A ketogenic diet, commonly referred to as simply the keto diet, is very popular weight loss diet. There are many restrictions to be followed while on the keto diet, which has given rise to keto cycling. Keto cycling is a newer, less restrictive form of keto diet and is gaining popularity as being better than the original form of keto diet. Keto cycling is now the new trend in dieting. Let’s take a look at what keto cycling is all about.
Keto Cycling – The New Trend in Dieting
Also known as carb cycling, keto cycling is a relatively new dieting program that is based on the original keto diet. The diet program follows the keto diet most of the time, but keto cycling allows you one day in a week to consume a higher intake of carbs, along with a lower fat consumption. Keto cycling is ideal for people who are not keen on following the strict diet schedule of the keto diet. Keto cycling also allows the body to get the requisite amount of carbohydrates, without compromising the overall diet plan. Hence, keto cycling is considered as a new trend in dieting, which offers the best of both the worlds.
In keto cycling, you have to follow a normal keto diet for five or six days, and then one or two days of the week you will be allowed to have a carbohydrate-rich diet. In some cases, many people tend to use longer cycles, opting to go for weeks rather than days. This is generally done by people involved in physical activities and training and who are targeting muscle growth specifically. In such cases, keto cycling allows them to refill the muscle glycogen stores.
However, although keto cycling is a new trend in dieting, most dietitians agree that the approach of keto cycling is generally an in-depth process and thus needs to be overseen by a medical professional, such as a registered and qualified dietitian.
Why Should You Try Keto Cycling?
People who are on the ketogenic diet program are most likely trying to lose some weight. However, due to massive restrictions of the diet’s menu, it is a difficult diet to stick to. Often times, this leads to dangerous eating habits including either abandoning the diet totally or indulging in yo-yo dieting. While the results of a keto diet are positive, the challenge arises in sustaining and following the diet. This is also one of the major reasons why once the diet finishes, many people tend to go back to their old eating habits.
This is where keto cycling comes in. Many nutritionists and dietitians have started recommending keto cycling as this allows you to actually stick to the keto diet and follow it in the long run. The foundation of keto cycling is that by allowing individuals on a diet to indulge in carbohydrates once in a week, they will feel more satisfied with the diet and will be more dedicated to maintaining healthy eating habits.
However, there is a negative side to this as well.
- For many people, going back on a diet with virtually no carbs allowed becomes a bit of a struggle after having indulged themselves in heavy carbohydrate intake for a day.
- Another negative factor is that when you follow the ketogenic diet diligently, you end up getting nearly 70% of your daily requirement of calories from fat. Due to this, many experts have called this diet as being ‘antisocial’ since it makes it very difficult for these individuals to dine out or share foods with friends and loved ones.
- The basis of a keto diet is that by cutting out carbs completely from the diet, it forces the body to look for an alternative source of energy. This alternate source is known as ketones, which we get from fats. This is known as ketosis, wherein the fat present in the body becomes the main source of energy, thus leading to weight loss. However, when you are strictly following the keto diet, it becomes difficult to reintroduce carbs in the diet once the diet program finishes. Reintroduction of carbohydrates immediately takes the body out of ketosis, thus causing weight gain in many people.
Keto cycling removes this challenge as once during the week the body continues to get some amount of carbohydrates and the body gets used to it. This makes it easy to follow the diet plan in the long run without compromising on nutrition, which is why keto cycling is welcomed as a new trend in dieting.
Which Foods Can You Eat While Keto Cycling?
So the question, of course, arises, as to what can you eat while you are keto cycling. On the days when you stick to the typical ketogenic diet, your carbohydrate intake will be very low – maximum 20 to 30 grams of carbs from berries or green vegetables. The fat content will be high – making up almost 70 to 80% or more of your diet. On the keto cycling day, you will be allowed to include complex carbohydrates in your diet but it will be accompanied with intense workouts on that day.
It is important, though, to understand that you cannot just opt for a helping of French fries on the day of your keto cycling. You will have to look towards complex carbohydrates that will take the body longer time to break down and will also be effective for the body. These would include:
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole wheat bread
- Black beans
Refined carbohydrates are a big no-no. Potato chips, cookies, snack foods, pastries, cakes, etc., are some foods that are simply not allowed as they offer no nutritional value and are likely to throw your entire diet off course.
When to Have Carbs on Your Keto Cycling Days?
While you can take complex carbohydrates anytime during your keto cycling days, it is better to consume them first thing in the morning or around the time when the level of your physical activity is high. This is because your body will tolerate the intake of complex carbohydrates best during these times. Otherwise, you can continue to follow your normal time of eating that you have for your normal keto dieting days.
Keto cycling is a widely accepted new trend in dieting as it allows you to alter the diet by including a carb day, which proves beneficial in every way.
What are the Benefits of Keto Cycling?
Keto cycling helps prevent the symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal that many individuals experience after they come off the keto diet. With keto cycling, you will still be able to experience all the benefits of a ketogenic diet such as:
- Fat burning
- Higher energy levels
- Better focus and concentration
Apart from these benefits, you will also be able to consume some level of carbohydrates without hindering the hard work and efforts you have already invested in losing weight through the keto diet.
Keto cycling also helps improve your exercising workouts as it boosts the glycogen stores in the muscles. Apart from this, keto cycling also protects muscle mass. This is especially important for athletes who need carbohydrates to fuel their body.
Is Keto Cycling for Everyone?
Like any diet program, keto cycling is not for everyone. Some people, though, can definitely gain a lot through keto cycling. It is ideal for those who have tired the ketogenic diet earlier and noticed that they started experiencing symptoms of carb withdrawal, including brain fog, sugar cravings, irritability, insomnia, etc. Allowing one day of consuming carbohydrates while still maintaining their diet program is a good choice for such individuals.
Athletes, in particular, marathon runners, can benefit a lot from keto cycling. This is primarily because of the energy boost keto cycling provides.
Keto cycling is not for those who have just begun the keto diet as it takes a lot of time to initially become used to having a high-fat diet. This is why it is better to ease into a traditional keto diet before you attempt keto cycling.
Though keto cycling is a new trend in dieting and is promoted by many, everyone’s body is different and everyone burns calories in a different manner. If you have an underlying health condition, then do not opt for keto cycling. It is also a good idea to consult a nutritionist or a dietitian before you begin keto cycling.
If you are curious about keto cycling as a new trend in dieting, then you need to begin with a certain bit of caution. This is because there is almost no science-based research that backs up the effectiveness of keto cycling and how effective it is for those aiming for weight loss in the long run. There is also no proven medical value yet associated with keto cycling. For people who are looking to use this dieting technique to boost their overall health, keto cycling can provide great benefits, given you are able to sustain it in the long run. For any medical concerns it is best to seek medical opinion before beginning with keto cycling.
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