Keto Diet Statistics – 10 Facts and Trends

Photo of author

By Meghan Stoops, RDN

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

keto diet statistics

The keto diet has become a popular weight loss trend for the last few years due to its high success rate however, its long-term success and potential consequences remain in question. Despite its popularity, health officials go back and forth on recommending the keto diet to their patients. 

With obesity only further growing into a global crisis, Americans are desperate to find a diet plan that helps them shed the pounds fast and keto is the path often recommended to do that. Because of its association with rapid weight loss and improvements in heart health and diabetes management, it’s becoming a go-to for many with health-related concerns as well. But is the keto diet really the way to go?

The keto diet was originally introduced in the 1920s as a potential treatment for epilepsy in children. It consists of a very low carbohydrate, high-fat diet to put your body into ‘ketosis’. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body utilizes fat instead of carbs for energy and often results in rapid weight loss. 

keto diet statistics food

There are different types of ketogenic diets including standard, cyclical, targeted, and high protein. Standard and high protein have more research on their effects while targeted and cyclical are limited and often utilized by athletes. The standard keto diet is typically what is practiced by most Americans when looking to lose weight. This requires carbohydrates to be limited to no more than 20-50 grams per day to enter ketosis. Below are some statistics on the keto diet, its effects, sustainability, and more.

Keto Diet Statistics – Highlights

  • 4 in 10 Americans follow a specific diet or eating pattern
  • In 2020 “keto” was the most googled food-related topic in the world with over 25 million searches
  • Research found that the U.S. is the largest market for ketogenic diets
  • Compared to 2016, the number of searches for “keto foods” was 1807% higher in 2019
  • 69% of people reported using keto to lose weight, 48% were concerned with their health, 15% started because a friend recommended it, and 5% looked into the diet because a celebrity influenced them.

1. 12.9 million Americans follow the Keto diet each year

(The International Food Information Council, 2021)

That’s about 5% of Americans. Other popular diets on the list included low-carb and carb cycling. This diet trend has exploded over the years with high numbers of consumers practicing keto.

2. The Ketogenic diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for obesity and diabetes

(The Journal of Nutrition, 2019)

Back in the day, the low-fat diet was all the rage. It was believed that eating fat made you fat. As more research comes out regarding fat, carbs, and protein and their impact on body weight, carbs are the next villain. Although carbs are not bad and our body does still need them, a low-carb diet such as keto has been proven significantly more effective when it comes to both weight loss and improving diabetes outcomes.

3. 46% of those following the keto diet admitted to cheating on their diet

(America’s Test Kitchen, 2020

This should not come as a surprise. Most diets, especially those that are as restrictive as the keto diet, tend to be difficult for Americans to sustain. When we alter our normal dietary habits dramatically, it’s more difficult to keep up with, resulting in a higher likelihood that we will inevitably go back to our old ways. Whether it’s for good, or we get back on the wagon shortly after, diets that make us want to cheat usually don’t make it for a lifestyle change.

4. 37% of keto dieters quit because the diet is too strict 

(Dalhousie University, 2020)

When it comes to restrictive diets, keto tops the list. With such a minimal amount of carbohydrates allowed on the diet, many find it impossible to stick with it long-term. Not to mention, the keto diet cuts out a tremendous number of foods we would normally have in our daily routines, such as most fruits, bread and other baked good, pasta, rice, and other grains, beans, legumes, and more.

keto diet statistics strict diet

5. 34% of keto dieters report they stopped doing keto because it was too expensive

(Dalhousie University, 2020)

Because of all the foods that are disqualified during the keto diet, many must search for keto-friendly alternatives at their local grocery store or online. These specialty food products often come with a hefty price tag. Some of the most common keto products include cereals, bars, cookies, bread, and other baked goods. Unfortunately, many don’t taste much like the foods they are replacing which can lead fellow carb-lovers to eventually call it quits.

6. 24% of those on the keto diet report the diet was not successful because it was too time-consuming

(Dalhousie University, 2020)

Forget about the additional expenses and restrictions to trying to do keto, let’s talk about the time it takes to prep and manage a diet like this. Because you must be so strict with your carb intake, you must constantly read food labels and keep close track of your net carbs daily to ensure you don’t go over and risk missing out on ketosis. Whether you are logging in an app, jotting it down on paper, or attempting to commit to just your memory, it takes quite a bit of additional time to be successful. Add to that the need to adjust all your normal recipes at home to be considered keto-friendly and it can be overwhelming.

7. 70% of keto dieters don’t track their blood ketone levels

(America’s Test Kitchen, 2020)

Many keto dieters don’t even realize this is something they should be doing. To ensure they are entering ketosis to get the maximum benefit from this diet, blood ketone levels need to be measured. Of course, you can still enter ketosis without checking however, most people don’t successfully enter ketosis during the keto diet which means they are doing all this hard work for nothing. For those who are serious about doing keto, tracking your blood ketone levels is a must. For best results, consult with a Registered Dietitian.

keto diet statistics blood ketone levels

8. The global keto diet market is valued at 10.2 billion

(Insight Partners, 2020)

A lot of money is being made from the keto diet. Large food companies are launching keto versions of their products at a feverish pace to keep up with consumer demand. Next time you hit the grocery store, look at some of the new products on the shelf, you will likely find that most of them are likely to be keto-friendly. 

9. The amount of new keto food and beverage products launched has nearly doubled from 2019-2020 

(Food Navigator)

With the keto diet only increasing in popularity, so is the demand for keto-friendly food products. Just as with any convenience food, consumers are constantly looking for easier ways to get to their end goal, in this case, it’s their diet. For those busy keto-dieters, it’s way easier to grab a keto-friendly bar or make a quick keto-friendly sandwich than to spend hours in the kitchen making a keto-friendly meal or reading food labels all day in the grocery store. 

10. The global keto market is expected to grow 5.3% annually

(Insight Partners, 2020)

It looks like there’s no slowing down for the keto market. With a 5% annual growth rate, it is anticipated it will be worth an estimated 15.2 billion in 2027. With strong advertisements for keto products, celebrity endorsements, and massive media attention, it’s no wonder.

keto diet statistics keto market

Photo of author

Meghan Stoops, RDN

Meghan Stoops is a Registered Dietitian and licensed Nutritionist with a bachelor’s in Dietetics from San Diego State University. Meghan developed an interest in dietetics early on through her own personal struggles with nutrition misinformation. She began doing her own research, which sparked her passion for nutrition and it’s impact on our physical and mental health. Today, she takes take a non-diet, all-foods-fit approach to nutrition, and is devoted to teaching others that eating healthy does not mean restriction or sacrifice.