Question#3: What is this “carb cycling” I heard about and how does it work?
“Carb cycling” is a diet framework, which can vary depending on your goals, whether losing fat or building muscle. The most popular variation is eating a low amount of carbs for 3 subsequent days and then a high amount on the 4th day. You need to take a lot of factors into consideration like body size in order to calculate the upper carb limit and base your percentages off of that.
However if you want to simplify things, eat one gram of carbs per pound of lean body weight, calculated with the equation [(body weight x (1-body fat percentage)] and then double the resulting number on the high-carb day. The problem with this particular approach is that it cannot fit neatly within one week. The preferred choice for some people is 2 high-carb days each week, the first one on the day you train most intensely, like leg day, the second on chest day, and the rest would be low-carb days.
Here’s a guide on how carb cycling works : The Science of Carb Cycling
It should be noted that carbohydrates are only one parameter in the overall nutrition equation, because you still need to calculate your total daily calories right, which is much more important. Basically, the reason why this diet approach works is not because of the varying carb consumption, but because when reducing carb consumption you also reduce total caloric intake.
A nice tip when doing carb cycling is to follow the “tapering” method where you consume more carbs with your breakfast in the morning and then slowly taper them during the day on low-carb days. It’s worth noting, that no study has confirmed that this method helps burn more fat, but a lot of people have said that it helps them implement the carb cycling diet much easier.
Question#4: Is timing carb consumption important in regards to my training routine? Should I always eat one hour before workout and immediately post-workout?
Whether you’re trying to lose fat or build lean muscle, the prime goal is to always have stores of energy to be ready for training. If you find yourself energized without needing to eat carbs before the morning workout, for example, then you don’t need them. However, if you’re looking to build lean muscle mass and feel that you can’t finish your workouts any more because of increased fatigue, then gulping a protein shake and some fruit before your workout can help you a lot since they are easily digestible while giving your body lots of protein and carbs.
You might also like : What to Eat Before, During and After a Workout
Question#5: What’s the relationship between carbs and fiber? Is fiber actually carbs? And what are sugar alcohols?
There are two kinds of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. When added to water, soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance and is digested minimally, while insoluble fiber doesn’t change when added to water and passes through the digestive system almost intact. Both kinds of fiber, coming from plants, are counted as carbs because of their molecular structure. Yes, you heard that right – Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. That’s why it does not affect your blood sugar levels.
Nutritionists are still debating whether dietary fiber should be counted as a carbohydrate and is treated differently depending on the country. Most of them consider that insoluble fiber has no caloric value, but it is generally agreed that fiber slows down digestion, which maintains reduced blood sugar levels. This is in stark contrast to most carbs, which greatly increase sugar levels. The majority of nutritionists suggesting subtracting the dietary fiber from the total carb amount to get the amount of the so-called “net” carbs. In an ordinary average-sized apple, the total amount of carbs is 26 grams, dietary fiber 5 grams, which leaves 21 grams of net carbs.
Sugar alcohol takes its name from its molecular structure, a hybrid between an alcohol and a sugar molecule. The majority of sugar alcohols have less calories and less impact on blood sugar levels than normal sugar, which is why nutritionists suggest that they be subtracted from the total amount of carbs, the same way fiber is subtracted.
These are the three main takeaway points: sugar alcohols are safe for consumption, they don’t cause an increase in blood sugar levels the way normal sugars do and third, they can cause bloating, gastric illnesses and diarrhea if consumed in large amounts or if one already has an existing condition such as irritable bowel syndrome.