Will One Cheat Day Ruin Ketosis?

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If you have struggled with weight loss and the never-ending battle with yo-yo dieting, you may consider ketosis as a means of dropping weight. Ketogenic diets, otherwise known as the Keto diet or simply Keto, are a high fat but very low carb method to weight loss.

When you drastically reduce carbohydrates and increase fat in your diet, something called ketosis happens. This is a metabolic state that makes your body a fat-burning machine.

There are different types of Keto diets that give people the opportunity to make choices best for their body and lifestyle.

Types of Keto Diets

There are four generally accepted types of Keto diets; although, two of them have the most science behind their success.

Standard Keto Diet (SKD) is low carb, high fat, and moderate protein. In the SKD you will get approximately 75% of your fuel from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs.

High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD) is most similar to the standard Keto diet. The big change is you get more protein and less fat. In HPKD 60% of your food is derived from fat, 35% from protein and 5% from carbs.  The HPKD is most similar to the Atkins diet that was wildly popular years ago.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) involves periods of higher-carb days. For example, the person might follow a strict Keto diet for 5-6 days then allow for more carbs for 1-2. Now before you think, “Oh YAY! This version gives me cheat days!”. That is not the idea. The concept behind this diet is to refuel and replenish your glycogen stores. When you are adding carbs they are meant to be healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, and whole-grain pasta.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) allows for adding carbs around workouts. Since carbs fuel the body for working out, some people find this helpful or even necessary. The one caveat, however, is that for this to be most effective it is suggested that you be in strict ketosis for 60 days prior to using TKD.

Benefits of Keto

Besides weight loss, there are many benefits of a Keto diet. Keto is good for diabetics and pre-diabetics. The Keto diet is also recommended to patients fighting certain types of cancer. Science also points to Keto as a means to relieve some symptoms of Alzheimer’s, as well as epilepsy in children.

How To Eat Keto

what to eat on keto
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As illustrated above, there are plenty of things you can eat on a Keto diet. Let’s focus on things you need to avoid as these foods will take you out of ketosis.

Avoid:

  • Sugar of all forms should be avoided
  • Grains & Starches such as cereals and bread
  • Beans are very high carb
  • Root or Tuber vegetables such as carrots and potatoes
  • Some Fruits (like bananas and apples) are high carb
  • Processed foods like cereals, chips, etc.
  • Alcohol is often high in carbs
  • Sugar-Free diet foods – sugar alcohols interrupt ketosis

How Long Does It Take The Body To Go Into Ketosis?

Getting into the state of ketosis takes anywhere between 1 and 10 days, depending on the person. Because all people have unique metabolisms, time periods vary. Both insulin resistance and your previous diet come into play in determining how quickly your body will react positively to this diet.

If you’re looking to get into ketosis as quickly as possible, you should be following the most strict (SKD) of the diets, the standard choice.

How Do You Know When Your Body Is In Ketosis?

Although there are both blood and urine tests in order to determine if you are in ketosis, there are some signs.

  • Breath and urine may take on a fruity smell as your body releases ketones.
  • Weight loss typically happens fairly quickly.
  • Appetite suppression is often reported by people in ketosis.
  • Increased focus and energy occurs for some people, but often not right away. There is often short term fatigue that can result in an exercise performance deficit. 
  • As with any change in diet, digestive issues can occur including diarrhea and/or constipation.
  • In the beginning, many people experience insomnia. 

Is It Bad To Go In and Out of Ketosis?

The science behind ketosis is that going in and out of it will not have you reap the benefits of the Keto diet. At least not in the beginning. If you’re looking for weight loss, you should plan to stick to the Keto diet for 30 days. Let’s face it, this is not an easy diet to adhere to. In fact, for most people, it would be impossible to stick to long term. That’s why unless you are going Keto for medical reasons, most people recommend following strict Keto for 30-90 days.

Known as a Keto Kick Start, the 30 days of standard Keto is a popular choice. After that initial 30 days, some people choose to Keto Cycle. There are a couple of schools of thought in Keto cycling.

  • 5-6 days strict Keto followed by 1-2 days of higher carb consumption.
  • 2-3 days of strict Keto followed by 1 day of higher carb consumption.

Please note that the “higher carb consumption” is not a cheat day.  The point behind this concept is to bring some healthy carbs into your body. This means upping your carbs to 30-40% of your diet on the “upcycle” days.

Carb Counting to Maintain Weight Loss

ketosis
dietdoctor.com

In general, if you are consuming less than 50 grams of carbs per day, you will see weight loss. While in the early phases of Keto, you should be consuming minimal carbs. Once you have hit your goal, you may find that you can consume healthy carbs and maintain your weight.

In fact, for some individuals, you can eat as high as 150 carbs a day and maintain your weight. It really does vary by individual.

Will One Cheat Day Ruin Ketosis?

If you’re early in your diet, one cheat day will absolutely ruin ketosis. If you’re planning to implement this eating regiment plan to stick to it for at least 30 days.

After you have seen some success, you can consider intentionally taking your body in and out of ketosis through Keto cycling. Or, you can simply decide that a modified version of the diet is better for your body.

What do we mean by that? The Keto diet is strict and difficult to adhere too, but you may find that the basic concept gives you a positive start to dietary changes. After you have been in ketosis for a while, you may find some healthy carbs added to your diet help to make the diet something you can maintain on a longterm basis.

When push comes to shove, Keto eating is not for everyone. But does it work? That answer is a resounding yes.

Sources

  1. Rudy Mawer, 10 Signs and Symptoms That You're in Ketosis, Health Magazine
  2. Amanda MacMillan, Is Keto Cycling Healthy? , Health Magazine
  3. Isadora Baum, Targeted Keto Is Like Regular Keto...But With More Carbs, Online Magazine