It has long since been believed that a keto diet has no variation or flexibility, but is this actually the case? This article has been written to show you that actually there are different levels of ketogenic diet and to educate you in order for you to perhaps find a better keto diet to suit you, your body and your lifestyle. The type of ketogenic diet that this article will focus on is that of the cyclic ketogenic diet.
What is the standard keto diet?
- The most common and most popular variation of this diet is just known as keto;
- It works on the principles of 70/20/10 – 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs as the daily intake;
- Carbs are limited to between 20g and 50g per day;
- Generally advised by medical professionals to help people suffering from diabetes and epilepsy.
How is the cyclic keto diet different?
- Sticks to the same nutritional intake as the standard keto diet for five or six days each week, with the one or two days remaining enabling higher carbohydrate consumptions levels to occur;
- It popular with people wanting to enhance their performance in exercise regimes, fitness, and elite athletes because it aids muscle growth and repair;
- The cyclic ketogenic diet is often referred to and compared with the process of “carb cycling,” though they are not to be confused as they are separate dieting regimes.
So, what exactly is the cyclic ketogenic diet plan?
- The cyclic ketogenic diet plan allows the dieter to switch between the standard keto diet and the cyclic. This occurs when the very regimented approach of the standard keto diet of high fat and low carbohydrates is interlinked with that of the cyclic keto diet which has at least one day every week of permitting a higher percentage of carbohydrate intake.
- When days of increased carbs occur, they are known as "refeeding days" because it is believed that they refuel the body with glucose levels that have been gradually decreased by the standard keto diet.
- When following the cyclic version of the keto diet, “refeeding days” should occur at least once each week, with some dieters allowing their body to have two.
- This modernized approach to keto makes the body move in and out of the process of ketosis, ensuring weight loss when ketosis is next reached.
- For people wanting to strengthen, regrow and regenerate muscles this has been found to be the proven diet. It is also very popular amongst athletes because it enhances the ability to perform at a high level and elongate the duration at which this can be regained.
What is ketosis?
- Ketosis is a naturally occurring state that the body can enter automatically, and there's plenty of ways to know if your body is in ketosis or not.
- By using a keto diet the perfect conditions for ketosis to occur are replicated.
- Ketosis is the metabolic state that happens when the body does not have the amount of glucose that it needs to continue running at full capacity.
- The most common glucose sources are sugar, usually found in fruit and specific dairy products, and foods high in starch, like pasta and bread.
- Therefore, the body burns any excess fat stores it can find to keep functioning.
- Carbohydrates are not relied on as an energy source.
- The result of ketosis is an acid called ketone which helps to enhance the breakdown of the fat supply in the body.
- Because this process is so effective, it is often used by people wanting to lose weight, decrease the number of seizures encountered by an epileptic and to aid the severity of diabetes.
- If ketone levels get too high, it can be very dangerous, so the levels must be continuously monitored through the measurement of acid in the bloodstream.
- Ketones are expelled by the body through urine.
How to follow the cyclic keto diet
To follow the cyclic keto diet, you must first get your head around the standard keto diet. The standard keto diet is that of 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrate intake. It is imperative that 50g or less of carbohydrates should be consumed each day and no more, seven days a week. The cyclic keto diet requires this ratio of 70/20/10 to occur for six or even five days each week, with one or two days requiring higher quantities of carbs. This one or two day "refeed" can still have the same balance of numbers (easy to remember!) but the food groups are in a different order in these ratios. It, therefore, becomes 70% carbs, 20% protein, and just 10% fat. In effect, the fat and carb intakes swap sides of the seesaw. But do not be fooled into thinking that these are easy days or days off from your regime because it doesn't mean that you can sit and stuff your face with a hearty pizza. The type of carbohydrates that are consumed on these "refeed" days is very important. Here is a list of the best types of complex carbs for you to consume when you are "refeeding":
- Beans or lentils
- Brown rice
- Butternut squash
- Sweet Potato
- Whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta
These are the preferred complex carbs to aid your diet regime for the following reasons. They are all high in:
These three factors enable the body to refuel and help the level of blood sugar to find its equilibrium.
What else do you need to know to follow the cyclic keto diet correctly?
In order to follow the cyclic keto diet in the correct manner, you must also be aware that fasting must occur on the days that you “refeed” your body. This usually involves fasting for around 16 hours of every “refeed” day.
It has also be stated that doing workouts of high intensity is advised on the days that you are "refeeding." This enables your body to continue with the process of ketosis and help you to achieve the maximum muscle growth.
Why do people choose to use the cyclic ketogenic diet?
There are many different types of people who choose to use the cyclic ketogenic diet as their lifestyle. These include:
- Athletes who wish to gain a leaner body mass, grow muscle or build muscle;
- Athletes who want to become more elite, enhance their performance or increase their intensity of training.
Are there any side effects from following a cyclic keto diet?
There can be side effects when any variation of a ketogenic diet is undertaken, but these won't affect all dieters and do differ in their severity. A well-known phrase commonly associated with this form of dieting is "keto flu," and the symptoms can include the following:
- An intense feeling of nausea;
- Increase in fatigue, though rarely severe exhaustion;
- Increase in the number of headaches and their severity;
- A loss in strength;
- Frustration with difficulties in sleeping;
- The possibility of getting more irritable and the patience levels dwindling;
- Very likely that constipation will occur.
When the cyclic keto diet is used, the likelihood of the above symptoms is drastically reduced thanks to the carbohydrates and intake of glucose.
However, the most common side effect is constipation, especially when your body is transitioning, acclimatizing and learning how to be accustomed to the new lifestyle change. This is because fiber is needed in order for the body to be “regular” and low fiber levels are notoriously digested on this diet. For dieters prone to constipation, the cyclic keto diet is the preferred variation of keto dieting because the “refeed” day or days enable a higher quantity of fiber to be congested. The best carbs to consume that are rich in fiber content are:
- Sweet potatoes.
The cyclic keto diet summary
To concisely summarise all of the above information is challenging, but here are the main points:
- The standard keto diet and the cyclic keto diet have a lot of similarities but do differ.
- It is most often athletes who decide to use the cyclic keto diet because they want to increase their muscle index.
- On five or six days every week, the standard keto diet is to be followed. That is 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrate consumption. One the remaining one or two days each week, the fat and carb percentages should be flipped, resulting in 70% carbs, 20% protein and 10% fat. The 70/20/10 rule can be applied to each.
- “Refeed” days are essential for the cyclic keto diet to occur effectively, as the body needs a higher carbohydrate consumption for building muscle.
- If losing weight is the main objective, as opposed to increasing muscle, you need to use the standard keto diet seven days a week.
- The best carbohydrates to eat on a “refeed” day are complex carbohydrates, found commonly in sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, and beans.
- There can be side effects but they are rarely severe, do not last for prolonged duration and will not affect every diet user. These symptoms collectively are known as “keto flu.”
- The most frequently reported side effect is constipation but this can be aided by the use of the cyclic keto diet, as the fiber levels can be increased to ease the passing of stools.
- The standard keto diet and the cyclic keto diet can be used by the majority of people, but please make sure that you do so under the provision of a trusted medical professional.