Carbohydrate intake will determine just how fast you gain or lose weight. Carbs are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain. Many women consume way too many carbs without realizing just how much effort has to go into burning those calories.
When you eat processed carbs such as donuts, pasta, white bread, white potatoes, etc. the calories quickly add up and the body has a lot of fuel. It shuttles all the excess fuel into its fat stores and that’s how you gain weight. Furthermore, the processed carbs usually cause a spike in insulin levels which indirectly lead to weight gain. A double whammy.
There is no denying that a restricted carb intake will do wonders for your fat loss. In fact, studies have shown that restricting your carbs is more effective than restricting your calories. So, if you are on a 500 calorie deficit daily, and your carb intake is minimal, you will lose much more weight in the same span of time than you would by consuming carbs while on a deficit.
Does that make sense? In simple words, less carbs equals more fat loss. Sounds good? You bet!
When you cut down your carb intake, your body will burn more fat from its fat stores because it doesn’t have much carbs to burn for fuel. So, fat loss is accelerated. Your body’s blood sugar level will drop and people suffering from diabetes will seem an improvement in their condition. A restrictive carb diet also keeps type 2 diabetes at bay since your body’s insulin sensitivity is on point.
Your good cholesterol levels will go up and your bad cholesterol levels will drop. Many people assume that cholesterol is linked to fat intake. The truth is that a high carb intake also has an adverse impact on your cholesterol levels. This runs contrary to popular belief yet studies show that a low-carb diet has more positive effects on your triglycerides than a low-fat diet.
Now, it is important to note that you should never take things to extremes. This applies to carb restriction too.
Many women go on diets such as the Atkins diet which is based on severe restriction of carbs for long periods of time. This is detrimental to your body because you will end up fatigued, moody and weak. The diet is not sustainable and once you come off it, you will gain whatever weight you lost and a bit more.
Excessive carb restriction will compromise your immune system, lead to muscle loss, slow down your fat burning and put you in a weight loss plateau. You’ll also develop leptin resistance which doesn’t bode well for fat loss.
So, what do you do? How do you strike the right balance? You want the best of both worlds, don’t you?
The only way to achieve this is with a technique that is known as carb cycling. You will avoid carbohydrates for 3 to 6 days at a time. If you are overweight or obese and have a slower metabolism, you should aim for 5 to 6 days of minimal or zero carbs.
If you just have a few extra pounds to lose, you just need to go for 3 to 4 days with low or no carbs.
After the period of carb restriction, you will follow it with one day of carb intake. This is known as your “re-feed” day. Consume sufficient carbs on this day and you will give your body the fuel that it needs. Your metabolism will get a boost and your body will get a surge of energy as its fuel stores get replenished.
Stick to healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, etc. You should aim for a 500 to 700 calorie surplus over maintenance level. This will put your body back in fat burning mode. You can find out your calorie numbers here: http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
Use this technique repeatedly to accelerate your fat loss and improve your health. Over time, you will find that you crave for processed foods less. Your insulin sensitivity will improve, the pounds will drop and you will look and feel like a brand new you.
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