The Carb Cycling Wars

Not that long ago in our own galaxy, in fact, on our own planet, there was an obesity epidemic. In response to this epidemic, an evil empire of dietitions arose and ceased power. This evil empire insisted that a low-fat, calorie restrictive diet was the answer to this problem. However, they were wrong.

In response to the evil empire, there was a rag-tag group of rebels who fought against the dogma of the day. These people insisted that the answer  to obesity were low-carb, ketogenic, and Paleo diets.

Those who followed these diets had great success. But often they did not meet their ultimate weight-loss goals. The Rebels came to realize that cycling carbs was one of the solutions to this problem. What follows is a small portion of their story:

All Kidding Aside 

All kidding aside, the truth is there are health benefits for cycling carbs. That is to say it is beneficial at times to have more carbs. In fact, if you have hit a plateau in your weight-loss, this is a great way to re-ignite your fat burning hormones.

The fact of the matter is that there are a number of carb-cycling plans to choose from. These plans differ on the amount of days you should carb-cycle, as well as what kinds of carbs you should have.

What follows is a list of some of the major proponents of carb-cycling and the way the do it. However, this is not an exhaustive list. This is just a list that I am acquainted with.

Ethical Disclaimer 

I cannot share every detail of the methods listed below due to ethical reasons.  The authors I have researched draw their income from the books they sell. Therefore, I have tried my best to offer a fair evaluation of their method while not revealing everything they recommend. In other words, what is listed below is just an outline. To get a fuller understanding, you need to buy the books.

That said, some of these authors have publicly  shared much more about their diets than others. For those who have shared more openly, I have revealed more about their protocols.


Kiefer is the author of Carb Nite Solution and Carb Back-Loading. Both are carb-cycling diets. Here is what you need to know

Carb Nite Solution Essentials

This is an ultra low-carb diet for 6 days of the week. One day of the week, or more appropriately, one night of the week you can have as many carbs as you want. In fact you can have as many carbs as you want from any source that you want. This is to say that Kiefer allows for “dirty” carbs. You are not just carb-loading with sweet-potatoes and fruit, you can have cake and ice cream as well. No food is off limits.

However, it is important to note that you don’t have to have dirty carbs. You can do this protocol with clean carbs as well. He just does not restrict to clean carbs only.

Carb Back-Loading Essentials

This diet is very similar to Carb Nite. But it differs in that there is more than just one night a week you carb-load. On this diet, you can carb-load, in the evening or after noon, but only after an extremely heavy workout. You can also have dirty carbs on this diet too.

One important difference between these diets is the intention. Carb Nite is inteded for weight-loss, while Carb Back-Loading is intended for bulking.

Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey is the creator of the Bulletproof Diet. He also runs a company and has a podcast of the same name.

Bulletproof Carb-Cycling Essentials

This is basically a low-carb diet, but not an ultra low-carb diet. This diet focuses more on the quality of food you eat. It allows for some clean carbs at night in order to help sleep and other functions.

On this diet, Dave recommends that one day a week you carb-load. Also, on the day you carb-load, you are suppose to protean fast. Meaning you have very, very little protean. Dave very highly recommends carb-loading with only clean carbs. That is lots of white rice, certain fruits, and other clean sources of carbohydrates. That said, he does allow for the occasional (very occasional) dirty carbs. But it should not be the main source of your carb-loading and you need to be prepared to accept the consequences.

Chris Powell

Chris Powell is most famous for tuning fat people into fit people on his television show, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. He has written a couple of books but I am only going to deal with one of them here, Choose To Loose: The 7 Day Carb Cycling Solution.

7 Day Carb Cyceling Solution Essentials

This method is the most liberal when it comes to carbs. Basically the diet is one day of high carbs and one day of low carbs. Sounds easy but things do get complicated. Even on the low-carb days, he recommends that you eat a carb portion at breakfast. Your meals are also split into five small meals throughout the day. All carbs during this cycle are clean.

However, one day a week, you can have anything you want. This includes dirty cabs. So it is high-carb, low-carb (except for breakfast)….. until Sunday. On Sunday, no food is off limits.

Jason Seab

Our final player is Jason Seab, aself proclaimed Paleo proponent. He is the newest contributor on the list with his book Alt Shift.

Alt Shift Essentials

The Alt Shift protocol recommends a few days on an extremely low-carb diet, followed by a few days on a high carb-diet. There are no dirty carbs on this diet.


Which carb-cycling is right for you. The truth is, if you are already fat-adapted, and you have stalled out on your weight-loss, just about any one of these diets will help. But self experimentation is always the best way to find out. So give each of them a fair shot and see what works.

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