What Is Carb Rotation?

Have you tried so many fad diets that you can't even remember what they all are? Or maybe you just want to learn how to eat healthy and lose weight. Well, carb rotation is a nutrition plan that does just that. Not only do you eat healthier while on the plan, but you also learn how to incorporate it into your lifestyle!

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Carbs are tricky because they are great for gaining and maintaining muscle mass, but terrible when it comes to fat loss. Thankfully, carb rotation, or carb cycling, essentially manipulates your carbohydrate intake into tricking your body into burning maximum fat while simultaneously preserving muscle mass. The foods you eat on each day of the week will consist of different amounts of carbs; there are high, medium and low carb days, rotated throughout the week.

>>Read more: 50 Delicious and Low Carb Meals

The amount of carbs you digest directly affects certain hormones that affect fat storage, muscle breakdown and cravings. The idea behind carb rotation is to cycle the carbs in a way that will produce the right amounts of those hormones depending on what your body needs.

Leptin: Carbohydrates control your metabolism through leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells. Leptin lets your brain know when to stop eating because there are enough fats and carbohydrates stored in your body. On days that you’re eating low amounts of carbs, there will be low amounts of leptin in your bloodstream. Therefore, your metabolism will be slower on low carb days than on days when you’re eating high amounts of carbs, when your leptin amounts and metabolism will be extremely high. The main idea behind carb rotation is to cycle those high and low carb days to kick start your metabolism during high carb days. On low carb days, it won’t slow down to the point of crashing like it does in most low or no carb diets.

Insulin: Carbohydrates also control the amount of insulin your body produces, which in turn controls how much sugar is stored in your fat cells. More insulin means more sugar stored in fat cells. Carb rotation lowers and even prevents the constant rise of insulin in your blood by controlling the amount of carbs you digest.

(Photo: Jillian Panzella Nutrition)

Serotonin: Another hormone affected by carbs is serotonin, or the “feel good hormone.” Eating carbs increases serotonin production; that’s why we enjoy eating cake, bread, cookies and potatoes — because they’re packed with carbs! The carb rotation method balances serotonin levels to help control cravings and is much easier to stick to than a low or no carb diet, which will ultimately result in binge eating carbs.

Cortisol: The final major hormone involved in carb cycling is cortisol, a hormone that is released during a fasting state. When cortisol is released, it tells the body to start breaking down muscle and stores fat to be used as fuel during a carb-depleted state. Studies have shown that women who produce an excess of cortisol also have an excess of belly fat. Cycling those carbs will avoid too much cortisol production, and therefore excess fat storage and muscle breakdown.


Carb rotation is not a fad diet; in fact, it’s not a diet at all! It’s a lifestyle that you can choose to live to become the healthier, happier you. It’s a rather forgiving program because there is more room for error than in fad diets. You can utilize the carb cycling nutrition plan for as long as you want and integrate it into your busy schedule.

Interested in incorporating carb rotation into your life? Join the hundreds of other women who have checked out Skinny Mom CEO and founder Brooke Griffin's very own Power 30 Carb Rotation Plan.