viewcount 141share

Calories Cycling

Aditya Mahajan
Aditya Mahajan
Calorie cycling can be defined as planned modification of calorie intake where you keep varying your caloric intake in contrast to straight caloric restriction where you intake same calories every day. 
This dieting strategy is believed to slow down metabolic adaptations and break/prevent plateau but does it really help?
Surprisingly, no studies have shown any advantage of this type of strategy over straight caloric restriction. The amount of fat loss over a period of time depends on your average caloric intake. What does that mean? Let me give you an example.

A person with TDEE of 3000 Kcals-
Diet 1: Straight caloric restriction with 2500 Kcals everyday
Diet 2: 3-Day caloric cycling plan with 2000, 2500 and 3000 Kcals on day 1,2 and 3 respectively. 
On both the diets, the person may lose exactly the same amount of fat since average calories are same in both the diet. But this isn’t all. Calorie cycling has some other practical benefits.
Calorie cycling may be psychologically better for many people. You are eating different calories every day. Therefore, it’s possible to add more variety everyday. Also, if you carefully go through the above example, you will observe that the person is actually dieting for 2 days out of 3. Therefore, you are actually dieting fewer days compared to straight caloric restriction but still getting the same results.
The other benefit of calorie cycling is that it can actually help you to improve your physical performance. Based on your training routing and periodization type, you can sync your training with your diet to up your performance. On days of intense training, you can consume more calories and similarly on rest days, you can decrease your caloric intake to keep the weekly average to the desired level.

To conclude, calorie cycling is not superior to any other dieting strategy in terms of breaking plateau or slowing down metabolic adaptations. The most important thing in any diet is adherence. While calorie cycling is better for some, many individual feel better with straight caloric restriction.