Some people have an “opinion” about keto-cycling because like anything else in life, their allowed to! I say if it works for you then why the hell not?
As a certified Keto Coach, I’m always pushing people to “try” the keto way of eating because of the health benefits I’ve personally seen in the last year with this way of eating. I’m the type of person who doesn’t have issues following something I’m super passionate about, but what about those who “have fallen off the wagon” and “can’t get back on” because they miss their favorite foods once in a while?
What if I told you there was a way to cycle carbs and live a ketogenic lifestyle and still reap the benefits of keto as far as fat loss, weight loss, and insulin resistance? Would you consider it? The requirements would be ketogenic way of eating 5-6 days a week and one cheat day with higher carbs that include your favorite foods as long as you follow the scheduled eating plan the very next day and include one workout of choice!
There is another way of going keto that doesn’t involve giving up your sweet potato fries forever: keto-cycling.
Well How would it work and does it work?
According to keto enthusiast Dr. Josh Axe, you follow two ketogenic days then a you may have a higher carb day and repeat. On your keto days you’ll eat under 30g of carbs and the carb day you may eat between 80 and 100 grams of total carbs.
When would this way of eating be acceptable?
After a complete 30 day reset of the ketogenic way of eating. This is because your body should be fat adapted to utilizing fat for fuel after 3 weeks of following a strict ketogenic diet. And of course you’ll want to stick with good-for-you carbs, this isn’t an excuse to have a cupcake free for all every few days.
Increasing your carbs a few days per week takes you out of ketosis. (This is basically the goal of the ketogenic diet—and it’s associated with benefits like increased energy, weight loss, and mental clarity.) Instead, on those days, your body ends up running on glucose from the carbs. By the second day, when you go back to eating keto, your body returns to ketosis.
“Our bodies should be like hybrid cars. It’s like driving gas and electric—we are able to burn both carbs and fat efficiently for fuel.”
It may sound counterintuitive to switch things up like this, but according to research it helps keep your metabolism sharp.
Kim Crawford, MD, is another fan of keto cycling, particularly for its gut-health benefits. “We’ve observed that long-term ketosis interrupts the mucus lining and the function of the microbiome,” she says. “We don’t know the clinical significance of this, but we do know it’s very important to have a nice mucus layer and good bacteria doing their good things.” Her version of keto cycling involves adding starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or squash, to a dinner every two weeks. “Going super-high on carbs will make it harder to get back into ketosis the next morning,” she says.
But ultimately, Dr. Axe recommends cycling because it makes keto-style eating more sustainable and less restrictive. “Getting to eat carbs two days a week is basically something to look forward to, and it allows [you] to stick to [keto dieting] more long-term,” he says. Looks like you really can have your avocado and your grain-free toast, too.
If keto cycling interests you and you want to learn more about it, please join the Bee-Xtreme Community to learn more!
Supplements recommended when keto cycling:
Xtreme Ketosis, exogenous ketones, to help your body recognize high levels of ketones in the blood and stimulating it to make more ketones to use for energy. Not everyone can follow a very strict, high fat, low carb diet. For those who have done ketosis before, they will know that when you get kicked out of ketosis, it can take awhile to get back in. Not anymore. You can use exogenous ketones to ramp your body back into ketosis quicker than it would on it’s own resources.
Using exogenous ketone supplements after a period of eating carbohydrates will tell your body that you want to be using ketones for energy instead of those carbs. Instead of eating very low carb for days, you can just take a scoop of exogenous ketones and get back into ketosis (provided you stop eating carbohydrates).
This makes it so you don’t have to go through the awful “keto flu” phase, which is where all the of the nasty side effects are.
Remember when probiotics were all the rage in the health and wellness word? Digestive enzymes are quickly becoming the new probiotics.
Your body can’t directly use the food you eat without digesting it first. Chemically speaking, digestive enzymes are small, specialized proteins your digestive system produces to break down food and drinks you consume into usable macro- and micronutrients.
Your body is then able to absorb these nutrients and perform all its duties. Once any undigested food particles reach your small intestine, these enzymes come out to finish the job. They break down and convert your food and drinks into usable forms of energy.
Now, even though these enzymes surface in your small intestine (SI), most are actually produced in your pancreas and are then shipped to your SI as needed. That’s why they’re also called pancreatic enzymes.
There are several types of digestive enzymes and each one has a unique job to do.
- Lipases, which break down fatty acids
- Amylases and maltase, which digest starches and simple sugars
- Peptidases and proteases, which break down proteins
- Elastase, which process elastin and other proteins
As you can see, enzyme production is vital for optimal digestive health.
There’s also another group of people who may benefit from supplementing with digestive enzymes: new keto dieters.
Are Digestive Enzymes a Good Idea In Keto?
With a keto diet, your body not only has to adjust to a decrease in carbs, it also must figure out how to digest your increased fat and protein intake too.
Most of the time, this is no easy feat.
Many people experience the keto flu while they make the transition to keto-adaptation, and a smaller portion may even see the digestive upsets I just mentioned.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, and to avoid those uncomfortable symptoms altogether, you may want to consider supplementing with digestive enzymes — especially at the beginning, before you’re fat adapted. They can make your digestive process a lot easier.
Digestive enzymes will help your body break down the extra fat you eat and they’ll also help you absorb all the satiating nutrients hiding in that fat too.
Collagen is, of course, a protein, and just like any other protein, too much of it will cause you to revert from a fat-burning state to a glucose-burning state. However, collagen also has plenty of benefits that are important to keto practitioners. Collagen is rich in amino acids that are often lacking in modern diets and can go a long way toward promoting gut health, which is important for nutrient absorption.
The amount of protein found in a serving of Collagen Peptides (7 grams) is not enough to kick you out of ketosis, so you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you want to stay in ketosis, it may be a good idea to add some healthy fats, such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee, to your collagen. I add my collagen to my bearable bulletproof coffee.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals found in the body and are the electrical signaling molecules used for maintaining functions within the body, such as regulating your heartbeat and allowing muscles to contract for functional movement. The most relevant electrolytes in this context are sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium.
Why is Monitoring Your Electrolytes Important?
When you shift to a ketogenic diet, your body tends to release more water as opposed to storing it. The reason being that there is less insulin produced as a result of the composition of the diet. This leads to hormonal signals via the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system signaling your kidneys to excrete MORE water and retain LESS.
Along with increased excretion of water, the minerals found in that water are lost at a higher rate.
Don’t Forget The Water!
While you need to make it a priority to keep your electrolyte intake escalated, it is also important to increase your water intake as well. With the switch to a ketogenic diet, you will probably experience increased urination during the first few days. Additionally, as mentioned before, your body does not retain water as well. Thus, it is important to keep your water intake high to ensure proper hydration.
An easy and convenient way to determine hydration status is to check the color of your urine. If it is a pale yellow or clear color, like lemonade, then the odds are that you are well hydrated. The darker it is, more like the color of apple juice, the more you may need to drink up. Whether you are preparing to embark on a ketogenic diet, or are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, make sure you are conscious of your electrolytes and not just the macronutrients of the foods you are consuming.
How do you feel about keto-cycling? Do you think it would work for you or do you think it would make you fall back into “old-habits”? Let us know in the comments!
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Toni Sweeney is a Triple Certified Ketogenic Diet and Primal Health Coach and weight loss expert who personally lost 80 pounds while making a total lifestyle change. The founder of TS Transformations, her formulas and plans has helped thousands of women lose weight and keep it off forever.