What is Carb Manipulation, and How Does It Work?

How many carbs you can eat and still lose weight has been a hot topic for decades. There are many different approaches… some diet trends restrict carbs, and some exclude them completely.

Keep in mind that carbs aren’t bad. In fact, carbohydrates are critical for supplying energy, building muscle, keeping you full, and fueling your brain. But, everyone’s body can handle a different amount, based on genetics and activity level.

In order to optimize carb intake, many people are using a method called “carb cycling,” or “carb manipulation.” Here are the basics…It entails eating more carbs on certain days of the week, and fewer carbs on the other days. Although there are many different ways to carb cycle, some people adjust their levels day-to-day, while others may extend their periods of time in low, moderate, and high carb intervals in weeks or even months.

Here’s why you may want to give carb cycling a whirl…. It has been shown to help lose fat and break through weight loss plateaus while still maintaining peak physical performance.

The goal is to strategically time your carb consumption to when it will give you the most benefit while restricting carbs when your body doesn’t need them as much. And, carb cycling attempts to correspond with the body’s need for glucose or calories. For example, it provides carbohydrates around the workout or on intense training days.

You can customize your carb levels based off of a few different elements:

Intense and Gentle Workouts – More carbs on intense days, fewer carbs on gentle workout days

Fitness Goals – Fewer carbs while trying to lose weight, and more carbs when trying to build lean muscle

Hunter-Gatherer Method – Very high-carb days followed by a prolonged period of very low-carb days. This is called “scheduled refeeding.”

Body Fat Percentage – The less body fat, the more high-carb days. The higher body fat, the fewer high-carb days.

If you’re trying to lose weight, a standard approach is…

2 – High-carb, low-fat  days
2 – Moderate-carb. moderate-fat days
3- Low-carb, high-fat days

For a breakdown of how many grams of carbs to eat during each cycle, read this. 

Keep in mind that carb manipulation is best when tailored to your specific body and needs. Because it involves a bit more planning, try the My Fitness Plan app to help you track and count your grams.

Take some time to fine-tune and adjust your method for the optimal approach for your lifestyle and goals.

Try My Simple Carb Cycling Guide! 

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