Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
There are a million and one diets out there and you may feel like you’ve tried them all. You may even have lost some weight . . . for a while. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic formula that let you eat a normal amount of food and feel full while still losing weight? Great news: there is one.
By drastically reducing your carb intake and replacing those calories with fat, you can turn your body into a fat-burning machine. While glucose (sugar) is what the typical diet uses for energy, your body can also run on an alternate energy source called ketones. Ketones are produced by the liver from fat. The ketogenic diet uses a very specific formula of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs to keep your body in the fat-burning zone.
Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet isn’t a new fad or a throwback to the Atkins diet of the 1990s. It has been in use for hundreds of years to treat a variety of conditions. Over the last century, many research studies have proven its effectiveness in preventing or reversing many common illnesses. With obesity rates at an all-time high, losing weight is a top concern on that list, but there are many more, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:
Weight Loss on the Ketogenic Diet
Eating extra fat to lose weight may sound counterintuitive, but it works. Fat satisfies, which means it acts as a natural appetite suppressant. This doesn’t mean you will be calorie-restricted on a keto diet. All you need to do is stick to the proportions of 70% fat/25% protein/ 5% carbs and you’re good to go. Sugar is highly addictive, potentially more so than cocaine. By eliminating sugar highs and lows, your blood sugar becomes more stable, naturally. And by training your body to burn fat, it can then tap into its own reserves and use that for fuel. Bye-bye blubber.
Type 2 Diabetes
Maintaining a healthy weight is a big step in the right direction to avoid or correct type 2 diabetes. But by cutting your carbs down to a minimum, controlling blood sugar becomes almost fool-proof. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or reversed with a ketogenic diet. Because the keto diet burns fat rather than sugar, insulin levels decrease. This is good news for more than just diabetes.
Fat is widely considered to be public enemy #1 to your heart, but the truth is that carbs — not fat — are the real culprit when it comes to heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. CVD is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, and both have been proven to be respond positively to a keto diet. Not only will losing excess weight make it easier for your heart to work efficiently, a keto diet can actually reverse the symptoms of CVD.
Increase Your HDL Levels
When the war on fat first began, cholesterol had a red bulls-eye on its back. But as the low-fat diets failed to deliver on their promises, the truth about cholesterol came out. It was discovered that only some fats were bad, while others were okay.
When people see how much fat is consumed on a ketogenic diet, they think, Whoa. That can’t be good for my cholesterol. First let’s understand what cholesterol is, and what it isn’t. Cholesterol is a building block of your brain, a component of several important hormones (including estrogen and testosterone), and it also acts as a transport vehicle for essential nutrients to various types of cells. So despite cholesterol being relegated to the Hall of Shame, it is not inherently bad. In fact, it’s indispensable to good health.
Having ‘high’ cholesterol is not automatically a negative. This is where the HDL (High Density Lipoproteins, the ‘good’ kind) vs. LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins, the ‘bad’ kind) discussion comes in. Higher levels of LDLs have been associated with heart disease, while an elevated amount of HDLs have been shown to have a protective function for the heart. A keto diet has been demonstrated to raise up the good guys, the HDLs.
Lower Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have proven that a ketogenic diet has a positive impact on obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hypertension, aka high blood pressure, is another common condition which has had measurable results with a keto diet. For those who suffer adverse effects from blood pressure medication, a keto diet could be considered as a serious alternative. Given that high blood pressure is known as “the silent killer,” a keto diet may cure you of something you didn’t even know you had.
Improve Your Mood
The sugar rollercoaster does more than just take your body for a ride. It affects your mood, too. With anxiety and depression on the rise, a stable blood sugar can help smooth out those highs and lows. Several studies done on anxiety, depression and even autism concluded that a ketogenic diet had a positive effect on all of these conditions.
We hear a lot about antioxidants these days, and how important they are for reducing inflammation. Inflammation is known to cause or exacerbate a lot of common diseases. Want to take a stab at guessing what makes inflammation worse? You got it: elevated insulin and blood sugar levels. A ketogenic diet might just be the next Fountain of Youth.
These are just a few of the conditions that respond to a keto diet, but the list goes on: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Kidney Disease, Fatty Liver Disease, migraines, and heartburn have all shown improvement with the use of a keto diet.
More Ketogenic Diet Benefits
Lowering your LDLs might make your doctor happy, but can you tell the difference? Maybe, but without some kind of visible results, sticking with a low-carb diet can sometimes be challenging. The good news is you can see and feel positive effects of a keto diet on a day-to-day basis. Although a lot of people are convinced they must have carbs to get going, many find they have more energy once they adjust to a keto diet. Also, because fat is a natural appetite suppressant, it is quite common to feel less hungry.
The brain consumes a lot of energy, and is often cited as a reason people ‘need’ sugar. But the brain functions just fine on ketones and many people report better focus while following a low-carb diet. These are some serious incentives to try out — and stick with — a keto diet.
Try the Keto Diet – See For Yourself!
Tired of feeling tired? Sick of feeling sick after you eat? Or maybe you’re sick and tired of feeling hungry right after a meal. Or the waistband of your jeans digging into gut, telling you not to eat that candy bar. But you just can’t help yourself. You need energy to get through the afternoon meeting. And even when you do give in, you still struggle to concentrate.
Miss bacon, butter, cheese and all those other high-fat things you’ve been told are bad news? If this sounds like you, a keto diet might be just the answer. A slimmer waistline, a healthier heart, more energy and focus and fewer hunger pangs. What’s not to love? Give keto dieting a shot.