Keto Diet?

What Are the Benefits of a Keto Diet?

A keto diet can improve glycemic control for diabetics and help them lose weight. It can also improve lipid profiles, decrease inflammation and epigenetics, and increase lifespan and brain function.

The ketogenic diet reduces blood glucose and causes the body to shift from fueling itself with carbohydrates to fat oxidation. The body then produces ketone bodies – acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate – to meet energy needs.

1. Weight loss

The keto diet typically provides about 80% of calories from fat, with a smaller percentage coming from carbohydrates. That can help people lose weight, but it’s important to consult a medical professional before making significant dietary changes and to monitor health outcomes over time.

The diet can be difficult to maintain for long periods. It may also lead to nutritional deficiencies if the person consumes too much-saturated fat and not enough fiber-rich foods, says Hultin. Adding back in some carbs, such as whole grains or starchy vegetables, may be helpful to prevent these side effects.

A modified version of the keto diet called the high-protein keto diet allows a little more protein but still restricts carbs to about 5-10% of total calories. It also encourages consuming healthy fats and moderate amounts of fiber, which can improve overall health and well-being, says Spritzler.

This version of the keto diet may help to mitigate side effects that can occur with very low-carb eating, such as fatigue, brain fog, and nutrient deficiencies. It can also help with athletic performance. A small study published in 2021 found that the high-protein keto diet improved endurance during short-duration, vigorous exercise.

A high-protein keto diet can also be used as a meal replacement option for those who want to lose weight or who need to manage their blood sugar and insulin levels. Meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds are good sources of protein in this plan, but it’s important to choose grass-fed meats rather than processed meats, which increase the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Fruits, avocados and unsweetened yogurt can be added to the diet to provide more carb-free options.

2. Reduced risk of diabetes

The keto diet restricts carbs, so your body turns to fats for energy. This process, called ketosis, burns up a lot of calories and helps you lose weight, which is why it has become so popular.

However, there’s some concern that a keto diet could increase your risk of diabetes, especially type 2. In one study, people on a ketogenic diet developed more insulin resistance—which increases the likelihood of developing diabetes—than those who ate a traditional low-fat diet.

A big part of that is because the keto diet often includes a lot of saturated fat, which can raise your cholesterol levels and boost heart disease risk. That’s especially true for those who eat the diet for long periods. A six-month study found that eating a keto diet boosted LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels in 30 percent of participants.

Another issue is that the keto diet can be hard on your kidneys, particularly if you’re eating a lot of meat and other high-fat foods. This is because animal protein can be harder for the kidneys to break down than carbohydrates and veggies.

Overall, though, a well-planned keto diet is likely to help you lose weight and reduce your risk of diabetes. It may also improve your heart health by lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. But before you start a keto diet, talk to your doctor. A doctor can help you determine if the diet is safe for you and may recommend that you work with a registered dietitian to make sure that you’re getting the proper nutrition. For example, a dietitian can help you choose nutrient-rich foods that are good for your kidneys, such as nonstarchy vegetables, healthy monounsaturated fats, and lean proteins.

3. Lower risk of heart disease

A keto diet, which has been used to control seizures in people with epilepsy since the 1920s, is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. It causes the body to break down fat molecules for energy, producing compounds called ketones that are used by cells as fuel. This change in energy production is thought to help improve heart health, but experts caution that the diet needs more long-term research to prove its effects on cardiovascular issues such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

In studies comparing the keto diet with a standard American diet, people following the diet were found to have lower levels of triglycerides and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which is a measure of blood sugar. They also had higher levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol. These improvements are tied to the diet’s effect on insulin.

But the keto diet is not for everyone, especially people with preexisting health problems or those who have been yo-yo dieting for years, says Ryskamp, who recommends that anyone considering this diet talk to a registered dietician and their doctor first. Those with diabetes should consult a cardiologist before going keto to determine if the switch in fuel would affect their glucose and lipid levels and to make sure they are not at risk of having too many ketones in the blood, which can be dangerous.

A keto diet can cause initial side effects, such as constipation and diarrhea, while the body adjusts to burning fat for fuel. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as the keto flu and typically fade after a few weeks. To minimize them, it is important to hydrate well, consume plenty of protein and fiber, and avoid eating too many carbs.

Lower risk of heart disease

4. Reduced risk of some cancers

A keto diet deprives the body of its sugar reserve and forces it to burn fat for energy. In some cases, this may make cancer cells die off. It’s not clear why, but scientists are investigating several possibilities.

One theory is that cancer cells thrive on glucose, a type of sugar. Ketones, which the body makes when it breaks down fat for fuel, deprive cancer cells of their supply. In animal studies, ketone bodies bind to a receptor on cancer cells and boost a gene that shuts off cell growth. Other research shows that a keto diet may slow the spread of cancer, improve immune function, and prevent tumors from growing.

A typical keto diet contains plenty of healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, and few carbohydrates. Eat foods such as fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, salmon), skinless poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, olives and avocados. Vegetables are important, too. Choose nonstarchy veggies that are low in carbs and high in nutrients, such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers. A cup of broccoli, for example, has just six carbs.

The diet is rich in saturated fat, so you’ll need to watch the amount of fat you eat. Registered dietitian Stone recommends keeping saturated fats to about 7% of your daily calories. McManus suggests getting your calories from unsaturated fats, such as those in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.

The diet restricts fruits and many vegetables, so it is possible to get nutrient deficiencies. Consider working with a registered dietitian to create a balanced plan that minimizes nutrient deficiencies. The diet also limits dairy, so it’s important to get your calcium and vitamin D from alternatives, such as fortified almond milk or coconut milk.

5. Improved mental health

The keto diet is high in protein and fats, but low in carbohydrates. It allows you to get more energy from fat than from carbs, and it eliminates the sugar peaks and crashes that can trigger cravings. This keeps you feeling full and satisfied longer, so you may find that your appetite decreases. It also allows you to eat more foods, since you can have some foods that aren’t restricted on the keto diet (though they should still be limited).

In addition to weight loss, there are other health benefits associated with the keto diet. Studies suggest that it may improve mood in people with depression and mania, and it may reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder. It has also been reported to improve cognitive function, including memory and attention. Other benefits of the keto diet include reduced migraines and improved sleep quality.

Researchers think that the ketogenic diet can help treat mental health conditions by improving brain function. It’s used to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy, and it can reduce the symptoms of some neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also been shown to help protect nerve cells and slow the aging process in the brain.

While the keto diet can provide many health benefits, it’s important to talk with your doctor before making any major changes to your eating habits. Depending on your health history, the keto diet could interfere with certain medications or cause other problems. In addition, limiting some foods can lead to micronutrient deficiencies that can aggravate mental health conditions. It’s also important to avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, as they can hurt mental health.

Improved mental health

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