How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight on Keto?
Keto didn’t start as a weight loss method. But, starting in the late 20th to 21st century, it has soared into popularity for its ability to help people achieve their weight loss goals.
Whether you’ve begun keto for the first time or are getting back into it after a brief detour, it’s important to know how long it takes before keto begins to work its magic. In this guide, we’ll help you determine what a normal weight loss amount for keto is while discussing the benefits of keeping up with keto.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet has been around for over a century. Its continuing popularity comes from its numerous potential health benefits and ability to support weight loss through strict adherence to a low-carb diet.
Keto is a high-fat diet plan that limits your net carb intake to support your overall health and wellness. By increasing your fat intake, you can also support ketone levels in your body, which may support your energy levels.
By having a low carb intake, your body enters a metabolic state of ketosis, which happens when your body turns stored fat into fat molecules called ketones that provide the body with energy.
With nine different versions of the keto diet to choose from, there are many ways to go about it — but no matter which one you choose, you’ll be limiting carbohydrates. On keto, 90 percent of your daily caloric intake should be fats and protein. The other 10 percent can be minimal carbs, but less is more when it comes to keto.
While each keto diet is different, no keto diet allows more carbs than protein or fat. For beginners, the transition from your prior diet to a keto diet may be difficult at first, but it’ll be worth it in the end for its results.
Before starting keto, talk with a registered dietitian who can help guide you and see if keto is right for you. Some people, such as those with thyroid disorders or eating disorders, should avoid keto.
How Can Keto Encourage Weight Loss?
Weight loss can be highly beneficial for people with excess body weight, especially around the stomach. Extra fat surrounding the abdomen (visceral fat) can lead to problems with the heart. If you struggle with obesity, keto can help you support your fat loss goals.
On keto, the body burns fat as its energy source. Through both the nutrition and exercise you may do while on keto, there are several other ways it can support your weight loss journey.
Supports a Healthy Metabolism
When your body no longer relies on glucose for energy, it turns to ketones made from fat instead. This means weight loss may happen faster than on a typical diet since the body is targeting fat storage throughout the body. By giving your body another consistent source of energy, your can support your metabolism.
The keto diet can also support healthy blood sugar levels, which can help support a healthy metabolism.
Studies also suggest that ketosis can support a healthy immune system, keeping your overall metabolic functions effective. When you eat a healthy diet that supports lean muscle mass, your body also burns through more calories naturally. Even on an “off” or cheat day, continued dedication to keto can make a difference.
Supports Balanced Hunger Hormones
Hunger is a big hurdle when it comes to weight loss. When your body is used to having whatever it wants whenever it wants it, going on a diet can feel jarring for a week or two. That’s because high levels of insulin from eating carbohydrates can encourage hunger, cravings, and overeating.
On keto, your body produces hormones that promote satiety. Cholecystokinin and leptin both tell the brain that you are full and satisfied with your meal, so the brain will stop telling your stomach to grumble and rumble. Less unnecessary hunger means you’re less likely to overeat and give up on your progress.
Promotes Reduced Calorie Intake
When the body uses stored fat as its energy source, your brain will signal to your stomach that it is finding sufficient energy elsewhere. That means you’re consuming fewer calories because you don’t need them!
When your body produces hormones that control hunger, you might not feel the need to endlessly snack like you used to. You’ve eliminated high-calorie foods like pasta, bread, grains, and other high-carb options. That, alongside protein-packed snacks and meals, is why people on keto often report feeling fuller for longer.
This means that any extra calories from snacking aren’t added to your total caloric intake. And many low-carb diet food options are also low in calories!
While many people on keto don’t need to count their calories, it’s still a good idea to monitor your caloric intake for the first few weeks to get an idea of how many you are (or aren’t) consuming, as well as what your macronutrients are looking like. This can give you a good baseline for tracking your progress.
One way to see weight loss results is to be in a calorie deficit, which means you’re eating less energy than you’re spending. Many people choose to achieve this deficit through calculated meal plans or intermittent fasting.
Encourages Low-Carb Eating Choices
Since keto relies on little to no carbs, people on keto must seek out low-carb options for both meals and snacks to stay under their allotted limit. Studies have shown that eliminating certain food groups can help us naturally eat fewer calories.
People on keto are often surprised to know that many healthy foods still have plenty of carbs and can derail their best efforts. Even many fruits and certain starchy vegetables are off the table with keto.
But the good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to carb-heavy snacks. After taking a closer look at everyday favorites and replacing them with tasty, low-carb options, choosing low-carb foods is easier than ever.
With fewer carbohydrates, you may be less likely to store extra body fat that can be harmful to your health. Remember to eat enough healthy fats so that your body doesn’t hang on to the fat it has stored out of survival.
How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight on Keto?
Like all diets (low-carbohydrate diets or otherwise), your body needs an adjustment period to get used to your new routine. This can take anywhere from a week to two weeks. That means if you don’t see immediate results, it may mean your body is still getting used to it! Don’t give up too quickly.
If you have a lot of body fat or water weight, you may initially lose anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds during your first week. But soon after that period, your rate of weight loss should not exceed the healthy limits.
Healthy weight loss can be anywhere from 0.5 to two pounds per week. Anything more than that can indicate a bigger problem and should be evaluated by a physician.
Exercise is always recommended to pair with any diet for longevity. Work with a certified fitness trainer to find the exercise regimen that works best for you. You can also stock up on plenty of keto-friendly snacks and meals to help you stick to your goals.
Some people may have side effects when starting keto, including flu-like symptoms. This is called the keto flu and happens to some people when they’ve begun keto.
This can happen especially when people lack proper hydration or experience a very sudden lack of carbohydrates. That’s why drinking plenty of fluids and taking things slow is essential for anyone’s health, especially as the body adjusts to a new energy source.
You may experience the following:
- Difficulty exercising
- Bad breath
- Low energy
- Muscle cramps
When you stick with the diet, symptoms should go away as your body adjusts. Check with a health professional if you have persistent symptoms of “keto flu” while on the diet.
The Bottom Line
Keto is often used as a weight loss diet method, but like all diets, it takes a bit of time to work effectively. By supporting a healthy metabolism, good eating habits, and balanced hunger hormones, keto can support your weight loss journey and establish great health habits.
For more keto tips and tricks, follow our blog. We know how hard it can be to let go of your favorite comfort foods — that’s why we have a wide selection of keto-friendly snacks that can satisfy your sweet tooth and help you stay in ketosis.
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Consumer Reports of “Keto Flu” Associated With the Ketogenic Diet | PMC
Hypothalamic Hormones and Metabolism | PMC
Nutritional Ketosis for Weight Management and Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome | PMC
Should You Try the Keto Diet? | Harvard Health
Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success | Mayo Clinic
Why Belly Fat is Dangerous and How to Control It | Diet and Nutrition | Heart | UT Southwestern Medical Center