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 counter-intuitive 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.
The Benefits of Keto Diet
The Ketogenic diet refers to a form of dieting where high fats, adequate protein and low carbs are consumed. Its aim is to deplete the body's glycogen reserves so that it relies on fat and protein for energy. The body then undergoes ketosis, which is a metabolic state in which your liver produces a high number of ketones as an alternative fuel source for the brain. This form of dieting is quite popular, with dozens of pictures showing before and after results circulating all over social media. These are some benefits of the keto diet and how it may help in achieving your goals.
Several studies have shown that people on a high fat, low carb diet burn fat at a faster rate than those with a high carb, low fat diet. This is primarily because lower insulin levels caused by the low carb diet (keto), help to remove excess water from the body. During ketosis, you experience reduced levels of hunger, which can be extremely beneficial in controlling caloric intake, promoting overall weight loss. It has been noted that low carb diets are also effective in reducing visceral fat, primarily stored in the abdominal cavity.
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.
If you are reading this article now, chances are you are in some sort of pain, whether physical and/or mental (being overweight, struggling with autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, fatigue, brain fog) and want to change. Use this information, do not just skim through it and store it in the back of your brain and say "that's nice for some people", motivate yourself to change.
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