Do I Have To Stay Keto Forever?
This is a question I get all of the time and the answer is……OF COURSE!!!
Actually, that’s not the answer, I am just such a firm believer in the power of keto that I have no desire to stray far from the diet. However, the truth is, you don’t have to do keto forever. Nor can you expect to.
There are going to be times in your life when you are going to want to take a break from keto. Maybe it’s a vacation or a holiday or you just flat out want to eat pizza for a while. While I do think we should always focus on at least being low-carb, it is inevitable that people may take a break from keto for a while.
Fortunately, there has actually been some research done on this topic! Let’s break down one of the studies below:
In the above study, the researchers used an approach for coming out of keto that I have personally tested myself and with some people that I have worked with. This approach is somewhat of a "slow carbohydrate reintroduction" and in the above study they did this by transitioning from keto to low-carb to Mediterranean. This approach allowed the subjects to maintain their improvements in body composition and even jump start further improvements once they started keto again!
This is extremely important because if you have ever talked to someone who has gone straight from keto to high carb consumption, chances are they gained a lot of weight and didn’t feel very good! This is why a slow carbohydrate manipulation is key.
The Ketologist’s Guide
I have tested several different methods for coming off of keto, below is a method that I have found to be most effective:
Convert some of your fat intake over to protein intake and follow for 1-2 weeks. This could look something like:
Keto: 70% Fat, 25% Protein, 5% Carb
Transition #1: 40% Fat, 55% Protein, 5% Carb
*It is important to note that you can either keep your calories the same or you can restrict calories to provide additional support with keeping the weight off.
After protein has been increased, convert more fat to carbs and follow for an additional 1-2 weeks. This could look something like:
Transition #2: 30% Fat, 55% Protein, 15% Carb
At this point, I would recommend not going much lower on fat since it is so important to get enough fat in for good health. For this reason, I would then convert more protein over to carbs. This could look something like:
Transition #3: 30% Fat, 40% Protein, 30% Carb
At this point you would want to decide how high you want your carbs to be. Personally, I think the best approach would be to maintain a low carb lifestyle by keeping carbs around 100g to 150g per day. If you are trying to go much higher, you may need to lower fat more but this is not something I would personally recommend.
Self-experiment with different macronutrient ratios to see what works best for you.
During the transition period, try to get a lot of your fat from sources rich in MCTs.
By no means is this an end all be all approach for coming off keto. The point is to give you a concept for transitioning out of keto. Slowly reintroduce carbohydrates by balancing out your other macronutrients to give your body the opportunity to adjust to this new way of eating.
Each individual will have to find what approach is best for them but remember, go slow!