You might have a variety of reasons why you want to transition off keto, but you’re scared to do because of the fat gain you’re going to see.
Going off keto can actually be similar to how professional bodybuilders who maintain an abnormally low body fat percentage before their contests tend to gain a lot of fat really quickly after they go back to eating normally. This is because they were on a low-carb diet for a long time.
The ketogenic diet is similar to that lifestyle, as it involves primarily eating fat and very little carbs. As a result, the bodies of those on keto don’t use carbohydrates that well and it’s possible to put on fat at a rapid pace. Is there a way to avoid doing so? There actually is. We’re going to give you the top 3 ways to transition off of keto.
1. Lower Fat and Increase Protein Intake
The number one thing you need to do when you’re transitioning off of keto is to lower your fat intake and increase your protein intake at the same time. Don’t start by upping up your carbs, that’s a recipe for disaster.
What you need to do is lower your fat percentage and up your protein percentage accordingly. So, let’s say fat was 70-80% of your diet–lower that down all the way to 30-40%, and replace these calories with protein.
Did you know that it’s very difficult to gain fat from protein? So, if you replace your fat with protein, your body will naturally convert some of these proteins over to carbohydrates, and you’re probably not going to gain fat.
In addition to that, you’re reintroducing carbs into your diet by something called gluconeogenesis. That’s when your body converts protein over to carbohydrates, allowing your body to naturally get used to a higher carbohydrate percentage.
2. Strategically Increase Carbs
If you’ve followed step 1, then congratulations. You might’ve spent around two weeks getting your body to acclimate to this state where it accepts carbs again. Once you hit that phase and you’re not putting on fat, now is the time to increase your carbohydrates to basic carb needs just to maintain function.
Typically, the amount of carbohydrates needed to maintain function can be anywhere from 120-180g of carbs a day. When you get to that level, you will have transitioned to being more reliant on carbohydrates as fuel.
Keep in mind that you’re better off focusing on high-fiber carbs that have a low glycemic index, meaning that they stay in your body for a longer period of time and keeps you satiated much longer than high glycemic carbs.
Focus on things like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. Essentially, you’re looking for any carb-rich food that’s high in fiber. Keep in mind that during this phase, you should start to lower your fat and protein around the same time while upping your carbs to 120-180g a day.
3. Consider Carb Cycling
You might be wondering if you’re doomed to eat only low carb for the rest of your life and whether you can finally go back to eating carbs however you want. If you want to go back to eating carbs like you did prior to keto–for instance, around 250g of carbs a day–then you need to follow this final step.
Once you feel like you’re not gaining any fat during phase 2 of the transitioning, you should increase your carbohydrates intake by utilizing carbohydrate cycling. Essentially, what you will do is start with a low-carb day, then have a moderate day, which is essentially 120-180g of carbs like what you were consuming for maintenance.
Following that, you’ll have a high-carb day, with anywhere from 200-250g carbs, and then you’ll loop back to a low day. Keep cycling your carbohydrates in that fashion until you feel like you’re not gaining any fat. Now you can fully transition and have those carbs every day!
Even then, we recommend making it a habit to cycle your carbs, doing at least two low-carb days a week and maybe one higher-protein day a week. You’ll see a lot of health benefits when you do so.