Carb-cycling is generally thought of as a healthy part of your low-carb lifestyle. This means that as part of your eating protocol it is OK and even beneficial to eat a large amount carbs once every week or two. However, this brings us to an important question: What kind of carbs should you eat on your heavy carb-days? For example, should one carb up with a bunch of bananas or a pizza? Does it matter?
The truth is different experts have different opinions on this topic. Some recommend a cheat meal where no food is prohibited. Some (a very few) recommend that you should only carb-up with things like pizza and ice. Others recommend that you should only use fruit and starchy vegetables on your high-carb day.
This article is not intended to sift though all this information and tell you what is the right protocol for you. Nor am I your moral judge who is going to think less of you if you eat a pizza on your carb-day instead of a sweet potato. The truth is, I have had carbed up using both. However, if you do chose to eat “dirty” carbs for your high-carb meals, here is what you can expect:
What I have noticed is that if I carb-up on “clean” carbs, I do not have strong cravings for bad food the next day. However, if I eat, for example, Chinese food, I really want more high-carb food the next day. In fact, I have noticed that it takes a day or two for my cravings to go away.
Another problem is overeating. Many dirty carbs have MSG and other excito-toxins that stimulate appetite. This is why, personally speaking, I can open up a bag of Doritos and eat the whole thing, but if I open a bag of organic, non-GMO corn chips, I cannot eat the whole bag. I’m sure many of the readers could identify.
Weight gain happens any time you carbo-load. This is mostly water and has to do with glycogyn and processes I’m not going to go into here. But, in my own personal experience, I gain much more when I carb up with dirty carbs.
In addition, I have noticed that it takes much longer to lose this weight. For example, if I carb up with clean carbs I’m normally back down to my regular weight by the end of the next day. But with dirty carbs, it takes at least two and sometimes three days to lose those extra pounds.
Headache is another phenomenon. This has to do with inflammation. Carbs in general can cause inflammation on their own. However, inflammation is heightened with dirty carbs because of all the added toxins found in these carb sources.
Brain fog happens for the same reason as headache. Toxins in your food will have an affect on your ability to think clearly.
It’s not only your brain that suffers. Your body suffers too. Toxins just make you feel lazy like every movement takes extra effort.
Finally there is disaster pants. This happens because the body is just trying its best to get those dirty carbs out of your system. Why? because if you eat low-carb and clean all week long, you body gets use to those types of foods. It is not use to not high-carb, refined food. When it hits your system your body just wants to get rid of it.
Should You Cheat With Dirty Carbs
Given all the above data, some might wonder if they should eat dirty carbs or not. Like I said above, I am not your moral judge. If you decide to carb-cycle with pizza instead of bananas, that is up to you. In fact, I have chosen the dirty carb over the clean one more often than I would like to admit. In fact, what I have noticed for myself is that when I first started to carb-cycle, I pretty much used all dirty carbs. This was due to the fact that those were the foods I was craving. So when I would have my free meal, I would go nuts. But the longer I have been healthy, the less I want those foods even on a free day/meal. So if you want to eat a dirty carb, that is your decision. You just need to be aware of the results and take them into consideration when you make that choice.