Keto Diet for Weight Loss: How It Improves Metabolic Health  

The keto diet has been scientifically proven for years to be effective for weight loss. In addition to weight loss, keto also improves metabolic health. This comprehensive article will discuss how the keto diet causes weight loss and affects metabolic health.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The keto diet induces ketosis, a metabolic shift that uses fat for energy, resulting in weight loss. The weight loss is a mixture of water weight and fat mass reduction, but it preserves muscle mass. 
  • The keto diet aids in weight loss by suppressing the appetite, improving insulin sensitivity, promoting lesser calorie intake, increasing metabolic rate, and regulating protein intake.
  • Aside from weight loss, the keto diet helps boost metabolic health, benefiting those with obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer. 
  • The key steps to starting the keto diet for weight loss are strictly following keto macros, gradually decreasing carbohydrate intake, incorporating intermittent fasting, and focusing on healthy fats, low-carb vegetables, and protein. 

Table of Contents:

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a nutritional approach prioritizing very low carbohydrate intake, moderate protein consumption, and high-fat intake, following this ratio:

  • Carbohydrates: 5-10%
  • Protein: 20-25%
    Fats: 70-75%

By sharply reducing the availability of carbohydrates, the body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis, where the body uses fat and ketones as an alternative energy source1 to glucose. 

The Keto Diet and Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the most sought-after benefits of the keto diet, more effective than a low-fat diet, with numerous scientific studies to back its claim. 

According to experts, people in the keto diet often lose up to 10 pounds of weight in just 2 weeks or less.2 

A 2018 study confirms the keto diet is more effective than low-fat diets, with subjects losing 2 kg more than those in low-fat diets.3 

A study on obese subjects on the keto diet for 24 weeks resulted in massive weight loss,4 with mean weight from 101 kg to 86 kg, and BMI from 37.7 to 32.06. 

These positive results are accompanied by other benefits, including more stable blood sugar levels, an improved lipid profile, and overall improved metabolic health. 

How Keto Promotes Weight Loss

keto diet for weight loss

1. Increases Fat-Burning

The Keto Diet’s benefits lie in its ability to induce a state of ketosis. During ketosis, the body shifts from relying on carbohydrates for energy to utilizing stored fat. 

The liver produces ketones from fats by restricting carbohydrate intake, serving as an alternative energy source. This increased reliance on fat for fuel promotes heightened fat burning,5 aiding in reducing body fat stores.

This means the weight loss will be due to fat loss rather than muscle loss. Keto’s regulated protein intake also promotes muscle growth and preservation,6 resulting in a better physique.

2. Reduces Water Weight

The initial weight loss2 is due to water loss. During the initial stage of ketosis, the body utilizes glycogen in the absence of glucose, depleting its stores. 

Each gram of glycogen holds 3 grams of water,7 and using more glycogen results in water loss. Ketones also have a diuretic effect, increasing urine production. 

3. Induces “Pseudo Fasting”

The keto diet mimics the effects of fasting without complete food deprivation. During fasting or very low carbohydrate intake, insulin levels drop,8 prompting the body to enter a state resembling fasting. 

With the keto diet, the brain and body get enough fuel to perform daily functions, allowing weight loss without compromising energy levels and muscle mass.

4. Increases Metabolism

Studies suggest that the keto diet may elevate basal metabolic rate (BMR),9 which is the number of calories the body needs at rest. The increased metabolic rate means the body expends more energy, contributing to burning more fat for energy. 

The increased metabolic rate is due to the increased heat required to burn fat compared to burning carbohydrates for energy.

5. Suppresses Appetite

Ketosis triggers hormonal changes that influence appetite regulation.10 Higher levels of ketones, particularly beta-hydroxybutyrate, have been associated with reduced production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.11 

Additionally, stabilizing blood sugar levels on the keto diet contributes to sustained energy levels, preventing the spikes and crashes that often lead to increased cravings12 and overeating.

6. Promotes Insulin Sensitivity

Keto promotes insulin sensitivity, which is important for weight loss. Insulin helps glucose enter the cells,13 turning them into fat for long-term storage. With increased insulin levels, there is increased fat storage. 

On the other hand, keto helps keep insulin levels low and improves insulin sensitivity14 to prevent increased fat storage. Instead, keto focuses on increased fat burning. 

7. Reduces Caloric Intake

Keto’s restrictive nature, coupled with the satiating nature of fats and proteins, often leads to a natural reduction in calorie intake, leading to weight loss. 

Unlike restrictive calorie-counting approaches, the keto diet promotes a sustainable way of eating. It allows individuals to consume fewer calories without constant monitoring.

8. Increases Protein Intake

Protein makes you burn more calories, making it important in any weight loss program. With the keto diet’s regulated protein intake, you will ensure more stable calorie burning and weight loss.15

Adequate protein intake promotes muscle mass preservation, so the body focuses on burning fat rather than muscle. 

The Keto Diet and Metabolic Diseases

A metabolic disease is any disorder that disrupts the normal conversion of energy. This results in diseases like obesity, diabetes, and others that the keto diet can help fix. 


The keto diet is one of the most effective natural ways to combat obesity. With its ability to increase fat oxidation, regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and regulate hormones, keto is one of the best diets for obesity.16 


Due to its ability to regulate blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity,17 keto benefits people with diabetes

A 2019 study shows a decrease in HbA1c from 8.9% to 5.6% after only 90 days.18 Most participants also reported using lower medication dosages since starting keto. 


Due to the increased fat oxidation, keto improves lipid levels, eventually leading to a healthier heart. 

Studies suggest that the keto diet improves HDL and triglyceride levels,18 an important cardioprotective marker.19 The keto diet also promotes omega-3 intake, which is known to improve heart health.20 

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Emerging research suggests a potential link between the keto diet and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s21 and Parkinson’s.22

Ketones may provide a more stable and efficient energy source, protecting against neuronal damage and reducing inflammation. 


Emerging studies have categorized cancer as a metabolic disease.23 Studies suggest that the keto diet’s ability to limit glucose availability to cancer cells and its anti-inflammatory effects may hinder cancer cell growth.24 

Additionally, the keto diet might enhance the effectiveness of certain cancer therapies. 

Keto’s Impact on Metabolic Health

Lower Carb Intake

Carbohydrate consumption can impact the prognosis of metabolic illness.25 Increased intake of refined carbs puts persons at risk of developing metabolic syndrome and, consequently, metabolic disease.

By following the keto diet, one can prevent developing metabolic diseases and cure an existing metabolic syndrome. 

Reduced Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a common trigger in various metabolic diseases.26 The keto diet has anti-inflammatory effects, improving metabolic health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

Reduced Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Keto’s emphasis on low-carb intake helps regulate blood glucose levels, reducing the demand for insulin and increasing insulin sensitivity. 

How to Follow a Keto Diet

Following the keto diet may be challenging, especially if you have no idea how to do it properly. If you’re doing the keto diet for the first time and want to have a sustainable weight loss, follow these simple rules:

1. Follow the Keto Macros

If you’re aiming for weight loss, you must strictly adhere to the keto macros, consisting of 70-75% healthy fats, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates to maintain ketosis. 

Increasing carbohydrate intake means leaving your ketosis state, which stops the fat-burning process.

2. Decrease Carbohydrates Gradually

Rather than an abrupt shift, gradually reduce carbohydrate intake to allow the body to adjust. This process helps minimize potential side effects, often referred to as the “keto flu.” 

Decreasing carbs progressively, week by week, provides a smoother transition, making it more sustainable and manageable.

3. Incorporate Intermittent Fasting

Combining the Keto Diet with intermittent fasting can enhance its effects on weight loss and metabolic health. Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. 

The synergistic approach of fasting and ketosis accelerates fat burning and hastens the metabolic shift. Start with shorter fasting windows and gradually increase duration based on individual comfort and tolerance.

4. Focus on Healthy Fats

To meet the keto diet’s high-fat requirement, prioritize sources of healthy, natural fats. Include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, butter and ghee, and fatty fish. 

These fats provide essential fatty acids and contribute to satiety, supporting the overall success of the diet.

5. Incorporate Nutrient-dense Low-carb Vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are crucial in providing essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while keeping carb intake low. Include a variety of vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers, in your meals and snacks.

6. Prioritize Protein Intake 

Ensure you meet your protein requirements to preserve lean muscle mass, especially during weight loss. Include high-quality protein sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy. 

Avoid highly processed meats as they often contain high amounts of sugar and preservatives.

7. Increase Hydration

Adequate hydration is vital in the keto diet, particularly during the initial stages or adaptation phase, when you are prone to dehydration. In addition to water, you can try coconut water or unsweetened almond milk, which can be more filling.

8. Create A Sustainable Meal Plan

Develop a meal plan that aligns with your preferences and lifestyle. Plan meals, including snacks, to avoid impulsive food choices that may deviate from the diet’s principles. 

9. Consider Supplementations

Talk to your healthcare provider to address specific concerns that need supplementation. Supplements like electrolytes, omega-3, vitamin D, and B vitamins can help boost overall health while doing keto. 

Should You Try It? 

The keto diet is highly effective for weight loss and improving metabolic health. It increases fat metabolism and regulates blood sugar levels, allowing you to successfully lose weight and reduce your BMI. 

While there are temporary side effects, gradual cutting of carbs and proper supplementation help prevent them from causing long-term problems. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

How much weight can you lose in a month on keto?

While studies suggest that you can lose up to 10 pounds in less than 2 weeks, this depends on your metabolism and how fast your body shifts to ketosis. Other factors include how strictly you follow the keto macros and whether you incorporate intermittent fasting in your routine. 

How effective is the keto diet for weight loss?

Studies suggest that the keto diet can make you lose weight in less than 2 weeks, making it the fastest way to naturally lose weight without fasting for days. 

Why do people lose so much weight on keto?

When doing the keto diet, the body shifts to using fat for energy, leading to increased fat burning. During the initial stages of ketosis, water weight also decreases, leading to more weight loss. 

How can I speed up weight loss on keto?

The best way to speed up weight loss on keto is to combine intermittent fasting with it. These two methods expedite fat burning, resulting in faster weight loss.  


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Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

Click on the links above to visit his author and about me pages.

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