A Dietitian Explains Exactly How the Keto Diet Can Be Highly Effective For Weight Loss

Going on the ketogenic diet can result in a wealth of benefits, including healthier blood sugar levels, more energy, and better muscle recovery. According to Molly Devine, RD, LDN, and advisor to Ketologic, "The ketogenic way of eating is a therapeutic diet for many people and can help reverse many chronic diseases." But if you're striving to lose weight in particular, this low-carb, high-fat diet may be especially effective for you.

Devine told POPSUGAR that a keto diet that "moderates or restricts calories" can be extremely helpful for weight loss. If your calorie intake remains high, you may not gain weight while being in ketosis, but weight loss will be much more difficult to achieve. For this reason, Devine recommends removing all fruit (except for avocados) from your diet in the first month and slowly reintroducing low-sugar fruits, such as berries. And remember, all fats are not created equally. Devine says to look for quality food sources, including grass-fed beef and dairy (butter), free-range chicken and eggs, wild-caught fish, and coconut oil.

Why Keto Is Good For Weight Loss

The main reason many people fail on traditional diets is due to "increased cravings, inability to reduce intake, and overwhelming hunger," Devine said. One of the many benefits of a keto diet is its ability to naturally curb your hunger and cravings for sugary foods, making fat loss and caloric restriction easier. According to Devine, a "truly effective ketogenic diet derives 75 to 80 percent of calories from fat, 10 to 15 percent from protein, and only five percent from carbohydrates."

When your body enters ketosis, it utilizes ketones — which are formed by the breakdown of fat — over glucose for fuel. Devine shared that most people actually lose a large amount of water weight in their first week or two, thanks to the body's absence of carbs. Depending on the person, you can lose up to 10 to 15 pounds of water weight by avoiding sugar on keto. Once your body fully adjusts to burning dietary fat for energy, it can also burn stored body fat to fuel everyday activity, including while you sleep. Again, the key here is to cut back your overall caloric intake and maintain your macronutrients to maximize weight loss. It's also important to keep in mind that eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. "This isn't a low-carb, high-protein way of eating," Devine said. "Fat needs to be your primary fuel source, and that means finding pure fat sources that don't include protein." Otherwise, your body will convert excess protein into glucose and cause an insulin spike.

The great thing about keto is that it is possible to reintroduce carbs back into your lifestyle once you've achieved weight loss. It can take anywhere from two to four months of eating this way to fully enter a state of ketosis, so don't let the keto flu discourage you in those first couple of rough weeks. Some experts say it's not safe to stay in a permanent state of ketosis, so be sure to listen to your body to see if this lifestyle is right for you.