How to Recover from a Keto Cheat Day
Maybe someone brought a pizza over and it was irresistible, or you treated yourself to a chocolate chip cookie. Either way, you had a little slip from your keto diet. Carbs happen, but it’s simple to get back into the groove of things.
All it takes is a few simple steps, plus we’ll leave you with some keto snack ideas. Before you know it, you’ll be back into ketosis once more. That is, until the next pizza taunts you.
What Does a Cheat Day Do to My Keto Diet?
The purpose of the keto diet is to stay in ketosis. This is when your body is using fat as fuel instead of carbs. In order to do that, you have to deprive the body of its primary source of energy (carbs), so it is forced to make adjustments.
When on the keto diet, only about 5-10 percent of your daily calories should be coming from carbs. That could be as little as 25 grams per day but no more than 50 grams.
Since we were talking about pizza and chocolate chip cookies, let’s use them as a reference.
One slice of a 12-inch thin-crust cheese pizza can set you back about 20 grams of carbs. Follow that up with a small chocolate chip cookie, and you’re looking at an additional 13 grams of carbs. This could max out your carb intake in one sitting.
When you surpass your carb limit, your body will start using them as fuel again. This will kick you out of ketosis and will require adjustments to get back into it.
Getting Back into Keto
The process of reaching ketosis is a whole metabolic shift for your body. When you first begin your keto journey, it could take anywhere from 2 days up to a full week to reach ketosis.
After a little carb slip, with the right strategy, you can get back into it within 2 or 3 days.
Overall, it’s all dependent on you as an individual. There are many factors that can affect the time it takes to get back into ketosis. This includes:
- Diet/lifestyle factors
First things first - you have to get back into your routine of eating healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, and low carbs.
The sooner you get back into the standard keto eating pattern, the sooner your body transitions back into ketosis.
Keto and intermittent fasting
Combining keto foods with intermittent fasting can pick up the pace.
When you fast, your insulin levels and glycogen stores drop which leads your body to naturally choose fat as its fuel source. This is because fasting limits calories, and your body uses energy in other ways if glucose or glycogen isn’t available.
Exercise to get back into keto
Getting some additional movement into your day will also help your body use up those extra carbs. When glycogen is available, your body will use that for your cells. Exercise requires more fuel and therefore will use the carbs from that pizza and cookies faster.
Don’t punish yourself by going too hard. Instead, just take another jog around the block or add 10 minutes to your typical routine.
Measure ketone levels
If you want to be 100% certain you’re back in ketosis you can actually measure your ketones using a breath analyzer or urine strips. Acetone is a form of ketone that leaves your body with each breath and it can even create a fruity smell or taste.
The breath analyzers are able to measure the amount of acetone that is released pretty reliably.
Ketones are also excreted through urine, which the strips can help indicate whether or not they are present. This option is cheap but not as reliable as the breath analyzer.
Eat keto-friendly snacks
Keep your focus on high-fat snack options when those hunger pangs strike.
Nuts and seeds can be a great shelf-stable snack and providing healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Some easy to find options include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
Another shelf-stable option that provides an ample amount of protein and fat includes beef jerky.
Check out the nutrition label before grabbing one off the shelves though. Some flavors can be a bit sweeter which adds more sugar and carbs to each serving.
Other foods that would make solid snack options on the keto diet include:
- Full-fat yogurt
If you’re looking for a simple on-the-go snack, add our keto fat bomb supplement to your favorite beverage or smoothie.
The healthy sunflower oil supports lean muscle building, preserving lean muscle mass, and reducing body fat. The MCT oil side helps to keep calories burning which is beneficial when you’re seeking weight loss.
Having snacks like this ready and available will help avoid turning to the tempting high-carb options, and keep you on the right track when it comes to recovering from the cheat day and getting back into ketosis.
For a complete list, be sure to check out our printable list of keto foods.