Dear Cassey: What’s the deal with carb cycling?

Hey Curious!

Thanks for the question! I’m so glad you asked because even though I’ve heard of carb cycling, it gave me a chance to do a little more research and talk to my favorite Registered Dietitian, Breanna Woods. And fun fact – we worked together to co-create the 90 Day Journey Meal Plans!

Okay so… carb cycling.

Basically, it’s rotating high, moderate, and low carb days throughout the week. Some say it can help with weight loss, while some athletes carb cycle to improve performance during competitions and workouts.

Cycling carbs supposedly gives you the “best of both worlds,” offering benefits from a low and high-carb diet. It potentially improves insulin sensitivity, fat burning and stabilizes hunger hormones. But… there’s not really a ton of research yet to know if those benefits are solid.

As far as weight loss goes, carb cycling COULD help you lose weight, but a big part of that is still going to come down to putting yourself in some kind of calorie deficit. In other words, you still need to be burning more calories than you’re consuming in the long run. Carb cycling also isn’t a way to “cheat” by eating tons of sweets etc. one day just because you know you’ll have a low-carb day the next to “make up for it.”

I guess I’d just question how sustainable carb cycling is! It seems like it takes a lot of planning, and even though one appeal of cycling is supposed to be more diet flexibility, following this kind of diet might not be as flexible as it seems.

That being said, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to try! Different things work for everyone. If you’re eating healthy foods and carb cycling works for you, I don’t think it’s going to make you gain weight. If you try it and it seems too forced or just not right for you, you don’t have to stick with it!

Personally, I’ve tried a ton of similar “dieting” techniques in the past, and I’ve had better luck just focusing on overall balance and healthy, whole foods! Eating this way has been the most sustainable because I’m not on a “plan” or “diet.” I just build meals around lean protein, lots of fruits and veggies, healthy carbs, and of course, I indulge in ice cream from time to time 🙂

Remember, it took me a LONG TIME to figure out this way of eating for myself. My way might not work for you! So my best advice is to do your research, experiment, and be open to making a lot of changes until you get it right.

TRUST ME – it’s worth all of the effort in the end 🙂