How Long Should I Follow the Keto Diet?

keto diet time

For some people, the ketogenic diet is a great way to lose weight and reduce inflammation in the short term. For others, it is a permanent way of life. You may be wondering if you have to stay in ketosis permanently to keep the weight off. What’s the keto diet time to stop? What happens if you reach your health goals with keto and then go back to eating carbs?

In this article, you’ll learn how long it takes to get into ketosis, how long you should take keto diet, and other research-backed recommendations to reincorprate carbs back into your diet if you have to.

How Long Does It Take to Get into Ketosis?

Ketosis isn’t exactly easy to achieve. That’s because your body can come out of keto diet at any time.

On a ketogenic diet, you have to meet these precise dietary guidelines – consuming a lot of fat and very few carbohydrates – to really see the benefits. If you don’t eat according to the guidelines, you won’t actually be able to induce a state of ketosis in order to experience these benefits.

In order to see your body shift into ketosis and begin to experience the benefits, you must allow for a few weeks of adjustment. The first two to six weeks are actually the ketogenic adaptation phase, where your body is going through the adaptation process of switching to relying primarily on fat rather than glucose or carbohydrates. To really see results, you should stick with the diet for at least three months.

Mark Sisson of The Daily Apple says there are four indicators that you’ve gone into ketosis:

  1. Higher energy levels: Without carbohydrates, your body now has a “super fuel” that makes you feel more energetic.
  2. No more cravings for sweets: Carbohydrates are addictive, and if you are eating them every day, you will continue to crave them. Once you eliminate them from your diet, you may find that you don’t crave them as much as you used to.
  3. “Keto breath”:You may notice a hint of metallic odor on your breath, which has also been described as a “sweet rotten apple” smell. It’s subtle and probably won’t last long, but in the meantime, make sure you drink plenty of water to flush out any smell.
  4. Testing: To know if you have gone into ketosis, you can use a urine test strip, a breath test, or a blood analysis.

How Long Should I Follow the Keto Diet?

As is true for any diet, you should only start following it if you can maintain it as a lifestyle change. It only takes 28 days to see a huge transformation.

If you want to keep the weight off, you have to eat well. You can’t go back to your old ways. There is an end point to dieting, and that’s the problem. With a lifestyle, there is no end point. You have to put in the work.

There is no finite limit as long as someone knows how to properly handle the carb-infested situations, such as social gatherings, holidays and vacations, or they can accept the consequences of introducing carbohydrates quickly in a short period of time. Any diet like keto diet needs to be something you can do and maintain for a longer period of time. You just need to be diligent and educate yourself.

How to Reincorporate Foods Back into Your Diet?

Because the keto diet requires users to avoid almost all carbohydrates, it is unlike any other diet. If you decide to try to go off ketosis, your best bet is to do it gradually. 

A slow transition out of ketosis allows you to avoid pitfalls like overeating or rapid weight regain, while also gauging how your body responds.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stick with healthy, organic whole foods whenever possible: Keto or not, you need to eat healthy foods to stay healthy. Choose wisely.
  • Record your macros and increase carbohydrates gradually over a period of several months. Try to add up to about 50-75 grams of daily carbohydrates per week. Your body needs time to readjust after strict keto diet.
  • Weigh in regularly and track your results: During and after the transition, pay close attention to the the areas of improvement you noticed during ketosis. Weight, body fat percentage, blood sugar and physical performance are measurable, so remember to monitor weekly.
  • Listen to your body: Outside of quantifiable health indicators, there are many other important outcomes that affect your quality of life. Check and pay attention to your mood, energy levels, quality of sleep, productivity and stress levels.
  • Make adjustments when necessary: Depending on your results, you may want to adjust your macros, calories or food choices, or even go back to a keto diet. 

And avoid these mistakes:

  • Don’t make up your mind ahead of time: Instead of being inflexible, keep an open mind about what might happen next. Think of getting out of ketosis as an experiment and a learning process. 
  • Avoid the “cheating” mindset: You most likely didn’t overeat while on keto, and you certainly shouldn’t overindulge in carbs or junk food if you stop keto. Keep a healthy, balanced mindset when it comes to food.
  • Don’t neglect high-quality protein and healthy fat sources: Whether you stay in ketosis or not, eating plenty of protein and healthy fats is the key to a healthy diet.

If you have symptoms of IBS or other intestinal issues, take a closer look at individual foods. 

For those with undiagnosed food sensitivities, ketosis is sometimes a de facto elimination diet, which means that if you return to eating carbohydrate foods, you may unintentionally reintroduce a trigger food.

Most importantly, compare your results away from ketosis to what you noticed when you were following ketosis. After a few weeks to a few months, you should have a good insight into what is working (and not working) for your body.

The Takeaway

The keto diet is an amazing health tool, whether you stick with it for a few months or for the rest of your life. You don’t have to stay on the keto diet forever, but many people choose to do so, and it seems to be safe. Elevated fat burning, decreased appetite and increased energy levels can make it easier for you to stay healthy and lean. 

However, if you choose to try another diet and it doesn’t work as well, you can always adopt a keto diet again in the future.

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