The ketogenic diet has exploded in popularity in the last decade. Many people following the keto diet often wonder how exercise impacts the low-carb requirements. “Can I Eat More Carbs if I Exercise on Keto?” is a common question.
One of the most difficult parts of the keto diet is sticking to your daily carb limit. This can even cause many people to fail to follow the diet for a long period. The keto diet does require low carbs to keep the body in ketosis, but can exercise raise that daily carb limit?
In this post, we will examine the impact of exercise on the daily carb limit of the keto diet.
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How the Keto Diet Works
As you may already know, the keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet. The main factor is keeping the net carbohydrate count low. This helps the body to get into ketosis. This is a state where the body can convert fat into ketones that can be used as energy when there are not enough carbohydrates to fuel the body.
Being in ketosis is putting your body into a fat-burning mode. This is the main reason that the keto diet can cause so much weight loss. There are many studies on the keto diet’s impact on weight loss. In one study, women following the keto diet lost twice as much weight as the control group.
In addition to weight loss, the keto diet has several other benefits.
- Weight loss: The keto diet is an effective way to lose weight as it encourages the body to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates.
- Improved blood sugar control: The keto diet can help regulate blood sugar levels, making it an effective tool for managing diabetes.
- Reduced inflammation: Cutting out sugar and processed foods can reduce inflammation, improving overall health.
- Increased energy: The keto diet provides a steady supply of power to the body without frequent snacking.
- Improved mental clarity: Many people report enhanced mental clarity and focus when following the keto diet, particularly during extended fasting periods.
- Reduced risk of heart disease: The keto diet can improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Better digestive health: The high-fat, low-carb nature of the keto diet can improve digestive health and reduce symptoms of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
- Reduced risk of certain cancers: Preliminary research suggests that the keto diet may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
- Improved skin health: Some people report improved skin health on the keto diet, reducing acne and other skin conditions.
- Reduced risk of seizures: The keto diet has been used to treat epilepsy in children for decades and may also effectively reduce seizures in adults. You can find a list of keto foods for seizures here.
Overall, the keto diet is one of the most popular diets to follow for weight loss.
The Benefits of Exercise
It probably won’t take much to convince you of the benefits of exercise. Most people fully know that regular exercise benefits the body and overall health. The hard part is sticking to a regular schedule, but if you do workout regularly, then you will experience some benefits such as:
- Weight management: Regular exercise helps burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases: Exercise reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Exercise strengthens the heart, improves blood circulation, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Boosts immune system: Exercise helps to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of infections and illnesses.
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Exercise helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve mood, and promote mental well-being.
- Enhances bone and muscle health: Regular exercise helps to strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and coordination, and reduce the risk of falls and fractures.
- Improves sleep quality: Exercise has been shown to enhance sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep disorders.
- Increases energy levels: Regular exercise helps to boost energy levels, reduce fatigue, and improve overall physical performance.
- Improves brain function: Exercise has improved cognitive function, memory, and brain health.
- Promotes longevity: Regular exercise is associated with increased life expectancy and a better quality of life.
In combination with the keto diet, regular exercise can increase the rapid weight loss that many people already experience on the keto diet. Adding exercise is always beneficial. However, you don’t necessarily need to work out while on the keto diet.
Can I Eat More Carbs if I Exercise on Keto?
Since so many people struggle with the low-carb limits of keto, many wonders if they can eat more carbs if they work out. First, the amount of carbohydrates you consume daily on the keto diet can vary from person to person. While the most common net carb limit is 20g, some people will go as high as 50g of net carbs daily. You should use a keto calculator to find out your exact goals.
Determining your baseline keto limit is the first step. If you choose a higher amount, you may not get into ketosis. Putting the body into ketosis on lower amounts of carbohydrates is often easier. One way to determine if the body is in ketosis is to use keto test strips.
If you work on the keto diet, increasing your carbohydrate limit slightly is possible. The ultimate goal of the keto diet is to stay in ketosis. Exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels, allowing you to consume a few more carbs. In addition, the exercise burns calories, which means you can drink a little bit more, even if it’s slightly counterproductive.
One thing to understand is that exercising does mean that you can eat a sugar-loaded meal or drink a full-sugar drink like Coca-cola or Gatorade. Consuming a large dose of sugar or carbs at once is a straightforward way to kick your body out of ketosis. So stick to low-carb foods, but you can have a few extra carbs if you’re working out. So have some extra carbs, but don’t reach for a piece of the pie.
If you’re concerned about eating more carbs, you can always test your ketone levels using the keto strips mentioned above.
How Do You Add Carbs While Staying in Ketosis?
How can I eat more carbs if I exercise on keto?
Navigating the keto diet with a bit of extra carbs is a tricky sport. It is surely challenging but not at all impossible! Follow these guidelines to allow yourself some carb indulgence while staying in ketosis.
1. Explore Low-Carb and High-Fiber Options
Most people looking to add more carbs to their keto diet need more variety. Keto offers several alternatives to high-carbs to help you maintain ketosis.
Keto-friendly vegetables keep your meals fresh and vibrant, and it’s best to include leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are low in carbs and add sweetness to your keto recipes.
Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds offer a satisfying crunch and some extra fiber. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or more) is a treat that won’t hurt your keto progress as long as enjoyed in moderation.
Use almond or coconut flour to create keto-friendly bread, muffins, and pancakes that prevent the risk of carb overloading. If craving a boozy cocktail, try keto-friendly variants using spirits like vodka, gin, or tequila with sugar-free mixers.
2. Pre or Post-workout Carb-load
Do you know how to stay in ketosis all day by timing your carbs? Many people on keto take their dose of carbs prior to an intense workout session or after it. This method gives a boost of energy that improves performance during physical exertion and aids efficient recovery afterward.
High-intensity exercise releases adrenaline, makes our heart race, and speedily uses up stored glycogen. Post-workout our muscles mimic sponges parched for carbs to refuel, so they readily soak up available carbohydrates in the next 30-60 minutes.
3. Consider Carb Cycling
Master carb cycling and you won’t have to find out how to stay in ketosis after fasting. Carb cycling for keto involves alternating between high-carb, low-carb, and moderate-carb days.
High-carb days provide extra fuel for intense workouts, while low-carb days maintain ketosis for weight loss; moderate-carb days balance both.
Carb Cycling is customizable for various fitness goals and preferences but requires careful planning, monitoring, and adjustment based on individual responses. It is a strategic way to maximize keto’s benefits while accommodating fluctuating energy needs.
4. Watch your Portions
A decent food-tracking app and the keto calculator are all you need to stay on top of your carb intake. If you’re craving something that seems to be rich in carbohydrates, simply check its nutritional value and take a portion that fits into your daily carb limit.
5. Monitor Ketone levels
Consider using ketone test strips or a blood ketone meter to see how different types and quantities of carbohydrates affect your state of ketosis. This way, you’ll be able to understand your body better, manipulate your carb intake accordingly, and maintain ketosis.
The keto diet’s main goal is to keep your daily net carbohydrates low to cause the body to go into ketosis. Exercise has many benefits to the body, including regulating blood sugar. Combining training and keto is always preferred and can lead to much quicker weight loss and overall better health.
Consuming a few extra carbs is possible if you exercise on the keto diet. Since the carb limit can vary from person to person, the best way to ensure that you are in ketosis is to watch out for the signs of ketosis or measure your ketone levels using a ketone testing strip.