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  1. #1
    Registered User alemus's Avatar
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    Question Carb Cycling: on high carb days my calorie intake is high, is this bad?

    I am on 2 weeks of Carb Cycling and so far I like it. I follow 2 no carb, 3 low carbs, and 2 high carbs. I am following an article I read by Twin Peak's. On my no carb day's my calorie intake is approximately 1,200 calories however Twin Peak did write that on no carb days I may find myself eating less because high protein and fat cause hunger satisfaction. But on my high carb days my calorie intake shoots up to almost 2,000 calories because I try and reach my high carb number! The only reason I worry is because I normally follow a 1700 calorie diet before I started carb cycling. Is this something i should bring down a notch? I use an online food log so I am able to calculate my carb cycling correctly, but then I noticed my calories were fluctuating up and down like crazy, something Im not normaly used to. If anyone who's carb's cycling or know alot about it can give me some advice and peace of mind that this high number wont make me gain weight that would be great?!?
    Last edited by alemus; 08-14-2010 at 04:08 PM. Reason: clarification
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  2. #2
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    As long as your average weekly calorie amount is still in a deficit, you won't gain weight. Otherwise there is no problem with having lower cals some days and higher on another.
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    Registered User alemus's Avatar
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    Question good to know...

    Originally Posted by birdiefu View Post
    As long as your average weekly calorie amount is still in a deficit, you won't gain weight. Otherwise there is no problem with having lower cals some days and higher on another.

    that's right, I didnt put that into thought. Generally the high carb days on my most difficult, highest volume days, so I guess I shouldnt worry too much. I've been doing it for 2 weeks now and I havent gained any weight if anything I feel more cut with carb cycling. By now if these calorie numbers were affecting me I would have noticed right??
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  4. #4
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    Out of curiousity why are you carb cycling..? whats your goal
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  5. #5
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    Low carb (ketogenic) diets deplete the healthy glycogen (the storage form of glucose) stores in your muscles and liver. When you deplete glycogen stores, you also dehydrate, often causing the scale to drop significantly in the first week or two of the diet. This is usually interpreted as fat loss when it's actually mostly from dehydration and muscle loss. By the way, this is one of the reasons that low carb diets are so popular at the moment - there is a quick initial, but deceptive drop in scale weight.

    Glycogenesis (formation of glycogen) occurs in the liver and muscles when adequate quantities of carbohydrates are consumed - very little of this happens on a low carb diet. Glycogenolysis (breakdown of glycogen) occurs when glycogen is broken down to form glucose for use as fuel.

    Depletion of muscle glycogen causes you to fatigue easily, and makes exercise and movement uncomfortable. Research indicates that muscle fatigue increases in almost direct proportion to the rate of depletion of muscle glycogen. Bottom line is that you don't feel energetic and you exercise and move less (often without realizing it) which is not good for caloric expenditure and basal metabolic rate (metabolism).

    Depletion of muscle glycogen leads to muscle atrophy (loss of muscle). This happens because muscle glycogen (broken down to glucose) is the fuel of choice for the muscle during movement. There is always a fuel mix, but without muscle glycogen, the muscle fibers that contract, even at rest to maintain muscle tone, contract less when glycogen is not immediately available in the muscle. Depletion of muscle glycogen also causes you to exercise and move less than normal which leads to muscle loss and the inability to maintain adequate muscle tone.

    Also, in the absence of adequate carbohydrate for fuel, the body initially uses protein (muscle) and fat. the initial phase of muscle depletion is rapid, caused by the use of easily accessed muscle protein for direct metabolism or for conversion to glucose (gluconeogenesis) for fuel. Eating excess protein does not prevent this because there is a caloric deficit. When insulin levels are chronically too low as they may be in very low carb diets, catabolism (breakdown) of muscle protein increases, and protein synthesis stops.

    Loss of muscle causes a decrease in your basal metabolic rate (metabolism). Metabolism happens in the muscle. Less muscle and muscle tone means a slower metabolism which means fewer calories burned 24 hours-a-day.
    Your muscles and skin lack tone and are saggy. Saggy muscles don't look good, cause saggy skin, and cause you to lose a healthy, vibrant look (even if you've also lost fat).

    Some proponents of low carb diets recommend avoiding carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes, carrots, etc. because of they are high on the glycemic index - causing a sharp rise in insulin. Certain carbohydrates have always been, and will always be the bad guys: candy, cookies, baked goods with added sugar, sugared drinks, processed / refined white breads, pastas, and rice, and any foods with added sugar. These are not good for health or weight loss.

    However, carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and pastas, and brown rice are good for health and weight loss. Just like with proteins and fats, these carbohydrates should be eaten in moderation. Large volumes of any proteins, fats or carbohydrates are not conducive to weight loss and health.

    The effect of high glycemic foods is often exaggerated. It's does matter, but to a smaller degree than is often portrayed. Also, the total glycemic effect of foods is influenced by the quantity of that food that you eat at a sitting. Smaller meals have a lower overall glycemic effect. Also, we usually eat several types of food at the same time, thereby reducing the average glycemic index of the meal, if higher glycemic foods are eaten......

    just a thought
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  6. #6
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    Question Now Im curious....

    Originally Posted by Kinesiologist View Post
    Low carb (ketogenic) diets deplete the healthy glycogen (the storage form of glucose) stores in your muscles and liver. When you deplete glycogen stores, you also dehydrate, often causing the scale to drop significantly in the first week or two of the diet. This is usually interpreted as fat loss when it's actually mostly from dehydration and muscle loss. By the way, this is one of the reasons that low carb diets are so popular at the moment - there is a quick initial, but deceptive drop in scale weight.

    Glycogenesis (formation of glycogen) occurs in the liver and muscles when adequate quantities of carbohydrates are consumed - very little of this happens on a low carb diet. Glycogenolysis (breakdown of glycogen) occurs when glycogen is broken down to form glucose for use as fuel.

    Depletion of muscle glycogen causes you to fatigue easily, and makes exercise and movement uncomfortable. Research indicates that muscle fatigue increases in almost direct proportion to the rate of depletion of muscle glycogen. Bottom line is that you don't feel energetic and you exercise and move less (often without realizing it) which is not good for caloric expenditure and basal metabolic rate (metabolism).

    Depletion of muscle glycogen leads to muscle atrophy (loss of muscle). This happens because muscle glycogen (broken down to glucose) is the fuel of choice for the muscle during movement. There is always a fuel mix, but without muscle glycogen, the muscle fibers that contract, even at rest to maintain muscle tone, contract less when glycogen is not immediately available in the muscle. Depletion of muscle glycogen also causes you to exercise and move less than normal which leads to muscle loss and the inability to maintain adequate muscle tone.

    Also, in the absence of adequate carbohydrate for fuel, the body initially uses protein (muscle) and fat. the initial phase of muscle depletion is rapid, caused by the use of easily accessed muscle protein for direct metabolism or for conversion to glucose (gluconeogenesis) for fuel. Eating excess protein does not prevent this because there is a caloric deficit. When insulin levels are chronically too low as they may be in very low carb diets, catabolism (breakdown) of muscle protein increases, and protein synthesis stops.

    Loss of muscle causes a decrease in your basal metabolic rate (metabolism). Metabolism happens in the muscle. Less muscle and muscle tone means a slower metabolism which means fewer calories burned 24 hours-a-day.
    Your muscles and skin lack tone and are saggy. Saggy muscles don't look good, cause saggy skin, and cause you to lose a healthy, vibrant look (even if you've also lost fat).

    Some proponents of low carb diets recommend avoiding carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes, carrots, etc. because of they are high on the glycemic index - causing a sharp rise in insulin. Certain carbohydrates have always been, and will always be the bad guys: candy, cookies, baked goods with added sugar, sugared drinks, processed / refined white breads, pastas, and rice, and any foods with added sugar. These are not good for health or weight loss.

    However, carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and pastas, and brown rice are good for health and weight loss. Just like with proteins and fats, these carbohydrates should be eaten in moderation. Large volumes of any proteins, fats or carbohydrates are not conducive to weight loss and health.

    The effect of high glycemic foods is often exaggerated. It's does matter, but to a smaller degree than is often portrayed. Also, the total glycemic effect of foods is influenced by the quantity of that food that you eat at a sitting. Smaller meals have a lower overall glycemic effect. Also, we usually eat several types of food at the same time, thereby reducing the average glycemic index of the meal, if higher glycemic foods are eaten......

    just a thought

    Just curious, where did you get this information from? It sort of looks like a copy and paste from an article, if so can you send me the link so I can read some more??

    Also, I am carb cycling to change up my diet based on this article by Twin Peak's called "What you need to know! Carbohydrate Cycling" on BB articles.


    I am not on a low carb diet, carb cycling is you get 2 non carbs days, 2 really high carbs days, and 3 moderate carbs. I may be wrong but I always thought a low carb diet was someone who ate really low carbs Mon-Sun until they start to realize it only works for a little while such as the Atkins diet. But I dont believe carb cycling is a low carb diet only because you have to eat carbs 5 out of 7 days, but I could be wrong?

    I havent felt fatigued yet because I only put my no carb days on my days off of training.

    But now Im curious? Is carb cycling a low carb diet???
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  7. #7
    Registered User Kinesiologist's Avatar
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    Well there is no link to send you.I wrote it myself it's what I do for a living.Thats a very basic way of putting things not very indepth. I would ask you the same question why do you want to carb cutt..?
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  8. #8
    Registered User Kinesiologist's Avatar
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    To be more specific carbs or glycogen are the main energy source of adenosine triphophate (ATP)within the mitochondria ( muscle cell ). During training wether through aerobic glycolosis or anaerobic glyclosis, your body wants to use it's glycogen stores to be converted in the krebs cycle in order to produce ATP. In the absence of glycogen the body will convert latic acid into pyruvate and convert that into ATP which is not an efficent way of atp production. If there is enough oxygen present you may be in a state of betaoxidation in which the body uses stored adipose tissue ( fat) for energy.But most people are rarely in a state of betaoxidation due to the intensity of thier training which again the body will use muscle tissue as it's energy source. If there are no insulin depletion or bloodsugar issue's (diabetes) I cant see why you would want to cut out your bodys main source of energy. Remember food is nothing but energy, energy is not created or destroyed it simply changes forms. You may never feel fatigued by such a diet but you will dehydrate and on the days you carb cutt you will ignore fat as an energy source and use muscle for energy production which to me defeats the whole purpose of training. Hope this helps let me know if you have any other questions
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  9. #9
    Registered User alemus's Avatar
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    Red face

    Originally Posted by Kinesiologist View Post
    To be more specific carbs or glycogen are the main energy source of adenosine triphophate (ATP)within the mitochondria ( muscle cell ). During training wether through aerobic glycolosis or anaerobic glyclosis, your body wants to use it's glycogen stores to be converted in the krebs cycle in order to produce ATP. In the absence of glycogen the body will convert latic acid into pyruvate and convert that into ATP which is not an efficent way of atp production. If there is enough oxygen present you may be in a state of betaoxidation in which the body uses stored adipose tissue ( fat) for energy.But most people are rarely in a state of betaoxidation due to the intensity of thier training which again the body will use muscle tissue as it's energy source. If there are no insulin depletion or bloodsugar issue's (diabetes) I cant see why you would want to cut out your bodys main source of energy. Remember food is nothing but energy, energy is not created or destroyed it simply changes forms. You may never feel fatigued by such a diet but you will dehydrate and on the days you carb cutt you will ignore fat as an energy source and use muscle for energy production which to me defeats the whole purpose of training. Hope this helps let me know if you have any other questions
    As I mentioned previously Im carb cycling just to change up my diet really, not to lose weight or gain anything out of it. I try to research alot of information and it mainly says you should only carb cycle if you are happy with your level of fitness or you current physique so I thought I would give it a try. Before I started carb cycling 2 weeks ago, I've always ate approx. 1700 cal, and my carbs naturally were always between 150-210 only because of what I enjoyed eating those numbers just kind of happened that way.

    So I do have a question, so for someone like me who rest 1 day out of the week does HIIT cardio 2x/week and weight train 4x/week. Is that too low of a carb number I was intaking previously before I ever even starting carb cycling? Just curious because I never knew if I should be eating more carbs. I just always made sure my calorie number didnt pass 1,700 I wasnt too concerned at the macronutrients I was more concerned about total calories. Sorry for all the questions. Thanks your a great help.
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  10. #10
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    Carb cycling is normally used when dieting/eating in a deficit for long periods of time. The lower your body fat, the harder dieting becomes. Carb/calorie cycling, refeeds, etc...keep leptin levels up to help the body from stalling out/hitting plateaus when dieting.

    If a person is eating at maintenance or eating to build, there really isn't a need for carb/calorie cycling.
    Last edited by kimm4; 08-15-2010 at 10:16 PM.
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  11. #11
    Registered User alemus's Avatar
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    Thumbs up thanks thats really good to know...

    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    Carb cycling is normally used when dieting/eating in a deficit for long periods of time. The lower your body fat, the harder dieting becomes. Carb/calorie cycling, refeeds, etc...keep leptin levels up to help the body from stalling out/hitting plateaus when dieting.

    If a person is eating at maintenance or eating to build, there really isn't a need for carb/calorie cycling.
    I think I may have been in deficit for a long time. :-0 I was only intaking 1,500 cal then bumped up to 1,700 and even today I am hard on myself when I hit 1,900 cal :-0 only because I m not used to such a high number. 1,500 cal helped me lose 40lbs then i just stay at 110 with 20% bf and never buged. So Im hoping carb cycling can fix this plateau. I think once I hit my 17%BF Ill drop the carb cycling and just eat normally for maintenance.

    Thank you so much for adding in your thoughts this is really good to know. But one of my questions still hasnt been answered is carb cycling consideres a low carb diet?
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    Well just remember when you carb cycle if your working out, you will not use body fat as an energy source it's not possible. Genetics play a big role in your body fat % also. 17% low for a women definately dont go any lower. It eally affects dna transfer within the adipose harmone chain and can prevent you from ovulating, and menstarating properly. good luck and no carb cycling is not considered a low card diet
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    Originally Posted by alemus View Post
    I think I may have been in deficit for a long time. :-0 I was only intaking 1,500 cal then bumped up to 1,700 and even today I am hard on myself when I hit 1,900 cal :-0 only because I m not used to such a high number. 1,500 cal helped me lose 40lbs then i just stay at 110 with 20% bf and never buged. So Im hoping carb cycling can fix this plateau. I think once I hit my 17%BF Ill drop the carb cycling and just eat normally for maintenance.

    Thank you so much for adding in your thoughts this is really good to know. But one of my questions still hasnt been answered is carb cycling consideres a low carb diet?
    Depends on one's definition of a low carb diet. This varies per individual.
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    Wink Im taking your advice...

    Originally Posted by Kinesiologist View Post
    Well just remember when you carb cycle if your working out, you will not use body fat as an energy source it's not possible. Genetics play a big role in your body fat % also. 17% low for a women definately dont go any lower. It eally affects dna transfer within the adipose harmone chain and can prevent you from ovulating, and menstarating properly. good luck and no carb cycling is not considered a low card diet
    So I've decided to take your advice. Im just going to include all the macronutrients in my diet, because I am happy with my weight and really I want to maintain it. Instead Ive decided to lower my carbs as the day comes to an end. For example I make sure i have carbs, protein and healthy fats in my first 4 meals then for my last 2 I try to focus more on protein, alot of veggies, and healthy fats. I am trying to gain more muscle so Im hoping this type of eating habit will help me build more muscle.
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    Originally Posted by alemus View Post
    So I've decided to take your advice. Im just going to include all the macronutrients in my diet, because I am happy with my weight and really I want to maintain it. Instead Ive decided to lower my carbs as the day comes to an end. For example I make sure i have carbs, protein and healthy fats in my first 4 meals then for my last 2 I try to focus more on protein, alot of veggies, and healthy fats. I am trying to gain more muscle so Im hoping this type of eating habit will help me build more muscle.
    How many meals a person chooses to eat in a day and what time you eat carbs makes no difference. It's all about getting in your calories at the end of the day. If you want to build muscle, then you need to be eating above your maintenance to do this. Go slightly above maintenance calories and fat gains will be minimal.

    Good luck!
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    Originally Posted by Kinesiologist View Post
    Well just remember when you carb cycle if your working out, you will not use body fat as an energy source it's not possible.
    Um ..what? If you are in a calorie deficit, you will burn fat. That's the long and short of it.

    17% low for a women definately dont go any lower.
    Um... what? Many women here routinely go lower than 17% BF. And the American Council on Exercise considers 14%-20% to be an "athletic" level for women. Whether or not someone ovulates/menstruates at 17% BF is highly dependent on the person. Some women lose their periods at 18% BF, and some are fine at 16% and lower.

    Where do you get this information you're pushing?
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    Originally Posted by KaraCooks View Post
    Um ..what? If you are in a calorie deficit, you will burn fat. That's the long and short of it.

    Um... what? Many women here routinely go lower than 17% BF. And the American Council on Exercise considers 14%-20% to be an "athletic" level for women. Whether or not someone ovulates/menstruates at 17% BF is highly dependent on the person. Some women lose their periods at 18% BF, and some are fine at 16% and lower.

    Where do you get this information you're pushing?
    Good points Kara.

    I've been competing for years and get under 10% for the stage. Never once have I lost my period...it's like clockwork for me!
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    Question Maintenance?

    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    How many meals a person chooses to eat in a day and what time you eat carbs makes no difference. It's all about getting in your calories at the end of the day. If you want to build muscle, then you need to be eating above your maintenance to do this. Go slightly above maintenance calories and fat gains will be minimal.

    Good luck!

    when you say go slighty above your maintanence calories? does this mean if I normally eat 1,700 I should not be too afraid to go up to let's say 2,000 because I think I may gain weight??
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    Talking

    Originally Posted by KaraCooks View Post
    Um ..what? If you are in a calorie deficit, you will burn fat. That's the long and short of it.

    Um... what? Many women here routinely go lower than 17% BF. And the American Council on Exercise considers 14%-20% to be an "athletic" level for women. Whether or not someone ovulates/menstruates at 17% BF is highly dependent on the person. Some women lose their periods at 18% BF, and some are fine at 16% and lower.

    Where do you get this information you're pushing?
    Yeah thats what I was thinking KaraCooks, I too see alot of women on BB profiles that have lower than 17% body fat and they look healthy and fine. So I just thought since Im at 20% BF 17% isnt asking for too much to the point where I'm not healthy, Im just seeking at least 17% so my muscles can start showing more cause I know there under here somewhere :-D
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    I agree that it's perfectly normal to be below 20%. I have been at 16% by working out consistently and not "dieting".


    When I say not "dieting", I mean still eating really healthy, but not doing any kind of special routine such as carb cycling
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    Originally Posted by Kinesiologist View Post
    Well just remember when you carb cycle if your working out, you will not use body fat as an energy source it's not possible.
    what?
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    Originally Posted by krankyprincess View Post
    I agree that it's perfectly normal to be below 20%. I have been at 16% by working out consistently and not "dieting".


    When I say not "dieting", I mean still eating really healthy, but not doing any kind of special routine such as carb cycling
    I like the way you worded that krankyprincess, because ever since I have lost 40 lbs I have this idea that I should always be on a diet, but really I just consistently eat clean and eat 6 small meals a day. I get desperate sometimes though because I have this lower belly pudge that just doesnt want to go away. I weigh 112 and every where is tight but when i turn to my side and look in the mirror my lower belly pudges out and I keep thinking diets like carb cycling will fix this.
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    Question

    Originally Posted by gekkoboy14 View Post
    what?
    why do you say, "what?" gekkoboy is this not true?? give me your 411!!!
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    Originally Posted by alemus View Post
    Yeah thats what I was thinking KaraCooks, I too see alot of women on BB profiles that have lower than 17% body fat and they look healthy and fine. So I just thought since Im at 20% BF 17% isnt asking for too much to the point where I'm not healthy, Im just seeking at least 17% so my muscles can start showing more cause I know there under here somewhere :-D
    In all honesty, you're pushing the lower end of the scale for your height. You can go down in body fat, but you're going to end up with a look of skinny. In order to get the muscle definition you're looking for, you've got to have enough overall muscle on your frame to achieve the look.

    The truth, you need to focus on building not cutting, you're going backwards...
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