Carb Cycling: How To Have Your Cake And Eat It


Carb Cycling: How To Have Your Cake And Eat It

When Henry Dunmore came up with the idea for Natural Fitness Food, aimed at time-poor London fitsters, he was adamant that eating well should never be about denial.


Which is why, alongside a healthy dose of seasonal vegetables and lean proteins, you will find nutritious carbs such as sweet potato and wholesome grains in the grab-and-go meals. This month’s dish of the month, for example, is Harissa roast chicken thighs with roast butternut squash.

“People have become increasingly worried about eating carbs, but the reality is they are an essential food group that provide a powerful source of energy, especially for those of us who workout regularly,” says Dunmore.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean we can all gorge on sticky buns. The trick is to modify your intake according to the amount of exercise you are doing. Called ‘carb cycling’, this method allows people to enjoy a balanced diet without feeling guilty.

Liam Holmes, nutritionist at Third Space Tower Bridge, explains:

“Carb cycling is a dietary method that involves structured increases and decreases in carbohydrate intake. It is used to lose weight without suffering some of the negative consequences of a pure low carbohydrate diet plan. It has also been proposed to support increases in muscle gain and performance.”

In simple terms you increase your carbohydrate intake on training days (specifically around your session) and lower your carb intake on non-training days or lower intensity days.

Holmes says the reason for doing carb cycling is simple – the body needs carbohydrates the most on training days. Sandwiching your carbs around your workout will help fuel you in the gym.

“Taking on carbs before you workout will allow you to work harder and push more weight, and then having the influx of carbohydrates after the workout session will help restock muscle glycogen and kick start the recovery process,” says Holmes. In fact, your muscles are more sensitised to absorbing carbs as energy than body fat on training days.

He adds: “A very important area with carb cycling is that you should also be decreasing your overall fat intake on days you go high carb. You have to think of carbs and fats on a see saw.”

Higher carbs = lower fat and vice versa. This is crucial to maintain a calorie balance and by lowering the fat intake, you allow more room for those carbohydrates without overfilling the tank (leading to body fat gain).

For a guilt-free healthy breakfast, head to Canary Wharf to try Natural Fitness Food’s new Pimped Porridge hot food counter. Made out of gluten-free oats, milk and a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, this delicious hot breakfast option comes with a choice of toppings including peanut butter, crushed hazelnuts, dried cranberries or a choice of apple, or pear and plum compote.

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