The keto diet or the ketogenic diet is a low-carb dietary pattern that has been adopted by weight watchers and those looking to improve their health.
A typical keto diet involves reducing carbs to 20 to 50 grams per day. Studies have shown that this enhances weight loss and improves blood sugar control and heart health (1, 2).
While the keto diet might be a great option for those looking to lose weight, it is worth mentioning that you must implement it the right way to reap its benefits.
This article will examine 6 important reasons why the keto diet may not be working for you.
Eating plenty of carbs is one of the reasons why people don’t lose weight on the ketogenic diet.
To attain ketosis, you have to reduce your carbohydrate intake. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the human body burns fat for energy rather than glucose.
Carbs should make up only around 5% of your entire calories (3).
Of course, this contrasts greatly with the standard dietary recommendation that 45–65% of your total calories should be sourced from carbs (4).
Yes, you may encounter some difficulty cutting out the carbs when first adjusting to the keto diet. But then, to attain and maintain ketosis, you must decrease your carb intake to the recommended range.
Using apps like MyFitnessPal can help you track your macronutrients to help you reach your goals. With this, you can know the number of carb servings you can have in a day, depending on your calorie requirements.
Irrespective of what dietary plan you follow, the key to weight loss is eating whole, nutritious foods.
Eating a diet stuffed with processed foods can be a barrier to your weight loss — it doesn’t matter whether the diet is keto-friendly or not.
Including snacks like keto desserts, snack bars, and other packaged foods can prevent you from reaching your weight loss goals — no thanks to the extra calories that they come with.
Also, eating plenty of convenience-type foods such as fast food and hot dogs can slow down your weight loss goals. These foods do not contain any nutrients; they have plenty of calories but are very low in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
To boost your nutrient intake while on the ketogenic diet, eat unprocessed, whole foods.
For instance, poultry, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy, and healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado are healthy choices.
Don’t forget to top up with non-starchy veggies like broccoli, peppers, greens, and mushrooms to boost the fiber and dietary content.
To speed up your weight loss journey, you must create a calorie deficit. You can achieve a calorie deficit by reducing the number of calories you eat or expending many calories through physical activity.
If you follow the keto diet but fail to regulate your calorie intake, then you may likely not drop pounds.
Because keto-friendly foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and full-fat dairy contain plenty of calories, you mustn’t overdo it.
Most people derive great satisfaction after eating keto snacks and meals. Why? Because the protein and fat have filling effects.
But then, it is important to note that one may still consume calories in excess on a ketogenic diet by taking in extra-large portions or by snacking on foods loaded with calories.
Taking note of the portion sizes, snacking moderately, and increasing your physical activity.
It is a fact that the ketogenic diet greatly improves weight loss. However, if you’re finding it hard to lose weight even when you are doing everything correctly, then you may want to rule out possible underlying medical issues that may be hindering you from achieving your weight loss goals.
Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, depression, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and hyperinsulinemia are health issues that can trigger weight gain (5, 6, 7, 8).
Your healthcare provider can rule out these conditions via a series of tests. However, if you have any of these conditions, understand that all hope is not lost. With proper management and medication and dietary and lifestyle modifications, you can achieve a healthy weight loss and maintain it also.
There is always that tendency to expect speedy results when following a new eating plan. However, it is also important to note that weight loss varies from person to person.
Yes, the ketogenic diet can cause healthy weight loss if implemented the right way, but the rate at which you lose your weight may not be as rapid as you expect — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Healthy weight loss involves small but consistent changes.
Experts recommend losing 1–3 pounds per week. That’s about 0.5–1kg weekly. But, of course, this depends on your weight (9).
It is also important to note that you may gain muscle while shedding fat if you create or adopt an exercise regimen that involves weight lifting.
While this may slow down your weight loss journey, gaining muscle mass and decreasing fat mass may be beneficial to your health in a couple of ways. First, it improves bone health and reduces your risk of heart disease (10, 11).
Studies have shown that chronic stress and poor sleep habits can hurt weight loss (12).
When you are stressed, your adrenal glands produce plenty of cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.
Increased levels of cortisol enhance fat storage, especially in the abdominal region (13).
What’s more, when you are chronically stressed, you become deprived of sleep. Sleep deprivation is also associated with weight gain.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep harms ghrelin and leptin, both hunger-regulating hormones, resulting in increased appetite (14).
You can also reduce stress and improve your sleep by practicing yoga and meditation and reducing the time spent on electronic devices (15).
The ketogenic diet is very effective at weight loss, especially when combined with other healthy lifestyle changes.
However, there are a couple of reasons why people may not see their desired results.
Eating excess calories, chronic stress, lack of activity, and underlying health issues may negatively impact weight loss.
To maximize the weight loss benefits of your keto diet, it is important that you reduce stress, get adequate sleep, consume whole, nutritious foods, and lead an active lifestyle.
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