If you are unsure about going all in with the ketogenic diet, there are many less restrictive options you can try. More flexible variations of the ketogenic diet include lazy keto, dirty keto, and the increasingly popular cyclical keto.
It is basically the same as regular keto, but you get a few days off every week to eat more carbs, ideally from nutritious sources.
If you would like to try or just know more about this way of eating, keep reading. You will learn the benefits, drawbacks, and foods to eat and avoid while on the diet.
You will also get a shopping list and a free meal plan.
The cyclical ketogenic diet is an eating plan that involves eating high-fat low-carb food for 5 to 6 days and high-carb for 1 to 2 days.
The diet involves cycling between standard keto and a high-carb diet. A complete cycle is usually a week, for example, if you eat strict keto for 5 days, you will have 2 high-carb days, and if you do 6 low-carb days, you will have 1 high-carb day.
Some may prefer longer cycles like 10 days or 2 weeks, but these do not match most people’s schedules.
For the days you are low-carb, you must maintain a strictly low-carb high-fat diet with this macro distribution:
On the high-carb days, you will switch to mostly carbs instead of fats. Your macros will look like this:
This style of eating is common among athletes and physically active individuals. The high-carb days enable you to enjoy high levels of athletic performance that may not be possible when eating very low-carb.
For some, cyclical keto may have some advantages over regular keto:
The convenience of a cyclical diet may be wonderful, but it doesn't come without some drawbacks.
Below are some of the disadvantages of this eating plan.
All these side effects can occur if one doesn't do the diet correctly. If done right, there seem to be no specific downsides to a cyclical ketogenic diet.
However, being a ketogenic diet, you can still experience some of the downsides of a standard high-fat low-carb diet. Some of these include:
If you are already eating ketogenically, starting a cyclical diet is a matter of adding in 1 or 2 high-carb days. However, if you have been eating a high-carb diet, it can be complicated.
Here are a few tips on how you can successfully do this diet.
On your low-carb days, you will stick to high-fat low-carb foods. You will eliminate most high-carb foods. It is also important to get most of your food from whole sources and avoid or minimize processed foods.
On your refeeding days, you can indulge in some foods high in carbohydrates. However, you should still stay away from highly processed, refined, and/or packaged carbs. Those to avoid or minimize include:
The carbohydrates you want to eat on refeeding days should come from whole, unrefined foods. Unrefined carbs you can eat on this ketogenic plan include:
As you will be eating from all food groups, you can shop almost all types of food as long as they are whole and minimally processed.
Fruits and vegetables
Your meals differ according to what day it is.
You will eat as you would if you weren’t on a ketogenic diet on your high-carb days. You only have to remember to stick to whole unprocessed foods.
On your low-carb days, your cyclical keto menu will look similar to this.
Calories: 2,258 | Macros: 35.7 g net carbs, 95.7 g protein, and 163.5 g fat.
|BREAKFAST||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Chia pudding||Chia seeds||2 oz||276||4.3||9.4||17.4|
|Coconut milk||1 cup||445||6.4||4.6||48.1|
|Strawberries||1/2 cup, sliced||27||4.7||2.2||0.3|
|MORNING SNACK||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|LUNCH||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Garlic butter shrimp and arugula||Shrimp||100g||99||0||24||0.3|
|Olive oil||3 tablespoons||345||0||0||38.4|
|EVENING SNACK||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Greek yogurt and strawberries||Whole Greek yogurt, plain||100g||97||4||9||5|
|Strawberries||1 cup, whole||196||8.2||1||0.4|
|DINNER||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Pork chops and broccoli||Pork||1 chop, 199g||338||0||40.2||18|
|Broccoli, raw||2 cups, raw||60||7.3||5.2||0.6|
|DAILY TOTALS||2,258 cal||35.7g net carbs||95.7g protein||163.5g fat|
Still have some questions? Keep reading as we answer some of them.
Not necessarily. In regards to health benefits, regular keto and cyclical keto both yield similar results. Both diets can help you lose weight, reduce water retention, improve heart health, and so on.
Athletes or highly active people may find that the cyclical version works better for them. It’s all about what is best for each individual.
Yes, it does. Remember, weight loss is mostly about maintaining a calorie deficit. If you manage to eat fewer calories than you burn on this diet, you will lose weight.
Yes, this type is as safe as any ketogenic diet. However, the long-term effects of the diet have not been studied extensively. This type of eating is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, so it’s important to speak with your doctor before considering it.
Yes, you can.
In fact, it is encouraged to practice intermittent fasting on the days after your high-carb ones to make it easier to get back into ketosis
The research on this is still mixed. Some studies say that cyclical keto is better for muscle growth than regular keto. However, other studies have found no difference between the two diets.
You can lose up to 10 lbs on cyclical keto in your first month. The amount of weight you lose depends on how many calories you are eating, how many you are burning, and your body health.