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Breaks from ketosis - When, how and for how long?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 12, 2012 at 2:33 AM

I've been on a ketogenic diet before (a far cry from Paleo) and I was told to take a break from ketosis every 12 weeks at the least, where I added a meal to the diet for a week. What I want to know is the opinions of those on Paleo. I need to lose over 100lbs. Do I spend most of my time losing on a ketogenic diet? If so, how often shall I break from it, and how would I do so? Also, how long would these breaks be for? Thanks all!

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on July 12, 2012
at 07:52 AM

Drs. Phinney & Volek have been in ketosis for about a decade each and continue to excel in competitive strength & cycling. If it works for you, don't stop. ;)

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:59 AM

Not my experience, eating 50-100g of carbs per day I keep and gain weight. Not sure i need to be in ketosis all the time but carbs = weight for me.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:08 AM

That certainly hasnt been my experience- carb and fodmap restriction has changed me from a hospitalised drowning in burps state, to recovering nicely. Although I still got gut rawness, until I incorporated gelatin, so I am curious where you get this idea from, scientifically speaking. Id love to see an abstract, or at least a secondary article.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:03 AM

"If you have bacterial overgrowth, it will get worse. Starving the bacteria of carbs does not wipe them out. They pierce the gut and start searching for sugar in the rest of your tissues." - Citation please.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 12, 2012
at 05:18 AM

@RaiseFitness: Thanks for the link to the eatingacademy. What a great site.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 12, 2012
at 02:54 AM

Who told you to break from the diet? Check out eatingacademy.com Dr. Peter Attia is a huge proponent of sustained Ketogenic diets, not just for weight loss but for overall health.

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6 Answers

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2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 12, 2012
at 06:36 AM

I have not had to loose large amounts of weight, but I did lose about 25 pounds, and for me, a very low carb diet (<= 25g per day) worked great initially but after about 2 months I started to have some issues with energy, mood, and overall well being. I started to eat carbs post work out and additionally about once per week, and felt better. I still eat a relatively low carb diet because that is just what I prefer, but make a point of eating carbs a few times a week. I make them good carbs (sweet potato, berries, etc).

When I was actively dropping the weight, carbs would halt the weight loss for a day or so, but also made the diet more sustainable. I don't think you can lose weight in a straight line, for me it came off in fits and starts.

I have read many other reports from people who "cheat" once a week but had success in losing weight and changing their diet. Maybe some people can live in a constant state of ketosis, but I think others need to restore the body's energy stores with occasional carbs.

2
03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

IDK, I eat low carb because when I don't my appetite and cravings are out of control. That said, I sometimes have days where I eat more carbs than others. You can always do this without completely taking a break.

1
Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on July 12, 2012
at 11:50 AM

Look up cyclic ketogenic diet. They sweat the details of carb cheats.

But I've gone months without a cheat and feel fine.

1
Medium avatar

on July 12, 2012
at 06:52 AM

I was VLC for five months. Solved many problems, helped a great deal with many things, and taught me the most about myself diet/control wise. Carbs made me sick before. Added them back recently, and it seems the VLC healed my system, and using carbs now the right way, my system is happier and stronger than ever before, VLC included.

Your question caused me to post my recent experiences here:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/134564/my-experience-with-adding-carbs-back-after-vlc-hacks-welcome#axzz20Nzdrz5L

Cheers

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:30 PM

Here is what I am starting to suspect: on a ketogenic diet it is hard to maintain appropriate calories, so long term ketogenic dieters probably need to count calories in order to make sure they are actually eating enough. This is hard to do. You feel like you've eaten enough. When you think about all that you've eaten since you came home, it seems like enough. But, especially as you lose weight, you have to increase the calories. The appetite, though, is just not there, so it seems like you'd be pigging out to eat any more.

Carbohydrates bring back your appetite. You quickly return to or even go above a maintenance level caloric level. So, carbohydrate refeeds seem therapeutic when we could probably do with out them. Refeeds, binges- whats the physiological difference (especially for people who stick to paleo-type things during any binges).

Of course, this is just a guess based on reading 1000s of blog posts and my subjective experiences. I was thinking about this last night, in fact, as I felt quite underpowered. This is why I like having a tub of ghee with me wherever I go.

-4
A3179b58c5068560d795c84710643e83

on July 12, 2012
at 05:13 AM

Here comes a rant!

When: right now

How: eat some taters

How Long: forever

The only reason low-carb works for weight loss is the spontaneous drop in calorie intake. In fact, restricting any macronutrient produces the same thing. Just eating an ad-libitum-whole-foods diet will do the trick.

Low-carb 'science' appears to be sound because it speaks to the naive. It's all neatly wrapped in insulin with a bow on top.

Tunnel vision.

Ketosis is a stressed state, and as such, you experience a stint of false vigor after the initial hurdle. Vegans go through it. People who starve themselves do too. Radical changes in diet do that.

Low-carb treats glycemia superficially. It's a mask. It's throwing a towel over the problem and letting it fester out of sight.

The establishment view is that being fat causes diabetes. For the most part, it's a wildly ignorant, but it has some truth. Polyunsaturated fats block the uptake of glucose by the cell. That is a huge contributer in the development of T2 Diabetes. The fat you eat is the fat on your body. The food supply is plagued by vegetable oils. We are wearing and burning toxic fat.

Low-carb exacerbates this.

In ketosis, you spill more toxic fat into the blood, and your body haphazardly tries to use it as fuel - a process that is already pretty weak. It's also a high-fat diet. Even with the focus on saturated animal fats, high total fat = high polyunsaturate. This is why the diet makes you fail a glucose tolerance test. It's not because of "physiological insulin resistance" or whatever apologetic fairy-tale is being passed around.

You absolutely want to stay as glycogen replete as possible. Inadequate glycogen leads to impaired conversion of thyroid hormones, leads to hypothyroidism, leads to freezing extremities, constipation, poor digestion, food sensitivities, brain fog, zombism etc.

Once again, ketosis is a stressed state. Stress requires more glucose. When you don't have glycogen available, you start catabolizing muscle to elevate blood sugar. Youch.

If you have bacterial overgrowth, it will get worse. Starving the bacteria of carbs does not wipe them out. They pierce the gut and start searching for sugar in the rest of your tissues.

Being concerned only with carbohydrates makes you aggravated by studies that say meat is bad. Your days are filled with muscle meats: poisonous levels of iron and the so-called essential amino acids.

We can go on and on.

Low-carb is a mistake that I hope the community recognizes and leaves behind. This is an elimination diet, not Atkins 3: Bacon Boogaloo.

Explain the Asian paradox. Explain how vegan nutjob doctors cure diabetes. Explain how fruitarians become emaciated. Explain the Kitavans. Explain every traditional culture besides the Inuit. Explain how we could have a glucose-fueled 10,000 years, but epidemic diabesity only in the last 200.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:03 AM

"If you have bacterial overgrowth, it will get worse. Starving the bacteria of carbs does not wipe them out. They pierce the gut and start searching for sugar in the rest of your tissues." - Citation please.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:08 AM

That certainly hasnt been my experience- carb and fodmap restriction has changed me from a hospitalised drowning in burps state, to recovering nicely. Although I still got gut rawness, until I incorporated gelatin, so I am curious where you get this idea from, scientifically speaking. Id love to see an abstract, or at least a secondary article.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 12, 2012
at 06:59 AM

Not my experience, eating 50-100g of carbs per day I keep and gain weight. Not sure i need to be in ketosis all the time but carbs = weight for me.

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