The keto diet has been tied to reported health benefits such as weight loss and improved cholesterol, but it’s safe to say that this high-fat and low-carb eating plan isn’t for everyone, especially since it’s known for its fair share of potential downsides.
The high-fat intake of the keto diet, for example, can be more than problematic for some, as registered dietitian Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD suggested that consuming too much fat can cause digestive distress if you aren’t careful. With this in mind, she said you may want to consider getting off of the diet, especially if you clearly aren’t receiving any health benefits from it after so long.
“I think the major reason a person should wean off the keto diet, or any special diet for that matter, is if they are no longer receiving health benefits from it,” Gulin told INSIDER “This is why it is important to understand that although some people may greatly benefit from the keto diet, no diet is right for everyone since we all have different health backgrounds that warrant varying nutrition needs.”
If you are looking to indeed part ways with the keto diet, INSIDER spoke more to Guilin and other professionals about some helpful hacks to keep in mind as you transition away from the eating plan. Below are some of the tips that are definitely worth keeping in mind.
You’ll want to be mindful about why you’re getting off the diet.
“When coming off of the keto diet, it is important to be mindful about the purpose behind why you went on it in the first place, and why you are coming off of it now,” said certified integrative nutrition health coach and board-certified emergency physician Heather Heather Hammerstedt MD MPH.
You have to have a specific mindset plan for how to avoid your old habitual pitfalls now that you are being less strict on yourself, she advised. This also includes being mindful of how to handle the inevitable bowel and body discomfort that will come up as you add back foods back into your diet, she added.
You’ll want to reintroduce certain foods back into your diet carefully
You should be starting slow when re-introducing carbs back into your life after the keto diet, according to Livestrong. Trying to eat tons of grains – though you’ve probably been missing them – will likely only cause digestive discomfort.
You’ll want to make sure there are good gut bacteria in your diet
“Get some gut-friendly bacteria from fermented foods like low-lactose yogurts from almond milk or coconut milk, as well as from foods like sauerkraut and kimchi,” suggested Gulbin. Also, add in prebiotic fibres from flaxseeds (or bananas) each day to help feed those healthy bacteria, she added.
You’ll also want to stick with healthy fats
“Stick to healthier fats like plant-based fats from avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds as well as that from fatty fish like trout, salmon, and sardines,” said Dr. Melissa A. Murphy, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition and basic sciences at Bastyr University California.
Spread out your carbs
“Regardless of how many carbs you go back to when leaving the keto diet, it is key to spread them out,” Dr. Murphy told INSIDER. Glucose is utilised very quickly within cells, she said, and whatever is not immediately needed is stored (glycogen and fat). Consuming smaller portions of carbs more frequently ensures a more continuous flow of glucose into the tissues so utilization is maximized, she added.
Consume foods that slow down digestion and absorption
“Another way to ensure a more constant flow of glucose into cells is to consume foods that slow down digestion and absorption,” said Dr. Murphy. Drinking lots of water throughout the day and consuming fats with your carbohydrates will slow the process of digestion, she said.
Always seek guidance from a professional
“If you are having trouble adopting a dietary plan that aligns with your health goals, I highly recommend visiting a registered dietitian in your area,” said registered dietitian Summer Yule, MS, RDN. A professional can look at an individual’s medical history and preferences, she suggested, and can help them to craft a plan that will work for them so that they can meet their goals.
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