For years, there has been a belief that carbs in any form were bad for your health, and could lead to weight gain. But science has recently revealed that carbs can be your best ally when it comes to losing weight–through something called "carb cycling."
What are Carbs?
Carbs are the main food group that "fuels" our metabolism so that it burns calories and gives us energy. Carbs are also very filling. Therefore, diets that cut out or strictly limit carb intake make us feel tired and sluggish. They also make us irritable, hungry, and more likely to binge.
With the 7-day carb cycling plan, a person consumes carbs to boost metabolism. The plan causes the body to use carb-rich foods to function at the optimal peak, burning fat and building muscle. The result is weight loss with less flab. It's that simple! This is what makes carb cycling unique and revolutionary.
How Does the 7-Day Carb Diet Work?
The 7-day carb diet focuses on two key principles: calorie counting and carb cycling. Calories are the energy we use to fuel our bodies; they come from the food we eat and drinks we consume. Counting calories helps us understand how much energy we’re taking in each day.
Carb cycling is a method of eating that involves alternating between days of low-calorie, low-carb meals and higher-calorie, higher-carb meals. This allows us to keep our metabolism active while still managing our caloric intake.
For this diet plan, you’ll alternate between three daily meal plans throughout the week:
Low Carb Day (800 calories), High Carb Day (1200 calories), and Maintenance Day (1000 calories).
On Low Carb Days you should focus on lean proteins like chicken or fish as well as non-starchy vegetables like broccoli or spinach; avoid high carbohydrate foods such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, etc., as well as high-fat foods like cheese or butter.
On High Carb Days you should focus on complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa with lean proteins like chicken; also include healthy fats such as nuts or avocado.
On Maintenance Days you should focus on whole grains such as oats with lean proteins like eggs; include healthy fats such as olive oil or nut butter but limit starchy vegetables such as potatoes or sweet potatoes since they are higher in carbohydrates than other vegetables.
A typical 7-day plan looks like this>>>
Monday: High carb intake
Tuesday: Low carb intake
Wednesday: High carb intake
Thursday: Low carb intake
Friday: High carb intake
Saturday: High carb day – or the option of rewarding yourself.
You can indulge (moderately) in your favorite foods. This is also called "cheat day"
Sunday: Low carb day
How to Calculate Your Daily Carbs Intake?
For the best results, you need to calculate your daily intake of carbs, proteins, and fats. This a very easy process of multiplication:
Low Carbs Days>>>
Carbs: Women simply must multiply their body weight by 0.6. Men should multiply body weight by 0.9. The resulting number will represent the carbohydrate intake in grams per day.
Proteins: Women can calculate their daily intake by multiplying their body weight by 1.2. Men can calculate their daily intake by multiplying their body weight by 1.5. The resulting number will be the required daily intake of protein per day.
Fats: To calculate daily fat intake, women should multiply their body weight by 0.5, while men should multiply by 0.8. The resulting number is your daily intake of fats in grams. To calculate the total number of calories, add the totals from the three food groups.
High Carbs Days
The same calculation is used, except that in this case, your intake of carbs and proteins will be higher. Your intake of fats will decrease.
Carbs: Women should multiply their body weight by 1.4 while men will multiply by 1.7.
Proteins: Women multiply their body weight by 1.4 and men by 1.7 (yes, it's the same ratio as for carbs)
Fats: Women should multiply bodyweight by o.3 whereas men should multiply by o.6. The total of the three numbers will give you the total number of calories you can consume for High carb days. It is up to you how you divide your daily intake throughout meals, whether you are having three meals or six meals per day.
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How to Count Calories?
As for daily calorie consumption, the recommended range is 1500 – 2300 for women and 1500 – 3000 for men. This is the general recommended range that you should stay within. However, don’t beat yourself up if you exceed it a little on some days.
I highly recommend that you invest in a calorie-counting app. As for how many calories are contained in the foods you consume, you can easily look this up online and prepare a reference list to store on your computer.
Carbs portions range from 200 grams to 300 grams on high-carb days and 50 grams to 150 grams on lower-carb days. This was a very simple explanation of how the carb cycling plan works. Next, let’s find out why it works and how it can benefit you.
Benefits of the 7-Day Carb Diet
The main benefit of this diet is its flexibility–you can customize it to fit your lifestyle by changing what types of foods you eat each day depending on your preferences and dietary restrictions.
Additionally, because it is based on calorie counting rather than eliminating particular foods or food groups completely, it can be an effective way to lose weight without depriving yourself of necessary nutrients.
Finally, because it includes both low-carb days and high-carb days, you can ensure that your metabolism stays active throughout the week so that you don't hit a plateau in your weight loss journey!
Why the 7-Day Carbs Cycling Diet Works?
One of the main reasons is flexibility. It really doesn’t feel like a diet because there is a wide variety of foods to choose from. You can eat your favorite foods on certain days. People who follow the plan report not feeling deprived. And, the cheat day really helps as well!
• It gives you the ability to customize your plan if you stick to the basic rules.
• It can easily be adopted into your lifestyle and become a permanent or long-term eating habit.
It is a simple protocol. Any layman who wants to lose weight will have no trouble following the easy guidelines.
• Perhaps the strongest point is that it is proven simultaneously build muscle while burning fat. This is a dream come true for anyone who wants to shed stubborn pounds.
• A high-carb diet has been shown to increase insulin production in the pancreas. This important hormone helps boost metabolism and energy levels. Insulin also helps maintain better body composition.
• The high carb intake increases the production of leptin, a hormone that decreases hunger.
• The high-carb days will replenish and fuel glycogen, a compound that builds muscle.
• You do not need to use elaborate measurements or track macronutrients. You will be able to see results by just monitoring daily calorie intake and sticking to the basic guidelines.
Traditionally, it was believed that you could not build muscle and lose fat at the same time. This is because losing fat requires less calorie intake while building muscles requires more.
Amazingly, carb cycling is the magic formula that helps the body do both. This is the real game-changer. Carb cycling works because it's a healthy way to lose weight and get into better shape.
How to Choose Your Hight and Low Days Carbs?
First, decide on which days will be your high-carb days and which will be low-carb days. For the purpose of simplicity, we will use the alternating high-carb/low-carb day plan. Ideally, your high-carb days should correspond to days when you are the most active, However, this is not a rule. Next, pick your "cheat day".
How Many Meals do You Eat a Day?
How many meals you eat per day is totally up to you. Some people prefer four to six smaller meals instead of the traditional three. This type of plan may suit you if you are used to snacking more during the day.
The 3-meal plans include healthy snacks as well. If you are the type of person who frequently feels hungry, then more meals a day will work better. More advanced carb cyclers may incorporate fasting or eating just two meals a day.
How Set Your Week's Meal Plan?
This is the fun part! It's better to plan your meals weekly, biweekly, or even monthly if you're really organized. This will save you the hassle of scrambling to put a meal together at the last minute. The meal plan should list the day, whether it is a high or low-carb day, and the number of meals.
Each meal should be followed by the time you will have it. The times are just a general framework. You can have your next meal a little earlier on days when you feel hungry. There are also those crazy days when you just can't stick to your schedule. You can have meals a little later but don’t skip them altogether so as not to disrupt your metabolism.
Important Tip>>>Stock Up On The Food
Your cupboards and fridge should have all the ingredients you need for your meal plans. It's a good idea to shop weekly for all the food that you need. You can freeze some foods; store others and vegetables will not have time to go bad. Remember that you must follow your chosen plan for at least four weeks before changing high-carb and low-carb days.
How to Get Your Carb Meal Portions Ready?
In addition to calorie and gram intake, the recommended quantities for carbs, and some meal plans include portions in half-cups or cups (if you are using meal plans you found online for example).
This is perfectly fine. There is no need for complicated conversions. Notice that on low-carb days, your fat and protein intake will be higher. Make sure you are eating healthy fats and proteins. Invest in a small food scale that easily measures grams and oz. portions. To follow is the recommended daily intake of carbs, proteins, and fats.
HIGH CARB DAYS
Carbs 2 – 2.5 gm.
Proteins 1 gm.
Fats 0 -0.15 gm.
LOW CARB DAYS
Carbs 0.5 gm.
Proteins 1.5 gm
Once you have these basics set up, you are now ready for the next step – what to eat and what to avoid.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Carbs
First and foremost, you need to eat healthy carbs and avoid unhealthy carbs like the plague. Healthy carbs are known as complex or unprocessed carbs.
Processed carbs are those that are loaded with useless calories and really have zero nutritional value. This is one restriction that you really need to follow for your carb plan to work. So, if you are addicted to white bread, summon up the willpower to avoid it except for maybe one slice on cheat days.
Example of Your 7- Day Low/High Carb Plan>>>
Putting all this information into a concrete meal plan can be daunting for beginners. These sample meal plans for a typical carb cycling week should help. Use them as a basic blueprint for designing your meals but remember, it's not carved in stone.
You can add or discard meals according to your chosen 7-day plan>>>
Example Planning for Your Low-High Carbs Diet
Monday - Low carb day
• 3 whole eggs, scrambled, poached boiled, or fried
• 1/2 cup of high-carb fruit like blueberries, pineapple, or peaches
• 1/cup oatmeal sweetened with honey
• I apple or 1/2 cup unsalted nuts
• Turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread
• Herbal tea
• 1/2 cup ricotta cheese or 2 medium apricots
• Spinach Frittata
• Grilled beef strips with green bell peppers
• Green salad
Tuesday - High carb day
• Two slices of whole wheat bread with Swiss cheese
• 1 cup low-fat yogurt with fresh blueberries
• 1 banana
• Grilled salmon with brown rice
• Grated carrot and cucumber salad Snack
• 1 slice whole wheat bread with almond butter
• Whole wheat pasta with fresh tomatoes
• Black beans with garlic oil
• Fresh green salad
Wednesday - Low carb day
• 3 scrambled eggs with avocado
• 2 apricots or 2 plums
• Caesar salad with grilled chicken strips
• Herbal tea
• Low-fat yogurt or 1/2 cup of nuts
• Flank steak with green beans and onions
• Green salad with feta cheese
Thursday - High carb day
• 2 poached eggs
• 2 slices whole-wheat toast
• 1/2 cup fruit
• 1/2 cup fruit or nuts or 1 banana
• 1 cup brown rice with chickpeas
• Sweet potatoes
• Green salad
• Low-fat yogurt with honey or 1 banana
• Baked potato
• Grilled chicken breast
• Avocado and tomato salad
Friday - Low carb day
• 1/2 cup oatmeal
• 1/2 cup fruit
• 1/2 cup ricotta, feta or goat cheese
• 1/2 cup fruit or nuts or 1 low-fat yogurt
• Avocado and chicken salad
• Sliced tomatoes on lettuce
• Herbal tea
• 1 orange or 1 apple or 2 plums
• Grilled salmon with vegetables
• Naked beans
• Green salad
Saturday - High carb day
• 2 scrambled eggs on whole-wheat toast
• 1 low-fat yogurt sweetened with honey
• Sweet potatoes
• Lentil soup
• 1/2 cup nuts or fruit
• Tuna Casserole Whole wheat noodles
• Spinach salad
Sunday - low carb + cheat day
• Lean sausages with fried eggs
• 1/2 cup fruit
• Almond butter or 1/2 cup nuts
• Tuna salad
• 1 piece of fresh fruit
• 2 plums, two apricots, or 1 apple
Dinner: Whatever you want! In moderation, please. For example, have two slices of pizza instead of two or three. Indulge in a moderate portion of ice cream or cake. If you've been craving French fries all week, eat a small plate of them, not a whole platter.
Helpful Tips and Tricks with Your 7- Day Carb Cycling Diet>>>
Here are some sensible tips to make your carb cycling plan more effective. You may be practicing some of them already.
1. Cheat days are not an open invitation to go overboard and stuff yourself with all your favorite food. Have a slice of pizza or a Big Mac if you're really craving that. Just remember that the cheat day is there as an option and not as a mandate.
Your carb cycling results depend on how much you "cheat". If you do it every week then, of course, your weight loss will be slower. If you want faster results, keep cheat days to a minimum.
2. Don't skip breakfast and always make sure you eat protein and fiber. This is essential for beating those cravings and keeping you full until the next meal.
3. Consider resistance or aerobic exercise to maintain your muscle mass and make the most of carb cycling. If this doesn’t appeal to you, any exercise you prefer will be beneficial. Walking, cycling or swimming are good alternatives.
4. If you are active in sports or work out regularly, synchronize high-carb days with your high-activity days. This will help you shed those pounds faster. Plus, you will have higher energy levels on those days.
5. Avoid "drinking" your calories. This includes smoothies, sweetened tea, and coffee or fruit juices. Stick to water or herbal tea. If you must have your morning coffee, try to take it black. As for tea, it doesn't taste too bad when sweetened with honey.
7. Get creative with meal plans. Work with the wide variety of foods that you have, to create delicious dishes. Search online for new recipes to try and experiment with new carb combinations. Also, experiment with things you've never tried before, like quinoa, kale, or hummus. You might be pleasantly surprised!
8. Get enough sleep to stay energetic and avoid stress. Give your body the rest it needs for optimal carb cycling. This is just good common sense for anyone striving for better health.
The 7-day carb diet is an effective way to lose weight without sacrificing important nutrients from your diet. By alternating between Low Carbs Days (800 calories), High Carbs Days (1200 calories), and Maintenance Days (1000 calories) throughout the week, you can ensure that your metabolism stays active while still managing how much energy you take in each day through calorie counting.
With its flexibility for customization depending on dietary needs and preferences plus its healthy balance between nutrient deprivation and metabolic activity, this diet may be just what you need to achieve optimal weight management results!