Does the keto diet work for weight loss? This is a common question among men and women wanting to get healthy.
The keto diet (or ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein diet that has been rising in popularity.
While more research needs to be done about the long-term effects of this diet, current research shows that the diet can help you burn fat.
Besides its incredible fat loss benefits, it has also shown other health benefits, such as increased mental clarity and improved type 2 diabetes.
In this article, we’ll see if keto diets work for weight loss or not.
Table of Contents
How Does The Keto Diet Work?
The keto diet works by reducing your carb intake to 5-10% of your total daily calories. (1)
Since carbs are your body’s main energy source, reducing them makes your body enter a state of ketosis where it uses fat for energy instead. (1)
Not only do you need to reduce carb intake, but you need to increase your fat intake to around 70-90% of your total daily calories. (2)
Protein intake stays at a moderate 20% of your calories.
Here are 8 awesome tips to get into ketosis fast, if you’d like to explore more.
The keto diet forces your body to use fat as its primary fuel source by significantly reducing carb intake.
Some Ways The Keto Diet Works for Weight Loss
Reducing Sugar & Alcohol Cravings
After a couple of weeks, people who constantly craved sugary foods can find themselves not craving them very often.
This can help tremendously as sugary foods tend to be high in calories and easy to overeat.
This study (3) done in 20 obese patients showed a reduction in alcohol cravings after a few weeks on keto.
Ghrelin levels – a hormone that stimulates appetite – have been shown to decrease while on keto. (6)
Reducing Water Weight
Losing water weight is the main reason you hear people say they were able to lose 5-15 pounds in a week.
While some of it is fat, the majority is water weight.
This is because 1 gram of glycogen – the stored form of carbs – retains about 2-3 grams of water. (7)
But don’t get discouraged, this is a great indicator that your body is getting ready to enter ketosis and burn some fat.
Wondering how long it takes to see results on keto? Check out this article.
Easier To Keep Calories Low
Some carb sources, such as white rice, flour, cereals, granola, and cookies are not filling at all and therefore easy to overeat and lead to weight gain.
Most people don’t have a problem overeating protein or fat as these nutrients tend to be more satisfying.
It’s more difficult to eat 2000 calories worth of chicken than it is of white bread.
The keto diet makes weight loss easier by reducing sugar and alcohol cravings and hunger. It also helps you get rid of water weight.
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Can I Eat As Much As I Want While on Keto?
In fact, this is one of the reasons some people aren’t able to lose weight on keto.
A common misconception is that you can eat as much as you’d like as long as it doesn’t have carbs.
This, unfortunately, isn’t the case. You still need to make sure not to go over your total daily calorie requirement.
Eating more calories than you burn will promote weight gain, so in order to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, even on keto.
Here’s a more in-depth keto guide for beginners.
To lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, the keto diet is no exception.
Things That Can Affect Your Rate of Weight Loss
Keep in mind that we’re all different and many things can affect how fast we lose weight, here are some of them:
Your activity levels
Studies (8) have shown that pairing exercise with the keto diet can promote faster weight loss.
However, if you don’t typically exercise, I’d recommend you start keto first and then, once your body gets adjusted, begin a good exercise routine.
Making too many changes at the same time can be too much for some people.
People who keep yo-yo dieting and jumping on extreme calorie deficits can experience slower weight loss as their metabolisms might not be in a good spot.
It can take quite some time to build their metabolisms back up.
Your carb intake
Eating too many carbs can prevent you from reaching ketosis or kicking you out of it once you reach it.
Make sure you check nutrition labels so that you don’t end up eating foods with hidden carbs.
For the majority of people, eating less than 50 grams of carbs per day is enough to stay in ketosis. (9)
Getting a good night’s sleep
People often take sleep for granted, however, studies (10) have shown that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your weight loss efforts.
Not getting enough sleep can cause an imbalance in your hunger hormones, which can lead to increased hunger and reduced satiety. (11)
The Sleep Foundation recommends adults to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each day. (12)
Several things can affect your rate of weight loss during keto, so don’t panic if you’re losing weight slower than somebody else.
What To Eat on a Keto Diet
- Vegetables. During keto, it’s important that you still eat your vegetables as these contain nutrients and fiber that are needed for a healthy body and gut. Aim for low-carb vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and zucchini so that you don’t go over your daily carb requirement.
- Meats. Aim for unprocessed meats as some processed meats like sausages and meatballs often contain added carbs.
- Fish and seafood. Fish are great for those eating keto, you can go for things like tilapia, sea bass, tuna, and salmon.
- Eggs. Eggs are a great protein and fat source.
- Natural fat. You can get some of your fat from coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and garlic butter.
- High-fat dairy. Good sources of high-fat dairy are butter, heavy cream, and cheese. Keep in mind that low-fat and fat-free cheeses, as well as low-fat yogurts, often contain added carbs.
- Nuts. Nuts are also a great source of fat and fiber, but be careful as some of them, such as macadamia and pecans, contain a few carbs.
- Drinks. Some keto-friendly drinks include water, tea, bone broth, and coffee with coconut oil or butter.
- Some foods to avoid. Avoid eating foods like fruits, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, donuts, granola, protein bars, sodas, juices, beer, and candy.
During the keto diet, you should focus on getting at least 80% of your calories from whole foods.
The good thing about keto being so popular is that there is now a variety of supplements that can help make it even easier to lose weight on keto.
Here are some of the best keto supplements:
- MCT oil. This type of oil is digested faster than other fats and can help you reach your daily fat intake.
- Digestive enzymes. Eating lots of fats and not enough fiber can cause some digestive issues, therefore, people on keto can benefit from digestive enzyme supplements to better digest fats.
- Keto protein powders. Most protein powders contain some added carbs. Keto powders, on the other hand, contain almost no carbs.
- Exogenous ketones. These help you increase your blood ketone levels and reach ketosis faster. (13)
- Keto electrolytes. Because of the water loss at the beginning of keto, it’s not uncommon to deplete your body from electrolytes. Electrolyte supplements can help prevent deficiency of sodium, magnesium, and potassium. (14)
Here are the 7 best keto protein powders for weight loss.
Keto supplements are obviously not necessary, but they can make things a little easier for those looking to jump on the keto diet for weight loss.
This study (15) done in mice showed that exogenous ketones supplements and MCT oil were able to reduce hunger, which leads to fewer calories being consumed and therefore help with weight loss.
Supplements are not necessary, but can make losing weight on keto a little easier for some.
If you loved learning if the keto diet really work for weight loss and are ready to start your weight loss journey, the Custom Keto Diet plan is the place to start!
This plan helps men and women lose fat without starving themselves or giving up their favorite foods.