Keto Cycling: All You Need to Know
You might be aware of the latest fad in the weight loss society, that has been quite famous because of its the unique plan – the ‘low-carb-more-fat’ Keto Diet. Known to be one of the most effective, yet difficult diet plans, Keto has raised more questions than ever before.
Apart from the usual dieting programs that health specialists recommend, there are many other diet plans that health-conscious individuals follow to lose weight as per their convenience. While we all know that every healthy dieting does require exercise and starving isn’t the best way to go about it, eating the right way is the only top solution one can find.
What is a Ketogenic diet?
It is all about restricting you from consuming carbohydrates, so that your body can burn fat easily by taking in more fat and negligible carbs. Switching from a normal diet to Keto diet might be a difficult phase to handle initially. People complain of light-headedness, insomnia, headaches and much more, which is also known as ‘keto-flu’.
However, once the body adapts to the change, things get back to normal and then, if you wish to, you might as well start with Keto-Cycling.
Having said that, we need to understand the difference between the two. Reason being, while Keto Dieting is all about low-carb and more fat, Keto Cycling is a process where you switch between the two (Carb and Fat) in a given time-frame, back and forth.
What is Keto Cycling?
Keto cycling is a practice where one continues with a keto diet for a week and then suddenly switches to high-carb diet for a couple of days. This particular dieting is generally for athletes or people who go through rigorous trainings, but definitely not for ones who are on a Keto diet for health reasons. The sudden switch between the two diets can endanger the treatment totally.
How does Keto Cycling work?
We know that intense training requires a lot more than just fat intake. Therefore the quality balance of protein and carbohydrate is a mandate. The reason behind switching to ‘high-carb’ after a week of ‘low-carb’ is to refill the liver and muscle glycogen fully, for good performance and better results. So, it is understood that this diet is not an ideal one for those who are not into performing intensive work-outs or training.
The primary purpose of Keto-cycling is served, when one can use carbs for muscle growth and use that for work-outs, yet, the glitch in such kind of programs can literally do you bad at the same time. It isn’t necessary though, but there is no going back if you’ve started it already for quite some time now. The result to sudden quitting can be anything from weight gain to several other diseases.
Keto Cycling Vs Keto Diet
By now you are well versed with the difference between the two:
The benefits might not be different but the way it works definitely is.
While one focuses only on extracting carbs out of your body and stacking in fat for your body to burn, the other emphasises on switching between carb and no carb diet, so that the body doesn’t fall short of any required nutrition.
Choosing between the two becomes really easy when you figure out which category you belong to. If you aren’t into hard core work-outs or training for a purpose, you needn’t worry about taking up Keto-Cycling because that will turn your body upside down, making you fall sick severely.
But, a normal Keto-Diet will help you recognize whatever you let yourself consume and manage the nutrition yourself.
Positives of Keto-Cycling
Contradicting a couple of notions that people carry regarding the negatives of this program, there are few things one might want to know before opting ‘out’ of Keto-Cycling right away.
Though we have been constantly mentioning that Keto-cycling isn’t for people who don’t wish to go through rigorous trainings, yet there are few benefits that looks great too!
Keto-cycling actually helps your body from going totally off-carbs, which can be risky in the long run. Keeping away from carbohydrate for a very long time might have negative hormonal affects, along with mood imbalances and irregular cholesterol levels. But, it is said that replenishing your body with carbs every now and then might really help avoid these issues.
Some people assume that Keto-dieting is not as interesting as Keto-cycling. To support the thought, they feel that a normal Keto-diet doesn’t provide many options in the first place, and low-carb might also increase cravings, at least for few months. On the other hand, Keto-cycling gives you both benefits – dieting as well as eating well, which a lot of health professionals would agree to.
It is also believed that Keto-cycling is generally recommended to switch to after a Keto-Diet of 1-3 months, nonetheless, starting Keto-cycling just about immediately is the best way to go about it. Perhaps the reason behind opting for this could be saving the body from total carb loss, even if it is for a few months.
Negatives of Keto-Cycling
It’s quite tricky when we have to bring out the positives and negatives of a dietary program as such, because, there is nothing really factual about both. Health experts have different opinions, contradicting the very idea of Keto-Cycling. In fact, Keto-Diet itself is detested by many professionals because it restricts too many food groups from being a part of our regimen.
Though we have read about the benefits of Keto-cycling, there are experts who believe that the program only worsens a body’s function. As per them, falling in and out of ketosis can lead to unwelcomed weight gain, demotivating the ones opting for it. A sudden weight again after few months of low-carb and high-carb later, can be hazardous too.Monitoring the ketones for a better result is advisable, but not many can do that on a regular basis.
It’s almost like supporting and not supporting both the programs, at the same time. While we have Keto-dieting also resulting in eating disorders, Keto-cycling can also lead to excess eating.
When we are taken away from something we like a lot and have been asked not to eat it for several weeks, bringing it back to us for a few days will do us no good. We might be mentally set for a package that comes with many days of not eating tasty food and then gobbling up whatever you can for a couple of days, because you know you cannot eat those again for many weeks.
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The best possible way to practice Keto-cycling
If you have started worrying about if Keto-cycling is good to go with or should you opt out, here is what you can do. Reach out to one of the best health experts/professionals in your city, who can suggest how can you manage your carb intake while taking up a program like that.
Actually, there are two ways of incorporating carbs in your body – the healthy and the unhealthy way. When you get out of the ‘low-carb’ diet for a ‘high-carb’ one, you need to check on what goes in your plate.
Binge eating, or placing all the unwanted carbs is totally wrong for people practicing Keto-cycling. Ice-creams, burgers, pizzas and alike, aren’t the healthy carb you are planning to jump into, right after the low-carb diet.
We’ll explain in details on what you can eat for a healthy-carb diet, right below in this article.
Irrespective of you being under a Keto-diet or Keto-cycling, any amount of carbohydrate that you are planning to take, should ideally be whole and unprocessed ones. Anything that is processed, cannot give you the required help in the program.
Also, you should be mindful of the fact that all this while, when you were under Keto-diet, you helped yourself burn so much fat, and lost some amount of weight too. But, after switching to Keto-cycling, if you are not careful about the intake, you might end up adding more than what you lost. Therefore, not every carb is okay to begin with.
Eating carbs is not choosing to surround yourself with packets of whatever looks good. If you can control your taste and understand that healthy carb is the only option you have, and that isn’t actually bad, you are good to go.
Your body weight hasn’t come down yet?
It’s been some time that you’ve started with Keto-diet and Keto-cycling, but your weight hasn’t come down yet; don’t worry. Having taken carbs all your life (before Keto) your body will not accept change easily. It might even go dissenting. Just give it some time. It’s time to heal and adapt.
It is essential to understand that our body does its job well. All the goodness that you are treating your body with, it takes them all and utilizes first. That’s what it needs to do!
Once it is done with healing, your weight loss starts gradually, and not just immediately. That is in fact a healthy way to lose weight.
Starving to lose weight cannot be the correct way to work it out. We need to listen to our body and take it slow. Keto-diet needs time, and so does Keto-cycling, provided you are careful about your carb intake.
The initial days might look disheartening, with all the sick feeling, nausea, headaches, dizziness and weakness, but sticking around and making it work can really make you feel proud about yourself. Again, not to forget, everything during the tough program needs to be healthy and limited. Do not overdo anything, just because you think you can, and do not give-up just because you think you can’t.
What can you eat during Keto-cycling?
Like we mentioned above, losing weight with the help of Keto-diet and Keto-cycling can be challenging. Not everything you eat for either of the programs is great, if you aren’t aware of the nutritional facts.
Each food has a nutritional value and understanding that first, is the way to go. Because you know – the whole program is based on eating food and controlling it too!
While jumping into Keto-cycling might sound exciting for someone who hasn’t tasted carbs for quite some time, it is also risky to push down anything that looks like it. The idea is to switch from low-carb diet to high-carb one, so that the body gets to fulfil the missing requirement using a couple of days and then getting back to the low-carb plan.
Excess sweet items, might lead to increase in insulin, blood sugar levels and inflammation in an unhealthy way. We don’t want that, do we?
So, lets consider eating complex carbohydrates instead of the normal one, to make the journey worth it.
Simple carbohydrates are easy to digest; therefore, the spread is fast. Complex carbs take longer time to digest, and that controls the unhealthy increase in insulin and blood sugar levels. Hence, these replenish the body with more glycogen and lesser fat gain. This helps a lot when you get back to Ketosis.
Here are few examples of complex carbohydrates that you can consider taking:
Rice (brown and wild)
Peas, Sweet potatoes, Squash and starchy Vegetables (like carrots, corns, beets etc)
Whole unrefined grains (like whole wheat, multigrain bread, oatmeal etc.)
Legumes and Lentils
The above is rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre and nutrients, and provides proper healthy carbohydrates required and recommended during Keto-cycling. These complex carbs are ideal even if you aren’t practicing Keto-diet or Keto-cycling.
Dr Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine, chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist has helped a lot of people grow healthy, by enabling them to use nutrition to fuel their health.
As per Dr Axe, one can try out different ways of eating healthy. He claims to have some favorites which include everything from acai bowls, berry smoothies to sweet potato fries, and more.
His idea about the Keto-cycling and Keto-diet is to get about 30-40% of food intake from these healthy starches during Keto-cycling, and dropping it to 5-10% on Keto-diet days. The good carbs need to go in, and the bad ones need to be avoided, that’s the ideal way to work through the plan.
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A Meal Plan for You
While we aren’t here to claim on our expertise on how effective this whole meal plan is; we want to give you a gist of a meal plan that might allow you to comprehend the idea.
Based on our research, we found many people who are practising Keto-diet and Keto-cycling and have shared their recipes to help others, who are finding it difficult to bring variations in their diet. Sometimes, eating the same thing over and over again becomes monotonous and affects the interest, leading to thoughts of quitting the plan.
The Top Ideas to Eat Something New Everyday
Here are a few ideas on how you can change your menu for the day:
1. Low-Carb Meal Plan
You might already have few in your list and here is one for the day that you can include:
Early morning – A half red bell pepper with two simple scrambled eggs
Late morning – A berry protein shake
Afternoon – A cup of asparagus along with 85g chopped grilled chicken
Late afternoon – About 8-10 almonds in 1/3 oatmeal
Evening – 2 cups steamed cauliflower with broccoli and 80-85g steak
2. High-Carb Meal Plan
This cannot be too difficult to manage compared to the low-carb diet, as there are many healthy options to choose from. However, if this one seems good, you can add this too in the list:
Early morning – Walnuts and berries in half cup oatmeal
Late morning – An apple with peanut or almond butter
Afternoon – A whole wheat bread turkey sandwich
Late afternoon – A cup of quinoa with one cup of three types of healthy recommended beans
Evening – A cup of pasta with 80-85g grilled chicken
Enjoying your favorite food while dieting, is what we all need! Being mindful of what you choose and eating your recommended items in moderation can be much much helpful. Try out different healthy and fresh recipes, Keto-diet salads and many others that can make this journey happy and delightful.
The goal of Keto is to change your eating habits so that you can let your body feel the difference between eating healthy and unhealthy food.
It is a gradual process, but doing it the right way and sticking around with an honest determination will definitely take you to weight loss with wellness.
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Tagged: , Keto , Diet , Ketogenic , Ketones , Ketosis