How To Transition Off Ketoif You Choose To Do So
If you had a nice love affair with the ketogenic diet but think itâs time to end your relationship, it can take a bit of time for your body to readjustâespecially if you stuck with the eating plan for a long time. âAccording to The Cleveland Clinic, transitioning off the keto diet should take a few weeks,â Taub-Dix says. âFourteen days is pretty reasonable for your body to adjust to the change.â
While some people may be able to jump right back into the carb-filled way they ate before keto, Taub-Dix says for others, it may be best to transition off it in baby steps. Otherwise, it could cause some digestive problems. âSome people find it helpful to increase their carb intake each day by about 10 percent,â she says.
The main tip to keep in mind, Taub-Dix says, is avoiding going from super low-carb to eating large quantities of carbs in one setting itâs better to spread your intake out over the course of the day. âSome people who consume lots of fiber from carbsâlike whole-grain breads, cereals, and beansâespecially when theyâre not used to consuming these foodsâ may experience flatulence or bloat. But donât let that be a turn-off â those symptoms will dissipate with increased use and the benefits of carb consumption certainly outweighs the temporary discomforts,â she says.
Protocol For Ketogenic Diet
All 83 subjects received the ketogenic diet consisting of 20 g to 30 g of carbohydrate in the form of green vegetables and salad, and 80 g to 100 g of protein in the form of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, shellfish and cheese. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats were also included in the diet. Twelve weeks later, an additional 20 g of carbohydrate were added to the meal of the patients to total 40 g to 50 g of carbohydrate. Micronutrients were given to each subject in the form of one capsule per day .
Keto Made Me Thinner Heres Why I Quit The Diet
In the short term, before you begin to lose weight, you may also experience what people call the keto flu, a state that lasts about a week as your body adjusts to the diet. That can include extreme fatigue and foggy-headedness. Knowing that keto flu is a possibility can help you plan the best time to start the diet. You can also mentally prepare for this transition period reminding yourself that its only temporary can help immensely.
For these reasons, some people wont be able to stay on it, says Mancinelli. You should aim to give it at least six weeks. After that, if you feel exhausted or hate eating the food, then the diet is probably not for you. However, if you feel energetic after keto flu symptoms subside within a couple of weeks, which some people report, you may see success with the plan.
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Switch From Dirty Or Lazy To Strict Keto
Dirty keto dieters still adhere to the same macronutrient ratios as strict keto followers. Only, they dont discriminate when it comes to the source of those macros. But while it can make life easier to just order a fast-food burger without the bun, following a dirty keto diet may result in some icky feelings from an excess of preservatives and a lack of micronutrients.
The solution: Cut out those processed foods and replace them with more nutrient-dense choices. For example, toss your veggies in grass-fed ghee instead of canola oil. And, substitute Bulletproof MCT Oil in your coffee in place of heavy cream.
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What Is A Ketogenic Diet
In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the bodys main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies . Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones.
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The Takeaway: What To Expect If You Try The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet isnt a miracle diet for weight loss or a fix for all health problems. For certain people , it can be dangerous. And because its not a long-term plan, you have to manage your diet carefully after stopping keto.
Think about how your lifestyle fits with such a restrictive plan, as well as what youre willing to give up temporarily . Let that be your guide to help you determine if the keto diet is right for you.
It’s Advertised As A Weight
In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans often grab attention. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. They are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or “keto” diets.
But a true ketogenic diet is different. Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. And it’s not the type of diet to try as an experiment.
“The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don’t know if it works in the long term, nor whether it’s safe,” warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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Focusing On Eating Fat
All fats are not created equal. Unfortunately, some people may see the ketogenic diet’s emphasis on high-fat foods as a free pass to adopt unhealthy eating habits, such as over-indulging in processed meats and saturated fats.
“Many people follow a keto diet without regard to the type of fat they are consuming. All fats are high in calories, butsaturated fat and trans fat raise the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood and can cause plaque to build up in your arteries,” said Fine.
Posey also told INSIDER that people on the keto diet often don’t make enough of an effort to eat fats that benefit brain and cardiovascular health or to choose fats that are unrefined or unprocessed. This can mean that sticking to a keto diet long-termcan actually increase your risk of cardiovascular problems or high cholesterol if you’re not eating the right kinds of foods.
What Do The Studies Say
Then theres the issue of varying health claims for keto and other low carb diets.
The ketogenic diet is designed to be a short-term diet, and there are a number of studies and trials demonstrating its effectiveness, said chiropractor Josh Axe, a spokesperson for the Vitamin Shoppe, in statement.
When done correctly, it can be a great tool used to treat and prevent several chronic conditions while also supporting overall health, said Axe, who is the author of The Keto Diet: Your 30-day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reverse Disease.
An Atkins spokesperson pointed to a two-year study by a health group selling ketosis diet interventionsand told CNN in a statement that todays science shows people can improve health markers pertaining to weight loss, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome when they control carbs.
Not exactly accurate, according to Gardner and Katz.
Theres very little research, and to the best of my knowledge, all of it is linked to a company marketing the keto diet, Katz said.
The bottom line is that despite its current popularity, we have very few studies that can support or refute its impact on health, Gardner said.
In addition, they found three separate observational studies, including a large prospective cohort study with long-term follow-up, showed an association between very low-carb diets and all-cause mortality.
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Is The Keto Diet Healthy
Wellness Dietitian Mary Condon, RN, LDN, said the keto diet may result in weight loss and lower blood sugars, but its a quick fix. More often than not, its not sustainable. Oftentimes weight gain may come back, and youll gain more than what you lost, Condon said.
Condon said you should always consult your primary care doctor before starting any new diet.
The Case For Staying In Ketosis Short
While Taub-Dix says the ketogenic diet can be an effective way to lose weight in the short term, it’s not something she advises, let alone recommends, for a lifelong eating plan. “Carbs are not bad for you,” she says of the food group demonized by devout keto followers. “They’ve really gotten a bad rap over the years, but it’s more about choosing the right carbs.”
Taub-Dix says whole grains, for example, are a great source of vitamin B and fiber, a nutrient that’s even more important than you might realize. Another reason why she’s pro-carbs: They make you happy. “Studies have shown that they boost serotonin levels,” she says. “I know people who have started doing keto and have become really moody because they’re missing out on that.”
While the ketogenic diet has become popular for people with diabetes, Taub-Dix warns against it, saying it can lead to some serious health problems. “It can cause DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis,” she says. “This happens when your body is producing a lot of ketones and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, feeling faint, and being thirsty.” This is a dangerous, sometimes life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. “Why take a risk of that happening?” Taub-Dix asks.
Another potential downside of the ketogenic diet is that such a low carb intake might disrupt the hormones of people with uteruses, affecting one’s menstrual cycle and fertility. It also is an incredibly strict diet that might be difficult for people to follow.
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Keto Diet May Also Lead To Long Term Benefits
Diabetes reversal, particularly type 2 diabetes, is one reason people choose to restrict carbohydrates. According to a recent systematic review, type 2 diabetes patients continue to experience decreases in their HbA1c levels, less reliance on their diabetes medications, and weight loss .
This is good news for individuals requiring help with normalizing blood glucose levels. Making type 2 diabetes reversal last, however, should be done through proper medical supervision. Since the keto diet significantly reduces blood glucose, medications need to be adjusted according to a patients results .
Another area of interest is keto as a form of treatment for psychiatric conditions. Weve learned that keto helps with epilepsy and other neurological disorders. But recently, a retrospective analysis of 31 adults with severe, persistent mental illness showed that the keto diet improved their depression and psychosis symptoms. The participants limited their carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 20 grams per day .
Following hospital discharge, 46% of the patients reported good adherence to the keto diet at home. Those who chose to continue keto did so to maintain or improve their psychiatric outcomes, as well as their metabolic health .
It May Affect Your Athletic Performance
There’s no shortage of athletes who have jumped on the keto bandwagon, but some researchers worry that they could actually be sabotaging their strength and fitness. In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers found that participants performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks after four days on a ketogenic diet compared to those who’d spent four days on a high-carb diet.
The body is in a more acidic state when it’s in ketosis, lead researcher Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, previously told Health, which may limit its ability to perform at peak levels.
Sure, keto can help athletes lose weight, which can be helpful for speed and endurance. “But I’m very concerned that people are attributing the benefits of weight loss to something specific in the ketogenic diet,” Weiss said. “In reality, the benefits of weight loss could be at least partially canceled out by reductions in performance.”
Because the keto diet is so strict, many variations of the diet recommend incorporating several stages. The first stage, usually the first one to three months, is extremely low-carb and allows for very few “cheat days,” if any at all. It also requires keeping close track of your carbohydrate and fat consumption to ensure your body is entering ketosis.
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Should You Stay In Constant Ketosis
If youve got a legitimate health condition that responds well to ketosis, all bets are off. Theres evidence that people can thrive on good ketogenic diets for at least five years without incurring any serious side effects. For controlling epilepsy, theres nothing better than a strict ketogenic diet maintained long term to quell the overexcited brain. For any of the neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimers or Parkinsons, ketogenic diets look very promising and are worth trying. It even looks promising for bipolar disorder. If youve got a problem that ketosis helps or fixes, go for it. Its helping you, and theres no mistaking that.
Indefinite ketosis is unnecessary and perhaps even undesirable for most healthy people, and that occasional, even regular dips into ketosis are preferable and sufficient. That way, you get the benefits of cyclical infusions of BHB and other ketones without running afoul of any potential unforeseen negative effects.
Plus, cycling your ketosis means you can eat berries and stone fruits when in season, and enjoy those otherworldly-delicious purple sweet potatoes without worrying. Personally, I like food too much to go full-on, indefinite keto. You may not, and thats okay.
If youre thriving on a ketogenic diet, and have been for some time, keep it up. No one can take that away from you, and the studies indicate it should be safe. I certainly know people who have lived a keto lifestyle for years without issue.
Who Should Not Follow A Keto Diet
Ketosis changes how many of the bodys systems function. If those systems arent healthy to begin with, a keto diet could be problematic or even dangerous.
- Chronic kidney disease: Keto can lead to increased acid in the urine. Weakened kidneys arent able to efficiently remove the acid, and that could cause kidney disease to worsen.
- Gallbladder disease: Those whose gallbladder has been removed or is compromised will usually not do well on keto, since the gallbladder is needed to help digest the higher fat intake of a keto diet.
- Thyroid disease: The keto diet can lower the levels of thyroid hormones that the body produces, a problem for those with hypothyroidism.
- Diabetes and heart disease: Type 1 diabetics are usually advised to avoid a keto diet because of the increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia. Ketogenic eating can help those with type 2 diabetes lose weight and improve their glycemic control, but increased fat consumption may lead to an increase in bad cholesterol. That can worsen the risk of serious heart issues in diabetics and heart patients. Diabetics and those with heart disease should speak with their doctor before beginning keto.
Experts also caution against a keto diet for those with eating disorders, and women who are pregnant or nursing.
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How To Approach The Keto Diet Safely
In recent years, keto has become a trendy diet for losing weight and managing some other health conditions. However, Barnard suggests that theres usually a better dietary approach than keto.
Carbohydrates arent bad. Grains and beans and fruits and vegetables should be the staples of our diets, he says, adding that plant-based diets can predictably lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Some followers of the keto diet have broken away from the traditionally limiting format in favor of a plant-based or vegan keto diet.
Liz MacDowell, a certified holistic nutrition consultant and author of Vegan Keto,runs the food blog Meat Free Keto. She practices what she calls a quasi-keto diet. Liz adds fruits, vegetables, and beans into her diet, which can be controversial in the keto world. Shes even received backlash for sharing a post on her Instagram about strawberries.
Consuming those micronutrients far outweighs whatever challenge your body now faces to maintain ketosis with those minimal extra grams of carbohydrates, MacDowell tells Verywell. Fruit is not the worst thing. It has sugar but it has so many other positive things in it, so many good phytochemicals and micronutrients.
For anyone looking to add morefreshproduce into their keto routine, Liz emphasizes one important thing: Dont stress.
We have enough stress so we dont need to be stressing about eating one carrot too many or one cherry tomato too many, she says.
A Dietitian’s Final Words On The Keto Diet
In general, the keto diet can produce weight loss results in the short term, but it’s not a sustainable, long-term, solution to weight problems. When you transition off the keto diet, you will likely gain the weight back that you initially lost. That’s why I will always recommend longer term, healthy, sustainable diet changes rather than short-term diet fads like the keto diet. After all, studies show that healthy, low-calorie diets that include carbs can produce similar long-term weight loss results.
Before making any kind of major switch to a weight loss diet, I also recommend mentioning it to your doctor, who can refer you to a dietitian like myself for more information. A dietitian can help determine the safest way to approach the keto diet if that’s the route you want to go.
But if you’re tired of fad diets, short term fixes, and temporary weight loss that always comes back, talk to your doctor about the weight management clinic at Firelands Regional Medical Center, or give us a call. We’ll help you create good habits for both diet and exercise that work for your lifestyle and lead to lasting, healthy results.
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