Health Benefits Of The Keto Diet Backed By Science
Submitted by Alexandria Ducksworth
The keto diet is all the rage these days! You might have seen amazing physical results from Halle Berry or LeBron James. Everytime you go to the grocery store, there are barely any avocados left in the produce section.
Could this diet help you live a healthier lifestyle?
The keto diet consists of eating more healthy fats and less carbohydrates. Healthy fats include avocados, salmon, chia seeds, and eggs.
Once these foods are in your system, your body goes through ketosis, using the fats as energy for you to keep moving. This stage speeds up the weight loss process.
Sounds great, right? Scientists have discovered three health benefits from the keto diet:
1. Improves Sleep
Researchers from the University of Sydney examined 14 men under the keto diet. Their sleeping patterns indicated it took them a shorter time to fall asleep.
2. Slows Down Cancer Cells
Scientists concluded the keto diet reduces cancer growth. Cancer cells thrive on glucose as food. On the other hand, it cannot do the same for ketone bodies. The cells then starve to death, reducing the rate of growing malignant tumors.
3. Reduces Depression
When youre depressed, youre in no mood to do anything. A study at the University of Toronto revealed their depressed test mice on the keto diet were more active compared to others not taking the meal plan. According to the report, the mice were less likely to exhibit behavioral despair.
The Power To Improve The Alzheimers Disease
Earlier in this article, I briefly mentioned how consuming too much sugar can impair brain function and cause plaque build up in the brain. Many studies on Alzheimers disease patients agree with the biochemistry as well. In fact, A group of scientists reviewed the literature and concluded that high carbohydrate intake worsens cognitive performance and behavior in patients with Alzheimers disease. This means that eating more carbohydrates cause more problems in the brain. Will the opposite improve brain function?
Recent studies on the ketogenic diet provide evidence that it may be able to reverse Alzheimers disease. Experiments on ketone supplementation specifically found that the ketone body, -hydroxybutyrate, improved memory function of Alzheimers patients.
Scientists validated this finding by giving MCT oil to Alzheimers patients and tested their memory. They found that the Alzheimers patients experienced greater memory recall that directly correlated with their blood levels of ketone bodies.
Other benefits that ketone bodies have on brain health are:
- They prevent neuronal loss.
- They preserve neuron function.
- They protect brain cells against multiple types of injury.
The Takeaway: The combination of carbohydrate restriction and ketones improves brain function and may help prevent and reverse Alzheimers disease. Conversely, a high-carbohydrate diet is deleterious to brain health.
You Will Have Fewer Spikes In Energy
The insulin or sugar crash many people experience during the day is the result of consuming high GI foods that result in rapid rises in blood sugar levels.
The insulin response that follows reduces our blood sugar levels quickly, and that often leaves us with low energy levels.
When we consume fewer carbohydrates we can better regulate our blood glucose levels, avoiding these energy spikes.
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Should You Try The Keto Diet For Weight Loss And Other Health Benefits
Considering these risks, people who have kidney damage , plus individuals with or at risk for heart disease, and pregnant or breastfeeding women, shouldnt try the keto diet. Also, people with type 1 diabetes shouldnt follow the plan because of the risk for hypoglycemia , and anyone who has had their gallbladder removed should avoid it because the diet is so high in fat.
If youre looking to lose weight, keep in mind that the diet likely requires a complete overhaul to the way you normally eat. But it may be worth it if youre looking to lose weight or have one of the health conditions its been shown to help with.
To be on the safe side, be sure to discuss with your doctor whether the keto diet is right for you before you drastically change your eating habits. While the diet has roots in medicine, its widespread use is still new, and not every doctor understands the keto diet. For more information, you can look to national programs that are gaining steam. Two examples: Virta Health, where they are studying the diets role in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes treatment, and the Cleveland Clinics Functional Ketogenics Program.
Additional reporting by Moira Lawler.
Can You Eat Tomatoes On The Keto Diet
Tomatoes are allowed on a keto diet. Since a keto diet is high in fats and low in carbs, fruits are usually avoided as they tend to contain a significant amount of carbs per serving.
Tomatoes contain B vitamins, folate, vitamin K, copper, zinc, and antioxidants such as lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which help keep the eyes, skin, heart, brain, immune system, and other organs healthy. Minerals such as potassium and magnesium help regulate blood pressure and promote a healthy heart.
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Types Of Ketogenic Diets
There are five main types of keto diets.
- The standard ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet. These macronutrients make up 5%, 20%, and 75% of the diet, respectively. However, you can consume as much as 90% fat.
- The cyclical ketogenic diet includes higher carbohydrate days to refeed your body. For example, you might follow the standard ketogenic diet for five days, followed by two days of high carbohydrate intake.
- The targeted ketogenic diet allows you to eat more carbohydrates around exercise to help fuel your workouts.
- The high protein ketogenic diet is similar to the standard version, but focuses even more on protein intake with a ratio of 35% protein, 60% fat, and 5% carbs.
- And the plant-based ketogenic diet relies heavily on high-fat plant foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, and bottled oils, in addition to relatively low-calorie greens.
Standard & high protein ketogenic diets are the most common cyclical and targeted are mainly used by athletes.
While a plant-based keto diet may sound nice to folks who are grossed out by the notion of basing their diet around animal products, it often derives a surprising amount of calories from fish or other meats. Vegan keto eaters tend to eat large amounts of nuts, oils, avocados, and coconut. And they may still be deficient in any number of antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and other nutrients that are important for long-term health.
Reduced Risk Of Cancer
Cancer happens due to many reasons. Sometimes its because of the complications with hormones like insulin or the effects of the harmful rays of the sun. But the primary culprit is oxidative stress. It happens when free radicals start damaging the healthy cells.
The keto diet firstly helps balance hormones like insulin. It also helps use oxidative stress against the cancerous cells instead of the healthy ones. A 2014 study suggests this can help make chemotherapy more effective.
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Low Carb Diets Help With Reaching Ketosis
If we go by generalizations, the ketogenic diet is composed of 70-75 percent of fat, 20-25 percent of protein, and 5-10 percent of carbohydrates. If one adheres to this strict formula, it is possible to ensure that one enters the metabolic state of ketosis, which is not always an easy feat.
It is true that for many people, achieving and maintaining ketosis can be extremely difficult to accomplish. In order to achieve and maintain ketosis, you must be dedicated and well-organized. As they get used to their new eating habits, people who are new to the ketogenic diet may experience symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, brain fog, nausea, and irritability while adjusting to their new eating habits.
In some circles, this condition is referred to as the keto flu. The majority of people experience a reduction in these side effects after a few weeks of becoming keto-adapted. As they get used to their new eating habits, people who are new to the ketogenic diet may experience symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, brain fog, nausea, and irritability while adjusting to their new eating habits.
Improved Control For Type 2 Diabetes
Control of blood glucose is critical for people with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is defined by blood glucose that is raised beyond normal levels and people who are affected by this disease are effectively intolerant to carbohydrates.
It seems crazy to me that the first line of dietary advice is still to consume carbohydrates, although the tide is thankfully turning with more and more doctors seeing the power of using low carb diets in the management of type 2 diabetes. Specifically
HBA1c is a test that we use to see how blood glucose levels have been over the past few months.
If blood sugar remains high , Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing serious health complications such as damage to organs such as the eyes, kidneys, and heart.
But if blood glucose control is maintained over a number of years, this can reduce the risk of these complications occurring.
Reduce Dependence On Medication
It can put diabetes into Remission
When I was still in training just a few years ago it was commonly accepted that type 2 diabetes was a progressive, worsening disease which could be managed, but not reversed.
Thankfully we now know that this is not the case.
People on insulin and other hypo-causing medication may need to reduce their doses in advance of starting a low carb or ketogenic diet to prevent hypos.
*Always under the supervision of a doctor
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Keto May Boost Heart Health
It may seem unusual that a diet filled with fats could be a positive for your heart, but thats exactly what Dr. Phinney suggests. In the one-year study, 22 of 26 cardiovascular risk factors significantly improved. Most notably, these patients experienced a mean fasting triglyceride reduction of 24 percent, an 18 percent increase in good HDL cholesterol, and significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. For all of these findings, Dr. Phinney notes that research into the benefits of keto is still in its earliest stages. The fact is, there is not yet any long-term, peer-reviewed data that connects some of these improvements to nutritional ketosis, he says. Read more about the 11 hidden dangers of the keto diet.
Improves Brain Health And Mental Clarity
Keto was originally designed to help treat epilepsy, a common brain condition. That was back in the 1920s when researchers noticed that a diet low in carbs and high in fat causes ketosis in the same way as fasting. Since fasting was a common epilepsy remedy, keto proved to be a more sustainable alternative.
The diet eventually fell out of use with the discovery of modern anti-seizure medication, but interest in ketos effects on brain health kept growing.
Weve already mentioned keto seems to help fight brain cancer. But there are also studies showing the diet has potential in treating a diverse range of neurological disorders like Alzheimers, Parkinsons, ALS, stroke, brain trauma, and psychiatric disorders 9.
And even if you dont need to treat any specific brain condition, you might get other brain-boosting benefits of ketosis like improve your mental clarity, focus, and mood.
Researchers arent sure how keto works to reduce seizures, let alone how it affects brain health. There are theories, though. For example, ketones require less oxygen than glucose, which protects the brain against oxidative stress. The keto diet also increases the number and size of brain mitochondria, which are the energy-generating structures in cells 9.
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Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe What Are The Health Benefits And Risks Of The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet has been shown in controlled studies to be effective in children and adults who have failed two lines of standard anti-seizure medication. However, it is not safe for use in people with certain genetic conditions that affect the metabolism of fatty acids. Nutritional deficiencies are a risk for any severely restricted diet, and in 2008 there was a report of two cases of sudden cardiac arrest in children who had been on the ketogenic diet for three years. Impairments in cardiac function may be due to deficiency in the mineral selenium from following the diet. Support from a dietitian or nutritionist may be required to help ensure that these and other potential nutrient deficiencies are addressed.
As a weight-loss measure, while there is some evidence to suggest that a ketogenic diet can be effective for weight control, there are also definitive health risks and complications associated with this low-carb, high-fat type of diet.
Some of the positive effects of the diet that have been described in addition to weight loss include:
- Fat loss and an increase in calories burned
In some people, short-term following of a ketogenic diet has shown improvements in:
- Processed foods
- Starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes
- Fruits and their juices
It Is Therapeutic For Several Brain Disorders
The brain needs glucose because this type of sugar can burn only a fraction of it, so your liver makes glucose from protein if you avoid carbs.
However, a high portion of the brain can burn ketones also, which are produced as a result of moderate carb intake. This mechanism behind the keto diet has been used to treat epilepsy in children, which has not received much response to drug use for decades.
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Awesome Health Benefits Of The Keto Diet
Nearly one in three Americans follow a specific diet or eating pattern to lose weight and improve their health. There are many diets available but one, in particular, soars in popularity which is the Keto Diet. Many social media feeds are filled with people flexing their Keto Diet bods before you follow along, you must consider the advantages.
Unfamiliar with the Health Benefits of Keto Diet? If yes, youâve come to the right place. Here are nine to factor in before you start.
Ketosis May Help Treat Cancer
Early research suggests that the keto diet may slow the growth of cancerous tumors. Cancer cells have plenty of insulin receptors on them, making them flourish in environments high in blood sugar and insulin, says Brandon Olin, host of The Deskbound Podcast, which focuses on overcoming the damage of a sedentary lifestyle. Its essentially giving cancer cells a source of fuel to feed on and grow. The research suggests ketone bodies may provide energy for your body without feeding the tumors.
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May Improve Heart Health
When a person follows the ketogenic diet, it is important that they choose healthful foods. Some evidence shows that eating healthful fats, such as avocados instead of less healthful fats, such as pork rinds, can help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol.
A 2017 review of studies of animals and humans on a keto diet showed that some people experienced a significant drop in levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein , or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides, and an increase in high-density lipoprotein , or good cholesterol.
High levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. A keto diets reducing effect on cholesterol may, therefore, reduce a persons risk of heart complications.
However, the review concluded that the positive effects of the diet on heart health depend on diet quality. Therefore, its important to eat healthful, nutritionally balanced food while following the keto diet.
this 2019 review , suggest the ketones that generate during the keto diet provide neuroprotective benefits, which means they can strengthen and protect the brain and nerve cells.
For this reason, a keto diet may help a person prevent or manage conditions such as Alzheimers disease.
However, more research is necessary into a keto diets effects on the brain.
Reduced Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
Low-carb and ketogenic diets can also be particularly helpful for people with diabetes and insulin resistance, which affect millions of people worldwide .
Studies prove that cutting carbs lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels drastically .
Some people with diabetes who begin a low-carb diet may need to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% almost immediately .
In one study in people with type 2 diabetes, 95% had reduced or eliminated their glucose-lowering medication within six months .
If you take blood sugar medication, talk to your doctor before making changes to your carb intake, as your dosage may need to be adjusted to prevent hypoglycemia.
SummaryThe best way to lower blood sugar and insulin levels is to reduce carb consumption, which may treat and possibly even reverse type 2 diabetes.
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Does Keto Really Work
The research on the keto diet is still fairly young, and most studies are less than six months long. So, the long-term health effects of the keto diet are poorly understood.
While some research is promising, its too early for the diet to be widely recommended. The keto diet could also lead to some unhealthy side effects in some people. Its a fairly restrictive diet plan, so its difficult to maintain this diet pattern long-term. If youre interested in trying the keto diet for its potential benefits, talk with your healthcare provider or dietitian about how the diet may affect you.
The Benefits Of The Keto Diet Offer Relief For Many Common Health Problems The Keto Diet Is So Powerful Its Something To Celebrate
The health benefits of the keto diet extend far beyond weight loss. In fact, the keto diet is beginning to take a front seat in treating a vast array of health conditions like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, neurological disorders, and much more. The use of the keto diet for medical therapy is highly researched and shows promising results, pretty much across the board.
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