The Downside Of Carb-Cycling
Better Nutrition|January 2019

The plain truth about this questionable practice

Kat James

Readers have asked about a dietary concept that fat-burner enthusiasts refer to as “carb cycling”—occasionally or periodically reintroducing carbs into their diets. Achieving ketosis or leptin sensitivity (two states where the body is burning ketones, a byproduct of burning fat as one’s primary fuel) involves lots of individualization and trial and error. But the idea of planning weekly carb eating “cycles” is—at least from my decades of personal and observational experience— akin to a self-imposed slippery slope that people consistently regret.

Of course, if you never achieve a fat-burning state to begin with, carb-cycling is painless, because you’re not switching the body’s primary fuel, which always involves a degree of discomfort. But, for true insulin- and leptin-optimized fat-burners, fat is their body’s primary fuel. The minute a fat-burner starts eating dozens of carbs (and it takes much fewer carbs than most think to throw you out of a fat-burner state, especially if you’re metabolically challenged), the body will default immediately to the fat-storing, sugar-burning quagmire that many of us worked so hard to escape. That first spike in blood sugar signals the brain that you’re suddenly experiencing starvation as a default mechanism of cutting off sensitivity to the hormone leptin in the hypothalamus.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BETTER NUTRITIONView All

Digestion Progression

How to deal with intestinal distress the natural way.

6 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

From No Meat to Grass-Fed Red Meat

Some vegetarians are rethinking the reasons they adopted a plant-only diet—and rediscovering high-quality animal protein, particularly pasture-raised meat.

7 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Light Summer Refresher

Take a break from hot weather with this antioxidant-packed, cooling treat

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Men's Health HANDBOOK

Advice for preventing and treating ailments that most commonly afflict men.

6 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

The Anti-Cancer Diet

Disease-proof your plate with science-backed foods shown to reduce cancer risk.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

5 Steps to Reverse Pandemic Weight Gain

How to shed the pounds you may have picked up after a year in social isolation.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

5 Reasons You Need NAC

It’s best known for promoting a robust immune response, but NAC does so much more—and new research suggests that it may even play a role in protecting against Covid-19.

3 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Collagen for Heart Health

This popular anti-aging supplement for joints and skin also boasts impressive cardiovascular benefits.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Are You Gluten Free And Healthy?

If you’ve developed unwanted weight gain or heart disease risk factors after eliminating gluten from your diet, better carb choices can help balance blood sugar and insulin levels to take you to a new level of health.

4 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

7 Super Brain Boosters

Maybe you find yourself trying to remember why you needed to go to the grocery store. Or wondering where you parked the car after a movie. Or questioning whether or not you’ve already fed the dog. If so, it might be time to consider adding some of these brain-enhancing herbs to your supplement routine.

8 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021
RELATED STORIES

THE SURPRISING IMPORTANCE OF A COCKTAIL TO GO

This is the story of how complicated it is to change a simple law—and the large role entrepreneurs can play.

10+ mins read
Entrepreneur
June 2021

Microsoft Surface Duo review roundup: A unique dual-screen phone with too many issues

A good idea with not-good execution.

3 mins read
PCWorld
November 2020

Autism Diet Do's and Don'ts

Autistic individuals often have difficulties with sensory processing issues, sometimes called Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD.

2 mins read
Charlotte Parent
April 2020

Cómo la palabra “dieta” se convirtió en la peor del mundo wellness

Estar a favor de las donas y ser antidietas se volvió algo cool, ¿pero las redes sociales están cocinando un mensaje confuso entre la pérdida de peso y sentirse bien? WH investiga.

8 mins read
Women's Health en Español
Marzo - 2020

7 Tips For Eating A Clean Diet

Diet Feeling a little dirty?

4 mins read
Alternative Medicine
January/February 2020

Eating A Paleo Diet

Chances are you’ve heard of the paleo lifestyle. The paleo name comes from eating as our ancestors likely did during the Paleolithic era before things like dairy and grains were introduced. Eating a paleo diet allows you to get back to your “roots” (quite literally) by eating mainly meats, fruits and vegetables and eliminating the refined, sugar & trans-fat laden “foods” that have taken over our diets.

2 mins read
Alternative Medicine
January/February 2020

Could A Gluten-Free Diet Reduce Your Risk Of Diabetes?

Research has examined the possibility and found some answers.

5 mins read
Alternative Medicine
January/February 2020

Eat Your Way To Better DNA

The field of epigenetics describes how outside factors influence the behavior of our genes, and one of the most powerful outside factors is food. The genes you’re born with are just the beginning. Dietary changes can help your immune system fight off infection, your mitochondria burn body fat, and the cells in your skin and joints produce the collagen that keeps your complexion clear and your joints pain-free.

5 mins read
Natural Solutions
February 2020

7 Strategies To Curb Cravings

Practice mindful eating and lose weight for good

3 mins read
Natural Solutions
February 2020

Skin-And-Bones Charlize's Diet Obsession

New Oscar nominee Charlize Theron’s obsession to slim down with a drastic diet and exercise regime has turned her into a scrawny bag of bones — and alarmed pals fear she may have gone too far!

1 min read
Globe
February 3, 2020