How Long Should Someone Stay On The Keto Diet

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How Long Should You Stay On A Keto Diet?

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A Keto Diet Meal Plan And Menu That Can Transform Your Body

If you find yourself in a conversation about dieting or weight loss, chances are youll hear of the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Thats because the keto diet has become one of the most popular methods worldwide to shed excess weight and improve health.

Research has demonstrated that adopting this low-carb, high-fat diet can promote fat loss and even improve certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline .

This article explains what to eat and avoid while following a keto diet and provides a one-week keto meal plan to get you started.

You Might Not Want To Do The Keto Diet Long

The ketogenic diet typically involves replacing carbohydrates from low-fat sources like grains, fruits, vegetables with greater amounts of fat from both plant and animal sources. This means that people who have medical conditions affected by fat intake should avoid following the keto diet, especially in the long term.

“High triglycerides circulating in the blood for a prolonged period of time can lead to acute pancreatitis. The high-fat keto diet is a known cause of acute pancreatitis because it causes an increase in circulating fats,” author and nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., told INSIDER.

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How Long Does It Take To Enter Ketosis

The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular low-carb diets on the planet.

It helps your body switch its main fuel source from glucose a type of sugar to ketones compounds made by breaking down fat that serve as an alternative fuel source .

A ketogenic diet not only helps you lose weight but is also linked to numerous benefits, such as increased levels of HDL cholesterol and reduced blood sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels .

However, some people find that it takes them much longer to enter ketosis than others. Whats more, many struggle to enter ketosis in the first place.

This article tells you how long it takes to enter ketosis and why you may not be there yet.

How Does The Diet Work

How Long Should You Follow the Keto Diet?

When you’re on the keto diet, youre eating too few carbs to support your body’s energy needs. As a result, your body turns to burning your stores of body fat to fuel your energy.

When your body burns body fat for fuel, it produces ketones, substances made in your liver. Your body enters a metabolic state called “ketosis.”

If you follow the keto diet strictly, your body will reach ketosis in about 4 days. You will likely even see several pounds of weight loss the first week.


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The Case For Staying In Ketosis Long

Even though Ketchum has written a book on keto, keeps on top of the scientific research about it, and has been living the keto life for years, she stresses that she is not a medical expert. “I read a lot of studies, but I’m not the person doing the research,” she says.

In her case, she says she uses keto to manage her diabetes.”In my case, , I have a visual representation of why it works, which is my blood glucose meter,” she says. She believes that without this eating plan, she would have to take insulin.

But even if you don’t have diabetes, Ketchum says that many people have found success following keto long-term. “People use it for weight control, anxiety, and other neurological disorders, and also for sustained energy and to combat brain fog,” she says. And even though the word “diet” has a temporary connotation, she believes it’s absolutely sustainableâas long as you like the food. “The key is having recipes for dishes you love on hand,” she says.

Even though Ketchum is an all-out keto advocate and, for her, there’s no turning back, she does offer up one caveat: “Because the diet is newly popular, there haven’t been any substantial long-term studies done,” she says. “I would love for someone to do one, following people on keto for 20 years!” But as for herself, she hasn’t seen any negatives to the diet, only positives.

The Food Is Repetitive

I ate a lot of bacon, cheese, eggs and meat . For a person whose eating philosophy is typically more plant-based and whole-food-focused, eating processed pork products every morning took a lot of personal persuasion. It also took a complete mental shift, because eating multiple pieces of bacon every day for weeks on end goes against everything I’ve been taught for personal health.

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How To Achieve Ketosis

During ketosis, ketone levels increase in the blood. With healthy ketosis, ketone levels should be in a range of 0.5-3 mg/dL. If ketone levels are too high, you may be dehydrated and jittery.

Fasting is the quickest way to achieve ketosis. However, this will work only for a few days and is not ideal because you are not getting enough important nutrients. The best way to achieve ketosis is to go on a low-carb diet or follow a ketogenic diet, which is a low-carb high-fat diet that restricts your carb intake to fewer than 50 grams per day to as little as 20 grams per day. The level of carbohydrates to induce ketosis varies from person to person.

A combination of keto diet and regular exercise can help you achieve a faster rate of weight loss.

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What This Means For You

Ultimately, you can decide what diet works best for your health goals. If you want to start a keto diet, consider its risks and whether it’s sustainable for you. Discuss with your doctor or nutritionist about how the dietary plan could affect your health. While keto works for some people to control seizures or lose weight, there are long-term risks that may outweigh any short-term benefits.

What About Everyone Else: Is Keto Diet Safe In The Long Term

How long the keto diet is safe for weight loss is still under study. Early research found that overweight individuals who followed it for 24 weeks had positive results. Another study recommends people follow the diet for no more than 12 months. Even during that time, say the authors, close monitoring of functions while on a ketogenic diet is imperative. In other words, let your doctor know what youre up to, and keep an eye on your kidney health. Beyond a year, no ones really sure how safe the diet is.

My professional recommended period of following the keto diet is about six months maximum, and that will also depend on how much the person weighed prior to starting the diet and the state of his or her overall health within those six months, says Nikola Djordjevic, MD, of

He adds, That said, I highly advise that anyone on the keto diet get checked by a professional nutritionist or a medical doctor regularly to make sure he or she hasnt developed any complications like hypertension.

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What Are The Possible Long

I dont recommend staying on the keto diet permanently. It can be really restrictive, says Mancinelli.

Long-term research on the keto diet is limited, so theres no telling for sure what cutting out certain major food groups and cutting carbs will eventually do to your body. Registered dietitians warn that nutrient deficiencies may be possible if youre on it for too long.

Stick to the keto diet for three to six months max, says Mancinelli, noting that some people opt to cycle in and out of the diet throughout the year.

How Long Can You Stay On The Keto Diet

ANSWERED: How Long Should You Follow Keto Diet For?

There’s a big reason the keto diet has exploded in popularity, to become the number one diet in the U.S. in 2020. The promise of rapid weight loss, combined with official permission to eat plenty of high-fat foods and heaps of celebrity endorsement is a sure path to diet stardom. But all of those factors don’t answer an important question: is it safe in the long run?

Despite its rapidly growing following, experts are concerned about the long-term safety of the keto diet, and warn against it. Nikola Djordjevic, M.D., of, advises “My professional recommended period of following the keto diet is about six months maximum, and that will also depend on how much the person weighed prior to starting the diet and the state of his or her overall health within those six months” .

Keto basics include getting about 75 percent of daily calories from fats, 20 percent from protein, and only five percent from carbohydrates. That radical change to normal eating habits forces the body to switch from burning glucose for fuel, to burning fat instead. Kassey Cameron, food blogger and author of The Beginner’s KETO Meal Plan, explains, “During the state of ketosis your body indiscriminately burns fat for fuel. This is the fat you are eating , the fat you have stored , and the fat your body naturally generates ” .

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What Foods Are Best To Eat To Lose Weight On Keto

As mentioned, keto emphasizes diets with very low levels of carbohydrates. Adherents to the keto diet typically eat foods like:

  • Lean poultry

  • Nuts

  • Avocado

Since common foods like bread and grains arent allowed on keto, many people will make their own keto-friendly versions of classic meals. Thanks to the popularity of the ketogenic diet, a quick online search will find you dozens of recipes for foods like keto pizza or keto tacos.

If youre going to be following a keto eating style, be conscious of your daily macronutrient and calorie intake especially when it comes to foods high in fats like nuts and avocado. Keto also requires careful monitoring of protein intake, as studies show that excessive levels of protein in the body are actually converted to carbohydrates, which may interfere with the state of ketosis.

Why Do Some People Take Longer To Enter Ketosis

There are many reasons why some people take longer to enter ketosis than others.

In most cases, its due to unintentionally eating more carbs than recommended for a ketogenic diet. Eating too many carbs can stop your body from producing ketones.

Its worth noting that some people can enter ketosis while eating a higher number of carbs , while others need to eat fewer as low as 25 grams per day .

Therefore, you may need to further reduce your carb intake if youre struggling to enter ketosis.

Another common mistake is not eating enough fat on a ketogenic diet. In general, people should aim to consume 65-90% of their daily calories from fat, 10-30% from protein, and less than 5% from carbs .

Also, eating too much protein on a keto diet may make it harder to enter ketosis, as it may encourage your body to use gluconeogenesis a process that converts amino acids from protein into sugar. Too much sugar can stop your body from producing ketones .

Aside from diet, lifestyle factors including exercise, sleep, and stress can affect the time it takes to enter ketosis.

For example, exercise helps your body empty its carb stores faster. Thus, people who exercise more may enter ketosis faster (

If you struggle to get into ketosis, check whether youre making any of these mistakes.


It may take you longer to enter ketosis if you eat too many carbs, dont eat enough fat, dont exercise enough, or dont get enough sleep.

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How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight On Keto

Many people adopt new eating styles or diets to lose weight. While the only scientific requirement for weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you burn each day, dieting methods provide a specific framework that can make lowering your daily calories feel easier.

Along these lines, many find that the ketogenic or keto diet is a great way to help them control their body weight. At the most basic level, keto is simply a high fat, low carbohydrate diet designed to put the body in a state called ketosis. This comes with some health benefits: Scientific studies by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that these low-carb, high-protein diets are beneficial for controlling hunger and food intake. Other research indicates keto diets can help regulate blood sugar levels, which can play a role in controlling type 2 diabetes.

If youre using the keto diet to lose weight, its important to recognize that the process takes time. No matter how you are looking to reduce body fat, results wont happen overnight. However, with consistency and dedication to a dietary pattern that controls calories, you can achieve the type of weight loss you desire.

Pay Attention To Micronutrients

KETOGENIC DIET: How long should you give yourself to keto adapt?

Keto dieters can miss out on some key nutrients like electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, says Jennifer Mason, MS RD, a dietitian who specializes in low-carb and keto diets. Without adequate sources of these two nutrients, you may experience nausea, weakness, muscle cramps, and constipationor the keto flu. You can try supplements, or focus on nutrient-rich foods that will provide you what you need.

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Health Conditions Keto May Help And 6 It Wont

Because its not a forever diet, there will be life after keto. But even when you go off it, you can expect that your taste preferences will have changed. You likely wont want as many carbs, and things will taste extremely sweet, she says. Thats good, because the last thing you want to do is go back to your old eating habits and regain weight that you lost.

While everyones nutrition requirements differ, generally, you may eat 40 to 45 percent fat and stick to 120 to 150 g of carbs per day to help you keep the weight off, she says. That said, the US News report noted that the long-term weight loss effects of keto arent clear.

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How To Reincorporate Foods Back Into Your Diet

Because the keto diet requires users to avoid nearly all carbs, its unlike any other diet. If you decide to experiment with going off keto, your best bet is to do so gradually.

A slow transition off keto allows you to avoid pitfalls like binge eating or rapid weight regain while also gauging how your body responds.

Heres how to do it:

  • Stick with healthy, organic whole foods whenever possible: Keto or not, you need to eat healthy foods to stay healthy. Choose wisely.
  • Record your macros and increase carbs incrementally over a period of a few months. Try adding in around 50-75 grams of daily carbs each week at most. After strict keto, your body needs time to readjust.
  • Weigh in regularly and track your results: During and after your transition, pay close

attention to the areas in which you noticed improvement during keto. Bodyweight, body fat percentage, blood sugar, and physical performance are measurable, so remember to monitor them about once a week.

  • Listen to your body: Outside of quantifiable health markers, there are plenty of other important outcomes that affect your quality of life. Check in and notice your mood, energy levels, sleep quality, productivity, and stress levels.
  • Make adjustments when necessary: Depending on your results, you may want to adjust your macros, calories, or food selectionor even return to a keto diet.

And avoid these mistakes:

And if you experience symptoms of IBS or other gut issues, take a closer look at individual foods.

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