Can You Have A Cheat Day On Keto? - KetoConnect (2023)

Any person on any diet will, at some point, be tempted to have a cheat day. Low carb dieters are no exception. Unfortunately, since the keto diet tends to be strict, it’s not obvious to most keto dieters just how detrimental — if at all — taking a keto cheat day can be. After all, it’s just a few carbs, right?

Can You Have A Cheat Day On Keto? - KetoConnect (1)

The answer to the question, can you have a cheat day on keto, is yes, you can. However, it’s very likely to set you back in your progress and could have lasting effects on the success of your dieting in the future.

Below, we’ll discuss why cheat days and cheat meals are so common on diets, the pros and cons of cheating on keto, whether or not a cheat day will ruin your progress, and how to recover from a keto cheat day quickly to get back on track. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents hide

Why Do Keto Dieters Take Cheat Days?

What Are The Downsides of Cheating On My Keto Diet?

(Video) How Long to Get Back In Ketosis After a Keto CHEAT DAY | We Tested It

Will One Cheat Day Ruin My Progress?

How Do I Get Back Into Ketosis Quickly?

What’s the Best Way to Do a Cheat Day On Keto?

Wrapping Up: How Bad Is a Cheat Day for Keto?

Why Do Keto Dieters Take Cheat Days?

People on a ketogenic diet take cheat days and cheat meals for the same reasons as individuals on other diets: dieting generally isn’t fun, and a cheat day allows you to enjoy your food and get the physiological response you crave from eating food.

(Video) 7 Rules to Minimize Damage on a Keto Cheat Day

There’s a bit more to the “science” of keto cheat days than just getting pleasure from food, though. Some diet experts believe that dieters will eventually lose their focus and dedication if they continue to restrict calories, fat, or, in the case of keto diets, carbohydrates. The idea is that eventually, one’s will to diet will break, and bad habits from before the diet started will resume.

Taking a cheat day or cheat meal is a way to stay motivated on most diets, keto included. The idea is that you’re far more likely to remain strict and stick to your keto diet if you know that next Saturday, you’ll be enjoying some well-deserved carbohydrates. Dangling the proverbial carrot — your next cheat day — in front of yourself is a way to stay committed to your low carb lifestyle between cheat days.

What Are The Downsides of Cheating On My Keto Diet?

Get to enjoy some carbs every once in a while and potentially improve your chances of staying committed to your ketogenic diet long-term…cheat days on keto sound pretty good. Unfortunately, there are numerous downsides to increasing your carbohydrate intake, even for a single day while you’re on a ketogenic diet.

Most importantly, eating above 50 grams of carbs for your cheat day will very likely take you out of ketosis. Starches and sugars both create a spike in blood sugar levels. Since your body naturally prefers to use carbohydrates for energy, it will rapidly begin using the available carbs as its primary source of fuel rather than fat.

As the name suggests, the point of the keto diet is to remain in a state of ketosis so that your body burns fat for fuel. When you introduce carbs into your diet, even for a single day, you’ll no longer be in ketosis.

The main problem with dropping out of ketosis is getting back into it! After a cheat day, it can take a few days and even up to a week to get back to using fat for fuel. That means that a single cheat day will really impede your progress for up to seven days.

Although some keto dieters use cheat days as a form of motivation to stay committed to their generally low carb lifestyle, other people may find that it deters them from getting back to limiting carbohydrates. You likely know which group you belong to, so you can decide for yourself if a cheat day from keto will help or hinder you.

Finally, there is some evidence from scientific research to suggest that going off of your keto diet and consuming large quantities of carbohydrates could do damage to your cardiovascular system.

Can You Have A Cheat Day On Keto? - KetoConnect (2)

Are Cheat Days Or Cheat Meals Better for Keto?

Some keto dieters believe that, while cheat days might not be acceptable, cheat meals every once in a while are fine and won’t impede progress much. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Whether you consume 50 or more grams of carbs in a single meal or throughout an entire day, you’ll kick yourself out of ketosis and cause your body to turn once again toward carbs for energy. A single cheat meal may not sound like a big deal, but it can be just as damaging to your progress on keto as an entire day of eating carbs.

With that being said, one of the biggest downfalls to a keto cheat day is that caloric intake often isn’t monitored. Many people use cheat days to binge eat, and packing in thousands of calories into one day will most likely be detrimental for both your weight loss journey and your likelihood of reverting to a strict keto diet.

(Video) Birthday Cheat Days | Keto Day of Eating

However, cheat meals on keto are significantly better if you limit your carb intake and calories for the cheat meal, making it more of a pseudo cheat meal.

Suppose you have one meal once every two weeks where you eat 40 grams of carbs, but the rest of the day you limit your carbs to zero grams and ensure your total calories for the day remains at a deficit. In that case, a single cheat meal may not bring you out of ketosis or do any lasting harm to your keto diet.

Will One Cheat Day Ruin My Progress?

This is a challenging question to answer because it’s based on the individual and not generalities. You know yourself best, so if you’re certain that you can use cheat days every so often as a form of motivation to stick to your keto lifestyle in between cheat days, then one day of eating carbs might not be detrimental.

Your weight might spike because carbs cause you to retain water, but as long as you limit carbs after the cheat day and get back into a state of ketosis quickly, your cheat day probably won’t have any long-term negative effects on your weight loss goals.

If instead, you know that a cheat day might be a slippery slope and lead you to give up your low carb lifestyle, then avoiding cheating altogether is your best bet.

Can You Have A Cheat Day On Keto? - KetoConnect (3)

How Do I Get Back Into Ketosis Quickly?

Most keto dieters estimate that they need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs to remain in ketosis. If you go above this limit during your cheat day, your goal should be to get back into ketosis as quickly as possible to minimize negative effects on your progress. There are a few things you can do to help return to ketosis quickly.

Restrict Carbs More Than Usual

Your first goal to expedite your return to ketosis is to limit carbs even more than you normally do. If you typically eat 50g of carbs or less per day, drop it down to 15-25g for two or three days following your cheat day. This will help limit the amount of stored glycogen in your body, which will help you turn back to fat for fuel more quickly.

Exercise More

Increasing how much you exercise in the days following your cheat day will also help deplete glycogen stores, which will help you reach a state of ketosis more quickly. Adding 15-20 minutes of medium-to-high intensity exercise each day after a cheat day should help you get back into ketosis more quickly.


Your best course of action is to not worry about getting back into ketosis quickly. Just get right back on your plan and before you know it you will be in ketosis again. With anything diet related, you are usually better off taking a more measured approach instead of going to the extremes.

Can You Have A Cheat Day On Keto? - KetoConnect (4)

What’s the Best Way to Do a Cheat Day On Keto?

If you’ve read through the potential downsides of doing a cheat day on keto and you’re still considering taking one day to break your keto diet, there are several guidelines you should follow to minimize the progress you’ll lose and maximize your chances of getting back to ketosis quickly.

(Video) Keto Cheat Day Recovery | Should You Care About Aesthetics?

Cheat WITH Keto, Not ON It

The best way to have a cheat day on keto is not to have one at all. Instead of digging into an entire box of sugary cereal or housing a whole tray of brownies, try some keto friendly foods and recipes that will make you feel like you’re having a cheat day. Opting for a keto cereal or our extreme fudge keto brownies will leave you satisfied and won’t compromise your state of ketosis.

Count Calories and Carbs

Maybe keto brownies just aren’t cutting it for you, and you really do need a cheat day. One of the best things you can do to limit the adverse effects and potential weight gain is to continue to count carbs and remain at a caloric deficit.

Instead of going to town and eating everything you can get your hands on, try sticking to fewer than 150g of carbs, and ensure that you don’t go overboard with calories. Weight loss is mostly a numbers game, so if you remain at a deficit, you should continue to trend downward in your weight.

Additionally, the more carbs you consume on your cheat day, the more likely your blood sugar will spike. Excess blood sugar will get stored as glycogen, and more glycogen means it will take you to return to ketosis afterward.

Avoid Sugar

Sugars and starches will both cause a spike in blood sugar and take you out of ketosis in excess, but sugar can be even more dangerous because it triggers cravings for more food — specifically, more sugary food.

Avoiding sugary foods altogether on your cheat day might be challenging, but you’re better off going for a starchy carb fix than a sugary one.

Craving fast food? Instead of going off plan, why not learn about your keto fast food options.

Using fat bombs as a tasty and filling dessert is a great replacement for high sugar foods.

Wrapping Up: How Bad Is a Cheat Day for Keto?

Having a cheat day on keto will very likely bring you out of ketosis, and it can take up to about a week to get back to using fat for energy. For this reason, many keto dieters avoid cheat days altogether and instead use keto friendly recipes that satisfy cravings for certain foods without delivering 50+ grams of carbohydrates.

With that being said, a cheat day here and there could be good for you and your diet. Some keto dieters even use cheat days as motivation to stick to their diet long-term. As long as you plan ahead and get back into ketosis quickly with increased exercise and further restricted carbs, cheat days aren’t the end of the world. Use them wisely, and they could benefit you overall.

Can You Have A Cheat Day On Keto? - KetoConnect (5)


What to do after a cheat day on keto? ›

To get back into ketosis after a keto cheat day all you have to do is to start eating proper meals according to your macros, drink plenty of water and mind your electrolytes. If you feel up to it do some light exercise to help deplete glycogen stores.

Can you do keto five days a week? ›

Some people choose to have five or six days on keto followed by a day or two off. Others will do keto for 10 to 12 days followed by three to four days off. Devine typically doesn't recommend taking more than two days off keto.

Is it OK to have one cheat day on keto? ›

It's entirely possible to have a cheat day while staying in ketosis, as long as you plan your macros carefully. However, if you want to go all out on your cheat day, be ready for some of the side effects and the fact that you'll more than likely have to spend some time getting back into ketosis.

What if I ate pizza on keto? ›

Yes, pizza can also be keto-safe, but Boyer said that you'll want to use cauliflower crust (can be made homemade or found in the freezer section) made with almond flour instead of carb-filled pizza dough.

Can I eat carbs once a week on keto? ›

Also known as carb cycling, a cyclical keto diet involves intake of high amounts of carbohydrates once a week. The other six days of low-carb keto are similar to the standard keto diet. When you follow the cyclical keto diet, you eat lots of healthy fat and very few carbs, 5 to 6 days of the week.

How many eggs can I have on keto? ›

🤔 There is no recommended amount for how many eggs people should eat. Eggs can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. But, while you can eat as many eggs as you want on a keto diet, we would recommend limiting yourself to no more than 6 to 7 eggs per week.

How many eggs a day on a keto diet? ›

Eggs form a key component of the Keto diet, with wellness site Healthline suggesting people following the plan should look to eat at least six whole eggs per day. Packed with nutrients, eggs are widely available and versatile.

What happens to your body 1 week on keto? ›

Some symptoms you may begin to experience are headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, brain fog, and irritability. If you find yourself suffering today, remember that this is usually temporary, normal, and it'll soon pass!

Can you eat too few carbs on keto? ›

Severe carb limits can cause your body to break down fat into ketones for energy. This is called ketosis. Ketosis can cause side effects such as bad breath, headache, fatigue and weakness. It's not clear what kind of possible long-term health risks a low-carb diet may pose.

How do I get back into ketosis in 24 hours? ›

If you're serious about reaching ketosis in 24 hours, then forget about food. You need to shut the fridge, close the cabinets, and embrace the glucose-burning power of fasting! If you maintain a low-carb diet leading up to your fast, you'll have a much easier time.

How many carbs can I eat and stay in ketosis? ›

The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day—less than the amount found in a medium plain bagel—and can be as low as 20 grams a day. Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein.

Will I gain weight after one cheat day on keto? ›

Going off a keto diet is likely not detrimental. Just because you start eating carbs again, especially just for one day, doesn't mean you will store a bunch of body fat. Carbs do not cause weight gain or increased body fat. Only eating too many calories can do this.

Why am I not losing weight on keto? ›

Usually, when a person does not lose weight on the keto diet, it is because they have not achieved ketosis. The most common reason for not getting into ketosis is not cutting back enough on carbs. According to a 2019 article on the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates should represent only 5–10% of a person's calorie intake.

How much weight should you lose on keto in a month? ›

Dr. Seeman says for her patients, the average weight loss is 10-12 pounds in the first month. She also explains that keto adaption/fat adaption can take weeks, so it's important to really stick with it for a while to teach your body how to be a fat burner instead of a sugar (glucose) burner.

Can you eat hot dogs on keto? ›

Low in carbs and high in fat, sausages and hot dogs are keto-friendly! Although we recommend eating processed meats sparingly, hot dogs and sausages can be a great meal choice if you're following a flexible keto diet. And don't forget adding chicken sausage, turkey hot dogs, and tofu dogs to the grill, too.

How long should you stay on keto diet? ›

While some people have success staying on keto for an extended period of time, “the long-term research is limited,” says Jill Gulotta, RDN, who's based in White Plains, New York. Gulotta recommends staying on keto for six months max before reintroducing more carbs to your diet.

Are chicken wings OK on keto? ›

Yes, chicken wings are keto! Carbs in wings are naturally low, so you can enjoy wings on keto often — if you prepare them right.

Is popcorn on keto? ›

Once you figure out how many daily carbs your body can take in to remain in ketosis, you can divvy up your allotment however you like, but popcorn can easily fit in a ketogenic eating plan. “For all intents and purposes, it is a keto-friendly food,” says Rissetto.

How do I know when I am in ketosis? ›

10 Signs and Symptoms That You're in Ketosis
  1. Bad breath. ...
  2. Weight loss. ...
  3. Increased ketones in the blood. ...
  4. Increased ketones in the breath or urine. ...
  5. Appetite suppression. ...
  6. Increased focus and energy. ...
  7. Short-term fatigue. ...
  8. Short-term decreases in performance.

Does exercise cancel out carbs on keto? ›

Imagine that you eat 30 grams of carbs before your workout. As soon as you burn 120 calories, you have burned off the carbs consumed and you are back in ketosis. You can accomplish this in under 30 minutes if you are exercising vigorously.

Are bananas good keto? ›

Are Bananas Keto Friendly? Sadly, they're not keto. Carbs in bananas are too high to reasonably incorporate them into a keto way of eating.

Is peanut butter OK for keto diet? ›

Peanut butter can definitely be part of a keto diet, but it's best to stick to plain options that are free of extra flavors and sweeteners. Almond butter is a good choice, too, and it's slightly lower in carbs. Additionally, you should be mindful of your portion size if you're trying to lose weight.

Are cucumbers good for keto? ›

Cucumber is another popular salad vegetable. It contains many essential nutrients, including vitamin K. Cucumber is also suitable for the keto diet, as its carb content is just 3.63 g per 100 g. To make the carb content lower, a person can peel the cucumber before eating it.

Is bacon good on keto? ›

Can You Eat Bacon On a Keto Diet? While you may not think of bacon as diet food, most types of bacon fit perfectly into a keto diet plan since they're low in carbs yet high in protein and fat. That means bacon is perfect for snacking on in the afternoon or mixing into your chicken dinner dish for some extra flavoring.

How long does it take to get back into ketosis after a cheat day? ›

You should avoid cheat meals and days on the keto diet. Consuming too many carbs can kick your body out of ketosis — and it takes several days to 1 week to get back into it. In the meantime, your weight loss may be disrupted.

Can you eat oatmeal on keto? ›

No, oats are naturally high in carbs, so they should be avoided on the keto diet. However, there are several low-carb oatmeal alternatives that you can make instead. Almond flour and coconut flour are great replacements for traditional oats in oatmeal recipes and they have much lower carbohydrate content.

Why am I not losing weight on keto week1? ›

You're eating too many carbs

One of the main reasons people don't lose weight on the ketogenic diet is that they're consuming too many carbs. To reach the state of ketosis — a metabolic state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose — carbohydrate intake must be drastically reduced.

How many pounds do you lose the first week of keto? ›

Anecdotally, people report losses within the first week of anywhere from 1 pound (0.5 kg) to 10 or more pounds (5 kg). The larger you are, the more water weight you're likely to lose after starting keto. Although, it's unlikely that much of this initial weight loss is fat loss.

Is the first week of keto the hardest? ›

Keep in mind that the first week of keto eating is the hardest. Once you're done with the first week, you will most likely feel good… maybe even great! You may feel energized and you will most likely wave goodbye to those first pounds, too.

Why am I gaining weight on keto? ›

One of the biggest culprits of weight gain on keto is not tracking your food intake. It's important to track everything you eat to be sure you're not overdoing it in any area. You also want to ensure you're keeping your macros in check.

Is it OK to eat less than 20 carbs on keto? ›

To go into ketosis, and stay there, you are almost certain to succeed by eating fewer than 20 grams of net carbs each day. While healthy, active and insulin sensitive individuals can remain in ketosis at higher levels of carb intake, others must be more strict with their carb intake.

Can you be in ketosis with 40 net carbs? ›

Most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to reach ketosis. Keep in mind that this doesn't leave you with many carb options — except vegetables and small amounts of berries.

Will a 16 hour fast put me in ketosis? ›

Your body may go into ketosis after just 12 hours of not eating, which many people do overnight before they "break fast" with a morning meal.

Can I get back into ketosis in one day? ›

Bottom Line. It's possible to get into ketosis in 24 hours by taking strict actions such as fasting and high intensity exercising. It's important to take mineral supplements and drink tons of water in order to prevent negative side effects.

How can I speed up weight loss in ketosis? ›

7 tips for reaching ketosis faster
  1. Significantly reducing the carbohydrate intake. ...
  2. Increasing physical activity. ...
  3. Fasting for short periods. ...
  4. Increasing healthful fat intake. ...
  5. Testing ketone levels. ...
  6. Checking protein intake. ...
  7. Consuming more MCT oil.

Does caffeine affect ketosis? ›

Caffeine may help the body raise ketone levels and can support you in staying in ketosis. A recent study showed that Keto dieters who had caffeine with their breakfast had higher levels of ketones in their bloodstream compared to those who didn't have caffeine with breakfast.

Can you lose weight on 50 carbs a day? ›

Some people reduce their daily carb intake with the aim of losing weight, cutting down to around 50–150 grams per day. Research has shown that low carb diets can be part of an effective weight loss strategy.

What kind of bread is keto friendly? ›

Cloud bread, or oopsie bread, is very popular with low-carb and keto dieters. Cloud bread is a protein-rich alternative to regular bread and makes an excellent sandwich base or English muffin replacement. There are various recipes for cloud bread, but a simple version is as follows.

Why do I weigh more after a cheat day? ›

Why does a cheat day cause you to gain weight? A cheat day causes some large weight increases, but weight because of water, not fat. Depending on what kind of diet you were on, loading up on carbs on a cheat day can increase your weight noticeably.

Why do I lose weight when I cheat on keto? ›

Cheat breaks give your metabolism a bit of a boost by convincing your body the “famine” is over. Your metabolism increases and you're able to break through the stalled weight loss.

Why am I so tired after a cheat day on keto? ›

A Cheat Day Can Cause Blood Sugar Spikes. If you've been low-carb for weeks or months, one cheat meal (especially a super high-carb cheat meal) can send your body into a tizzy. Specifically, you're at risk for blood sugar spikes, which can cause dizziness, shakiness, headaches, fatigue, and lethargy.

What happens if I do keto for 2 weeks? ›

You'll Feel Sluggish and Tired in the First Two Weeks of Keto (Keto Flu) The infamous Keto Flu. Many people feel sluggish, tired, and weak when transitioning to a Keto diet. It's because your body is used to running on carbs and you've taken that fuel source away.

How many calories should I be eating on keto? ›

14 – 16 calories per pound for those that exercise moderately 3 – 5 times a week with relatively active lifestyles. 16 – 18 calories per pound for those involved in vigorous exercise and physically demanding jobs. 18.5 – 22 calories per pound for those involved in heavy training (for example 15 or more hours per week).

What is the whoosh effect on keto? ›

These keto dieters say the fat on their body starts to feel softer to the touch. The concept of the whoosh effect is if you stay on the diet long enough, your cells start to release all the water and fat that's thought to have built up. When this process begins, this is called the “whoosh” effect.

Does drinking water affect ketosis? ›

For the human body to turn fat into ketones, it needs plenty of water, as this process doesn't just occur in the digestive tract—the body's stores of fat are also converted to ketones, providing an extra energy boost between meals. Water is an essential tool for getting the most out of your keto diet.

Can you lose 40 pounds in a month on keto? ›

With a rate of weight loss of 1-2 pounds each week, about 5-6 months is how long to lose 40 pounds on keto. There are other diets to help you lose 40 pounds fast. But, most of them aren't sustainable for the long term.

Where do you lose weight first on keto? ›

When you don't eat carbs, your liver switches over to burning fat for fuel. It turns fat into fatty acids and ketones and sends them to your cells for energy. This state is called ketosis -- your body is running on fat, not carbs. However, even in ketosis, you burn dietary fat first, and body fat after that.

How long does it take to recover from a cheat day on keto? ›

Overall, you can get back into ketosis as soon as 12-16 hours after your last cheat meal (with the help of fasting and exercise) or it can take as long as it did when you first started keto.

How do you cleanse after a cheat day? ›

post cheat day detox
  1. Step 1: Break a sweat! Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity. ...
  2. Step 2: Hydrate with lemon water. Drinking plenty of water on a daily basis is essential to longterm health. ...
  3. Step 3: Go green. ...
  4. Step 4: Relax with green tea.
Feb 1, 2014

What's the best thing to do after a cheat day? ›

The day after your cheat day, make sure you drink more water than usual. This can help flush out the sugar, salt, and any other toxins you've ingested. Not only that, but drinking water can fill your stomach and stave off hunger so you won't overeat once again.

How many carbs can you eat and stay in ketosis? ›

The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day—less than the amount found in a medium plain bagel—and can be as low as 20 grams a day. Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein.

Why do I weigh less after a cheat day? ›

Research shows that after a cheat meal, the body increases its metabolism, causing you to burn calories faster. This is caused by increased levels of leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells and responsible for maintaining energy balance in the body.

Will I gain weight if I have a cheat day? ›

In order to gain a pound of fat, you would need to add about 500 calories a day on top of your normal diet, every day, for about 7 days. This makes gaining any significant amount of fat from even the craziest all-out cheat days extremely unlikely.

Do you go over your calories on a cheat day? ›

How many calories should I eat on a cheat day? 'There is not an exact number of calories that you can eat on a cheat day but a good guideline to follow is to not consume more than 150 per cent of your regular calorie intake/limit,' according to Bodies by Byrne, run by a nutritionist and fitness instructor.

How many days should you wait to have a cheat day? ›

There is no specific guideline for when or how frequently your cheat meal or day should occur. Often people will include one cheat per week, but this can change depending on what the person's health or weight loss goals are.

How many days after a cheat meal should you weigh yourself? ›

Don't weigh yourself for at least 2-3 days after cheat day. As long as you do everything right, you should still make progress after this period. Remember, for every gram of carb your consume, your body holds nearly 3 grams of water. Plan for extra water the day after your cheat meal.

What happens if I fast after a cheat day? ›

If you can stand fasting after a cheat day, then fasting the morning after one is a good way to help your body recover from all those extra calories. It gives you time for digestion and helps lower insulin levels in your bloodstream so that fat storage doesn't happen as much.


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3. Day of Eating Not Fully Keto... Should You Take a Break From Keto Sometimes?
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4. How to Start Keto - The Ultimate Guide!
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5. How to Get Results on Keto | Interview with Keto In The Chaos
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6. 7 Important Rules to Minimize Damage on Keto Cheat day | Keto Master
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