While on a keto diet, you will frequently be tempted to cheat once in a while and escape the restrictions of this special diet!
Depending on your cravings and appetite, this may happen once a month or a week or even more frequently.
But, have you ever thought what might be the impact of your cheat days on the results you will get through your keto diet? Do you know how the cheat days affect your overall diet?
And above all, whether you will have to start all over to get into ketosis once your cheat day is over?
It is very important to know can you have a cheat day on keto, and if yes, how often you can have your cheat days in order to maintain the state of ketosis and avoid losing the great benefits. Read further to find everything about taking a cheat day on a keto diet and its possible impact.
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Here’s the deal…
Cheat meals. You are bound to think about them when following any special diet, and keto diet is no exception. However, the glitch is it might mess up your progress!
We know it and you have to face it:
Cheat days are bad for you. How? Let me explain and provide answers to your concerns about can you have a cheat day on keto.
Does Cheating Take You out of Ketosis?
Cheating while on a keto diet is more likely to take you out of ketosis, particularly when the cheat meal is carb-rich.
It is likely to set you back a few steps away from the benefits you want to achieve and require you to put in more efforts and time to get back into the ketogenic state.
How Does Cheating Affect Your Fat Adaptation?
When you started your keto diet, you had to switch to a no-carb and high-fat diet to get your body used to utilize fats as its source of fuel.
Your body had to make several changes in the metabolic processes like modifying some hormones and supporting a higher enzyme production to create a favorable condition for burning fats.
Having cheat meals can create a roadblock for your body from continuing the modified metabolic processes to stay in ketosis.
It might move back to using carbs as its source of fuel and may lose the memory of how it had switched to using fats.
As a result, the fat-burning benefits of a keto diet such as weight loss and reduced cholesterol levels may get hampered!
I am a diabetic. Can I have a cheat day on ketogenic diet?
One of the reasons for why the keto diet is popular among the patients with diabetes is it is devoid of carbs and hence, great for stabilizing your blood glucose levels.
However, when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods for your cheat meals, your blood sugar level can spike to a dangerously high level as your body is no longer used metabolizing sugars rapidly.
Hence, if you ask can you have a cheat day on keto when you have diabetes, the answer would be to avoid it as far as possible.
How will cheating affect my cravings?
Your taste buds need some time to adapt themselves to eating the keto-friendly foods. Over time, you get used to eating these foods.
However, when you cheat on your keto diet, it can interrupt the taste you have set for your taste buds. You will have to reset your taste buds all over again.
Hence, as you continue with your keto diet after your cheat day, there will be now a higher possibility that you will experience some serious cravings before you can re-adapt to the low-carb foods again. This can make it harder for you to jump back into the diet.
What are the complications involved?
Cheating on a keto diet can increase your risk of keto-flu. You may experience some symptoms such as fatigue, frequent headaches, bloating and low energy when your body switches modes from burning carbs to burning ketones.
When you make the transition from a strict keto diet to cheat meals and then, back and forth repeatedly, you might experience these keto “flu” symptoms more frequently and this may force you to stop your diet altogether.
Cheat meals can cause you to feel unstable and out of control due to the harsh changes between the clean keto-friendly foods and high-carb foods.
It does seem like a whole lot to lose without much gains in the bargain!
But here’s the game changer…
The answer to can you have a cheat day on keto could be ‘yes’ provided you do it the right way and in a cautious manner as described below.
Follow a Cyclical Diet
A cyclical keto diet involves eating only keto-friendly foods for about six days followed by a day of eating high-carb foods. This one day is your cheat day and comes once a week.
This will help you please your taste buds once in a while and allow you to stick to the diet for longer.
Also, since you will be on a keto diet in a cyclic manner, your body will get used to having carbs once in a fixed duration and thus, will not kick you out of ketosis.
Also, being in knowledge of your planned cheat day will motivate you to follow a strict keto diet on the ‘honest’ keto days and optimize your results.
Cheat consciously with the keto-friendly foods
On your cheat day, choose foods that are worth the cheat. I mean eat something that you really enjoy and helps you feel satisfied. This will reduce your chances of binging and minimize the risk of getting out of ketosis.
You can also make conscious efforts to find the keto-versions of the foods you crave to eat on the cheat days. This will allow you to stay in ketosis while satisfying your cravings in a keto-friendly way.
Really, the biggest advantage of cheat days is they can keep you from going crazy with your keto diet. Sometimes, cheat days can also help you stay on this diet for longer as it seems more doable.
However, you must acknowledge that cheating is likely to set you back by letting your body use carbs for its fuel requirement.
So, if you are concerned about can you have a cheat day on keto, keep in mind one simple rule: “One cheat meal is not the complete picture of your diet.”
Hence, in case you slip, forgive yourself and go back to eating keto-friendly diet. But, do not make it a habit. Be prepared to hold the reigns of your diet so that cheat days are not too frequent. Plan your cheat days well in advance to stay on track and derive great results.