Over the years, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has gained immense popularity due to its potential to offer quick weight loss. From improved memory to decreased heart-harming triglycerides, and effective diabetes management (reversal), it offers several health benefits too.
However, those who have tried keto know that following this low-carb, high-fat diet formula is easier said than done. It comes with its own set of side effects, including headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and bloating, which can make people fall off the wagon and slip into their previous eating routines. Not to forget the carb cravings that come along!
Thankfully, today there’s an easier and more sustainable way to pursue the ketogenic diet – and it is called Keto Cycling. A modified keto diet regime involves a cyclical period of carb restriction and carb consumption, making sticking to the ketogenic diet a lot easier. It allows you to enjoy the perks of keto without feeling like you’re on a perpetual carb lockdown.
What is Keto Cycling?
Keto Cycling, also known as Cyclical Ketogenic Diet or CKD, presents a more flexible approach to traditional keto weight loss. Unlike the initial phase of a zero-carb keto diet that may lead to the notorious “keto flu,” keto cycling introduces strategic cycles of increased carbohydrate intake. It allows individuals to experience the benefits of ketosis without the prolonged carb restrictions.
The keto cycle alternates between high-carb days and low-carb days. Ideally, you follow the standard ketogenic diet for 5-6 days, followed by 1–2 days of higher carb consumption:
- High-Carb Days: During this phase, you can consume a higher amount of carbohydrates, typically exceeding the usual keto limit. This high-carb diet helps to replenish depleted glycogen stores and support metabolic flexibility.
- Low-Carb Days: Following the high-carb phase, individuals transition back to a standard ketogenic diet with minimal carbohydrate intake. With a sudden restriction of carbs, the body quickly returns to ketosis and once again relies on fat for energy.
Benefits of Keto Cycling
The advantages of incorporating keto cycling into your weight loss journey include:
- Increased Sustainability: The first and foremost benefit of keto cycling is its long-term sustainability. The occasional inclusion of higher-carb days makes the overall dietary approach more manageable.
- Better Metabolic Flexibility: Keto cycling enhances metabolic flexibility by training the body to efficiently switch between burning carbs and fat for fuel. This flexibility can be advantageous for athletes and those seeking long-term sustainability in their dietary approach.
- Superior Hormonal Balance: Cycling in and out of ketosis can positively impact hormones like leptin and ghrelin, which play key roles in hunger and satiety. This can result in improved appetite control and a more balanced hormonal profile.
- Improved Athletic Performance: Athletes engaging in keto cycling may experience performance benefits during high-intensity activities. The strategic introduction of carbohydrates can provide quick energy for intense workouts.
Does It Work?
Of course! Keto cycling offers a balanced approach to the ketogenic diet. It combines the metabolic benefits of ketosis with the flexibility of occasional carb consumption, allowing you to surpass the strict keto regime without derailing your progress. However, the key lies in understanding when and how to strategically incorporate these carb-loaded moments.
- It is best to stick to whole foods instead of going on a full-blown carb binge. It is advised to eat foods from complex carb groups, like fruit, sweet potatoes, and whole grains, during your high-carb days rather than opting for white bread and sweets.
- Also, consider the time of day when you’re eating carbs. It’s best to eat carbs during the day when you’re most active as opposed to at night.
Should I Try Keto Cycling?
While keto cycling offers potential benefits, it’s essential to personalize the approach based on your individual goals, preferences, and health considerations. Consulting with a certified weight loss physician, like Dr. Lala, can help optimize the keto cycling strategy to your specific needs. As a leading weight loss consultant in Chicago, she can help you tailor your keto diet to align with your weight loss goals and overall health objectives.
She can provide valuable guidance tailored to specific circumstances, ensuring a safe and effective implementation of keto cycling.
Schedule an appointment today and experience the transformative power of a personalized keto approach under the expert guidance of Dr. Lala.