You’ve heard people talk about how fast they’ve lost weight on the keto diet, but does it really work? If so, how long does it take to see results on keto?
In this article, we’ll see whether or not the keto weight loss works and how long it can take to see results.
Table of Contents
- Does Keto Weight Loss Actually Work?
- How Long Does It Take To See Results on Keto?
- How Fast Should You Lose Weight?
- How Much Weight Can You Lose on Keto?
- Keto Diet Results
- What Research Says About Keto Weight Loss
- What Is The Keto Diet After All?
- How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?
- How to Get Into Ketosis Quickly
- How Do I Know If I’m In Ketosis?
- How Long Should I Stay on the Keto Diet?
- The “Keto Flu”
- Keto Weight Loss Plateau
- How to Transition off of the Keto Diet
- Common Keto Mistakes
Does Keto Weight Loss Actually Work?
A frequently asked question from people wanting to start the keto diet is whether or not keto weight loss actually works.
People losing weight fast on keto sounds too good to be true, and luckily, it really does work.
However, just like any other diet, several people can see different results.
Here are a few things that can affect how quickly you see keto weight loss results:
- Body composition
- Metabolic rate
- Health conditions
- Eating habits
- Activity levels
How Long Does It Take To See Results on Keto?
Although many things can affect how long it takes to see results on keto, the average person can lose between 5 to 15 pounds in the first week.
Most of the keto weight loss, however, comes from water.
This is because 1 gram of glycogen – the stored form of carbs – holds 2 to 3 grams of water. (1)
When you cut carbs from your diet, your body uses glycogen stores for energy, once it runs out of glycogen, the water it was holding will also leave.
I know this may sound like a bummer, but it is actually a good sign that your body is getting ready to enter ketosis.
Average Rate of Keto Weight Loss The Following Weeks
After the first week, keto weight loss will happen at a more realistic pace.
At this point, your body should be getting used to your new eating habits and entering ketosis (using fat for energy instead of carbs).
Lose your first 5-10 pounds in just 1 week.
Get the FREE 7-Day Keto Challenge!
How Fast Should You Lose Weight?
The recommended rate of weight loss is 1% of your body weight per week to preserve muscle mass and a healthy metabolism. (7)
This ends up being about 2 pounds per week for most people.
However, if you’re overweight or obese, it’s okay to lose 1.5-2% of your body weight per week. Even a little more if you’d like.
Overweight and obese people tend to have enough fat stored to get energy from without compromising muscle mass.
For instance, if you’re overweight and weigh 200 pounds, you could safely lose 4 to 5 pounds per week.
Here’s an article going into more detail about how keto weight loss works.
It’s recommended that you lose 1% of your body weight per week. If you’re overweight or obese, it’s okay to lose up to 1.5-2% of your body weight per week.
How Much Weight Can You Lose on Keto?
When it comes to keto weight loss results, most people can expect to lose between 30-40 pounds in 12-weeks.
Again, this can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.
Typical keto weight loss results to expect are losing between 30-40 pounds in 12 weeks.
Keto Weight Loss Results After 8 Weeks
Here are two amazing women who had great weight loss results from following a keto diet for just 8 weeks.
Here’s what Katy Thompson from the U.K. had to say about the 8-week Custom Keto Diet plan:
I’ve been asked to give my view on Custom Keto Diet plan I received and have to say it REALLY works… As of today, I’ve lost 35 pounds, I have no Hunger pangs and mentally I feel Sharp as a pin. This is definitely going to become a “way of life” for me as it’s so easy to follow…
All my Meals are planned out for me and I even get a downloadable shopping list with all the ingredients I need for weekly shop so it really is a doddle.Katy Thompson
And here’s what Jessica from Washington, U.S. had to say about the 8-week Custom Keto Diet plan:
I’ve tried so many fad diets, exercised like a mad man and simply starved myself and every time I ended back at square one…
The meal plan I got with Custom Keto Diet is simply amazing and has let me strip the fat faster than I ever thought possible BUT I have also kept it off too!
It’s definitely worth trying if you want to lose weight.Jessica
Although keto diet results can vary from person to person, most people are able to lose a significant amount of weight in a short time.
What Research Says About Keto Weight Loss
This study (2) showed that obese subjects lost 30 pounds after 2 months on the keto diet (about 4 pounds per week).
It also showed that more than 88% of subjects lost more than 10% of their initial weight by the end of the study without losing much muscle mass.
In this other study (3), subjects with type 2 diabetes and obesity lost an average of 25 pounds in 24 weeks.
It also led to improvements in glycemic control and medication reduction/elimination in those with type 2 diabetes.
This meta-analysis (4) gathered data from 13 different studies and found that subjects on the keto diet lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet.
The keto diet has been shown to be more effective for weight loss than the often recommended low-fat diets.
What Is The Keto Diet After All?
If you’re unsure about what exactly “keto” is, let me explain.
Keto is short for “ketosis,” this is a state where the body uses fat as its main energy source instead of carbs. (8)
Your body’s preferred energy source is carbs, by not eating carbs, your body has no choice but to switch to fat as its main energy source.
You can read much more in my article about keto for beginners: a complete guide.
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that makes your body utilize fat as fuel instead of glucose.
How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?
How long it takes to get into ketosis depends on the individual.
For example, someone who exercises regularly will empty their glycogen stores quicker than someone who doesn’t, reaching ketosis faster.
Someone who fasts will also enter ketosis faster than someone who slowly reduces carbs.
Getting into ketosis typically takes between 2 to 7 days.
Here are 8 great tips to help you get into ketosis fast.
Getting into ketosis can take between 2-7 days.
How to Get Into ketosis Quickly
How quickly you get into ketosis can also affect how long it takes to see results on keto.
Here are a few tips to get into ketosis fast:
1. Eat Fewer Carbs
As previously mentioned, carbs can stay in your system for 2-7 days.
Therefore, a great way to reach ketosis quickly is to reduce your carb intake to 20–50 grams per day.
2. Add Some Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has fats named medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
These types of fats are absorbed faster than others, which makes them immediately available for energy.
Some studies (2) show that consuming coconut oil might be one of the best ways to boost ketone levels.
3. Exercise More
Exercise will help deplete your body from glycogen, which is crucial for getting into ketosis.
4. Fasting to Get Into Ketosis
Going without eating for a few hours is a great way to get into ketosis fast.
In fact, you actually go into a mild ketosis when you sleep (between your last meal and breakfast).
Interestingly, experts sometimes have children with epilepsy fast for 24-48 hours before starting the keto diet.
How long does it take to go into ketosis when fasting?
If you’re doing a strict water fast, you can enter ketosis in 2-3 days.
You can read more about what happens when you fast in my article Stages of Fasting.
5. Eat More Healthy Fats
When losing weight on keto, you don’t want to just eliminate carbs, but also eat more healthy fats.
Eating more healthy fats will ramp up your ketone levels and help you get into ketosis quickly.
During keto weight loss, it is recommended that 60-80% of your calories come from fat.
More than that isn’t really necessary and won’t result in more ketone production.
This study (16) showed that there was no difference in ketone levels between people consuming 79% of calories from fat and those consuming 90%.
6. Eat the Right Amount of Protein
The keto diet focuses on a moderate protein intake.
Protein is an essential nutrient needed for maintaining healthy bones, hair, nails, and joints as well as keeping your metabolism fast.
However, too much protein can kick you out of ketosis.
If you’re trying to get into ketosis quickly, try keeping your protein intake around 20% of your total calories.
A few ways to get into ketosis quickly include eating fewer carbs, adding coconut oil to your diet, exercising more, and fasting.
How Do I Know If I’m In Ketosis?
During the first few days, your body will begin to get fat-adapted. This is your body producing ketones to use as energy instead of carbs.
During this period, some people can feel “funny” while others can show no symptoms at all.
Here are some of the symptoms you could experience:
- Constipation or diarrhea
A mistake many people doing keto make is not getting enough fiber, this can cause digestive issues.
Fiber is mostly found on fruits and vegetables, however, some of these can contain lots of carbs, which is why it’s important to pay attention to what you eat and choose low-carb vegetables high in fiber.
- Brain fog
While one of the benefits of keto is increased focus and mental clarity. During the transitional stage, you can experience some brain fog.
- Mood swings
Your body might be too dependent on sugar and carbs, that’s why cutting these foods can make you a little grumpy.
- Other symptoms
You could also experience sugar cravings, muscle cramps, and heart palpitations.
But don’t worry, these symptoms shouldn’t be severe and last more than a few days, this is just your body getting used to your new eating habits.
After You Become Fat-Adapted
After your body becomes fat-adapted, you’ll feel more energized, not crave sweets, focus better, and lose weight.
Other Ways To Check If You’re In Ketosis
Other ways to make sure you’re in ketosis is to use a blood glucose meter to check for ketones or taking a urine or breath test.
The latter ones being not as accurate, but cheaper options.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of the keto diet, you can explore this article.
There are several temporary side effects that can let you know if you’re in ketosis. Other methods include using a glucose meter or taking a urine or breath test.
How Long Should I Stay on the Keto Diet?
Since there aren’t any negative effects of following the keto diet for an extended time, you can stay on it as long as you’d like. (9)
There’s a guy at my gym that has safely stayed on the keto diet for over 3 years and looks AMAZING.
However, if you’ve reached your goal weight and miss eating foods like oatmeal, potatoes, and rice, you can definitely start introducing them again.
It’s completely safe to stay on the keto diet as long as you’d like. However, if you miss eating carbohydrates, you can slowly introduce them after you’ve reached your goal weight.
The “Keto Flu”
Some keto beginners think that staying in ketosis isn’t safe because of the “Keto Flu.”
It’s important to know that the Keto Flu isn’t a real form of the flu.
It’s just a few symptoms some keto beginners can experience until their bodies get keto-adapted. (10)
Here are a few of the symptoms beginners could experience:
- Muscle cramps
- Trouble sleeping
These Keto Flu symptoms typically last only about a week, but some people might experience them for a little longer.
How to Get Rid of the Keto Flu
- Drink Enough Water
As previously mentioned, keto weight loss can make you lose a lot of water as well, which increases the risk of dehydration. (11)
Therefore, make sure that you drink at least 1 oz of fluid per pound of bodyweight to prevent symptoms like fatigue and muscle cramping. (12)
- Get Enough Sleep
Low-quality sleep can cause your body to release cortisol (stress hormone), which can worsen Keto Flu symptoms and make you grumpy. (13)
- Eat Enough Fat
If you’re not eating enough fat, you can experience sugar cravings.
This study (14) showed that low-carb diets help reduce cravings for sugary and high-carb foods.
Some people new to keto weight loss may experience temporary symptoms, such as nausea, constipation, and muscle cramps. However, there are several ways to prevent them.
Keto Weight Loss Plateau
Everyone, no matter which diet they do, will get to a point where weight loss will slow and eventually stall.
This is because our metabolisms adapt to our new calorie intake/diet and activity levels.
This is completely normal and is our body’s way of preventing us from starving.
Here are a few things you can do when this happens:
- Give it a couple of weeks
Again, this is normal, so don’t get discouraged when weight loss stalls.
Just stay on your diet and give your body some time to jump back into weight loss mode.
- Increase your calories
Yes, you read that right.
If you’ve been dieting for a few months and your calories are already pretty low, you might need a diet break.
Keep eating the same foods but increase your calories by 400-500 for a week.
You might start losing weight after increasing your calories.
- Decrease your calories
If you’re still eating a decent amount of calories, you might, instead, need to drop them a little.
Try cutting calories by 300.
Here are 12 reasons you might not be losing weight on keto.
Keto weight loss plateaus are normal and are to be expected when losing weight with any diet.
How to Transition off of the Keto Diet
Studies have shown that 70% of people who lose weight gain it back within a year, 85% within 2, and 95% within 3 years. (15)
Not only that, but 1/3-2/3 of those who regain the weight will gain even more weight than they had before.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want that to happen to you.
So it’s important that you slowly increase your calories after you’re done dieting instead of just eating everything on sight.
Slowly Add More Carbs to Your Diet
You can add an extra 10 g of carbs per day for the first week.
Aim to increase that number each week or every other week depending on how you’re feeling.
Keep in mind that if you’re increasing your carb intake, you’ll have to reduce your fat intake or else you’ll gain weight.
Also, remember that carbs hold water, so if you gain a lot of weight after adding carbs, it’ll most likely be water weight.
If you’d like to transition off of the keto diet, it’s recommended that you slowly start introducing carbs to prevent rapid weight gain.
Common Keto Weight Loss Mistakes
Here are a few mistakes that can affect how long it takes to see results on keto.
1. Not Being in Ketosis
People often believe they’re in ketosis when they actually aren’t.
You need to pay attention that the foods you eat don’t have hidden carbs that can prevent you from reaching ketosis or kicking you out of it.
Here’s how to avoid this mistake:
- Watch for hidden carbs
Don’t be fooled by their front marketing cover that says “healthy” or “low-carb.”
Instead, look for the actual nutrition label and make sure there aren’t any hidden carbs.
- Watch your vegetables
Vegetables contain carbs so you need to be careful about how much you eat.
Eating too many vegetables can kick you out of ketosis.
However, not eating enough vegetables can cause you to not get enough fiber in your diet, which can negatively affect your gut health.
Try going for low-carb vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
- Limit artificial sweeteners
Some sweeteners can cause an insulin spike high enough to kick you out of ketosis.
If you need to sweeten your food, opt for stevia or look for keto sweeteners like Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener.
2. Not Paying Attention to Your Calories
Just because you’re not eating carbohydrates or sugar during keto, it doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you’d like.
Eating more calories than you need will make you gain weight regardless of which type of diet you’re on.
Here’s how to avoid this mistake:
- Track your calories
In the beginning, is important that you track your calories so that you can get familiarized with food composition and portions.
After a few months, you’ll get the hang of it and might start eating by intuition.
If you need help with tracking calories, you can check out my article on how to use MyFitnessPal.
- Fats have more calories
Keep in mind that 1 gram of fat has about 9 calories compared to 4 calories per gram of protein and carbs.
So it’s easy to overeat smaller foods like nuts that look like they’re not much but come packed in calories. Some nuts also contain more carbs than others so keep an eye for those.
- Don’t eat too little
While it’s necessary to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose weight, making drastic cuts to your calories can cause your metabolism to slow even faster and increase cravings and the chances of weight regain.
That’s why it’s important that you don’t jump on crash diets and instead take a smarter and safer approach to weight loss that will be best in the long-term.
How long it takes to see results on the keto diet depends on each person.
However, most people can start seeing keto weight loss results from the first week.
Those who stay on the keto diet for 8 weeks typically see a drop of 20-30 pounds, and those who stay for about 12 weeks can lose between 30-40 pounds.
If you’re having a hard time losing weight, the keto diet might be a good option for you.
If you loved this article about how long does it take to see results on keto and are ready to start your weight loss journey, the 8-week 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.