Experts Warn Against 'Keto Cycling'

The keto diet has been wildly popular, but now there’s the "keto cycling" diet. But experts are sharing that it may be a good idea to stay away from this one.

By now we’re practically all familiar with the keto diet, where one forsakes the majority of carbs in favor of a diet high in fiber, protein, and fat. This way of eating sends the body into ketosis where it starts burning fat instead of carbs for fuel.

Proponents of the diet have stated that it can cause a massive and rapid weight loss, but it’s a hard diet to stick to. After all, a carbohydrate-restricted diet means no bread, rice, pasta, or even french fries. Who can go their entire life without the deliciousness of french fries?!

But now there’s a new version of the keto diet for us to try to understand. It’s called keto cycling, and as the name implies, it involves “cycling” the keto diet on and off.

While that might sound great for us french fry lovers, experts and dieticians are saying it can be even harder to stick to than a regular keto diet.


Here’s how keto cycling works. Dieters start off on a regular ketogenic diet, eating mainly protein and fats, and forgoing the majority of carbohydrates. Fat-burning mode kicks in with ketosis and this diet needs to be followed for awhile, but then a day or two of eating carbs will be added in every week or so.

The typical keto-friendly diet involves no more than 20 grams of carbs per day from fresh fruits and veggies. The rest of the calories come from fat and protein. On a carb cycling day one can add back in carbs as the main source of calories for the day but with a catch: junk food is a major no-no.

via Dr Anna Cabeca

Carb days are special occasions. First, complex carbohydrates are the only carbs that are allowed, which include things like quinoa, squash, whole grains, and beans. But no refined carbohydrates can be consumed. Things like cake, white bread, cookies, and other unhealthy (but delicious) items are all off limits. 

Second, high carb days should always be followed by some intense physical activity. Since the body is suddenly going to be full of carbs, it will want to use that energy for something, so that is the perfect time to go run a marathon or spend a full day at the gym.

There are a few advantages over the regular keto diet, such as not running as much a risk of burning muscle rather than fat thanks to a few free carbs here and there. However, it can also be a lot harder to stay on the wagon, so to speak, since every week is filled with a carb-filled bonanza.


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