When my wife and I finish a nice dinner, my wife would look at me with puppy dog eyes and ask, “do you want something cold and sweet?” This is code for, “do you want some ice cream?” My immediate reaction is, YES! Who doesn’t want ice cream after a nice dinner??

So… what about a little cheat on a ketogenic lifestyle?

This is a common question I get all the time. The answer really depends on your goals and where you are on a ketogenic lifestyle. Let me explain:

As I have reported previously, most adults in the US are metabolically unhealthy. How did we get this way? Short answer is: overconsumption of carbohydrates and highly processed junk foods. Most of us have been eating this way as far as we can remember, and this is why most of us are sick with chronic diseases! A ketogenic lifestyle replaces the ultra-processed junk foods and excessive carbohydrates with real, whole foods that are low in carbohydrates which will help improve metabolic health.

To get to this state of metabolic health, we must first “detox” off of ultra-processed junk foods. During the beginning stages of incorporating real foods into the diet, people may experience flu-like symptoms known as the keto flu. This is actually a normal “detox” process that can be managed with fluids and electrolytes. Think about it: we have been eating junk food for so long, our bodies are used to this way of eating! When adopting a ketogenic lifestyle, we are changing our fuel source from burning sugar, to burning fat. This transition may take 1—2 weeks. Having a “cheat day” during this critical period of changing fuel sources is not recommended.

Let me explain why. Suppose you eat a donut right after you get over the keto flu. Your body may revert back to burning sugar for fuel and put you back to square-one. Do you want to suffer through another round of the keto flu? Me neither!

I would recommend at least a month (or two) of strict ketogenic eating. Get your body used to running on fat for fuel and get yourself fat-adapted. How do you know when you are fat-adapted? Decreased cravings between meals, increased energy, feeling satiated with less food, and heightened mental acuity are common signs of being fat-adapted. When you are fat-adapted, it will be a lot easier to have an occasional cheat meal (notice I did not say a “cheat day”). Remember: the more cheat meals you have, the longer it will take to achieve metabolic health.

Does this mean NO DESSERT while starting on a ketogenic lifestyle? No! You can still have dessert—but instead of having ice cream, choose something that is allowed on a ketogenic lifestyle—like some berries with a little heavy cream. That will give you the “something sweet” without going back to square-one.

I can help you become a fat-burner and help you adapt to a ketogenic lifestyle. Please feel free to contact me at brian@theketogenicpharmacist.com for a free consultation or if you have any questions.