You might have come across many posts crediting the keto diet to weight loss and many other health benefits. Yep, the keto diet ranks high in Google searches consistently, and a survey of registered records the keto diet as the most popular diet in the United States.
More so, a lot of keto recipe books are featured in top publishing charts. There are different versions of these recipes that claim to help you achieve your weight loss goals if you follow them carefully.
The basic effect of the keto diet is to replace your carbohydrate intake with high fat, so your body can get energy from the fat content of your food.
This diet is hailed to be effective in shedding pounds, reducing hunger, burning more calories, improving blood pressure and cholesterol, and treating drug-resistant epilepsy.
But you may be asking “Does the keto diet really work?” Well, in this article, we would be answering your questions and showing you the real truth about the ketogenic diet.
What is the Ketogenic or Keto Diet?
The ketogenic or keto diet is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet, similar to the Atkins diet. It emphasizes more calories from fats and proteins and less from carbs.
A “typical” keto diet consists of less than 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates, less than 30 percent from protein, at least 70 percent derived from fat.
This means that you cut back most on carbs that are easy to digest, including pastries, soda, and white bread. And you chow down on a lot of eggs, butter, salmon, cheese, olive oil, and non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, and greens.
The excess of dietary fat in the keto diet causes the liver to produce a high amount of what is called “ketone bodies,”- molecules generated from the breakdown of fat, as fuel. This puts your body in a metabolic state known as “ketosis.”
In a ketogenic state, your body gets most of its needed energy from fat instead of carbohydrates. So for a typical adult, you must stay below 20-50 grams of net carbs each day- calculated as total carbs after taking out fiber. You need to watch what you eat to avoid going above this daily carbohydrate limit.
Note that a thick slice of bread contains 21 carbs, milk contains 21, and apple contains 25. Starchy veggies like potatoes and high sugar fruits are also on the outs.
And dieters need to watch out for hidden carbs that may be invisible to the eyes, yet coating many fried cheese that seems to be keto-friendly.
Can I Achieve Weight Loss on the Keto Diet?
PRO TIP: Use our Keto Calculator to easily calculate your Keto Macros and Weight loss calories.
The simple answer is “YES” There is much evidence to prove that the keto diet works in the short-term to promote weight loss.
According to a review of low-carb diets, it shows that for the first two to six months, very low-carbohydrate diets can help you lose weight far better than the usual high-carb, low-fat diets.
The keto diet follows several mechanisms to promote weight loss, though there’s a need for long-term studies to support these claims.
The following are the proposed mechanisms:
The Keto Diet helps to Reduce Hunger
Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet helps to reduce the production of ghrelin- one of the body’s main hunger hormones. This weight loss mechanism causes you to eat fewer calories throughout the day, which may induce weight loss.
The keto diet promotes the loss of water weight
When your carb intake is reduced, it significantly causes a loss of water weight. This mechanism follows the fact that carbs hold a little amount of water in their stored form in the body. So when you start on a keto diet, the stored carbs are burnt and the fluid content is released, resulting in weight loss.
How Fast Can I See Result on the Keto Diet?
Well, it takes between one to four days to enter ketosis, and experience reduced cravings. However, this may depend on factors like your activity level. So if you’re a sprinter, for example, you are more likely to get a faster result than a couch potato.
More so, the first pound may seem to slip off fast, but that can be likely water weight. So it’s a stage of energy in minus energy out.
You tend to gain weight if you consume 5000 calories a day, according to Dr. Linsenmeyer, director of Saint Louis University’s Didactic Program in Dietetics.
So it doesn’t mean your metabolism would be altered to an extent that your calorie intake wouldn’t matter. You still have to watch your calorie intake else the water weight will return.
Are There Any Side Effects of Following the Keto Diet?
When starting, you might experience some gastrointestinal distress and stomach issues. Dr. Linsenmeyer said, “Ninety percent of calories in fats can cause a shock to your body system.”
So, it is advisable to consult your dietician or doctor to keep a check on your cholesterol levels and replace the sodium and fluid lost by carb restriction and urination.
Failure to keep a check can make you have the “keto flu” within two to four days of beginning the keto diet. In such a case, you might have symptoms like poor sleep, dizziness, and fatigue.
Also, when a patient suffering from epilepsy starts the diet, it can cause constipation, fatigue, vomiting, hypoglycemia, increased seizures, and worsening reflux.
When you cut down fruits, whole grains, legumes, and all foods that are associated with reducing cardiometabolic risk, you may still suffer from an increased cholesterol level.
Yea, although not everyone experiences this, those who follow “dirty keto” are likely to be at risk of coronary heart diseases.
You might ask, “What is dirty keto?” Well, it’s simple! Some people eat anyhow thinking keto is all about keeping carbs low and eating high fatty foods. Some will eat a stack of bacon and wash it down with diet soda.
Some others feed on a salad with chicken, dressed in olive oil. All these are known as dirty keto and that includes eating processed foods.
Although you can go for a diet that works for you, it is recommended that you cut your intake of trans fats including margarine.
Not only that, but you need to eat less of saturated fats, including skinless chicken breast, lean cuts of beef, and eating more fatty fish like salmon.
What is the best advice for achieving result on the keto diet?
The best advice is to heat healthy. You don’t have to cut back on many foods since all you need is reduced carb intake.
However, you might have to make some behavioral changes to see the best result. You can get support from your friends, family, and doctor, and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.