If you’re curious about the ketogenic diet, you’ve probably seen some amazing transformation stories of people who have lost several pounds. The keto diet has been reported to help those who have difficulty losing weight quickly.
Just as some research assures that the keto diet provides several advantages over other diets, such as facilitating the burning of stored body fat, maintaining your metabolic rate (the calories you burn at rest), and feeling fuller with fewer calories. (1,2)
You may be wondering if it’s safe and how much weight you can expect to lose in your first week or month on the ketogenic diet. Many people report extreme weight loss when they first start the diet. However, much of this can be attributed to water losses.
This article reviews how much weight you can expect to lose when starting the ketogenic diet.
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When you start to lose weight
You strictly limit your carbohydrate intake on the ketogenic diet, usually 50 grams or less per day of net carbs.
When you limit carbohydrates, your body burns muscle and liver carbohydrate stores, called glycogen, usually within a few days of starting the keto diet.
After this, your body switches to a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it uses compounds called ketones that become its primary source of fuel. Ketones are made from the fat you eat or from stored body fat.
During which you burn your glycogen stores and switch to ketones; this switch usually takes less than a week. However, for some people, it may take longer.
Many people notice dramatic weight loss during this transition period after starting the ketogenic diet, but most of it is due to weight changes due to water loss.
Weight loss at the start is due to water weight.
The glycogen stored in the muscles and liver is bound to water, usually in a ratio of 3 grams for every gram of glycogen. (1)
As glycogen levels decline, water is released into the bloodstream and then into the body through the kidneys and urinary tract. The result: all that water leaves your body, and the weight goes down.
After starting the ketogenic diet, you may notice that you have to urinate more often and feel much more thirsty. You may also see significant weight losses, mostly water weight losses.
Once those glycogen stores are depleted, so is the water, so don’t worry – the high doesn’t last forever. This also means that when carbohydrates are introduced back into the diet, the water weight will return with them, which is entirely normal and healthy.
Total weight loss is highly dependent on the amount of water you carry and can vary. To get an idea, it is common to expect weight loss of between 0.5 – and 5 kg in the first week of a keto diet.
The more starting weight you are, the more water weight you will likely lose after starting the ketogenic diet. However, much of this weight loss is unlikely to be fat loss.
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Results per month and 90 days
People’s average weight loss when following the keto diet varies significantly from person to person. A short woman who weighs 65 kg will lose weight at a different rate than a tall man who has 20 kilograms to lose.
However, we can consider the typical results you can expect in the first week, month and 90 days of being on the keto diet.
The average monthly weight loss on keto is 1.5 to 4.0 kilos (500 grams to 1 kilo per week, considered safe).
After 90 days of the ketogenic diet, you will likely see significant weight loss results. Those with a high starting weight could lose up to 12 kilos of fat at this time, although, of course, the results vary.
After three months on the ketogenic diet, many people see their results slow down (called a weight loss plateau) as they get closer to their ideal weight, and this is perfectly normal. This is perhaps the best time to get off the keto diet and switch to a balanced eating plan.
Tip: If you can, buy and use a scale that measures your body fat percentage and use it as another guide throughout your journey. Why? While not 100% accurate, scales measuring body fat percentage can give you a better idea of actual fat loss than focusing on the pounds lost.
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Many people use the ketogenic diet to lose weight, and there are several reports online of dramatic weight loss shortly after starting the diet.
This is likely primarily water weight because as you burn your carbohydrate stores, your body releases the water attached to those carbohydrates.
Once you are entirely in ketosis, your weight loss will likely slow, but you will probably start to lose more fat than water.
From the month and 90 days, you will begin to lose fat at a moderate but essential rate that largely depends on the total excess weight. For reference, in three months, you could lose 12 kilos of body weight.