You may have heard your friends talking about how they’ve started the ketogenic aka keto diet, which involves consuming minimal amounts of carbs and high amounts of fat. This has quickly risen to popularity because it enables the body to burn fat for energy, leading to a state of ketosis.
In addition, this regimen boasts a variety of benefits, including:
Weight Loss & Appetite Reduction
While many diets lead to excessive hunger, the keto diet ensures its health-minded participants are full, all day long. Eating meals high in fats and proteins and low in carbs leads to a reduction in appetite. This, coupled with the fact that low-carb diets get rid of excess water and lower insulin levels, often leads to losing weight faster than other diets.
Studies have shown keto dieters experience greater weight loss in the first few weeks than those following a low-fat diet. One study found that carb restriction can result in the greatest weight loss in the trunk region, which is composed of the torso, chest, breasts, and stomach —often the hardest areas to target.
Can Support Heart Health
A ketogenic diet can impact your cholesterol levels—in a good way. There are two main types of cholesterol: good, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and bad, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). If your body contains small LDL particles, you’re at higher risk of heart disease. If they’re larger, there’s lower risk. The keto diet can increase the size of LDL particles and reduce the total number of LDL in the bloodstream. In addition, a high-fat diet can heighten your levels of HDL, reducing your risk for heart complications.
Reduces Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels
Studies have proven this nutrition plan can lower blood sugar and insulin levels, helping patients with diabetes. One concluded the keto diet “improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes such that diabetes medications were discontinued or reduced in most participants. Because the [ketogenic diet] can be very effective at lowering blood glucose, patients on diabetes medication who use this diet should be under close medical supervision or capable of adjusting their medication.”
Studies have shown keto dieters experience greater weight loss in the first few weeks than those following a low-fat diet.
May Reduce Seizures in Epileptic Patients
The nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation suggests a ketogenic diet can “help to control seizures in some people with epilepsy” conditions including infantile spasms, Rett syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome, and GLUT-1 deficiency. A physician may prescribe this regimen to children with seizures who don’t respond to medication. In these cases, the diet begins in the hospital or with help of a physician to observe the body’s reaction. The foundation reports more than half of the children who consume a keto diet have a 50 percent reduction in seizures. About 10 to 15 percent can become seizure-free.
Can Assist Brain Function
A 2019 study researched the effect the ketogenic diet has on those with Alzheimer’s disease. When carb intake is limited, your brain can burn ketones, which impact aging brain cells. The report also claims the production of ketones can “enhance mitochondrial function, reduce the expression of inflammatory and apoptotic mediators. Although there is not enough evidence yet, it is believed the regimen can prevent or manage the symptoms of the disease.
May Assist Cancer Treatments
Researchers found keto diets can be complementary treatments for cancer patients in addition to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. They concluded: “Ketogenic diets could represent a potential dietary manipulation that could be rapidly implemented for the purpose of exploiting inherent oxidative metabolic differences between cancer cells and normal cells to improve standard therapeutic outcomes by selectively enhancing metabolic oxidative stress in cancer cells.” In layman's terms, the nutrition plan would cause greater oxidative stress in cancer cells, leading to their death.