Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet For Weight Loss | Bariatric Surgery | The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado (2023)

What is the Keto diet, and can it help you to lose weight and keep it off?

The Keto diet has become a lot more popular in the past few years. There’s no doubt that some people use the Keto diet for weight loss, but how safe and effective is it long-term?

In this blog we‘ll explain exactly what the ketogenic diet is, how it works, and the pros and cons of this diet. If you’re considering the Keto diet for weight loss, this blog is for you.

Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet For Weight Loss | Bariatric Surgery | The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado (1)

What Exactly is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic (keto) diet is designed to use dietary fat (in the form of ketone bodies) rather than carbohydrates for its primary source of fuel for your body. This is a state known as ketosis.

Normally, our bodies use carbohydrates as their primary energy source. We process carbohydrates through a process known as the Krebs cycle. In fact, our muscles and liver store extra carbs, essentially saving up for periods when we don’t eat.

But if we consume very few carbs or don’t eat for a long period of time, our bodies will run out of stored carbohydrates. When this happens, our bodies use fat (both stored fat and fat from our diet) for fuel in the place of carbs. This stored fat is broken into units of energy called ketones, which are used for energy production.

While the ketogenic diet may seem like a new idea, each and every one of us has been in a state of ketosis before. Ketosis occurs anytime we’ve burned through both the food that we’ve eaten, as well as stored glucose in our bodies. Examples include any fasting state: while you’re sleeping, when you’re too sick to eat, after a strenuous workout, or even during pregnancy.

(Video) These 3 People Went To Mexico For Weight-Loss Surgery And Now They Regret It | Megyn Kelly TODAY

Keto Origins

For over 2000 years, humans have used fasting to help treat epilepsy, a condition characterized by seizures. In the 1920s researchers created the ketogenic diet to help reduce seizures in people suffering from epilepsy. Later, pharmaceuticals became the go-to treatment for epilepsy, and the keto diet was largely forgotten.

In the 1970s, Dr. Robert Atkins created the first low-carb diet, the Atkins diet. The idea was to reduce carb intake to promote weight loss. That launched a new interest in understanding what happens in our bodies when we eat carbs, and the ketogenic diet resurfaced.

Does the Keto Diet Promote Weight Loss? Benefits of Keto

Many people have used the keto diet for weight loss, and have seen improved health and a slimmer waistline. Research suggests there may be benefits to this diet for some people when it comes to losing weight and alleviating certain health conditions.

Keto Diet Benefit #1: Produces Rapid Weight Loss

As anyone who’s successfully followed the keto diet can tell you, when followed correctly, many people will lose weight very quickly in the first few weeks. This rapid weight loss can then serve as reinforcement for people to stick with it, as fast results are exciting. It may also be helpful if you’re expectation is to shed a quick 5-10 pounds for an upcoming event.

But it’s important to understand that this rapid weight loss does not equate to a rapid loss of fat. Because of biological changes that occur when our bodies switch from utilizing carbs to utilizing fats for fuel, people lose much of the stored water in their body. This can result in losing 5 or more pounds of weight extremely quickly. But it’s important to realize that the results you see for the first few weeks aren’t replicable—you aren’t going to lose 5 pounds every few weeks on the diet forever, as transient water loss does not continue.

Keto Diet Benefit #2: Reduces Sugar Intake

Most of us consume far too much sugar, especially processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup or white sugar. Refined sugar and processed carbohydrates are pro-inflammatory and can lead to chronic diseases. By dramatically reducing the number of carbs you consume, the Keto diet helps you to automatically cut out many of these these unhealthy foods from your diet. Reducing refined sugars and carbs is one of the best benefits of this diet. Eliminating processed carbs, which is a principle that the keto diet shares with several other diets, can help to improve your overall health and may even help protect you from certain diseases. However, it is very important to note that not everyone responds the same way, and the higher fat content of this diet may be dangerous over long periods of time for at least some people.

Keto Diet Benefit #3: May Promote Long-Term Weight Loss

When followed carefully for long periods of time, the Keto diet can facilitate long-term weight loss (as can many other diets). One study by the National Institutes of Health found that the diet helped patients to lose weight, and as a result health often did improve over 6 months. Studies have even demonstrated sustained weight loss until the 2-year point, although more studies need to be conducted to see if this weight loss continues (or even remains) after 2 years. However, high fat diets can also create health consequences over prolonged periods of time including heart and kidney disease. They may also be a driver behind insulin resistance, leading to diabetes. Additionally, many people attempting the keto diet eliminate most plant food sources, which can independently cause chronic disease by causing micronutrient and phytochemical deficiencies.

If you want to be successful on any diet, then you’ll need to be very intentional about the quality of foods that you eat and follow the diet closely. This is the most important principle in losing weight through dietary choices.

(Video) Is Bariatric Surgery the Answer For You? Ragui W. Sadek, RWJUH New Brunswick Discusses the Benefits

Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet For Weight Loss | Bariatric Surgery | The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado (2)

Does the Keto Diet Promote Weight Loss? Drawbacks of Keto

Drawback #1: The Keto Flu

Many people that attempt this diet experience the dreaded “keto flu” and this must be overcome in the beginning. The keto flu occurs as your body adapts to using fats rather than carbohydrates for energy and you struggle through mild dehydration. The symptoms can include brain fog, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, insomnia, constipation, trouble exercising, and vomiting.

These symptoms last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. You can relieve some of these symptoms by drinking more water and increasing your electrolyte intake, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to escape the “keto flu” completely.

Drawback #2: Weight Regain If You Stop

If you decide to stop the keto diet, chances are you’ll experience rapid weight regain, even if it is just 5-10 pounds. You’ll also regain the water weight that you lost when you started the diet. If you’ve experienced the “yo-yo” of dieting before, where you lose weight only to watch helplessly as the scale climbs up again, you know how discouraging this can be.

Drawback #3: The Keto Diet Often Includes Unhealthy Foods

There are ways to follow this diet in a healthier manner, by emphasizing healthier plant-based fats and unrefined lower carbohydrate foods such as nuts, leafy green vegetables, and berries.

Unfortunately, some people use it as an excuse to eat any fats that they want while avoiding fruits and vegetables. If you eat less healthy fats (like saturated and trans fats) rather than healthy fats (such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats), this type of diet can be dangerous for your long-term health.

Foods Rich in Heart Healthy Omega Fats:

•Wild-caught salmon
•Wild-caught trout
•Wild-caught mackerel
•Nuts and seeds

(Video) Nutritional Trends and Implications for Weight Loss Surgery

Foods Rich in Unhealthy Fats:

•Dairy products
•Processed foods
•Fast food

If you decide to follow the keto diet, make sure to talk to your physician or dietitian to make sure that you’re not including excess trans fats and saturated fats; that you are taking as healthy of an approach as possible; and that your cholesterol levels, heart and kidney function are checked at regular intervals. Again, plant-based modifications may provide you with a much more favorable complement of micronutrients, essential phytochemicals, and antioxidants; and are strongly encouraged.

Drawback #4: Leaves Out Fruits and Vegetables

While a balanced keto diet does include some fruits and vegetables, it is not nearly enough to meet the recommended fruit and vegetable intake each day. This is concerning because plant foods contain the vast majority of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that have beneficial effects on our health.

If you follow the diet too strictly, you may not get enough antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and other compounds essential for human health.

Drawback #5: Questionable Long-Term Safety and Efficacy

While studies up to two years have shows positive results when it comes to weight loss, the lack of long-term studies leaves us without conclusive information regarding the efficacy and safety of Keto.

Some studies have found long-term adverse health effects, including kidney stones, hepatic steatosis, nutrient deficiencies, and more. When it comes to the Keto diet for weight loss, long-term safety is a concern.

Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet For Weight Loss | Bariatric Surgery | The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado (3)

(Video) Bariatric Seminar - Dr. Eric Paul

Alternatives to the Keto Diet for Weight Loss: The Mediterranean Diet

Unless you want to pay close attention to everything you eat, and know that you’ll have strong self-control throughout, the Keto diet probably isn’t for you. Even if you are willing to put in that level of commitment, this diet may not be safe or effective over the long term.

One alternative if you’re looking to lose weight is the Mediterranean diet. This diet is much closer to how most of us eat already. It also has more research and history supporting its use for both weight loss and health. This type of diet is rich in healthy fats like fresh-caught fish, olives, and vegetables.

However, if you truly desire to maximize your health as you lose weight, consider committing to a Plant Based Whole Foods diet. Like the keto diet, this dietary philosophy eliminates refined sugars and processed foods which reduces chronic inflammation. However, because it is rich in fiber it decreases overall caloric intake and is very healthy for your intestines. Additionally, the rich balanced assortment of more than 5000 essential phytochemicals has been shown to reduce your risk for (and even reverse) most chronic diseases including diabetes; increase your lifespan by at least 11 years on average; and lead to better function and higher quality of life.

Alternatives to the Keto Diet for Weight Loss: Weight Loss Surgery

If you’ve tried many different diets, and you’ve lost 50 pounds or even more only to watch helplessly as the scale creeps back up, then please understand that this is not your fault.

If you suffer from obesity, then your body is hardwired to gain and maintain weight. Diets like the Keto diet, or the Mediterranean diet, can help if you want to lose 20 or 30 pounds. But if you need to lose more than that, then dieting alone is unlikely to give you the results that you’re looking for.

If this is you, then we strongly recommend that you consider bariatric surgery in Colorado. Bariatric surgery, when combined with lifestyle modification, is a powerful tool to help you level the playing field in your battle with obesity. A surgery like the gastric bypass or duodenal switch, when paired with lifestyle modification, can help patients to lose 100-150 pounds or even more.

If you think bariatric surgery may be right for you, then go ahead and schedule an appointment with our friendly staff.


Is keto good for bariatric patients? ›

The short answer is no – the ketogenic diet is not generally recommended for the bariatric population and here's why. The keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. Keto forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

Is keto good for gastric sleeve patients? ›

Ketogenic Diet can be an option for patients who are at least 30 days out of Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass Surgery. This is because a Keto diet is ideal for weight loss and for some patients being susceptible to dumping syndrome with high sugars and fats.

Do doctors recommend keto for weight loss? ›

Researchers have shown that the ketogenic diet can accelerate weight loss for the short term—and that's what it's meant for. Accordingly, 20% of doctors surveyed recommended this diet for short-term weight loss, compared with only 5% who recommend it for optimal health.

Is keto diet good or healthy for weight loss 2022? ›

The ketogenic diet is great for healthily losing weight. Early onset of ketosis is beneficial. The diet relies on cutting carbs to promote healthy fat loss. Carbohydrate intake is limited to 20–30 grams because it contributes to weight growth.

What is the best diet for gastric bypass patients? ›

Follow a diet low in calories, fats and sweets. Keep a daily record of your food portions and of your calorie and protein intake. Eat slowly and chew small bites of food thoroughly. Avoid rice, bread, raw vegetables and fresh fruits, as well as meats that are not easily chewed, such as pork and steak.

What is the best diet for gastric sleeve patients? ›

Consume three balanced meals each day containing nutrient-rich foods, such as:
  • lean meat, poultry, pork, and fish.
  • low fat dairy products.
  • low fat starches and whole grains.
  • vegetables and fruits.

Is intermittent fasting good for bariatric patients? ›

Intermittent fasting is not a recommended practice for bariatric surgery patients since dietary intake is surgically restricted,” Parrott said. “Patients who have bariatric surgery are instructed to eat regularly-timed meals and reduced quantities (with emphasis on increased protein).”

How many net carbs should I be eating after gastric sleeve? ›

How many grams of carbs do gastric sleeve patients need? The short answer is 100 to 130 grams per day for fully recovered patients.

Is it OK to do keto after surgery? ›

The Keto diet is a low-carb, high (healthy) fat and moderate protein diet that puts the body in a state of ketosis. A keto diet after bariatric surgery can be a natural choice, as it consists largely of proteins and healthy fats.

What are the negatives of keto diet? ›

Three cons
  • Giving up whole grains, beans, fruits and many veggies can cause nutrient deficiencies and constipation.
  • Common short-term side effects include fatigue, headache, brain fog and upset stomach, aka “keto flu.” Long-term health risks include kidney stones, osteoporosis and liver disease.
15 Jan 2020

Who should not use keto diet? ›

The Keto diet is strictly not advisable for the ones with extra high levels of blood glucose, diabetes type 1 or type 2 who are taking regular doses of Insulin, Metformin supplements and other forms of medication since the Keto diet can have adverse effects on the medications.

What are side effects of keto diet? ›

For adults following the ketogenic diet, the most common complications include weight loss, constipation and increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Women may also experience amenorrhea or other disruptions to the menstrual cycle.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of keto diet? ›

The Pros and Cons of a Keto Diet
  • Pro: Weight loss. ...
  • Con: Fewer Carbs isn't necessarily a good thing. ...
  • Pro: It might be helpful for the days spent at your desk job. ...
  • Con: You may not be getting enough sugar. ...
  • Pro: It may help prevent Cancer. ...
  • Con: It could have a negative impact on heart health. ...
  • Final Thoughts.
10 Sept 2018

How much does keto cost? ›

Getting the Right Balance Is Tricky
Meal plan optionsAverage cost per meal
SunbasketWeekly subscription, with classic and family plans available$10.99 to $12.99
Factor 75Weekly subscription$11.00 to $15.00
Ketoned BodiesA la carte; 10 meal order minimum required$13.95 to $14.95
1 more row
16 Dec 2020

How successful is keto diet? ›

A study of 89 obese adults who were placed on a two-phase diet regimen (6 months of a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and 6 months of a reintroduction phase on a normal calorie Mediterranean diet) showed a significant mean 10% weight loss with no weight regain at one year.

What foods can you never eat again after gastric sleeve surgery? ›

Foods to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery
  • Red meat that's tough or dry.
  • Greasy, high fat foods.
  • Heavily seasoned or spicy foods.
  • Sugar alcohols, such as erythritol, glycerol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol.
  • Foods reheated in the microwave.
4 Mar 2022

Are there foods you can never eat again after gastric bypass? ›

A bariatric surgery diet means avoiding foods that provide little or no nutritional value. This includes pastries, sweets, chips, pretzels, rice cakes, and popcorn. If you eat these foods, you may end up undernourished or gaining back your weight.

What foods should you avoid after gastric bypass surgery? ›

Foods that can cause problems at this stage include:
  • Breads.
  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Raw vegetables.
  • Cooked fibrous vegetables, such as celery, broccoli, corn or cabbage.
  • Tough meats or meats with gristle.
  • Red meat.
  • Fried foods.
  • Highly seasoned or spicy foods.

How do you get rid of belly fat after gastric sleeve? ›

How to lose weight after Gastric Sleeve Surgery
  1. Follow strictly the post-op diet without any excuses.
  2. Adding plenty of protein to their diet will help the patient lose weight in addition to belly fat.
  3. No snacking. ...
  4. Exercise regularly. ...
  5. Stay Hydrated by drinking water. ...
  6. A healthy sleeping pattern is another key to success.
25 Apr 2021

How long does it take for stomach to heal after gastric bypass? ›

On average, it takes two to five weeks to recover from gastric bypass surgery and return to normal daily activities. With this in mind, the Advanced Surgicare team wants to share the following tips to help you heal from your surgery as quickly and properly as possible.

Will I ever enjoy food again after gastric sleeve? ›

The truth is that you can still live your life to the fullest and enjoy social eating after bariatric surgery. In fact, it's easier than you think.

Can you do keto after surgery? ›

The Keto diet is a low-carb, high (healthy) fat and moderate protein diet that puts the body in a state of ketosis. A keto diet after bariatric surgery can be a natural choice, as it consists largely of proteins and healthy fats.

Is intermittent fasting good for bariatric patients? ›

Intermittent fasting is not a recommended practice for bariatric surgery patients since dietary intake is surgically restricted,” Parrott said. “Patients who have bariatric surgery are instructed to eat regularly-timed meals and reduced quantities (with emphasis on increased protein).”

Can you eat carbs after gastric sleeve? ›

Following bariatric surgery, it is best to avoid simple carbs and consume complex carbs. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, and sugar will result in weight gain. However, foods that are high in fiber offer several benefits, such as keeping you regular and helping you feel fuller for longer.

How many carbs should I eat a day after bariatric surgery? ›

In the review of the literature, the author found that six months after surgery patients can ingest about 850kcal/day of carbohydrates, 30 percent being ingested as lipids. A protein diet with at least 60g/day is needed. On this basis, patients should consume about 90g/day of carbohydrates.

Can keto mess up your gallbladder? ›

The ketogenic diet can affect the gallbladder in a few ways. Frequent fasting has the effect of slowing bile production and usage. This leads to stagnant bile that eventually turns to sludge and gallstones.

Is fasting after surgery a good idea? ›

Together, these findings suggest that fasting no matter prior to or after wound injury is capable of accelerating wound repair and regeneration. Nevertheless, fasting before wounding is likely to be more beneficial to wound healing than fasting after wounding.

What is the healing phase in keto? ›

Healing. Now, additionally, your body is healing and getting used to burning fat for fuel. It is not very efficient at burning fat. YET, you will feel great, more energy, and will be ready to take life by the horns.

Can you have gastric sleeve surgery twice? ›

The answer to this question is no, you cannot get gastric sleeve surgery twice. As we mentioned before, the surgery is irreversible. Once your stomach has been removed, it's gone for good.

Why do you need a 2 week liquid diet after gastric bypass? ›

All patients are required to start a Liquid Diet 2 weeks before their surgery date. Following this diet will not only jump start weight loss but will also help reduce the size of your liver making the procedure easier to perform and thus more successful.

What is the dumping syndrome? ›

Dumping syndrome is a condition in which food, especially food high in sugar, moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly after you eat. Sometimes called rapid gastric emptying, dumping syndrome most often occurs as a result of surgery on your stomach or esophagus.

How many carbs should a gastric sleeve patient eat? ›

How many grams of carbs do gastric sleeve patients need? The short answer is 100 to 130 grams per day for fully recovered patients. For those that are still in recovery mode, the actual intake will be much less.

How can I maximize weight loss after gastric sleeve? ›

With the right habits, you can lose 60-70% of your excess weight within a year.
  1. Choose nutrient-dense foods. You don't have a lot of room in your stomach after surgery, so don't fill up on empty calories. ...
  2. Protein, protein, protein. ...
  3. Plan your meals. ...
  4. Stay away from beverage calories. ...
  5. Chew thoroughly. ...
  6. Exercise.

Why can't I eat rice after gastric sleeve? ›

4) Bread, Rice, and Pasta

Because of the starchy nature of bread, rice, and pasta, after your surgery, they can form a paste in your throat that is hard to swallow without liquid. In some cases, they can block the stoma, the hole to the pouch that is your new stomach.

What happens if you don't get enough protein after bariatric surgery? ›

The Importance of Protein

If your diet doesn't include enough protein, you might notice thinning hair about 6 months to a year after weight loss surgery. That's because the human body can't make protein without food – and also has no way to store protein – making it important to consume enough daily.

What foods can you not eat after gastric sleeve? ›

Foods to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery
  • Red meat that's tough or dry.
  • Greasy, high fat foods.
  • Heavily seasoned or spicy foods.
  • Sugar alcohols, such as erythritol, glycerol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol.
  • Foods reheated in the microwave.
4 Mar 2022

How long does your stomach take to heal after gastric sleeve? ›

Getting Back to Normal

You will need to rest for at least 2-3 weeks after your sleeve gastrectomy. Your body needs time to heal and you'll be on a very restricted diet during this time. Make sure that you arrange plenty of time off work and enlist help from friends and family.


1. EADDL 2021 - Chelsey Stillman, PA - Children's Hospital Colorado - Ketogenic Diet
(Epilepsy Awareness Day EADDL)
2. Nutrition, Obesity and Cachexia in Patients with Heart Failure
(Yale Cardiovascular Medicine Grand Rounds)
3. "Obesity and CKD" presented by Natalie Beck, MD, Chief Nephrology Fellow
(University of Colorado | Department of Medicine)
4. Getting Back on Track NOW with your Weight Loss Goals
(Metabolic Research Center)
5. Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines | Sarah Hallberg | TEDxPurdueU
(TEDx Talks)
6. Trends in Weight Loss Management & Surgery
(Hoag Health)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fredrick Kertzmann

Last Updated: 03/30/2023

Views: 6194

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fredrick Kertzmann

Birthday: 2000-04-29

Address: Apt. 203 613 Huels Gateway, Ralphtown, LA 40204

Phone: +2135150832870

Job: Regional Design Producer

Hobby: Nordic skating, Lacemaking, Mountain biking, Rowing, Gardening, Water sports, role-playing games

Introduction: My name is Fredrick Kertzmann, I am a gleaming, encouraging, inexpensive, thankful, tender, quaint, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.