Research: keto diet works, but …..

Research wordResearch word

The keto diet can assist with weight loss, but weight loss is often not sustained.

Ketogenic low carbs diet.
Ketogenic low carbs diet.

Ketogenic diets are attractive to many Americans because the foods are very palatable and fit within our lifestyle. Everyone is looking for a quick means to lose weight. One promising new diet is the ketogenic diet stars and experts alike are stars and experts alike are preaching praise on this new diet. The problem is that if it sounds too good, it probably is too good to true. Most of the studies show they work for short term weight loss, but the question is whether they can lead to long term weight maintenance.

Fortunately, there is some evidence to back up the use of a ketogenic diet. I have written on this topic a couple of times. In Visitor Question: What is a ketogenic diet and do they work?, I answered questions from a visitor on the topic. In Research: Evidence supports the ketogenic diet, I wrote about a new research study to back up the safety and success in a research study. The consensus is that these diets are likely safe for most and they are likely to cause weight loss.

A new study from December of 2018 looked at weight loss and weight maintenance across 13 different randomized controlled studies​[1]​. The review found that subjects were able to lose a clinically significant amount of weight but they were unable to maintain that loss over time. In fact, most lost 4-5 pounds or 2-3 Kg or more but gained nearly all of the weight back.

Some dieters will be intolerant to high-fat diets and will develop constipation, flatulence, halitosis, muscle cramps, headaches, irritability, diarrhea, and unexplained rashes. Face it, who wants to be around a grumpy, irritable dieter that is suffering from bad breath, foul gas, and diarrhea. This diet may be on your shortlist to throw way.

The bottom line: Ketogenic diets may be attractive and may even lead to significant weight loss, but most will gain that weight back. If it is not a diet in which you can maintain for your whole life, I recommend you look elsewhere. Portion control or higher protein may work better for you in that case.


  1. [1]
    R. Ting, N. Dugré, G. M. Allan, and A. J. Lindblad, “Ketogenic diet for weight loss,” Canadian Family Physician , vol. 64, no. 12, p. 906, 2018 [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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