What Are The Best Foods To Eat When Carb Cycling?

Introduction

Carb cycling is a very effective nutrition strategy for losing fat fast while maintaining and building muscle. You can easily transform your body in as little as 12 weeks if you follow a good carb cycling plan to the T. The concept is pretty simple. From a high level perspective you have several low carb days (50 – 75g of carbs or less) followed by a higher carb. The amount of carbs one eats on a higher carb day will vary from person to person based on their height, weight, age, activity level and several other factors. When it comes to the amount of fat you eat it will pretty much flip on high carb days vs low carb days. On high carb days your fats will be lower and on low carb days your fats will be higher. Protein remains consistent on all days. Why this technique is so effective will be discussed in a later article but know that this technique can help you achieve rapid fat loss if followed properly.  For a more in depth look at how carb cycling works be sure to check out my video on Carb Cycling for Extreme Fat Loss.

So now you know how to carb cycle from a high level perspective but I also want you to know that not all foods are created equal. This is especially true when it comes to carbohydrates. To reap the maximum possible benefits from this approach you have to be smart about your food choices. The goal is to keep out blood glucose levels consistent and avoid any unnecessary spikes.

Protein

A general rule of thumb is to use faster digesting proteins like whey following a workout.
For the remainder of the day you would want to eat slower digesting proteins that come from whole food sources like eggs, poultry, beef, and fish. This will help to keep your blood glucose levels steady.

Carbohydrates

When it comes to carbs you typically want carbs that are slower digesting and high in fiber. These carbohydrates usually have a lower glycemic index as well as a lower glycemic load value. The only time you would want a faster digesting carb, like a simple sugar, would be post workout. Carbs that have a lower glycemic load will help to prevent your blood glucose levels from spiking. The added fiber will also act as a buffer to prevent insulin spikes. The difference between the glycemic index and the glycemic load is that the glycemic load takes into consideration the fact that you’ll be eating other foods as well, which has an impact on how fast these carbohydrates will digest. This is important because this number will give you a more accurate idea as to how much a certain food will affect your blood sugar levels.

Fats

The best fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats, found mostly in vegetable oils, help lower both blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels – especially when you substitute them for saturated fats. One type of polyunsaturated fat is omega-3 fatty acids, whose potential heart-health benefits have gotten a lot of attention.

Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but solidify if refrigerated. These heart-healthy fats are typically a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, a nutrient often lacking in American diets. They can be found in olives; avocados; hazelnuts; almonds; Brazil nuts; cashews; sesame seeds; pumpkin seeds; and olive, canola, and peanut oils.

You should now have a general idea of what to look for in your protein, carbs, and fat sources. Below is a list of foods that meet our criteria and should be primarily used when carb cycling. Eating these foods will help set you up for success in your fat loss efforts.

Recommended Foods

Legumes Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Kidney Beans (boiled) 100 g 127 9 25 0.5 29 7
Garbanzo Beans(boiled) 100 g 164 9 30 2.6 31 9
Pinto Beans(boiled) 100 g 143 9 26 0.7 33 8
Soy Beans(boiled) 100 g 147 13 11 7 15 1
Black Beans(boiled) 100 g 132 9 24 0.5 30 7
Lentils 100 g 116 9 20 0.4 29 5
Vegetables Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Carrots (peeled & boiled) 80 g 33 0.7 7.7 0.2 33 2
Lettuce 100 g 14 1 3 0.1 0 0
Broccoli 100 g 55 3.7 11 0.6 0 0
Spinach 100 g 23 3 3.8 0.3 0 0
Kale 100 g 28 1.9 6 0.4 0 0
Green Beans 100 g 17 0 3.3 0.8 0 0
Fruit Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Apples 100 g 52 0.3 13.8 0.2 40 6
Grapefruit 100 g 32 0.6 8 0.1 25 9
Watermelon 100 g 30 0.6 7.6 0.2 72 4
Strawberries 100 g 32 0.7 7.7 0.3 58 7
Raspberries 100 g 52 1.2 11.9 0.7 26 5
Blackberries 100 g 43 1.4 10.2 0.5 25 4
Blueberries 100 g 57 0.7 14,5 0.3 40 6
Honeydew 100 g 36 0.5 9.1 0.1 65 6
Nuts Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Cashews 28 g 155 5.1 8.5 12.3 25 3
Peanuts 28 g 158 7.2 4.5 13.8 23 3
Almonds 28 g 162 6 5.5 14.2 0 0
Macadamia Nuts 28 g 201 2.2 3.9 21.2 0 0
Grains Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Barley 150 g 185 3.4 42 0.7 27 11
Pumpernickel Bread 30 g 75 2.6 14.3 0.9 56 7
Whole wheat Bread (varies) 30 g 77 3.5 14 1.4 77 9
Whole-wheat pasta 180 g 223 9.6 47.8 1 58 29
Oats (steel cut) ¼ cup 150 5 27 2.5 57 14
Rice Cakes 28 g 111 2 23 1.2 82 17
Brown Rice (Uncle Bens) 1 cup prepared 170 4 36 1.5 48 20
Sweet Potatoes 168 g 151 3.4 34.8 0.3 77 16
All-Bran™ breakfast cereal (high-fiber, extruded wheat bran cereal) ½ cup 80 4 23 1 30 4
Dairy Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Milk (reduced fat 2%) 8 oz 122 8.1 12.3 4.8 30 4
Almond Milk (Regular) 8 fl oz 60 1 8 2.5 Unknown Unknown
Almond Milk (Unsweetened) 8 fl oz 30 1 1 2.5 Unknown Unknown
Greek Yogurt Full Fat Plain 227 g 210 20 7 11 14 27
Greek Yogurt 2% Plain 227 g 160 23 7 4.5 27 27
Greek Yogurt 0% Plain 227 g 120 23 7 0 27 27
Whey Protein Isolate 25 g 90 22 1 0 0 0
Casein Protein 34 g 120 24 3 1 0 0
Poultry Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast 100 g 110 23.1 0 1.2 0 0
93% Ground Turkey 100 g 150 18.7 0 8.3 0 0
Whole Eggs 45 g 70 5.7 0.5 4.8 0 0
Egg Whites 45 g 23 4.9 0.3 0 0 0
Beef Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
90% Lean Ground Beef 100 g 179 19.6 0 9.8 0 0
93% Lean Ground Beef 100 g 152 20.9 0 7 0 0
96% Lean Ground Beef 100 g 116 21.4 0 3.6 0 0
Top Sirloin 100 g 212 19.5 0 14.2 0 0
Filet mignon 100 g 179 28.1 0 6.6 0 0
Pork Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Bacon 28 g 151 10.4 0.4 11.7 0 0
Seafood Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Tuna 100 g 128 23.6 0 3 0 0
Salmon 100 g 206 22.1 0 12.4 0 0
Atlantic Mackerel 100 g 205 18.6 0 13.9 0 0
Fats Serving Size Calories Protein Carbs Fat Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 0.5 fl oz 120 0 0 14 0 0
Flax Seed Oil 0.5 fl oz 120 0 0 14 0 0
Butter 0.5 oz 102 0 0 11.5 0 0
Peanut Butter 0.6 oz 94 4 3 8.1 14 Unknown
Almond Butter 0.6 oz 101 2.4 3.4 9.5 0 0

 

Summary

Carb cycling is a great tool if you’re looking to lose fat fast. There are plenty of foods to choose from between your high and low carb days. This is only a partial list of foods that would be a good fit while carb cycling. Using the guidelines from this article you should be able to add foods to this list that meet your needs.I hope that this list was helpful to point you in the right direction. If you’re interested in designing a meal plan based on carb cycling be sure to check out our Carb Cycling Calculator and our new Meal Plan Generator.

If you are interesting in learning more about carb cycling or how you can transform your body in as little as 12 weeks, be sure to check out my coaching page and shoot me a message. I would be thrilled to help guide you on your fat loss journey. I hope you found this article helpful and as always, happy carb cycling!

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By | 2018-07-04T14:30:02+00:00 July 2nd, 2018|Articles, Carb Cycling, Nutrition, Weight Loss|0 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, my name is Patrick Zlydak and I am the founder of Always On Nutrition. I am an avid fitness enthusiast and have over 10 years of experience with nutrition and training to maximize fat loss and building muscle. I would love to share my experiences and learning with you through my coaching program. If you are interesting in learning more about carb cycling, or how you can transform your body in as little as 12 weeks, be sure to check out my coaching page and shoot me a message. I would be thrilled to help guide you on your fat loss journey.

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