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Diet Spotlight: Does Ketogenic Diet Actually Work?

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Introduction to The Ketogenic Diet

In a World of fad diets, it can be difficult to decipher which one might best suit your particular needs. The Ketogenic Diet has garnered a lot of popularity in recent years, however, the question of how effective it truly is, remains.

Many diets have shown to be effective in initializing weight loss within participants however, individuals tend to gain all the weight back eventually. This reality only adds to the frustration of weight loss.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The Ketogenic diet is a meal plan that focuses on consuming foods that provide plenty of healthy fats, adequate protein, and limited carbohydrates. The overall goal of the ketogenic diet is to consume most of your calories from fat and not carbohydrates.

The are many different forms of the Ketogenic diet but we are going to focus on the main two, the Standard Ketogenic Diet, and the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet.

Standard Keto Diet

The standard ketogenic diet consists of a slightly less aggressive macro-nutrient spit than the other variants of the diet.

  • Carbohydrates – 5%
  • Protein – 20%
  • Fat – 75%

Cyclical Keto Diet

With the Cyclical Ketogenic diet, individuals will purposely deviate by eating clean carbs one or two days per week. Doing this puts individuals in a carb cycle which can be used to enhance performance during workouts.

This diet plan is aimed at athletes.

  • Carbohydrates – 5%
  • Protein – 5%
  • Fat – 90%

Who Is the Ketogenic Diet Best For?

The ketogenic diet is primarily used for weight loss. It is recommended for individuals suffering from obesity, cancer, diabetes, pre-diabetic, epilepsy, and heart disease.

Let’s break down some of the health conditions that can be treated with the Ketogenic diet.

Health Conditions Treated With the Keto Diet

The Ketogenic diet has been used to help treat various medical conditions.


Cancer generally develops due to a gene mutation occurring simultaneously in multiple genes that regulate cell growth and proliferation. These mutations can occur as a result of various factors such as, failed DNA repair mechanisms, increased reactive oxygen species, mutagen exposures, or DNA replication failures.

The Ketogenic diet allows our bodies to burn through insulin quickly, preventing the need to store it.

Insulin is a hormone the body uses for fuel or stores as sugar to be used later. Studies have shown that this decrease in insulin levels can help protect and even stagnate the growth of certain cancer cells. More studies still need to be done on this subject but current research does look promising.


Some studies have linked carbohydrate consumption with acne. Since the ketogenic diet calls for a drastic decrease in the amount of carbohydrates consumed, this will help to decrease your risk of acne breakouts.

Insulin can cause the body to make other hormones which may trigger acne breakouts.

Heart Disease

Ketogenic Diets involve decreasing your carbohydrate intake which helps to decrease the amount of insulin in the body. Lower levels of insulin have been associated with a decrease in blood pressure and lessen your chances of developing hardened arteries, heart failure, and other heart conditions.


Ketogenic diets have been used to help control seizures since the 1920s.


Diets that are low in carbohydrates help to keep blood sugar levels low.

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

Helps Treat Cancer
  • Reduces insulin and cell proliferation signals.
  • Reduces blood glucose levels and fuel availability.
  • Increases susceptibility to chemotherapy/radiation while protecting normal cells
Helps Treat Diabetes
  • Reduces HbA1c.
  • Reduces insulin requirements.
  • Reverses insulin resistance.
Helps Treat Cardiovascular Disease
  • Lowers triglycerides
  • Lowers ApoB/ApoA1 ratio
  • Lowers sdLDL
  • Increases HDL.
Promotes Weight Loss
  • Reduces appetite.
  • Reduces body weight while maintaining lean mass and resting metabolic rate.
  • Reduces visceral fat.

Negatives of the Ketogenic Diet

The short-term effects of the Ketogenic Diet have been well studied and documented, however, the long-term effects are not well known.

Common Minor Short-Term side effects:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty to exercise tolerance

Potential Major Side Effects of Ketogenic Diet

  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Liver Problems
  • Kidney Problem
  • Mood Swings


There are many diet fads out there that advertise being the magic formula to get you the weight loss results you want. Many individuals see some short-term success with these diets, however, they soon find their momentum dwindling.

The best nutritional advice for any individual is to seek the help of a professional and maintain a balanced whole foods diet. There are benefits to every diet, however, proper research and precaution must be taken when implementing these in our daily lives.

The Ketogenic diet may prove to be beneficial for certain individuals. You never know if you don’t try right?

Before starting a new diet it is recommended you consult a health and nutrition professional.

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