How Long Should I Do the Keto Diet?

I think the bottom line question you’re asking is, “how long do I have to endure this to meet my goals?” or “How long do I have to suffer before I go back to eating normal?” Am I right?

While some may be able to go straight back to eating in a high-carb fashion that predates the ketogenic diet, registered dietitian Taub-Dix says that for others, transitioning out of keto can be best done in baby steps. While registered dietitian Taub-Dix says that a ketogenic diet may be an effective way to lose weight in the short-term, it is not something that she recommends, much less recommends, as a long-term eating plan.

Before trying a keto diet, it is important to understand that keto also has its drawbacks, and there is much health experts do not yet understand about its long-term effects on the body. Following the keto diet for a prolonged period can be challenging, and even some of its biggest advocates caution against sticking with its strict guidelines — such as cutting carbohydrates back to 50 grams per day or less — for longer than 30 to 90 days.

That is part of why keto is popular for weight loss: While it may be hard to adjust to in the beginning stages, many adherents report it feels less restrictive than other forms of weight-loss dieting once they have made a habit of eating keto. Beyond lower blood sugar levels and possibly improved brain function, keto’s recent claim to fame is weight and fat loss. In the weight-loss diet world, lower-carb, higher-protein diet plans are usually what get peoples attention.

Switching from glucose to ketones and fats provides a number of health benefits, with perhaps the most obvious being the substantial weight-loss that many experience, easily, with low-carb, high-fat diets. The body can enter ketosis within approximately two days to one week of eating a low-carb, high-fat diet such as a ketogenic diet. On a ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are greatly reduced to allow the body to enter ketosis. In one recent clinical trial observing the health benefits of a ketogenic diet, researchers advised patients to consume less than 20 grams of carbohydrates daily, although other studies have mentioned a person following a ketogenic diet may consume anywhere from 20-50 grams of carbohydrates daily.

For instance, individuals who generally ate high-carbohydrate diets prior to starting the keto diet might need more time to enter ketosis compared with individuals who typically ate a low-to-moderate-carbohydrate diet. Whether you are following keto, or any other plan that puts you into a caloric deficit, it may take anywhere from one week to a few weeks before you begin seeing results, depending on a variety of different factors.

So, how long should I do keto?

A keto journey can be a short-term solution for losing weight for some, while others will embrace a low-carb, high-fat approach as a lifestyle – choosing to cut out quick-acting carbohydrates and sugars altogether. Similar to the way that studies have shown that it is possible to lose weight without counting calories by following a ketogenic diet, staying on keto for maintenance purposes could have benefits as well.

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