When your liver breaks down fats into ketones to use as energy this is what’s known as Ketosis. The Keto diet uses ketosis and is advertised as a plan that will reduce hunger and cravings whilst increasing energy all because fat, instead of glucose, is burned as fuel for the body – which also reduces weight.
But Keto diets are not always as simple as the people selling the idea make out, as you’re about to see.
Why don’t people lose weight on a Keto diet? If you’re eating too many carbs or calories, not getting in and staying in ketosis, not eating enough macronutrients, not sleeping well enough, not exercising correctly, eating too much fat, or have a medical condition, you may not lose weight.
Read on and we’ll delve further into how each of these can affect your results from the Keto diet.
Why you’re not losing weight
You’re not actually in ketosis
This may sound obvious, however, with the keto diet, it is not abundantly clear as to whether your body is in a state of ketosis or not.
To reach a state of ketosis, it is important that you keep an account of how much protein, fat, and carbs you eat daily. Carb intake is different from person to person.
Check here for a carb calculator on the keto diet.
There are a few ways to measure/test whether your body is in a state of ketosis,
Urine strips – Ketone urine strips are used just like a universal indicator. The strips show ketone quantity on a color scale.
Darker means more ketones. When using strips be wary of inaccurate results as they only monitor leftover, unused ketones in the body. As your body adapts to ketosis it uses more ketones so less are expelled.
Blood meters – Easy, accurate, but not the most affordable option, blood meters are a good tool for measuring ketones in your body whilst providing accurate results.
Draw blood from your finger with a small prick and insert it into the meter and find out how many ketones are in your blood – as simple as that.
Ketone breath meters – Also using a device/meter, this time however you blow into the meter and it measures the levels of acetone in your breath.
The more there is the further into ketosis you are. I personally use a Lumen device and app for this and other nutrition guidance.
Other signs: more energy, more focus, less food and sugar cravings, weight loss and most specifically a strong metallic or fruity-smelling breath.
Eating too many carbs
On the keto diet, only around 5% of your total calories should come from carbs.
This in comparison to the standard dietary recommendations of 45-65% of calories coming from carbs.
This is a massive difference and can be difficult to maintain or even reach. A difficult task made easier by apps that show you how much you are consuming and what you can consume to do better.
Consuming too many calories
It’s important to maintain a calorie deficit when attempting to lose weight. Whether that is through consuming less or expending more through exercise.
Many keto foods such as avocados, olive oil, full-fat dairy, and nuts are high in calories. Therefore it is important to not overfill your plate with large portions and not snack throughout the day.
Not consuming enough calories
When cutting calories to an excessive level your body can think it is in starvation mode.
This is when your metabolic rate drops to protect organs and normal bodily functions whilst also slowing down due to insufficient energy or excess exercise.
The body needs an optimal amount of nutrient-filled food. Look to maintain the high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet but look for nutritious alternatives to the standard bacon and butter.
Stress and poor sleep
When stressed, the body produces more of a chemical called ‘cortisol’. Cortisol is a chemical that encourages your body to store fat, specifically in the belly area.
Typically, stress leads to sleep deprivation and therefore more issues that affect weight loss. A lack of sleep has been linked to hunger-regulating hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, which cause increased appetite.
Here’s how you can biohack your sleep.
Not doing enough exercise
Physical activity is crucial when trying to lose weight as it stimulates fat loss and reduces the risk of various chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, losing fat and building muscle can help to give your metabolism a boost by increasing the amount of energy burned when resting.
A routine of exercising and doing physical activity can be difficult to get into, however, a schedule and goals can help to encourage.
Doing too much exercise
Be careful to not overdo the exercise, however.
The most commonly overdone method of exercise is cardio. However, when overdone aerobic exercise can increase appetite to make up for the calories that are lost as your body feels deprived.
Eating too much fat
As aforementioned with calories and carbs, it is important to not consume too much of anything. The keto diet is high fat but moderation is key.
Eating too much fat can lead to a calorie surplus which makes weight loss very difficult.
As fats contain more than two times the amount of calories that carbs or proteins do it is massively important to calculate using measurement tools and apps so you do not consume too much.
The keto diet is not a simple diet to follow, However, with difficulty comes great rewards.
A high-fat diet, which actually leads to weight loss sounds improbable but that is the potential.
If you’re attempting the diet and you’re not losing weight, first check that your body is actually in a state of ketosis.
If so, then look to the alternatives in this list and find your issue and attempt to fix it. It cannot be recommended highly enough to use whatever tools you can to help stick to the limits of calories, fats and carbs to achieve optimal results – diet food apps, calorie counters, etc. are all extremely helpful in committing to a diet.