The ketogenic diet puts your body into a state of ketosis, which ultimately allows you to use fat for energy.
Fat burning is just one of the many benefits of ketosis that improves overall health and makes it an effective tool for weight loss.
Keto has a cult following for a good reason: it makes you feel great. Keto-ers feel more satiated throughout the day and have increased energy levels, both physical and mental, leading to:
• Fewer cravings
• Lower caloric intake
• More self-control
• More physical activity.
These benefits all contribute to weight loss; however, keto is not synonymous with weight loss.
Far from being a magic tool, the ketogenic diet takes accurate and diligent tracking and adjustment to work. You need a balance of the right macros, realistic goal setting and tracking to take you closer to achieving your weight loss goals.
in ketosis but not losing weight
In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
What is Ketosis
What are Ketones
Benefits of Ketosis
The Ketogenic Diet
What is the Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic Foods: What to Eat and What to Avoid
Designing a Keto Plan for Weight Loss
Using a Keto Macro Calculator
Dealing with Plateaus
Testing and Tracking Results
How to Test Ketone Levels
The Glucose-Ketone Index
Body Fat Tracking/Photos
Using the Scale
Making Adjustments to Your Keto Diet
How to Adjust to Induce Ketosis
Review Your Goals and Results
By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to get started on the ketogenic diet to lose weight the right way — for the long term.
so tired on ketogenic diet
What is Ketosis & How Does It Promote Fat Loss?
The ketogenic diet promotes and maintains ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat rather than glucose from carbohydrates as its primary source of energy.
To achieve ketosis, you stop supplying your body with carbs and sugar. This depletes your stored glucose — also known as glycogen — and your blood sugar and insulin levels decrease. Your body starts to look for an alternate source of fuel (fat), releases it and burns it for energy.
Hence, weight loss on keto.
Because of the decrease of glucose and increase in the metabolism of fat, ketosis has a ton of benefits — its unique ability to induce weight loss is just one of them. Many people use ketosis as a treatment for epilepsy, diabetes and even cancer.
When your body burns fat, it produces ketones. Without ketones, you’re not in ketosis. Therefore, the ketogenic diet’s sole purpose is to aid and promote ketone production.
What are Ketones?
Ketones are the metabolic fuel produced when your body shifts into fat-burning mode.
Glucose and ketones are the only energy sources used by the brain. Think of ketones as the auxiliary power source of your body.
keto and intermittent fasting success
Before the advent of agriculture, when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they fasted regularly. When food was scarce, they didn’t have a choice but to wait for an opportune time to hunt for food and cook it.
They had a very low intake of carbs and protein and thus were unintentionally running on ketones. Converting stored fat into energy is hardwired for our survival and a natural part of human existence.
Your body burns fat to use and produce ketones whenever glucose sources are low or depleted, such as:
• during fasting
• after prolonged exercise
• when you eat a ketogenic diet.
Lipase (an enzyme responsible for fat breakdown) releases stored triglycerides (fats). These fatty acids go to your liver and your liver turns them into ketones.
There are three types of ketone bodies:
• Acetoacetate – During the breakdown of long- and medium-chain fatty acids for energy, acetoacetate is produced first.
• Acetone – Spontaneously, acetone is also produced as a by-product of acetoacetate. Both of these ketone bodies, when not used, spill into your urine and breath, making urine and breath testing a promising measurement of whether or not you’re going into ketosis. More on this below in How to Test Ketone Levels.
• Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – Not technically a ketone but a molecule. Its essential role in the ketogenic diet makes it count as the important ketone body. BHB is synthesized by your liver from acetoacetate. BHB is important because it can freely float throughout your body in your blood, crossing many tissues where other molecules can’t. It enters the mitochondria and gets turned into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy currency of your cells. BHB = ATP = energy!
Now that you know what ketones are and how ketosis works, you probably want to know why you should consider eating a ketogenic diet — the diet that promotes ketosis.
lazy keto for beginners
The Benefits of Ketosis
The benefits of ketones come from your body burning fat for fuel and the lowered glucose and insulin in your blood.
The benefits of ketosis include:
• Body fat burning
• Mental clarity and increased cognition
• Improved physical energy
• No feeling of deprivation because you experience less hunger • Steady blood sugar levels from little to no intake of refined carbs • Skin improvements in those with acne
• Improved triglyceride and cholesterol levels • Hormone regulation — women who go on keto report less severe symptoms of PMS.
Aside from the therapeutic benefits of ketones, many people fall in love with keto because of the way it makes them feel both mentally and physically.
• The Biggest Ketogenic Diet Benefits
• Is Ketosis Safe?
• What Are Ketones?
• Perfect Keto Users Guide
• How to Maintain Ketosis
• When and How to Supplement With Ketones
• Why Supplement With Exogenous Ketones?
• The Different Types of Ketone Supplements
• What is AcetoAcetate?
• What is Beta-HydroxyButyrate (BHB)?
• What is Acetone?
• Perfect Keto Ketone Testing Strips
The Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Results
The ketogenic diet is an effective tool for weight loss because of the dramatic decrease in carb intake, forcing your body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy.
Results vary among individuals due to several factors such as insulin resistance and unique body composition. Nonetheless, keto has consistently lead to a reduction in weight and body fat percentage in a wide range of situations including but not limited to obesity, type 2 diabetes and athletic performance.
A randomized control study in 2017 examined the effects of a ketogenic diet combined with Crossfit training on body composition and performance. Results from this study concluded that subjects following a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD) significantly decreased body weight, body fat percentage and fat mass compared to those in the control group[*].
The subjects following the ketogenic diet:
- Lost an average of 3.45 kilograms (7.6 pounds) compared to those in the control group who had no loss in body weight.
- Lost an average of 2.6% body fat while those in the control group did not lose any body fat.
- Lost on average 2.83 kilograms (6.2 pounds) of fat mass (the portion of the body composed strictly of fat) compared to the control group who did not lose any fat mass.
- Maintained lean body mass to the same degree as those in the control group.
- Improved Crossfit performance to the same degree as those in the control group.
Dashti et al. performed a study in 2004 observing the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients and found the following[*]:
- The weight and body mass index of the patients decreased significantly.
- The level of total cholesterol decreased from week 1 to week 24.
- HDL cholesterol (the good one) levels significantly increased.
- LDL cholesterol (the bad one) levels significantly decreased after treatment.
- The level of triglycerides (fat) decreased significantly following 24 weeks of treatment.
- The level of blood glucose significantly decreased.
Partsalaki et al. carried out a study in 2012 comparing the effects of a ketogenic diet versus a hypocaloric diet in obese children and adolescents. Results showed: • Children following the ketogenic diet significantly reduced body weight, fat mass, waist circumference and fasting insulin levels. • The children in the ketogenic diet group significantly reduced a marker of insulin resistance known as homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) to a greater degree than those following a hypocaloric diet. • An important marker of insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular disease — known as high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin — significantly increased in the ketogenic diet group but not in the hypocaloric diet group[*].
Additionally, a 2008 study looking at the effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet in type 2 diabetics was conducted.
Results from this study concluded that participants following the ketogenic diet had significantly greater improvements in weight loss, hemoglobin A1c, and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol compared to the low-glycemic index diet group[*]:
keto smoothie for constipation recipes
Those following a ketogenic diet:
- Lost on average 11.1 kilograms (24.5 pounds) compared to those following the low-glycemic index diet who lost on average 6.9 kilograms (15.2 pounds)
- Reduced their HbA1c levels by 1.5% compared to the low-glycemic index diet group who only reduced their HbA1c levels by 0.5%.
- Increased their HDL cholesterol on average 5.6 mg/dL compared to those in the low-glycemic index group who had no increases in HDL cholesterol.
- Diabetes medications were reduced or eliminated in 95.2% of participants in the ketogenic diet group vs. only 62% of participants in the low-glycemic index group.
The ketogenic diet works for weight loss because it’s based around high fat, adequate protein and very low carb intake.
But I Thought Fat Was Bad For You?
There’s a common misconception that fat is bad for you; however, this misconception fails to adequately represent healthy fats which are actually good for you.
Aside from other scientifically-proven benefits, saturated fats like medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) go directly to your liver to be used for energy.
The ketogenic diet, with its high percentage of good fats, leads to a fat-adaptive metabolic state.
Fat-adaptation occurs when your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for fuel. The longer you maintain a fat-adaptive state, the more ketones you produce.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to maintain high amounts of ketones so you can reap all of the benefits that occur from being in ketosis.
A high fat, ketogenic diet is also protein-sparing: your body keeps burning fat and doesn’t turn to protein as an energy source.