As you search for the diet that will take you to your goal body weight, one thing you must not forget to consider is the health benefits it has to offer.
While slipping down 20-30 pounds is definitely good, it does you no benefit if you’re putting your health in harm’s way.
Far too many people overlook the health factor as they get so wrapped up in calories, macros, and meal timing.
The keto diet is gaining great popularity lately as one of the best ways to shed weight quickly, but is it healthy?
It calls for you to cut your carbohydrate intake back to just 5% of your total calories per day, so surely something so aggressive wouldn’t be smart in the long run, right?
Well, the truth might just surprise you.
When we look at the science behind it, we come to see that many people can not just lose weight, but thrive on a ketogenic approach.
Here are some of the ways it can benefit you:
Ketogenic Diets Promote Fat Loss From The Abdominal Region
Okay, so when most people state where they want to lose body fat, the abs is the place they point to. This is, of course, for Aesthetic purposes.
Though you cannot chose where you lose your fat, the fact is, losing fat from your core region is the most important area if you are carrying around excess weight.
Fat in this area is what’s surrounding your organs and tissues, therefore it can be far more problematic and dangerous to your health.
Again, though you cannot decide where you lose fat, the good news is low carb diets have been found statistically to promote greater fat loss from this area of the body, therefore helping you improve your health tremendously.
One study published by the Nutrition & Metabolism journal1 noted that the very low carb ketogenic diet group lost total body weight, total body fat, and trunk fat loss compared to a low fat dieting group despite taking in slightly more calories.
So it would seem that the ketogenic diet may give you a distinct fat loss advantage.
For most people, heart health is a top concern. With heart disease rates rising in North America, we are all taking a closer look at our heart health and what must be done about it.
Diet is a huge component of this.
The keto diet helps out here as well.
While most people would think that the ketogenic diet would put you at risk for a heart attack since it’s so high in dietary fat, research2 confirms that dietary fat is not the problem; sugar is.
When proper dietary fats are consumed, the risk of heart disease significantly drops.
Improved HDL Cholesterol Levels
Which brings us to our next point – cholesterol.
We know that high cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors associated with heart disease3, but the type of cholesterol is most important. High levels of LDL cholesterol do increase your risk but high levels of HDL decrease your risk.
So the moral of the story here is to increase your intake of good fats to help bring up your HDL levels and lower your LDL levels.
We’ve seen studies now published illustrating that when the dietary fat intake is properly set with a low carb diet, these diets can decrease the risk factor for heart disease more than diets that are low fat in nature4.
Decreased Blood Sugar Levels
Perhaps one of the most notable effects of the ketogenic diet plan is the fact that it can dramatically reduce blood glucose levels and help combat diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that’s brought on by years of eating high carbohydrate rich foods and the body become unresponsive to insulin, which is the hormone that aims to control the glucose present in the body after consuming such foods.
If you aren’t eating carbohydrates in the first place, you aren’t getting that glucose release and aren’t requiring large doses of insulin to flood your system to ‘clean up the mess’, essentially.
Research published in the Nutrition & Metabolism journal5 noted that when diabetic subjects were put on a ketogenic diet, they were able to decrease their insulin dosage by 50%, illustrating how powerful of an effect simply altering ones diet can have.
Even if you aren’t currently suffering from diabetes but have been given warnings by your doctor that it could be in your future, it’s vital that you take steps to safeguard yourself against it. The ketogenic diet is one great way to do just that.
Keto And Brain Health
Finally, let’s not forgot possibly the most important element of your overall well-being today: your brain.
Ketogenic diets have also been proven to help improve brain health and manage certain brain related conditions.
While research is still quite elementary in this regard, it’s been noted that there may be anti-inflammatory benefits on the brain when one follows a ketogenic diet plan, which could help to provide protective effects against cellular injury6.
If you look at the origins of the ketogenic diet, you also come to see that it was developed as a way to control epilepsy, which it does very well in those who are suffering.
So there you have some of the key ways that the ketogenic diet can assist with improving your health on a large scale.
Don’t just think of this as a great approach to weight loss, but as a diet that could help you take control and better your health in the long run.
- Volek, Jeff S., et al. “Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women.” Nutrition & metabolism1.1 (2004): 13.
- Hu, Frank B., et al. “Dietary fat intake and the risk of coronary heart disease in women.” New England Journal of Medicine337.21 (1997): 1491-1499.
- Toth, Peter P. “The “good cholesterol”: High-density lipoprotein.” Circulation111.5 (2005): e89-e91.
- Foster, Gary D., et al. “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity.” New England Journal of Medicine348.21 (2003): 2082-2090.
- Westman, Eric C., and Mary C. Vernon. “Has carbohydrate-restriction been forgotten as a treatment for diabetes mellitus? A perspective on the ACCORD study design.” Nutrition & metabolism5.1 (2008): 10.
- Gasior, Maciej, Michael A. Rogawski, and Adam L. Hartman. “Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet.” Behavioural pharmacology17.5-6 (2006): 431.