Monday, August 27, 2007

The Carb Cycling Diet

With all of the attention we place on reducing carbs, it's easy to forget that carbohydrates are actually good for you! I have found carb cycling to be much easier from a will-power perspective and as a lifestyle change because we have opportunities to indulge every once in a while without feeling guilty. From my personal experience, cycling seemed to result in equal weight loss as low-carb every day.

I have just started reading "The Carb Cycling Diet" by Dr. Roman Malkov. So far, it is an excellent weight-loss book. The author, Dr. Malkov is a physician and exercise physiologist. He was a nutritional consultant for the Russian National Rowing team and now practices in New York City. His book provides several approaches for different lifestyles. While he clearly states that exercise will dramatically improve results, there are even instructions for those of us who are not combining the diet with exercise. I have been doing carb-cycling for several months now without exercise. My results have been pretty good. This book supports my theory that mixing in some normal or high carb days prevents a slowdown in your metabolism. The carb cycling diet approach aims at preventing the adaptation changes that occur when someone's behavior becomes repetitious.

Excerpt from book:

The Carb Cycling Diet rests on these four simple concepts:
  1. Your body's metabolism consists of two pathways: anabolism, in which you build muscle; and catabolism, in which you burn fat. You cannot do both at the same time.
  2. Therefore, you need to alternate between normal-carb days (which promote anabolism) and limited-carb days (which promote catabolism). Keep in mind that when we talk about limiting carbs, we're talking primarily about refined (bad) carbs.
  3. However, when you consume carbs on your normal-carb days, you also open the door to fat deposition, which usually takes place within the first few minutes of eating refined carbs.
  4. In order to prevent that fat deposition, on normal-carb days, anaerobic weight lifting exercises are most effective. On limited-carb days, aerobic exercises are most effective.

I will have to do a little more research on number 1. I had always thought that protein would build muscle regardless of carb intake. He basically says that if you are taking in less nutrients than you are consuming, that your body can't efficiently put these nutrients to use building muscle. I 'll have do some additional reading on protein and muscle growth.

Number 3 above shocked me. I'd like to know what studies back up this statement. It's just so hard to imagine that fat is deposited within a few minutes of eating! For this reason, it is suggested that you exercise before you eat, not after. Apparently doing so will cause the nutrients to be deposited in muscle rather than fat storage.

There's also quite a bit of talk in this book about slowing down the aging process and making the skin more elastic. The theory is rather complex involving triggers for the release of various hormones. I may post on this topic later, once I have read more and had time to think it over.


1600aday said...

Thanks for your comment.

Putting a counter on my site produced an unexpected motivation. Just seeing the "hits" I'm getting from others interested in losing weight and realizing there's someone else trying to do the same thing I am (and that they are aware and even comment) inspires me.

Pashta said...

That book is wrong. I recently had a baby and my stomach muscles were almost non-existent. I went on Medifast (low cal, low carb) for 3 months, did pilates and I DEFINITELY gained muscle even low cal and low carb. I seriously couldn't even do one situp before, now I can do plenty with no problem.

Anonymous said...

Anabolism is powered by catabolism, where large molecules are broken down into smaller parts and then used up in respiration.
Catabolism is the set of metabolic pathways which break down molecules into smaller units and release energy. -Wikipedia

Without Catabolism breaking up nutrients into their constituent parts there can be no building blocks for the Anabolic process.