Is the Keto Diet the Right Way to Lose Weight?

Based on what you hear in the media or from your favorite fitness influencer, the keto diet may seem like a miracle cure for excess fat. However, it’s a little more complicated. No diet is going to be the best solution for everyone, and diet alone is not the cure for obesity. 

How it Works

Our bodies typically use glucose as an energy source, as it is readily available in the typical American diet. The idea of the keto, or ketogenic, diet is to reprogram your body to burn energy using fat alone through a diet high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. This process is known as “ketosis.” People on this diet eat foods like avocados, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds while avoiding most fruit and some vegetables, as well as grains and sugary foods, that contain carbohydrates. 

This type of diet isn’t new. It’s the same concept as the Atkins diet of the 1990s. With social media diet culture, the keto diet stays trending with its enticing claim that you can burn fat by eating fat. 

Kick Starting Weight Loss

The keto diet shows promising results when it comes to kick starting weight loss. If you can deal with the initial discomfort and drastic change to your diet, you may be able to use it as an early weight loss tool. After a year, however, the keto diet shows similar results to sticking to any healthy diet. However, it can only do this if you focus on whole foods and avoid overindulging on high fat, processed foods. 

Temptation to Indulge

One mistake many followers of the keto diet make is continuing unhealthy habits. Buying any product that says “keto” as a treat won’t lead to weight loss any more than eating conventional packaged products would. Overeating foods that are high in saturated fat can also be detrimental to your health, even though they’re keto-approved. Like any diet, you should stick to foods that naturally provide health benefits. Eating fatty, processed meats every day on the keto diet will lead to similar results as eating the same foods on any diet.  

Varied Long-Term Results

Most people who make drastic changes to move to the keto diet experience symptoms known as the “keto flu,” which include headaches, nausea, constipation and difficulty sleeping, after only 2-7 days on the diet. The diet is also expensive to maintain, as foods with carbohydrates tend to be more affordable. There’s also the fact that avoiding food groups altogether for a prolonged period of time simply isn’t sustainable for most people. 

Not for Everyone

When you’re overweight and struggle to lose weight, there’s a chance that you may have medical issues that actively prevent weight loss. Hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and depression can all cause weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight, no matter which diet you follow. If you have any health concerns besides your weight, be sure to talk to your doctor before making any extreme diet changes. 

So, should you go on the keto diet? 

If you enjoy this regimented approach to eating, and it still allows you to eat your favorite healthy foods, try it out! However, don’t expect it to be the magic bullet that causes you to shed the weight you want to lose and keep it off. Eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and exercising will still be necessary for prolonged weight loss and health. 


Bariatric Support Group

Dr. Hodges highly recommends patients attend monthly support group meetings. The meetings are led by Dr. Collins Hodges, both a licensed clinical psychologist and someone who has had bariatric surgery himself. The support groups are offered on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm – 7:15pm CST via an online GoToMeeting. The meetings are open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

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