How much weight can I expect to lose on keto?
It would be virtually impossible not to know the basic principle of keto: you drastically limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat each day. Americans normally consume hundreds of grams of carbs daily. On strict keto, you’re only allowed 20-25 grams.
That dramatic reduction means cutting out most of the foods we all love to eat. That includes starches and grains like bread, pasta, rice, cereal, potatoes, root vegetables and bakery products; sugar in all of its forms, including the added sugar found in packaged and processed foods, desserts, soda, fruit juice and junk food; milk (because lactose is really just sugar); and most fruits (which contain fructose, another form of sugar).
What’s left to eat? Mostly, lots of protein and healthy fats. Those are the two macronutrients that replace carbohydrates in a keto diet, and it’s why keto isn’t just a low-carb diet. It’s a high-fat diet as well.
If the keto diet seems draconian, that’s because it is. But there’s a good reason for the restrictions. We’ll take it in bite-sized pieces.
All of the carbs we eat are broken down by the liver to make glucose, or blood sugar. That’s the fuel the body and brain run on every day.
When you don’t supply the body with enough carbohydrates, needless to say, it can’t make glucose. It has to find an alternate energy source in order to function.
Here’s what it does: it enters a metabolic state known as ketosis. In ketosis, the liver produces molecules called ketones, and both the body and brain can function normally on ketones instead of glucose. In some ways, the brain prefers ketones.
This last point may be the most important one of all. In order to produce ketones, the body burns its stored body fat. And we probably don’t have to tell you that fat burning is one of the major factors in weight loss.