Does the Keto Diet Work?

"Does the keto diet work?”  That is one of the most frequently asked questions I get. Also topping the list are questions about keto diet pros and cons and of course people want to know about keto diet side effects. 

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

The keto diet works for many people. It’s a diet that is very, very low in carbohydrates and high in fat with a moderate amount of protein. When carbs are restricted in a diet, fat and protein must take their place. And when your carbs are very low, it encourages your body to use fat for energy. It happily takes the energy from the fat you ate and dips into any stored fat you may have as well. That’s great since most people have a lot of stored fat. 

But, if you’re eating the Standard American Diet, you’re eating a lot of carbs which means your body is dependent on glucose (sugar) for its energy. And if you eat a lot of carbs, your body will convert the extra glucose it can’t use right away by turning it into fat which it will store. If you can “pinch an inch”, you know what I’m talking about!

When your body is in a fat burning state, it produces ketones and is referred to as a ketogenic diet which we shorten to keto diet. Your liver produces ketones as it goes through the process of breaking down fats. Ketones are a chemical that your body and brain use for energy instead of glucose.

So, does the keto diet work?  The answer is a resounding YES!

Keto Diet Pros and Cons

As with any weight loss program there are always upsides and downsides. And, when it comes to upsides, the scales tip in favor of the keto diet.  Here’s why.

The Pros

When you compare a keto diet with a low-calorie diet, you will see that both diets result in weight loss. But with the keto diet, the weight you are losing is coming from your body fat. So, the keto diet preserves muscle mass during weight loss, while a low-calorie diet most often results in muscle loss. 

University of California Professor Keith Baar, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behaviors says, “A keto diet prevents muscle deterioration and even restores muscle function.”

A keto diet keeps you feeling a lot fuller for much longer between meals. And your blood sugars stay pretty level, so you don’t get the low energy slumps between meals.

And you don’t become so grouchy due to hunger. Is there anything worse than being hangry? Seriously!

And the only thing that will make us feel better is to eat a snack. Usually that’s a muffin, cookie, or something “healthy” like a granola bar, which turns out is chockful of sugar! Not ideal to say the least.

And by keeping your blood sugars level, you also become a lot less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and a host of other nasty diseases.

On a keto diet you can expect quick weight loss. First is the water loss, which can account for the first 4-5 pounds. This also means that you will pee frequently in the beginning. But after a short while you’ll be well on your way to losing body fat. If you carry your extra pounds around your belly, that’s where you’ll notice the loss first. And getting rid of that visceral fat is crucial to improving all your health markers.

You can expect a big reduction in inflammation as well. Many of my clients report huge relief from arthritis flare ups and elimination of general aches and pains.

Other pros include recovery from gout, no more GERD and acid reflux, lower blood pressure, reduction in prescription medicines, no more brain fogginess, more energy and more stamina. One of my clients said to me, “I don’t know how to express it, but I have never felt like this in my entire adult life. I’m a new person! I love getting up in the mornings!” Gotta love that.  I call that a “Pay Day!”

The Cons

OK, so now what about the cons? No matter what weight loss program you start there will be side effects. And the keto diet is well-known for the “Keto Flu”. It doesn’t affect everyone, but it does happen frequently. In the transition from a regular sugar-burning diet to a fat-burning keto diet you may experience headaches, low energy, perhaps some constipation or the other extreme, diarrhea. And as I already mentioned, you will need to pee more in the first few days.

The reason you may experience these symptoms is because when you urinate more than normal you are losing some of your electrolytes, namely salt, potassium, and magnesium. Having a bit more salt in your food and drinking water is important. But be careful…there’s no need to drink water by the gallon, that will only make things worse. Just stay hydrated and drink a bit more if you’re sweating. And of course, these keto diet side effects are temporary and will last only a few days.

One Size Does Not Fit All

So, does the keto diet work for everyone? No, it doesn’t. Just like a low-fat diet doesn’t work for everyone. Or a carnivore diet may not suit everyone. It’s a very individual thing for a bunch of different reasons.

Things to factor in are whether someone has a medical condition which would prevent them from eating this way. For this and other reasons, before starting ANY weight loss program, you should check with your family doctor.

The keto diet is not just a powerful weight reducing diet. It will help with some medical conditions as well, and that may impact your current medication dosages. If you have high blood pressure you may find it goes down and your medication will need some tweaking. Same goes if you’re on medications for diabetes. Don’t do this on your own. Always talk to your doctor. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give you medical advice. But be aware that making drastic changes to your way of eating should be discussed with your doctor. Be sure to tell them you’re cutting out sugar and processed food because it will have a positive impact on your health. This will make your doctor very happy!

Will One-On-One Coaching Help?

If you’re looking to lose weight with either a keto diet or a low carb diet and you are stalled, a coach such as me, can help.  Or, if you need help with what you suspect may be food addiction, then I can definitely help you reach your goals. With a formal assessment I can verify if you are addicted or not.  I can help you maneuver around challenging issues, assist in meal planning, be your accountability partner, provide moral support, help you deal with what holds you back and much more. You can learn more about my Diet Coaching services here.

I love what I do because every day I see people get better and achieve results they could never achieve before. That’s why I do what I do. So, in answer to your question, yes, one-on-one coaching will definitely help.

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