The ketogenic diet is a great way to burn fat, curb your appetite, and lose weight.
The keto diet is a very low carb diet that makes the body think it is fasting. It does this by eliminating glucose by restricting carbohydrates. Once glucose is eliminated, our bodies can no longer use it for energy and must use fat instead. This is when “ketosis” happens, which is where the name comes from. Ketosis is the metabolic state when most energy comes from ketone bodies in the blood.
The keto diet can be a little confusing and intimidating in the beginning. Here are answers to three common questions people ask about the keto diet, and how you can set yourself up for success!
1. Is Exercise Necessary on the Keto Diet?
Exercise is an integral part of being healthy, not just for weight loss, but for heart health, joint health, and being strong and fit. However, if you are on the keto diet to lose weight, exercise is not necessary for that purpose.
You will most likely want to go easy on exercise during the first few weeks of your new keto diet as your body adjusts. If you want to keep your workouts, you can help boost your energy by eating a fast-acting carb like a fruit about 30 minutes before your workout, as long as it stays under your carb limit for the day. Berries are a great low carb option!
There are many reasons to exercise, both mental and physical, but don’t feel like you won’t lose weight without a rigorous workout routine. Moderate exercise is perfectly fine.
2. Should You Add Carb Cycling?
As you probably know, the ketogenic, or keto diet, requires you to follow an extremely low-carb diet. It is usually 20 net carbs a day, though some people can remain in ketosis with as little as 50 net carbs a day. There is a lot of talk about “cheat days,” where you eat what you want, as well as doing carb-cycling. Carb-cycling is where you have some days when you increase your carbohydrates by a small amount, then go back to the lower carb days for the rest of the week. This can have many benefits for you, such as keeping your hunger hormones in check so you don’t wind up binging and also for preserving lean muscle mass. (Source) Just know that on higher carb days, you’ll be transitioning out of ketosis and will have to transition back into ketosis
Signs You Might Want to Try Carb Cycling
There are many excellent benefits to carb cycling, from helping with your mentality about being on a low-carb diet, to opening up the food options available to you. If you are someone that struggles with those 20 net carbs a day and really miss extra fruit and other healthier carbs, carb cycling will be perfect for you. Every few days or so, you can enjoy a little more carbs and eat some of your favorite healthy foods, but you get right back into ketosis on the lower carb days.
It is also good for people who keep hitting plateaus. Many people find that if they can confuse their body every few days with different carb and calorie amounts, it is easier to avoid or get out of those weight loss stalls.
How to Carb Cycle
The way you do carb cycling is really up to you. It is often an experiment to figure out what works best for your body and your comfort level. Some people might do a carb-up day every 3-4 days, while others like to do them once a week or even every two weeks. If you are doing well on your keto diet and haven’t hit plateaus or struggled with cravings, try just every two weeks. Then if you have a week where you are craving something else, don’t stress and have a moderate carb day.
3. What About Alcohol on Keto?
There may come a time when you want to go to happy hour with co-workers or enjoy a cocktail with friends or family while on keto. While consuming alcohol in excess isn’t compatible with the keto diet, you can still have alcohol and follow the ketogenic lifestyle. Just like anything else, you need to know how many carbs are in the alcoholic beverages. Here are some things to know about drinking alcohol while on keto.
Stick to Clear Liquors
The first thing you to do if you want to have alcohol while on keto is to choose your liquor carefully. When choosing liquor, the easiest thing to do is to choose high quality, clear liquors. They tend to be lower in carbs before you mix anything with them. It is often what you mix liquor with that increases the carbs and other macros, so try to have it straight, or combined just with sparkling water.
You can also add in organic, biodynamic wine occasionally, depending on your net carbs for the day. My go to choices for biodynamic wines are from Dry Farms Wines. They source glyphosate free, low sugar and low alcohol wines from around the world and they are yummy!
Have you tried the keto diet before? What results have you experienced or obstacles did you face? Share in the comments!