Cheat on Keto – 4 Easy Tricks

As Amazon and Instacart Associates, this post may contain affiliate links that allow us to generate income.

Sometimes you need to cheat on Keto to avoid cheating yourself out of living. After all, it’s hard to be a Keto Girl in a Carbie World. Right?

Parties!!! yeah, I love them, especially family gatherings where everyone gets all competitive about who made the best food and who brought the best wine.

On Facebook you can see all kinds of comments like “I can’t wait for X day because I am planning to cheat on Keto.”

I was on vacation when I thought of this.  So maybe it’s the pot-calling-the-kettle-black, because I didn’t worry (much) about carbs. 

I had a beer – maybe two – maybe two per hour – I don’t know – but it was a good vacation and I would do it again.

Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should try to fill their regular days with the ketosis habit.

But there are things that you don’t want to miss. 

Cheat on Keto? – How to not to & How to Get Away With It When you do.

Birthday cake and holiday food, and food that you love enough to be worth the carbs.

Maybe there are times when the family dinner is done, and you just don’t have time or energy to make a separate Keto dinner for yourself.

Sometimes you are going to need to get into “cheat-osis” and that’s okay.

You can minimize your time out of ketosis with a few easy tricks.

Say Yes to Living, Not Just No to Carbs.

The best thing about a ketogenic diet is how it is great for living a lifestyle…not just surviving.

You can use Keto to maintain control of your weight and health and you can still say a resounding yes to life.

Low carb diets are ultimately quite forgiving, – if you fall off the wagon it’s pretty easy to get back on.

If you eat a piece of cake on your birthday nobody is going to take away your next Birthday.

You can & should say yes to living and all of the great experiences, including food.

I enjoy food even more while being Keto.  Maybe it’s because Keto has forced me to consider everything I eat, and whether or not I really want to eat it.

Most of the time cheating should not an issue because in Ketosis you really don’t get hungry.

And if you’re like me, you have better things to do all day than prepare food and clean up after making it.

But by the same token, I am not going to go to Paris and skip the French pastries.

And the weekend comes into my world too, and the family wants to visit the Burrito Bus. Or, someone asks me if I want a beer. 

Ya know what I say to these things? I say “ahhh, hell yeah.”

But I only say “ahhh, hell yeah,” after I have considered whether the carbs are really worth it.

taco tuesday is out of hand

You know you can still have Taco Tuesday. 

Enjoy it, but don’t overdo it.

The idea of “cheating on your diet” doesn’t really make sense.

Keto is something that you do for yourself. 

If you do it correctly Keto it’s a deliciously healthy lifestyle.

Even though it does require some real effort and discipline at first, once you get into ketosis for the firs time, it is the easiest diet ever.

Your “Diet” is yours.

It’s not you vs. food, or you vs. your doctor, or even you vs the scale.

“Your diet” is just you eating in a manner that makes you happy and healthy.

Is it cheating on Keto to eat ice cream? Yeah

But that only comes after “cheating” yourself out of ice cream to stay Keto.

Ketosis can make you thin, and make you feel good. 

Ice-cream won’t make you thin but it sure can make you feel good (if you only say yes once in a while)…

I am in no way advocating eating a bunch of sugar.

But like I said I thought of this on vacation in Mexico where they had real ice cream made onsite daily.

I am not going to puff up and announce my Keto-ness and deprive myself – I’m having some ice cream.

So hear me out….

How to Get Away with “Cheating” on Keto

Ketosis is achieved by keeping insulin as low as possible for as long as possible. 

There is a little more to it than that, but for “cheating,” it is easier to understand if we just focus on insulin.

Insulin will return to fasting levels within about 2 hours after eating carbs.

So here’s some tricks.

Look for the Keto alternatives

This seems like a no-brainer but it really isn’t. 

If you have a couple of tacos at Taco Tuesday, it won’t be the end of the world.  There are about 11 net carbs in a corn tortilla.

But make them with low carb tortillas , that gets them down to 6 net carbs per taco.

There are so many delicious alternatives that you would never think of.

For me the craziest example of this is how much boiled radishes taste like potatoes. 

I would never have known this except Bran tricked me with the Faux-tato Salad.

Whiskey also makes a really great substitute for beer if you mix it with club soda.

And, the Low Carb Spicy Mulled Wine is an excellent holiday drink.

And there are recipes for tons of  Ketolicious treats even ice-cream. In fact, here is a post about 11 Keto Ice Cream flavors you can make with one master recipe.

Don’t over-do it.

I know that there are going to be times when Keto friendly is not an option, or what you really want is just not Keto.

If you’re at a party and what’s offered is margaritas made in the traditional sugar-filled way, have one and enjoy it.  Ten would be too many even for a “cheat day.”

If you “cheat” too much you will get kicked out of Ketosis, and the more carbs you eat the longer it will take you to get back into Ketosis.

C’est la vie, if you stop eating carbs again right after the party you will be fine.

If you can’t stay Keto try to be low carb.  If you don’t go carb crazy you should be fine – it will take less time to get back to ketosis.

Fast Before “Cheating”

Let’s say you’re invited to dinner party on Saturday and you know that they are going to served home-made lasagna and cannoli for dessert.

You know you’re going to eat it, but don’t worry, if you manage this right you could be back in ketosis by Sunday afternoon.

All you have to do is stop eating (fast) on Friday afternoon so that by the time you get to Saturday dinner, you have no carbs and no insulin in your system.

You eat the lasagna and cannoli. You savor it. You love it. What a great party.

Your insulin spikes, and you add 200 grams of carbs (800 calories) to your system.  This probably will kick you out of ketosis.

If you fast on Sunday morning after the party, your insulin will return to fasting levels, and all of the carbs will be burned off and you will be back in Ketosis. Ta-da!

A little warning here: you may experience a very mild version of the keto flu and some bad breath when you transition back to ketosis.

Carb Clustering

This is an easy trick.  If you eat carbs, it will spike your insulin to about 140% of fasting levels, but then once you stop eating carbs, your insulin will return to fasting level in about 2 hours.

If you were in ketosis before you ate these carbs, the carbs will gather in your cells as glycogen.

Once that glycogen is burned off, your cells will need energy, so they will tell your liver to make ketones, and that means you’re back to ketosis.

Here’s an example. 

Let’s say you get to the restaurant, at 6:00pm.  You have not eaten any carbs that day, and you are in Ketosis.

During the meal you have 200 grams of carbs (800 calories), 

Your insulin spikes, and it pushes all of those carbs into your muscle and liver cells where it is converted to glycogen.

If you finish eating at 7:30pm, by 9:30pm your insulin will return to fasting level. 

At this point, your body will be running on that glycogen until it runs out.  

If your BMR (base metabolic rate) rate is 2000 (example) calories per day you burn about 83 calories per hour.  

And that means that those carbs will be burned up in about 10 hours. 

So by 7:30 the next morning, you should be back in ketosis.

Still Confused about Keto?

This might be confusing but if you have questions PLEASE ask. (in the comments) 

I swear I won’t carb shame you because we don’t roll like that around here. And if you need a Keto Cocktail to keep going you can find them right here on Castle in the Mountains.

More Keto Info

20 Amazing Benefits of the Keto Diet

Getting Started on the Keto Diet

What to Eat on the Keto Diet

Keto Alcohol: Drinking and Ketosis

No/Low Carb Sweeteners

Keto Supplements

The Best Keto Approved Shopping List

Keto Over 40

Nine Signs of Ketosis

Cheers Everyone!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. I am going to need this after today. Thanks for these amazing tricks. I really want to enjoy my family food this holiday and your article really helps. Thom, you’re a cool cat and I hope you have a great New Year!

  3. Ty,
    30 carbs a day 20 of which are fiber leaves 10 net carbs – which is pretty low for carbs. And if you did that for 2-1/2 months you were probably in ketosis which increased your insulin sensitivity, and reduced to nearly zero the amount of blood sugar you had that was coming from your diet.
    Your McDonald’s binge had about 150 net carbs, and probably spiked your blood sugar and insulin – and to be clear it probably did kick you out of ketosis for a few hours.
    But 150 net carbs is only about 600 calories worth of carbs, and if you’re starting in ketosis i.e. zero carbs it would take your body about 6 hours to burn those carbs out of your system. Additionally your insulin would be low enough to start burning fat within about 2 hours after the binge.
    Drinking only black coffee and lots of water the following day was the perfect plan and probably why you got back on track so quickly.
    You second question about ketone levels: There are a lot of possible reasons for those readings. Assuming that your testing method is accurate, your body has locked into the right balance. Blood ketones are the ones that have not been absorbed by your cells to be used as energy – they are the excess that will be excreted in urine. So basically your body is producing just a little more than you need.
    So, while I don’t recommend frequent binges, it looks like pulled this one off.
    Live well and Keto On,

  4. Hi, I have been on a very strict clean keto diet for 2.5 months. My carbs come in the forms of fiber. Usually I take in 20-30 grams of carbs a day 15-20 of those in fiber. After 2.5 months I caved in last night and cheated! I ate… 17 chicken McNuggets 1 double quarter pounder with cheese and a large French fry with a few dipping sauces! Yeah I enjoyed it… I did end up feeling a bit bloated but no problem. The next day I woke up had a black coffee and a ton of water to flush out. About 16 hours after that meal I tested my blood and was at 0.5 Later in the evening before bed I was 0.7. So it seems that huge carb overload from cheat meal never kicked me out of Ketosis. I would like to add while I was in Ketosis for 2 months my average ketone level always stayed between 0.5 and 1.5. I could never achieve really high ketone levels and as the months passed they usually stayed around 0.5 to 1.0 average. I was surprised the cheat meal didn’t kick me out. Is this somewhat normal ? Ty !

  5. Hey Jenny! My best advice for this would be to make it worth every second! And, just commit to getting back on track when you return. Maybe plan to do some fasting once you “feel” ketosis kick in again. Have a wonderful time!!! You deserve it.

  6. This a timely post. I’m going on an adventure to Koreatown with two of my daughters this weekend. We used to live in Korea so we are really looking forward to restaurants, street food, and snacks! I am in ketosis now. Is there anything I can do to minimize the “damage” from the trip which I fully intend to enjoy? Thanks!