The Ketogenic Diet Whoosh Effect

The whoosh effect isn’t a medical term you’re going to read about in medical textbooks.

Members of the keto community were the ones behind this idea from things they saw while on the diet. 

If you follow the rules and guidelines of the keto diet, one day, you’ll take a look in the mirror, and you’ll noticeably look slimmer. 

We’ll talk more about what to look for and if there’s any science behind the whoosh effect. 

Read on to see if it is something you’ll likely experience on your ketogenic diet journey.

What Does The Whoosh Effect Look Like?

People in the keto community have reported that when starting out on the ketogenic diet, they believe that our bodies, but more specifically fat cells, retain water.

They believe that this is a phenomenon that you can see happen from day to day where you have sort of a shrink-wrap effect or dramatic drop in weight, usually after a weight loss plateau. 

They reported feeling a little flabby, especially around fatty areas in the body, and after being strict on the ketogenic diet, their cells released all the water that’s been built up.

This is the “whoosh” effect in action.

When the water leaves the body, users reported that their skin felt firmer and a reduction in weight is very apparent visually. 

In some users, they reported having diarrhea, and that is how they “knew” the whoosh effect had happened to them.

Rarely is diarrhea a positive symptom of anything. 

In all likelihood, this was the beginning of the keto flu, so we wouldn’t take this advice as something that all should experience.

Dispelling The Myth

The concept of the whoosh effect is a little flawed. 

While it is true our bodies retain water, our fat cells most certainly do not. 

However, our bodies do shed water weight on the diet causing the body to lose weight within the first week of starting keto

Let’s take a look at the science and see what can be causing these effects people are seeing and if it’s something you should be looking out for.

Science Behind Keto

The ketogenic diet was originally used to manage seizures for children with epilepsy that did not do well on traditional medication to treat their illness.

The main goal of the ketogenic diet is to enter into a state of ketosis

Before starting the ketogenic diet, your body runs off of glucose which is the main fuel source generated from eating carbohydrates.

When you enter ketosis, your body is now getting its energy from ketone bodies it’s producing from the high-fat diet.

Carbohydrates are needed to be kept at very low levels in order to stay in ketosis and continue burning fat for energy.

What Really Happens – Keto Whoosh Effect Explained

There is some truth to what people experience when it comes to the “whoosh effect.” 

What people notice are two things that are happening to their bodies while on the diet. 

  1. They are shedding water weight very rapidly in the beginning
  2. They are losing fat

Our fat cells are not filled with water. They’re filled with triglycerides. 

Triglycerides can act as a fuel reserve to allow the body to function in times where the body is in starvation. 

When you start to cut calories from your diet or are increasing your energy output, triglycerides can sometimes be used as energy for the body.

However, the fat cell does not fill with water, and that’s what many people think happens when they experience the whoosh effect. 

Studies have shown that there is no correlation between weight loss and how many fat cells are in our bodies. (1)

While what exactly happens during the whoosh effect is not known by scientists, there are a few different reasons why it occurs based on research.

The cause is likely due to retention of water by the body due to dietary changes the ketogenic diet requires.

Our bodies are constantly trying to maintain a state of balance, and a drastic change, especially from a diet, can cause shifts in that balance.

Some theories say that the whoosh effect is caused due to hormonal changes in females during their menstrual cycle or changes in levels of cortisol from increased exercise or stress. 

Triggering The Whoosh Effect

If you feel your body has been retaining water for a few days to a few weeks, you may be right around the corner of experiencing the whoosh effect.

Studies have shown that by applying a strategic cheat meal, it can cause this phenomenon to occur. 

During a starvation experiment, a 2,300 meal was given to the subjects to celebrate the end of the experiment. 

The researchers were surprised to find out that after this cheat meal, the subjects lost a substantial amount of weight.

When following the keto diet, you can have a cheat meal that acts as a refeed where you allow yourself to increase your carb intake.

Make sure this doesn’t turn from a cheat meal to a cheat week and then ultimately a break from your diet

While more studies need to be done on the whoosh effect, there are enough people reporting this phenomenon to note that this is something that can occur if you’re following the keto diet.

Signs The Whoosh Effect May Be Coming

It’s possible to experience the whoosh effect without trying to trigger it as long as you’re sticking to your diet and exercising consistently.

Here are some signs users have reported that may show you’re close to seeing this phenomenon happen to you:

  • You’ve hit a plateau and are sure you’re doing everything right. You’re tracking your food, hitting all your macros and haven’t cheated on your diet.
  • Even with consistent dieting and training, you feel a little “squishy.”
  • Having to urinate more than normal.
  • You gain a few pounds out of nowhere despite no changes in your daily routine or diet.
  • Some fatty areas on your body feel warmer when you touch it.

If you stick to the plan, you’ll eventually get the results you’re looking for whether you experience the whoosh effect or not.

If you stay consistent, you’ll hit your weight loss goals. Stick to it for the long haul, and the weight loss will happen.

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