How The Ketogenic Diet Can Help You Live A Healthier Lifestyle

Image via Bembu

By Bembu

The ketogenic diet is the latest eating trend that seems to be taking over the internet. It takes low-carbohydrate dieting to a whole new level. Although it might seem a little extreme at first, the ketogenic diet is one of the best proven eating plans for weight loss, increased energy, and better overall health.

By limiting your carbohydrate intake to less than 5% of your total calories, your body will go into a state of ketosis and use fat as fuel. You’ll also help stabilize your blood sugar and hormone levels to ward off prediabetes and brain fog, just to name a few symptoms. Here’s everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet.


What is the Ketogenic Diet?

 

The Ketogenic diet is similar to the Paleo or Atkins diet, but with stricter rules about where you get your calories from. It suggests that you severely limit your carbohydrate intake and eat a high-fat diet by dividing your daily calories into the following categories: 75% from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates. The idea behind the ketogenic diet is that by limiting your carb and glucose intake, your body will rely on fat as fuel.

Eating carbohydrates cause your body to secrete insulin. When you eat too many carbs, it creates a buildup of insulin in your bloodstream, which leads to high blood sugar. Your body also stores the carbohydrates that it does not immediately use for fuel as fat. On the other hand, eating a high-fat and low carbohydrate diet reduces the amount of insulin secreted. You stop storing excess carbohydrates as fat, and your body enters a state of ketosis.

Ketosis occurs when the body switches its fuel source from carbohydrates to fats. You may notice that you have entered ketosis when you get the dreaded keto breath! When the body begins to burn fats as fuel, it creates a byproduct of acids known as ketones that build up in the blood. Research shows that your body and brain prefer ketones to glucose as their primary energy source. With carbohydrates out of the way, your body barely releases insulin and does not store excess glucose as fat. For most people, the result is often a smaller waist, better concentration, and improved blood sugar levels.

Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet has a lot of followers and for a good reason- it has a lot of research to prove its benefits! The history of the ketogenic diet dates back to around 500 BC when it was first used to treat epilepsy. It regained popularity in the 1920’s as an obesity treatment and was used all around the world for nearly two decades. People stopped using the ketogenic diet during the modern era of pharmaceutical drug treatment, but over the past 15 years, it has regained popularity again among people who want to return to their roots, so to speak. Here are some of the most impressive health benefits of the ketogenic diet.

1. May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

According to researchers of a 2005 study, the ketogenic diet can be used to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. Ten obese patients with type 2 diabetes were put on a ketogenic diet and had their blood sugar levels monitored. After just two weeks of being on the diet, their insulin sensitivity improved by 75 percent.


2. Protection Against Heart Disease

You might think that eating a high-fat diet is bad for your heart, but the opposite is true with the ketogenic diet. A 2009 systematic review found that when compared to low-fat diets, low-carbohydrate diets were better for protecting against heart disease after six months. Another meta-analysis of 23 studies with data collected on more than 1,100 test subjects confirmed that the ketogenic diet cut significant risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases.

3. Weight Loss

Your Complete Guide To The Ketogenic Diet

A study published in the journal Lipids found that a ketogenic diet helps you lose more weight than a low-fat diet- twice as much to be exact. Another study found that test subjects who followed the ketogenic diet lost more weight over the course of a year than low-fat dieters despite eating more calories. A third study tested the low-carb vs. low-fat theory by putting test subjects on either a low-fat or ketogenic diet and then asking them to switch. Results indicated that both groups lost more weight when they were on the ketogenic diet. In fact, the men in the study lost three times the amount of weight off their waist on the ketogenic diet as they did on the low-fat diet.

4. Improve Skin Health

Hormone levels and acne seem to go hand-in-hand. If you’re looking to improve the way your skin looks, start by reducing the number of processed junk foods you eat. According to a 2012 study, the ketogenic diet has therapeutic effects on skin health. Specifically, it balances hormones and reduces the onset of acne.

5. May Prevent Tumor Growth

Nothing is scarier than a cancer diagnosis. One theory behind the development of cancer is that the disease thrives off high carbohydrates diets with lots of refined sugar. According to a 2015 study, there is increasing evidence to show that the ketogenic diet has antitumor properties that may be used to prevent and treat cancer when used in conjunction with proven methods such as chemotherapy and radiation.

6. Treats Epilepsy

The ketogenic diet was founded on the idea that it could be used as an epilepsy treatment and the same theory holds true today. A 2008 study extracted data from 103 children with epilepsy- 54 of them were asked to follow a ketogenic diet, and 49 were put in a control group. After three months, the children in the ketogenic diet group had a 75 percent decrease in seizures.

7. Supports Brain Function

Ever notice how a big lunch or breakfast with starchy foods makes you want to fall asleep right after? If you do manage to stay awake, you’ll probably suffer from brain fog, which will leave you useless at work. Since the brain prefers ketones as its fuel source, the ketogenic diet can help you stay focused and sharp. It can also help you as you age. Research shows that the ketogenic diet has neuroprotective properties that may be useful for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, hypoxia, glutamate toxicity, ischemia, Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury.

8. Reduces Food Cravings

Eating sugary foods seems to have a snowball effect on most people. You eat one potato chip or candy bar and the next thing you know the whole bag or bar is gone. That’s partly because of the effect that carbohydrates have on blood sugar. When you eat high carbohydrate foods, your body releases insulin, which causes a blood sugar spike. But what goes up must come down. When your insulin levels drop (and they will), you’ll be left with another sugary craving to get those blood sugar levels back up.

 

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