It can be difficult to make a life change and adjusting from a regular diet to the low-carb, high-healthy fat keto diet can be a major transition for many.
Cheating on the keto diet, however, is different from cheating on other diets. Other diets may involve just relying on low-fat options, but the ketogenic diet is scientifically driven and revolves around ketosis (converting fat into ketones) for results.
So if you indulged in some carb-heavy treats, what’s the path back to ketosis? Read on!
What happens during ketosis
On the keto diet, your body switches to a metabolic state when it’s lacking in carbohydrates, or ketosis.
In this state, instead of storing the glucose and fat from carbs, the body converts food energy into ketones, which your body relies on for energy. This often results in suppressed hunger hormones, decreased food consumption, and overall lower caloric intake.
However, the keto diet does require a lot of discipline, and some might find it difficult to maintain, especially when dining out socially. Cheating unfortunately does take you out of ketosis, so it’s important to know how to get back on track.
One viable method to resetting yourself after falling off the wagon is fasting. One type of fasting is intermittent fasting, which is a way of eating that cycles between durations of fasting and eating.
For those who are overweight, intermittent fasting can improve your overall health. Unsurprisingly, it can be a powerful weight loss tool as well.
Research shows many positive benefits associated with intermittent fasting, such as its ability to increase cardiovascular and brain function as well as improve risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke.
Additionally, it helps reduce blood pressure and insulin sensitivity by reducing oxidative (tissue-related) damage and increasing cellular resistance to illnesses and ailments.
Other benefits include increasing the level of human growth hormone that benefits fat loss and muscle and improving insulin sensitivity.
The most popular methods of intermittent fasting are:
- The 16/8 method: This entails fasting for 16 hours each day, and eating for the remaining 8 hours.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, conduct a 24 hour fast (for example, from dinner one day to dinner the following day).
- The 5:2 Diet: For two days of the week, eat about 500-600 calories.
The 16/8 method seems to be the easiest to remember and stick to. Chances are, you might be eating when you’re not totally hungry. Fasting will help you listen to your body and be a way to restart yourself when you fall off the wagon. [1, 2, 3]
Fasting after cheating
If you’re doing intermittent fasting after having a cheat day, try to limit what you eat to just one meal a day, which of course should be a keto-friendly meal. Restricting your carbs even more will help you jump back into ketosis even quicker.
The goal with intermittent fasting is for your calorie intake to be lower. Think of it as compensating for your binge day.
With fasting and some light exercise, you can most likely get back into ketosis 12-16 hours after your cheat meal, assuming you’ve been on the keto diet for at least a month. If you’re newer to the diet, it could take longer.
Consider Supplements for Support
These are a supplemental form of the ketones your body naturally produces and also come with their own set of health benefits. You can take a small serving of exogenous ketones in powder form or in pill form.
Keep in mind that after a cheat day, it’s best to start with intermittent fasting paired with light exercise before jumping right into exogenous ketones.
This is because you’re body will always choose glucose over ketones. So if there’s still a high level of glucose left over from your cheat day, exogenous ketones won’t help.
Benefits of exogenous ketones
In scientific study, exogenous ketone supplements were given to samples of rats. The hypothesis was that orally administering the supplements would produce sustained nutritional ketosis without carbohydrate restriction.
The time period was 28 days. The results proved exactly that: these supplements could induce a state of nutritional ketosis without needed to restrict carbs.
In addition to regulating other hormones, they helped reduce glucose, a benefit of ketosis. Exogenous ketones won’t ever be stored as body fat since the kidneys will filter them out through urine. 
Additional research showed that ketone supplementation decreases the effectiveness of tumor cells and helps with metastatic cancer.
Genetic mutations and cellular dysfunction can affect metabolism and increase glucose consumption, which obviously can trigger irregular health effects.
Cancer cells can’t aptly use ketones for energy, which they can for healthy tissue cells. Ketones also can restrict the breeding and effectiveness of cultured tumor cells.
Fasting and exogenous ketone supplements are two ways to reorient yourself after a cheat meal or day. You can also use things like blood ketone meters to measure the amount of ketones in the blood and see if you are on track.
Just remember that’s we’re all humans that occasionally succumb to temptation from time to time, so don’t sweat it!
As long as you know what to do to get back on track, the results of following the keto diet will still be effective.
 Mattson MP1, Wan R. Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Mar;16(3):129-37.
 Cox P.J., Clarke K. Acute nutritional ketosis: Implications for exercise performance and metabolism. Extrem. Physiol. Med. 2014;3:17. doi: 10.1186/2046-7648-3-17.
 Martin B, Mattson MP, Maudsley S. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: Two potential diets for successful brain aging. Ageing Research Reviews. 2006;5(3):332–53.
 Kesl SL, Poff AM, Ward NP, Fiorelli TN, Ari C, Van Putten AJ, Sherwood JW, Arnold P, D’Agostino DP. Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood ketone, glucose, triglyceride, and lipoprotein levels in Sprague-Dawley rats. Nutr Metab. Lond. 2016;13:9.