Losing weight can be a herculean task for a lot of people. There are days when the pounds just seem to stack on and whatever supplement you are taking is seemingly not doing its job. However, shedding the pounds is not exactly that impossible to achieve if you get the elements right. Diet plays a major role in weight loss and, surprisingly enough, you need not exactly revamp what you eat; just how you eat it. This is where the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet comes into play.

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

There is a prevaling notion towards dieting that it should be the removal of certain food items and only focusing on a certain type of food. Yes, these schemes might work for a lot of people but they all lack one major element to a healthy diet: variety. Eating the same thing over and over would actually make you miss out on other vital nutrients. An unbalanced diet is unhealthy and should be avoided.
A ketogenic diet is a program that focuses on food that is high in fat but low on carbohydrates. There are studies on it which claim that this type of diet not only improves the body’s health but it can also help the body lose weight efficiently.
The way it does this is simple in theory. By diversifying our own food intake, the body begins to learn how to manage its stored nutrients properly and burn through fat at a more efficient manner.
This type of diet and its variant, the cyclical ketogenic diet is often compared to trendier diet fads like Atkins but seems to be more practical. By reducing the amount of carbohydrates the body takes in, regardless if it is good or bad, this allows the body to focus more on using up its stored fat content while taking in all the necessary nutrients from the food we eat.
Once the body gets used to this diet, it achieves a state called Ketosis. Here, the metabolic functions of the body increases as more fat is burned and converted to energy for the brain and body. In a sense, you get to burn through more fat and have the energy to do more in a single day.

If you are not familiar with the keto diet learn more about it here.

The Basics

A cyclical ketogenic diet differs from the conventional ketogenic diet in the sense that it is far more lenient. Where the normal ketogenic diet fully restricts the body’s carbohydrate intake, the cyclical diet allows for spikes of carbohydrate levels in the body once every dew days.

Basically, for this diet to work, we would have to eat a high amount of carbs for one day and then completely stave off this nutrient for the next few days. For example, if you allow the body to eat carbohydrates for two days in a week, the body should receive none of it for the rest 5 days.

The goal here is to make things unpredictable for the body when it comes to the carb supply that it receives. But doing this, the body is forced to seek out other sources of energy like those found in fatty foods.

To get this right, however, you must change the days where you eat carbs as soon as the body gets used to the diet. This will keep the body on the edge which allows you to burn through your stored fat efficiently.

Health Benefits

By design, the cyclical ketogenic diet should help you burn through stored fat and lose weight quickly. However, this diet can also offer a number of other nutritional and physical benefits as well as help people go through a number of ailments which include:

Cancer

Tumor growth is widely believed to be stimulated by the increase of blood sugar levels in the body. By reducing carbohydrate intake, the blood sugar levels of the body normalizes which then kills off the tumors. This gives the person ample time to allow their body to fight off the cancer and even overcome it with the help of medication and supplements.

Polycistic Ovary Syndrome 

POS is often triggered by the changes in insulin levels in the body. The diet can help normalize the insulin in the body which gradually reduces the chances of this syndrome occurring in the body.

Epilepsy

Some studies noted that individuals who experience regular epileptic seizures noted a gradual decrease in frequency for each attack the longer they adopt a cyclical ketogenic diet scheme. However, more research is required to firmly establish a link between this diet and epileptic seizure reduction.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease

Some research also noted that this diet can help in slowing down the effects of these degenerative conditions. Like Epilepsy, more research is required before a suitable link can be established. However, there are also studies claiming that individuals who are exposed to this diet while still young have drastically reduced their chances of developing these degenerative conditions.

Acne

This skin condition is triggered by the intake of food that is rich in grease and sugar. With the diet, this can be limited which in turn can decrease the amount of acne forming in the skin.

Brain Injuries

According to a study done on animals, limiting the body’s intake of carbohydrates can cause it to actually rely on other nutrients which can then promote other health benefits. In the case of the brain, the lowered carbohydrate levels can cause it to burn through the body’s stored ketones. This is necessary in normalizing brain activity and even in helping the organ heal from certain injuries.

Heart Disease

The diet directly limits the body’s blood sugar levels as well as burning through stored body fat. These, in turn, can help reduce blood pressure and even prevent a number of cardiovascular diseases from forming. As body fat is reduced, a better flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body is also being promoted.

Type 2 Diabetes

By reducing the body’s blood sugar levels, it will not be prompted to create more insulin which, in turn, leads to this type of diabetes. High carbohydrate intake is directly pinpointed as the culprit of this problem and the cyclical ketogenic diet, fortunately, can effectively help when it comes to countering this.

Known Side Effects

Although the cyclical ketogenic diet is considered to be safe by many medical experts, there are still some risks involved when adopting this diet scheme for both the short-term and long-term basis.

Short-Term

At the onset of the diet, it is expected for the body to be shocked at the changes which can cause it to react negatively. This is most true in cases where the carbohydrate fast comes first before you start consuming carbs again at much greater amounts than before.

There is no known medical term for this condition but many experts call the initial effect that the body feels from the diet as the “keto flu”. The constant guessing game of when it is going to receive its next supply of carbohydrates can end up straining the body which causes some flu-like symptoms. This includes fatigue, hunger, increased irritability, sluggishness, sweating, chills, and extreme thirst.

Another condition to expect is a lower-grade form of acidosis. Here, the body’s acid levels increase which causes some symptoms like erratic stomach cramps and headaches. The change in food intake can also shock the digestive system which leads to bouts of constipation.

As the cyclical ketogenic diet enters into its first and second week, the person might experience a sensation called “keto breath”. This is a fairly foul-smelling odor that emanates from the mouth whenever the person breaths, and is also a direct byproduct of the acidosis. Fortunately, this is something that can easily be solved with a pack of breath mints and an improved oral and dental hygiene.

Long-Term

As the diet is continuously applied for longer periods of time, certain adverse side effects will occur and might have a considerable impact on the person’s body. The most observable condition would be the increase in the formation of kidney stones or nephrolithiasis.

This is a direct effect of the acidosis which causes the bones in the body to demineralize. Also, the lowered pH levels in urine caused by the diet can be the catalysis for the formation of crystals along the circulatory system.

As the acidosis continues, the bones in the body will begin to erode and weaken. This increases their chances of being easily broken resulting to a fracture. This can also affect the bone’s ability to heal itself quickly, thus leading to longer recovery times for any injuries.

The Ketogenic Diet and Blood Composition

As a direct result of the cyclical ketogenic diet and the succeeding changes the body assumes to cope with them, there will be changes noticeable in the composition of blood in the body. For instance, the cholesterol and lipid levels of the blood are marginally higher for those adapting the diet when compared to those who don’t. This, of course, can pose certain problems for the body and might actually complicate certain conditions.

Normally, a change in blood composition should not pose any threat to the body especially if the changes are minimal. However, if the changes are quite severe, certain food items should be replaced with healthier alternatives. For instance, a diet rich with saturated fat sources should also be replaced with ones that offer polyunsaturated fats which are the healthier alternative.

Dealing with the Symptoms

There is actually many things you can do to manage the different symptoms you will encounter during your cyclical ketogenic diet. The keto flu problem, for instance, can instantly be dealt with by adding a bit more salt to the meals that you prepare. The goal here is to give your body the impression that it is “full” after every meal so you don’t have to worry about adding extra calories.

Alternatively, you can also make use of supplements instead of consuming full meals to counteract the effects. Below are some minerals that you can safely add to the diet without changing its results.

Minerals

 found mostly in some beverages, these minerals can help the body manage its nutrient levels while also providing it with more resources to take energy from.

Caffeine

Found mostly in coffee and some carbonated sports drinks, caffeine can give your body a massive energy boost. However, intake should be regulated as some side effects of the diet like increased kidney stone formation can be exacerbated by certain caffeine-heavy drinks.

Whey

This is an alternative source of protein which can also give your body the impression of being “full”. This is most recommended if the dieter is also engaged in body building or other strenuous physical activities.

Creatine

Another compound found in a lot of exercise supplements, this can give the body a massive energy boost while also promoting bone and muscle growth. Due to its composition, it is best to use this compound in tandem with regular exercise.

Exogenous Ketones

 Contained in certain supplements, this compound helps by giving the body extra ketone stores which is necessary for energy in some parts of the body like the brain.

MCT Oil

 A supplement that can be added to drinks, this oil contains compounds that help boost energy and provide the body with extra ketone levels.

As with the cyclical ketogenic diet, it is necessary to cycle in between these vitamins for optimum results. Also, it would be a good idea to consult with a dietician first before adding these supplements to your diet regimen.

Optimizing Your Diet

The cyclical ketogenic diet does have its challenges, but the rewards far outweigh the cons especially if you do it right. Below are some tips that can help you make the most out of your diet plan.

 Keep Hydrated

This might sound easy but you would be surprised at how a lot of dieters often forget to do this. You should always drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water daily for optimum results. Within the first hour of waking up, your body should have taken in at least 32 ounces of water, and then another 32 to 50 ounces of water before noon. All in all, you should have drank in between 150 to 200 ounces of water before midnight.

Don’t Forget the Salt

Too much sodium intake is bad for the body as this can lead to higher insulin levels. However, since insulin levels are lowered when you’re undergoing a cyclical ketogenic diet, it would be a good idea to stack it up a bit. Consume between 3 to 5 grams of salt per day, and do opt for a healthier alternative like Himalayan sea salt. Just make sure that you distribute this amount generously in your meals all throughout the day to avoid complications.

Manage Your Stress

Believe it or not, stress can impede your body’s ability to stay in ketosis. Stress can actually elevate the body’s stress hormones which then increases your blood sugar levels to help either fight or avoid the cause of it. This might be okay in unexpected and brief situations but prolonged stress can drive your blood sugar levels up and lower your ketones.

It is important that you find a way to add an effective means of releasing stress into your health regimen. You can even use exercise as a channel to get rid of any pent up frustrations in your body. Whatever the case, you must keep your mind stress-free if you want your body to respond to the diet properly.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Conclusion

The cyclical ketogenic diet scheme has its own set of pros and cons just like any diet regimen out there. However, the key to succeeding when using this diet is to diversify your intake while also maintaining a fine balance between all aspects in your body and diet.

As you continue through the diet, you will find that your body will easily adjust to the changes and the results will slowly take effect. You can even come up with your own recipes to help keep your body’s metabolism at its optimum level whilst enjoying your favorite meals.

As with any diet out there, it is best that you consult with a medical professional or dietician first before doing anything. This way, you can properly manage the changes that might occur in your body and achieve the best possible results.

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