The low carb days help with losing weight and also with insulin sensitivity, while the days with higher carb consumption help replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles, support muscle growth, and also help in repairing any wear and tear in the body.

The exact combination of carb cycling meal plan may depend on your health and fitness goals. A person willing to lose weight may benefit from four to five low carb days while the one willing to gain muscle mass can practice three to four high carb days with appropriate proteins in carb cycling meal plan.

Fibrous vegetables do not account for your total carbohydrate count for the day. This is because though fibrous vegetables are a good source of fiber, they are still low in carbs and calories. Therefore, they won't affect your carb cycling pattern. Only starchy and complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes will be counted.

Carb Cycling Meal Plan

We take a look at what a 5-day carb cycling meal plan that would gradually reduce and increase the intake of carbs to provide health benefits and maintain nutrition as well. Let us take a look at the amount of carbs we can break up and divide during these 5 days, the maximum being 200 gms.

  • Day 1 - 150 grams
  • Day 2 - 100 grams
  • Day 3 - 50 grams
  • Day 4 - 125 grams
  • Day 5 - 200 grams

The meal plan consists of dropping 50 grams of carbohydrates each day for the first three days. The plan then increases the amount of carbs by 75 grams during the next two days.

Now, what are the carbs you SHOULD eat during your carb cycling meal plan? These include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Beans and lentils
  • Butternut squash
  • Couscous
  • Oatmeal
  • White potatoes with skin
  • Fresh beets
  • Fruits rich in carbohydrates such as bananas, pineapple, blueberries, peaches, plums, mango, and oranges
  • Starchy vegetables such as peas and corn

There are also certain carbs which you absolutely CANNOT eat during the carb cycling meal plan. These include:

  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Tortillas and wraps
  • White pasta
  • French fries
  • Refined cereals
  • Muffins
  • Pizza
  • Cookies
  • Pancakes
  • Cakes

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of how to distribute and stagger your carbs intake during carb cycling meal plan, you will soon experience that losing weight this way is much more enjoyable and easy. Try to strictly follow the schedule that you set up and preferably avoid any cheat days while you practice carb cycling meal plan. If you remain steadfast in your mission to get fit and healthy with your carb cycling meal plan, you will definitely be successful.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest