Keto vs. Carb Cycling
If you are looking to lose weight or build muscles, chances are you have heard about the keto diet and carb cycling. There has been an ongoing diet wars on keto vs carb cycling. These two diet plans have their own benefits and drawbacks. While a ketogenic diet helps the dieter to lose weight in an even way, the carb cycling approach is used to reduce some side effects of a keto diet by limiting the carbohydrate intake.
A keto diet is a diet that includes very low-carb intake and high-fat intake. Basically, the keto diet involves reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat so that your body burns fat for energy. Your body will be put in a metabolic state known as ketosis when carbs are reduced. During ketosis, the fat you consume and the stored fat is broken down into ketones in the liver. Ketones are smaller molecules that suppress hunger and fuel your mind while helping you remain lean.
Most people looking to lose weight prefer the keto diet since it causes the body to lose weight evenly by reducing fat and maintaining the muscle mass. It therefore solves the problems experienced with low-fat and low-calories diet which reduces fat, muscle mass, and water weight and causes the dieter to lose weight unevenly. Besides, it comes with numerous benefits such as weight loss and treats conditions like cancer, diabetes type 2, epilepsy, heart disease, etc.
Carb cycling is used to describe when a person takes a carb-restricted diet for a few days then goes back to eating a normal or high amount of carbs on other days. When on the carb depletion phase, the dieters reduce their carb intake and perform workouts that deplete their carbohydrate stores quickly.
They however do not entirely restrict carb intake. By eating some carbohydrates, you will be able to stock up your body’s carbohydrate stores; this is also known as carbo load or re-feed. This way, the dieter regains energy to perform workouts the next week.
When it comes to carb-cycling, there are different ways of doing it. They include:
- Daily Carb Replenishing- This involves eating fats and proteins during the day and adding some carbs at evening meal. Therefore, you will be eating your carb in the evening and running on ketosis throughout the day.
- Weekly Carb Replenishing- This is where you shift your carb macros and fat once a week or few days in a week. You will therefore be eating 80% carbs and 5% fat instead of 80% fat and 5% carbs. You can opt to shift your carb macros and fat for just the evening meal or the entire day.
- Carb Loading- This involves loading yourself up on carbs in preparation for a period where you will be pushing yourself hard physically. You choose to load up on carbs in beforehand. While some people say it’s a good way to carb up, others do not agree.
When to Practice Keto Diet
The problem with doing a low-carb diet for too long is that it can drop your thyroid hormones, and you may become insensitive to insulin and gain weight. Thus, a full blow keto would be beneficial for those who do have issues with their adrenals and thyroid glands. It is also beneficial to individuals suffering from diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy.
When to Practice Carb Cycling
Adding carb cycling to a keto diet can become beneficial to individuals who have much healing to do and have not been on a clean diet for some time. People who need to replenish their carbohydrate stores are those that suffer from adrenal fatigue, metabolic derangement, or hyper/hypothyroidism. The carb cycling approach may also be needed if you are suffering from mental lethargy, constipation, hair loss, weight gain, and coldness.
If you need some healing, it is important to have access to more nutrients from foods like starch vegetables on a daily basis. Carb cycling can help you with this. If you are healing, it is advisable to refrain from intermittent fasting and take in more nutrients during breakfast.
Additionally, it is important to match up your carb cycling with your menstrual cycle. During the menstrual cycle, different female hormones are elevated at different points and this can impact the carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity. As a result, you need to consider your hormone levels when deciding on whether to choose keto vs carb cycling as well as the amount of carbs to include in your diet.
When choosing between a keto diet and a carb cycling diet, you need to put your daily schedule into consideration. Both diet plans require strict adherence so that you can experience the weight loss you expected. Be sure to consult with your doctor before you go for any diet plan so as to determine if it will be safe for you or not. Also, consider trying both diets and see which one works best for your body.