A cyclical ketogenic diet (KCD) means you’re refeeding your body – through a cycle that lasts a week with a certain amount of complex carbohydrates, limited amounts of fat, and protein.
- 5 days ketogenic, then 2 days carb load with high to medium GI (glycemic index) foods.
- On the 2 days when you do a carb-load, you increase your carb intake by 50 – 60%. This high amount is typically above a person’s usual dietary intake, but the reason behind this increase is to immediately refill the glycogen levels in the liver and revamp muscle energy, but leave nothing behind to be stored as fat.
This means you increase your carb intake significantly during the cyclical “refeed,” also known as carb-load.
Another option is a bi-weekly cycle where a ketogenic diet is followed for 10 – 12 days, followed by 3 to 4 days of carb loading.
Both can yield good results, but it mainly depends on your own training schedule, goals, preference, and results.
- The first goal of this type of diet is to provide you with a break of sorts from going with barely little or no carbohydrates at all as in a standard ketogenic diet, to eating a high carb load in line with your workout needs.
- The second goal is to modulate your hormone levels and thyroid gland, which becomes suppressed during dieting.
- The third goal is to replenish your body’s dwindling supply of glycogen right when your body needs it the most so it’s used as energy, rather than being stored as fat.
The only way not to gain weight on a CKD plan is to use your refueled glycogen levels for high-intensity training, as a way of increasing your endurance and maintaining muscle mass.
- This allows those engaging in athletics, weight lifting, or strength training to maximize fat-loss while building lean mass.
This sort of training would be extremely hard, if not impossible by only eating low carb.
For this reason, the time between carb-loads is very important, as well as the kinds of foods you eat during the carb-load is critical for the success of this diet and the continued health of your body.
It mainly depends on how intense your training is, as well as your overall fitness goals.