A cyclical ketogenic diet is also referred to as a CKD for short. In this version of the diet, you introduce one slightly higher carb meal every few days or once a week. This depends on what your body requires. For the majority of the time, you are eating a low-carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. Occasionally increase carbs and decrease fat proportionally. You may choose grain free carbs,squash, rice or sweet potato, as long as the percentage of fat, protein and carbs you choose is maintained.
Benefits of Cyclic Keto for Women:
While on a ketogenic or low-carb diet, women may experience some of the following:
- Loss of menstrual cycle
- Losing hair
- Lack of sleep
- Dry skin
- “Keto rash”
- Brittle nails
- Inability to lose weight
- Feeling ratty
This is not an exhaustive list. If these are experienced whilst on a ketogenic diet, or you just don’t feel right but can’t explain it, a carb-up meal may need to be implemented. It is suggested you only carb-up after you are in full ketosis, so that the body does not restart using glucose for fuel. This is also not a free hand to eat what you want, or a day to eat junk food. On a carb-up day, natural carbs like sweet potatoes, rice,. Other choices could be fruit or coconut water to refuel on electrolytes. You still remain grain and sugar free. It is important to keep your calorie quota on higher carbs, otherwise it may disrupt ketosis.
For women, it can be beneficial to eat carbs to help balance hormones, such as leptin, known as the ‘hormone of energy expenditure’. It is a hormone predominantly made by adipose cells, which helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Leptin has the opposite effect of the hormone ghrelin, known as the ‘hunger hormone’. Leptin is mainly produced by fat cells, so the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. When you start to lose fat, you will stop producing leptin. Leptin is the responder that tells your brain you are hungry. Leptin helps regulate the thyroid gland and the adrenals. If leptin is malfunctioning in your body, you might be at a weight loss plateau, so resetting your leptin levels may trigger further weight loss. When carbing-up, pay attention to how hungry you are the next morning and really listen to your body. You might find that you could fast all day long. This is the indicator that your leptin levels are restored.
We advise extreme caution if undertaking this. It must be done only if you are confident of your ability to resist the cravings which will come with higher carbs. Prepare for returning to high fat the following day and listen carefully to your own body.