You’ve tried the ketogenic diet, the ultra-popular low-carb diet. So you know it puts your body in a state of ketosis, using fat for energy. For many people, this change results in weight loss, but in general, long-term follow-up is not recommended unless it is a medical condition that requires it. If it’s your time to quit the keto diet, here’s how to do it so you don’t gain weight and put your health at risk.
Why do people decide to stop the keto diet?
Finally, the reason you want to quit the keto diet might be as simple as achieving your goal – weight loss. In addition, there may be health consequences to consider such as a high lipid level.
In fact, if a person at high risk for heart disease consumes increased amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol sources while eating less fiber from whole grains, beans, starchy fruits, and vegetables, it can cause an increase in plaques in the arteries.
There are also special concerns for people with type 1 diabetes and people taking insulin, which may not be suitable for a long-term ketogenic diet.
The other reason people decide to switch to a normal diet is the difficulty of adjusting to ketosis and more specifically, its side effects like fatigue (also known as the “keto flu”), increased thirst, and cravings. hair loss (in some people).
Following the keto diet at home is quite difficult, but carbs seem to be in everything when dining out. This eating style is a social boost whenever you want to spend an evening with friends unless you really like explaining your food choices in detail to everyone at the table.
How to get out of ketosis correctly?
Have a plan
One of the biggest issues with dieting (whether it’s keto or otherwise) is that when you quit, you don’t know what to do next. Most people end up going back to the way they ate before that made them gain pounds. So the solution is to have a plan on what you are going to eat and how you are going to start incorporating carbohydrates into your diet.
Familiarize yourself with portion sizes
After restricting the amount of carbohydrates for a long time, you are more likely to consume too much once you allow yourself to have them on your menu. Keto-friendly foods are high in fat and provide a moderate amount of protein, which helps reduce appetite.
Yet once you reintroduce non-keto foods, you will no longer be able to rely on this effect. It is therefore advisable to watch your portion sizes and eat balanced meals that include a lean protein and healthy fats.
Start with unprocessed carbohydrates
Rather than going straight for pasta, donuts, and cupcakes, opt for plant-based carbs (whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, non-starchy vegetables) when you first break off the ketogenic diet. Slowly introducing these foods will help you avoid constipation, weight gain, and other negative effects associated with the transition period.
Start by adding carbohydrates to one meal per day. Try this for a few weeks and see how your body responds. If all is well, add some carbs to another meal or snack. Keep adding them until you are comfortable eating them throughout the day.
Choose foods high in fiber
Whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits are the best choice for reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet – their high fiber content can protect you from a spike in blood sugar. You also need to stay well hydrated because water helps fiber pass more pleasantly through your digestive system.
Eat balanced meals
The best way to keep your blood sugar under control and avoid any surges or drops in energy is to eat balanced meals with calories evenly distributed throughout the day. A general recommendation on the number of meals to consume per day is between 3 to 6 full dishes and 1 to 2 snacks depending on your activity.
Remember to exercise
You may experience a surge in energy after putting carbs back into your menu, so use it wisely and increase your workouts to maintain a healthy weight.
What to expect after stopping the ketogenic diet?
It’s hard to predict how anyone will react to quitting the keto diet. Some may experience minimal effects, while others may find their blood sugar levels rise after their first moderate-carbohydrate meal. It can cause nervousness, mood swings, hyperactivity, and fatigue.
You could put on weight. (But don’t panic!) You couldn’t either! Fluctuation in pounds is always a possibility but it depends on many factors including how your body metabolizes carbohydrates, the rest of your diet, exercise, and more.
In fact, much of the weight lost when cutting down on carbohydrates is initially water weight. When you reintroduce carbohydrates, you are indeed adding extra water and could feel like you are putting on weight.
The most common problem that people face is bloating and intestinal upset due to the reintroduction of fibrous foods. Even though beans and sprouted bread are good for you, your body may need to get used to digesting them again. You can expect this to go away in a few days to a few weeks.
You can have more energy after adding carbohydrates to your diet because glucose (found in carbohydrates) is the main source of fuel for the body. You may also notice better performance in HIIT workouts and endurance training. Also, you might feel better mentally because the brain uses glucose for function.
The high-fat and moderate-protein dishes on the keto diet are super filling. This is why many people find that their appetite is suppressed. Still, you may feel more hungry after every non-keto meal. To combat this and ease your transition, pair carbohydrates with protein and fat. It can help slow digestion, increase satiety, and limit blood sugar spikes and crashes.