Are you wondering how long should you stay on the keto diet? If yes, you should check out our guide here on the key things to know.
For most of our existence, we humans have eaten a keto diet. Until recently, this wasn’t a conscious choice. It was simply the natural outcome of the food supplies available to us.
Recently, keto has made a comeback in a big way. The diet is beloved by followers who have used it to lose weight and manage chronic health conditions, all while still eating foods they love.
But how long should you stay on the keto diet? Is it a short-term fix or a life-time commitment? Expert opinions vary, but here are the key facts.
There are many questions to ask when one decides to go keto. One of the first questions that tends to pop up is “how long should I stay on the keto diet?”
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question that applies to every dieter. How long you need to maintain a keto diet depends largely on your personal situation and goals.
For example, individuals using keto to lose weight do not necessarily need to stay keto once they’ve shed the desired number of pounds. Dieters using keto to control conditions like epilepsy or diabetes may need to stay keto long-term to maintain the health benefits the diet confers.
This means that for some dieters keto may be a short-term fix while for others it becomes a more or less permanent way of life.
Understanding the Minimums
Regardless of why you choose to go keto, it’s important to understand that the benefits of the diet do not necessarily kick in right away. Once you reduce your carbohydrate intake, it takes an average of two to six weeks for your body to reach ketosis. If you regularly indulge in “cheat days” it can take even longer.
While you may start losing water weight within the first few days, you need to reach and sustain ketosis to start reaping powerful keto diet benefits. This means that dieters typically need to do keto for a minimum of three months to achieve their goals.
Obese dieters with significant amounts of weight to lose may need to stay keto for closer to a year to safely lose all of their excess weight.
Keto for Life
For some individuals, keto will not be a diet at all. It will be a lifestyle. This is most common among:
- Individuals using the diet to manage chronic health conditions
- Athletes seeking to maximize performance
- Eaters whose bodies respond so well to the diet that they never want to eat any other way again
For these eaters, keto is a long-term plan. Armed with their favorite keto recipes, good kitchen routines, and the SuperFat keto snacks list, these eaters continue to enjoy good health and good meals for years at a time.
While research on life-long keto is limited, there is no inherent reason why dieters cannot continue to eat keto as long as they like.
Another option that dieters may find appealing is keto cycling. Keto cycling is when dieters regularly switch between periods of keto and non-keto eating. These cycles can be any length.
For instance, dieters may:
- Eat strictly keto during the week and consistently “cheat” on weekends
- Eat keto for one month, then non-keto for two
- Do 30 days of keto every six months
Cycling allows dieters to maintain many of the pros of the keto diet, such as weight loss and enhanced fat burning capabilities, while still giving them dietary flexibility.
There are a few other factors to consider that may help you determine how long should you do the keto diet. These include:
- How much you feel you are “missing out on” by eating keto
- How well your body responds to the keto diet
- How different your keto and non-diet eating habits are
- Your personal health risks
- Your overall family composition and eating dynamics
Many keto dieters report that they don’t feel deprived at all. With easy and delicious keto recipes on hand, they are happy to eat keto long-term.
Some dieters, however, may feel that they are excluded from familial or cultural bonding opportunities because they cannot eat the traditional foods integral to those experiences. For these dieters, short-term keto or keto cycling may be the best fit.
All bodies are unique and some bodies respond better to keto than others. Dieters who respond well to keto may want to consider following the diet long-term. Dieters whose bodies do not thrive on keto may want to experiment with other, less-restrictive low-carb diets instead.
Your Eating Habits
If you eat a relatively healthy and low-carb diet while not strictly keto, then staying keto long-term may not be as important for you. The more carb-heavy or unhealthy your non-keto eating habits are, the more important it will be to either stay keto or regularly cycle through keto. Failure to do so may undo all the gains you achieved while on the keto diet.
Your Personal Health Risks
Dieters eating keto for specific health reasons may need to remain keto long-term to keep their health stable. Even cycling out of keto for longer than very short periods of time can create unnecessary and potentially dangerous health risks.
Your Overall Family Composition and Eating Dynamics
Eating keto is undeniably easier when the rest of your household is on board. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat vegetables or other healthy, keto-friendly foods, trying to stay keto long-term can be a hassle. The idea of preparing separate meals for yourself and everyone else each mealtime can be frustrating and overwhelming.
In such cases, it may be helpful to consider short-term keto or keto cycling rather than long-term keto.
How Long Should You Stay on the Keto Diet?
How long should you stay on the keto diet? Only you can decide what is right for your body. Use the information above as a starting point to help you determine if long-term keto is viable for you.
No matter how long you choose to do keto, my top tips for decluttering and organizing your kitchen can make cooking delicious keto meals easier and more enjoyable, so check them out today!