How The Ketogenic Diet Promotes Weight Loss

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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Data gathered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2019 show that more than one-third (36.5%) of adults and 17% of children in the United States were obese. (37, 38)

People who are obese are at higher risk of developing health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. (39)

In this article, we’ll go over how the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss and some of its health benefits.

How the Ketogenic Diet Promotes Weight Loss

There are several ways the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, here are 6 of them:

1. Cutting Carbs

As mentioned above, one way the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss is by limiting carb intake, which is not a very satiating nutrient.

By limiting carb intake you’ll be able to easily keep a calorie deficit, which is key for weight loss.

Just think about, no more high-calorie cookies, cereals, and sugary foods that don’t fill you up and are easy to overeat.

However, that doesn’t mean you cannot have any sweets. There are plenty of keto-friendly recipes for cookies, muffins, and even cheesecakes!

If you’re a soda person, here are 12 great keto soda alternatives for you.

2. Reducing Appetite

Several studies (12, 13) show that one great advantage of ketogenic diets is their ability to help you reduce appetite.

Studies (14) have found that a ketogenic diet leads to lower ghrelin levels – the hormone responsible for sending hunger signals to your brain.

Lower ghrelin levels will help you keep hunger low, which often leads to fewer calories being consumed, and ultimately weight loss.

In this study, (15) researchers found that subjects eating a ketogenic diet ate less food and didn’t crave alcohol as much.

4. Eating More Protein

Not only is protein an essential nutrient needed to maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, muscle tissues, and joints, but it also keeps you full for longer and burns more calories.

The thermic effect of food is the number of calories your body requires to break down and digest a nutrient.

Protein has the highest thermic effect of all three nutrients, followed by carbs, and lastly, fats. (16)

  • Protein: 10-30%
  • Carbs: 5-10%
  • Fats: 0-3%

For example, if you ate 200 calories from protein, your body could burn between 20-60 calories (10-30% of 200) just by trying to digest it, but would still assimilate the remaining 180-140 calories.

If you’re having trouble reaching your daily protein requirements, supplementing with a keto-friendly protein powder might be a great option. 

5. Gluconeogenesis

Even while being on ketosis, the body needs to produce glucose, this is because the liver and some parts of the brain still require it to function. (17)

Since the ketogenic diet restricts carbs, your body creates the needed glucose from fats and protein.

This process of creating glucose carbs from fats and protein is called gluconeogenesis (gluco: glucose, neo: new, genesis: creation).

As you can imagine, this process requires energy, which makes you burn additional calories each day. (18, 19)

6. Storing Less Fat

The common belief is that fat makes you fat, however, it is the excess calories (no matter where they come from) that makes you store fat.

Interestingly, studies (20) suggest that a ketogenic diet might reduce lipogenesis, the processes of converting sugar into fat.

Explore this article about how long it takes to see results on keto.


A few ways the ketogenic diet can help you lose weight include increased protein intake and reduced sugar consumption, appetite, and lipogenesis.

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The Ketogenic Diet and Weight Loss Studies

Studies (3) have shown that the ketogenic diet is extremely effective for losing weight.

Research (4, 5, 6) shows that it can help you maintain muscle mass, lose fat, and improve your overall health.

What’s surprising is that the ketogenic diet seems to be better than regular diets even when calories are equated. (7, 8)

In this study, (9) subjects eating a ketogenic diet lost about 2.2 times more weight than those on a low-fat, low-calorie diet.

This other study (10) comparing the ketogenic diet with the Diabetes UK’s dietary guidelines found that subjects on the ketogenic diet lost a little over 15 pounds while the low-fat group lost only about 4.6 pounds.

If you’re not a fan of tracking calories, this study (11) showed that you can lose weight on the ketogenic diet even if you’re not actively counting calories.

Losing weight on keto without counting calories is possible because fat and proteins are more satiating nutrients than carbs.

Carbs tend to be less filling, which can lead to overeating, and ultimately weight gain.


The ketogenic diet has shown better fat loss results than regular low-fat diets. You can even lose weight without tracking calories.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein diet.

By drastically reducing carbs and increase healthy fats, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis.

In this state of ketosis, your body turns fat into ketones to be used for energy instead of carbs.

Most of the benefits of the ketogenic diet come from its ability to lower insulin levels and increased ketone production. (1, 2)

Here’s a list of 8 tricks to get into ketosis fast.


The ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that forces your body to use fat as energy instead of carbs.

Other Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

The benefits of the ketogenic diet don’t stop with weight loss, in fact, some people start a ketogenic diet for its other health benefits.

Here are 5 of those health benefits:

1. Reduced Blood Sugar

Ketogenic and low-carb diets can be especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. (21, 22)

Studies (23, 24) have shown that reducing carbs reduces both insulin levels, and blood sugar by an incredible amount.

In this study (25) done in people with type 2 diabetes, 95% had reduced or completely stopped taking their glucose-lowering medication within 6 months.

If you plan on starting a ketogenic diet but are taking medications to lower blood sugar levels, make sure to talk to your doctor first.

Cutting carbs while taking medications to lower blood sugar can cause your blood sugar to drop too low (hypoglycemia).

2. Better LDL Cholesterol Levels (“Bad” Cholesterol)

Research (26, 27) shows that people with high LDL “bad” cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks.

Studies (28, 29) show that smaller LDL particles increase the chances of heart disease, while larger particles lower them.

Ketogenic and low-carb diets are great for increasing the size of “bad” LDL particles while reducing the number of total LDL particles in your blood. (30)

3. Increased HDL Cholesterol Levels (“Good” Cholesterol)

On the other side of the spectrum, we have HDL cholesterol, this type of cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol.

The higher your levels of HDL compared to LDL “bad” cholesterol, the lower your chances of developing heart disease. (31, 32)

Eating lots of healthy fats during the ketogenic diet will increase your HDL “good” cholesterol levels. (33, 34)

That’s why HDL levels tend to decrease when eating low-fat diets, but increase when eating a healthy high-fat diet.

4. Reduced Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension), is another risk factor for several diseases, such as kidney failure, stroke, and heart disease.

Studies (35) show that ketogenic diets and low-carb diets are an effective way to help lower blood pressure, and ultimately your risk to any of the diseases mentioned above.

5. Improved Brain Health

While sugar can be great for a quick energy boost, it doesn’t really help your brain function optimally.

Research (36) shows that the brain functions more efficiently when using ketones as fuel than it does on glucose (sugar).

On a normal diet, the brain gets all of its energy from glucose. However, on a ketogenic diet, it gets around 2/3 of its energy from ketones.

Here’s another list of 10 unexpected benefits of the keto diet.


The ketogenic diet is great for improving brain function and reducing blood sugar, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol levels.

How to Start a Ketogenic Diet

Here are a few guidelines if you want to start a ketogenic diet:

1. Reduce Your Carb Intake

Though everyone has different nutrient requirements, most people maintain proper ketosis when eating less than 30 grams of carbs per day.

So aim to eat 30 grams of carbs per day and see how your body is reacting.

2. Eat Your Vegatables

Vegetables will provide you with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed to maintain proper health.

The fiber content on vegetables will help you digest foods better and keep you full for longer.

Some vegetables tend to be high in carbs, so make sure that you eat low-carb ones, such as spinach, cabbage, kale, and broccoli.

3. Eat Foods High in Protein & Fats

Foods like meat, whole eggs, cheese, nuts, oils, creams, butter, and avocados are great sources of fats and proteins.

4. Track Your Progress

It’s difficult to see changes by just looking in the mirror or not tracking your weight and measurements.

Consider taking pictures and measurements every week to compare with previous ones and tracking your weight at least 3 days a week.

This is the best way to track progress regardless of which diet you’re on.

Using only the scale is not recommended, as many things, such as water, sodium, meal timing, stress, and anxiety can make your weight fluctuate.

Plus, if you started resistance training and the ketogenic diet at the same time, you might be building muscle while burning fat, which may lead to changes in body composition, but not weight.

5. Look for Keto-Friendly Recipes of Your Favorite Foods

The advantage of the ketogenic diet being so popular is that people have come up with plenty of delicious keto-friendly recipes.

Whatever you’re craving, someone has probably made a keto-friendly version of it already!

6. Have a Plan Before You Start

A common reason many people fail to lose weight is not having a well-structured plan.

People don’t spend time learning what they need to about whichever diet they want to start, they just “kind of” follow them so they “kind of” get results.

They also tend to go for crash diets that claim to make you lose 30 pounds in 1 week.

These crash diets tend to be extremely low in calories, which slow your metabolism faster than normal, lead to weight regain, and make it more difficult to lose weight the next time around.

That’s why the Custom Keto Diet plan takes into account your specific needs, likes, dislikes, and metabolism to build a ketogenic meal plan tailored to you.

7. Replenish Your Minerals

The ketogenic diet can change your fluid and mineral balance. Therefore, it’s important that you add some salt to your foods and take some keto electrolytes.

Electrolyte supplements can help prevent magnesium, sodium, and potassium deficiencies.

8. Maybe Add Some Ketogenic Supplements

While using ketogenic supplements is not necessary, some supplements like MCT oils can help you reach your daily fat intake and reach ketosis faster.

9. Stick With It

In life, many people quit too soon, they try something for a few days and give up because they don’t see fast results.

Most things in life require hard work and persistence, weight loss is no different.

So give it your best and stay consistent with your goals. Trust the process, you’ve got this.

If you loved this article on how the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, and are ready to start your weight loss journey, the Custom Keto Diet plan is the place to start!

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This plan helps men and women lose fat without starving themselves or giving up their favorite foods.

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