Is a Keto Diet Good For Weight Loss? Does this sound familiar? Some of us wake up one day and say ‘ we need to lose weight.
We’re going on a Keto diet’ only to find, oopsie, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Double oopsie, we’re not losing much weight.
Oopsie number third time we feel like crap and would like to stop now? So, we have to ask: Is a Keto diet good for weight loss?
But before we proceed, first things first.
What is a Keto Diet?
Simply put, a keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet. Normally, the body gets energy primarily from glucose (carbohydrates that we eat).
This way, the fats produced in the body are not used but stored. When on a keto diet, you starve the body of carbohydrates and feed it more fat accompanied by some protein.
What then happens?
By lowering your carbohydrate intake, you force the body to change its primary source of energy from glucose (from carbohydrates) to ketones (from fat).
After a few days on a keto diet, the body reaches a state of ketosis. This is a process the body initiates to look for a way to survive when the food in the system is low.
In other words, it means the body now learns to look for what is more available (ketones from fat) to use as its primary source of energy.
To reach this metabolic state, we don’t starve the body of calories, we starve it of carbohydrate.
Our bodies are wired in such a way that they adapt pretty fast to what we put into them.
So when we take away carbohydrates and overload it with fats, it makes a switch of its primary source of energy and burns ketones instead of glucose.
Hence, keto diet weight loss success.
Pretty simple, yeah? We agree.
But hold up. How did this all start? Great question.
Brief History of the Keto Diet
In case, you didn’t know, the keto diet gained prominence in the 1920s and 1930s as a therapy for epilepsy.
At that time, it provided an alternative to dietary fasting which was quite successful in managing epilepsy.
Keto diet was later abandoned briefly as anticonvulsant medications were introduced around 1938.
It is important to mention that anticonvulsant drugs were discovered to have their limits and the keto diet was later reintroduced.
Today, keto diet continues to be an accepted method that has been successful for managing epilepsy.
Keto Diet Now…
Many people who were diet fads were intrigued by the high fat intake as opposed to the Atkins diet, which focuses on protein began to try the keto diet and had good things to say.
Not surprisingly, the keto diet has quite a huge following and has become a weight loss trend.
A very successful weight loss trend.
It is giving many people success stories and we all love success stories accompanied with those jaw-dropping before and after pictures.
Make no mistake; the keto diet does not work out well for everyone.
After all, it is not magic. Regardless, countless success stories abound. Many popular people have tried it and continue to rave about the amazing weight loss they experienced while on it.
Matters of fact, a slew of celebrities are rumored to be acolytes.
Needless to say, keto diet for weight loss has come to stay.
So, we go back to our original question about keto diet:
Is a Keto Diet Good for Weight Loss?
Is it all too good to be true? Let’s face it, there is no one answer.
YES, keto diet is good for weight loss. Some known benefits include;
1. Weight loss
Let’s face it, this is the major benefit most people look for when embarking on a keto diet and religiously using those keto diet recipes to prepare their keto diet shopping list.
2. Improved Brain Function
Carbs are great but as a primary source of energy for the body, they cause sugar levels to go up and down.
When you now burn ketones instead of carbs, you avoid blood sugar fluctuations and the resultant effect is that you have more clarity and improved brain function.
It is more noticeable when you have been on a keto diet and try a high-carb diet for a few days.
3. Increased Energy
People who switch from a normal diet, a high carb diet, for instance, notice how stable their energy levels are all day.
There are no energy level swings and they can go on for hours without food.
4. Normalized Hunger
Fat is naturally more satisfying so people on a keto diet feel more sated.
This happens because the body now has a better and more reliable source of energy and you will are likely to feel more energized all day.
5. Insulin Resistance
6. Athletic Endurance
Even for people who are athletic, keto is so advantageous that they become mentally and physically more active.
There is increasing scientific evidence that keto diet helps clear acne.
Since the diet avoids the foods that stimulate acne outbreaks, it’s natural that it’ll clear away in the absence of such foods.
There are many other benefits of keto diet but now that we’re here, let’s talk about foods to eat or avoid on a keto diet.
Foods to Eat on a Keto Diet
Like any other diet, some foods work for keto diet and some just don’t. The foods you can include on your ketogenic diet weight loss menu include;
- Green leafy vegetables like arugula, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc,
- Seafood like oysters, clams, mussels, octopus, squid, etc,
- Fish like cod, mackerel, sardines, salmon,
- Meats and poultry like lamb, beef, chicken, etc,
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, saturated fats, tallow, high-fat salad dressing, lard, etc,
- Some amount of nuts and seeds,
- Avocados and berries,
- Organ meats like heart, liver, bone marrow,
- A small number of nuts and seeds.
Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet
- Grains and pseudo-grains like wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, corn, rice, etc,
- Sugar typically found in ice-cream, candy, juice, soda, etc. If it’s processed and sweet, it most likely contains sugar.
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, etc,
- Sugary fruits like oranges, bananas, apples, mangoes, pineapples, etc,
- Dried fruits like raisins,
- Seed oils like sunflower oil and canola oil,
- All junk processed foods bread, cakes, cookies, buns, and
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and
Not Losing Weight on Keto?
Not everyone loses much weight consistently on a keto diet. If you find yourself in this position, you may be:
- Eating too many carbs.
- Lacking quality keto foods.
- Eating too many calories.
- Missing hidden carbs in products.
- Consuming too much protein.
- Getting by on inadequate sleep.
- Consuming real, whole foods and other artificial fillers.
- Taking too many nuts.
- Avoiding intermittent fasting.
- Having hormone issues. ( Read more about hormone issues here)
What Are The Side Effects Of The Ketogenic Diet?
Like we have stressed earlier, keto diet is not for everybody and should not be encouraged for some people.
But continuing in this vein, as beneficial as keto has proven to be, there are possible side effects people are known to experience on a keto diet and it would be irresponsible not to mention them. Thankfully, people who do experience them only do for a short time.
That’s not all!
For every side effect experienced, there is a way to manage them.
Some of these side effects are:
Fatigue, Dizziness, and Drowsiness
Keto diet can cause some serious changes in the body. While making the switch in the primary source of energy, the body might lose a little efficiency.
Sadly, as the body begins to lose excess water, it loses minerals like magnesium and potassium in the process. This automatically results in fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness.
In the first few days of being on a keto diet, you’ll be releasing a lot of water as your kidneys begin to produce excess sodium the level of insulin circulation starts to plummet.
What this means is that you need to use the bathroom frequently.
When the body reaches the state of average weight loss ketosis and the body begins to lose fat tissue, an unavoidable side effect is that the body also loses muscle tissue at the same time.
Most, if not all keto-ers experience keto flu (also called ‘induction flu’) in the first few weeks of being on a keto diet.
It’s is characterized by symptoms of the actual flu-like headaches, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, irritability, lethargy, nausea, dizziness, and more.
Thankfully, as with the actual flu, these symptoms clear up in days although it helps to stay hydrated, take plenty of salt and fat.
Bloating, gas and constipation are side effects of keto diet on the digestive system.
It is most likely caused by inadequate fiber intake. As with keto flu, it helps to stay hydrated, take plenty of salt and fat when you experience constipation on a keto diet.
Increased Cravings for Sugar
During the transition period, some people experience a great craving for sugar because the body had been hitherto used to it.
After all, the heart wants what the heart wants, or in this case, the body.
In the beginning, some people experience diarrhea on keto diet because the body is adjusting or they make the mistake of reducing fat consumption as well as carbs leaving the ratio of protein in the body too high. Unfortunately, excess protein can lead to diarrhea.
On a keto diet, insulin levels are very low and since insulin is the hormone that stimulates the kidneys to retain sodium (this is good for the leg), leg cramps are inevitable. ( Read more about Muscle Cramps Remedies here)
During ketosis, one of the ketone bodies produced is acetone. Acetone smells like nail polish and this smell is what some people smell on their breath while on a keto diet.
As the body adapts to ketosis, this smell goes away in a week or two.
However, while waiting or it to subside, it doesn’t hurt practice good oral hygiene, use a breath freshener and/or slightly increase carb intake.
In all, these side effects and some others not mentioned can be avoided or managed.
Like all trends, diet fads come and go.
Ketogenic diet for weight loss is all the rage now because of its known benefits and success stories and this fact cannot be denied.
However, while keto definitely helps with weight loss (amongst other things), caution must be applied. Keto diet should not be approached without knowing all the facts.
Definitely not without proper planning and a support system.
As a matter of fact, some doctors actively caution their patients against going on a keto diet, probably because of health-related issues.
However we want to look at it, keto is not for the lily-livered.
Keto is not for quitters.
But, it works for many. Undoubtedly!
Now that we’ve armed you with the info you need, you choose. Do or do not, it depends on you.
Do share your keto diet success stories with us in the comment box below. Cheers to you and your successful keto diet journey!