Losing Weight on the Ketogenic Diet (Keto)

The Keto Diet

Losing Weight on the Keto Diet

Very few diets in history have gained widespread popularity quite as quickly as the ketogenic diet. With celebrity endorsements and exciting reviews in popular fitness magazines, it is no wonder that so many people are choosing the keto lifestyle to shed those extra pounds. Is keto a legitimate weight loss method, or just another fad diet?

The History of Ketogenics

You might be surprised to discover that the ketogenic diet has an ancient origin. Greek physicians in 400BC detailed how to treat epilepsy with a ketogenic diet. They advised their patients to modify their diets and fast, creating a metabolic change in the body. Popular in the 20s and 30s as a method of controlling epileptic seizures, the practice fell out of favour with the advent of anticonvulsant drugs. Keto gained a resurgence in popularity in the 70s and again in the early 2000s with the publishing of Dr. Atkins seminal work. The popular Atkins diet is a modified form of ketogenics.

Greek physicians in 400BC detailed how to treat epilepsy with a ketogenic diet.

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What is Keto Exactly?

In short, keto it’s a restricted diet that creates a change in the bodies metabolism. When exposed to a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for extended periods, the body will naturally reduce insulin production and increase the creation of ketones. These Ketone bodies are the acidic remains of spent fat cells. Many people describe ketogenesis as putting the body into a ‘fat-burning hyper-drive mode’.

Getting your body to switch into this fat-burning mode is surprisingly simple. Dietary fats are increased to make up over 50% of all consumed energy, while sugary carbohydrates are reduced down to between 20-40%. The remaining 30% is consumed in the form of protein. That means cutting out soda, pasta, potatoes, rice, and candy. The good news is that you can eat all the steak, bacon, eggs, and sausages that you want! People love the wide range of delicious food allowed on a keto diet, and many dieters continue the keto lifestyle long after reaching their goal weight.

Keto Diet Food Pyramid

The Keto Diet Food Pyramid

*Note: Keto is Not the Same as the Paleo 

Sure, most strict low-carb diets may qualify to be classified as a "ketogenic diet."   And yes, if you're consuming less than 50g carbs per day, chances are you'll be in ketosis and therefore you're technically eating a ketogenic diet. However, the Paleo diet doesn't have to be ketogenic but by it's very nature often is.  Paelo, cuts out all processed foods to include grains. If you eat meat and potatoes every day that would be Paleo but not ketogenic because the starch from the potatoes would keep you out of ketosis.

How Much Can I Expect to Lose on the Keto Diet?

A weight loss goal of one to three pounds per week is a reasonable expectation on a keto meal plan. That might not sounds like much, but a rate of 3 lbs per week equals a whopping 80 lbs after just six months. A ketogenic program is often combined with other weight loss methods such as intermittent fasting, or calorie counting. It is generally recommended by doctors that you count calories regardless of which dietary plan you choose.

A good rule of thumb to calculate your calorie goal is to eat 500 less than your ‘base metabolic rate’, or BMR (the number of calories your body burns daily, before you do any physical work). To calculate your BMR, multiply your weight in kilograms by ten, plus 6.25 times your height in centimeters, minus five times your age, plus five.

For example a 110 KG man, who is 30 years old, and 180cm tall, would have a BMR of 2080, and should therefore have a daily calorie goal of 1580.

So what’s the catch?

The main issue that many dieters find on a ketogenic diet is a period known as ‘keto-flu’. This stage often happens in the first two weeks of the diet, while the body is still adapting to the metabolic change. While in this stage (more formally known as induction), many people suffer symptoms similar to the virus influenza, including headaches, drowsiness, and nausea.

The symptoms of keto-flu can be mitigated by gradually reducing the amount of carbohydrate you consume over a period one to two weeks. Try to reduce your intake by 5-10% per day, until you reach less than 20% total. The symptoms can be avoided further by increasing water consumption, and upping your intake of vitamins and electrolytes via supplements.

Is the Keto Diet Just a Fad?

Modern research continually indicates that ketogenic diets are not only safe, but preferable to a diet that is high in carbohydrates. On top of the obvious weight loss benefits, many people who live the keto lifestyle find they have more energy, lower blood pressure, and improved overall fitness. Keto is quickly becoming the number one method of weight loss used by athletes to burn fat, while retaining muscle. If you want to lose weight while eating delicious food, then the keto diet might just be the weight loss method for you.

Stephen Ralph

Bestselling Ketogenic Diet Cookbooks

Stephen Ralph
Stephen is the Founder of Health Haxor, an active duty USAF service member, online entrepreneur and fitness buff. In between a busy schedule Stephen is an active contributor to Health Haxor and regularly posts articles related to men's health, fitness and nutrition.
Stephen Ralph
- 8 years ago
Stephen Ralph