The Keto Diet has become popular in recent years. While long-term studies are needed, there is some evidence that YES, you can lose weight on the keto diet. The question is at what cost and is it a good idea?
The Keto Diet, Weigh Loss and Muscle Mass - What Do the Studies Say?
17 overweight and obese men were put in metabolic wards and on two different diets containing the same amount of calories.
4 weeks on a high-carbohydrate diet (50% carbs, 35% fat, 15% protein)
4 weeks on ketogenic diet (5% carbs, 80% fat, 15% protein)
Subjects lost 3x more weight when switched to the keto diet.
Body fat loss slowed by more than half when switched to the keto diet!
Most weigh lost on the keto diet was water and muscle mass!
What happens when the keto diet is compared to a low-fat plant-based diet?
20 overweight men and women were put on a 2-week, low-fat, unrestricted plant-based diet followed immediately with 2 weeks on a keto diet.
KETO diet: 🧀🥑🥩🍗🥓
Impaired glucose tolerance, increased muscle mass loss
Plant-based diet: 🥔🌽🍚🍌🥬
Increased fat loss
Lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, calorie intake
Yes, you can lose weight on the keto diet, but it is mostly water and muscle mass!
The best way to build muscles is to adopt a low-fat whole foods plant-based diet and muscle building exercises.
Ketogenic diets trigger a rapid reduction in water weight due to decreased glycogen stores, but the loss of muscle mass is a downside, especially for those striving for better body composition and a healthy metabolism.
Comparing the keto diet with a low-fat, plant-based diet further emphasizes the importance of considering the quality of weight loss. While keto might show quicker scale-based results, the plant-based diet seems to encourage more favorable outcomes, including increased fat loss and improvements in health markers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Goals matter significantly here. If the priority is swift weight loss with less concern for muscle or long-term health, the keto diet might seem attractive. However, for overall health, sustained weight loss, and muscle retention, a balanced diet centered around plants appears more beneficial, as supported by the studies referenced below.
Documentaries such as "The Game Changers" contribute to the conversation, highlighting the potential advantages of plant-based diets for health and athletic performance.
Hall KD, Chen KY, Guo J, et al. Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104(2):324-333. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.133561
Hall KD, Guo J, Courville AB, et al. Effect of a plant-based, low-fat diet versus an animal-based, ketogenic diet on ad libitum energy intake. Nat Med. 2021;27(2):344-353. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-01209-1