What is Carb Cycling With a Keto Diet?

As you probably know, the ketogenic, or keto diet, requires you to follow an extremely
low-carb diet. It is usually 20 net carbs a day, though some people can remain in ketosis
with as little as 50 net carbs a day. There is a lot of talk about “cheat days”, where you
eat what you want, as well as doing carb-cycling. Carb-cycling is where you have some
days where you increase your carbohydrates a small amount, then go back to the lower
carb days for the rest of the week.

Why You Might Want to Try Carb Cycling

There are many excellent benefits to carb cycling, from helping with your mentality
about being on a low-carb diet, to opening up the food options available to you. If you
are someone that struggles with those 20 net carbs a day and really miss extra fruit and
other healthier carbs, carb cycling will be perfect for you. Every few days or so, you can
enjoy a little more carbs and eat some of your favorite healthy foods, but you get right
back into ketosis on the lower carb days.

It is also good for people who keep hitting plateaus. Many people find that if they can
confuse their body every few days with different carb and calorie amounts, it is easier to
avoid or get out of those weight loss stalls.

What to Be Careful of

Carb cycling sounds like a great idea, but there are also some challenges. The first
challenge is that if you use it as an excuse to binge, you could end up hurting your body
instead of helping it. This can lead to cravings of sugar and high-carb foods you used to
enjoy, plus it might make it harder to get back to the 20 net carbs the following day. It is
best that you start slow, only going for the healthiest higher-carb foods on a carb-up

How to do Carb Cycling

The way you do carb cycling is really up to you. It is often an experiment to figure out
what works best for your body and your comfort level. Some people might do a carb-up
day every 3-4 days, while others like to do them once a week or even every two weeks.
If you are doing good on your keto diet and haven’t hit plateaus or struggled with
cravings, try just every two weeks. Then if you have a week where you are craving
something else, don’t stress and have a carb up day.

Tips for Success

To help the carb cycling option work for you, you should not do the first carb-up day until
you have been in ketosis for about a month. This is a good amount of time to get used
to this way of eating before you increase your carbs. At that point, carb-up slowly, going
up to maybe 50 net carbs, then gradually higher if it doesn’t affect you too much. Take it
slow and keep close track of what you eat.