Struggling to lose weight with keto? Maybe you should consider the cyclical ketogenic diet for fat loss.
Keto Isn’t Magic
But before I get into the nitty-gritty of how it works we need to go through some of the basics.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet in a nutshell – – you eat keto for a given period and then have massive refeeds with a lot of carbohydrates.
You might ask: “Why would you want to do that? What are the benefits of cyclic ketogenic dieting?”
It’s true that establishing a state of nutritional ketosis takes time and effort. However, it’s not magical. Ketones won’t make you burn off blobs of fat at the swing of a wand.
The only metabolic advantage of ketosis has to do with satiety, reduced hunger, lower insulin and blood sugar levels. People lose weight on keto because they will unconsciously begin to eat fewer calories and the suppressed insulin allows the body to release fat cells and burn them off as energy.
Cons of Keto
Even though I think the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is perfectly healthy and sustainable for practically everyone, it still has its cons and negative side effects – the dark side of keto.
- You might develop some mineral deficiencies, most popular of which are iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin-K.
- Thyroid functioning can also suffer on people with a predisposing medical condition or during initial adaptation. What ensues is a suppressed metabolic rate and other hormonal imbalances
- Electrolyte imbalances may occur because the body holds onto less water when on keto.
- Social pressures are probably the most common reasons why people fail the ketogenic diet. They just can’t seem to avoid events and places where there are carbs.
In regards to burning body fat, low thyroid is at the top of the list. This can be addressed with either a lot of iodine supplementation or with a small spike of insulin that actually instigates a lot of the repair mechanisms that rev the metabolism back up again.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Cheat Day
Carbs nor insulin are not the enemies here.
- Of course, suppressed levels of insulin increase glucagon and restricting carbs makes you burn more body fat.
- However, to lose weight you still need to be in a caloric deficit – you need to burn more energy than you consume.
- Nevertheless, caloric restriction decreases metabolic rate, lowers thyroid and makes it increasingly harder to lose weight.
As you eat fewer calories, your body adapts by downregulating its energy requirements. Simply put, you will maintain the same weight while still eating less.
But the detrimental consequences of caloric restriction aren’t guaranteed nor permanent. Like said, the body adapts to anything and regulates its physiology according to the conditions it gets exposed to.
That’s why using the cyclical ketogenic diet for weight loss is the best way of avoiding the cons of keto as well as caloric restriction.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet for Fat Loss
Let me explain what happens on the cyclical ketogenic diet.
- As you start eating the ketogenic diet, your liver glycogen stores get depleted. This increases the amount of ketone bodies in the bloodstream, which the body begins to use for energy. Eventually, you’ll establish nutritional ketosis.
- Limiting carbs reduces insulin and blood sugar levels. In response, glucagon soars, which converts stored glycogen into glucose and increase free fatty acid utilization.
- If you’re in caloric restriction, your metabolism will get slower. That’s thermodynamics at play. To lose weight you need to consume less energy, as to let the body burn its fat storage.
- To prevent metabolic damage and speed up the metabolism again you need to get off the diet. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop keto. But you still need to either consume a surplus of calories for a short period as to keep your inner energy production buzzing.
- Eating carbs on the cyclical ketogenic diet will spike insulin levels dramatically. In response, the body will first shuttle those carbs into muscle cells and upregulates metabolic rate, as to be able to store that extra energy.
- Periods of carbohydrate restriction, followed by overconsumption, causes a super-compensatory effect, which increases the overall levels of your glycogen stores – more so than a regular high carb diet would. Refeeds create an even greater anabolic response by driving amino acids and glucose into the cells.
- The following day, your body will be topped off with glycogen, which increases vascularity, makes the skin thinner and muscles look fuller. You return to your low carb menu.
- During the first 2 days after the refeed, your body will be running on both that extra glucose and free fatty acids from your keto foods. The consecutive 2 days will limit your glycogen again and you’ll be burning fat exclusively.
That’s the magic of carb cycling for fat loss.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Example Meal Plan
Now, there are some cyclical ketogenic diet dangers you want to know about.
The most crucial point you have to remember is this: Don’t mix high carb and high fat foods together.
Consuming fat with elevated levels of insulin leads to direct fat gain. You’re more prone to storing the food you eat into your waistline, but it also causes oxidative stress, inflammation, and diabetes. Nothing to worry about…
That’s why anyone who wants to try out the cyclical ketogenic diet for fat loss or any other goal, for that matter, should first educate themselves about the topic thoroughly. Doing carb cycling the wrong way may cause irreversible damage to your health.
Luckily, I’ve been a keto practitioner since 2015 and have used CKD successfully for a long time. It has allowed me to burn virtually all body fat and build muscle at the same time.
What’s more, I get to eat all types of foods – my delicious keto goodies as well as some carb cheats. It’s the steak and cake diet – you get to eat both of them.
I’ve written a cyclical ketogenic diet meal plan with 50+ recipes and a 30-day carb cycle strategy. It’s called the Keto Carb Cycle and you definitely want to check it out.