The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is one of the most popular weight-loss systems known today. However, this might not be for everybody, since this is a very low-carb diet wherein the primary intent is for dieters to remain in a state of ketosis. This translates to a body that is burning fat as fuel as opposed to burning glucose.
Ketosis is accomplished mainly by removing glucose from the diet and replacing it with lots of fat and moderate levels of protein.
If you have plans to lose weight, then you may want to investigate the benefits and advantages of a keto diet.
This kind of diet plan has been around for decades. It was first introduced as a meal plan to treat epileptic patients or individuals who have seizure problems, particularly children.
These days, the diet has lost its its reputation as the prime management tool for epilepsy mostly due to the availability of modern medicines which can treat the symptoms.
However, the diet is still followed by many epileptics and dieters all over because of its effectiveness. Understanding how it works and the rules for it will help dieters lose weight and improve their overall health.
In a traditional high carbohydrate diet, you consume high quantities of carbohydrates and very little fat. These carbs are then the main source of energy for the body. In a ketogenic diet the energy source is changed to fat.
This has many health benefits…
Benefits of a Keto Diet
A keto or low carb lifestyle has many benefits. Given the obesity epidemic, weight loss is the most prized of these benefits, but in some ways it is almost a side effect of something much bigger which is improved health. But as weight loss is the core drive for most people reading this report, let’s start with it.
According to the National Association of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NDDK) and the Center of Disease Control (CDC):
- More than a third of the US adult population are obese
- More than two thirds of the US adult population are overweight or obese
- More than 5 percent are morbidly obese
- Approximately one third of children from the age of 6 to 19 are over weight
Unfortunately there appears to be a correlation between the increase in obesity and the increase of unhealthy carbohydrate rich food. These harmful high carbohydrate foods includes simple sugars, sweets and candies, refined starches and processed foods.
According to a statistical review of macro nutrient consumption data (Cohen E, et al., Statistical Review of U.S. Macro nutrient Consumption Data, 1965 to 2011), the number of overweight or obese Americans rose from 42 percent to 66 percent during the period 1971 to 2011. During this same period:
- The intake of fat decreased from approximately 45 percent to 34 percent of total food intake.
- The intake of carbohydrates increased from roughly 39 percent to 50 percent of total food intake.
And we blame fat for the increase in obesity?
Various experts like Dr Tim Noakes and Dr. Sackner-Bernstein, suggest that these statistics suggest a link between high carb consumption in the standard American diet and obesity.
The benefits of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight are massive, as obesity is linked to various lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, autoimmune disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is crucial to maintain a healthy weight for overall health. If a keto diet can really support this goal long term, it is worth trying. However it is a lifestyle change and not a fad diet or short term solution.
Reduce Visceral Fat
Have you seen all these adverts for losing belly fat?
As we age, we tend to gain more weight around our midriff. This is no surprise as it is a symptom of high insulin levels and sometimes also water retention.
Now, this belly fat consists of superficial subcutaneous fat and also visceral fat.
Visceral fat is what we should all be most concerned about as it is deeply entrenched around the major organs deep inside your body. It is believed that there is a significant link between the size of your waist and life expectancy for both women and men.
The great thing about a keto diet is that research has shown that it helps to reduce visceral fat.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar
A keto diet virtually removes insulin triggers and therefore following a keto diet decreases the constant demand to make insulin. Insulin is needed for the breakdown of the glucose in the bloodstream after the consumption of dietary carbs.
High carb intake = high glucose = high insulin = high body fat
When carbs are limited, the constant need to produce insulin is limited thereby preventing the erratic blood sugar spikes that could unfortunately lead to insulin resistance.
The high carb, erratic blood sugar, high insulin cycle can eventually lead to metabolic syndrome.
Are you considering changing your diet already? Of course, first consult with your GP. This is even more important if you take any medication for diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Reduce Cravings and Hunger
Anybody who has gone lived through years and years of low fat diets, know what it feels like to be hungry, almost starving and to have extreme cravings for sweets, breads, potato chips and all these high carb foods.
I love not constantly being hungry anymore. For me it is one of the main advantages of a keto diet.
Do you ever feel that you live in a fog? That your memory is foggy? Then you will be amazed by the mental clarity that you can experience from a LCHF diet.
A ketogenic lifestyle has been a treatment of choice to manage epilepsy for many years. Fortunately, we are now also starting to see these results in the treatment of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s.
Given the advantages and benefits derived by a ketogenic diet, if you need to lose weight or are suffering from any of these lifestyle diseases it indeed makes sense, that you should at least give this kind of diet a go.