11 Significant Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is known for its effectiveness across a wide range of medicine and health; it’s essential to understand what it should be employed for and when to use it. Therefore, we’ve created an introduction to the health advantages that the ketogenic diet offers. From weight loss to a reduced appetite to less inflammation to better heart health, the ketogenic diet provides more than just a diet to lose weight quickly. In reality, it’s much more of an overall lifestyle shift that has benefits far more significant than the mere appearance of an outfit. What’s in it for you? Check out the article to find out.

1. Weight Loss

Weight loss is likely to be the most often-cited positive health effect of the ketogenic lifestyle, and it’s not something to ignore. When you’re on keto, weight loss is both accurate and efficient because it assists people in converting from a high-carbohydrate diet burning calories to a fat-heavy and fat-burning diet. A diet that is high in carbohydrates causes gastric discomfort, weight gain, and poor health and depends on carbs to fuel your body. A high-fat, moderate protein and very low-carb diet can reduce your appetite, take in food until you’re full, and burn off fat in your body and your food to boost your energy.

If you’re in good shape, a bit out of the body, or overweight, the ketogenic diet will assist you in achieving or maintaining your desired weight loss goals through diets; it will reduce the risk for obesity-related disorders and diseases that include stroke and heart disease, and certain types of cancer. (We’ll go into more detail about this later in this piece.)

The greatest part? There is no need to eat a diet to reach your goal. You consume various satisfying foods on a keto diet high in good fats. It triggers a metabolic process that burns fat, referred to as ketosis. When your body has adjusted, it will increase energy and the ability to perform the exercise.

2. Reduced Appetite

Imagine not having those food cravings and cravings for carbs. It’s what keto is all about. You eat, and you’re satisfied…for many years! After your body is accustomed to your diet, it performs more effectively, burning fats in your food and body. It’s not going on the rollercoaster journey of the extremes and lows of high sugar and carbohydrate-based diet. With no sugar spikes and drops, cravings are gone, and you are content.

You might ask, why? Isn’t a calorie just a calorie? It’s not. Here’s why:

As we’ve already mentioned that this ketogenic eating plan is extremely high in carbs, high in protein, and also high in fat. However, it’s much more specific than the other diets. When you are on a keto-friendly diet, you’ll eat according in accordance with what you consider to be your macronutrients (“macros”) or the total number of calories from protein, fat, and carbs that you must consume each day, based on your weight, height and levels of activity, age, and the goals you have set. However, not all macronutrients are identical. Each macro has a certain quantity of fuel (calories):

  • Carbohydrates provide four calories per gram
  • Protein is calorie-rich and has four calories per gram
  • Fat contains nine calories per gram

Fats provide more satisfaction (keep you feeling fuller for longer) since they supply consumers with the exact amount of energy per gram of carbohydrates and protein!

It’s not the only reason your appetite decreases when you follow keto. We’ve already mentioned that once you’re in ketosis, you don’t feel the blood sugar fluctuations or the subsequent cravings that you get on a diet heavy in carbohydrates. Hormones in this instance, such as insulin, cholecystokinin Ghr, and the hormone leptin, have an important influence on the feeling of hunger because they can influence the sense of feeling satisfied.

Ketosis has decreased the hormone ghrelin (a potent appetite stimulant). In fact, in the research study in which participants were placed on a ketogenic diet for eight weeks before being reintroduced back to a regular diet, people who were in ketosis saw a decrease in the concentrations of circulating hormones and other nutrients that impact appetite.

3. Inflammation

Inflammation is a body’s natural immune system response to fight infection and heal. However, too much or persistent inflammation can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, including joint stiffness, pain, fatigue, swelling, and many other immediate physiological consequences.

When you’re on a keto diet and regularly in a state of ketosis, your body produces ketones, specifically BHB (ss-hydroxybutyrate), a solid anti-inflammatory chemical. BHB helps block inflammation pathways (NF-kB as well COX-2), stimulates the AMPK (AMP-activated protein Kinase) pathways, and aids in reducing inflammation NF-kB pathways. In addition, BHB has been shown to show effects like pain-relief medications like NSAIDs in inhibiting COX-2’s enzyme.

Another beneficial effect of anti-inflammatory can be found in the ketogenic lifestyle. The ketogenic diet encourages the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods like eggs, olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, and other foods rich in omega-3s. All of them are widely praised as having anti-inflammatory effects. The ketogenic diet also encourages the consumption of non-inflammatory foods. Are you unsure of which foods are which? Look through our lists below, which list well-known anti-inflammatory and inflammatory food items.

Anti-inflammatory Foods

    • Eggs
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Avocados
    • Fatty fish
    • Spinach
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Blueberries
    • Bone broth
    • Garlic
    • Nuts

Inflammation-Causing Foods

    • Foods processed for processing
    • Refined sugar
    • Grains
    • Fruits
    • Starchy vegetables
    • Omega-6
    • Processed oils (canola corn, canola, safflower)
    • Soda

4. Cholesterol

If people hear about diets with high fats, people immediately imagine elevated cholesterol. It’s a sensible response, considering we’ve been taught for decades that a low-fat diet is heart-healthy while a high-fat diet isn’t. But more and more research shows that fat isn’t to be feared. Still, it’s the blame for the true culprits behind the obesity and cardiovascular issues that plague Americans nowadays: processed carbs and sugar-rich diets.

When following a ketogenic diet, many experiences an increase in overall cholesterol levels, a reduction in triglycerides, and an increase in HDL. While some individuals may experience an increase in cholesterol following the ketogenic diet, such individuals will likely experience an increase in their cholesterol regardless of the diet since fast weight loss, irrespective of the weight of your body or weight, could cause an immediate, temporary boost in LDL cholesterol. Therefore, it’s generally advised to wait at least six months after beginning ketogenic eating to check your lipid panel or wait until weight loss has slowed.

There are a variety of videos and articles that go deeper into the connection between diet and cholesterol here:

    • What is Oxidized LDL Cholesterol?
    • Does Keto Raise Cholesterol?
    • Meet Dave Feldman & Cholesterol Code
    • The Keto Diet and Cholesterol: Digesting the Facts

5. Diabetes & Blood Sugar Control

Since you can eliminate carbs and sugars when you follow keto, It’s easy to comprehend why it’s excellent for blood sugar control. The fewer carbs and sugar you consume, the less sugar you’ll have in your bloodstream. It is why, upon beginning a ketogenic diet, most people notice a blood sugar level reduction almost immediately. The effects are so quick that it’s suggested that people with diabetes who are beginning a ketogenic diet consult with their doctor so that they can alter their medications as they need to while their blood sugar levels drop and become more stable.

If you’re eating lots of carbs and high-glycemic food items, you’ll experience an immediate spike in blood glucose levels after eating. A decrease follows this in blood glucose. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you cut down on your intake of carbohydrates and sugars and prevent your blood sugar levels from increasing and then falling dramatically. There will be an occasional rise in blood glucose levels when you consume foods low in glucose. However, you will not experience the extreme and low glucose levels typical of an eating plan high in carbohydrates.

Plus, as we mentioned, by reducing your carbohydrates, you deprive your body of glucose stores, so your body begins using fats for fuel versus carbohydrates/glucose. The result is that your insulin levels drop since your body isn’t in charge of managing the sugar levels of a large amount.

Many people who suffer from an insulin-resistant condition can benefit from ketogenic eating. If you’re suffering from insulin resistance, the body cannot respond to insulin as it would. This usually leads to elevated blood sugar levels, and eventually, it can develop diabetes and raise your risk of developing heart disease. Research conducted on people who have diabetes who ate ketogenic diets shows that the participants experienced dramatic decreases in their diabetes-lowering medications and their fasting glucose levels.

6. Blood Pressure

Anyone with hypertension will be grateful for the improved blood pressure management resulting from a keto-based diet.

In research studies involving obese patients, those following the ketogenic diet had the most drastic drop in blood pressure than those on low-fat diets. The same group on a ketogenic diet had similar results in terms of weight loss and triglycerides as those on a calorie-restricted eating plan and were treated with a weight loss medication. Additionally, the systolic blood pressure in the ketogenic group decreased (which is good for lowering high blood pressure), while it increased among the low-fat/diet-drug-medication participants.

7. Heart Health

The word “heart health” conjures images of heart-shaped icons that are found on cereals and whole grains and also promotes foods with low fat and carbs—in reality, eating a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fats has been proven to enhance markers related to heart disease significantly.

A recent study looked at a group of healthy-weight normal-weight men (men with normal levels of lipids present in the blood) who were placed on a ketogenic diet for six weeks, 22 of 26 biomarkers that indicate cardiovascular risk increased significantly.

Although some individuals experience an increase in LDL cholesterol while on the keto diet, It is now believed that LDL isn’t one of the “make it or break it” elements in determining your heart’s health that it was once thought to be. The latest research has shown that LDL is just a tiny part of the equation. In the course of a 2.7-year randomized study investigating the effects of eating a Mediterranean diet on those who had suffered heart attacks, There was a drastic reduction in repeated heart attacks and mortality overall. It was also remarkable that there were no differences in LDL variations between groups.

It’s now widely recognized that it’s the size of the particles of LDL which plays a more significant part in determining the heart’s health risk. It’s true that circulating LDL particles are, in fact, quite varied in size. The smaller, more dense particles (which have a lower proportion of triglycerides) are associated with the development of heart disease and vascular damage.

In reality, in a study of participants on a ketogenic diet who had LDL increased, there was a change in the sizes of particles. The average particles increased while small particles diminished, caused by vascular damage.

8. Brain Health

The brain is a lover of keto, just like hearts do. Ketogenic eating was initially used at the Mayo Clinic in 1924 to treat neurological disorders, particularly epileptic seizures. In a randomized clinical study conducted by researchers, they began the ketogenic diet in children patients who were suffering from frequent attacks of two or more when taking anti-seizure drugs. After three months of implementing the diet, 34 percent of participants saw a 90% reduction in seizures!

The research continues with epilepsy. Recently the ketogenic diet has been investigated as an alternative to treatment for various neurological disorders. Although many scientists in neuroscience say that the brain favors ketones over glucose, the brain will, in time (with the passage of time), become unable to fuel itself effectively with glucose on its own. It is where ketones are involved.

Ketones are a natural antioxidant for neuroprotection that has been proven to stop dangerous reactive oxygen species from harming the brain. Ketones have been shown to boost metabolism and efficiency in mitochondria which can help protect brain cells against strokes and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The ketogenic diet is shown to regulate glutamate (a significant neurotransmitter found in the brain), which could cause nerve cell damage when excessively stimulated.

While the majority of research into the ketogenic diet and the brain is in its beginnings, The research being conducted is positive. It indicates a need to study further to understand the full range of the benefits better and their uses in clinical practice.

Here are some more videos and articles about the subject that we have on our site:

    • The Ketogenic Diet for Neurological Disorders
    • Keto As a Treatment & Prevention for Alzheimer’s
    • Keto Has a Long History in Treating Epilepsy
    • How the Ketogenic Diet Increases Mental Performance

9. Acne

Genetics play a significant part in acne and acne; it was suggested ketogenic diets could aid in improving skin clarity.

The specific research regarding a ketogenic diet for acne is not yet published. However, some studies have studied the ketogenic diet regarding hormone balance, specifically PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Patients with PCOS are often plagued by hormone imbalances, insulin resistance in the form of fatigue, fatigue, unwelcome hair, infertility, and acne. The latest research has examined the ketogenic and low-carbohydrate diets for women suffering from PCOS and found that they can decrease insulin levels and reduce body weight.

However, how does this translate to acne? It’s a good question. A recent study examining the effects of a diet low in sugar on acne revealed that when insulin levels decreased, the appearance of acne appeared to decline. Also, as we have discussed earlier, keto has been shown to reduce inflammation, which reduces acne-related inflammation (red and bumps that are swollen and red).

10. Migraines

Migraines, a typical headache that can cause extreme pain, affect around twelve percent of Americans. Naturally, those who suffer from migraines are willing to explore all possible solutions to get rid of the condition. Although migraines may not be the primary motivation for beginning the ketogenic diet, numerous patients suffering from migraine who are on their ketogenic eating plan have experienced significant reductions in migraines. It includes, at times, being migraine-free!

A handful of studies have looked at the connection between ketogenic diets and migraines. For instance, in one investigation, the participants of the group that ate ketogenic food reported an improvement in the frequency of migraines and use of prescription drugs. It was speculated that the results could be affected by keto’s stimulation of mitochondrial metabolism in the brain and its inhibitory effects on the cortical spread of depression. A ketogenic diet (very, very low-calorie diet) could temporarily counter the ponderal growth that is a typical negative side effect in migraine prevention treatments.

For more details on keto and migraines, check out our book review of Fighting the Migraine Epidemic and How to manage and prevent migraines with no Medical Treatment, and find out more about the writer Angela Stanton, Ph.D. Here.

11. Cancer Treatment

Suppose you hear about keto being a cancer treatment. In that case, most people are talking about the Warburg effect, in which cancer cells are more likely to utilize anaerobically (without oxygen) glycolysis to create energy.

It’s much less effective than aerobic glycolysis, which means that cancer cells will have an increased need for glucose to fuel their cells. You can get a PET scan, where glucose is introduced into the body to detect cancer. Because cancer cells absorb glucose more rapidly than normal cells, PET scans to track the growth and position of cancer by monitoring the effects of the glucose injected.

The most intriguing aspect: certain cancers cannot process ketones. That means that if cancer cannot access glucose for energy, it will not be able to thrive. In these situations, the ketogenic diet “starves” the cancer cells. However, not all cancers respond in the same way. Likewise, the Warburg effect isn’t universally found for all types of cancer.

However, there is some promising research about the benefits of ketogenic diets as a beneficial complement to treatment in cancer treatment. In one study of neuroblastoma, the most common cancer that typically affects children, the ketogenic diet dramatically reduced the growth of tumors and prolonged the survival of the patients (in this case, mice).

We’re seeing an increasing amount of preclinical research studies that examine using the ketogenic diet for adjuvant treatment for cancer treatment or together with traditional medicine. Apart from neuroblastoma, the most substantial evidence of the ability of a tumor-suppressing ketogenic diet has been found for glioblastoma (a brain tumor), colon, prostate, and lung cancer.

The Final Word

The ketogenic diet offers significant health benefits across a range of fields, from metabolic health to brain and heart health and many more. More information is uncovered about the body’s response to the ketogenic lifestyle. How it can be used to support a range of health-related initiatives, there will be further discoveries about the advantages of a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb ketogenic diet. Always consult your dietitian or primary physician before making drastic changes to your diet.

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