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What is Macro Cycling, Know its Benefits and Downsides?

What is Macro Cycling?

Macro cycling is a diet in which varying amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats are consumed over 2 week’s period. This diet is used by individuals who are trying to lose weight.

Macro refers to the 3 major nutrients used by the body which are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These are alternated in a ratio by reducing carbs in one cycle and fats in another thereby creating a balance. This allows flexibility and prevents the deprivation of any one kind of food. It is used by athletes as it helps them in keeping lean and staying active and also maintaining their energy levels and performances.

Macro cycling is not like the traditional weight-loss diet method in which carbs and fats are completely reduced in the diet to promote weight loss.

Macro Cycling vs. Carb Cycling

Carb cycling involves cycling through carbs daily or weekly. It involves consuming carbs only when they are most required that is before and after exercise and avoiding them at other times. This induces weight loss as it puts a person on a calorie deficit diet, which means consuming lesser calories than the body burns daily.(1)

Macro cycling instead of just cycling carbohydrates also specifies the amount of fat consumed during the period of the diet. Also, the protein intake stays consistent as it plays a lesser role in energy metabolism and helps in losing weight.(2)

Benefits of Macro Cycling

Research on the benefits of macro cycling is very less but there are several benefits reported by those following it.

More Flexible Than Carb Cycling

In Macro cycling carbs and fats are allowed on a biweekly basis. This makes the diet more flexible.

In carb cycling the carb intake is modified on daily basis, depending on the level of activity. This makes people deprived of foods they are used to eating.

Macro cycling on the other hand gives more variation in the diet and keeps away the deprived feeling. This helps in giving a long-term result.(3, 4)

Simplifies Meal Preparation

In carb, cycling one needs to prepare a variety of foods for low carb days and high carb days. This makes it difficult to prep meals in advance as the carb ratio needs to be changed on daily basis.

In macro cycling, one has to vary carbs and fats every 2 weeks, which may allow cooking meals in batch for the whole one week. This would also save time pondering on what you eat what to prepare.

Good for Athletes

Athletes are into high-intensity sports and depend on getting adequate nutrition to fuel the body for training and competition. They need moderate to high carbohydrates to meet their needs.(5)

Downsides of Macro Cycling

As macro cycling has a few benefits linked to it, it also has a few downsides.

Those with a chronic condition such as diabetes should consult their health care physician before starting not just macro cycling but any type of diet.

Lacks Reliable Research

Lack of research supporting its effectiveness is the major downside of macro cycling.

Select studies on carb cycling have been done but macro cycling research remains scarce. Therefore, until the research is done, there are fewer recommendations for the diet.

Affect Athletic Performance

Any type of diet, whether it is carb cycling or macro cycling, maintaining it for long can lead to a calorie deficit that may affect athletic performance.(6)

This is why many athletes wait for an off-season to focus on serious body recomposition goals.

Requires Food Tracking

A macro cycling diet requires regular monitoring of the intake of macronutrients. Tracking them may be a nuisance for some.

Many use smartphone apps to count the calories and macros. These smartphones use food databases to calculate macros.

Macro cycling is a dieting method in which varying amounts of macronutrients including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are consumed. People aiming to lose weight without much restrictions in diet can look forward to it.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 31, 2023

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