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Will I Regain Weight If I Stop the Keto Diet?

Weight regain after a diet is a valid concern. Most studies demonstrate weight recidivism (returning to near or at your previous weight) following a diet. This can lead to a yo-yo type effect with your weight.

The key to defeating weight recidivism after dieting is the same for all diets – adopting a new lifestyle. It is normal to gain back some weight after stopping a particular diet – sometimes as much as 5-10 pounds, immediately. You should not worry too much about this, as it is not fat that you are regaining that quickly. In the case of the Keto diet, this will be primarily due to water weight. When you re-introduce carbohydrates at more than 50 grams per day into your daily intake, you will start to restore glucose reservoirs – in the form of glycogen – into your muscles and liver. Every gram of glycogen carries with it 3 grams of water. This is where the immediate weight comes from.

The key to maintaining your new weight is to match your TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure. Everyone expends energy to keep their body’s vital functions going, even at rest. This is called your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. There are a number of online calculators that can help establish your BMR. To that, you add what extra energy you use to formulate your TDEE. A good way of doing this is to use a calorie counting app, in conjunction with a step or movement counter. There are many of these available for free on the Internet, but you can get quite fancy with them if you want.

For example, if you are a 160 lb male, your BMR may be 1700 calories. If you use a fitness watch in conjunction with an app that counts your calories, you might establish that throughout the day, including at work and at the gym, you burn an extra 600 calories. Your TDEE is 2300 calories. This is the amount you should roughly consume throughout the day, using the calorie counting app to track it.

There is much more honing that can go into changing your body composition of fat to muscle, based on the type of exercise you do and the ratio of macronutrients you consume. But the basic idea is that your intake should match your output. Following a Keto diet, you will have lost both total weight and your body fat percentage. If you choose to reintroduce larger ratios of carbohydrates into your intake, you can maintain that weight, and that fat percentage, by matching your consumption with the energy expenditure of your body.

Published on June 19, 2019 by Dr. Shawn Tsuda, FACS

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