The Ketogenic Diet and Weight Loss
Welcome to your second lesson. Today, we’re looking at the ketogenic diet and weight loss. Let’s begin.
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is as true for the ketogenic diet as it is for any other diet.
However, one of the reasons that the ketogenic diet is seen as a great tool for weight loss is because by restricting or removing a macronutrient—in this case, carbohydrates—you see an immediate reduction in food intake and therefore, in calorie intake (1).
For example, if you’re currently eating 2,000 calories a day and half of these are carbohydrates, by starting the ketogenic diet and restricting the carbohydrates you eat, you’re suddenly eating much fewer calories.
Even when you replace some of these calories with protein and fat, you’ll still find it difficult to eat as many calories as you did when you also ate carbohydrates (you’ll see why in a moment).
This is how fat loss works: the creation and maintenance of a calorie deficit. For this reason, the weight loss benefits of the ketogenic diet need to be viewed in the context of its ability to help you do just that.
There are numerous studies that show how participants have both lost weight and improved health (2, 3, 4). However, the research also shows that there is no statistical difference between weight loss when comparing the ketogenic diet and a moderate/high-carb diet (5, 6, 7, 8).
So, the question becomes, “Is the ketogenic diet better at not only helping you lose fat but also sustaining that fat loss indefinitely?”
To answer this question, we can look at the existing research, which shows that a low-carb ketogenic diet, particularly one high in protein, can help reduce hunger and overall food intake more than a high-protein, moderate-carb diet (9).
The reason for this is the high satiety that both protein and fat provide, making you feel fuller for longer and more satisfied after meals. This is hugely beneficial when it comes to hunger management and overall calorie control.
There is also research showing that a ketogenic diet may also be superior at decreasing fat storage and increasing fat burning, which could reflect an improvement in your ability to create a calorie deficit (10, 11, 12).
Additionally, there is some evidence that a ketogenic diet can suppress your appetite even after normal eating (i.e., higher carbs) has been reintroduced (13).
All in all, the ketogenic diet may offer benefits when it comes to being able to create and maintain a calorie deficit, but this is largely due to high levels of satiety after meals, and it may not be suitable for everyone.
Note: It is possible to overeat when using the ketogenic diet and gain weight. If you eat over your daily maintenance calories, you will gain weight. This holds true for keto and every other diet.
In Lesson 3, we look at the health benefits of the ketogenic diet.
See you tomorrow.
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