The ketogenic diet is currently gaining more and more attention. No wonder, because experts and supporters of this diet promise rapid weight loss, better health, and increased performance in sports and everyday life.
Losing weight is difficult. We are constantly surrounded by temptations that make it difficult for us to reach our goal. How nice it would be if there was a trick to make your life a little bit easier. For some people, the keto diet can be that trick.
In the following article, you can find out how you can lose weight from the ketogenic diet.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. While you are in ketosis, your body burns more fat and uses it (instead of glucose) as its primary source of energy. Since you are only eating very few carbohydrates as part of a ketogenic diet, you will also avoid so-called insulin peaks, meaning you will have fewer ravenous hunger attacks and thus create the best conditions for dropping those annoying pounds. Congratulations!
To achieve ketosis, you cut off your body’s supply of carbohydrates and sugar. As a result, your stored glucose – also called glycogen – is used up, and blood sugar and insulin levels drop. Your body begins to search for an alternative source of energy, and finally burns fat to produce energy. When your body burns fat, it produces ketones. Without producing ketones, you are not in ketosis. Therefore, the purpose of the ketogenic diet is to support and promote ketone production.
The results of a ketogenic diet can vary from person to person, as each person has a different body composition and factors such as insulin resistance also play a significant role. This is completely normal and should not be forgotten when starting a ketogenic diet. Every person is different and if in doubt, it is best to consult a nutritionist before starting a ketogenic diet to clarify questions and remove any obstacles that may stand in the way of future success.
Sooner or later, everyone can successfully lose weight with ketogenic nutrition, because it has long proven to be effective in the fight against pounds and has been proven to reduce body fat. There are many meaningful scientific studies that indicate that ketogenic nutrition is one of the most effective ways of losing weight.
What Are Ketones?
Ketones are the metabolic product created when the body switches to fat burning mode. Lipase (an enzyme responsible for fat breakdown) releases stored triglycerides (fats). These fatty acids go to your liver and your liver converts them into ketones.
Glucose and ketones are the only energy sources used by the brain.
Before the advent of agriculture, when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, they fasted regularly. When food was scarce, they had no choice but to wait for a more convenient time to seek out and consume food.
They had a very low intake of carbohydrates and protein, and therefore unintentionally produced ketones. The conversion of stored fat into energy has since then been firmly established for our survival and is a natural part of human existence.
Your body burns fat to use and produce ketones when glucose sources are weak or depleted, such as
- during fasting
- after prolonged physical work
- if you follow a keto diet
A low carb diet is not necessarily a ketogenic diet. . .
The difference between ketogenic and low-carbohydrate diets is that the ketogenic diet targets ketosis.
Other low-carbohydrate diets do not reduce carbohydrate intake sufficiently, so the metabolism cannot convert the production and combustion of ketones as an energy source.
However, certain types of keto diets have some leeway in the absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.
For more info on the differences between low carb diets and the keto diet, check out our article here.
4 Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are four common types of ketogenic diets:
- The standard ketogenic diet (SKD): The most common and recommended version of the diet: 20-50g net carbohydrates per day, moderate protein intake and high fat intake.
- High protein ketogenic diet: Additional protein is consumed with SKD, which can be ideal for top athletes.
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD): Similar to intermittent fasting – several days of low carbohydrate ketogenic diet followed by a few days of carbohydrate intake.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): targeted energy for your workout: 25-50g net carbohydrates or less about 30 minutes to an hour before training
How Does the Keto Diet Help You Lose Weight?
Ketogenic nutrition is a good and, above all, effective tool in the fight against excess pounds. By drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake, you force your body to use fat instead of carbohydrates as an energy source – this leads to the burning of the fat stored in your body.
Here are the mechanisms behind a ketogenic diet, which supports your weight loss success:
- Your appetite is reduced: People who eat keto food feel full longer, because ketogenic nutrition influences the hormones that regulate the feeling of satiety.
- Increased fat burning: The ketogenic diet increases your fat burning at rest.
- Less carbs, fewer calories: As you eat less carbohydrate-rich foods and have fewer foods to choose from, you are more likely to reduce your total calorie intake over the course of the day.
- Improved insulin sensitivity: Ketogenic nutrition keeps blood sugar levels low and can therefore significantly improve insulin sensitivity – this plays an important role in ketogenic nutrition and weight loss.
You Can Lose Weight With Fat?
Sure! But, not all fats are equal!
Eating fat makes you gain weight is a misconception that has been persistently making the rounds for years. Unfortunately, there is often no differentiation between “bad” and “good” fats and it is often ignored that saturated fats such as MCTs (medium-chain-triglycerides) go directly to the liver to be used as an energy source and are not stored in the body as fat deposits. So yes, healthy fats can make you slim!
How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight With the Keto Diet?
As mentioned, the keto diet varies from person to person. Therefore, some people may see results faster or slower than others. Not to worry! There are numerous tips and tricks to help speed up ketosis. However, here is the average timeline for weight loss in the keto diet:
First Week: Rapid water loss (2-10 lbs / 1-4.5 kg)
Typically, people experience very rapid weight loss in the first week of the keto diet – from 2 to 10 pounds already!
The ketogenic diet causes your body to first release a lot of water weight (not fat) due to the low carbohydrate intake.
This is because carbohydrates need water to stay in your body. If your body does not use glucose immediately, it stores it as glycogen in your muscles and glycogen binds water. Each gram of glycogen is stored with 2-3 g of water.
When you switch to a ketogenic diet for the first time, your body will burn off all glycogen reserves before using fat. Once the glycogen reserves are used up, the water that was needed to store it is eliminated and that is why the weight on your scale changes so rapidly.
While this is not fat loss, it is a sign that your body is making its way into ketosis: into fat burning mode.
This rapid loss of water can also lead to dehydration and constipation, so drink more water than you would normally drink every day to keep things moving.
To avoid the symptoms of keto flu and stay dehydrated, bone broth is very popular with keto, especially in the first week.
Short and Medium Term: Continuous Weight Loss (1-2 lbs / 0.5-1 kg per week)
After a couple weeks (about week 2 and 3), weight loss is slower and more even.
This is also the period when you become “fat-adjusted” as your body switches from carbohydrates to fat as an energy source, which means that you will now actually lose body fat.
An average weight loss from here is about 1-2 pounds per week.
This is what research says about weight loss from the keto diet:
- One study found that obese patients lost 13.6 kg after 2 months on a keto diet and over 88% of patients lost more than 10% of their initial weight by the end of the study, while the lean muscle mass was virtually unaffected – that is 1.5 kg per week!
- Another study found that obese patients weighing 101 kg lost 10 kg after 8 weeks. They lost 16 additional 2 kg by week 16 and 3 additional kg by week 24. Overall, they lost 15 kg in 5.5 months – that is 0.5 kg per week.
- A study of volunteers with obesity and type 2 diabetes, who weighed 108 kg, lost 11.1 kg in 24 weeks – that is 0.4 kg per week.
- One study found that 120 overweight hyperlipidemic patients lost 9.4 kg of fat mass in 24 weeks – that is 0.36 kg per week.
- A meta-analysis, which included data from 13 studies, showed that patients consistently lost more weight on the ketogenic diet than on a low-fat diet.
As you can see, weight loss varies depending on how long you are on a keto diet, how much weight you have to lose and your state of health. People seem to lose most fat in the first 2-3 months of the keto diet, although weight loss continues as long as people follow the keto diet.
Long Term: Slower Weight Loss
As you get closer to your target weight, weight loss will start to slow down with keto.
This is because as you lose weight, your total daily calorie requirement decreases. So even if you continue to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, it will make a smaller difference now.
For a few weeks it may seem that you have not lost any weight, and then a week later you weigh yourself and have 1-2 kg less.
The key is to simply continue to follow the ketogenic diet consistently and not get discouraged. Just make sure that you are still in ketosis and give your body time.
One study found that men and women between 30-69 years old who weighed between 90-100kg lost a total of 14kg after one year on a keto diet!
However, most weight is lost in the early stages of the ketogenic diet, the individuals…
- Lost 7kg after 4 weeks.
- Lose another 5kg between week 4 and 12.
- Did not notice any major changes from week 12 to 12 months (barely 1-2 kg).
This means that the keto diet is effective for fast and sustained fat loss.
You will see the biggest changes if you stick with it for a few months!
(NOTE: You want to start the ketogenic diet but not really sure where to actually start? Check out my review on the 28-Day Keto Challenge!)
Keto Diet Weight Loss Results
The ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight, as the intake of carbohydrates decreases dramatically and the body is forced to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
Results vary between individuals due to various factors, nevertheless, in a variety of situations, keto has consistently led to a reduction in body fat and, consequently, weight.
A 2017 study investigated the effects of a ketogenic diet in combination with crossfit training on body composition and performance during 6 weeks. The study found that people on a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD) significantly reduced body weight, body fat and fat mass compared to the control group.
Results of the tested persons after the ketogenic diet:
- On average, they lost 2.6% body fat, while those in the control group did not lose any body fat.
- They lost an average of 3.45 kilograms compared to the control group where no weight loss was achieved.
- On average, they lost 2.83 kilograms of fat mass (the body parts consisting entirely of fat) compared to the control group who did not lose any fat mass.
- Muscle mass was maintained at the same level as in the control group.
Keto Diet Benefits
The advantages of ketones are that your body burns fat as fuel and blood sugar and insulin are lowered. Here are a few other benefits the keto diet brings:
The benefits of ketosis are:
- Burning body fat
- Improved physical energy
- Mental clarity and increased awareness
- No feeling of deprivation because you are less hungry
- Skin improvement for people with acne
- Consistent blood sugar levels – due to little to no intake of simple and refined carbohydrates
- Hormone regulation – Women who use keto report less severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Improved triglyceride and cholesterol levels
Apart from the therapeutic benefits, many people swear by Keto because they feel mentally and physically fitter.
Is the Is the Keto Diet Right for You?
- want to lose weight successfully and quickly without starving or suffering from constant ravenous hunger pangs.
- want to be more athletic and mentally efficient despite the diet.
- wish you more drive, motivation and a generally better well-being in everyday life.
- don’t feel like counting calories all the time but prefer to listen to your own feeling of satiety.
- like to try out new recipes and have no problem investing your money in high-quality, nutritious and natural foods.
…then the keto diet may be perfect for you!
Tips to Lose Weight With the Keto Diet
As already mentioned, it usually takes a few days for the body to get used to the change in diet and to form ketone bodies. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you with weight loss in the keto diet and even speed up the process. Let’s take a look!
If you exercise regularly and intensively, this makes the onset of ketosis much easier. Activities that make you sweat empty your glucose stores much faster than if you move very little or not at all.
Unless you are already following a specific exercise program, start by doing an intensive cardio workout of about 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.
Fasting can be just as helpful as exercising in order to reach a ketogenic state as quickly as possible. Intermittent fasting is particularly helpful, in which you extend the time window between breakfast and dinner.
Do not eat anything for at least 16 hours after dinner until you eat your next meal in the form of breakfast or lunch. Alternatively, you can go without food completely for 24 to 48 hours, but the former method usually proves to be easier for many people in practice.
For more info on intermittent fasting and a 3-day fasting plan, check out our article here.
- MCT Oil
MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) is a special oil that is directly metabolized by the body. Medium chain triglycerides are immediately available as ketone bodies and can be used accordingly for energy production.
What is special is that MCT fats cannot be stored by the body, or stored in the fat depots. Thus, the organism is forced to fall back on its reserves.
However, there are many mistakes that can be made on the keto diet that may slow or stop any progress! Check out the 10 Biggest Mistakes made in the Keto Diet to be sure you don’t
As you can see, the ketogenic diet has countless advantages. Once you are in ketosis, losing weight is quick, easy and does not require starvation. To do this, you must only eliminate all carbohydrate-rich foods from your diet. Instead of carbs, try healthy fats and proteins and make sure you eat no more than 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
High-quality fats, eggs, meat, fish, high-fat dairy products and plenty of low-starch vegetables should be on your daily menu from now on if you want to try the keto diet.
Check exactly what you eat, stick to your keto macros, and test your ketone levels regularly to make sure you are staying in ketosis. Above all, give your body time to react to the big changes. Then you can lose weight quickly with the ketogenic diet.
One more tip: Measure your progress with photos!
Take pictures – one at the beginning of the diet – and then later weekly and/or monthly. This way you can see very clearly and easily how the fat burning during the ketogenic diet changes your body composition. It’s a simple way to monitor and you can use it as proof of the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet for visible weight loss!
A properly applied ketogenic diet will definitely help you lose excess pounds!
I hope you found this article on how the keto diet can help you lose weight helpful! Have you had weight loss success from following the keto diet?
Thanks for reading!