Cheat Days on the Keto Diet ​​​​
How to Do "Cheating" The Right Way

cheat day cover photo

A ketogenic diet is a strict low-carb eating plan that forces the body to burn fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. When carbs are restricted, the body moves into a state of ketosis, a metabolic state that produces ketones by breaking down fats in the liver, which are then used for diet.

Is it Possible to Cheat On the Ketogenic Diet?

In a regular moderate to high-carb diet, carbs are converted to glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is the easiest molecule for the body to convert into energy so it will be used before any other energy source. When the glucose is used for energy, the fats consumed are not needed by the body and are stored, resulting in excess weight.

The effectiveness of the diet depends on your carb intake. Normally, an intake of between 20-30g of net carbs per day is recommended and reducing this intake to less than 15g will give faster results.

As the carb intake of a “normal” diet can range between 150-400g of carbs per day, reducing them to the level required to get into the state can be quite challenging. Because of this, some people may be tempted to have a cheat day on keto. The good thing is that there are many ways that you can do cheats days or meals without breaking your ketosis state which a lot of people who have been on the diet for years can attest to.

So, yes, there are are many ways to do it which we will get into in just a little bit.

​Products That Help You Cheat Ketosis:

If you've decided you're going to have a cheat day, then there are various supplements available designed to benefit those on trying the keto diet. Some products also aim to induce a state of ketosis in the body, even if the blood glucose level is too high to be achieved naturally. These products can also help you stay in ketosis even if you decide to take a cheat day on keto:

  • MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil – these medium chain fats can enter the bloodstream quicker than other fats, enabling the body to enter the state of weight loss - burning weight more quickly and efficiently. To read about of favorite MCT oil brand click here.
  • Insulin – used by some bodybuilders to achieve the body state more quickly by lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Exogenous Components – claim to induce an immediate state of the diet by increasing levels of beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB) in the bloodstream. This has a similar effect as ketones in the body and its modern sciences way of cheating the system. To read our reviews on the top exogenous ketones:  click here.​
  • Sodium and potassium – salts that can help to regulate insulin levels in the body, reducing common side effects of the diet such as headaches and dizziness.
  • Spirulina – an algae that is naturally very high in protein. Research shows it can also help to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
  • Fish oil – contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to lower levels of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides are common when following a high fat diet and can increase the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that taking 3-4g of fish oil each day reduced triglyceride levels by an average of 25%.

Does it Work Even If You Have a Cheat Day?

delicious meal

If you find it difficult to follow a strict low-carb diet, the idea of being able to put your body into a state of instant ketosis is a very appealing one. Exogenous components are available in several different branded products, like Perfect Keto, Pruvit, and CoreBasics. While they all have slightly different ingredients, the way they work is by increasing BHB levels in the body is the same. But they do have somewhat of a different taste, especially Perfect Keto. It's the only one that actually tastes good out of all the products that we've ever tried. 

Increased BHB levels do put the body into a state of ketosis, but it’s not yet been proven that this increased fat burning is the way that naturally generated components do. Early clinical trials have shown that they may help with appetite suppression, which may be the reason that certain users have found it easier to lose weight while taking these things.

And to answer the question, yes. You can have some cheat days once in a while given that you still watch your carb intake. You'll need to set yourself a goal to make sure that you take the products to guarantee that you do not get out of the state just yet. If you're forgetful, just put post up sticky notes all around the house and that will surely help you.

How to Properly Have "Keto Cheat Days":

I know that some of you are very hungry right now and probably craving something naughty because that's how the ketogenic diet works sometimes, you can be deprived of the best foods in the world and it can take a toll on you mentally. That is why a lot of people that go on this diet are always on the hunt for some cheat days on keto which is completely normal I would say. We can't live life just on healthy foods, sometimes we got to live it up, even if that means something bad.

So, if you feel the urge to cheat but still want better success with your keto diet than people that failed, here it is, our guide on how to have a proper "keto cheat day" that won't mess with your ketogenic diet (too much):

1. Do a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet​


To start, you can try a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD). First, what does it mean? CKD is a diet cycle where you typically follow the standard ketogenic diet to a tee for five days a week (mostly weekdays) then two keto diet cheat days which mostly consists of higher carb intakes (mostly weekends). When we talk about a cheat meal, we don't mean fast food or greasy, oily stuff. There are other great keto-friendly meals and snack options which we'll discuss soon.

Note that this will sometimes get you out of the diet, but it can surely make the whole process a lot more bearable. But even if it does get you out of the state, you will still get roughly most of the benefits of it if you follow the cycle properly.

2. Do Cheats Days with Keto-Friendly Foods & Snacks

Next up, food and snacks. If you have been on a diet for a while, I'm sure that your mouth is already watering from me mentioning the word "snacks." Well, you're in luck because if you're already planning to go on a ketosis cheat day, then we have exactly what you need to satisfy that craving and still maintain the rules of your strict diet. 

Today, with all the different strict low carb diets that are popping up left and right, it is no wonder that people who are on them are always searching for foods, recipes, and snacks that can satisfy the feeling of being deprived of those wonderful tasting meals. The more that these health routines become more popular, so will these diet-friendly snacks (more options here - there are even things like pizza!). So, if you are going to have a cheat day on keto diet, you might as well do it with something that won't do damage to your current routine. So, when it's time to cheat out, eat as much of these delicious snacks without feeling guilty. 

diet friendly snacks

Right now, Keto Kookie is the most popular brand of low carb snacks that you can easily buy online. And, if you want to read our review about it, you can click this link here

So, Should You Still Do It?

man eating donut

There has not yet been enough research into these products to confirm if it is possible to use them to maintain a sustained longer state of ketosis without eating a low carb diet; however, if you do decide to have cheat meals days while taking it, your keto diet progress will not be lost (and should be completely fine) as long as you follow our tips on how to stay in it. To find out more about these products and the various types you can take to help you get into a state of losing more weight, I suggest you check out our reviews page here, to get yourself familiar with the number one brands in the market.

If you’re keen to experiment with exogenous substances, it makes sense to do your own research and monitor your health carefully while using them. While it may be possible to “cheat” by eating a big meal and still lose weight, this is a habit that will be very hard to incorporate into the diet. You can only do it occasionally as having too many "cheat days" will get you out of ketosis regardless of what kind of products you're taking. It doesn't make sense to pull yourself out of ketosis just for some delicious foods. So, as always, moderation is in order. A word of advice, if you do cheat, please make sure you exercise the next day. Or, even better, fasting on the keto diet. 

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About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet and shares it on Ketogenic Supplement Reviews. You can find me on: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.