September 7, 2020

Keto Weight Loss

How Effective is The Ketogenic Diet at Promoting Weight Loss?


The ketogenic diet is based on eliminating sugar from your daily caloric intake. This way, your body would have no choice but to burn the fat stored in your adipocytes (i.e., fat cells) to use for energy.

This diet is considered superior to most other weight loss eating patterns. In fact, one study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted diet.

Moreover, you can enjoy all of the benefits that come from being in ketosis without actually having to restrict your food intake.

In another study, researchers found that following a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet) reduces the feeling of hunger and promotes satiety.

In this article, we will decipher the connection between the keto diet and weight loss, as well as the type of food you need to avoid.

The physiology of the ketogenic diet

The physiological mechanisms that make the ketogenic diet effective include:

  • High protein intake.  In most cases, being on a ketogenic diet means increasing your protein intake, which consequently leads to weight loss.
  • Decreased appetite. The ketogenic diet has been shown to stimulate the secretion of hunger-suppression hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, to decrease total caloric intake.
  • Enhanced insulin sensitivity.  By decreasing carbohydrates intake, your pancreas would have to release insulin less often. As a result, the cells will gain back sensitivity to insulin, which helps in weight loss and the prevention of diabetes mellitus.
  • Increased sugar production.  This is called gluconeogenesis, and it’s a necessary process to feed the cells since the only molecule that can be used as an energy source is glucose.
  • Increase fat burning. Because your diet is lacking sugar, the body has to burn fat to metabolically create glucose, simulating a state of starvation, which will help you lose even more weight.

How does the ketogenic diet cause weight loss?

The ketogenic diet may lead to weight loss in three ways:


When the body is deprived of sugar, it is in a starvation mode. Consequently, the liver upregulates the metabolic pathways that transform fatty acids into ketone bodies, which are then used to produce energy.

This metabolic state is referred to as “ketosis” by nutritionists and healthcare professionals.

Ketosis is extremely powerful at burning the fatty acids stored in your adipose tissues. This is believed to be the main mechanism that leads to weight loss.


For a long time, researchers believed that ketosis was the exclusive mechanism that mediates weight loss in people on the ketogenic diet. However, recent research suggests that all low carb, high-fat diets also promote the secretion of hunger-suppressing hormones to prolong feelings of fullness.

These hormones can make you feel full for longer periods of time, which inadvertently reduces the number of calories consumed.

The effectiveness of satiety on weight loss is not yet clear.

Caloric deficit

Although there is no rule on how many calories you’re allowed to eat per day when following the keto diet, most people find themselves in an unintentional state of caloric deficit.

The reason behind this is that fat-rich foods take longer to get digested, which suppresses feelings of hunger.

Additionally, if you are in ketosis, you’re most likely more conscious about the foods you eat, which leads to consuming higher amounts of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.

When combined together, these three parameters are extremely potent at promoting weight loss.

How does the ketogenic diet cause weight loss?

Many keto experts advise against exceeding 10% of your daily caloric intake from carbs.

Some people take this step to the next level by eliminating carbs altogether!

However, sugar is extremely addictive, which makes it difficult to eliminate, especially during the first week.

Here are some steps that may help you:

How to reduce sugar intake?

Focus more on whole foods and avoid buying processed foods; read the label of every product you plan to buy and make sure it’s free of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and trans-fats.

There are limitless health benefits to a whole-food-based diet since all the industrialized processing is eliminated, and you’re left with fresh, nutrient-loaded, natural foods.

Here is a list of some artificial sweeteners to avoid:

  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Stevia/Rebaudioside

These are commonly found in several products, so if you see them on a food label, it’s a warning sign that you should not buy that product.

Note that this list is by no means comprehensive.

Foods with hidden sugar

Surprisingly, many foods that we don’t usually consider as rich in sugar contain high levels of carbs that could secretly kick you out of ketosis.

Thankfully, many of these foods are natural, so there is little to no artificial sweeteners. Nevertheless, you should always be aware of what we’re consuming, especially when you’re on the keto diet.

Here is a list of food items that are rich in carbohydrates:

  • Pasta Sauces
  • Granola Bars
  • Yogurt
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Salad Dressing
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Coleslaw
  • Dried Fruit
  • Ketchup


In summary, the ketogenic diet works on many physiological levels (e.g., metabolic, hormonal, mechanical) to promote weight loss.

Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on the important concepts of the ketogenic diet and its relationship with weight loss.

If you have ever tried the ketogenic diet before, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.

About the author 

Steven Rinker

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