Cheating on Keto Diet – Is It Okay?

You’re thinking about cheating on keto diet. Is it okay to do that? The answer is pretty simple, no it’s not okay. One of the worst things you can do on the keto diet is cheat. Not only because it’ll kick you out of ketosis, but there’s also a big host of other things as well.

And how long it takes to get back into ketosis will depend on the amount of carbs you had while you cheated. There are just too many risks. One risk is that you could never get back on keto. It depends on your motivation. Do you have strong reasons for being on keto and are they are very important to you? 

If they are then you might be able to get back on track. But if you have low a motivation for keto, and really miss your favorite foods, odds are you won’t make it. There’s something else, if you do manage to get back on keto, you could end up cheating over and over again. If you get kicked out of ketosis too often, there are certain health risks that we will talk about. And also, you’ll not be able to achieve the optimum results you want and deserve. Let me tell you my story, it might keep you from cheating on keto:

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Cheating on Keto Diet – My Story

cheating on keto diet

I was on keto for four months before I cheated. Keto can be hard and very limiting. I get it, I’ve been there. Pizza, fries, and chocolate are very tempting! I love that stuff so much, that I actually fell off the keto wagon for about a month. But I didn’t intend to, I just couldn’t stop thinking about pizza! I do realize that there’s pizza for keto, but I couldn’t seem to get the crust just right. It was either too soft for me or too hard ugh! And I wanted someone to cook for me for a change. 

So I had a moment of weakness and ordered a large pizza. Oh and I didn’t stop there! I saw that the dessert pizzas were on sale and I couldn’t resist! Yes a moment of weakness indeed. But I just kept going like this for a month. I didn’t mean to fall off for more than a day! I’m not perfect, and I have to say that it was EXTREMELY hard to get back on the keto wagon. Yes I had gained weight. And yes I had the keto flu all over again too! What if you end up like me? Or worse?

Getting Back On Keto Is Not Easy – What If You Struggle?

cheating on keto diet

It takes a person somewhere between 4–9 days to enter ketosis. If you cheat on the keto diet all the effort that you have put in so far would go down the drain. And when you restart your Keto diet next day, it will again take you the same number of days it took you to enter ketosis. Going through the keto flu all over again. Do you really want that to sabotage your efforts? But what if you do plan on cheating on keto diet for just one day? Do you think you will be able to do it? What if you fall off the wagon like I did? What if you do, and just can’t get yourself back on keto? 

You’re going to regain all the weight you lost, if not more. And if you’re on keto for other health reasons, then those health problems will come back! See, that’s why I think it’s not worth cheating on keto diet. It’s not worth the risk, you could fall off the wagon and never get back on. I talk like we are alcoholics falling off the wagon, but it’s kind of the same thing. Sugar is extremely addictive, more addictive than drugs or alcohol! And most of the junk food that keto doesn’t allow is filled with sugar. Yes even pizza! So let’s stop thinking about cheating on keto diet, and let’s talk about how to avoid doing that instead.

How To Avoid Cheating on Keto Diet

It’s important to address the issue of cheating to rule out any underlying snags with your diet.

Manage your macros

If you’re chronically craving carbs, you may need to adjust your keto macros to make sure you’re actually burning fat for energy and reaching ketosis, and not in a metabolic limbo that has you dreaming of high carb foods. Perfect Keto Has a really cool guide this guide for more help calculating these.

Prepare foods ahead.

This diet isn’t for the lazy, you do have to cook your own meals. But it is easier to make meals in advance, so you always have a keto meal ready to go and cheat less out of convenience.

Stop watching TV commercials

Have you noticed all those food commercials? Almost all of them push food. And if you’re watching these, while craving them at the same time, no wonder you’re thinking about cheating! Try not to watch these. Most people have DVRs right? Record your shows and fast forward the commercials. Or leave the room when the commercials come on.

Think about how healthy you’re becoming

Instead of looking at cheat foods as what you can’t have, think about how you’re saving yourself from what that junk food will be doing to your body, as you’ll see soon.

But let’s say you’ve already cheated, now what do you do? Is is hopeless?

So You Cheated Now What? Here’s The Semi-Good News

You will gain weight but the good news is that it most likely be water weight. When you get back in ketosis, you’ll drop a ton of this water weight. But if you have been off keto for weeks or months, you’ll definitely gain fat.

If you’re a veteran to ketosis you may be able to use the occasional carbs from a cheat meal without causing damage. 

Plus, your body won’t revert back to using carbs as its main source of energy so easily since it’s been adapted to using fat.

  • However, that’s not your green light to start cheating on keto diet, most ketoers aren’t this lucky. 

How fast you can get back ketosis all depends on several different factors, such as:

  • Your body type
  • Your normal daily net carb amount
  • How much over you went in cheat carbs
  • How long you’ve been in ketosis
  • Whether you’re fat adapted
  • Your activity level

The Bad News

So now it’s time for some really bad news. When you have a cheat meal on keto, you may experience:

#1: High Blood Sugar Levels

As your body works to process the carbs and sugar from your cheat meal, glucose releases into your bloodstream.

When your body senses this surge of glucose, it sends out insulin to push that glucose out of your blood and into your cells to be used for energy.

But if you’re insulin resistant, pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes, your body has a hard time doing this, which means you’ll have both high blood glucose and high insulin levels.

High insulin levels not only stall fat loss, they can also lead to weight gain.

As if that’s not bad enough, you’ll also have…

#2: Intense Sugar Cravings

You know sugar is addictive. All it takes is one cheat meal to get your brain and body jonesing for sugar again thanks to those opiate-like effects.

Studies show your brain becomes more addicted to sugar (and faster) than cocaine. Your brain rewards you for choosing sugar and then overrides your ability to practice self-control so you keep going back for more.

#3: Intense Sugar Crash

If you don’t give in to those hostile sugar demands, you’ll likely feel the signs of low blood sugar, also known as a sugar crash, such as:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Crankiness and irritability
  • Hanger
  • By now I’m sure you can see that cheating on keto diet is not such a good idea. But if you’re still thinking about it, read on to see what junk food actually does to your body.

That Awful, Familiar Inflammation

Many scientists and health experts now agree inflammation begins in your gut with the foods you eat.

Foods and beverages that raise inflammation include:

  • Processed, pre-packaged foods filled with refined ingredients like sugar, grains (even whole grains) and artificial preservatives, flavorings and colors
  • High-glycemic foods like bread, pasta, fruits and starchy vegetables
  • Refined veggie oils like canola, corn, safflower and soybean
  • Coffee, beer and alcohol

Food and drinks from this list contain lectins and may tear small rips in your gut.

Then undigested food particles can escape through these holes and wind up elsewhere in your body where they shouldn’t be.

Keep abusing your gut with carbs and you’ll have a network of tears in your digestive tract, which may lead to:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

There’s more bad news: it takes your body a full seven days, on average, to repair these gut leaks.

If you’re constantly cheating on keto diet, then you are constantly repairing and ripping open your gut. This can make you feel really bad, and also can lead to:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Cramping or intestinal pain
  • Excessive burping (not funny!)

Now let’s talk about how to get back on keto:

The Road Back To Ketosis

So let’s say you have cheated and are struggling to get back on keto. Here are some good tips to do that:

Intermittent fasting

This is the best way to get back into keto. Here’s how to begin intermittent fasting:

  • Have an early dinner the night before. Don’t eat anything later than 8 PM.
  • Skip breakfast and have nothing except tea or coffee with grass fed butter, coconut oil, or MCT oil. These healthy fats will stabilize your blood sugar and increase ketone production so you can fast longer.
  • Stay away from carbs and eat a meal packed with fat when you’re truly hungry after the 13–18 hour fasting window.
  • Repeat the process the following day, eating as few carbs and as much fat as possible.

You can use IF every other day or daily for the first few days you’re working your way back into ketosis.

Drink Lots Of Water. 

cheating on keto diet

There are two major reasons to step up your water game during transition time:

#1. You’re going to experience a lot of cravings and downing tons of water will fill you up. Wean yourself off carbs and your stomach will be crying out for more. Water temporarily fills the void these cravings rip open.

#2. You’ll be losing your glycogen stores, which means your body will be flushing water instead of holding on to it. You could risk dehydration and headaches if you don’t replenish your H2O.

Even though you need to drink a lot of water, you still shouldn’t drink too much.

Watch your electrolytes during this time; drink too much water and you could flush these critical minerals away. Try snacking on keto-friendly foods like salted almonds, pepperoni, olives and other salty treats along with your water.

A few other keto-approved drinks include:

  • Herbal teas sweetened with stevia
  • Lemon or lime squeezed in your water
  • Bone broth (which adds water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium)

You can also take an electrolyte supplement to make it easier. Perfect Keto Electrolytes will help you replenish sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium so you can diminish side effects during your transition to keto.

Whenever Your Hungry, Aim For Fat

cheating on keto diet

To help with hunger you’ll want to stick to high fat meals and snacks. Avocados and healthy oils are great sources of fat.

Not only will this keep you full when the carb cravings strike, you’ll also be pushing your body ever so slowly into ketosis.

Find keto dessert recipes. Or try a bullet proof coffee or tea. They can be really good, and can taste just like a regular treat.


Of course if you have the keto flu you may not have much energy. But going to for a walk for 10 to 30 minutes, or doing yoga will help, and is better than doing nothing.


Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep everynight. This is what happens when adults sleep less than eight hours a night:

  • Hunger and appetite both increase the following day
  • Cravings for foods high in carbs rise while willpower to resist them decreases
  • Cells become 30% less efficient at using insulin
  • Metabolism slows


Remember, you got into ketosis before, and you can do it again. I have given reasons why it’s so important to stay on keto, for your health and weight loss. Sugar and other processed foods are slow poisons that we don’t need. They lead to weight gain, and so many terrible ailments and diseases. If you think keto is too strict, then I suggest paleo, it’s a healthy diet as well but not as strict. Whatever you chose, please don’t go back to the junk foods of America. It’s not worth it!

Now It’s Your Turn

If you have any comments or questions please ask. And share with your friends and family, it could help them. Thank you!

Disclaimer: We are not doctors, registered dietitians, or nutritionists. Nutritional information is researched and provided a courtesy.

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