As the weather gets warmer, people start to think more about #weight-loss, and burning fat in particular. After all, this is when we all shed our winter layers and expose more of ourselves! Carb Cycling, a strategy that has been used by body builders and professional athletes, can help you burn more fat, lose more weight, feel better, and actually be healthier, without being hungry!

Low-carb diets work at first

Many of us remember the first low carbohydrate diets -- Atkins and South Beach. Today these have been joined by Whole 30, Paleo, and Keto food plans.

While restricting carbs and calories will lead to weight-loss, and does have some health benefits, low-carb diets are dangerous in the longer term and have a very low adherence rate.

Benefits of low-carb periods may include better insulin sensitivity, increased #fat burning, lower cholesterol, and higher metabolism. But when followed for an extended period of time, low carb diets can leave you feeling tired and craving the carbs you are missing.

Carb cycling is the best of both

Carbohydrates are important! They give us energy and help control our hormones, specifically thyroid hormones and hunger hormones (insulin and leptin). Plus, they tend to help us feel sated and full. A planned schedule of carb intake that is built around having lower carbs on lower activity days, with higher carbs on higher activity days, allows us to still burn fat and feel less hungry while helping to balance out our hormones.

it's a win-win!

Planned higher carb days allow our bodies to avoid the excess cortisol production that is an inevitable result of a low-carb diet. Since cortisol leads us to burn muscle as well as fat for fuel, less of it means maintaining muscle and burning more fat. Carbs boost seratonin production, which helps us feel less depressed and have fewer cravings for sugar and chocolate.

Planned higher carb days keep us sensitive to leptin, the satiety hormone, so we don't always feel hungry. Planned lower carb days also balance our insulin levels, which means we store less fat.

Carb cycling combines well with Intermittent Fasting

When combined with Intermittent Fasting (IF), #carbcycling can be the ticket to sustainable weight and fat loss.

Recent studies have shown the benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

  • Greater diet adherence
  • Lower insulin and higher leptin levels
  • Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Reduced oxidative stress

Since IF is more of a schedule than an actual food plan, combining it with carb cycling leads to compounded benefits.