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The Cheat Meal Strategy that Keeps you in Ketosis

The Cheat Meal Strategy that Keeps you in Ketosis

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The Cheat Meal Strategy that Keeps you in Ketosis – Thomas DeLauer

Cheat Days

Typically speaking, as you get leaner, your leptin levels get lower, and your metabolism slows

Cheat days can be used strategically in which you increase your calories up to maintenance or slightly above; helps boost your metabolism and restores leptin levels – tells your body that you aren’t starving and that you have an abundance of energy

Having a cheat day you will spike your leptin levels back up and kick start your metabolism to burn more fat – leptin levels rise and fat burning begins

Note: Leptin is highly responsive to glucose metabolism – so if the majority of your additional cals are coming from good sources of carbs your leptin levels will show a significant rise over if you had eaten a surplus of cals coming from more protein or fat

Disadvantages of Traditional Cheat Meals on Keto

Takes you out of ketosis
Disrupts fat adaptation
Spikes your blood sugar, causing cravings
Risking the keto flu.

Leptin & Fat Metabolism

Leptin regulates lipid metabolism independently of food intake – leptin stimulates lipolysis in adipose tissue and liver via activation of the sympathetic nervous system

*Leptin has been shown to increase glucagon and catecholamines*

Leptin also stimulates fatty acid oxidation by activating AMPK in skeletal muscle, and preventing the accumulation of lipid metabolites associated with lipotoxicity

Leptin Resistance

You’d think, then, that fatter folks would somehow magically stop eating or start losing weight once their leptin levels were high enough.

The body doesn’t always listen to the leptin message and leptin resistance occurs

The leptin signal isn’t being heard, so it cannot stimulate your metabolism or suppress your appetite

Because fat cells produce leptin in proportion to their size, obese people have very high levels of leptin

Given the way leptin is supposed to work, these people’s brains should realize they have a sufficient amount of fat

The problem is that the leptin signal isn’t working. There’s excess leptin floating around that the brain doesn’t see

When the brain doesn’t receive the leptin signal, it thinks that the body is starving, even though it has more than enough energy stored

Causes the brain to think that we need to eat more and conserve energy – makes us
overeat and feel lazy

One theory as to why this occurs is that leptin can’t get to the hypothalamus because the proteins that transport it across the blood brain barrier aren’t working or aren’t there, since there’s a buildup of leptin in the cerebral spinal fluid that bathes the brain


1) Takekoshi K , et al. (n.d.). Leptin directly stimulates catecholamine secretion and synthesis in cultured porcine adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

2) Physiology of leptin: energy homeostasis, neuroendocrine function and metabolism. (n.d.). Retrieved from

3) Ahrén B and Havel PJ. (n.d.). Leptin increases circulating glucose, insulin and glucagon via sympathetic neural activation in fasted mice. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from