Low-carb and Keto diets have been at the forefront of social consciousness lately and for good reason; they simply work. Ketogenic diets have the unfortunate publicity that they can cause high cholesterol and heart disease because they tend to be high in fat; however, fat is essential to the proper health maintenance of your body whereas carbohydrates are not.
What exactly is a ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic diets are high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein diets that are specifically designed to induce your body into a state of ketosis, which is a metabolic state where your body begins to process stored fats for energy instead of the sugars normally found in carbohydrate-rich foods. Cutting down on carbs has the two-pronged effect of not only promoting weight loss due to your decreased sugar intake and your body burning its fat reserves, but it also helps to control your blood sugar and insulin levels which helps with your greater overall health. This can be an amazing benefit for people who suffer from diabetes or have an insulin resistance.
So now that you understand the basics behind low-carb intake, it's time to explore 5 of the most widely accepted keto diet benefits.
Lose weight while reducing your hunger.
Adopting a low-carb diet usually results in some weight loss without the hunger normally associated with dieting. Carbohydrates stimulate the production of insulin, which is the body's main fat-storing hormone. By reducing the level of insulin in your blood stream, your body will be triggered to burn its current fat stores instead of creating more.
Keto diets feature large amounts of fats and proteins, which studies have shown lead to reduced hunger and calorie intake because your body finds them vastly more useful to upkeep and repair than a can of high fructose soda or a deep-fried twinkie. You naturally begin to feel satisfied quicker and longer without any high-sugar cravings.
Better heart health.
Keto diets also play an important part in reducing a number of heart disease risk factors. One major part they play is helping to lower triglyceride levels in your blood, which is a well-known and major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood stream. When you eat, your body will convert any calories it doesn't need to use immediately into triglycerides, which are then stored in your fat cells for use as energy between meals. Eating more calories than you can burn, particularly from high-carbohydrate meals, leads to a build-up of triglycerides and a major risk for heart disease.
Better cognitive performance.
Consuming a lot of carbohydrates means loading your body with sugars, which it will then see as the first option when looking to convert something to use as energy. This leads to the infamous sugar crash and the resulting yo-yo effect of high blood sugar to low blood sugar to high blood sugar, etc. Because your sugar levels don't remain consistent, your brain has trouble regulating what it needs to stay focused and alert. There are currently studies underway that suggest that a low-carb diet may even be helpful in combating ADHD in children as the reduced sugar intake helps to regulate their energy levels, which increases the brain's ability to concentrate.
Most people don't realize that the types of sugars consumed in a high-carb diet actually feed "bad bacteria" that can thrive in a person's stomach. As a result, you can be at a higher risk for developing irritable bowel syndrome, increased stomach cramping, and excessive gas. Adopting a keto diet means your stomach will instead be processing plenty of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and quality proteins, all of which act as fat-burning foods that help to inhibit bacterial growth and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Sugars are also a known contributing factor for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, so adopting a low-carb approach delivers yet another of the keto diet benefits that will improve your overall health and wellness.
May help fight cancer.
Recent research has shown that diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugars actually feed cancer cells and contribute to free radical damage. Free radicals are a toxic atomic byproduct that damage your healthy cells proteins, DNA, and cell membranes by stealing their electrons in a process called oxidation. While free radicals occur naturally in the body and their levels increase with age, studies have shown that high-carb foods - such as fried foods - actually accelerate the production of toxins and thus increase the damage they exert on your body.
Reducing carbohydrate-induced sugars also has the added effect of effectively helping to reduce the energy supply to cancer cells. When you switch to a keto diet, the healthy cells in your body are able to use fats as energy whereas cancer cells cannot. They thrive on glucose and cannot shift their metabolism to process fats as fuel. Reducing the ability of cancer cells to reproduce means in theory you are slowing their growth. These studies are fairly new and need more time to prove to be conclusive, but the results are promising.
Things to remember about a low-carb diet.
The people at Trimino encourage you to consider adopting the keto diet as not just a diet but a lifestyle that has numerous benefits for your body, your brain, and your overall happiness. As with any change in diet or exercise, it is recommended you consult with your physician or nutritionist before making any large scale changes. With that in mind, here are some things to remember.
- A ketogenic diet limits your carbohydrate intake while emphasizing foods high in fats and proteins and are designed to induce the metabolic state of ketosis - burning fat for energy instead of needlessly consumed sugars.
- Some common benefits are weight loss without hunger, better heart function, better mental focus, improved digestion, and a potential ally in the fight against cancer.
- Keto diets help you maintain higher energy levels for longer without the dreaded sugar rush/crash cycle.
- The science and study of keto diet benefits are ongoing. Do your research, stay informed, and ask an expert for advice when you think you're ready to give it a try.