Carb Cycling VS. Intermittent Fasting VS. Keto
Ever wonder what "diet" you need to be following? How are you supposed to choose?
It seems like every time I walk through the gym doors, pick up a magazine or read people's posts, I encounter someone discussing the "best" eating plan for weight loss or muscle gain. I will hear someone say "you have to carb cycle to get really shredded". Or I will hear that intermittent fasting allows you to have a "real" meal and actually feel full. Then of course there are the keto proponents who look down their noses at all carbs. Now before I reveal the answer to this debate.....and there is an answer.....let me explain and reference some actual scientific studies done on weight loss.
Basic biology shows us that in order to lose weight you have to consume fewer calories than you burn, period. There is no magic way around this equation. Numerous studies have been conducted that show this result over and over. My favorite is one where the researcher ate only protein supplements and Twinkies for one month. He showed that you can actually lose weight on a Twinkie diet. (1) Let us also note that there are approximately 3,600 calories in one pound of body fat. Last thing to note is that studies have show that a diet with too little protein will actually result in the loss of muscle. I will not get into the mechanics of this but to insure this does not occur, you will need to make sure you get enough protein. I calculate this a 1.1 gram per pound of body weight. Now that is probably overkill according to several studies but I don't want to take any chances. (2) For me this is 230 x 1.1 which comes up to 253g of protein per day.
So your next step is to estimate how many calories you burn in a day. There are many web sights that will assist you with this. One such site is calculator.net. You simply input some basic info about yourself and it will come up with an estimate. I cannot emphasize enough the estimate nature of this number, but it is a good place to start. For me the estimate is 3048 per day.
Now you have the two main components you need to know! Simple right. I get to eat 3048 calories a day and 1012 of those come from protein. (Protein has 4 calories per gram so for me that is 253x4=1012). So I get 2036 calories per day of carbohydrates and fat and here is the beautiful part; it does not matter what foods you eat to fill those calories.
You are saying "What??? I can eat whatever I want to fill those calories and not gain weight?" That is exactly correct! See the twinkie diet I reference above. The devil is in the details as they say and I have to bring up what quality food will do for you opposed to "junk" food. Quality nutritious food will help you perform better, feel better and feel more full.
So the answer to the million dollar questions of what diet to follow is the one that works best for YOU. If you consume less than you burn you will lose weight no matter the diet you follow. Keep the calories and protein under control and adjust the other macronutrients in a method that is sustainable.