How long can I stay on the keto diet?

How long can I stay on the keto diet?

Are you looking for a diet to provide maximum weight loss and energy? It seems like everyone is cutting carbs these days. Transitioning to low carb keto diet can lead to shocking weight loss results.

What is Ketosis?

When you cut carbs and increase fats and proteins, your liver starts making ketones which are called ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of glucose. Burning fat is a cleaner, more efficient fuel source that has been shown to reduce heart disease, cancer, and obesity.

Keto is an attempt to switch over the body’s fuel burning mechanism from carbs to fat. This allows your body to burn up stored fat that’s been hanging around for years.

Chances are you have been eating carbs for years and those extra carbs turn right into fat. If you’re not in ketosis, your body isn’t going to burn any of your stored fat when it can continue to burn carbs and sugar.

What are some signs you are in ketosis? A few signs to look for include bad breath, reduced appetite, weight loss, increased focus and changes in stool.

Maximizing fat loss requires a commitment to the keto lifestyle. There are some concerns circulating around about the dangers of ketosis long term but this often gets confused with ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a diabetic condition where the ketones in the blood rise to dangerous levels, while glucose levels are also high, making your blood too acidic. This is a medical emergency and is not common among people in the keto lifestyle.

Signs of ketoacidosis can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration

Again, ketoacidosis is a diabetic condition and does not result from a normal keto diet lifestyle.

Long term – how long can you stay on the keto diet?

The keto lifestyle can continue as long as you are having positive results. New research is being found daily to prove the safety and effectiveness of ketosis.

In previous studies, children who were epileptic were fed a keto diet, some for up to 12 years, and found a 90% reduction in their seizures. Ketosis was shown to reduce brain inflammation and neurological disorders.

Obese patients were closely monitored for over 24 weeks on the ketogenic diet and studies found all patients had a significant reduction in body weight and mass, reduction in total LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol. The level of blood glucose also significantly decreased. No negative side effects were documented.

Extreme low carb diets long term have the possibility of leading to fatty liver disease in people who are not acquiring the proper nutrients. In other words, eating plates of bacon all day without any vegetables can cause fatty liver disease. Your liver relies on vitamins and minerals to process fat properly.

There is no time limit for ketosis, and the length of time to stay on the keto diet will vary from person to person. Most people who eat keto long-term increase their carbs to 40-50 grams a day and find that level provides optimal energy and weight loss.

Short term- what about a cheat day?

Craving carbs are common when beginning the keto diet and thoughts of doughnuts can consume your mind. Is it ok to take a day and eat whatever you have been craving?

Ketosis actually changes the hormones and enzyme production in your body. Switching over from burning glucose to fat is no small task for your system. Having an entire day of carb-filled fun could throw you out of ketosis and hinder your results.

Consuming large amounts of sugar and carbs on a cheat day can spike blood glucose to a dangerous level.
Switching back and forth from keto to cheat days can also reintroduce keto flu since your body isn’t sure what it should be doing. Results come with consistency and intention.

It takes some time for your taste buds to adapt to lower amounts of sugar and a few new flavors of vegetables. You will acquire a taste for those new foods if you are consistent.

A cheat day isn’t necessarily out of the question if you know how to cheat smartly. A cheat day can help you stay motivated and bring some sanity to your diet. Long-term reduction of carbs can be psychologically challenging especially at social events.

Here are a few benefits of a cheat day:

  • Can increases leptin levels (controlling hunger)
  • Provides a mental break from low carb dieting
  • Reduces risk of binge eating
  • Provides motivation
  • Can increase metabolism

A slight increase in carbs can be beneficial for those lifting heavy weights or participating in high endurance athletics.

Cheat days shouldn’t be extreme and outlandish. If you want to add in a cheat day, here are a few tips to cheat the smart way.

How to cheat the smart way

Try these tips for a lower-impact cheat day:

  • Choosing paleo or keto cookies for a sweet treat instead of doughnuts
  • Save your cheat day when you have a social gathering (a meal with friends or family)
  • Choose to enjoy fresh fruit on your cheat day
  • Your cheat day should be a cheat meal, not the whole day
  • Try a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy your cravings

Always listen to your body and pay attention to how you are feeling. If you have been eating keto for 5 months and are starting to feel negative symptoms, try increasing your carbs slightly and see how you feel.

Maintaining the keto lifestyle safely will require you making sure to get the proper nutrition from eating vegetables. Vegetables and low carb fruits also contain much-needed fiber to keep your bowels regular and are a good source of prebiotics.

If you have met your weight loss goals and are feeling great, you could try slowly adding in some healthy carbs to expand your food choices.

Ketosis is the healthiest way for your body to burn fuel and new benefits are still being discovered. Remember, incorporating fresh vegetables into your keto meal plan is vital for success and health.

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