(NaturalNews) The anabolic diet and carb cycling program are similar eating plans that naturally burn fat and spare muscle. The main concern for athletes and weightlifters when dieting is that the reduction of calories could cause a loss of muscle because the body needs calories to maintain muscle mass. Both of these plans help achieve weight loss without sacrificing muscle. They also do not involve severe calorie or food restriction, which could lead to unhealthy weight loss or malnutrition, but there are some differences.
The anabolic diet is based on a book of the same name by Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale. It is a low-carbohydrate diet based on alternating low-carb and high-carb days. The diet claims to work by encouraging the body burn fat instead of carbs.
According to The Anabolic Diet book, burning fat may lead to fewer hunger cravings making it easier to adhere to the diet. Carb cycling is different because it involves alternating high carb and low-to-moderate carb days following a workout schedule. High-carb days are for working out hard and replenishing glyocgen stores, a substance the body uses for fuel. Lower carb days burn fat.
The principal of the anabolic diet is to make the body a fat-burning machine. Followers start with one week of only low carb eating to make the body start burning fat for energy instead of carbs. After week one, the diet recommends eating low carbs during the week and high amounts of carbs on the weekends.
Alternating low and high carbs days prevents the body from reverting to burning mainly carbs for fuel. The higher carb days also allow the body to replenish fuel used during vigorous exercise.
Carb cycling allows more freedom in scheduling which days are low-to-moderate carb days and which are high carbs; people can match their more intense workout days to their high carb days. Rest days and light workout days lend themselves to eating fewer carbs and lets the body burn fat for fuel.
A major difference between the two diets is fat intake. Carb cycling suggests followers eat low fat, even as little as possible on high carb days. This is especially beneficial for people who like fatty foods. The anabolic diet allows people to eat 15 to 20 percent of calories from fat on high carb days when the body is geared to burn fat.
The diets also differ on protein intake. The anabolic diet allows for one-third of calories to come from protein. Carb cycling has specific protein recommendations: between 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight on high carb days and between 1.25 and 1.75 grams per pound on other days. Both eating plans ensure people eat sufficient protein to build and maintain muscle.
Choosing a diet
People with demanding work schedules may prefer the anabolic diet because eating the same on each week day is simpler. People who engage in high-intensity workouts during the week may prefer carb cycling. However, people react differently to low-carbohydrate diets. One of these plans may work better for certain people depending on what their bodies naturally need.