How To Do Keto Diet 5 Days A Week

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The benefits and drawbacks of keto cycling

The benefits and drawbacks of keto cycling

Fans of the high-fat, low-carb keto diet laud its appetite-suppressing properties, which is why keto dieting is so popular for weight loss. However, because we don't live in a keto-friendly world, the allure of carb-rich fare — from healthy options like fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal to less healthy foods like pizza, French fries, and dessert — can make it difficult to stick to the keto diet. Even if you aren't craving carbs, a normal social activity, such as dinner at a friend's house, can cause complications. Then there's keto cycling. In this relatively new method, you cycle on and off the keto diet at different intervals. Though this appears to be the best of both worlds, there are a few red flags.

Explained: Keto cycling

The keto diet is intended to encourage your body to adapt to using fat as a fuel source rather than i
ts preferred fuel source, glucose, which is derived from the carbohydrates you eat. Though it appears to be a simple process, it involves numerous biological modifications that may take several weeks to complete. During this process, you will lose weight — mostly water weight — as your body depletes its remaining carbohydrate stores (known as glycogen) and adapts.

The main challenge for keto dieters is the extreme carb limit, which is set at 5% to 10% of your daily calorie intake, or around 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, depending on your individual calorie level. This amount of carbs is less than that of a large banana, and because even non-starchy foods, such as nuts and broccoli, contain some carbohydrate, you'll easily reach the limit. Doughy foods, such as pizza, pasta, and bagels, as well as sweets, are therefore strictly prohibited. That is why keto cycling appeals to so many people.

Though there is no official definition and no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness, many people interpret it to mean following the keto diet for five or six days and then switching to a higher carb menu for a day or two. Aside from the obvious benefit of being less restrictive, reintroducing nutritious carbs such as fruit, beans, and whole grains can provide a variety of health-protecting substances, including fiber, which is often lacking on a typical keto menu.

What effect does keto cycling have on weight loss?

According to a recently published scientific statement in "The Journal of Clinical Lipidology" by the National Lipid Association, this type of eating pattern is difficult to maintain, and while those who follow it often experience an initial weight loss advantage, the keto diet's weight loss benefits aren't any better than a more balanced plan over time.

In theory, keto cycling should make it easier to stick to this plan, but Molly Devine, RD, owner and founder of MSD Nutrition Consulting and Eat Your Keto, believes the reality is quite different. "Few people have the ability to successfully go on and off keto," she says, explaining that the main challenge is intense cravings for carbs and sugar, which return once these foods are reintroduced. This is true, according to Devine, whether you take a break for a holiday weekend or even just a meal.

"Those who have struggled with sugar addiction and struggled to get sugar out of their diet will find that following a strict ketogenic diet is the first time they don't feel overwhelmed by cravings due to the metabolic shift from glucose to ketones for fuel." "Keto cycling or cheat meals are extremely difficult for this group because as soon as they taste those foods, the cravings hit hard and they have a difficult time getting back on the wagon," she explains.

Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE, a writer and expert on's medical review board, agrees, but adds that it depends on the individual. She explains that knowing they can have a small scoop of ice cream or another non-keto treat on occasion makes some people happy — and that planning for these occasions is important. non-keto foods can make staying on the keto diet easier, facilitating weight loss and better blood glucose control. She admits, however, that for some people, this approach can result in intense carb cravings, making it difficult to return to the keto diet.

What are the disadvantages of keto cycling?

Aside from intense cravings, there may be other risks associated with cycling on and off the keto diet. Researchers investigated the impact of following a strict keto diet for six days and then going off plan by consuming a drink containing 75 grams of carbohydrate in one short-term, small study. For comparison, that is slightly less than the carbohydrate content of two cans of soda. The harm: "We saw a temporary increase in endothelial microparticles (also known as micro vesicles) in the blood," says study co-author and Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. Little, Jonathan P.

Endothelial cells form a single layer that lines and protects our blood vessels. "Because microparticles are small vesicles released by inflamed or damaged cells, finding an increase in endothelial microparticles indicates that the endothelial cells that are inflamed or damaged." line our blood vessels experienced some damage and inflammation when glucose levels spiked." Though he claims that the increase in blood vessel damage markers was only temporary, the long-term impact is unknown. "We know that these endothelial microparticles are elevated in conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which is why we wanted to measure them," he says.

Aside from the risk of blood vessel inflammation, Little warns that the metabolic adaptations your body undergoes while on the keto diet make you relatively glucose intolerant, so a meal (or day) of high carb eating may not be the best plan. "When you switch to a ketogenic diet, you become an expert fat burner at the expense of carbohydrate metabolism." Throwing carbohydrates (especially high glycemic index carbs in large amounts — such as a glucose tolerance test drink that we used or a big 'cheat meal') into the mix if you're on a ketogenic diet is probably not the best thing for your metabolism," he says.

Devine concurs and expresses concern about the long-term risks of this strategy. "The advantages of a ketogenic diet are a one-way street," she explains. "You can have a high intake of dietary fats (including saturated fats) without having a negative impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease (specifically, particle size of LDL and triglycerides) only if these foods are not consumed in conjunction with refined carbs and sugars," Devine explains. Going back and forth, in her opinion, will cause more harm than good over time. "I emphasize the importance of not cheating on a keto diet because once sugars are introduced, the high-fat aspect can do more harm than good in the long run."

Experts also warn about the risks of keto cycling to your emotional health. "Starting keto with the mindset that you can go off plan whenever you want and then jump right back in when you feel like it might be counterproductive for you is a great way to start." your weight, overall health, and quality of life," Spritzler explains. Chronic yo-yo dieters, according to Devine, may become less successful over time. In her experience, each keto hiatus can become longer and longer, and as a result, you're more likely to gain weight. She claims that at that point, the obstacles become insurmountable.

What is the healthiest way to experiment with keto cycling?

Regardless of your concerns, if you want to try keto cycling, experts recommend cycling in healthful carb sources rather than craveable, heavily processed refined or sugary carbs. Consider sweet potatoes, beans, milk, and fruit instead of muffins, rolls, and chips.

It's also a good idea to plan your carb-heavy days so you get the most out of them. Spritzler suggests eating them on a workout day, for example. She advises, "Pay attention to how you feel on days when you eat a lot of carbs." She suggests you ask yourself the following questions: "Do your energy levels drop or soar? Are you happier and more satisfied, or are you anxious and hungry? "Does your sleep improve or deteriorate?" Take note of your responses. “ If you feel better when you eat carbs on occasion and it doesn't seem to affect your weight, keto cycling may be a good fit for you. Many people, on the other hand, appear to benefit from staying consistently keto or alternating keto with low carb.

Whether you include higher carb days or not, your keto diet should emphasize other healthy eating principles. Devine recommends focusing on whole foods, high-quality proteins, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish over processed saturated fats like cheese and processed meats. Spritzler agrees that the emphasis should be on minimally processed foods and proposes the following simple framework: Consume enough protein (3-6 ounces) at each meal, include vegetables at the majority, if not all, meals, and eat enough to feel full but not stuffed.

Is keto cycling a good fit for you?

The prescriptive nature of total carb abstinence may appeal to some, but it can feel unnecessarily rigid to others. It's critical to understand where you fall on the spectrum and use that information to guide your dietary choices. Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply get healthier, it's also a good idea to consider the foods you enjoy and the way you cook, and then choose a plan that aligns with your food and lifestyle values. Be honest with yourself and list some foods that are not negotiable. If pasta is one of them, keto cycling may be preferable to keto, but you may want to try a different approach entirely.

Remember, even for weight loss, the keto diet isn't the be-all and end-all. As co-author of the National Lipid Association Scientific Statement Kevin C. Maki points out, the long-term health impact is unknown. "While ketosis may have some benefits for reducing appetite, it may not be necessary to go to such extreme levels of carbohydrate restriction to lose weight and experience some Maki, who is also an Adjunct Professor of Applied Health Science at Indiana University's School of Medicine, says that one of the other benefits is improving blood glucose excursions and triglyceride levels. Public Health in Bloomington, Indiana.

He acknowledges that a keto-type diet may work well for some people for a limited time, but he also mentions the issues with long-term compliance. "In general, we believe that most people would benefit from focusing on regular exercise (e.g., walking) and eating a high-quality diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, seafood, and non-tropical oils, such as the Mediterranean diet pattern."

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Mount Sinai Heart's Women's Cardiovascular Prevention, Health, and Wellness, is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, as well as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign, also prefers the Mediterranean diet to the keto diet or keto cycling approach. She claims that the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease by up to 30%, and that increasing your vegetable intake and reducing your consumption of overly processed carbs and sweets can help you lose weight and manage your blood sugar levels.

Whatever approach you choose, keep in mind that the goal is to adopt healthier eating habits for life, not just for the next few weeks or months, as this is the true key to healthy and sustainable weight loss.

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