7 Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diets
When you hear about the ketogenic diet, the first thing you perhaps think of is what could possibly make it as good as people say. The answer is, there are enough benefits to change your life.
Recently, the keto diet has become extremely popular for its health benefits such as weight loss and preventing disease. The keto diet can be hugely beneficial, but how does it work to provide these benefits?
What exactly is a ketogenic diet?
The keto program recommends a diet that is low on carbs, moderate on protein, and high in fat. The idea is to fine-tune nutritional intake in order to send the body into the metabolic state known as ketosis. The body enters a state of ketosis when it no longer has stores of glycogen sugar to fuel its energy needs. With sugar out of the way, the body has no choice but to tap its stores of fat to get by. The liver converts fat reserves into ketones to present to the body as an energy source. This is why the keto program is a good way to lose fat.
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 the 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.
Unlike other diets that offer practitioners a weight loss benefit and little else, the keto diet comes with several benefits.
1. Weight loss
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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