The way the ketogenic diet exploded on to the scene and the way that “KETO” often gets thrown around as a buzz word, might make you think it’s all a fad. However, this shouldn’t take away from the fact that the low carb keto diet is quite effective and offers a range of health benefits.
The ketogenic diet is high in fats and low in carbohydrates. This causes fundamental physiological changes within the body that are attributable to most of the health benefits paraded all over social media these days.
But such diets have not always been appreciated. In fact, a low carb or a high fat diet has seen its fair share of controversy in the past. It has been attributed to raising cholesterol levels and heart disease.
However, most scientific studies have dispelled these doubts of late. And the ketogenic diet offers a plethora of health benefits ranging from improved energy levels, weight loss, and even enhancing the body‘s immunity against certain health conditions.
Here are some of the other benefits worth talking about.
Ketogenic Diets Help Keep Your Appetite in Check
One of the toughest challenges for those on traditional diets is to fight off the hunger pangs they face because of their empty stomachs. The potential pitfall of feeling miserable and getting back to the old ways of eating always looms large. However, the low carb ketogenic diet causes an automatic drop in the appetite levels and sustains it. Besides, filling up on meals, high on protein and fat, leads to a lower calorie intake.
Greater Weight loss initially
Simply cutting out the carbohydrate content from your diet is one of the easiest ways of losing weight. Moreover, scientific studies prove that those on low carb keto diets shed weight faster than those on traditional low fat restrictive diets.
The reason being; low carbohydrate intake tends to rid the body of excess water, lowering insulin levels and causing a faster weight loss in the initial few weeks.
Studies have illustrated, through a side-by-side analysis of low carb and low fat diets, that cutting out carbohydrates can help lose 2–3 times as much weight as in the initial weeks.
Therefore, low carb ketogenic diets are a clear winner in the first few days of the dieting regime, after which the difference in results is quite insignificant when it comes to weight loss specifically.
A Greater Proportion of Fat Loss Comes From Your Abdominal Cavity
There are different types of fat stores in a human body. Where these fats are stored largely determine how they might impact the health and risk of disease. The two main types are:
- Subcutaneous fat (sits under the skin across the body)
- Visceral fat
It is the visceral fat that is a typical sign of an overweight body. It is accumulated in the abdominal cavity and is often visible as the flab around the waist. Moreover, it tends to sit around the organs and is known to cause inflammation, hormone imbalances and insulin resistance.
The ketogenic, low carb diet tends to target this visceral fat and studies have illustrated that it reduces a greater proportion of fat from the abdominal cavity. This can over time, substantially lower health risks such as heart diseases and type-II diabetes.
Triglycerides Tend to Drop Drastically
Triglycerides are the fat molecules found throughout the bloodstream. It has been well established that high fasting triglycerides — triglycerides levels in bloodstream after an overnight fast— are directly related to heart disease incidence. Simple sugar fructose, the primary form of carbohydrate, is proven to be a major culprit in elevated triglycerides levels.
As a result when people cut back on the carbohydrates during a ketogenic diet regime, there is a marked reduction in the triglycerides levels in the blood, and an effectively decreased risk of a heart disease. On the contrary, the low fat diets have been shown to cause an increase in the triglycerides in the bloodstream.
Curative for Brain Disorders
The human brain requires glucose for energy as some parts of it can only accept this form of sugar for fuel. The liver will go on to produce glucose from protein even on a low-carb diet.
However a large part of it also uses ketones, the energy produced on a low carb keto diet by the liver, for fuel. The ketogenic diet has long been used by parents to treat epilepsy in their children who don’t respond to medication.
It has been well-established as a treatment for epilepsy in children with studies indicating over 50% decrease in the number of seizure for more than half the children, while 16% were completely cured of seizures.
A ketogenic diet is extremely low on carbohydrates, and is being extensively studied for its useful applications for brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
Boosts Energy Stores
Following a ketogenic diet is known to boost energy levels for a number of reasons.
- First of all, keto diet helps lower inflammation, which is a direct culprit in chronic fatigue syndrome and depression among other things.
- Secondly, since it’s a low carb diet, this means that there are no insulin spikes and the blood sugar level remains stable.
- Thirdly, studies prove that there is more ATP or energy per molecule of ketone released compared to ATP released per molecule of glucose.
Taken together, these lead to increased energy levels that improve performance throughout the day.
Some of the most common skin conditions and irritations like eczema and acne can often be traced back to inflammation or auto-immune diseases. Inflammatory processes are known to randomly attack different structures of the skin. In fact, acne is usually another name for the inflamed sebaceous glands in the skin, while eczema is the generalized inflammation of it.
There may be a number of other reasons that contribute to these skin conditions, from hormone imbalances to environmental allergies which should be investigated and addressed. However, a keto diet can have quick therapeutic effects regardless, in lowering the inflammation.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let the buzz word-ish and bandwagon effect induced by the low carb keto diet fool you into taking it as just another fad. When it comes to nutrition science, few things are as well established as the health benefits of a ketogenic diet.