Carb cycling: Dieting technique to drop pounds goes mainstream

PHILADELPHIA - February 10, 2014

The way bodybuilders use this dieting trick can be extreme, but there are less drastic versions that can still help cut pounds.

As vice president of Unite Fitness, Juliet Burgh was already a health nut, but says once she combined her tough workouts with the dieting technique she noticed quick results.

"I lost about 5 pounds even in the first week so I was literally losing a pound a day doing it," Burgh said.

24-year-old Eric Davidson was also looking for extreme results. He wanted to impress a girl.

"That was the initial motivation to start," Davidson said.

So trainer Carlos Bradley at the Aquatic and Fitness Center tailored a specific carb cycling plan just for him. Over five months, he lost 33 pounds.

"My entire body just dropped weight," Davidson said.

Carb cycling is when you vary the amount of carbohydrates, things like bread, rice, even grains and fruit, that you eat from day to day adding in more protein and veggies.

Experts say the cycle tricks your body to burn more calories.

But there are different ways to do it.

Both Eric and Juliet followed a strict program.

"The idea was that we had two low carb days, one medium carb day, and one high carb day," Burgh said.

In the end, she says it was too much for her.

"On those low carb days, I was cranky. You did not want to mess with me on those low carb days," Burgh said.

But both she and Carlos agree everyone can benefit from at least paying attention to how many carbs you eat.

"Then I'll make suggestions where they can take carbs out, leave carbs in," Bradley said. "Once we have a surplus of carbs then it is just going to store in your body as fat and you are just going to feel more sluggish."

After two months of carb cycling, Eric started adding more healthy carbs back into his diet.

"I would slowly start to work in that piece of toast in the morning," Davidson said.

He still keeps his protein up, and workouts going strong...and says he feels better than he ever has.

"Totally different person. Literally, I would run circles around myself a year ago right now," Davidson said.

As I mentioned, there are less extreme versions of carb cycling.

Chris Powell, the trainer on 'Extreme Weight Loss,' has four different plans people can follow depending on what kind of results you want.


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