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What is Cyclical Ketosis?

What is it and why is it an important part of ketosis? Ketosis… It’s a bit of a hot topic. Is it good, is it bad? What does it mean and how do you do it properly?

I’m all about getting to the bottom of things. And usually I do this through trial and error! Read more about that on my recent post The Gut Repair Program – A Nutritionists take

Through my own gut healing process I had to revaluate my eating lifestyle and find a new normal. I’m not a huge fan of labels but I guess you could somewhat call it a ‘keto diet’ or ‘paleo-based diet’.


What does this mean?

The ketogenic diet is a dietary lifestyle that looks at predominately using fats as fuel, moving away from our traditional fuel source – glucose from carbohydrates.


high fat,

moderate protein,

and low-to-no carb. 

A ketogenic or low carb diet puts your body into ketosis, a state where we burn fats over sugar/glucose as our energy source. This results in rapid weight loss for most individuals, which has resulted in the diets popularity. 


What’s it good for?

  • Brain health and associated conditions including epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and migraine headache. 
  • Metabolic conditions including PCOS, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
  • Obesity and weight loss.

Who is it not good for

  • Low fat tolerance, resulting from poor liver and gallbladder function. 
  • Pregnant and breast feeding women.
  • Anyone that respond poorly to the program – i.e. decreased energy, cognitive function, lowered mood etc. 
  • If you have a poor relationship with food i.e. anorexia. 

How to do it properly

  1. Start the diet with a 10 day no carb phase. This will get the body into ketosis. This is when keto flu is likely to occur. 
  2. After this point, introduce wholefood, healthy carbohydrates sources in very low doses; incorporate around 20-50g of carbohydrates per day i.e. 75g sweet potato, ¼ cup of rice, quinoa, beans or legumes etc.  Always looking to healthy sources of carbohydrates that provide other nutrients and avoiding high sugar, refined carbs. 
  3. The overall goal is cyclical ketosis. This means that ketosis is broken daily or every few days, to prevent against ill health. 
  4. Macronutrient balance: fats, adequate proteins, occasional carbohydrate source and lots of vegetables! 

Cyclical ketosis

Being in a prolonged state of ketosis can be damaging on the body. You definitely can have too much of a good thing. 

The aim for cyclical ketosis is to bring our body out of the cycle, to give it a hearty, healthy dose of carbohydrates and remind it that it’s not actually starving (which is what initiates ketosis). Healthy, complex carbohydrates also have their benefit in the body, and it’s important to ensure balance, even if it’s not in the traditional sense.

As a person that practices somewhat of a cyclical keto/paleo-based diet, I’m a big advocate for doing it properly. I can go days without carbohydrates but I’ll never restrict and I’m conscious about ensuring I break the cycle every couple of days. 

Annalise Maddrell (Resident Nutritionist)

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