You may have heard the term keto or ketogenic diet thrown about in various health, weight-loss blogs. The keto diet is growing in popularity and when people hear about the ketogenic diet one of the first questions they ask is what’s so good about it? This is a good question to ask so in this post I’m going to show you the wonderful benefits of the keto diet.
First things first it’s important to understand what the ketogenic diet actually is and what it’s all about.
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is based on the principle that by depleting the body of carbohydrates, which are its primary source of energy, you can force the body to burn fat for fuel, thereby maximizing weight loss. When you consume foods that contain carbohydrates, the body converts those carbohydrates into glucose, or blood sugar, which it then uses for energy, (1)
This metabolic process is called ketosis and it occurs when the body does not have enough glucose stores for energy. When these stores are depleted, the body resorts to burning stored fat for energy instead of carbs. This process produces acids called ketones, which build up in the body and can be used for energy.
Because glucose is the simplest form of energy for the body to use, it’s always used for energy before your body turns to stored fat for fuel. (1)
Benefits of a Keto Diet
A high percentage of existing diets are harder to stick to because they only have one real benefit and nine out of ten times, it’s that they help you lose weight. When there is only one benefit that you can really experience from following a diet, it is much harder to find the motivation to stick to it.
Comparatively, the ketogenic diet has a variety of different benefits, thanks to the way this diet and lifestyle change actually affects your body’s makeup. You will actually find that your body works more efficiently when it relies on ketones as its source of fuels. In the following post we will examine seven of the biggest benefits you can avail yourself of when you follow the keto diet.
1. Weight Loss
There was no way we could speak about this diet, just as is the case with any diet, without mentioning that it will definitely help you lose weight. During ketosis, your body relies on fat as your main source of energy and will therefore burns any fat it has in storage when it needs an energy boost instead of searching for that glucose hit.
How does this process actually work?
During ketosis, the levels of insulin and blood sugar in your body decrease dramatically. And at this time, the fat cells are able to release any water they’ve retained, which is why in the initial stages, people who have just started on the ketogenic diet will experience a serious drop in their weight, because they are losing water.
Once that has happened, the fat cells will then be smaller and be able to make their way into your bloodstream and your liver where they can be turned into ketones.
This process will continue as long as you ensure you have a caloric deficit while you are doing the keto diet.
2. Controls Your Appetite
One remarkable thing that happens when you are not having a carbs-heavy diet is that you will find you are not craving food as much as you normally do and are less likely to have urges to eat unhealthy things.
You will actually find that people who go on the keto diet, also fast intermittently, meaning that they only eat for a set amount of time during the day.
If you are not always looking to eat things, a great thing happens…
3. You Can Focus Better Mentally
One of the biggest issues with using carbs as a source of energy is that they cause your blood sugar to spike and drop. As a result of the energy they provide being less continuous, your brain has a more difficult time concentrating over longer periods of time.
However, when you are fully in ketosis and ketones are being used as the fuel source, it gives your brain a constant supply of energy, meaning that your level of concentration will stay at high level for much longer.
That cloudy mind you get when you are eating lots of carbs is also gone. It can be hard to properly describe what it’s like when you have a carb-rich diet and carbs are the fuel source, because you don’t actually know or realize your brain isn’t working at 100%. But, when you are properly in ketosis, the difference is very clear when you return to eating carbs even just for a couple of days.
4. Higher Energy Levels
AS your body is only capable of storing a specific amount of glycogen, you need to refuel it regularly to have a constant supply of energy. When it comes to using fat as a fuel source, your body already has a lot to use and can store more, meaning that when you are in ketosis you will have a consistent supply of energy that never actually runs out.
5. Can Help to Combat Type II Diabetes
You have a much higher level of insulin production in your body if you have Type 2 Diabetes. However, because the keto diet helps to remove sugars almost completely from your food intake, your HbA1c could actually reduce so much that you could reverse the condition entirely.
There has been some research carried out that has proven that if you stick to the keto diet, key markers connected to Type 2 Diabetes are reduced.
6. Increases Your HDL Cholesterol LEvels
This is the part that people get a bit concerned about, but this is generally because they do not understand the difference between the two kinds of cholesterol that there are – LDL and HDL.
LDL is the type of cholesterol that is transported from your liver and then around your body, whereas HDL takes cholesterol from the rest of the body to your liver, where your body can either reuse it or get rid of it.
On the keto diet, there is a reduction in your body’s triglyceride levels, while your HDL increases. Crucially, the ratio of Triglycerides to HDL is an indicator of whether or not you are likely to develop heart disease, because the higher the level of Triglycerides are in your body, the more likely it is you will develop heart disease.
7. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
If you have consistently high blood pressure, you are likely to have heart problems in the future. The keto diet is amazing at helping to reduce blood pressure. So effective at doing this, in fact, that you may find that you eventually don’t need to keep taking any medication you have been given for high blood pressure, if you follow the diet properly.
The Bottom Line
Few things are as well established in nutrition science as the immense health benefits of low-carb and ketogenic diets.
Not only can these diets improve your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, but they also reduce your appetite, boost weight loss and lower your triglycerides.
If you’re curious to boost your health, one of these diets could be worth considering.
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