Get Adobe Flash player

Carb Cycling: a Diet With Lots of Treats and No Tricks!

Carb Cycling: a Diet With Lots of Treats and No Tricks!

Susan hates this time of year.

“I always lose a few pounds over the summer,” the 42-year-old mother and homemaker says. “But as soon as Halloween arrives, I gain the weight back, along with a few more pounds. I start eating the kids’ treats and then the holidays arrive. Every January, I am fatter, more stressed out, and more tired than the year before. Even my skin suffers!”

From trick-or-treat candy to New Year’s cocktails, the next few months will be filled with culinary temptations. Is it possible to enjoy the holidays without packing on extra pounds? Dr. Roman Malkov says you can, if you follow some important guidelines. Dr. Malkov, who is renowned sports medicine specialist, has developed an eating and wellness plan based on the idea of carb cycling. This approach is very different than typical low-carb diets.

People who follow a carb cycling diet not only lose weight, they also often report an increase in lean muscles mass and higher levels of energy. This is important, because we can all use some extra energy during the hectic holidays. Dr. Malkov also says his program can make your skin look younger because the diet stimulates anabolism, which leads to fewer wrinkles. Carb cycling is not complicated and it doesn’t require you to buy any special supplements. You just need to learn some basic rules of how your body metabolism works.

As teenagers, many of us could eat just about anything we wanted during the holidays without gaining a pound. Then as we got older, it became harder to keep the scale from creeping upward. What changed? Our metabolism! As we age, our production of some vital hormones begins to drop and we often begin to process carbohydrates less efficiently. Still, it’s important to note everyone is genetically different. That’s why your friend may be able to stuff herself with mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and stay lean while you may only lose weight by limiting you carbohydrate consumption.

In his book, The Carb Cycling Diet, Malkov explains there are two important bodily processes that determine how you look and feel – anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is the process fueled by anabolic hormones that allows your body to build muscle and bones.

“As younger people, we produced a lot of important anabolic growth and sex hormones,” Dr. Malkov explains. “As we age, our bodies produce less of these hormones, which leads to a slowing down in metabolism, resulting in weight gain and health problems. ”

Catabolism is the process by which your body burns fat. Many popular diets, including most low-carb plans, focus only on catabolism, while completely ignoring the other, beneficial part – anabolism. Therefore, Dr. Malkov claims they do not help you to stay young longer, build muscle or help your body produce more anabolic hormones.

Dr. Malkov says, “It is important to realize that while catabolism destroys fat, it also destroys bone and proteins. Proteins are very important for your health. As we age, we begin losing proteins from muscle, cartilage, and skin. This leads to a decrease in bone and muscle mass, problems with our joints, and even wrinkles. If you want to stay young longer you need to take steps to prevent protein and bone loss.”

Dr. Malkov says he has helped many clients lose fat in healthy way, by kick-start their metabolism and increasing their natural production of anti-aging anabolic hormones. The first step is always to put his clients on a carb cycling diet.

Unlike other carb restriction plans that limit the number of calories and carbohydrates you can consume every day, carb cycling works on a rotating system. You alternate between lower carb days and higher carb days. According to Dr. Malkov, cycling allows you to burn fat at a faster pace during low carb days and then rebuild your carbohydrate stores on the alternating days. There are several benefits to this method of eating. Carb cycling helps prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which means you are less likely to hit the dreaded fat-loss plateau. Many people also find carb cycling easier to stick to than traditional low carb diets.

“It’s not realistic to tell people that they can never have a bite of Halloween candy,” says Malkov. “You simply have to be aware of the big picture when it comes to eating. If you indulge a little today, you need to counterbalance your diet tomorrow.”

Carb cycling has been successfully used by many fitness models and personal trainers. Dr. Malkov has also helped members of the Russian National Athletic Team use the system in order to drop fat, build muscle, and improve their performances. Additionally, there is increasing evidence that carb cycling can provide anti-aging benefits and even prevent some diseases, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Malkov stresses that the days you pick for your low-carb and higher carb days are up to you. For instance, if you like to take a step aerobics class on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, you might want to make those days your higher carb days so you have the energy required for your workouts. During higher carb days, Dr. Malkov recommends eating between 350 to 400 grams of carbohydrates. That’s about what you probably are already eating. Keep in mind that you should focus on eating unrefined carbs from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These carbs are packed with healthy compounds that help ward off disease and keep your body young. Limited refined carbs from sugar and processed white flour. This includes white bread, crackers, and all processed junk food.

On limited carb days, Dr. Malkov suggests not eating any foods containing sugar or white flour. That means no Halloween candy! Try to keep your carbs under 300 grams a day. He says you should never starve yourself or feel hungry, even on limited carb days. Try to eat plenty of small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism from slowing down.

By now, you may be worried that carb cycling is complicated. Dr. Malkov says it’s actually pretty easy.

“Counting carbs becomes simple once you get the hang of it,” he explains. “I suggest picking up a carb counting book, like the ones used by diabetics. The small extra effort it takes to carb cycle can bring a huge payoff in terms of weight loss, increased energy and improved health.”

Just remember, carb cycling is not a license to eat as many calories as you want. The only way to shed fat is to eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight. Still, Dr. Malkov wants women like Susan to understand that losing weight alone will not provide the healthy glow we all crave. If you want to improve your appearance and boost your energy as you drop pounds, you need to increase your body’s natural production of anti-aging anabolic hormones. You may find that you can produce the results you are looking for by starting a carb cycling program.


Sandra Mengine is a freelance health and fitness writer and certified personal trainer. For this article, she interviewed Dr. Roman Malkov, an acclaimed health author and a recognized expert in the field of nutrigenetics and sports nutrition. He is the President/Founder of Nutrigen International, Inc. (http://www.1-888-nutrigen.com/). Dr. Malkov also educates people interested in losing weight and staying healthy through his informational website (http://www.cyclingdiet.com/).

More Foods Low In Carbs Articles

Leave a Reply

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree