Keto Diet is everywhere; it’s the new buzzword, the new favorite among those looking to shed pounds, and the new hate victim of the food-pyramid-spouting-eat-your-whole grains mainstream medical industry. The keto diet, while it is not the magic cure-all for every single disease on the planet, does a pretty dang good job at being the potential causer of healing many horrible conditions.
What is the Keto Diet?
You may have heard of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins diet. The keto diet keeps carbohydrate levels low, but instead of ramping up the amount of protein in your diet, the keto diet increases the amount of fat. A typical keto diet aims for meals with 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrate. Eating a high-fat diet can still mean eating healthy. Keto diet menu items often include seafood, meat, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and nuts. With the increased popularity of the keto diet, keto recipes are widely available.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
It might seem counterintuitive that adding more fat to your diet can lead to weight loss. Normally, your diet is high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose, or blood sugar, for use as energy. As glucose enters your bloodstream, your body releases insulin to store excess glucose as fat. The more carbohydrates, the more glucose. The more glucose, the more insulin, and the more insulin, the more fat.
The keto diet takes advantage of the fact that when your meals are high-fat and low-carbohydrate, there is no insulin spike, and you don’t add to your fat reserves. Instead, fat from diet and stored fat are broken down to ketones (“keto” is short for “ketogenic” producing ketones). Like glucose, ketones can be used for energy, keeping your body running without increasing blood sugar or putting on excess fat. The benefits of the keto diet can be huge.
Overall, the keto diet is an excellent way to burn fat and lose weight. Eating fewer carbohydrates suppresses appetite, and studies have shown that keto diet participants eat fewer calories overall because of this. Burning fat for energy can lead to rapid weight loss.
Reduced Blood Sugar and Insulin
Since carbohydrate intake is limited, blood sugar and insulin levels are lowered. This is particularly important for people with type 2 diabetes, which causes a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream. The keto diet can be used to reduce or eliminate the need for diabetic insulin injections.
Fat subunit molecules called triglycerides normally circulate in your bloodstream. High levels of triglycerides are a significant risk factor in the development of heart disease. In the keto diet, because fat is being burned for energy, the number of triglyceride molecules in the bloodstream decreases, reducing the risk of heart disease.
“Bad” (LDL) cholesterol is another risk factor for heart disease. Too much bad cholesterol in your bloodstream builds up in your arteries, narrowing them and causing atherosclerosis, a type of heart disease. The keto diet reduces bad cholesterol levels while increasing the level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol in your body.
Benefits of the keto diet
Unlike other diets that offer practitioners a weight loss benefit and little else, the keto diet comes with several benefits.
Without a doubt, weight loss is the primary goal of the keto diet. It works because it makes the body look to its fat reserves to power its metabolism. It can be interesting to go deeper into the process, however.
When the body is deprived of carbs, it enters a state of ketosis. Blood sugar and insulin levels fall when that happens. As the body taps the energy in fat cells, they release considerable quantities of water, making for some great weight loss. The fat cells are then able to enter the bloodstream and make their way to the liver, where they are turned into ketones for energy processing. As long as your diet allows you to stay in a caloric deficit, you get to enjoy the weight loss benefits of the keto diet.
It takes the edge off your appetite
When your diet isn’t heavy on carbs, you’ll find that you don’t crave as much food as before. Many people who get on the keto diet are able to fast most of the day, and only eat at mealtimes. They are simply not as hungry as before.
Improved ability to focus
When you choose a regular diet that puts carbs into the body, your brain has to deal with the rise and fall in sugar levels that happens as a result. Inconsistent energy levels can make it hard for the brain to focus. With the keto diet, however, the energy source is constant and consistent. The brain is better able to stay focused.
You feel more energetic
When you are on a regular diet, your body is always on the verge of running out of energy. You need to constantly eat and refuel. With a keto diet, however, the body taps its fat reserves, a nearly unending energy source. The body, then, is able to maintain constant energy levels throughout the day. The result is, you end up feeling a lot more energetic.
It helps you fight diabetes
When you suffer from Type II diabetes, your body experiences high levels of insulin. Since the keto diet takes excess sugar from your diet, it helps stabilize HbA1c counts, and reverse Type II diabetes.
You get improved levels of good cholesterol
HDL cholesterol helps get rid of the body’s bad cholesterol reserves. When you’re on keto, your body’s triglyceride levels fall and your HDL cholesterol levels rise.
You get better blood pressure
When you’re on the keto diet, it drops your blood pressure. Many people on the keto diet find that they are able to stop taking blood pressure medicine altogether.
The keto diet can change a person’s life. It isn’t a difficult diet to get on, either. There are plenty of great recipes for the keto diet. All it takes is the willingness to give it a shot.
If you’re reading this article now, chances are you are in some sort of pain, whether physical and/or mental (being overweight, struggling with autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, fatigue, brain fog) and want to change. Use this information, don’t just skim through it and store it in the back of your brain and say “that’s nice for some people”, motivate yourself to change.