If you are considering the keto diet but want a cycling approach, here is what you should know regarding its benefits, drawbacks and guidelines. Since people vary, this cycling method might be the best option for your needs and offer more flexibility.
If you are on the keto diet, and you’re struggling to eat so few carbs a day, you might want to look into keto cycling, which is a less restrictive and more sustainable way to get the benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle but with having more freedom. A keto cycle might involve doing full on normal keto for a few days and then adding in more carbs for one day.
What Is Keto Cycling?
Can you cycle keto diet? And is it good to have a carb day on keto? How is it different from standard keto? Keto cycling involves following a ketogenic diet for a few days in a row, then going off of it and taking a break and eating more high (or a normal amount) carbohydrates for one day. Then you’d return to it. So, you’re keto cycling throughout the week. There are some ways to do keto cycling with carbs.
You can follow a strict keto diet for six days a week followed by one “cheat day” or “higher-carb day” or you can do it more often in the week, so take more than one of these days after doing a few days of steady keto 1. You can choose.
Keto carb cycling might be beneficial for those looking for more variety in their diet and more carbs on certain days, like on activity or workout days for example, or for a weekend where they might want to indulge in a brunch or some more cocktails.
Keto Cycling vs Carb Cycling
What is the difference? Keto cycling is when a person cuts back on carbs for a few days at a time after having a higher carb day but does not restrict the intake so drastically that the body goes right back into the fat burning zone for keto diet and ketosis.
Carb cycling is more about high protein, moderate fat intake, so you are not really in ketosis in the same way that you would be on keto cycling, where you’d eat moderate protein and high fat 1.
Plus on keto cycling, your carb intake is lower than it would be on carb cycling, too. So, there’s less flexibility in macro ability and requirements. Yet for both you might cycle on days where you are working out or have more activity, generally, as you’d need the added fuel.
During keto cycling, the body goes in and out of ketosis based on if you are using fat or carbohydrates as the fat burning mechanism and source.
A keto carb cycling meal plan might include lots of greens and veggies with protein and good fats, but then swapping in a grain, like quinoa, for cauliflower rice, for that day you are cycling and eating more carbs. Here’s how to carb cycle on keto.
Keto Cycling Benefits
As for benefits, you might do keto cycling because you can then train harder on the days you are eating more carbs. This is good for athletes, those who are more active, or those who are looking to gain more muscle rather than just lose fat from ketosis.
It’s also good for those who need less restriction and a “cheat day” to break it up and have some diversity in their meals. That freedom of a cycling day can make you more willing to stick with traditional keto for the rest of the week, without feeling deprived.
Keto Cycling Drawbacks
On the other hand, it could make it hard to go back to standard keto if you enjoy the cheat day too much. This you will need to test out and see how it affects your behavior. What’s more, it could mean you’re not in ketosis as often as you would be without cycling on keto.
Since you are off on the off days, you are not in ketosis and you are burning carbs for fuel instead of fat. So, you might not see as much progress and weight loss as you would like to see on a regular basis. And it could take longer to get back into ketosis depending on how often you cycle or how restrictive you are after taking the off day to get back into it.
How to Do Keto Cycling Correctly?
The best way to do it is to eat healthy foods for those carb sources. So, instead of eating white bread and cookies, you might swap out veggie rice for whole grains, like quinoa or buckwheat or brown rice instead. Or you might enjoy sweet potato fries as a yummy side, which offers some fiber and antioxidants for the higher carb source.
Same goes with fruit. Maybe you might have more high carb fruit, like an apple or mango, instead of the usual small serving of berries, in a smoothie or in your yogurt.
Still eat good protein and fats and make sure your carb sources are clean. Avoid frying things and eating carbs without nutritional qualities.
Is Keto Cycling Recommended?
Not really! There is not enough research to show benefits of it, but also not enough for drawbacks. It depends on the person and how it affects their progress. If you find it helps you stay keto for the majority of your week and you enjoy it, then you can keep it up. And lose weight! Yet, if it is interfering with your progress, then it is not for you. And you may not get the best results possible as you would with standard keto and not cycling.
See how you feel. Give it a chance if you find that standard keto is too hard to stick with. If it still works and you like it, then it’s totally cool to do keto cycling as your method.