The ketogenic diet is becoming known to be beneficial in many areas of health and medicine, it is important to get a clear understanding of what is best to use and how.
Therefore, we have compiled an introduction to the health benefits of the ketogenic diet. From weight loss to lower the appetite reducing inflammation to improve cardiovascular health, the ketogenic diet is much more than lose-weight-fast diet.
In fact, it is rather a change of lifestyle, with much higher benefits just look good in a swimsuit. So what’s in it for you? Read on to find out.
11 Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
1. Weight Loss
Weight loss is probably the health benefit most commonly cited of the ketogenic diet, and is not one to overlook. Keto, weight loss is real and effective for one simple reason: it helps people become a diet heavy carbon hydrates, carbohydrates diet to burn to a heavy fat diet to burn fat. A diet high in carbohydrates induce swelling, weight gain and health problems and relies on carbohydrates for energy. A high-fat, moderate in protein and low carbohydrate diet slows very appetite, you can eat until satiated, and burn the fat from your body and food for energy.
Whether you are fit, a little out of shape, or obesity, a ketogenic diet can do more than help you reach or maintain your ideal weight; which can reduce the risk of diseases and disorders related to obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. (More on this later in this article).
The best part? You do not have to starve yourself to get there. In a keto diet, you get to eat your fill of food to satiate loaded with good fats, which triggers a metabolic fat burning process known as ketosis. Once you’re body becomes acclimated, this leads to increased energy and capacity for physical activity.
2. Reduced Appetite
Imagine not feel those shocks of food and carbohydrate cravings. That’s the keto life. You eat, then you are satisfied … for long! Once your body has settled in the diet, it works more efficiently, burning fats in foods and your body and never embark on the wild ride that is the ups and downs of a diet loaded with carbohydrates / sugar . Without sugar spikes and crashes, cravings disappear, and feel satisfied.
Why, you ask? not a single calorie is a calorie. The answer is no. This is why:
As mentioned above, the ketogenic diet is one which is very low in carbohydrates, moderately low in protein and high in fat. But it is more specific than that. Every day on a keto diet, eat your macronutrients ( “macros”) or the total amount of calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates you should eat per day based on your height, weight, activity level, age and goals. But not all macros are the same. Each has a specific amount of energy or calories:
- Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram
- Protein has 4 calories per gram
- Fat has 9 calories per gram
Clearly, fats are more satiating (you will feel full longer) and we will provide you with the same energy per gram as protein and carbohydrates combined!
That’s not the only reason that your appetite is reduced by a keto diet. As we mentioned above, once you get into ketosis, usually do not experience the peak levels of blood sugar and valleys – and consequent hunger pangs – that you do a diet heavy in carbohydrates. Hormones, in this case insulin, cholecystokinin, ghrelin, and leptin, play a strong role in the lack of hunger, because they influence the feeling of being satiated.
Ketosis has been shown to suppress ghrelin (a strong appetite stimulator). In fact, in a study where participants were put on a ketogenic diet for eight weeks and then reintroduced to a standard diet, participants in ketosis experienced a reduction of circulating concentrations of several hormones and nutrients that influence appetite.
Inflammation is a natural immune response of the body to help heal and fight infections. But too and persistent inflammation can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, swelling, fatigue, and the most acute physiological results.
When you are in a regular diet keto and a state of ketosis, the body produces ketones, specifically BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) which is a chemical anti-inflammatory strong. BHB helps inhibit inflammatory pathways (NF-kB and COX-2), and also activates AMPK pathway (AMP-activated protein kinase), which aids in inhibiting NF-kB the inflammatory pathways. Furthermore, BHB has been shown to exhibit similar effects drug pain relief, such as NSAIDs, by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme.
Another influence anti-inflammation is the ketogenic diet itself; promoting food intake anti-inflammatories, such as eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and other foods high in omega-3, all of which are announced by their anti-inflammatory effects. Also it promotes avoidance of inflammatory foods. Not sure which is which? See our list below, which have some anti-inflammatory foods and popular inflammatory.
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Fatty fish
- Bone broth
- Processed foods
- Refined sugar
- Starchy vegetables
- Processed oils (canola, corn, safflower)
When people think of high-fat diets, which almost instant think of high cholesterol. It is a reasonable response given that we’ve been told for years that low-fat diet is heart-healthy and fat-rich diet it is not. However, more and more research showing that fat is not to be feared but has been the scapegoat for the real culprits of cardiovascular problems and obesity among Americans today: carbohydrates and diets high processed sugar.
On a ketogenic diet, many people experience a decrease in total cholesterol, a decrease in triglycerides, and an increase in HDL. Although some people may see an increase in cholesterol of a ketogenic diet, these people are likely to see an increase regardless due to rapid weight loss can lead to a temporary increase in LDL cholesterol. Consequently, it is often recommended to wait six months after starting a ketogenic diet to test their lipid panels, or wait until your weight loss has gradually decreased.
5. Diabetes & Blood Sugar Control
Since sugar and most carbohydrates in a keto diet is removed, it is not difficult to understand why it is great for controlling blood sugar. The less eating sugar and carbohydrates, sugar least in the bloodstream. That is why, after beginning a keto diet, most people will notice a decrease in the level of blood sugar almost immediately. In fact, the effects are so immediate, it is recommended that diabetics who begin a diet work ketogenic with your provider health care so they can adjust their medication as needed, while their glucose levels become lower and more stable.
When you are eating foods high glycemic carbohydrates heavy, experiences a peak blood glucose immediately after eating, followed by a subsequent fall in blood glucose. In a ketogenic diet, reduce your intake of sugar and carbohydrates and therefore naturally keep their blood glucose levels rise and fall drastically. There will still be a small natural increased blood glucose when foods are eaten low glycemic index, but not experience variations of high and low glucose in a high carbohydrate diet.
Also, as mentioned, by reducing carbohydrates, depriving the body of glucose stores, so their body begins to use fat as a fuel compared to carbohydrates / glucose. This causes insulin levels to go down, because your body is no longer responsible for managing a lot of sugar.
Even people with insulin resistance benefit from the ketogenic diet. With insulin resistance, the body does not respond to insulin as it should. Often, this results in glucose levels higher blood and, over time, can lead to diabetes and increase the risk of heart disease. The following study participants with diabetes that implement a ketogenic diet program that participants considered drastic reductions in their blood glucose-lowering fasting glucose and medication.
6. Blood Pressure
Anyone with high blood pressure will appreciate the positive blood pressure control that results from a keto diet.
The following studies in obese patients, those with a ketogenic diet experienced a drastic reduction in blood pressure than the low-fat diets. A the same time, these same subjects following a keto diet had comparable weight loss and triglycerides results as subjects who followed a diet low in fat and received a drug weight loss. Moreover, the systolic blood pressure decreased ketogenic group (which is good for lowering high blood pressure), while participants increased between low-fat diet / drug medication.
7. Heart Health
The term “evokes the health of the heart” images of small heart icon that appears on whole grains and cereals and promotes carbohydrate / low-fat foods. But in fact, a diet low in carbohydrates and higher in fat has been shown to dramatically improve biomarkers associated with diseases of the heart.
In a recent study by a group of normal-weight men normolipidemic (men with normal amounts of blood lipids) that were put on a ketogenic diet for six weeks, 22 of the 26 biomarkers of risk for cardiovascular disease improved significantly.
While some people experience a small increase in LDL cholesterol in a keto diet, now it was suggested that LDL is not the “make or break” factor in determining the health of the heart that once thought it was. In fact, research shows that the current LDL is a very small piece of the puzzle; In a randomized study 2.7 years looking at the influence of the Mediterranean diet in people who had previously had a heart attack, there was a significant dramatic reduction in repeated attacks on the heart and overall mortality. Most notably, there was no difference in LDL changes between the two groups.
Now, it is widely known that the size of LDL particles playing a more important role in determining health risks of heart. circulating LDL particles are in reality very different in size, and smaller, denser particles (which carry proportionally less triglyceride) are associated with vascular damage and heart disease.
In fact, a recent study of the ketogenic diet where participants LDL increased, there was a change in particle size; means particles increased, while small, dense particles associated with vascular damage drastically decreased.
8. Brain Health
Keto brain loves as much as the heart. The ketogenic diet was initially implemented as a therapeutic treatment at the Mayo Clinic 1924 to treat neurological conditions, specifically epileptic seizures. In a randomized clinical trial, researchers began the ketogenic diet pediatric patients suffering from two or more seizures per week while on anticonvulsant drugs. Within three months of starting the diet, 34 percent of participants had a decrease of 90 percent in convulsions!
But the research does not stop with epilepsy. In recent years, the ketogenic diet has begun to be studied as a complementary intervention for various neurological disorders. And while many scientists in the field neurological condition that the brain prefers glucose on ketones, the brain over time (with age) will lose its ability to feed itself efficiently with glucose alone. This is where ketones come into play.
Ketones are a natural neuroprotective antioxidant that has been shown to prevent harmful reactive oxygen species damage the brain. Ketones have been shown to increase mitochondrial efficiency and production, which helps protect brain cells to strokes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Finally a ketogenic diet has been shown to help regulate glutamate (a key neurotransmitter in the brain) that can cause cell damage if overstimulated.
While much of the research on the ketogenic diet and brain is in its infancy, the research that has been done is promising and shows the need for further exploration to fully understand the scope of benefits and clinical applications.
While genetics plays an important role in acne, it has been suggested that a ketogenic diet can help improve skin clarity.
Specific research on a ketogenic diet and acne occurrence has not yet been published, but there have been studies that have analyzed a ketogenic diet with regard to hormonal balancing, specifically PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Women who suffer from PCOS are often faced with insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, unwanted hair, infertility, and acne. Current studies have analyzed the low-carb diets and ketogenic diets in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and found that they were able to reduce their insulin levels and reduce their body mass.
But how does this translate for acne? Well, a recent study, where researchers examined the benefits of a diet low glycemic index on acne, showed that as insulin levels decreased, the physical appearance of acne seemed to diminish. In addition, as discussed above, keto has been proven to help against inflammation, which in turn helps reduce inflammation associated with acne (red and swollen pustules).
Migraines, a type of recurring headache that can cause severe pain, plagues nearly 12 percent of Americans. So naturally, the migraine sufferers are willing to treat most of the solutions to get rid of them. While migraines may not have been the main reason for starting the ketogenic diet, many people with migraine in the keto diet have reported a significant decrease in migraines, including, in some cases, becoming migraine free!
There have been a handful of studies have examined the relationship between a ketogenic diet and migraines. In one study, participants in the ketogenic diet group reported a reduction in the frequency of headache and drug use. the hypothesis that the success can be modulated by improving mitochondrial metabolism of keto brain and neural inhibitory effects on inflammation and cortical spreading depression was raised. Ketogenic VLCD (very low calorie diet) could find a transitional role in antagonizing the weight gain, a common side effect among treatments for migraine prophylaxis.
For more information about Keto and migraine, read our review of a book on the fight against the epidemic of migraine: How to treat and prevent migraines without drugs
11. Cancer Treatment
When hear about keto as a cancer treatment, most people refer to the Warburg effect, by which cancer cells prefer to use anaerobic (oxygen) glycolysis to produce energy.
This is much less efficient than aerobic glycolysis, and that means that cancer cells have a much higher requirement for glucose for energy. That is the basis for PET, where injected glucose in the body to help detect cancer. Since glucose cancer occupies much faster than normal cells, the test track activity and location of cancer in the body realize what happens to the injected glucose.
But here’s the most interesting part: some cancers lack the ability to metabolize ketone bodies. This means that if a cancer has no access to sugar for energy, can not succeed. In these cases, a ketogenic diet “essentially” starves cancer cells. Unfortunately, not all cancers respond in the same manner and the Warburg effect is not universally observed in all cancers.
Still, there are promising research on the role of a ketogenic diet as a complementary intervention effective for treating cancer. In a study on neuroblastoma, a cancer that most commonly affects children, the ketogenic diet significantly reduced tumor growth and survival of prolonged study subjects (mice in this case).
We are seeing an increasing number of preclinical studies evaluating the ketogenic diet as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of cancer, either alone and / or in combination with conventional therapy. In addition to neuroblastoma, it has reported the strongest evidence for tumor suppressive effect a ketogenic diet for glioblastoma (a brain tumor), prostate, colon, pancreatic and lung cancer.
The Final Word
The ketogenic diet has significant health benefits in a variety of areas, from health to metobolic health of the heart and brain, and more. As studies continue and understood more about the reaction of the body to the ketogenic diet and how it can be exploited for a variety of wellness initiatives, will surely be more discoveries of the benefits of high-fat, moderate in protein, low in carbohydrate ketogenic style of life.
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