Here's How to Transition Off the Keto Diet (Without Gaining Weight)

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

While clinical nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNC, recommends the keto diet as a temporary diet, one of the biggest complaints in doing so is the immediate post-keto weight gain. So what happens when you forgo the high-fat lifestyle and go back to regular life? Do you just gain all the weight back?

Dr. Axe has a strategy for transitioning out of ketosis. The key here is to not go from your (for most people, drastically different) diet back to your normal eating habits, especially if said habits were carb heavy with lots of processed sugars. In fact, Dr. Axe has noted that he's seen this same thing happen with thousands of clients, keto or otherwise: the second someone is done with a diet, they go ham with the unhealthy foods. It's not a hallmark of stopping keto but rather of stopping any kind of diet.

However, since keto is such a specific diet with such unique parameters for macronutrients, he has a few eating and dieting techniques that he recommends for coming off keto:

  • Paleo. First and foremost, he suggested transitioning from keto to Paleo. They're similarly low-carb, but Paleo is more maintainable for a long period of time with a good balance of essential macronutrients.
  • Carb Cycling. This is a technique that Dr. Axe's wife uses for weight maintenance and health. He explains it in deeper detail on his website, but it generally consists of eating more carbs on certain days of the week and fewer on others. Dr. Axe told POPSUGAR that carb cycling is a great way to transition off of the keto diet.
  • GAPS Diet. The GAPS diet focuses on promoting a healthy gut — anything from inflammatory bowel disease to leaky gut syndrome. On said diet, you avoid all processed foods and sugars, grains, starchy carbs and potatoes, and dairy.
  • TCM. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the basis of Dr. Axe's nutritional practice, and the diet itself promotes overall health with a natural approach. The diet is different for everyone depending on your body's needs, but in our discussion, Dr. Axe focused on alkalinity by using specific greens to balance the body's acidity (think: cilantro, parsley, turmeric, spinach, celery, or cucumber).