The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. In recent years, because of its obvious weight loss effect, it has quickly become popular all over the world.
On major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram a lot of people are posting comparison pictures every day.
However, many people are still skeptical about the weight loss effect of a ketogenic diet, believing that it lacks reliable research to support its long-term effects.
This article will discuss the potential of the ketogenic diet, helping people to burn fat and lose weight.
How Does The Keto Diet Help You Lose Weight
When you follow a ketogenic diet, your daily carbohydrate intake should not exceed 5-10% of the total amount of your daily calories. Your protein intake should be kept at 20% of the total calories, while the remaining 70% should be healthy fat.
After using this method for a period of time, your body will enter a state of ketosis and begin to use fat instead of carbohydrates as its main fuel source.
Before you begin this type of diet, please refer to The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Guide for Weight Loss.
Although there is still a lack of long-term research, the weight loss principle of a ketogenic diet has been determined.
1. Reduces hunger
A ketogenic diet can reduce the level of ghrelin, which is one of the main hunger hormones in the body.[*]
If the secretion of ghrelin is reduced, your hunger and appetite will decrease, resulting in a gradual weight decline.
To prove that mental health and diet control are two relevant factors for successful weight loss and treatment of obesity, scientists conducted a 4-month ketogenic diet and psychological follow-up test on 20 obese patients [*].
The results showed that the hunger and weight of all participants were significantly reduced, while the quality of their sleep, mood, and mental state were improved.
It can be concluded that the ketogenic diet may be an effective strategy to regulate hunger levels.
2. Promotes loss of water weight
Many people like refined carbohydrates, such as rice, noodles or sweets. However, even with regular exercise, they may look puffy. That is because carbohydrates are actually the root of the problem.
After carbohydrates are digested and broken down, part of the carbs will be stored in the muscle and liver in the form of glycogen. Glycogen absorbs water. For every gram of glycogen stored, 3-4 grams of water will be stored. [*]
When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, the stored glycogen is released along with additional fluid. Therefore, you will see a significant weight loss, especially during the early stage of the keto diet.
3. Controls insulin levels
Generally speaking, no matter which method of weight loss you use, the basic principle is to burn more calories than you take in so that you can lose weight.
The characteristic of the ketogenic diet is that carbohydrate intake is much lower than fat intake.
You might say: Fat has more calories than carbohydrates.
This is correct.
However, besides calories, there is a more critical component, your insulin levels.
Let’s take a closer look at this:
- The carbohydrates you eat are converted into glycogen and enter the bloodstream causing blood sugar to rise. Then the pancreas secretes insulin to control and lower blood sugar.
- If you eat a high-carb diet for a long time, your blood sugar levels will remain high. In order to control blood sugar, the pancreas needs to continuously secrete insulin.
- Over time, you will suffer from insulin resistance, which can make you feel hungry all the time. Then, when you keep eating, because you always feel hungry, you will easily eat more calories than your body actually needs.
With a ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate intake is restricted and replaced with appropriate amounts of protein and large amounts of healthy fats. Not only will this not cause spikes and large fluctuations in blood sugar, but eating a ketogenic diet can also increase your satiety and reduce your hunger. The final result is, you eat fewer calories.
Best Ketogenic Supplements
There are many nutritional supplements for ketogenic diets that you can find at your local market. Some can help improve the efficiency of weight loss, while others can relieve the discomfort associated with the initial stage of a ketogenic diet.
Here are the top keto supplements:
1. MCT oil:
MCT oil is one of the main components of coconut oil. It contains medium-chain triglycerides.
Compared to traditional fat, MCT oil can be digested more rapidly, and can also help you maintain ketosis and speed up your weight loss.
2. Exogenous ketones:
After following a ketogenic diet for a period of time, your body will enter a state of ketosis. At this point, the fat-burning efficiency is greatly improved by naturally produced endogenous ketones.
In order to see faster results, many people choose to take exogenous ketones to help increase blood ketone levels and reach the state of ketosis faster.
During the first few days of a ketogenic diet, your body loses water and electrolytes.
Electrolyte deficiency is the main cause of adverse reactions to a ketogenic diet. Proper electrolyte supplementation is very helpful to help alleviate the initial discomfort.
4. Digestive enzymes:
With the proportion of fat in a ketogenic diet being high, some people may encounter digestive problems, especially those who have cholecystitis or have had their gallbladder removed. The most common symptoms are constipation, diarrhea, and stomachache.
You can take some digestive enzyme supplements, especially lipase, which can help break down fat and speed up digestion.
Generally speaking, when most people transition from a traditional high-carbohydrate diet to a ketogenic diet, they will have an adaptation period. This period can last from a few days to a few weeks.
Getting your body adapted to the new diet structure as soon as possible can not only alleviate the initial discomfort but also help speed up the fat burning and weight loss.
Although keto supplements are not necessary, they can help your transition to your ketogenic diet more smoothly to quickly increase body tolerance.
Other Things That May Affect Weight Loss
In addition to the initial medical effects, most people who follow the ketogenic diet mainly want to lose weight.
A healthy diet should be the key to weight loss. However, there are other factors that can directly affect your weight loss results. If you stick with your ketogenic and low-carb diet, you can often get twice the result with half the effort.
1. Sufficient sleep
A good night’s sleep can also help you achieve your weight loss goals faster and smoother.
Sleep affects several important hormones in the human body, including leptin, ghrelin, insulin, cortisol, melatonin, and growth hormone.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality may lead to hormone Imbalance. A hormone imbalance can inhibit the secretion of melatonin, leptin, and growth hormone while increasing the level of ghrelin and cortisol. It can also cause insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain.
Therefore, ensure 7 hours of good sleep, giving your body time to fully rest. This can help you get better results from the keto diet.
2. Physically active
Although the ketogenic diet alone can reduce weight, it can enhance the effect if the diet is combined with appropriate exercise or more physical activity.
The most effective way to burn fat and lose weight is aerobic exercise + anaerobic exercise, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT, Tabata). You don’t have to do it for one or two hours a day. Instead exercising 10-15 minutes each time, only 3-4 times a week can help you achieve a good fat burning effect.
With this training method, you can reduce fat in the shortest time. Meanwhile, you can improve sports performance and cardiopulmonary function.
It is like killing two birds with one stone, isn’t it?
A ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, adequate-protein and high-fat diet that has been shown to have multiple health benefits, including weight loss.
When you follow a keto diet, you can reduce water retention, decrease hunger and reduce insulin resistance.
Although this carb-restriction diet works great for weight loss in the short term, there is still a lack of long-term research.
If you plan to start or just started a ketogenic diet, it is necessary to understand its potential risk and how to deal with the adverse reactions and side effects of the keto diet.