Popular diets like Atkins and Paleo have long preached that to lose weight — and keep it off — you’ve got to cut out the carbohydrates. But for those who love bagels and pasta (i.e., most of the population), a total divorce from life’s carb-y joys isn’t realistic — or healthy.

“Low-carb diets make me and most people I know cranky,” says Heidi Powell, 33, co-author of the new book “Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days” (out now, Hachette). “They remind me of juice cleanses, but people want the quick fix. It might work for a minute, but then you’re right back where you started.”

In the dieting world, the tide has shifted in favor of carbs. Instead of cutting them completely to lose or maintain weight long-term, experts now say you just need to be smart about them.

One of the buzziest approaches is carb cycling. Long popular in the bodybuilding community, it’s gone mainstream.

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“You get the results of a low-carb diet, but we’ve got high-carb days in between to help save your metabolism,” says Chris Powell, 37, Heidi’s husband and co-author.

The three-week carb-cycling diet plan outlined in their new book calls for four high-carb days, followed by two low-carb days and then a seventh “cheat day.”

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