Keto Diet Benefits
Recently, the keto diet has become extremely popular for its health benefits such as weight loss and preventing disease. The keto diet can be hugely beneficial, but how does it work to provide these benefits?
What is the Keto Diet ?
You may have heard of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins diet. The keto diet keeps carbohydrate levels low, but instead of ramping up the amount of protein in your diet, the keto diet increases the amount of fat. A typical keto diet aims for meals with 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrate. Eating a high-fat diet can still mean eating healthy. Keto diet menu items often include seafood, meat, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and nuts. With the increased popularity of the keto diet, keto recipes are widely available.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
It might seem counterintuitive that adding more fat to your diet can lead to weight loss. Normally, your diet is high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose, or blood sugar, for use as energy. As glucose enters your bloodstream, your body releases insulin to store excess glucose as fat. The more carbohydrates, the more glucose. The more glucose, the more insulin, and the more insulin, the more fat.
The keto diet takes advantage of the fact that when your meals are high-fat and low-carbohydrate, there is no insulin spike, and you don’t add to your fat reserves. Instead, fat from diet and stored fat are broken down to ketones (“keto” is short for “ketogenic” producing ketones). Like glucose, ketones can be used for energy, keeping your body running without increasing blood sugar or putting on excess fat. The benefits of the keto diet can be huge.
Okay, so this one isn’t so astounding, but it is one of the most common reasons people embark on the keto diet. So why is weight loss usually so easy on the ketogenic diet instead of other regular diets? For all of the following reasons:
- The keto diet is composed of approximately 75% fat, 20 % protein, and 5% or less carbohydrates. The high fat content and lack of sugar means diminished cravings, lack of blood sugar swings and binges, and increased satiation. Increased satiation=eating less. Many people also have food sensitivities to grains, even gluten-free ones, so eliminating them may lead to an increased ability to absorb minerals like magnesium and potassium, which in turn means your body is more nourished and you have fewer cravings
- Ketones. When your blood sugar is running low, your body turns to its glycogen stores for energy. Typically glycogen stores house about 2000 calories of “backup” energy for when you run out of glucose. Like the intelligent machine it is, your body depletes the glycogen stores and then turns to your own body fat for fuel.
IMPORTANT: The ketogenic diet is not a free-for-all eat however much cheese or super low-carb fat bomb treats you want diet. If you are eating way more calories than you need, you will not lose weight. So focus on keeping your diet around fatty cuts of grass-fed meat, butter, eggs, avocados, lots of green veggies and cruciferous, and be modest with the keto desserts, dairy, and sweets.
The ketones produced from a low carb diet are a much more efficient source of energy than glucose. Studies have indicated that they can improve cognitive impairment and even help with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The high-fat diet helps to support the balance of essential omega 3s and omega 6s which are vital for optimal brain function. Additionally, ketosis is able to boost mitochondria production and adenosine triphosphate within the brain’s memory cells, thereby improving mental performance and clarity.
Reduced risk of Chronic Disease
A ketogenic diet can boost the body’s defense against a variety of conditions. By reducing inflammation, and improving mitochondrial function, it can help to mitigate the risk of developing several chronic diseases. Cancer cells typically possess abnormal mitochondria, which need an increased supply of glycogen. Ketosis allows for normal cells to be fed while starving the cancer cells, as they are unable to utilize the ketones for energy because of their dysfunctional mitochondria.
Improved Blood Pressure
High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of several diseases and is a leading cause of deaths worldwide. A low-carb diet has been proven to be more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing blood pressure. In fact, some claim that it is just as effective as taking pills. This combined with the weight loss derived from a ketogenic diet, is sure to vastly improve cardiovascular health and function.
It has been proven by numerous studies in the realm of nutrition science, that this form of dieting can have a very positive impact on your overall health and bodily function. As long as you can find a way to maintain the discipline, the rewards are abundant. For those that have not been able to gain many results from traditional methods, the keto approach is definitely something worth considering.