The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diet regimes today. Ask your friend group about it, and you’ll likely find someone observing keto or tried it in the past.
People like it because of its effectiveness in weight loss — unlike other diet fads, studies provide strong evidence that keto can help you lose weight fast and, if done right, ensure lasting results.
The rules of keto are simple — eat more fat and less carbs. It follows a daily macronutrient count of 70-80% fat, 20-30% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Now, traditionally, keto dieters can eat at any time of the day as long as the food consumed is keto-friendly and they stick to their daily macros.
But a new variation of the ketogenic diet has amped up the rules of traditional keto in order to achieve faster weight loss. People are calling it speed keto.
Speed keto is a new diet trend developed by Harlan Kilstein, an “expert coach and motivator” with a doctorate degree in Education.
It adheres to most of the rules of the traditional keto diet, consuming food that is high in fat and low in carbs. Similarly, its primary goal is also to put the body in a metabolic state of ketosis, where it burns fat instead of glucose for energy.
However, speed keto has one crucial difference from the traditional ketogenic diet regime. It adopts the principles of intermittent fasting and limits food intake to once per day.
With a single keto-friendly meal and a long fasting period, speed keto is an attempt to lose weight faster than you would in traditional keto.
Fasting helps speed up the process of getting into ketosis, which typically takes 2 to 4 days on a traditional low-calorie diet.
The speed keto diet has been getting traction because of its big promises concerning weight loss. Here are some of its benefits.
The body’s primary source of fuel is carbohydrates, from where it derives glucose to convert into energy. The ketogenic diet is aimed at circumventing this natural metabolic process by minimizing or completely eliminating carbs from your diet.
This then forces the body to turn to other fuel sources, specifically stored fat, which it burns to produce ketones. When this happens, the body is put in a metabolic state called ketosis, during which weight loss occurs.
But getting into ketosis isn’t as easy as it sounds. Research says that it generally takes 2-4 days for an average person to achieve ketosis if they consume 20-50 grams of carbs per day. The speed keto diet aims to shorten this.
Through long periods of fasting, speed keto claims that it can help achieve ketosis in just a day or two — half the time it would take in a standard low-carb diet. As a result, the weight loss process is kickstarted much earlier in speed keto.
Inflammation is how your body responds to infection, physical trauma, stress, and other environmental factors. Some types of inflammation are good for the body, such as when the muscles become inflamed after a workout, which builds muscle growth.
However, studies show that most inflammation is harmful, especially when it gets to the level of chronic inflammation, where the body is unable to respond adequately and results in a number of diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
The speed keto diet, which combines the ketogenic diet regime with intermittent fasting, is said to be effective at reducing inflammation. Practitioners argue that in the keto diet, the ketones that are burned for energy are less inflammatory than glucose. While fasting is argued to help protect the cells from oxidative stress that triggers inflammation.
The speed keto diet makes traditional keto more restrictive, which, according to its founder, allows for fast weight loss. In addition to following a strict macronutrient count, it also fasts the body and puts it in a calorie deficit.
Practitioners argue that the keto diet and intermittent fasting, when combined, work well together to achieve weight loss. A high-fat keto diet is said tosuppress appetite and stabilize blood sugar, allowing for lasting satiety and preventing hunger pangs, which makes it easier to fast for most of the day.
Nutritionists point out that when you restrict food, weight loss is a natural result. Pair that with a smaller eating window, in this case, the one-meal-a-day (OMAD) variation of intermittent fasting, and practitioners say that weight loss occurs at a much more rapid pace.
While the speed keto can guarantee fast weight loss, nutrition experts consider it an extreme diet that comes with a lot of downsides.
The ketogenic diet is restrictive in itself, and adding the challenge of having only one meal a day is another test for dieters. According to nutritionists, for speed keto to work, you need to be able to consume all your nutritional needs in that single meal.
But the OMAD principle is highly bio-individual — it doesn’t work for everyone, with some unable to get all of their macros in one meal and others getting too full to consume the required calories their body needs in one sitting.
Nutrition experts also argue that there’s less variety in the speed keto diet as you’re only consuming one to two nutrient sources per day — unless you cook a whole feast to meet your body’s nutritional requirements. The speed keto diet eliminates nutrient-dense foods such as lentils that supply the body with enough protein, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly.
Practitioners laud speed keto for its effectiveness for fast and short-term weight loss, but fitness experts say it cannot tone your body and help you build muscle. According to studies, the general rule of thumb for muscle development is to consume at least 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
To put it into perspective, depending on your weight, you’ll likely have to eat two pounds of ground beef and four whole chicken breasts in a single meal to build muscle. Add to that other nutrient sources like veggies and fruits. If you consume only one meal a day, you won’t have the appetite to get that much protein.
Studies show that the risk of getting insufficient macros during your single feeding period can also cause muscle breakdown, such as catabolism or sarcopenia. Experts say that it’s almost impossible to build muscle on speed keto.
While health experts recognize the fast weight loss that speed keto can produce, many find that it is an unsustainable diet regime. According to Tony Castillo, MS, RDN, LDN, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, speed keto is not necessarily a healthy way of eating, and considering how restrictive it is, it’s difficult to observe long-term.
Further, nutrition experts say that speed keto cannot guarantee lasting results.The moment the diet is no longer being followed, weight gain will begin to happen.
To maintain weight loss, a diet should be easy to follow and sustain. But nutritionists criticize speed keto for its lack of longevity and inability to facilitate long-term health and wellness. While proponents say it’s helpful for quick weight loss, health experts warn of a risk of getting that weight back down the line.
Before trying out the extreme speed-keto diet regime, you should be aware of its drawbacks.
While its founder promises the diet to be effective in helping you achieve ketosis faster and shed weight in a short amount of time, nutritionists warn that it can be difficult to sustain, and users risk weight gaining weight back rapidly.
According to experts, speed keto should only be considered for short-term weight loss, if at all.