Does Keto Allow Cheat Days?

Does the keto diet allow cheat days? The diet emphasizes weight loss through fat-burning – if you had a keto cheat day, how would it affect your weight-loss regimen?

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The theory behind the keto diet is that by slashing the carbs you eat and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored fat into substances called ketones. In this state, your fat-burning system relies primarily on fat instead of sugar for energy.

What Is the Keto Diet?

Adherents of the keto diet follow an eating regimen that breaks down the type of calories they consume on a daily basis, says Kaylee Jacks, a registered dietitian with Texas Health Sports Medicine in Dallas.

Obtaining 60% of your daily calories from fat.
Getting 30% to 35% of your calories from protein.
Consuming 5% to 10% of your calories in the form of carbohydrates.

“The keto diet emphasizes an intake of very low carbohydrates, high fat and moderate protein,” says Betsy Fears, a registered dietitian nutritionist who practices at RET Physical Therapy Group in Lake Stevens, Washington, about 40 miles north of Seattle.

Under the keto diet, you limit your consumption of carbohydrates to 20 to 50 grams a day. “Keep in mind that a medium bagel contains about 50 grams or carbs,” Fears says.

Can You Have a Cheat Day on Keto?

Having a cheat day while you’re on the keto diet will take you out of the state of ketosis, Fears says. “It can take several days for the body to achieve ketosis, so having a cheat meal every week or every couple of weeks means you won’t be in ketosis a majority of the time,” she says.

There’s no hard and fast rule regarding how long it will take to reestablish a state of ketosis, she says. Research published in the journal PeerJ in 2018 suggests it could take two to 10 days to reach ketosis.

Jacks says that a keto cheat day will temporarily, in effect, suspend the regimen.

“During that cheat day, (a keto dieter) will not technically be on the diet for that day, or even the next two or so days following, even if they resume the dietary restrictions immediately following the cheat day,” Jacks says….

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