You’ve worked so hard to reach the state of ketosis. You did everything right—counted your macros, avoided sugar, and took all the recommended supplements.
And now, you’ve finally reached the state of ketosis! This means you can relax now and give yourself a break, right?
Maybe it’s time to loosen up a bit. Have a plateful of pasta or one to two slices of pizza. That won’t cause too much damage. Right?
But wait, some of your friends told you to stick to your keto diet since you can get kicked out of ketosis anytime. Are they right?
Will you get kicked out of ketosis because of just one cheat day?
Is it possible to get kicked out of ketosis? Read on and find out!
What Can Kick You Out of Ketosis?
Before we answer this, we have first to explore the concept of ketosis. To simplify things, ketosis is a metabolic state wherein your body is using ketones for fuel. The only way to achieve this is to deplete the glycogen stores in your body by restricting carbohydrates in your diet. In this way, your body will turn to ketones instead of blood glucose as a fuel source.
You can only reach ketosis when there are enough blood ketone levels. The only way your body can produce ketones is if there aren’t enough blood glucose levels.
With that said, the only reason you’ll be kicked out of ketosis is too many carbohydrates, which leads to an increase in blood sugar levels, which will cause your body to stop producing ketones.
The best way to avoid this is to stick to the recommended daily carbohydrate consumption limit for keto, usually less than 50 grams of carbs a day (1). Of course, this would vary depending on your muscle mass, body fat, and activity level.
The rule of thumb is, the more active you are and the more muscle you have, the more carbohydrates you can consume when on the keto diet. It’s recommended that you determine your carbohydrate limit and stick to it to avoid being kicked out of ketosis.
Can You Get Be Booted off Ketosis Overnight?
As mentioned, the only way you can get kicked out of keto is to go beyond your daily carbohydrate consumption limit. To answer this question, yes, you can get kicked out if you consume enough carbohydrates to do so.
But how will you determine if you’re still on keto or not?
The best way to do that is to measure your ketone levels. You can do this through different ketone testing methods. These tests will give you an insight into your blood ketone levels at the time of testing.
The most accurate way to test your ketone levels is to use the blood ketone meter. However, this can be quite costly and isn’t easily accessible. The next best option that you have is urine test strips. It may not be as accurate, but you can quickly get this in your local drugstore.
Is Getting Kicked Out of Ketosis Means the End of Your Weight Loss Journey?
What if the test showed that you’re no longer in ketosis?
Does this mean that this is the end of your weight loss journey?
Does this indicate that you no longer burn fat?
Well, not necessarily.
While ketosis is our initial goal when we first started on the keto diet, fat adaptation is the diet’s ultimate goal. What is the difference between the two?
Ketosis is a transitionary state in the sense that you can easily get kicked out of it when you consume too many carbs.
On the other hand, the fat-adaptation phase is considered as a more extended and more stable phase of ketosis in the sense that your body will continuously derive energy from fats regardless of the changes in your diet.
When your body is already fat-adapted, it has already fully transitioned to using fats as your primary energy source. Some studies say that you can already re-introduce carbohydrates into your diet for 1 to 2 weeks when you already reach the fat-adapted phase. (2)
This process is known as the keto cycling process. It is most commonly employed by people who want to break from the ketogenic diet during the holidays or for endurance athletes who need to consume carbs for a quick fuel source. It may take around 6 weeks for you to reach this process.
The benefits that you can enjoy during the fat-adapted phase are:
- You feel fuller for longer, so you’ll consume more calories and experience lesser cravings.
- Since your body is already efficient at burning fat for fuel, you burn more body fats and lose weight.
- It’s said that you can get more energy or store more energy in fats than glucose. (3) With that said, you can improve your athletic performance when you’re body is already fat adapted.
However, more research is needed to explore the potential long-term and short-term benefits and downsides of this eating pattern.
The Downsides of Getting Kicked Out of Ketosis
While getting kicked out of ketosis may not be as bad as you think, most dieters would prefer to stay in the state of ketosis because of the unwanted symptoms that come with getting knocked out of ketosis. Here are some of them:
Increased carbs cravings
To be kicked out of ketosis, you need to consume a higher amount of carbohydrates than what you’re used to in the keto diet. As a result, the increase in glucose levels will cause insulin spikes, too, which may deliver energy into some cells but leave other cells in a starved state, which may cause increased carbs cravings. (4)
After the spikes come the carb crash caused by low sugar levels following the spike in your insulin levels. This is often accompanied by fatigue and exhaustion symptoms.
While your body can thrive on the energy that fats can give you, your mind won’t. One of the great things about ketones is they can cross the blood-brain barrier, allowing them to deliver the energy that your brain cells need.
When you get knocked out of ketosis, it means there may not be enough ketones in your blood to support mental energy. As a result, you may experience brain fog.
Other Keto Flu Symptoms
This is probably one of the worst downsides you may ever experience. Surviving the dreaded keto flu symptoms is not as easy as people think. You know this. You’ve been through this.
If you’re glad you survived, we have bad news for you, and there’s a chance that you will experience it all over again when you get knocked out of ketosis. Symptoms may range from nausea, fatigue, headache, mood swings, stomach aches, and body pain. The severity will depend on what type of keto break you took and your metabolism.
How to Avoid Getting Kicked Out of Ketosis
With all the hassles that you’ll have to go through, it may seem like getting out of ketosis is not worth it. If you want to prevent getting kicked out of ketosis, here are some of the things that you can do:
Whether you’re on a keto or a low-carb diet, meal prepping is one hack that you should try. Preparing meals in advance will prevent you from eating out, which is a good thing since you can’t know for sure what are the exact ingredients and macros of the dishes in fast foods and restaurants.
Additionally, having access to healthy and carefully prepared meals will prevent you from binging on junk and high carb food items.
Enjoy a cheat meal and not a cheat day.
If you’re exhausted from following your low carb diet, you would need to cheat from time to time. In this way, you will eliminate the feeling of being deprived. If you’re out with friends or family members, it can sometimes be difficult to stick to your restrictive diet.
But the key here is only to have a cheat meal and not a cheat day. After all, it’s less likely that you’ll go overboard with your carbohydrates if you cheat only in one meal.
Avoid foods that have hidden sugars.
Sometimes, it’s not about cheating or giving into cravings. Most of the time, it’s about consuming food items that contain hidden sugars.
If you want your body to stay at the ketosis state, you need to identify which seemingly low carb foods will knock you off ketosis fast. Here are some of them:
- Processed meats
- Canned goods
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- Too much alcohol
- Starchy vegetables
Monitor your carbs and protein intake closely.
It’s not enough that you keep an eye on your carbs per day consumption. You also need to track your protein intake too. You should avoid too much protein intake again. This is because too much protein can be converted into carbohydrates through the process called gluconeogenesis. (5)
It can be quite challenging to track your macros on your own. Fortunately, there are now plenty of apps or keto diet calculators that will allow you to determine your macros.
Track your fat intake too.
Most of us shy away from consuming too many fats. It has been associated with certain illnesses and health issues. However, keep in mind that the keto diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet. This is because your body’s primary energy source is fats when on the keto diet.
To keep your energy levels high, it’s recommended that your diet is made up of around 70 to 80% fats. (6) However, stick to healthy fats as much as you can.
Consume enough fiber.
Getting enough fiber is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when on keto because there are only a few keto-friendly food items rich in fiber. Some of these are leafy greens, bok choy, artichoke, cucumber, and celery.
Another option you have is to take fiber supplements to get the amount of fiber your body needs.
Focus on your glucose level and not just your ketone levels.
Regardless of your body is already fat adapted or not, you must pay attention to your blood glucose levels so you can keep your body’s insulin resistance in check. This can help in decreasing carb cravings and eliminating energy crashes.
Yes, you can get kicked out of ketosis in a day. The only way that can happen is to consume more than the number of carbohydrates allowed on the ketogenic diet. The signs that you’ve been knocked off ketosis may vary depending on your metabolism. That’s why the best option that you have is to undergo testing using a ketone meter or urine testing strips.
If you’re already out of ketosis, don’t fret. Your body may continue to lose weight if you’ve been obese adapted. Another good news is that there’s a way to get back into ketosis, and that is to burn through your body’s glycogen stores. If you want to get back into ketosis, try intermittent fasting, eat more fats, and exercise.