These days, it seems like everyone is talking about the ketogenic (in a nutshell, 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 slimming down, lowering blood sugar, fighting inflammation, reducing cancer risk, increasing energy, to slowing aging. So is keto a thing that you should consider taking on? The next will explain what this diet is all about, the pros and cons, along with the problems to look out for.
What Is Keto?
Normally, your body uses glucose because the main way to obtain fuel for energy. When you are on a keto diet and you are eating hardly any carbs with only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can be converted to carbs), your body switches its fuel supply to perform mostly on fat. The liver produces ketones (a kind of fatty acid) from fat. These ketones become a fuel source for your body, especially the mind which consumes a lot of energy and can operate on either glucose or ketones.
Once the body produces ketones, it enters a metabolic state called ketosis. Fasting is the easiest way to accomplish 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 weight on the keto diet.
Benefits Of The Keto Diet
The keto diet isn’t new. It started being used in the 1920s as a medical therapy to treat epilepsy in children, however 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, a lot more research has been done on the ability of the diet to treat a range of neurologic disorders and other forms of chronic illnesses.
Neurodegenerative diseases. New research indicates the benefits of keto in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and multiple sclerosis (MS). It could 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 due to these diseases.
Obesity and weight loss. For anyone who is dieting, the keto diet is very effective as it really helps to access and shed your system fat. Constant hunger may be the biggest issue when you make an effort to shed 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 quantity of weight within 24 weeks going on a low-carb diet (20.7 lbs) when compared to group on a low-fat diet (10.5 lbs).
Type 2 diabetes. Aside from weight reduction, the keto diet also helps enhance insulin sensitivity, which is ideal for anyone with type 2 diabetes. In a report published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers noted that diabetics who ate low-carb keto diets could actually 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. That means eating the right diet can help suppress cancer growth. Since the keto diet is very low in carbs, it deprives the cancer cells of these primary source of fuel, that is sugar. Once the body produces ketones, the healthy cells may use that as energy but not the cancer cells, so that they are effectively being starved to death. As early as 1987, studies on keto diets have previously demonstrated reduced tumor growth and improved survival for several cancers.