Confused about carbs and how they fit into carb cycling? Believe me, you’re not alone! Many of my most frequently asked questions are about carbs. And yes, with all the talk of “carbs this” and “carbs that” in the media, it can get a bit confusing. It gets even more complicated when you think you need to keep track of grams of carbs per meal and per day and the “good” vs. the “bad.”
It’s time to rethink how you think about carbs, agreed?!
First, the basics: Carbs—and the roles they play in your diet—are actually pretty simple. If it comes from a plant, it’s a carb, and carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs. Breads, beans, potatoes, table sugar, fruits, and vegetables are all carbs.
There are two categories of carbs: simple and complex. The simple, not-so-healthy ones are found in foods such as cakes, cookies, some commercially made breads, and many processed foods. Fruits are also considered simple carbs because of the type of sugar they contain, but they’re a healthy choice because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants, and some fiber. Your body breaks down simple, not-so-healthy carbs very quickly, which spikes your blood sugar levels and stimulates the release of insulin, resulting in a craving for more simple carbs. And that is soooo not good!
Complex, healthy carbs—like those found in legumes, root vegetables, whole-grains, cereals, breads, and pastas—are typically high in fiber, which slows food digestion and the release of sugars. This keeps your blood sugar and energy levels steady (and longer lasting), so your calorie-burning furnace stays hot and burns more calories! And that is awesome!
So how do carbs fit into our carb cycling program? It’s actually pretty simple. No matter what carb cycle you choose, every breakfast of every day will contain a carb. Every breakfast, every day. Your carb can be a grain, a legume, a starchy or root veggie, or a fruit.
In the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, on low-carb days, your remaining four meals (spaced every three hours) consist of a portion each of protein, fat, and veggies (think fibrous green veggies, not the starchy, root kind), and on high-carb days, your remaining four meals (spaced every three hours) are made up of a portion each of protein and complex carbs (grains, legumes, starchy or root veggies, or fruits). To learn more about the new Extreme Cycle, go here. And no matter which cycle you choose, if you’re ever still hungry, you can always throw in a portion of veggies (again, the fibrous greens). Remember: With carb cycling, you can have non-root/non-starchy veggies with every single meal (starchy, root veggies, like potatoes, will fall into the carb category)! Pretty simple, right?
Here’s what it looks like, including some handy portion size helps, for the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles:
Here’s the most important take-away about carbs: With carbs and carb cycling, it’s not about a magic number of grams of carbs to eat every day. It’s about that carb for breakfast every morning and spreading your carb intake throughout your high-carb days so your body gets the greatest benefits from those healthy carbs you eat. Carbs are amazing, and they can be an important key to achieving your transformation goals. 🙂
This is great advice! However for women with PCOS, like myself
the amount of carbs you eat affects your fertility so having
the perfect combination of food is critical, with lower carbs than for women without PCOS. I learned the hard way so I hope this helps
how many low and high carbs do I do? one of each every other day?
Not sure that can answer this here but…..
Can you become overly sensitive to simple carbs? I ask because I find that eating simple carbs and/or sugar knocks me out. I have the crash and become very tired without the benifit of the rush and can only figure this is becasue i dont eat these foods normally.
Yes. Make sure you’re not potentially eating things with gluten in them too, as it could actually be a gluten sensitivity that you are experiencing.
Thank you for all u do
Thank for posting this. I would love to see a post on snack suggestions for those low carb days. The grab and go kind would be great. Being a mother keeps me on the go. I have Chris’s book and enjoy reading your blog. You two are a great team. I’ve always been active and thought that I had a pretty good handle with my diet. This has really helped me tweak it.
Hi I need help for me and my daughter. She is pre diabetic and 13. She is trying to change her eating but we need help to make sure we are putting the right foods together.
I just purchased, “Choose More, Lose More for Life”. I understand I need to create a calorie deficit. I multiplied my weight by 12 and got 2,844. I subtracted 1,000 calories to create a deficit which brought me to 1,844. So, each day whether it’s a low carb day or a high carb day I am to maintain a calorie intake of 1,844? Or should I consume 1,844 calories on low carb days and 2,344 on high carb days? Set me straight!
Can you carb cycle while pregnant?
Hi. I just have a question. Do you guys have your own line on of nutrional shakes that help you lose weight?
I went to an advertisement of your husbands. I just want to make sure this is not a scam and really your guys! Because I have never seen him advertise on his show or on commercials.
We do. Here is the official link to find our Vemma Bod-e shakes http://transformnow.vemma.com/ Enjoy!
So grateful for your posting this! I am finally ready to take the step in the right direction! You two rock and are an inspiration to me in so many ways! Thank you!