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Can a keto diet help you lose weight?Published:
Before the discovery of phenobarbital to control epileptic seizures, a ketogenic diet was often implemented to treat epilepsy. This high fat, low carb diet lost its popularity when treating epilepsy with drugs became more widespread. However, in the early 1990s as parents looked to find more natural treatments, the ketogenic diet was once again recognized as a valid treatment for preventing seizures in children.
A ketogenic diet not only helps you lose weight, it may also lower your risk for certain diseases such as diabetes. This diet does not leave you feeling hungry, and it’s satisfying and filling. There is no need to track calorie intake in order to lose weight, which is one of the main things that prevent most people from sticking to a diet.
Most low-carb diets restrict carb intake to 20 grams per day during the first few weeks, while some allow a dieter to consume up to 50 grams per day. The total calories from carbs allowed on a keto diet may vary based on a person's activity level, as well as their current weight and metabolic rate.
It is easier to lose body fat on keto because of a few reasons, including increased protein and healthy fat intake. Increased protein helps you to maintain a healthy metabolism and the increased fat in your diet keeps you feeling full for much longer.
Potential Health Benefits And Risks of the Keto Diet
There have been a multitude of studies and research into the possible health benefits for those who properly follow a high-fat, low carb diet. As more and more people have been successful at this diet and have used it for long-term weight loss, doctors are now able to draw more conclusions on the beneficial effects as well as the negative effects.
Cutting carbs decreases insulin levels and lowers your blood sugar drastically. One study concluded that people with type 2 diabetes were able to reduce and in some cases, entirely eliminate the need for medication to lower their glucose levels.
Although there are many health benefits that come with the keto diet, it's important to understand the risks as well. One of the most dangerous side effects of this diet is the loss of electrolytes. Our heart and muscles need the proper nutrients to function properly. As with any diet, it's important to eat the right foods, however, people new to the keto diet may struggle to get enough potassium, magnesium and sodium.
Without these vital nutrients, you will start experiencing muscle cramps, heart palpitations or other cardiovascular events, and could lead to high blood pressure and even kidney damage.
The Pros and Cons of Following a Keto Diet
Following a keto diet comes with many advantages. For one, hunger is greatly reduced which means that people tend to eat less resulting in greater weight loss. Once you get past the first few days on keto, and begin the initial phase, you will find that you no longer experience cravings for certain foods.
You are able to eat high-fat foods such as nuts, cheese, butter, fatty fish and red meats and can still lose weight. On the other hand, the limitations of this diet can often leave people feeling deprived because most people are used to eating starchy foods like bread and potatoes.
You also need to eliminate sugar from your diet and there are so many foods with hidden sugars in them, you will soon find out that most of the seemingly harmless foods that you regularly eat will have to be avoided. Sugary foods like candies and other sweets will have to be removed from your food list as well.
A strict diet like this can cause many people to stop before they see results. This can result in a yo-yo dieting effect that causes even more weight gain and other health risks such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and even fatty liver disease.
Can A Keto Diet Help People With Diabetes?
Medical research and scientific evidence have shown that the keto diet can be an effective tool in people with type 2 diabetes. In one study, participants were able to lose weight and lower their blood sugar levels by following this strict low-carbohydrate, high fat diet for a year.
In a person with diabetes, the body produces an excess amount of insulin which leads to high sugar levels in their blood. A ketogenic diet may help some people who have type 2 diabetes because it maintains glucose levels low while still being safe. This lowers blood sugar, and eliminates the need for insulin to allow individuals to live without constant worry of their next meal's impact on their condition.
Furthermore, research conducted over a three month period has shown that this can have an effect on HbA1c over time.
A low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to lower A1c levels, but that may increase the risk factor of your blood sugar being too low. It's important to talk with your doctor about any changes in diet, especially if you're on medications for diabetes. Eating too few grams of carbs can be dangerous because it might affect how these drugs work and increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Scientists are just beginning to understand how the keto diet can affect those with type 1 diabetes. One small study found that it lowered A1c levels, but we need more research in order to fully comprehend this powerful and innovative way of healing from a chronic disease like type 1 diabetes.
It's important to understand the difference between diabetic ketoacidosis and ketosis. These are two completely different things. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical condition that occurs in people with type 1 diabetes and is a life-threatening condition. This results from a high blood sugar level and a high level of ketones.
Ketosis on the other hand is not harmful and can occur when you do intermittent fasting or eat a low-carbohydrate diet. Your body then produces ketones while burning up body fat.
How To Get Into Ketosis
Ketosis is a natural state in which the body relies on fat and not carbohydrates as its main source of energy. When you cut out carbs, your body starts to burn fat for fuel. This is a natural state that can happen when people fast or go on low-carb diets.
One symptom that many people notice when starting a ketogenic diet is often referred to as the "keto-flu." This isn't an official condition or term but it refers to feeling sick, lethargic and irritable.
Some doctors think this might be caused by sugar or carbohydrate withdrawal, while others think it could be due to a change in your gut flora or a possible reaction of the immune system (although these theories have not been confirmed).
You may also experience side effects that go away after the first few days. These side effects can include:
- Lack of energy
- Inability to focus
- Bad breath caused by ketosis
- Sore muscles
How Do You Know When You Are In Ketosis?
The goal of going keto is to remain in a state of ketosis for as long as possible. A ketogenic diet is an eating plan that induces the body to use fat as its primary fuel source.
With a reduction in insulin levels and increased breakdown of fats, your liver increases ketone levels which, in turn, supply energy for the brain. This happens when following this type of diet correctly but it can be hard to know if you're actually "in ketosis" based on physical cues alone.
Your body will have an increase of ketones in your blood and the surest way to know you are in ketosis is by using a specialized meter that measures your blood ketone levels. Nutritional ketosis is when your ketones range between 0.5 and 3.0 mmol/L.
You can also tell by using a breathalyzer to measure acetone although it's not quite as accurate as a blood monitor. Urine strips can be used to measure ketone in the urine but they are not very reliable.
Rapid weight loss will also occur in the first week due to the loss of water weight and stored carbs. Although you will lose body fat consistently as long as you stay in a calorie deficit.
Even though you may experience brain fog when you first go into ketosis, as you get past the keto flu, you will find that you have more energy and focus.
Different Types Of Keto For Weight Loss
The end goal of any type of keto diet is to get the body into a state called "ketosis." One way this can be done is by cutting carbohydrates and increasing dietary fat. There are variations on how many carbs you should eat per day. Some say 20 grams per day while others recommend about 50 grams per day in order to reach ketosis more quickly.
Regardless of which type you choose, it's going to consist of foods that are low-carbohydrate and high fats in order to achieve your desired metabolic state. Be sure that you don't just arbitrarily follow these numbers though. Always speak with an expert such as a registered dietitian or healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
Standard Ketogenic Diet
A standard ketogenic diet (SKD) consists of a very low amount of carbs, a moderate protein intake and a high amount of healthy sources of fat. The majority of calories should be calories from fat. This might look like 20 grams of carbohydrates, 40 grams of protein and an unlimited amount of fat.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The CKD diet is sometimes referred to as carb backloading. It's intended for athletes and consists of days where you eat more carbs two days a week to replenish your muscles with the glycogen that is often lost during workouts.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet
This is a mix of the SKD and the CKD but allows you to eat more carbs on any days that you workout. You should eat the carbs right before or right after a workout to feed your muscles and to have more energy while active.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet
A high-protein ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight fast. The ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates for the diet can be set at 35% protein, 60% fat, and 5% carbs.
How Much Weight Does The Average Person Lose On Keto?
Just like with any diet plan, it's important to lose weight slowly. However, during the first week, you will see the most weight loss due to water loss and eliminating carbs from your body. Most people will lose up to 10 pounds during the first week.
After that, the average person loses between one to two pounds per week. During this period, you will also experience an appetite decrease as the grams of fat in your diet increase, causing you to feel more full. Your carbohydrate intake will decrease and you will lose many of the cravings that are experienced when eating too many carbs.
Increasing your physical activity can help you to lose weight more quickly and any amount of exercise is beneficial to your health.
What Foods You Should Avoid or Limit on the Ketogenic Diet?
Going low-carb is a restrictive diet because although you probably have figured out that you can't eat processed foods that contain grains and sugars like donuts or pizza, you may not realize that there are healthy foods you need to avoid as well. Some of these foods that could cause weight gain are starchy vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, as well as fruits that contain high amounts of sugar and carbs.
What Foods Can You Eat On The Keto Diet?
On the flip side, you should make food choices that contain healthy fats such as olive oil, real butter, avocados, and nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce and zucchini are staples of the keto diet.
Full-fat dairy and cheese can be eaten as well. It's important to stay away from foods such as low-fat yogurt and opt for Greek yogurt instead. Because of the sugar in milk, you should avoid it. This tends to be a problem for coffee drinkers who are used to adding milk to their morning brew.
Coffee and tea are great for those who are restricting their calories and their carbs, but many people don't realize that adding non-dairy creamer contains sugars and chemicals that will knock them out of ketosis and can cause your weight loss to stall or even cause a weight gain.
If you are looking for a keto-friendly way to consume coffee, our ICONIC keto collagen coffee powder has all the flavor and goodness required to keep you on track and gives you that boost of energy to start your day.
Is A Keto Diet The Best Way To Lose Weight?
If you are looking for a way to lose weight and to get rid of excess body fat, the keto diet is an option that should be on your radar. From the most recent research, it does seem like people can achieve faster weight loss with this approach than they would with other diets. It can be used for weight loss maintenance when you have achieved your desired weight loss goals.
There's no denying the fact that sticking to such a strict regimen long-term could be tough or downright impossible (especially if you're not very committed). That said, as long as you keep these tips in mind before going keto and you stay disciplined during those first few weeks of adjustment, you may find yourself feeling healthier and happier sooner rather than later!