Does the ketogenic diet work for weight loss?

The ketogenic diet, or keto, is a very low-carbohydrate and fat diet model that has gained popularity in recent years.

It has been proven to offer many health benefits, including weight loss. This is why many people turn to this diet to achieve their weight loss goals.

Although research has shown that diet can help to lose body fat, there is no long-term research to support its effectiveness.

This article examines the potential of a keto diet to help lose weight.

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Can You Promote Weight Loss?

Following a traditional keto diet, carbohydrate intake is limited to less than 5-10% of total daily calorie intake (1).

This allows your body to enter into ketosis, a condition in which the body switches to using fat instead of carbohydrates as its primary source of fuel and ketones are produced in the liver (1).

Reducing carbohydrate intake is usually offset by increasing fat intake to about 70-90% of calories or 155-200 grams for a 2000 calorie diet (1, 2).

Protein intake is moderate, usually about 20% of calories or 100 grams for a 2000 calorie diet (1, 2).

There are several suggested mechanisms for weight loss related to the ketogenic diet, although long-term studies are lacking.

May reduce hunger

One of the main weight loss mechanisms associated with the keto diet is probably its ability to reduce hunger (4, 5).

Following a ketogenic diet, it has been linked to reduced levels of ghrelin, one of the major hormones of hunger in the body (6).

Reducing ghrelin and hunger levels can make you eat fewer calories during the day, which leads to weight loss (6).

In fact, a study of 20 obese people who follow the keto diet associates this diet with decreasing food and alcohol cravings (7).

Therefore, a keto diet can be an effective strategy to regulate hunger levels, even if its long-term safety needs to be taken into account.

May promote water loss in water

Another potential mechanism for weight loss in the keto diet is weight loss, which is accompanied by a significant reduction in carbohydrate intake.

Carbohydrates, as stored in your body, retain water (8, 9).

Therefore, when you reduce your carbohydrate intake, for example during the initial phase of the keto diet, the stored carbohydrates are released with additional fluid, which results in weight loss in various amounts.

Calorie balance

To determine if a keto diet can help you lose weight, it is important to review how traditionally weight loss has been achieved.

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn, which is called a calorie deficit.

A study of 17 obese or overweight men found that a keto diet was associated with a slight increase in calories burned. However, this did not lead to an increase in body fat loss compared to the traditional basic diet (3).

These results suggest that a ketogenic diet is not necessarily better than a traditional weight loss diet when caloric intake is equal.

Therefore, the effects of weight loss on the keto diet are much more likely to result from reduced calorie intake due to changes in satiety signals associated with diets high in fat and very low in carbohydrates.


The keto diet is linked to weight loss, although the exact mechanisms remain unclear. Studies have shown that keto-related weight loss is probably due to calorie deficiency, reduced hunger and weight loss in water.

Keto Supplements

With the increasing popularity of the keto diet, many supplements suitable for the keto diet have emerged on the market, and some of them can help you lose weight.

Here are the best keto supplements with the features they offer:

  • MCT oil. This oil, which contains medium chain triglycerides, can help keto diets add more fat to their diets and stay in ketosis. It is digested faster than traditional fats, but it can have digestive side effects.

  • Exogenous ketones. These are ketones from an external source, unlike naturally occurring endogenous ketones. They can increase blood ketone levels and help you get to ketosis faster (10).

  • Keto protein powders. These protein powders are formulated to be low in carbohydrates.

  • Ketone electrolytes. Depletion of electrolytes is often early in the keto diet due to weight loss in water. Electrolyte supplements can help prevent the deficiency of ordinary electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium (11).

  • Digestive enzymes. Due to the high fat content of the keto diet, some people may have digestive problems. Digestive enzyme supplements, especially lipase, can help break down fat.

When it comes to the weight loss effects of ketogenic supplements, there is limited research.

A study in mice looked at the viability of exogenous ketones as weight loss supplements. Several exogenous ketones, in addition to MCT oil, have been found to help you lose weight by reducing hunger and naturally make you eat fewer calories (12).

However, there is a lack of human research to support these claims.

Although keto supplements are not needed, they can help with the transition from keto to diet with this rather restrictive diet and increase diet tolerance.

Given that these supplements should not be used exclusively for weight loss as the data are scarce and their long-term side effects are unknown.


MCT oil and exogenous ketones can help you get into ketosis faster and avoid many of the side effects associated with the transition. Although they can reduce appetite, it is not advisable to use them as weight loss supplements.

Other things that can affect weight loss

When you are on a ketogenic diet, other factors must be taken into account to ensure progress.

Your exact intake of carbohydrates

When starting a ketogenic diet, it may be helpful to keep track of your carbohydrate intake per day.

This helps you get into ketosis relatively quickly and avoid some of the symptoms of keto flu, which are a group of symptoms, including headaches and brain fog associated with diet. keto.

If you eat too many carbohydrates, you will not remain in ketosis and the potential benefits of dieting, including weight loss, will be reduced.

For most people, eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day should be enough to stimulate ketosis (2).

If you get enough sleep

Sleep is an often overlooked aspect of any diet. Studies show that lack of sleep and chronic stress can negatively affect the results of weight loss. This applies when you follow the Keto diet (13).

Studies also suggest that lack of sleep can have a negative effect on hunger hormones such as ghrelin and leptin. This can lead to an increase in appetite, counteracting the starvation-reducing effect of the Keto diet (14).

Asserting that you spend at least 7 hours a night resting and sleeping can help maintain the benefits of a ketogenic diet (15).

Whether you are physically active

Although only a keto diet can cause weight loss, combining it with an appropriate exercise regimen can improve this effect (16, 17).

If adapted to the diet, your body can use fat as a major source of exercise fuel. Studies indicate that it is most useful in endurance sports (18, 19, 20).

It is important to note that you need to be well adapted to the Keto diet before performing moderately intense exercise to avoid the negative side effects.


When it comes to weight loss with the keto diet, several other factors must be considered, such as specific carbohydrate intake and sleep and exercise regimen.

Feed resistance

One of the major negative aspects of the keto diet – especially for weight loss – is long-term sustainability.

Because the diet is quite restrictive, some people may find it difficult to follow.

In particular, it creates challenges during dining at the restaurant or meetings with family and friends over the holidays, as it is necessary to adopt a new way of eating that potentially affects social interactions.

In addition, there are no studies on the health effects of adhering to the keto diet for long periods (21).

These factors must be considered before you begin.


Due to its restrictive nature, the diet may be difficult to follow in the long run. Feeding and other social situations may require special diligence and preparation.

The main thing

The keto diet is a diet low in carbohydrates and fats that has been proven to offer a variety of health benefits, including weight loss.

Although the exact weight loss mechanisms associated with this diet are still being studied, it seems that weight loss is caused by calorie deficiency, reduced hunger and weight loss in water. ,

Keto supplements can reduce hunger and help you get into ketosis faster, though they should not be used to promote weight loss.

Although the benefits of losing a keto diet may seem promising, it is important to consider its potential side effects, drawbacks and lack of long-term research on the subject.

Does the ketogenic diet work for weight loss?
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