7 Amazing Health Benefits of a Keto Diet
There has been an increasing hype surrounding the ketogenic diet in recent years. In fact, one might think that this is a new diet. On the contrary, the ketogenic diet has been in existence for more than 100 years.
At first, it was used in medicine to treat epilepsy in children and to control diabetes. Over the years, the use of the keto diet has evolved.
Today, there are a lot of foods you can choose from the keto food pyramid when on this diet to make it effective.
It is now used for numerous reasons, including weight loss.
What is ketogenic diet and how does it work?
This is a diet that is high in fats, low in carbohydrates and adequate proteins.
Your body cells, mainly rely on sugar from carbohydrates as the main source of energy. In the absence of enough carbohydrates, the body lacks circulating blood sugar from a food source.
This forces it to look for other alternative sources. Eventually, it results in breaking down stored fats into molecules. These molecules are known as ketone bodies while the process is called ketosis.
When ketosis takes place, the majority of the body cells begin to rely on ketone bodies for energy generation purposes. They keep doing so until you begin eating carbohydrates again.
A typical keto diet is rich in proteins; this means that you will be required to consume more fish, meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds as well as fibrous vegetables. Furthermore, a keto diet is highly restrictive, one has to be committed and disciplined to use it effectively. Nevertheless, there are numerous health benefits associated with this diet.
So, what are the benefits of a keto diet?
1. Enhances weight loss
Since the diet is built on the precipice of strict adherence to a low carbohydrates diet, it aids in weight loss. In a study carried out by Samah et al, a ketogenic diet was found to be more effective in weight reduction more than low-fat diets. This was attributed to the increased metabolism of fatty acids in the absence of carbohydrates.
The keto diet is high in protein. Therefore, you are less likely to experience hunger pangs in comparison to people using other diets. Hunger pangs are as a result of sugar instability; this causes the brain to signal the brain that you are hungry. Proteins are broken down slower than carbohydrates, which helps you remain fuller for longer and reduce your calorie intake.
2. Cardiac Benefits
When you use the keto diet in a healthy manner, you can improve your overall heart health considerably. This means that, instead of including more animal fats in your diets, you can make healthier fat choices like eating avocados. There is convincing evidence that this can reduce your cholesterol levels.
Studies show that HDL, which is good cholesterol, increased after the participants were subjected to a keto diet. On the other hand, LDL, which is bad cholesterol dropped significantly.
Another study that was conducted using a rat showed that increased ketone bodies in the mouse improved its cardiac efficiency by over 20%.
3. Blood Glucose Control
Carbohydrates raise the blood sugar in the body quite easily. This is detrimental to people with diabetes. If you are diabetic and struggling to control drastically rising blood sugar, studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can help you keep it under control.
Dr. Eric Westman, who is a renowned diabetes specialist, ran a 6 months study to establish if a Ketogenic diet can help diabetes patients. He realized that the keto diet was instrumental in reducing HbA1c, especially in people with type 2 diabetes. This also helps the patients reduce their reliance on some of the diabetes medication.
According to this study, about 95% of the people involved were able to reduce their medication, whereas some were able to control diabetes without relying on medication.
4. Enhances Fat Burning
Excessive fat is associated with a host of lifestyle diseases. Anyone with excess fat is at higher risk of picking up such diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Fortunately, being in a state of ketosis enhances fat burning.
Studies have shown that engaging in a high-fat and a low carbohydrate diet will not only improve your lipid profile but also help you lose weight faster.
5. Treats Epilepsy in Children
Epileptic seizures are common among children who are afflicted by this disease. In some of these children, the seizures do not respond to the recommended medication.
This is according to the information released by the Epilepsy Foundation. Nevertheless, studies show that a keto diet is able to reduce the number of seizures experienced by a patient. Moreover, some of these children are able to become seizure free.
Those with a high medication dose are able to rely on reduced doses for this condition.
6. Promotes skin health
Chronic inflammation is responsible for some of the most common skin diseases, including acne and eczema. Inflammation of the sebaceous glands is closely linked with acne. Eczema, on the other hand, emanates from inflammation of skin cells.
While there may be other underlying factors in such skin conditions, a ketogenic diet promotes quicker healing by reducing inflammation.
7. Reduces Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases are on the rise globally. This is mostly due to a bad lifestyle, diet as well as lack of physical activity.
A ketogenic diet may help you steer away from some of these notorious chronic diseases. More so, this diet possesses a wide array of anti-inflammatory effects. A ketogenic diet also promotes mitochondrial function, which allows the body to protect itself from diseases and recuperate much faster.
Some of the diseases that you can keep at bay by adhering to the ketogenic diet include cancer, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, autism, and fatigue.
Continued studies and research are still ongoing to identify more benefits of the ketogenic diet. As much as the ketogenic diet is beneficial, you should not use it to replace any prescribed medication by a qualified physician.
You can, however, incorporate it in your diet to supplement medication in consultation with your doctor.
Nonetheless, you don’t necessarily have to be sick to take advantage of a ketogenic diet. This is because the benefits extend beyond illnesses and protect you from chronic diseases.