A Guide to Low-Carb & Keto Cheating –

It’s no secret that most of us are genetically predisposed to being able to eat whatever we want with little to no impact to our health. However, this is not the case if you want to have permanent or long-term success with your low-carb or keto diet. It’s easy to get caught up in the allure and promise of low-carb and keto dieting, but without the right knowledge and planning…

Cheating on a diet is hardly a new phenomenon. For centuries people have been in the habit of cheating on diets they don’t understand, often forsaking food they enjoy in the name of health. The low-carb diet (or keto diet) is a bit different, as it’s not an eating plan, but rather a philosophy, which calls for a high fat intake and a low carb one.

There’s no denying that following a diet plan such as Atkins or the Paleo diet is a great way to lose weight. These diets are all about eating high amounts of fat, meat, and dairy, as well as eating some veggies and fruit. The problem arises when you have to choose between cheating on your diet and feeling like a failure for not sticking to it. This can lead to some very tough decisions, especially when you’re in the heat of a competition.

– Updated on June 17, 2021 by

Is it better to cheat or not to cheat? That is the age-old conundrum.

Almost everyone is tempted from time to time – are you one of them? This five-part approach will help you think about straying on your low-carb diet… It will also assist you in cheating more intelligently if you do decide to cheat.

To be honest, we despise the word “cheating.” We use it because so many people can connect to it, but what exactly does it mean? Is it a euphemism for “getting away with something”? Is this implying that you are obtaining anything unjustly? What it actually implies is that you’re committing self-deception. That is why we use the phrase “going off the rails.” That demonstrates that we have a strategy, are working toward a goal, and that we sometimes deviate from it. And, as you’ll see later in this book, that’s not always a bad thing. We do, however, use the word “cheat” often in this book since it is a widely used phrase that many people can connect to.

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1. There are both good and terrible motives to cheat.

What’s the point of cheating? Some arguments are more compelling than others.

Unfavorable circumstances


Is it politeness or a desire to fit in?

Aunt Martha will forgive you if you forego her ooey dessert. When you substitute additional vegetables for potatoes, your dinner companion’s astonishment is usually brief. Don’t exaggerate other people’s interest or involvement in your food choices.

You probably wouldn’t be concerned about what others think of you if you knew how seldom they do!

– Miller, Olin

Remember that most individuals are preoccupied with their own experiences and will soon forget about yours.

However, some individuals are excessively interested in your dietary preferences. If it occurs, have a phrase ready like, “I’m sorry, but I have a sensitive stomach.”


An unsatisfactory cheat is reaching for that dish of sweets on the spur of the moment. A spur-of-the-moment choice to consume a couple of your child’s cold French fries is seldom gratifying.

Random cheating weakens, while planned cheating empowers. Stick to your cheating strategy and be loyal to yourself.

Poor planning

It’s a waste of time to get a lousy two-day-old sandwich at a petrol station. By definition, everything worth cheating on yourself for is wonderful. That stale sandwich, on the other hand, is not.

Maintain a supply of high-quality low-carb emergency food in your vehicle, handbag, or briefcase so you never cheat because you’re hungry.

There are fewer negative causes.


To maintain a long-term low-carb diet

A low-carb diet is permanent; if you revert to your old habits, you will reintroduce undesirable sickness or pounds into your life.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, breaking on sometimes and on purpose may help some individuals maintain their low-carb diet indefinitely. Here’s how to do it:

  • Knowing you can cheat now and again helps to alleviate feelings of deprivation.
  • Planned indulgences may help you avoid feeling deprived of a favorite treat.
  • Cheating on purpose adds diversity to your diet and allows you to be more adaptable.

We don’t have to be flawless for the most part. Cheat on purpose, then return to your healthy low-carb diet.

Some of us, on the other hand, will have a harder difficulty getting back on track after a little detour. Which camp do you belong to? You may have to experiment to find out, but the information gained will help you determine whether or not planned diversions will work.

to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime chances

Pumpkin pie, your favorite dessert, is only prepared once a year by a close family friend… Perhaps now is a good moment to break your no-dessert rule.

On your once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Morocco, there was the perfectly seasoned pyramid of couscous served with stewed lamb… Perhaps this is a deserving exception once again (if you like couscous).


Allowing oneself some leeway to enjoy special experiences or tastes is definitely a smart use of your “cheating allowance.”

Keep in mind, though, that birthday cake in the break room is not an uncommon or unusual occurrence.


2. The Consequences of Cheating


As a result, there are both good and negative motivations to cheat. What are the most common consequences of cheating?

Cravings and hunger

You become hungry when you eat a lot of carbohydrates. If you’ve given them up for any length of time, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Cheating may lead to a reintroduction of hunger and desires into your life.

Proceed with care; you may find yourself in hot water.

gaining weight

Cheating almost usually results in weight increase right away. To begin with, eating too many carbohydrates forces your body to return to fat-storing mode. Second, carbohydrates may cause hunger and desires, causing you to overeat. Third, the water weight that comes with high-carbohydrate diets reappears.

Do you want to feel and look your best? Cheat seldom and with caution.

Blood sugar levels rise.

Cheating is usually not a good idea if you’re trying to keep diabetes at bay with a low-carb or keto diet. Your blood sugar may rise to dangerously high levels if you consume too much or the incorrect kind of carbohydrates. Over time, you raise your chance of long-term problems such as blindness, dementia, and amputations, among other things.

Every time you avoid a cheat, on the other hand, you’re one step closer to reversing your type 2 diabetes.

The cost of cheating may be too great for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes.

Acne and illness

Cheating may have severe and very rapid consequences for some of us, such as bloating, stomach discomfort, gas, or even convulsions (if you have epilepsy). Acne and other kinds of skin problems affect certain individuals.

Is adultery really worth it if this occurs to you?

I’m having a terrible day

One of the most irritating side effects of cheating is that you usually don’t feel well afterward. Aside from weight gain, blood sugar surges, and other issues, your mood may be affected — excitement, concentration, and confidence may all decrease.

This is difficult, and in retrospect, the choice to cheat seems dubious.


For those of you who are sugar (or carb) addicts, cheating may be very hazardous. It’s quite probable that you have a sugar addiction. Despite the fact that there is disagreement, many scientists believe that sugar is psychoactive – it activates the reward centers of the brain (similar to other addictive drugs). As a consequence, relapse may occur quickly.

What happens if an alcoholic just has one drink? A sugar addict may experience the same thing, and you may find yourself off the rails. For others, moderation is not an option, and total abstinence may be the only safe alternative.

Check out our video course with Bitten Jonsson for additional information on how to deal with food addiction and compulsive eating.

Being unfaithful to oneself

Finally, let’s define what it is to cheat. To put it another way, to cheat means:

  • to deprive someone of anything by violating a regulation; or
  • to deprive someone of what he or she deserves or was expecting to get

Keep in mind that when you deviate from your low-carb diet, you are the one who suffers. You are not cheating on a ‘diet,’ but rather on yourself.



3. Cheating without being caught

Is it possible to cheat without feeling guilty or suffering negative consequences? Certainly. These suggestions will show you how to cheat without really cheating.

Make low-carb alternatives


Do you have a strong desire for pizza? How about a tasty and nutritious keto pizza instead of an unhealthy and probably lousy pizza that will leave you bloated?

Do you have a strong desire for some bread? Instead of getting a blood sugar surge from a regular loaf, try this absolutely delicious keto bread!

Do you have a sweet tooth? Fat bombs, frozen sweets, and brownies are all good alternatives to bad foods. They’ll be a hit with you.

There are many more great low-carb recipes for many of your favorite comfort meals. You may enjoy delicious tastes without feeling guilty if you consume these alternatives. That’s a kind of cheating that isn’t really cheating.

Use this delay technique to deceive your mind.


Have you been tempted by the chocolate croissant on the morning buffet? “I can have that,” tell yourself, “but I’m going to eat something else first.” After that, stuff yourself with scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and other low-carb faves. You are free to eat as much as you want. So, what happens next? Your croissant hunger has subsided to the point that you don’t even want one. You did an excellent job!

At the dinner party you’re attending, are you tempted to have dessert? “I’ll wait and eat chocolate when I get home instead,” tell yourself. Time has passed at home, and your food environment has changed – you are no longer watching pals devour a delectable dessert. This curbs your need for anything sweet, making it easier to forego the chocolate – and dessert!

These are some of the mental games that many of us engage in in order to avoid cheating. They’re effective. Make use of them to assist you in sticking to your schedule.

Use this traditional technique if you truly want to avoid cheating — for example, if you have a sugar addiction. Yes, you can have what you desire tomorrow, tell yourself. You will not be able to have it today, but you will be able to have it tomorrow.

Of course, you’ll use the identical tool the next day.

Low-carb foods will satisfy your hunger.


Do you have a strong desire for carbohydrates? Having low-carb snacks on hand may help you eliminate those emotions before they become overwhelming.

Always have low-carb snacks on hand, such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, or Babybel cheese. Act immediately when a desire arises and consume low-carb meals before succumbing to high-carb temptations.

Check out our low-carb snack guide for more excellent snack options.

If you’re doing intermittent fasting, indulge in some fat.


It may be difficult to go through the day without eating if you are occasionally fasting. If you find yourself wanting to break your fast earlier than intended, go for pure fat, such as coconut oil or butter in coffee or tea.

This will satisfy your appetite while keeping you in the fat-burning condition that intermittent fasting provides.


4. Clever cheating

While we don’t promote cheating, if you do, we want you to cheat in the most intelligent manner possible. Use these nine tricks to get a leg up on the competition:

Cheat deliberately

Take command and deliberately cheat. You’re cheating on yourself, so do it as well as you can. Do you perform better when you follow a rigorous daily routine with a day off every now and then? Will a little, daily off-plan pleasure make you feel less deprived? Is it possible to stay in shape while cheating twice a week? Self-awareness is essential.

It may be beneficial to write down your objectives. Consider the following:

  • Keep track of your cheating by writing down when and how you cheated. A cheating journal will assist you determine how often you’re cheating and what the consequences are.
  • Set explicit guidelines for how much and what kind of cheating you will tolerate. Make a list of them and display them in the kitchen.

Cheat by eating non-carbohydrate foods.

This one is self-evident, yet many people overlook it. Cheat by making the least erroneous decision feasible. If you have to eat normal pizza, a thin crust is preferable than a thick crust.

Is there a cup of chocolate mousse or a slice of cheesecake that will be fewer in carbs than that slice of frosted layer cake if you decide to indulge on dessert? Although all three desserts are delicious, the mousse and cheesecake have more fat and less carbohydrates than the frosted layer cake.

You don’t have to throw caution to the wind just because you’re cheating. Reduce the amount of harm.

Use tiny amounts to get away with it.


When it comes to carbohydrates, the fewer you consume, the better. If you think it’s worth it to try something forbidden, how about just one bite?

If you want a sweet end to your dinner, for example, a taste of someone else’s dessert is preferable than ordering your own. It’s also preferable to order one dessert to split with your partner than to purchase one for each of you.

Don’t be scared to stop eating sugary or starchy cheat meals after one or two bites. Go ahead and squander the remainder of your money without remorse. It’s not a good idea to finish a carb cheat when you don’t really want it.

After a dinner, indulge in a little extravagance.

Yes, your grandma was correct when she recommended you complete your meal with a chocolate chip cookie. It’s true that the order in which you eat matters.


Starting with nutritious low-carb or keto meals will curb your desire for the bad things, allowing you to cheat less. Furthermore, consuming protein and fat first lowers the severity of your blood sugar rise by slowing the absorption of glucose into your blood.

Late in the day, cheat

Maintain your low-carb diet throughout the day and only consume carbohydrates after supper. This benefits you in two ways: it reduces your cheating window and puts your body in low-carb state for the bulk of the day. If you’re in moderate ketosis, cheating late increases the amount of time you spend burning ketones.

Reduce the amount of sugar you consume.

Your preferences alter after you’ve acclimated to low-carb diet, particularly your sensitivity to sugar. Sweet foods that were previously just right will suddenly be too sweet. Take advantage of your palate’s natural increase in sensitivity. Darker chocolate is better, while yogurt with less sugar is better.

Whatever it is, less is more when it comes to sugar.

Add a little more fat to your diet.


Carbs must be diluted! Toss bread with butter, peaches with cream, and crackers with cheese.

You’ll eat fewer carbs and feel more satiated if you combine your carb cheat with delectable fats. You’ll also decrease the amount of glucose absorbed into your blood and the accompanying blood sugar rise, leading in less insulin and less hunger.

But bear in mind that this will only work if you decrease your carb intake. You aren’t doing yourself any favors if you just add fat to the same quantity of carbohydrates. Indeed, you’ll consume more calories and create a high-carb/high-fat environment, which may be harmful. As a result, fat is a great way to cut carbohydrates.

Cheat with foods that are important to you.

Make the most of your carbohydrates. Don’t be satisfied with the store-bought lemon square your neighbor brought to the potluck. Instead, go to the local bakery and get your favorite – a slice of lemon meringue pie.

Choose something you like and reserve your cheating for that.

Before or after an action, cheat.


The least harmful moment to cheat is immediately before or after a strenuous exercise. If you consume carbohydrates before a workout, your activity will burn off part of them, preventing them from being stored as fat.

Because your glycogen reserves are reduced after an exercise, part of the carbohydrates you consume will replace glycogen rather than turn to fat.

However, don’t overestimate the benefits of exercise… It isn’t as significant as most people believe. While exercise may help mitigate the effects of occasional straying, you can’t escape a poor diet.



5. Last but not least, getting back on track – quickly


When it comes to cheating, there’s an ancient adage that goes, “Get back on the horse!” Don’t punish yourself if you cheat, even if you violated your own rules. Keep in mind that it occurs to everyone – yes, everyone. So simply go back on the low-carb bandwagon.

Here’s how to do it:

Expect increased appetite and desires.

Prepare yourself for the increased appetite and desires that often accompany infidelity. Don’t back down; double down, commit, and don’t look back. You’ve got this!

Learn from your blunders.

Examine the circumstances that led to the cheating. Understanding your cravings and eating habits may help you prevent relapse in the future. It is a process; continue to learn and improve.

Please forgive yourself.

It’s not healthy to punish oneself for cheating. Be kind with yourself. Low carb is a journey, much like life, and diversions are inevitable. Don’t get too worked up over little details. Maintain focus on your long-term objective and return to a low-carb lifestyle with confidence.

This not only makes you feel better, but it also helps you achieve your goals. In a vicious cycle, feeling terrible weakens willpower and makes it easier to succumb to additional temptations. Instead, make it a goal to forgive yourself right away. It’s done, it’s over, and in the great scheme of things, it was a minor detail.

Feel good about yourself, knowing you’re back on track – that’s all you can do, and all that counts.

A final thought

Keep in mind that cheating is a tool. It, like any other instrument, has the potential to assist or damage. Perhaps cheating isn’t for you. Perhaps it is. However, if you do decide to cheat, do it wisely. With intentional exceptions, develop excellent habits.

And if you do decide to make an exception, be sure to savor every mouthful!



Jenni Calihan, who also writes at EatTheButter.org, wrote this tutorial. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, did the editing.

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Begin your risk-free 30-day trial now!

Get immediate access to low-carb and keto meal plans, quick and simple recipes, medical experts’ weight reduction advice, and much more. With your free trial, you can start living a better life right now!

Begin your risk-free trial now!


Low-carb visual aids

The low-carb craze has taken the world by storm, and now low-carb options can be found in just about every restaurant and fast food chain. But you’re probably curious about the basics of what a low-carb diet entails, why it is so popular, and whether it is safe to eat.. Read more about low-carb diet recipes and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many carbs should I eat in a low-carb diet?

You should eat about 50 grams of carbs a day.

How do I start a low-carb diet?

A low-carb diet is a healthy way to lose weight. Its important to remember that the first few weeks of any diet can be difficult, but youll start feeling better and seeing results quickly.

What is a good low-carb diet?

A low-carb diet is a diet that limits carbohydrate consumption. Its typically high in protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates.

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.