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Almost all of us have heard of the keto diet, and have seen its wonders work first hand on ourselves and others. The way it sheds abdominal fast so quickly, clears up the skin, and focuses the mind. But getting to that amazing state comes with it’s own set of challenges, like temptation, being super “hangry”, and even something known as the “Keto Flu”. So read on to quickly learn what keto is, and what you can expect with keto weight loss, first week and beyond.
If you’re familiar with keto, you can skip this next section.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is when the body enters a state where the liver begins processing fat for energy, instead of sugar.
Why Does Keto Work?
There are a few main reasons weight loss by keto dieting works, and it’s weight loss effects come from the stabilization of insulin levels.
Stabilizes Insulin Levels
By reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing “no carb” vegetables, you reduce the need for insulin. Without carbs, insulin isn’t needed to deliver blood sugars to your muscles, organs and other tissues. Low insulin levels means stable insulin levels, which enables the body to optimize fat loss for energy.
Low Insulin Levels Shrink Fat Cells
The process of fat burning for energy is called ketosis. When the body enters ketosis, it begins to use fats for energy. Those fats come directly from the cells where they are stored, meaning the fat cells shrink in size. Interesting to note however, the fat cell itself does not go away… it just gets smaller.
New Fat Can’t Be Created In Low Insulin Environment
Another powerful effect low, stabilized insulin levels have on weight loss is that new fat cells cannot be created in a low insulin environment. Given other fat cells shrink, and the body cannot store new fat, the result is rapid weight loss in a short period of time.
How Long Does Keto Take to Work?
As mentioned in the subsection above, keto has a “double” effect on weight loss. First is that the stabilized insulin levels shrink existing fat cells, and also prevent the creation of new ones. But getting there isn’t always easy. Here is what you can expect with keto during your first week, especially if you’re a beginner.
1-2 Hours from your Last Carb (Kiss It Goodbye):
You might be getting hungry if you’re like most people, but by this time your pancreas is also slowing down production of insulin, for any remaining carbohydrates that are being digested.
3-5 Hours: Insulin Levels Drop
Within 3-5 hours of eating, insulin levels in the blood drop, as most carbs from the last meal have been successfully delivered (by way of glucose and insulin), to your muscles, organs, and other tissues.
14-20 Hours: Body Enters Ketosis
Within 14-20 hours of fasting, the body enters ketosis. You can kickstart ketosis by fasting a few hours after a meal, working out, and continuing to fast for a few more hours. But generally speaking, a 14 hour fast should kick in ketosis. Eat dinner by 7pm, go for a walk before bed, and by 11am the next day, you’ll be entering ketosis (provided you haven’t eaten!).
24-72 Hours: Serious Water Weight is Lost
Within a day or two, you’ll start to notice you’re slightly lighter in the pants and on the scale. Don’t get too excited just yet, as that’s mostly water weight. You see, for every gram of carbohydrates you eat your body stores some water. The rough mathematical breakdown of this is that for every 144g of carbs, your body will store one pound of water! To put that into perspective, a piece of cheese pizza has 42g of carbs. If you have 3-4 pieces of pizza, you’ll put on about a pound of water weight.
Day 2-3: Keto Flu (aka Low Carb Flu)
It doesn’t happen for everyone, but a common side effect is keto flu (also known as low carb flu). This is basically a miserable, grumpy feeling from not eating carbs (carbs and sugar make us happy… and without them we are haaaangry). See the section below, Symptoms of Keto Flu, to better know what to expect.
Days 4-6: Keto Flu Subsides, Mental & Gut Clarity Attained
By the end of day 4 or 5, your keto flu will subside. The body will just become use to ketosis, and processing ketones (fats in the blood) for energy. This is when you begin to crave fats, like avocados, whole eggs and pork rinds (yes, pork rinds are keto friendly). Many people begin to notice their newfound state of mental clarity, and by now their “bowels” seem to have regulated and are used to a low carb diet.
Days 7 & Beyond: Rapid Weight Loss, Liver Efficiency
Once you get to day 7, you’ll see why the keto diet is so popular. While the long term effects of the diet have yet to be determined, the short term effects of the keto diet have created a cult-like following. It’s undeniable that people feel better, look better, sleep better, and think better when they’re grooving in keto. A big part of the “feel good” aspect is that the bowels have regulated and the liver is now efficient in processing ketones for energy.
Gain a Better Understanding in Your First Week of Keto
Now that you have a good timeline of what to expect, below is some more detail on what to expect with certain key points in the beginning of your journey.
Symptoms of the Keto Flu
The keto flu is really just a series of everyday annoyances that all happen at once:
- Foggy brain
- Difficulty sleeping
Once the liver hits efficiency and begins to optimize burning ketones for fuel, the side effects subside.
First Week of Keto Weight Loss
As mentioned above, significant water weight is lost in the first few days after “going keto”. The reason why is that without carbs, the body doesn’t store nearly as much water in the cells. When the body stores carbohydrates for fuel (as glucose or glycogen), it needs water to process all that energy. Processing fats doesn’t require nearly as much water, so the water weight loss happens almost right away, within 1-2 days.
As for losing fat, this happens once the body hits efficiency with burning fats for energy. But the amount of weight you lose in your first week on keto really depends on so many different factors, like:
- Body Size
- Obesity Levels
- Existing Carb Intake
- Workout Regimen
- Body Type
- Discipline to stay the course with the diet
However, keep in mind that for the first week of keto, weight loss will vary from person to person.
Average Weight Loss First Week of Keto
Given all the factors that influence how much you’ll lose, it’s tough to see what the average weight loss first week of keto might be. Many have reported losing anywhere from 1-10 pounds, depending on how big you are (the bigger you are, the more you’ll lose).
Conclusion: First Week of Keto, and Beyond
The ketogenic diet is a great way to enter ketosis and burn fat for energy instead of carbs. This allows you to live an amazing and healthy life without the need to eat carbohydrates. Without carbs, weight loss is dramatically accelerated. While we can’t say how many pounds you will lose in your first week of keto, we can tell you that you will feel different after 7 days if you stay the course on the diet.
This is Berk from the JarKitchen Team. I am a Mechatronics Engineer and I like cooking in my spare time. By bringing my engineering background into the business, product reviews are a specialty for me. During my travels across Europe, I have learned/tested many recipes and now I plan to bring them to you here!