How Does The Keto Diet Work?

minute read | Last update: Jan 20th2024

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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Not many people are too familiar with how the ketogenic diet works, and what internal changes occur. The ketogenic diet is way more than just the meal itself, and how a change in diet helps you burn fat is worth knowing, especially if you plan on losing weight. So, how does the keto diet work?

The keto diet works by drastically dropping your carb consumption and boosting your fat intake. Your body will eventually deplete its carb levels and turn to fat as its new energy source for sustainability.

Keep on reading for a more in-depth look at the variations of the keto diet, the needed dietary changes, what supplements are available for use while on keto, and other crucial questions that I will answer at the end.

Here is how the keto diet works

The ketogenic diet works by limiting the amount of carbohydrates you intake and increasing the amount of fat you consume. This, in turn, forces your body to rely on ketones as its energy source instead of glucose.

The keto diet triggers the body to enter into what is known as “ketosis” (a process where your body is short of carbohydrates to burn and turns to fat instead). Ketosis is a general term you will come across when searching topics on weight loss.

It should take you between two to our days to enter ketosis, which means your body has depleted its glucose reserves. However, this could be longer for some people based on metabolism, age, fat, and carb consumption.

What Are the types Of Ketogenic Diets?

When it comes to the ketogenic diet, there are variations. Your keto diet could differ based on how “clean” the diet is or the amount of carbs consumed.

Below are the types of keto diets;

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

The Standard Ketogenic Diet is the keto diet in its original and most accurate form. This is so because the Standard Ketogenic Diet will have you consuming a minimum of 20g to 30g of carbs.

The Standard Ketogenic Diet works best for individuals whose lifestyle is not so active. This ketogenic diet variation usually consists of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrate.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

As the name implies, this variation of the keto diet is in cycles, with periods where you can eat higher amounts of carbohydrates than the SKD. A typical example is adhering to the standard ketogenic diet on weekdays and consuming more carbs on the weekends.

Some people also refer to this as cyclical ketosis, as you are going in and out of ketosis. It is prevalent among athletes and bodybuilders.

High Protein Ketogenic Diet

The High Protein Ketogenic Diet allocates a higher percentage of your calorie intake to protein, with a drop in carb intake. The new ratio for protein on this keto diet is 30% instead of 20%.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet suits individuals who have would like to incorporate workouts in their weight loss routine. This variation of the ketogenic diet allows you have more carbs than usual shortly before your workout.

30 to 40g of carbs to your meal before a workout session should be able enough to take you through. This variation of the keto diet might work better for most individuals if you find it hard to keep up with the standard ketogenic diet.

What dietary changes do I have to make on the keto diet?

The dietary changes you will have to make will involve two major food groups: fats and carbohydrates. The consumption of one will go up drastically while the consumption of the other decreases.

You will cut down on your carbohydrate intake and bump up your fat intake. The reason for this is that you want to push the body into a state of ketosis, where your body adapts to running on ketones and not glucose.

Protein consumption will come in second and will consist of about 20% of your meal. Fats have the highest allocation of 70%, protein comes second at 20%, and carbs come last with 10%. This is if you’re using the Standard Ketogenic Diet.

Lastly, the food sources you will use should be clean. For healthy fat sources, avocados and fatty seafood like trouts and salmon are OK. For carbs, cauliflower and mushrooms are great options.

And as for protein, lean meat and egg whites will suffice.

The only time when you can ditch clean eating, and go with whatever you want, be it burgers, or fries, is when you are on the dirty keto diet.

Are there any changes that my body undergoes once I begin the keto diet?

The internal changes your body will experience have to do with the replacement of glucose as the primary energy source. Ketones replace glucose, as glucose stems from carbohydrates, hence the reduction in carb intake.

Another change your body experiences is the keto flu.

The keto flu is something you'll experience, as your body transitions to a state of ketosis Some of the symptoms of this “flu” include headaches, fruity-smelling urine, smelly breath, and reduced libido.

How long do I have to adhere to the keto diet to see results?

Ideally, it takes anywhere from two to four days for your body to enter ketosis. However, sticking to the ketogenic diet for the long term should not exceed three months.

The first changes of weight loss typically start manifesting from the first 28 to 30 days. However, after three months, you might need to reintroduce carbs into your diet again.

The keto diet is not and has never been something you could do for one year. It is not that sustainable, especially if you pick the option of the Standard Ketogenic Diet and even pair it with intermittent fasting.

Are there any health risks and complications associated with the keto diet?

Some risks come with the keto diet, especially if you have diabetes or have some insulin-related health issues. The risks are nothing to be afraid of, as most individuals usually speak with their doctors and nutritionists before they commence a weight loss journey.

Here are some of the possible health complications one might face with the ketogenic diet;

The much dreaded "keto flu"

Keto flu is not life-threatening, and should not cause panic when you begin to see symptoms like dizziness, and smelling breath. Some people have even come to see the keto flu as a good indicator that your body is gradually making the move to ketosis.


Hypoproteinemia refers to low levels of protein in the blood. Although the primary focus is on carbs in the keto diet, you should not leave out proteins. You can always have a keto chocolate protein shake or have some collagen from time to time.

Keto diarrhea

Keto diarrhea could be occurring due to the gut bladder having too much fat to deal with. Another potential cause of keto diarrhea could be a lack of fiber in the keto diet, present in vegetables like kale, cauliflower, and lettuce.


For individuals with Type 1, or Type 2 diabetes, ensure you have close medical supervision before trying the ketogenic diet. Such individuals will have to be mindful of their blood sugar and glucose levels.

Ketoacidosis is a condition where the body stores ketones (a by-product of fat-burning), leading to the blood becoming acidic. Ketoacidosis could cause damage to the liver, and kidneys which is why medical supervision is crucial.

The symptoms of ketoacidosis include nausea, breathing difficulties, a dry mouth, and frequent visits to the urinal. If you start experiencing any of this, see your doctor or nutritionist immediately.

Possible loss of muscle mass and weight regain

There is no sure way to confirm if what you are losing is fat or muscle. All you know is that your weight decreases. Plus, since the keto diet is not what you can keep up with for a year, there is the possibility of regaining lost weight if one isn’t careful.

Possible nutrient deficiencies

When most of the focus is on a particular food class, others tend to be left out, sparking the possibility of specific nutrient deficiencies. One prevalent nutrient that tends to become deficient is potassium.

Potassium is common in fruits and starchy vegetables, e.g., bananas, raisins, peas, and cucumbers. Bananas and raisins are not suitable for a keto diet due to their high sugar level content.

Keto may lead to high cholesterol levels.

Saturated fats are better off than trans fats, as you should avoid the latter by all means. If you are the type who does not read food labels, you might be setting yourself up for heart-related health issues.

Trans fat increases LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduces HDL levels, which is good cholesterol. Plant-based fat sources like nuts, almonds, olive oil, and avocado are excellent sources of saturated fats, which are more beneficial to overall heart health.

Can I use supplements on the keto diet? If yes, which ones can I use?

There are supplements that you can have when on the keto diet. If you are unable to meet up to the dietary requirements from cooked foods, here are supplements you can take advantage of;

Keto Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in human muscle mass and connective tissues in humans. Collagen accounts for ten percent of muscle mass and is present in the nails, hair, and skin.

Collagen has several positive effects, such as promoting the growth of hair and nails, increased mineral bone density, and combating osteoporosis. Collagen is ideal for those not on a keto diet, as it also promotes skin health and muscle mass, which deteriorates with age for everyone.

When shopping for a collagen supplement, be on the lookout for one that is grass-fed. Also, ensure that the collagen supplement is free of sweeteners and additives like maltodextrin, sodium benzoate, and carrageenan.

Authentic Keto’s Collagen is one of the best you can get on the market. Hurry quickly and take advantage of the flash sale and quick delivery while it is on.

Whey protein concentrate, whey hydrolysate, or whey isolate or casein

Whey protein concentrate, isolates, or hydrolysate is more familiar with individuals looking to pack on some muscle, but that does not mean that that’s the only practical use. If you decide to go with the High Protein Ketogenic Diet that sees protein intake go to 30% instead of 20%, whey protein might be your best supplement for that.

On the other hand, casein is as good as whey protein but tends to be more slow-releasing than whey protein. Casein is better off when taken before sleep for optimal absorption.

Try to read the labels for the protein servings per scoop, e.g., 26g of protein per 130g scoop. This will give you an idea of what is left to add to complete your protein intake after obtaining the little you can from food.

Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil’s

Studies show that MCT oils can aid with weight loss and obesity and reduce waist circumference and body weight. MCT oils also convert to ketones, which is the new energy source your body runs on during ketosis.

Studies also show that MCT oil increases the release of two hormones, namely leptin and peptide YY. These hormones provide a feeling of satiety in the body and can ultimately help one consume lesser calories.

Final Thoughts

You must know how something works before you dive right into it. The ketogenic diet relies on changes to your meal that ensure your carb intake reduces while your fat intake goes up.

Be sure to know what type of ketogenic diet works best for you, and what supplements you might need to cover shortages of whatever macronutrient.


How much weight can I lose on the keto diet?

You can lose up to ten pounds during the first week of keto, after which it could slow down. If you have a lot of excess weight, you’re likely to experience a faster weight loss in your first 30 days. Other factors include the presence of workouts, how clean your meals are, and also your metabolism.

Which persons are unable to partake in the keto diet?

The following set of people should not attempt the keto diet; nursing and pregnant mothers, persons with Type 1 diabetes, increased risk of heart disease, and those with existing liver conditions like liver cirrhosis.

Will the keto diet affect my period as a lady?

The keto diet could lead to irregular menstrual cycles. In cases of hormonal imbalance of estrogen, and luteinizing hormone, you might experience amenorrhea, which is the total absence of periods. Contact your obstetrician at the slightest appearance of missed periods.

Can the keto diet affect my cholesterol levels?

The cholesterol levels in food matter more to individuals who already have an existing issue with cholesterol levels, whether on the keto diet or not. There is a study by Harvard T.H. Chan that shows cholesterol from your diet is not as risky as it is painted sometimes.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.

- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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