Photo by Tom Sharrow/

There is a lot of confusion surrounding weight loss and muscle mass. It is frequently claimed that the ketogenic diet is responsible for muscle loss as the body recruits amino acids from muscle to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. However, studies have repeatedly shown that this isn’t the case when the keto diet is correctly followed.

It’s a challenge to begin a diet as intensive as the ketogenic diet – but the payoffs are worth it. As long as you understand what your body needs, and how to adhere to the ketogenic diet, your body will thank you.

Let’s dispel those myths about the ketogenic diet contributing to muscle mass loss.

Studies show that weight loss from very low carb diets contributes to fat loss, not muscle loss.1

Several studies have been done to examine how very low carb diets (such as the ketogenic diet) affect weight loss. One study found that ketogenic weight loss is “rapid, consistent, and almost exclusively from body fat stores.”2

Another recent study examined the effects of a six-week ketogenic diet in healthy, normal-weight men. The results confirmed that fat mass significantly decreased while muscle mass increased.3

This demonstrates that by adhering properly to the ketogenic diet, virtually your entire weight loss will be from body fat, not muscle mass. In fact, studies show that the ketogenic diet – when followed properly – aids in the preservation and synthesis of muscle mass.

People who follow the ketogenic diet see an increase in leucine, the amino acid that slows the degradation of muscle.4

An increase in leucine interacts with insulin, which aids in the maintenance of muscle mass. Keep in mind, in order for this to work, those on the ketogenic diet should have a healthy intake of protein. Recent studies show that the ketogenic diet increases muscle proteins.

Not only that, but leucine is instrumental in promoting protein synthesis, which rebuilds and repairs muscle tissue. No protein synthesis, no muscle gains.

Lower blood sugar in those on the ketogenic diet naturally increases growth hormones that result in better muscle gains.5

With an increase in dietary protein comes an increase in natural growth hormones which spurs muscle protein synthesis. A study found that people who stuck with a ketogenic diet for only seven days experienced a two-fold increase in growth hormones that contribute to increased muscle mass. This clearly shows how important protein is for muscle health.

So before drawing a conclusion about the effect on the ketogenic diet on muscle health, don’t be afraid to dive into some research. You might be pleasantly surprised at the findings.


The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.

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