A ketogenic diet has become very popular lately because it helps people lose weight while eating delicious foods. However, many people worry about whether they can eat a keto diet forever. In this article, we’ll look at how long you can stay on a keto diet for, and whether you need to make adjustments.
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So, how long should I follow the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet (keto diet) is one of the most effective ways to shed excess pounds, and improve overall health. However, it takes commitment to stick to the plan. Many people give up too early, and end up gaining the weight back.
Here we will go through the main reasons people want to quit keto, and answer the questions, can I eat keto forever.
The Goal Of Keto: Ketosis
Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. Ketones are produced during periods of low carbohydrate intake, such as fasting or consistently eating a keto diet.
Eating keto forces the body to burn stored fats rather than glucose for energy (using fat for fuel). Ketosis causes the liver to break down fatty acids into ketones, which are then converted to energy by the brain.
Ketosis is achieved when the level of ketones in the bloodstream reaches around 0.5 mmol per liter.
People who follow a ketogenic diet experience many health benefits, including improved mental clarity, reduced hunger, increased energy, and greater athletic performance.
Ketosis may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Some studies suggest that ketosis may protect against cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even multiple sclerosis.
With all of these health benefits, why would people not want to stay on keto forever.
How Does Ketosis Work?
The human body uses three sources of fuel: carbohydrates, protein, and lipids (fats). Carbohydrates are made from sugars and starches, and lipids are made from fats.
Both fuels are broken down into smaller units called molecules.
During digestion, these molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to cells throughout the body where they are either burned for energy or stored for later use.
In order to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients, the body needs to convert both carbohydrates and lipids into usable forms of fuel.
Fatty acids are converted into triglycerides, which are then packaged into chylomicrons and sent to the lymph nodes for storage.
Triglycerides are then released back into the bloodstream once needed. Glucose is used immediately for energy, and glycogen (a form of sugar) is stored in the muscles and liver for later use. Once the body runs out of glycogen, it converts it into glucose.
Glycogen stores are depleted after prolonged exercise or starvation.
After glycogen depletion, the body begins converting proteins into glucose. Proteins are broken down into amino acids.
So, now we understand more about what ketosis is, let’s try and answer, can I eat keto forever?
Can we stay in ketosis indefinitely?
Ketone bodies are a natural part of human metabolism. They’re produced during periods of fasting and exercise, and help us survive times when blood sugar levels are low.
But most people will naturally dip into light ketosis every day, and while it’s fine to do so.
We don’t know what happens to humans when they stay in ketosis for extended periods because a study of this nature would be protracted and costly, and very few research centers would spend their time and money on this.
Do You Have to Stay In Ketosis to Keep the Weight Off?
The ketogenic diet is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. But it’s not easy to stick to — especially if you don’t want to give up your favorite foods, or are willing to work at finding the best keto substitutes.
These supplements allow us to eat some carbs while still keeping ourselves in ketosis.
They can also help reduce appetite and increase energy levels.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do the Keto Diet Long-Term
The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets out there today. But it might not be the best option for everyone. While some people swear by it, others say it’s dangerous. So what are the risks and benefits of following a keto diet?
According to Dr. Stephen Phinney, a board certified cardiologist and founder of Cardiac Performance Institute, the keto diet is great for those looking to lose weight fast.
Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies
A low-carb diet could lead to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, according to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism.
Researchers found that people following a high-fat, moderate-protein diet had better nutrient absorption compared to those following a high-carbohydrate, moderate-protein diet.
They added that a high-carb diet does not necessarily lead to greater nutrient absorption. This conclusion contradicts previous research findings.
Check out our articles on vitamins and supplements to make sure that you get what you need naturally within your diet. This should remove the need for you to have to buy expensive supplements.
Negative impact on your gut and digestion
Since the foods we eat influence the composition of our intestinal flora, it may not be surprising that a strict diet could affect them.
Although there isn’t much research into the effects of keto on the microbiome, existing studies do provide some insight.
A study was conducted in which 17 male participants were put into a facility for two months where they could closely observe their eating habits and physical activity.All participants were obese but didn’t have type 2 diabetes.
They either followed a keto or “standard” eating plan (SAD) for four weeks. Then, for the last four weeks, they switched to the other plan so that everyone tried both, and the results could be compared.
Scientists discovered that switching from one type of diet to another causes changes in the composition of gut bacteria.
No conclusions were actually drawn as to whether this was a positive or negative overall. Ensuring that you get enough pre and probiotics in your diet will mitigate this risk.
Dangerous For People With Gallbladder Problems
Foods high in saturated fat can cause gallstones to develop. This happens because fatty acids stimulate the production of cholesterol within the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in most bodily tissues. When there is too much cholesterol present it tends to clump together, forming stones.
Gallstones are hard lumps that accumulate in the gallbladder, and sometimes in the common bile duct. They are formed when the concentration of cholesterol becomes abnormally high.
Some people who don’t tolerate fat well may find themselves feeling unwell on a LCHF diet. However, there are many people who enjoy a low carb diet without experiencing any ill effects.
A keto diet emphasizes healthy oils such as nuts, avocado, olive oil, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and coconut oil.
These fats contain medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs).
LCTs are stored in our adipose tissue and contribute to weight gain. MCTs are burned up in our bodies faster, making us feel full longer.
Your ability to exercise might suffer
Some people are concerned about exercising while in ketosis because it increases the risk of dehydration. Also, in the early days, when transitioning into ketosis and becoming fat-adapted, you performance may dip.
This is only short term. From experience, I can confirm that my gym performance has only improved the longer I am on keto. The reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, I have more energy on keto, so after a long day at work, I still have the energy to go to the gym.
Secondly, as I have lost pounds over the years, everything has become easier.
Running is easier as I have less weight to carry, and yoga is easier, because my belly doesn’t get in the way when I try and contort my body. What this means is that I get more value out of my exercise. Win-win.
Other Reasons People Don’t Eat Keto Forever
Hitting Their Goal
A lot of people will use the keto diet to get to their goal weight. Once at their goal weight, some people will transition into a low carb diet, to maintain their weight loss goals.
Some people will switch to a low carb diet, combined with intermittent fasting.
Not For Them
Keto is just not for everybody, they will give it a go, but if they don’t make it part of their lifestyle, it can be difficult to maintain. If you don’t ensure that you have a good keto friendly food selection in your pantry, you will end up eating the same few meals, which is boring on any diet.
Ensuring that you have a good variety of foods to eat, and recipes on hand for every event will keep this way of eating interesting.
For some people, they have been conditioned to eat a low-fat diet for that long, that increasing their fat intake is alien to them, and they don’t like it.
Am I Keto Forever?
So, here’s the scandalous truth – no! I’m not keto forever….but…
Before you all unsubscribe, or click off this article, let me explain.
I have been living a keto lifestyle for over a decade, however, there have been periods when I have eaten carbs. This has mainly been when I have been traveling.
I am a foodie at heart, I love trying new foods. Mainly, so I can work out how to make a keto version.
When I’m on holiday or traveling, I will normally try and keep as low carb as possible. If I know I’m going to be eating out in the evening, I will be particularly cautious about planning low-carb meals around this.
Also, at a wedding I went to recently, there was no keto option (I hadn’t thought to plan ahead), so I had to make the best of a bad job with what was available.
So, although I do believe that 99% of the rest of my life will be keto, there will always be events that will mean that I cannot or do not want to eat keto.
Can I Eat Keto Forever? [The Truth]
The truth in answer to the question is – it’s up to you. If your body, and your health is telling you that the keto diet is for you – you stay on it for as long as you can.
This will be especially true if you are using keto in order to manage a medical condition, such as epilepsy, or type 2 diabetes.
There is no science at this time that says that you can’t eat keto forever.
For me, keto is definitely my main lifestyle, as a rule, I don’t have cheat days on keto. However, when the time calls for it, I will eat higher-carb foods.
Do I feel guilty?
No, purely because it has been planned and factored into my weekly meal plan. Also, I have been in ketosis for that long, that I can manage to eat a slightly higher carb meal, and remain in ketosis.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that you will eat a keto diet for life? Is there a specific reason you are staying keto? Let us know in the comments below.