Humans today are more diet-conscious than they were a few decades ago.
The search for good quality, low-carb diet has been on the rise. In the same vein, the conversation around the health benefits of a low-carb diet has emerged. Proponents of low carbohydrates foods search to lose weight. Opponents of the diet, fault it for having high-fat content. But where does the truth lie?
Researchers have taken a keen interest in keto diet as a low-carb diet. The diet comprises moderate levels of proteins, a high amount of fats, and negligible amounts of carbohydrates. Keto diet has proven to work as an effective weight loss diet.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a diet that causes the release of ketones by the body into the blood. A lot of body cells use blood sugar obtained from carbohydrates as their primary source of energy. When the blood sugars are not present, the body starts breaking down reserved fats into molecules referred to as ketone through a process called ketosis. When the body reaches ketosis, the cells will start using ketones as their source of energy until you eat carbohydrates again.
The transfer from using glucose as a source of energy to the breaking down of reserved fats takes between two and four days of constant consumption of fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates every day. This process happens depending on your body type. To some, this process might require a more restrictive diet, while to others, the general keto diet will push their bodies to begin the production of ketones.
A Ketogenic diet includes a lot of fats and proteins. Usually, the diet consists of sausages, eggs, meat, nuts, fish, processed meat, oils, butter, fibrous vegetables, and seeds. Given that the keto diet is very restrictive, it can be challenging to observe the diet for long.
Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
Keto diet has numerous health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of eating ketogenic diets:
1. It Reduces Your Appetite
When you go for foods rich in carbohydrates, it causes increased appetites in people.
Eating a lot of food might lead to the addition of weight, which in turn will cause you to start dieting. When you diet, hunger is the only thing that stands on your way to consistency. You might end up giving up before you achieve your dieting goals. Nonetheless, when you switch to low-carb diets like keto, you will reduce your appetite automatically.
Research has it that when people reduce the amount of carb they eat and increase the amount of fat and protein, they wind up taking fewer calories.
2. Leads to More Weight Loss
Reducing the consumption of carbohydrates is one of the best ways for you to cut weight. According to research, people who eat low-carb diets lose a lot of weight faster compared to those who eat low-fat diets.This is always top on the list of health benefits of the keto diet.
The low-carb diets work to eliminate excess water in your body, therefore, reducing insulin levels in your body and lead to an exponential decrease of weight in the first two weeks. A comparison between low-fat and low-carb diets showed individuals who restrict their consumption of carbohydrates might lose up to three times their weight without going through a painful hunger process often associated with dieting.
In a study carried out in obese adults revealed that low-carb diets work effectively for up to 6 months against a traditional weight loss diet. After the six months, there was an insignificant difference in weight loss between the diets.
3. Improves Brain Function
The ketogenic diet was used at the Mayo Clinic to help treat children suffering from epilepsy. Even though scientists cannot point to a specific reason why keto-diet helps to curb seizures, researchers believe that the diet can stabilize neurons and improve the regulation of mitochondrial enzymes and brain mitochondria.
In other research, scientists focus on the effects of the ketogenic diet on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Patients who take this diet show an improvement in memory retention and an increase in cognition in adults. The research also showed an improvement across all stages of dementia. This diet has also proven to be effective in the treatment and management of Parkinson’s disease.
To many people who diet using keto-diet, increase mental focus and clarity have been reported. Additionally, there have been reports of less intense and less frequent migraines. All these can be attributed to more stable blood sugar and adjusted brain chemistry that enhances cognition and memory.
4. Effective in Fighting Some Types of Cancer
According to a 2014 publication by Dom D’Agostino’s lab, ketone supplements were found to reduce tumor cell viability while extending the survival of mice found to have metastatic cancer. According to the research, cancer cells show an unusual metabolism marked by an increase in the consumption of glucose that results from mitochondrial dysfunction and genetic mutations.
Cancer cells, as opposed to healthy tissues, are not able to use ketone bodies effectively for energy. Additionally, ketones limit the viability and proliferation of cultured tumor cells. However, you should not dismiss your doctor’s instructions on cancer treatment. Instead, consult with your doctor about the potential of using keto-diet in your cancer treatment routine.
5. Helps to Prevent Heart Disease
Ketogenic diets help to maintain low levels of blood glucose. It also stabilizes blood glucose. These properties allow it to keep the blood pressure under control while lowering the levels of triglyceride. You might think that consuming high levels of fats might lead to an increase in the levels of triglyceride. However, this is not the case. Triglyceride levels are likely to increase in your body if you eat a lot of carbohydrates, more so, fructose.
Ketogenic diets help to drive up the levels of HDL particles, which are responsible for moving fats and cholesterol in the body.
All these properties keep your body safe and reduce your chances of getting a heart-related disease.
6. Reduces Inflammation
Ketogenic dieting was being used as an anti-inflammatory. Recently, this diet was scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory properties that could be used to treat different health conditions, including acne, eczema, and arthritis.
According to the research, the anti-inflammatory properties of ketogenic diets or caloric restriction may be associated with BHB-mediated blocking of NLRP3 inflammasome. This means that the diet suppresses the major cause of inflammatory diseases using BHB. BHB is among the major ketones generated as a result of the ketogenic diet.
The effect of keto-diet on diseases such as arthritis, IBS, psoriasis, acne, and eczema has led to more research on this field.
7. Enhances Sleep And Energy Levels
By day five of ketogenic dieting, individuals report an increase in their overall energy levels and a significant drop in the craving of carbohydrates. Often, this results from the stabilization of the levels of insulin in the body and a ready source of energy in the body for the body tissues and the brain.
Despite the fact that science is yet to fully understand how keto-dieting improves sleep, it is a general belief that it enhances sleep by lowering REM and enhancing slow-wave patterns of sleep. Researchers believe the mechanism at play is associated with the complex biochemical shift that results from the brain and muscle tissue use of ketones as a source of energy.
8. Keeps Uric Acid Under Control
A rise in the levels of calcium, uric acid, phosphorus levels, and oxalate in the body causes gout and kidney stones. Levels of these body chemicals rise as a result of a complex combination of unusual genetics, obesity, sugar consumption, dehydration, and drinking/eating foods rich in alcohol and purine.
However, it is important for you to know that ketogenic diets temporarily increase levels of uric acid, more so, when you are dehydrated. However, they come down after a while.
9. Improves Women’s Hormonal Balance
Ketogenic diets can improve fertility in women and stabilize hormones.
According to research, low-carb dieting can treat PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Diets with low levels of carbohydrates reduce or erase symptoms like obesity, prolonged or irregular menstrual flow, and acne.
Generally, when you maintain stable and low levels of blood sugar will help to stabilize and equilibrate hormone levels, more so, in women. You might also experience some downstream advantages on various metabolic pathways associated with insulin-like energy re-utilization and hunger.
10. Helps the Eyes
High levels of blood sugar have negative effects on your eyesight. This is especially true for diabetics. High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing cataracts. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to learn that maintaining low levels of blood sugar enhances your eyesight.
11. Improves Muscle Gain and Enhance Endurance
The benefits of keto-dieting are a handful. These benefits have far-reaching effects on your body. Both bodybuilders and patients suffering from chronic diseases will gain a lot from keto-diet.