The Ketogenic diet has become a trendy lifestyle, with several visible success stories circulated around social media.
However, unlike other health-related social media trends, the keto diet has been rigorously supported by a plethora of studies from nutritionists and doctors as a sure-shot way to lose the extra pounds.
The low-carb, high-fat diet has helped many lose weight with tweaks to their regular eating habits and help them both feel more confident while looking and feeling much better.
At first glance, the keto diet can sound deceptively simple: cut carbs, eat fat. However, undertakers make several mistakes that can prevent them from seeing any progress on this diet. The Keto diet may sound easy, but it can be quite a mountain to climb!
The rigid and strict keto diet can be tough to follow for long periods and can create plenty of cravings for carbs and regular diet foods. Many have begun to wonder if it’s possible to have a cheat day on the keto diet and the potential effects of doing so are. A cheat day will force your body out of ketosis- and many are wondering how to get back into the state as quickly as possible.
In this blog post, we will be covering in detail how you can reenter keto after cheating.
Disadvantages of Cheating on Keto
Though a quick cheat meal on keto may be incredibly tempting at times, there are several disadvantages that can occur - even if your daily net carb limit is only slightly over! The following disadvantages are the main reasons you should try and avoid any type of cheat meal that isn't keto-friendly.
Throws Your Body Out of Ketosis:
Ketosis is the state when your body switches from burning carbs for energy to burning your body's fat content. As soon as you introduce more carbs, your body will make the switchback. This will immediately stop you from being in the desired state of ketosis, meaning that you will no longer be in a fat-burning mode. As you come out of ketosis, your body will not be using ketones as fuel anymore and this will prevent you from being able to lose weight fast.
What is more, if you have a cheat day whilst on the keto diet, your body will actually store any sugar that it hasn't immediately burned. These stored glucose and glycogen stores will then have to be burned off before your body will even start the process of going back into ketosis again. Initially, this may not seem like a big deal if you have only had one small cheat meal. However, if you have a cheat week or have gone over your net carb limit by quite a lot, then this will massively impact the time it takes for your body to regain a state of ketosis.
Blood Sugar Spike:
Many diabetics and health-conscious individuals transition to the keto lifestyle due to its stabilization of blood sugar levels. A sudden cheat day can cause these levels to spike dangerously high; even more so for someone diabetic. This happens also immediately after you consume any carb or sugary treat that puts you over the keto daily net carb limit.
The science behind it is startling: your pancreas will automatically release an increased amount of insulin to cope with the new abundance of glucose. These increased levels of insulin and glucose may actually cause a dangerous response from your body, especially if you are diabetic, and may require medical attention.
Significantly Reduced-Fat Burning:
Cheat days will hinder your body's ability to burn fat and can lead to some weight gain. This is because as you are in ketosis, your body learns to use fat as fuel. As soon as carbs re-enter the body, your body's natural response is to use the carbs for fuel rather than your existing bodily fat. This will dramatically decrease your fat and weight loss as your body will retain the excess fat rather than burn it - putting your body out of the ketosis state
Carbs and sugar can be highly addictive, and cheating once can strengthen your cravings to eat more carbs and sugar again. Experiencing cravings whilst trying to get back into ketosis will make it a lot harder mentally to remain on a keto diet. As a result of this, it may take you longer to stick to the keto diet rigorously enough for ketosis to occur. It's important to remember that the longer you are out of ketosis, the less weight you are going to lose.
Repeat Symptoms of Keto Flu:
Exiting and reentering ketosis can lead to one experiencing the keto flu symptoms. This flu-like experience usually occurs within the first week after you've started keto and is the result of your body becoming fat-adapted - meaning it turns to fat sources for fuel instead of carbs. The symptoms often include feeling tired, irritated, difficulty sleeping, constipation, and headache. Due to this, people often describe this flu as a troubling experience that hinders their motivation to keep up the diet.
Guilt and Mood Swings:
Unplanned binges or experiencing the sudden desire to cheat on the keto diet can leave you feeling guilty with emotional mood swings as well. It is important to remember that the basis of the keto diet isn't to make you feel guilty about eating the wrong foods, it's to make you feel motivated to eat the right ones!
You may experience feelings of guilt after a carb binge or cheat meal, and the immediate bloating you are likely to have will often make this guilty feeling worse. However, you can use this guilty feeling as your incentive for getting back into ketosis.
How To Get Back Into Ketosis After Cheating
If you have cheated on the Keto diet, reentering the ketosis state can seem difficult. Despite this, there are several methods, tricks, and ideas that you can employ to speed up this process!
1. Intermittent Fasting:
Intermittent fasting is the process of reducing your calorie intake to just-drinks or, if you can, to just water for a period of time. This will help to reset your body, especially after a carb-heavy binge. Eating within a set window of time, such as during 4 or 6 hours of the day, and then only drinking water for the rest of the day will help you to do this! Intermittent fasting burns a lot of glycogen, reduces inflammation, and can help work your way back into ketosis.
2. Start a Workout/Exercise Routine:
High-intensity training workouts burn a lot of energy and can aid in your body returning to ketosis. By burning off the excess glucose and carbs in your body, you are more likely to remove these carb levels from your body. This means that you will be able to get back to burning fat as fuel, rather than carbohydrates, more quickly! The most efficient form of exercise to get back into ketosis is weight training, such as lifting or squatting with weights.
3. Increase Healthy Fat Consumption:
Another great way to get back into ketosis is by eating foods rich in healthy fats. For example, try incorporating avocado into breakfast meals and snack on nuts throughout the day! 70 to 80% of your diet and calorie requirements on keto should come from healthy fat sources, and these will help to suppress your appetite, as well as reduce any sugar and carb cravings.
4. Minimize Carb Consumption:
Consuming a low-carb diet is vital to successfully reenter a state of ketosis. We recommend eating typically just under 25-30 grams of carbs a day. This will force your body to use ketones instead of glycogen as an energy source, allowing your body to burn more fat. Getting rid of the excess levels of carbs and glucose in your body is fundamental to achieving optimal levels of fat loss within the ketogenic diet.
5. Increase Your Water and Electrolytes Intake:
It is likely that as you attempt to get back into ketosis, that you will begin experiencing symptoms of the keto flu. Giving in to these flu symptoms will only lower your motivation levels, and you will not have the physical strength and mental clarity to work out and intermittent fast. As a result, it is important that you know how to prevent the onset of these symptoms.
The best thing that you can do to prevent them is to increase your water intake, as well as your electrolyte consumption. As your body starts to expend glycogen, it will flush out a lot of water and retain very little, causing dehydrated symptoms like fatigue and headaches. Electrolytes and water will not only prevent and remedy this, but they will also provide your body with extra health benefits from digestive help to the appearance of your skin!
6. Consume Adequate Levels of MCT Oil and Protein:
To truly get back into ketosis, you will need to make sure you are consuming adequate levels of protein as well as MCT oil. MCT oil is commonly found in animal fats, coconut oil, and butter, which can be easily incorporated into keto-friendly foods and recipes.
The top benefits of MCT oil include the fact that it is rich in ketones, meaning that it will help your body to increase ketone production. Adequate, but not excessive, levels of protein should also be consumed in order to retain muscle mass. This is especially important when your carb intake is very low. Protein in the keto diet will also help to support liver health.
7. Attempt a Zero Calorie Fast:
Attempting a zero-calorie fast is one of the best ways to reset your body to get back into ketosis quickly. Despite this, it is also incredibly mentally tough to go through several hours on nothing but water and black coffee. We recommend only attempting a zero-calorie fast if you are not doing anything particularly active during the fasting time period, such as exercising or working. A 12 to 24 hour fast can kickstart your body into re-entering ketosis very quickly!
If you feel like this would be too hard for you, another option that you can always try is extended periods of zero-calorie intermittent fasting. As you get used to zero-calorie intermittent fasting, you can even incorporate it as part of your daily keto lifestyle.
How Long Will It Take to Re-Enter Ketosis?
Typically, it can take anywhere between 2-7 days in order to successfully reenter a state of nutritional ketosis. However, the pace at which you get back into ketosis is also dependent on a variety of factors. These factors include:
- How long you were in ketosis before cheating
- Whether you partake in regular exercise
- What the cheat meal was
- Whether you consumed alcohol
If you were in ketosis for four or more weeks before cheating and are on a regular exercise regimen, then it will be easier for your body to re-enter ketosis. If you have consumed alcohol as part of your cheat meal, then your body will try to get rid of that first before it tackles the excess glycogen.
In summary, cheating whilst on the keto diet is not recommended. Not only will a simple cheat meal or two ruin most of your fat-burning progress, but it will also make it increasingly difficult for you to get back into ketosis in the future. However, if you have cheated or given in to temptation, do not worry! Our handy tips and tricks will help you to get back into ketosis quickly whilst avoiding common keto mistakes.
Ultimately, the time in which it takes you to resume a state of ketosis depends on your cheat meal, as your body must first burn off all this excess glucose and glycogen before it can begin to burn your body fat again. Instead of feeling guilty about your cheat meal or day, we recommend using this experience as a tool of motivation to strive for a healthier and better life in ketosis.
For easier keto-friendly meal plans, check out Proper Good for an array of ready-made, simple and convenient keto meals. These deliciously nutritious pouches are assured to keep you satisfied whilst on the keto diet, without compromising on any macros or net carb values!