What an interesting question to carb up on Keto? I mean, Keto is restricting carbs, right? So why would you carb up?
It is my opinion that carbs are being villainized on the ketogenic diet just like saturated fat was 30 years ago, the government purposely did this to us so we would fill up on carbohydrates, hormone injected meat and sugar. Great isn’t it?
But Carbohydrates aren’t just sugar, they are more complex than that with sweet potatoes, whole grain rice, and fruit. Those are not bad for you, but they just might not work well in your body for your blood glucose levels and digestion.
So what am I saying in regard to carb up on Keto? Keep reading.
Carb Ups Have a Time & Place
Firstly, if you are reading this and you just started a ketogenic diet, I would not recommend a carb up for months. I know there are lots of articles or professionals out there that recommend nothing earlier than 6 weeks, I do agree with this but I would say get past 90 days before you introduce a carb up keto practice.
When I say carb up on keto, what am I really referring to? Good question! I am not referring to going out to McDonald’s to enjoy a gluten-filled bun with your cheeseburger or a big bowl of poutine from KFC. This will never be recommended by anyone in the health industry saying a carb up on keto is healthy. I am more thinking in terms of having a stir-fry with an organic white or brown rice or a sweet potato roasted served beside a chicken breast.
A meal that has a larger carb content but still sticks to the wholesome foods profile of a healthy ketogenic lifestyle. Often when you are practicing a carb up, or also known as carb-refeeding or carb-reloading, you will reduce your fat for that day. You are still staying within your calories for that day, so if you are increasing one food, you need to reduce on the other.
A carb up on keto refers to a period of time, some will enjoy a meal and others will spend the entire day eating carbohydrates. I have seen some health and fitness professionals recommend a carb up on keto for two days a week or month. It really comes down to the individual person.
Why They Work
Carb up on keto has a few purposes after you have become keto-adapted. Those purposes are hormonal balancing, specifically healthy leptin levels and balancing the ghrelin hormone; Also for energy expenditure and enhancing your growth hormone and increasing muscle growth.
People also practice carb up on keto just to balance their relationship with food. Some people struggle with “restriction” and by allowing them one meal a week or a month that was their favorite before they switched to keto helps with the balance of changing to this way of eating.
The above reason is why I say no carb up on keto until you are fully fat adapted and have truly changed to this way of eating. It is far too easy for your body to get a taste of carbohydrates and sugar and switch back to that fuel source.
Glucose (carbohydrates/sugar) is your bodies preferred method of fueling, so you need to be careful with this practice.
Great Ideas for Carb-Ups
- Roasted Potatoes with your meat
- Stir-Fry with rice
- Stew with carrots & potatoes
- Pizza with grain-free crust & lower fat cheese like mozzarella
Notice how everything I mentioned above are whole foods that are grain-free? A carb up on keto is intended to re-freed your body carbohydrates, but not change the make-up of the way you eat, so that means no sugars and no grains.
Will these totally derail you? Maybe? Maybe not, but you are increasing carbs up for a purpose, and that is not to derail your progress to date. Let’s talk about why you don’t want to do a full-blown cheat day while you have changed your way of eating to a ketogenic lifestyle.
Why Not Go Full Blown Cheating For a Day?
Some people think that having what they call a treat day and being able to eat every sugar laced thing in sight is good for their diet? I don’t call this a treat, nor would I say this is a reward for being strict for a week or a longer duration of time. It is plain and simple for me, I know sugar is a drug and I don’t do drugs.
Before I move on, let’s refer to carb up on keto as a treat, not a cheat. I think emotionally it is better to think of it as a treat vs. you cheating on your diet or yourself, and I also don’t want to get into calling it a reward, because we don’t reward ourselves with food right? A have always thought of a reward as something tangible, a smaller pair of underwear, or a new pair of fitness tights or a smaller pair of jeans.
OK, back to why we don’t eat sugar-laced food while we are treating on selves, or doing a carb up on keto…
I don’t feel deprived of sweet treats on the ketogenic diet because I incorporate treats into my daily routine. I love having a fat bomb following a meal or swapping a meal all together with a fat-filled muffin and a fatty coffee with my Perfect Keto MCT Oil Chocolate Powder.
I don’t think your carb up on keto should include stressing your body out, spiking your blood glucose to the point that your body creates a massive amount of cortisol hormone to try to balance it and then let’s not forget what it would be doing to your gut bacteria and your entire hormone system in your body. You’ll be working for days to get your body inflammation down. And let’s not forget the water weight you’d game after a day of refeeding it white sugar.
That doesn’t sound fun to me, nor does it sound like that sugar laced day was a treat anymore. There are many more simple ways to get your glucose in and not skip a beat in your healthy ketogenic lifestyle.
Just my two cents, I’d love to hear if you have an alternative opinion. Comment below.