How Often Should You Take a Break from a Keto Diet?

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There are many reasons for someone wanting to take a break from a keto diet. It could be due to a need to travel to a place where it is difficult to follow the keto diet, or it may have simply been in your plans to take a break once you have reached a certain milestone. Ultimately, there is no magic number as far as how often you should be taking a break from a keto diet. Here are some arguments for and against taking breaks.

Why You Should Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks may make it easier for someone to get adjusted to a keto diet, especially if they have always been on a diet that consists heavily of ingredients like sugar and all-purpose flour. One of the biggest challenges of maintaining a diet is the mental part of it. It’s not easy to avoid cravings when you suddenly need to switch to a diet that consists of less than 20 grams of carbs per day.

As a newbie to the keto diet, we would always recommend giving yourself some flexibility so that you can gradually work yourself into ketosis. Yes, taking a break comes at an expense of slowing down your progress but it’s better to see a slow and gradual progress instead of giving up altogether.

You may have come across a term called keto cycling. A cyclical diet typically involves a rotation between a high-fat, low-carb meal plan and a higher carb-intake version. For example, you may follow a strict ketogenic diet for about five days a week, and follow that with 2 days of high-carb consumption. This means you are taking a break at least once or twice a week. This kind of diet plan is more popular with people who like to hit the gym because it promotes lean muscle growth.

Why You Shouldn’t Take Regular Breaks

One of the main counter-arguments against taking regular breaks while on the keto diet is the inability for an individual to win over their cravings. Taking a break or a couple of cheat days will allow you to taste the delicious high-carb food you missed out on. For some, the satisfaction could be too much and it can make it very difficult to return to the diet again. You will come across many individuals who find it much harder to get back on diet than to try keto for the first time.

In addition to the mental challenge, some individuals may also be more sensitive to dietary changes. For example, stomach issues can arise by resuming the consumption of carbs and sugar. You may feel more bloating and may also experience inflammation in different parts of the body. Remember the ‘keto flu’ you experienced the first time? You might experience it again when you return to the high-fat, low-carb diet.

Ultimately, the circumstances are different for every individual and you may need to experiment to figure out the threshold your body and mind is willing to meet when it comes to taking breaks. The most important advice we can give, however, is to pay less attention to the numbers and listen to your body.