What are the Benefits of a Keto Diet
With wellness at the heart of many different diets these days, the keto diet offers its participants a lot of health benefits, making it a popular choice for many. If you've heard the word keto thrown around too many times and still don't know what it means, then you're in the right place.
In this article, we're going to take a look at the ketogenic diet and how this low carbohydrate diet offers people so many health benefits. Though the ketogenic diet may be relatively new to the mainstream, its predecessors, the Atkin's diet and other low-carb diets have been around for years.
If you're wondering what this all means and how a ketogenic diet can help you out, keep reading now to find out.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate diet in which most carbs, and all processed carbs, are banned from your diet while you replace these with healthy fats, like avocado and olive oil.
In opposition to low-fat diets, the ketogenic diet works to move the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. This effectively means the body burns fat for energy rather than glucose. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of glucose which is why they are banned, and protein is controlled too because protein can be turned into glucose when found in high levels.
Ketogenic diets are high in foods like avocado, heavy cream, cottage cheese, and eggs. In opposition to a low-fat diet, the ketogenic diet favours healthy fats but disallows many carbohydrates like most fruits, whole grains, and pasta.
Low carbohydrate diet: benefits of keto diet?
Low carbohydrate diets, like the ketogenic diet, encourage the body to burn fat for energy, rather than glucose. This comes with lots of health benefits.
To find out more about how the ketogenic diet can benefit your health, keep reading.
Healthy weight loss
The ketogenic diet is known for its weight loss benefits. Unlike a low-fat diet, the ketogenic diet promotes eating healthy fats, forcing the body to burn these for energy, rather than carbohydrates. The low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is a great weight to lose weight in a healthy way.
In addition, the low carbohydrate ketogenic diet reduces your risk of obesity-related diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, and it reduces the inflammation commonly experienced in high carb diets.
Reduces inflammation in the body
As mentioned, the ketogenic diet prevents the inflammation seen in high carbohydrate diets. Because the ketogenic diet is a low carb diet, it cuts out inflammation-causing foods, like processed foods, refined sugar, grains, and processed oils. Instead, you are encouraged to eat anti-inflammatory foods like eggs, nuts, spinach, and fatty fish.
Inflammation can cause havoc in your body, causing symptoms such as pain, joint stiffness, swelling, and fatigue, as well as other symptoms. Keeping your body in ketosis means that your body is producing ketones which are strong anti-inflammatories.
Reduces bad cholesterol
After years of being sold a low-fat diet for health, it's no wonder we believe that it is high-fat diets that cause high cholesterol. More current research though is showing that high cholesterol may actually be caused by processed and refined foods and diets that are high in sugar.
The healthy fats that are encouraged on the ketogenic diet actually cause an overall decrease in cholesterol. When following a ketogenic diet, most people find the only increase in cholesterol is in HDLs, which are the good kind of cholesterol.
So, even after all of that marketing, it appears a low-fat diet is actually worse for you than they would have you believe!
Effective in controlling blood sugar and for diabetes
A ketogenic diet is often used to treat and manage diabetes because of the way it controls blood sugar levels. The blood sugar control offered by the ketogenic diet is effective in helping those with insulin resistance too.
The ketogenic diet offers lower blood sugar because you eat fewer carbohydrates and less high-glycemic foods. This means that when you eat, you don't get the blood sugar spike so often associated with foods that are high in carbohydrates.
This blood sugar control means the ketogenic diet is effective for those who are prediabetic, those who have type 2 diabetes, and those who have insulin resistance.
Remember to speak to your doctor before trying any diet to control blood sugar to ensure there are no health risks involved.
Blood pressure control
Studies have shown that following the ketogenic diet can result in lower blood pressure, and is much more effective at treating high blood pressure than a low-fat diet. Low carbohydrate diets, like the ketogenic diet, appear to offer a significant drop in blood pressure, as well as weight loss.
Increased heart health
Low carbohydrate diets, like the ketogenic diet, have been found to improve the biomarkers for heart disease significantly. This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors means you have less chance of developing heart disease.
In addition, the ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats which can increase heart health and reduce the risk of other diseases like strokes.
Increased brain health
The ketogenic diet has been used at various times to improve brain health. In fact, the ketogenic diet is still used to reduce the number of seizures in children with epilepsy. Additionally, the ketogenic diet has been shown to improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and slow its progression, and one study suggests it may do the same for Parkinson's disease.
Ketogenic diet-approved foods: a quick list
Now that you know the health benefits of the ketogenic diet, you may be wondering how you can implement it in your life! Below we've rounded up a list of some of the foods you can eat on the ketogenic diet.
- Seafood and fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Low carb vegetables, like avocado, broccoli, and kale
- Cheese, like feta, cheddar, and cottage cheese
- Meat and poultry
- Olive oil, particularly extra-virgin olive oil
- Nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and pumpkins seeds
- Coffee and tea, unsweetened
- Dark chocolate
- Other ketogenic diet-approved foods, like this ketogenic granola, these ketogenic diet-approved crackers, and these keto lemon cheesecake bars
The ketogenic diet is a great diet to follow for a range of health benefits, including weight loss, reduction of body fat, improved heart and brain health, lower blood pressure, and better blood sugar control. The keto diet has been shown to improve health and is popular among many wellness enthusiasts.
The keto diet is a great choice for anyone wanting to boost their health and improve their wellbeing, but ensure you seek medical advice if you're concerned about any risks involved with the diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you eat on the keto diet?
The keto diet is a low carb diet where you eat foods high in healthy fats. The purpose of this is to encourage the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis, where fat is burned for energy rather than glucose. Foods that you can eat on the ketogenic diet include fatty fish, eggs, cheese, olive oil, low-carb vegetables, and nuts and seeds.
Why is the keto diet bad?
The keto diet, if not followed properly, can lead to nutrient deficiencies and constipation due to lack of fibre. With the restriction of whole grains and other carbohydrates with dietary fibre, the body may lack enough fibre for proper bowel movements so it is important you eat enough of the low-carb vegetables approved on the diet. In addition, nutrient deficiencies may occur due to a lack of fruit and vegetables, so eating approved foods is recommended. The keto diet is not recommended to those with a history of disordered eating as it can be restrictive and anyone taking blood pressure medication should seek advice before opting for this diet.
Is the keto diet bad for your kidneys?
There are some risks with the keto diet, and one of them includes the effects on your kidneys. The keto diet can lead to kidney stones if not followed properly. Eating lots of meat, especially processed meat, can make your urine more acidic and increase calcium and uric acid levels leading to kidney stones. Those with kidney disease should not follow the ketogenic diet.
How long should you do the keto diet?
Most nutritionists recommend you don't follow the keto diet for longer than three months to six months at a time. Some people cycle in and out of the diet to ensure the body can recover. The ketogenic diet may work differently for some people and they may find they have more negative side effects. If you find you have negative side effects, you should cease following the diet immediately.