How Does a Keto Diet Help You Lose Weight?
How Does a Keto Diet Help You Lose Weight?
If you have been trying to lose weight, you would have heard about the Keto diet. It is a popular weight-loss diet. It is important for people who are living with obesity to first understand the science behind obesity before trying different diets.
If you are wondering how a Keto diet works and whether it will be effective in losing weight, this blog will help you.
Obesity is a complex disease defined as excess fat accumulation that poses a risk to one’s health. Multiple aspects, including environmental, psychological, socio-economic and genetic factors, contribute to obesity and therefore, different people gain weight differently.
Many doctors and medical associations recommend weight loss as the initial and a crucial step to weight management. Even a small decrease in weight goes a long way in reducing complications of obesity and towards the prevention of obesity.
The first step towards weight loss is choosing a diet suited to your individual needs. The Keto diet is a common and popular diet for weight management and obesity treatment.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto or Ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate and fat-enriched diet used as a weight-loss treatment for centuries. With increased fat intake, the body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis, which primarily burns fat for energy.
The body turns fat into molecules called ketones that supply energy to the brain. After building a routine, the brain and the body gets habituated to burning fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
The Keto diet also generates metabolic changes in the body that help in reducing insulin levels, blood triglyceride levels and ultimately leads to weight loss. A ketogenic diet is a nutritional approach towards obesity control that not only helps reduce weight but also improves cardiac function.
What to add and avoid in the Keto Diet?
As the Keto diet is low in carbohydrates, several things have to be excluded from your diet. The Keto diet mainly replaces foods that cause weight gain with high-fat food. All the food items which are high in carbohydrates are replaced with food high in fat content. A Keto diet excludes:
- Wheat Products
- Vegetables high in carbohydrate content
- Heavy Cream
- Vegetables low in carbohydrate content
In conclusion, a Keto diet includes food items that are high in fat content, moderate in protein content and low on carbohydrates. It excludes the majority of food items that are part of one’s staple diet. By replacing carbohydrates with fats, your body learns to work differently, which leads to weight loss.
How does a keto diet help you lose weight?
Short-term studies have revealed that when carbohydrate intake was equivalent to 10% of calories consumed, people noticed a decrease in body mass index, body weight, body fat percentage, and decreased levels of hunger hormone – thereby reducing "hunger" signals to our brain.
After a meal, carbohydrates get converted to glucose and insulin is produced. Foods high in carbohydrates may cause blood sugar levels to remain elevated for a long period and are hence not recommended for people living with diabetes. However, the Keto diet, which is low in carbohydrates, reduces insulin secretion and insulin resistance in the body, utilizes stored energy in the body and improves metabolism that leads to reduced weight.
Long-term Keto studies show that people who ate less than 20g of carbohydrates a day and gradually increased it to 40g saw a significant weight loss. In addition, there is also a decrease in hunger hormone and an increase in energy expenditure.
In conclusion, studies of long and short-term Keto diets showed significant weight loss. It increases protein intake, performs Gluconeogenesis (the body turns protein and fat into carbs for energy) and decreases hunger hormones by making you feel full.
“Studies show that a low-carb diet, like the keto diet, benefits
people who cannot restrict their calorie intake ”
After knowing all these benefits, should a person with obesity try a Keto diet?
Does Keto Diet work for everyone?
Our bodies are different, and a diet that works for someone else may not work for you. It is crucial to understand how your body works and what your weight loss goals are.
Though there are many benefits of a Keto diet, some possible side effects may arise in the initial days. These may include fatigue, hunger, low mood, constipation, irritability, and headaches. To counteract these side effects, in addition to high-fat food items, one must also focus on the intake of foods rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Most importantly, if you are dealing with obesity, consider talking to a specialist before following the Keto diet. A specialist will work with you closely to first understand the cause of obesity and then help you decide whether the Keto diet is best for you.
In conclusion, more studies are required to see the specific effects of Keto on different people. The Keto diet has major health benefits, but it also has some negative side effects in the long run.
Furthermore, diet alone is not a complete treatment for obesity. Diet is just an element, and other factors like sleep, exercise, behaviour modifications and changes in our environment also play a vital role. If you wish to follow the Keto diet and begin your weight loss journey, it is best to visit an obesity treatment center and consult an expert for guidance.
- Paoli A et al, Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very- low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):789-96.
- Dowis K et al, The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2021 May 13;13(5):1654.
- O'Neill B et al, The ketogenic diet: Pros and cons. Atherosclerosis. 2020 Jan;292:119-126.
- Paoli A. Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014;11(2):2092-2107. Published 2014 Feb 19.