Statistics show that most people could stand to drop a few pounds, but experts say it’s always harder to get the weight off than people expect. So, when they hear about people losing a ton of weight over a short period of time on the latest low-carb diet craze, the keto diet, it sounds like the magic formula to many.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, author of The Mayo Clinic Diet Book, said the keto diet is not the magic formula people think it is – but people, “Want an easy way out; they want the magic panacea.”

Hensrud explained that the keto diet isn’t new, and it’s not the magic formula people think it is. “We’ve known for a long period of time that when you decrease carbohydrate intake markedly, the body starts to use fat,” Dr. Hensrud said. “And when you burn fat, you produce ketones, and the body goes into ketosis.”

Many will lose weight after beginning the restrictive eating plan but Hensrud said the problem is what happens after most people lose that initial weight. “Long-term, it’s hard,” Dr. Hensrud said. “People miss some fruits, different vegetables, grains. It’s hard. It becomes a very restrictive diet. So although people lose weight initially, maintaining it and keep it off long-term is a real challenge on a keto diet.”

Instead, Dr. Hensrud recommends focusing on a healthier lifestyle with exercise; portion control; and a diet with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You might not lose weight quite as quickly, but he said it will be healthier for your body long term.