These days, it looks like everyone is discussing the ketogenic (in short, keto) diet – the very low-carbohydrate, moderate protein, high-fat eating plan that transforms your body into a fat-burning machine. Hollywood stars and professional athletes have publicly touted this diet’s benefits, from losing weight, lowering blood sugar levels, fighting inflammation, reducing cancer risk, increasing energy, to slowing down aging. So is keto a thing that you should consider dealing with? The next will explain what this diet is all about, the professionals and cons, as well as the problems to check out for.
What Is Keto?
Normally, the body uses glucose because the main way to obtain fuel for energy. If you are on a keto diet and you also are eating very few carbs with only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can be converted to carbs), the body switches its fuel supply to perform mostly on fat. The liver produces ketones (a type of fatty acid) from fat. These ketones become a fuel source for the body, especially the brain which consumes a lot of energy and can run on either glucose or ketones.
When the body produces ketones, it enters a metabolic state called ketosis. Fasting is the easiest way to attain ketosis. While you are fasting or eating very few carbs and only moderate levels of protein, your system turns to burning stored fat for fuel. That is why people tend to lose more excess weight on the keto diet.
Benefits Of The Keto Diet
The keto diet is not new. It started used in the 1920s as a medical therapy to take care of epilepsy in children, but when anti-epileptic drugs came to the market, the dietary plan fell into obscurity until recently. Given its success in reducing the amount of seizures in epileptic patients, more and more research is being done on the ability of the diet to treat a range of neurologic disorders and other types of chronic illnesses.
Neurodegenerative diseases. New research indicates some great benefits of keto in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and multiple sclerosis (MS). It may also be protective in traumatic brain injury and stroke. One theory for keto’s neuroprotective effects is that the ketones produced during ketosis provide additional fuel to brain cells, which may help those cells resist the damage from inflammation caused by these diseases.
Obesity and weight loss. When you are trying to lose weight, the keto diet is very effective as it helps to access and shed the body fat. Constant hunger may be the biggest issue when you make an effort to lose weight. The keto diet helps avoid this problem because reducing carb consumption and increasing fat intake promote satiety, rendering it easier for people to stick to the diet. In a report, obese test subjects lost double the amount of weight within 24 weeks going on a low-carb diet (20.7 lbs) compared to the group on a low-fat diet (10.5 lbs).
Type 2 diabetes. Apart from weight loss, the keto diet also helps enhance insulin sensitivity, which is ideal for a person with type 2 diabetes. In a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers noted that diabetics who ate low-carb keto diets were able to significantly reduce their dependence on diabetes medication and could even reverse it eventually. Additionally, it improves other health markers such as lowering triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol.
Cancer. Most people are not aware that cancer cells’ main fuel is glucose. Which means eating the right diet may help suppress cancer growth. Since the keto diet is very lower in carbs, it deprives the cancer cells of these primary source of fuel, that is sugar. Once the body produces ketones, the healthy cells can use that as energy however, not the cancer cells, so they are effectively being starved to death. As early as 1987, studies on keto diets have already demonstrated reduced tumor growth and improved survival for several cancers.