Does keto diet work?

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Keto dieters talk about their weight loss, increased energy level, and mental clarity.  Some report side effects like fatigue and bad breath.  

It’s much harder to see how the general population is doing on a ketogenic diet because there aren’t any published studies looking at health outcomes for typical people eating a normal balanced diet (so they can be compared to people who eat the same diet).

Overall it’s tough to make any conclusions about the ketogenic diet.  Does keto work?  It depends on what you’re looking for.  If you want a way to lose weight, yes absolutely.  But if you’re looking for miracle cure to all of your health issues, probably not.

Keto Diet Results – Nutrition and Fat Loss

On the surface, you might think that eating a keto diet is unhealthy because it increases saturated fat intake.  But research has shown that people on keto diets often see improvements in triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and their non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels even though they are taking in more saturated fat.  Researchers still aren’t certain why this happens, but it’s not uncommon for diets high in fats and low in carbohydrates to improve blood cholesterol profiles.  

The biggest reason most people are going keto is to lose weight.  Research has shown that people on low carb, high fat diets tend to lose more initial body weight than people on low fat diets, but a study done by researchers at the University of California San Francisco showed that over 2 years, people on a keto diet gained more weight than people eating a low fat diet.  In fact, of the 2800 people who became part of the study, those on the low carb diet gained an average of 12 pounds while those on the low fat diet lost 4 lbs.

How can this be?  Well first of all, remember that people on keto diets tend to choose low carbohydrate foods like meats and full fat dairy products.  These types of foods are generally higher in calories than the same foods with lots of carbohydrates.  Also, it’s much easier for a person on a ketogenic diet to continue eating smaller amounts of food because they have a lot of energy.  Research has shown that people who are in calorie deficit need to significantly increase physical activity levels to maintain weight loss.

If you’re interested in trying the ketogenic diet, it’s highly recommended that you meet with your doctor and/or registered dietitian first.   They will be able to answer any questions that you have and help you determine if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle.