Does the KETO Diet Work?


Does the KETO Diet Work?

Let me start off this blog by saying I was an avid KETO hater for the past few months. Also, more importantly I would rant almost daily about how I didn’t believe it worked well for people…

Like I always do, I went into the deep dark worm hole that is the internet to see if I was as informed on it as I hoped. This is what I found. —->


A recent study showed that Keto doesn’t work the way people thought it did…

Here’s the study breakdown:

→ 2 groups of men
→ Both groups used the same resistance training program
→ Both groups were in a calorie surplus
→ Keto group lost more visceral adipose tissue (fat)
→ Keto group did not build ANY muscle, other group did, despite being in a calorie surplus (known as the best way to build muscle)

So what does this actually tell us about keto dieting?

Soooo much!

Keto does burn fat.

Keto can help you burn fat cells. I’ve seen tons of people who have done it and there were a few studies I read that did too. However in the study listed above, it was a type of fat called visceral adipose tissue. Which is basically the fat stored beneath the muscle, and around the organs.

This basically means that it’s more a measurement of health or metabolic condition rather than the fat that everyone is always concerned about (subcutaneous fat). The fat the world is worried about is the fat over the muscle just beneath the skin.

That being said, losing the fat around the organs is ABSOLUTELY a good thing. We want that gone to live a long and healthy life. Losing this fat may make the stomach appear to shrink but it more than likely won’t lead to that shredded abdominal region you are looking for.

Although, I will say I am not gonna completely rule that out. My mind has indeed been changed on this.

Keto for Muscle gain.

The studies I read thanks to some blogs I visit do suggest that Keto is not the best for building muscle. There are some people out there that will disagree with me however I tend to agree with the science behind things as they to me are measurable.

Most often the Pro-Keto folks will say its more about the calorie surplus then carbs in the diet. However…. the study cited above tells a different story. Both groups were eating a surplus of calories however the non-keto eating group was the only group to build ANY muscle.

I do not believe that this is the same across the board for everyone. But it does lead me to believe that Keto isn’t the most ideal.

Think of it this way, building muscle actually helps weight/fat loss. Muscle = better fat loss in 99% of cases.

Muscle burns more calories than fat does at rest, more than any other tissue for that matter. Muscle also increases metabolic rate. Muscle also fights off sickness and ailments more than any other tissues of the body. Muscle will help you perform in the gym better. This is very important for weight/fat loss because if you cannot perform well in the gym how are you gonna burn more calories?

I think some could make the argument that the reason why the non-keto group didn’t build muscle could in fact be that their performance during their workouts suffered. It could be both that and the lack of carbs because for most carbs directly correlates to fuel in the body. Having more muscle is almost always a good thing, whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle.

For the study the test groups essentially did a upper body day and lower body day 2 times each per week. They did 6-8 reps to failure for 24 sets total.


“attachment or commitment to an act or action”

This is probably my biggest bug – a – boo that I have always had with Keto. I don’t believe that people follow it as strictly as it is meant to be followed.

I mean, with social events, alcohol, other foods where carbs and sugar are hidden. You name it, I often find that most aren’t actually in Ketosis. They typically are just eating lower carb, with a calorie deficit.

With any diet, “Adherence” or consistency is the #1 priority. No matter what diet or eating style you use, if you aren’t consistent…. it’s not gonna work.

Keto could lead to better health

I think people who are couch bound, could benefit so much from keto. If you are not active, then strength and muscle won’t be built in the first place. So the Keto diet could work great. It’s not ideal to not build muscle and strength because we know by now those lead to a long life. But, losing the fat around organs, and losing weight is always a good thing!

Keto from what I have read, also helps with metabolic or autoimmune disease also. I AM NOT A DOCTOR, I am a fitness coach. All I can do is read and learn from smarter people than me. Then forward the info.

The biggest change in What I think of Keto

The study above didn’t mention it but a book I re-listened to yesterday (Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha) and a blog i read does talk about Insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity can be improved from a higher fat diet. Insulin sensitivity is a resistance to the hormone insulin, which results in increasing blood sugar. Basically its how our body reacts to glucose and carbs. Blood sugar levels under 100 (mg/dl) are considered normal. Levels above that could be considered pre-diabetic. If levels start creeping toward 100 mg/dl then it could indicate you are a bit insulin resistant.

If carbs are leveraged for health and performance the right way I do believe now they should be cycled up and down periodically to reap the full benefits of what they can do for a person.

So here is what I now believe to be true

Keto isn’t all bad. I have numerous clients in my gym and that I have worked with who have had huge success with the diet. I still don’t think it is the best to build muscle or to aid in performance. You can lose fat from it. Do I believe you will get a ripped visible 6-pack from it? No, I think you can get relatively lean from it which is great. I think the biggest thing about it or any diet is how consistent you are with it. If you are doing Keto, you need to test your blood or urine. If you don’t, you truly have no idea if you are in ketosis or not.

I also plan to try some of these protocols on myself from time to time as I have to agree that if used periododically I think it could benefit me. Especially considering I have been a carb guy for a long time.

Study listed above:

I read about 5 different blogs, and a few different studies from both sides. I even watched a documentary on the diet. This study I cited above and a lot of this info came from a few blogs I read that I believe to be the most true, and of course with what my experience in coaching clients has shown. It is an opinion I believe to be true through being a professional coach for almost 10 years now.


Written by:

Cody Smith

CrossFit Seven Cities / Create Yourself Training


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