When considering a ketogenic diet, many people wonder if the change is worth it? Obviously any diet is usually started because of the health and weight loss benefits. However, there are many benefits to low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diets.
Below I have listed a few of the benefits that sway many people to choose a keto diet.
Increased weight loss
Eating a high-fat diet, low-carb diet facilitates weight loss by diminishing hunger, reducing overeating or eating too many “empty” calories. Feeling satiated longer also helps facilitate fasting, which can further assist in weight loss.
In addition, a high-fat, low-carb diet can decrease total body fat as it decreases insulin levels, leading to less fat storage, and it causes the body to “burn” its’ fat stores for fuel decreasing fat stores overall.
Reduced risk of Type II diabetes
When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into simple sugars. They are then released into the bloodstream, leading to increased blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels increase, insulin is released. Insulin is a hormone that tells our bodies to store as much energy in the form of glycogen and fats as possible.
By eating a low-carb keto diet, one can normalize blood sugar levels, control the release of insulin, and reverse the effects of insulin resistance (characteristic of type II diabetes). In this manner, keto can be used to treat or possibly reverse type II diabetes, sometimes even replacing or supplementing medication.
Improvement of neurological disease
A high-fat, low-carb keto diet has a neuroprotective effect by correcting abnormalities in cellular energy usage common in most neurological disorders.
In this way, a keto diet can improve memory function, minimizing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
It has also been shown to help epilepsy by reducing seizures and lead to mood stabilization when dealing with diseases like autism and even schizophrenia.
Reduced risk of heart disease
A low-carb, high-fat diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing triglycerides, increasing “good cholesterol” and decreasing “bad cholesterol,” lowering blood pressure, and reducing abdominal fat.
Increased triglycerides levels in blood and increased fat in the abdominal cavity lead to increased risk for heart disease. A keto diet decreases the amount of triglyceride in blood and lowers the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, a low-carb, high-fat diet leads to increased HDL (“good cholesterol”) and a decrease in LDL (“bad cholesterol”). LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Whereas, HDL, the “good cholesterol,” is a lipoprotein that carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver where it can be reused or excreted.
In addition to the above, a low-carb, high fat keto diet is also known to decrease blood pressure, reducing the stress on the heart and the risk for heart disease.
Cancer treatment and prevention
Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, can only metabolize glucose for energy. Thus, switching to a high-fat and low-carb diet can essentially “starve” cancer cells of glucose, whilst still feeding normal cells which can metabolize fats as energy.
Consistent energy levels
A low-carb, high fat keto diet can help to stabilize energy levels throughout the day as one can avoid the “bonking” or crashes from carbohydrate intake (rapid blood sugar increase and decrease).
The high fats can keep one satiated and full of energy longer, reducing any cravings or caffeine needs/ crashes as well.
Increased performance for endurance athletes (endurance performance)
A low-carb, high fat keto diet has been implicated with increased output and increased performance for a longer duration for endurance athletes.
A keto diet can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction and protect against strokes, in turn decreasing associated mortality.
As mentioned above, a low-carb keto diet can lower insulin. Lowering insulin reduces oxidative stress on the body. Reduced oxidative stress increases lifespan and slows degradation, having an “anti-aging” effect.
Decreased pain and lower inflammation
A low-carb keto diet also decreases inflammation. Decreased inflammation, leads to decreased pain.
These are some of the benefits that you can expect from the keto diet, if you stay committed to it. Of course, there can be challenges, but the results are worth it.
If you are interested in getting started with a keto diet, we can help you stay on track, with our Nudge Coaching program, and guidance from Dr Jerry Hizon. Contact us to see how much better you can feel!
– Courtney Assumma