Some people may find they are not losing weight on the keto diet. There are various reasons for this, including not going into ketosis or not properly counting calories.

The keto diet is a type of diet that significantly restricts carbohydrate intake. Ordinarily, the body breaks down carbohydrates into the sugar glucose, which it uses for energy. When there are not enough carbs in the body, it goes into a stage called ketosis.

During ketosis, the body becomes very efficient at burning fat and using it instead of glucose for energy. This fat-burning makes the ketogenic diet a popular choice for people looking to lose weight.

There are various reasons why a person may not lose weight while following the keto diet. This article outlines the different possibilities. It also provides some general tips that can help a person achieve their weight loss goals.

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Usually, when a person does not lose weight on the keto diet, it is because they have not achieved ketosis. One reason for not achieving ketosis is not cutting back enough on carbs.

According to a 2023 overview of previous research. carbohydrates should represent only 5–10% of a person’s calorie intake on the ketogenic diet. Specifically, most keto diets require a person to cut down to between 20 and 50 grams of carbs each day on a 2000-calorie-per-day diet.

Sometimes, a person may feel as though they have drastically reduced their carb intake. However, they may still be eating enough carbs for the body to produce energy from glucose, and this may reduce the rate of fat burned in the body.

Home testing can be a helpful way for people to ensure that they are entering ketosis.

A person not losing weight on the keto diet may benefit from purchasing a home testing kit. These kits contain test strips that check for ketones in the urine. A positive result indicates that the body is in ketosis.

Another option is to use a small machine called a ketone breath analyzer that detects ketones in the breath.

People can use this information to make dietary changes to help them achieve their weight loss goals.

Many low carb diets allow for a moderate amount of protein.

Some people mistakenly think a low carb, high protein diet is a keto diet. However, this type of diet is unlikely to cause ketosis because the body can break down excess proteins into amino acids and convert them to types of sugar.

A person on the keto diet will get most of their calories from fat, which should represent about 55–60% of their calorie intake. This fat intake leaves little room for protein. If protein makes up more than 35% of a person’s diet, they may not go into ketosis.

On the keto diet, several types of carbohydrates are acceptable, including nuts and dairy. These foods are typically high fat, nutrient-dense foods that make a great addition to a keto diet. However, they also contain carbohydrates.

Eating too many of these foods will keep a person from achieving and maintaining ketosis.

Sugar alcohols are typically a good option for people following the keto diet. They provide sweetness without increasing net carbs in the body. However, not all sugar alcohols are alike.

For example, although maltitol is technically a low glycemic index (GI) sugar, it can still affect a person’s blood sugar levels. Consuming too much maltitol may prevent a person from entering ketosis.

Learn more about some of the best keto-friendly sweeteners.

To lose weight, a person needs to burn more calories than they consume. People who consume too many calories may gain weight, even if they are in a state of ketosis.

It is, therefore, important that people keep track of the number of calories that they consume.

Sticking to a balanced meal plan can help a person work toward their ideal weight.

Continual snacking can increase a person’s calorie intake. This can mean a person consumes more calories than they are burning off, resulting in weight gain.

Many alcoholic drinks, such as wine or beer, are high in carbohydrates. Hard alcohols, such as gin and vodka, contain less sugars, meaning they are lower in carbohydrates.

However, alcoholic drinks contain many calories. As such, even these options can prevent weight loss.

Learn more about alcohol and the keto diet.

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Exercise also stimulates the body’s metabolism and burns calories.

Exercise may be especially important on a keto diet, as the high fat foods a person eats contain many calories. Burning calories through exercise can help a person reach their desired weight.

A high-stress lifestyle can also stop a person from losing weight on the keto diet. As one 2022 article notes, psychological stress can cause changes in hormone levels, such as cortisol, which can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

Chronic stress may also cause people to crave comfort foods, which can add extra calories to the diet.

In some cases, an underlying medical condition can cause weight gain or prevent weight loss. Alternatively, a medication that a person takes for the underlying condition may be causing increased appetite as a side effect.

Some conditions that can contribute to weight gain include:

A person should contact a doctor if they are unable to lose weight despite adhering to a strict diet and exercise plan.

The doctor may carry out tests to determine what is preventing weight loss. Treating the underlying condition may resolve the issue.

The following tips may help achieve and maintain a healthy BMI on the keto diet:

  • Keeping a food journal: By keeping track of what they consume throughout the day, a person can often identify any foods or eating patterns — such as snacking — that may be preventing weight loss.
  • Drinking plenty of water: Drinking plenty of water helps fill the stomach, and this may help keep a person from overeating or snacking too much throughout the day.
  • Getting plenty of sleep: Sleep helps regulate the body’s normal cycles, and it may also help reduce stress levels.
  • Planning meals: A person may benefit from adhering to a keto-friendly meal plan.

The following are frequently asked questions about the keto diet.

Will a person still lose weight on keto if they do not eat enough fat?

The principle of a ketogenic diet is that a person consumes foods that are high in fats and low in carbohydrates. On a keto diet, fat should make up 55–60% of a person’s daily intake.

If a person does not consume enough fat on a keto diet, they may not feel full. This can lead to snacking and consuming more calories than a person needs, resulting in weight gain.

Additionally, fat is an important component of a person’s diet. It helps the body to absorb vitamins and gives the body energy. It can also help to control cholesterol and blood pressure. If a person is concerned about eating high-fat foods, the keto diet may not be beneficial.

Is keto good if a person does not need to lose weight?

Although people may associate a keto diet with achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI, it may have other benefits. These may include:

  • managing acne
  • improving heart health
  • reducing the risk of certain cancers
  • impacting brain health

However, the keto diet can carry some health risks. A person should speak with a doctor or dietician before following a keto diet.

Learn more about whether the keto diet is good for you.

Why might a person not achieve ketosis if they have reduced their carbohydrate intake?

Food is not the only factor that can affect ketosis. Other factors can include sleep quality and hormone levels, such as cortisol.

Achieving and maintaining ketosis can be a difficult task for many people. The keto diet is strict, and it requires people to adhere to it closely to achieve results.

However, with some minor adjustments, most people can reach ketosis and start to work toward achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI.

Anyone who is unable to lose weight despite following the keto diet and exercising regularly may wish to consider speaking to a doctor or dietitian.