If you’ve been on planet earth lately, you might have heard of ketogenic diets. But are they, really? Does a ketogenic diet have any health benefits?
We’ve got you.
In this post, we’ll go over the benefits of a ketogenic diet. After reading this, you’ll be decided if it is for you.
Let’s dive in right away.
What is a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a low-carb and high-fat diet.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to put your body in a ketosis state by reducing the carbohydrate intake and increasing the fat intake.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns stored fats. Typically, our body uses carbohydrates as its major source of energy.
But when there are not enough carbs, then our body starts burning fats to get energy.
In a nutshell, the ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that shifts the metabolism from carbohydrates towards fats.
An adequate amount of protein is also included in a ketogenic diet. It shares many similarities with the low-carbohydrate diet and Atkins diet as well.
But, it has several such characteristics that make it a distinctive and useful diet.
There are several variations of the ketogenic diet.
The most common is the ‘standard ketogenic diet.’ In this type, the diet includes 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
Health benefits of a ketogenic diet
Let’s look into some health benefits of a ketogenic diet.
1. Supports weight loss
One of the major benefits of the ketogenic diet is that it aids your weight loss journey. It enables your body in many ways to reduce your weight.
One major way is through the metabolic process. Keto diets shift your metabolism from carbohydrates to fats and reducing your appetite.
It helps to curb the urge to overeat too.
The ketogenic diet includes foods that quickly fill a person up and stop overeating. The best way to lose weight is to get rid of excess fats from your body.
If you eat more carbs than fats, your metabolism will keep burning carbs for energy. And the fats will keep getting stored in the body.
In one study, researchers looked into the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on adolescent weight loss.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
It showed that a low carb diet can be an effective method for short-term weight loss.
Adopting a ketogenic diet shift your metabolism from carbs to fats. And as a result, the body starts getting rid of stored fats.
The ketogenic diet provides a boost to your weight loss journey. But, it may slow down a bit later on.
2. May reduce blood sugar level
Millions of people around the world are suffering from diabetes and insulin resistance. The ketogenic diet has proved to be a helpful way to lower blood sugar levels.
A study by Australian researchers shows that cutting your carbs intake can drastically decrease your blood sugar level.
The ketogenic diet supports weight loss and can regulate blood sugar levels in your body.
Another study led by Duke University Medical Center researcher looked into the impacts of a carb-restricted diet.
The study reports that a low carb diet may help diabetic patients reduce their insulin dosage.
3. Regulates your cholesterol level
Irregular cholesterol level puts you at risk of deadly diseases. For example coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
So, it is vital to keep your ‘good’ cholesterol level up and ‘bad’ cholesterol level down.
The ketogenic diet is an ideal way to regulate cholesterol levels of obese and type 2 diabetes patients.
Researchers in Australia did a clinical trial to compare low and high carbohydrates for diabetes management.
They reported their findings in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The group which followed a low-carb diet showed better results. Their HDL cholesterol level increased two times more than the high-carb diet group.
They also reported that low carb diet, especially one high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat:
- Improved lipid profile
- Enhanced blood glucose stability
- Reduced the requirements for diabetes medication
But that’s not all.
A study led by researchers at the University of Connecticut investigated carb restriction in overweight men.
The findings suggest that not only does carb restriction help with weight loss. But it also positively impacts cholesterol profile. including both LDL and HDL.
And this, in turn, may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease
4. May help treat several brain disorders
Another benefit of a ketogenic diet is that it helps with brain health. Let me explain.
The ketogenic diet helps to suppress the symptoms of several brain diseases. For example Epilepsy in children, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In one study, researchers at the Institute of Child Health in London did a controlled trial.
The goal was to understand the impact of the ketogenic diet as a treatment of childhood epilepsy.
The researchers enrolled 145 children between ages 2 and 16 years. These children had:
- At least daily seizures (or more than seven seizures per week)
- No or failed response to at least two antiepileptic drugs
- Not previously been treated with the ketogenic diet
The findings showed that the treatment of childhood epilepsy using the ketogenic diet has shown positive results.
More than half of the children experienced over 50 percent reduction in seizures, and around 16 percent experienced zero seizure.
A ketogenic diet has some promising results. It’s not the magic diet to solve all the health problems you might have.
As with any type of diet, you need to consult with your primary care doctor before starting.