Tips For Sticking With It
- At first, dont take on more changes than you can handle. Get accustomed to cycling, then consider experimenting with fasting once youre more comfortable with the dietary changes youre making.
- To sustain muscle mass and further improve your bodys ability to use carbs and calories, incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. Ideally do a combination of aerobic and resistance training every week, since both have major health advantages.
- To keep your metabolism thriving and boost digestive health, consider also taking some beneficial supplements. Recommendations include omega-3 fatty acids to lower inflammation, probiotics to help improve gut health, magnesium to help you recover from workouts, adaptogen herbs to help your body handle stress, and a high-quality multivitamin to make sure you meet your needs.
- Get enough sleep and manage daily stress. Both a lack of sleep and high levels of emotional stress can contribute to overeating, hormonal imbalances, weight gain and even poor immune function.
Low Carb Diet For Pcos
Since PCOS is rooted in insulin resistance, low-carb diets could be helpful for blood sugar balance. Reducing carbs can help to lower insulin levels, which can improve PCOS symptoms and make it easier to manage weight.
But again, going lower carb is different than low carb. People with PCOS don’t need to follow a super restrictive low-carb diet like keto to see benefits. Instead, moderately low-carb diets seem to be the sweet spot for people with PCOS, again focusing on removing highly refined carbs and swapping for high-fiber options.
How Carb Cycling Can Balance Hormones
Carbohydrate cycling is a new approach to both diet and hormone balancing, therefore more research is necessary to look at the long-term effects. With that said, the research that does exist is very positive!
Carbohydrate cycling works in three ways.
First, the diet seeks to match the bodys need for calories or glucose. As mentioned above, its important to plan out your carbohydrate consumption with your activity levels, workouts, or training. This way your body is using high carbohydrate intake as it was intended, for energy and to refuel muscle glycogen. This has been shown to boost performance, reduce muscle breakdown, and aid in muscle recovery.
Second, the high-carbohydrate intake periods may improve the function of the weight- and appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, while the low-carbohydrate intake periods switch the body over to a predominantly fat-based energy system, which may improve metabolic flexibility and the bodys ability to burn fat as fuel in the long-term.
Lastly, carb cycling has been shown to manipulate insulin, that powerhouse hormone we talked about earlier. Depending on the type and quantity of carbohydrate you consume, it can make your insulin levels spike. Carbohydrate cycling aims to avoid these spikes. The combination of low-carbohydrate intake and strategic implementation of carbs around the workout may improve insulin sensitivity, a vital marker of health.
Exercises According To Your Cycle
- Menstrual. Rest is key. Pamper yourself. Focus on yin and kundalini yoga and opt for meditative walks through nature rather than pushing yourself.
- Follicular. Keep exercises to hiking, light runs, or more flow-based yoga that works up a sweat.
- Ovulation. Your testosterone and estrogen are peaking, maximizing your potential. Try exercises such as high-intensity interval workouts or a spin class.
- Luteal. During this time, progesterone is on the rise as testosterone and estrogen deplete. Opt for strength training, Pilates, and more intense versions of yoga.
Its always important to listen to your body and do what feels good. If you feel you can push yourself a little harder, or need to back off more during certain stages, this is OK. Listen to your body!
As a functional nutritionist, Negron leans on food as medicine to address menstrual symptoms.
Oftentimes, women tend to eat the same foods on a regular basis to save time and frustration.
But the different ratios of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone throughout the month require different nutritional and detoxification needs.
Shaking up what we eat on a week-to-week basis is imperative to support our cyclical body, she explains.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, Imbalances in your hormones are triggered by bad food. This means removing or limiting sugar, alcohol, and caffeine, especially during the menstrual phase.
What Are The Benefits Of Carb Cycling
Whether you want to trim your body fat level down to achieve your weight management goals or you want to control your blood sugar more effectively, there are several reasons you may want to consider a carb cycling approach.
For instance, having specific high-carb days can help improve leptin function, your bodys weight-regulating hormone.
In addition, studies show that carbohydrate loading can provide a performance boost for high-intensity, short-duration exercise.
Consequently, while the bodybuilding community may believe a carb cycling approach can help build mass muscle, that may not necessarily be the case. A 2007 study found that the coingestion of carbohydrates with protein did not lead to an increase in post-exercise muscle protein synthesis.
Read Also: Does Melatonin Put You To Sleep
How Carb Cycling Was Born
This diet trend started with high performance athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models. The thought was, why not adjust carbohydrate intake so you could have carbs at the ready? And for sports where physique or weight is important, low carb helps the body shed water. But the approach can leave you feeling weak over time. So why not alternate low-carb and higher-carb periods to get the best of both worlds? It sounds like a great theory, but we still know very little about whether its helpful for fat loss. Here are six subtle signs that youre eating too many carbs.
The Bogeyman Of Insulin
One of the easiest ways to invent a fad diet is to isolate some aspect of nutrition and finger it as the root cause of major problems or deliverance from them.
For the low-carb crowd, insulin is the great bugaboo the evil hormone programmed to make us fat, type II diabetics.
And the carbohydrate, were told, is insulins trojan horse and partner in crime. We eat the delicious carbs, and they open the insulin floodgates and chaos ensues.
Insulin doesnt make you fat. Overeating does. Full stop.
To understand why this is, lets jump to square one: what is insulin and how does it work?
Insulin is a hormone that shuttles nutrients from your blood to your cells.
When you eat food, it gets broken down into various substances like amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids. These all make their way into your bloodstream, and are joined by insulin, which is produced by the pancreas.
As the nutrients make their way into cells, your body gradually reduces insulin levels until everything is absorbed. Insulin then remains at a low, baseline level.
That is, it tells the body to . . .
And yes, that sounds bad, which is why its an easy scapegoat.
The logic goes like this:
Don’t Miss: Best Things For Hormonal Imbalance
Does Seed Cycling Balance Hormone Levels
A primary claim of seed cycling is that it can balance your hormone levels through the actions of phytoestrogens from lignans.
Sesame and flax seeds have particularly high concentrations of lignans, packing 834 mg and 294 mg per 3.5 ounces , respectively .
After consumption, these lignans are converted into the mammalian lignans enterolactone and enterodiol. These phytoestrogens can mimic the action of estrogen or hinder it, depending on the dose (
In general, women with a normal menstrual cycle already produce the correct amounts of hormones. For those with hormonal imbalances, seed cycling is not likely to be the best way to improve symptoms.
Plant lignans can have a weak effect on estrogen levels, and flax seeds are linked to improved cycle length and reduced breast pain. Still, no evidence associates seed cycling with improved hormone levels.
What Does Carb Cycling Do Exactly
In theory, it can do quite a few things. So well give you a rundown of the top five potential benefits of carb cycling.
But before we do, its important to know: Theres hardly any human research on carb cycling.
Mostly, we have anecdotal reports about how carb cycling works, along with a few hypotheses based on biochemistry.
Those are valuable, but on a 1 to 10 scale of scientific confidence, carb cycling ranks closer to a 1 than a 10.
So keep that in mind when you hear or read claims about carb cycling.
Okay, enough with the disclaimers. Heres what carb cycling might do.
Recommended Reading: Can You Buy Estrogen Online
When To Consider Carb Cycling
Not everyone needs to carb cycle, but you may be a prime candidate if any of these symptoms or characteristics apply to you:
- You are at a low or healthy percent body fat
- You have experienced an unfavorable change in cycle length since starting keto
- You are dealing with insomnia
- You are not satisfied and constantly hungry
- You feel anxious, wired
- Your thyroid levels have declined since going keto
Some Women May Benefit From A Low Carb Diet
We can’t discuss low carb without sharing some of the benefits. There are absolutely reasons low-carb diets are so popular. Some of the short term benefits include:
The important question, aside from the possible impact on hormones, is whether a low-carb diet is sustainable to provide long-term health changes, and the jury is still out on this one. Most studies comparing low-carb to other patterns of eating find no difference long-term.
Also Check: Balancing Hormones To Lose Weight
Ends Carb And Sugar Cravings
Cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates are caused by chronic blood sugar instability. Blood sugar instability signals the brain that you are starving and need food. The body naturally favors sugar over fat as an energy source so we turn to sugar and high carb foods. These foods are very addictive and a harmful cycle is created.
The perpetual cycle looks like this: When you eat sugar, your blood sugar levels spike, dopamine is released in the brain, and mass insulin is secreted to drop blood sugar levels. Next, blood sugar levels fall rapidly and high insulin levels cause immediate fat storage. Then hunger and cravings increase because of the low blood sugar levels.
The key to breaking the destructive high sugar/high carb cycle is to convert from being a sugar burner to a fat burner. Healthy fats are stable source of energy that help balance blood sugar. Transitioning from a sugar burner to a fat burner with the ketogenic diet will eliminate those cravings for carbohydrates and sugar.
First You Have To Understand That Keto Is A Stressor On The Body
While keto can be a magic bullet for metabolism and mood, it can also throw you into an imbalanced state if you’re not careful. That’s because it’s technically a stressor on your body and contributes to your overall allostatic loadthe cumulative impact of stressors, both physiological and mental, on the hormonal and regulatory function of the body.
In many healthy individuals, the fact that keto is a stressor is usually fine and often healthfulafter all, in addition to keto, many health-promoting practices are also stressors and, as such, help the body become more resilient over time. But when your allostatic load becomes too greatsay, for example, you’re chronically stressed, under-sleeping, practicing intermittent fasting, and following a keto dietyour body is simply overtaxed and hormonal imbalances can result.
You May Like: Can My Doctor Check My Hormone Levels
How Carb Cycling Can Help Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies
One of the main benefits of carb cycling is that it can help you avoid nutrient deficiencies. This is because the high-carb days allow you to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. On the low-carb days, you can still include foods like lean proteins and healthy fats, which can help ensure that you are getting all of the essential nutrients your body needs.
The Flipping 50 Approach To Exercise
Heres where you and I may differ in our opinion of the purpose of exercise and diet. I want, and want for my clients, MORE active lives. Not better workouts or a few minutes on stage that required hours weekly, if not daily, to get there and severe diet restriction that cant be maintained if you want your health, but better every day all day and pleasure from food that doesnt have to be measured and weighed or require entering each and every bite into an app.
I completely advocate a whole body 2-3 times a week strength training routine for the best metabolism boost in the least amount of time for my clients. I dont work with women who have or want to spend hours in the gym doing a split routine that requires a daily commitment to the gym and weight lifting. I have not met very many women who have that kind of time!
I advocate using the body in integrated exercises not isolated exercises. With the exception of working on your weak links and preventing injury or rehabbing from one, whole body exercise is safe, sane, and efficient and you are not co-dependent on an exercise routine or a slave to the gym.
Better midlife, metabolism comes from major muscle groups and intensity. You do not need more stress and more time sucked from enjoyment of life. Life happens outside the gym.
Let me give you even more detail of the cons of extreme carb cycling
When you get into starvation mode with fasting:
Recommended Reading: How To Manage Your Hormones
Incorporating Carb Cycling With The Keto Diet
Remember, if youre going to increase your carb intake, track yourself to see how your body responds. When youre experimenting with your carb intake, ketone breath meters and keto sticks are great ways to see if youre actually in ketosis.
What is carb cyclings role in the keto diet? Take a closer look below
How To Carb Cycle To Lose Weight: Takeaway
If youre experiencing a weight-loss plateau or need to dd more muscle mass, carb cycling day could be exactly what you need to increase your basal metabolic rate, and accelerate your results. Structured carb cycling is very beneficial to help keep balance and control of eating foods you enjoy in moderation, in addition to achieving your body composition goals. However it is important to note, that no carb cycle is the same. There is no cookie-cutter method to carb cycling and magic macro ratio. Be prepared to closely monitor and adjusting your schedule based upon your results. If you really want the desired results youre looking for and dont know exactly how to get them, then work closely with a nutrition coach. Theyll help you measure, manage, and monitor your results to identify what carb cycling method is best and how many carbs you need to enhance your weight loss.
Also Check: Best Vitamin C Serum For Hormonal Acne
A Low Carb Diet May Cause Irregular Menstrual Cycles Or Amenorrhea In Some Women
If your diet is very restrictive, you may experience irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea.
Amenorrhea is defined as the absence of a menstrual cycle for 3 months or more.
The most common cause of amenorrhea is functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, which can result from a very low calorie diet, disordered eating, losing weight, experiencing stress, or getting too much exercise. Restricting carbs could contribute to some of these causes .
Amenorrhea occurs as a result of the drop in levels of many hormones, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which starts the menstrual cycle .
This results in a domino effect, causing a drop in the levels of other hormones such as luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone .
These changes can slow some functions in the hypothalamus, the region of the brain responsible for hormone release.
A low level of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, is another potential cause of amenorrhea and irregular menstruation. Research suggests that women need a certain level of leptin to maintain normal menstrual function .
If your carb or calorie consumption is too low, it may suppress your leptin levels and interfere with leptins ability to regulate your reproductive hormones. This is particularly true for underweight or lean women on a low carb diet.
Following a very low carb diet over a long period of time may cause irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea.
Reasons To Consider Carb Cycling
There are other reasons to consider carb cycling besides weight loss.
- If your thyroid levels have declined since you have started a ketogenic diet, carb cycling can help bring them back up.
- If you are trying to add muscle mass , carb cycling can add a little bit of carbs back into your diet, since it is designed to prevent muscle breakdown.
- You are always hungry and never feel satisfied. Carb cycling can help you better manage your appetite without worrying about calorie intake.
- You get heart palpitations.
- You get dizzy or have headaches. Both of these symptoms are signs that your electrolytes arent where they need to be for you to function normally. Carb cycling can help replenish those and balance them out so you feel much better.
- Your periods are irregular or your PMS symptoms are getting worse. Your hormones could be out of whack due to low carbs, so carb cycling has been known to help with that as well.
With all of these possible benefits, there is no doubt that carb cycling can be a useful tool for many women.
Also Check: Non Estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy