There is strong evidence that ketogenic diets are very effective for weight loss (15).
In fact, many studies have compared the recommended low-fat diet to a ketogenic diet for weight loss.
In one study, people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also improved (19).
You can see typical weight loss results on this graph (19):
Another study compared a low-carb diet to the Diabetes UK’s dietary guidelines. It found the low-carb group lost 15.2 lbs (6.9 kg), while the low-fat group lost only 4.6 lbs (2.1 kg). Over 3 months, the low-carb diet caused 3 times more weight loss (22).
However, there are contrasting theories for these findings. Some researchers argue the results are simply due to a higher protein intake, and others think there is a distinct “metabolic advantage” to ketogenic diets (23, 24).
Other ketogenic diet studies have found that people can lose fat when food intake is not controlled or restricted. This is extremely important when applying the research to a real-life setting (25).
If you dislike counting calories, the data suggest a ketogenic diet is a great option for you. You can simply eliminate certain foods and don’t have to track calories.
Here is a link below for a ketogenic diet foods
Mechanism Behind Ketogenic Diets and Weight Loss
Here’s how ketogenic diets promote weight loss:
- High protein-intake: Some ketogenic diets lead to an increase in protein intake, which has many weight loss benefits (23).
- Food elimination: Limiting your carb intake also limits your food options. This can noticeably reduce calorie intake, which is key for fat loss (24, 25).
- Gluconeogensis: Your body converts fat and protein into carbs for fuel. This process may burn many additional calories each day (26, 27).
- Appetite suppressant: Ketogenic diets help you feel full. This is supported by positive changes in hunger hormones, including leptin and ghrelin (28).
- Improved insulin sensitivity: Ketogenic diets can drastically improve insulin sensitivity, which can help improve fuel utilization and metabolism (29).
- Decreased fat storage: Some research suggests ketogenic diets may reduce lipogenesis, the process of converting sugar into fat (30).
- Increased fat burning: Ketogenic diets rapidly increase the amount of fat you burn during rest, daily activity and exercise (31, 32).
KETOGENIC EATING RULE
What to Eat
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are macronutrients and generally, a keto diet consists of about 5% carbs, 20 to 25% protein and 70 to 75% fat.
This may seem tough, but these keto diet rules are easier to follow than you may imagine.
These three macronutrients have different effects on ketosis. Their effect on ketosis depends on how they are digested and how they affect glucose levels in the blood.
- Carbohydrates raise both glucose and insulin and are therefore 100% anti-ketogenic.
- Protein is both ketogenic and anti-ketogenic. More than 50% of all protein from food is converted to glucose that raises insulin.
- Fat is 90% ketogenic and 10% anti-ketogenic. It is this anti-ketogenic element that can convert triglycerides to glucose should the brain require it.
The effect of fats on ketosis is minimal. Its main effect is really on how much weight you can lose. Your body can either burn body fat or dietary fat as fuel.
So the more weight you want to lose the more body weight you want to burn.
However, don’t go overboard with limiting your fat intake too much because this will leave you hungry and is counter productive.
Still, remember that ketogenic diets are very individual and have to be adapted to what works for you.
HOW TO FOLLOW ON KETOGENIC DIET?
If you want to try a ketogenic diet, follow these basic rules:
- Eliminate carbs: Check food labels, and aim for 30 grams of carbs or fewer per day.
- Stock up on staples: Buy meat, cheese, whole eggs, nuts, oils, avocados, oily fish, and cream, as these are now staples in your diet.
- Eat your veggies: Fat sources are high in calories, so base each meal on low-carb veggies to fill your plate and help keep you feeling full.
- Experiment: A ketogenic diet can still be interesting and tasty. You can even make ketogenic pasta, bread, muffins, brownies, puddings, ice cream, etc.
- Build a plan: It can be hard to find low-carb meals for when you’re on the go. As with any diet, it is important to have a plan and go-to snacks or meals.
- Find what you love: Experiment until you find the ultimate keto diet for you.
- Track progress: Take photos, measurements and monitor your weight every 3 to 4 weeks. If progress stops, try reducing portion sizes slightly.
- Replace minerals: Ketosis changes your fluid and mineral balance. For this reason, salt your food and maybe take electrolytes or magnesium.
- Try supplements: To boost the ketogenic process, you can take ketone salt supplements, MCT oil (5–10 grams twice a day) or use coconut oil regularly.
- Be consistent: There is no shortcut to success. With any diet, consistency is the most important factor.
You may also wish to monitor ketone levels in either urine or blood since these let you know whether you are keeping carb levels down sufficiently to achieve ketosis.
Based on current research, studies at my lab and continuous testing with clients, anything over 0.5–1.0 mmol/l demonstrates sufficient nutritional ketosis (21).
BOTTOM LINE: Base most of your meals on low-carb veggies and high-fat meats, fish or eggs. You may also wish to monitor your ketone levels.
SHOULD YOU TRY A KETOGENIC DIET?
No single diet is suitable for everyone, especially since individual metabolism, genes, body types, lifestyles, taste buds and personal preferences differ.
However, the ketogenic diet can work wonders for people who are overweight or at risk of metabolic syndrome.
Nevertheless, if you dislike high-fat foods but love carbs, this diet may be hard for you to stick to. If you still like the idea of a low-carb diet, then carb cycling or a standard low-carb diet may be better options for you.
Ketogenic diets may also be used in the short-term, to help you lose fat and improve health. Yet this requires a lot of discipline and must be followed with healthy eating.
A ketogenic diet may also not be the best option for elite athletes or those wishing to build large amounts of muscle. Vegetarians or vegans may also struggle with this diet, due to the key role played by meats, eggs, fish, and dairy.
Additionally, the transition to a ketogenic diet can occasionally cause negative symptoms that are often referred to as “keto flu.”
While this only happens rarely, it may cause some people to quit before they even get started properly, especially as the first few weeks of any diet are the toughest.
Due to the very limited carb intake — fewer than 50 grams per day — ketogenic diets also may not be suitable for people who want to take the weekend off.
Take Home Message
In order to get the most out of a ketogenic diet, you must eat high-fat foods and limit your carb intake to fewer than 30–50 grams per day.
If you stick with it, the benefits of a ketogenic diet are extremely impressive — especially for health and weight loss.
Ketogenic diets can also reduce metabolic disease risk factors and even fight diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity.