A diet that was once considered useful to help reduce seizures in epileptic patients is now growing in popularity among mainstream health and fitness circles. And for good reason.
The ketogenic diet, which is often called simply “keto,” is a low-carb, high-fat diet that can help you lose weight. Studies of low-carb vs. low-fat dieting have proven keto’s health benefits against diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
What Is Keto?
Keto is a low- to no-carb diet that encourages high-fat consumption, similar to the Atkins diet. This extreme reduction of carbohydrates puts the body in the metabolic state of ketosis, which allows the body to efficiently burn fat to be used for energy. Ketosis also turns fat in the liver into ketones, which supplies energy to the brain. The increase in ketones, along with the simultaneous reduction of blood sugar and insulin levels, creates helpful health benefits.
There are several types of ketogenic diets that are popular today, which include:
- Standard ketogenic diet (or SKD), which consists of low carb, high fat, and moderate amounts of protein. The diet usually allows for 75 percent of food intake to be fat, twenty percent protein, and the remaining five percent carbohydrate.
- High-protein ketogenic diet is like the standard keto diet, but with a higher percentage of proteins, such as 60 percent fat, 35 percent protein, and five percent carbs.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (or TKD) allows for carbohydrates to be consumed before and after workouts.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (or CKD) involves cycling between keto and high carbs, such as five days of keto followed by two days of high carbohydrate intake.
The standard and high-protein diets have been proven through numerous and extensive studies to help with weight loss and improve overall health. The TKD and CKD involve more detailed methods that are typically utilized by athletes and bodybuilders to take advantage of the energy-inducing aspects of carbohydrates.
Health Benefits of Keto
Research has shown that the keto diet not only helps you to lose weight, but can also make you feel fuller for longer. Individuals have not only lost more weight using keto, but also have had improved triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Plus, the additional proteins consumed can increase muscle mass, bone strength, and metabolism.
Keto has been shown to offer an abundance of health benefits and treat a handful of conditions, including:
- Acne:Lower insulin and lowered intake of sugar and processed foods may improve acne problems.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Evidence shows that the diet can not only reduce the occurrence of symptoms, but also slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- Cancer: This diet can slow tumor growthand is used to treat several types of cancer, including brain tumors.
- Diabetes:The increased ketones lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Heart disease: Keto reduces risk factors, including body fat, HDL levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
- Parkinson’s disease:Keto has been shown to reduce the symptoms of this disease.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome:The diet’s ability to reduce insulin levels assists with symptoms of PCOS, a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.
Keto involves eating whole foods, including meats, vegetables, and healthy fats while avoiding carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, such as bread, rice, potatoes, sweets, and fruits.
Overall, ketogenic diets are low-carb, high-fat alternatives that are effective for weight loss and offer numerous other health benefits, including reducing risk factors or symptoms for epilepsy, diabetes, and other conditions.