If you’re considering the ketogenic diet, it’s likely you’ve heard a lot about how effective it can be in helping you to lose weight and feel your best.

What you may not know, however, is how it compares to the typical diet that Americans eat on a daily basis – otherwise known as the Standard American Diet (SAD).

In considering the effects that each diet has on your health, the keto diet stands out as far superior to the SAD. Read ahead to explore how each diet affects your body and how they compare.

The Standard American Diet

When you look at just about any restaurant menu in the United States, it’s clear to see that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in carbohydrates and saturated fat.

It’s also high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This combination of carbohydrates and fats in the SAD has helped fuel the obesity crisis and has led to worsening health in Americans in a number of areas.

While the SAD can affect a person’s weight, there are many other ways in which the SAD is detrimental to your health. In one study, the authors found that the SAD increased susceptibility to chronic pain and even led to an increased time needed for the body to heal wounds.1

In another study, it was found that dietary choices consistent with the SAD appear to have harmful effects on the immune system and even on the immune system of a person’s offspring.2

One particularly alarming risk associated with consuming the SAD is for developing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome

You may be wondering what metabolic syndrome is and its relationship to your diet. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of related risk factors that appear to directly increase the chance of developing types of cardiovascular disease.

It also appears to directly increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus by increasing insulin resistance.3 The syndrome is thought to be a result of some genetic and several lifestyle factors, including diet.

The risk factors involved in metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, increased cholesterol or triglyceride levels, and abdominal fat. According to some estimates a staggering 1 in 6 people in the United States has metabolic syndrome.

Consuming the SAD puts a person at risk for developing metabolic syndrome, which in turn increases a person’s risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases—both of which can have devastating effects on your health.

The Ketogenic Diet Difference

In stark contrast to the SAD, the ketogenic diet promotes not only a healthy weight but boasts additional health benefits as well.

In one study, the authors concluded that many studies have shown that the ketogenic diet has a strong physiological and biochemical basis.

The authors furthermore emphasized that studies have shown that the ketogenic diet is effective for not only weight loss but in improving several cardiovascular risk factors.4 That stands in stark contrast to the SAD!

Further research has directly compared the SAD and the ketogenic diet and its effects on research subjects.

Upon conclusion of a recent study, researchers found that the five variables related to metabolic syndrome included in their analyses showed a significant improvement in the subjects who followed the ketogenic diet compared to the subjects who followed the SAD.

The researchers concluded that the ketogenic diet is more effective in combating metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type-2 diabetes than the SAD – even when the SAD was paired with exercise.5

While the SAD may increase insulin resistance, the ketogenic diet, in contrast, has positive benefits related to blood sugar balance.

In another study that examined the effects of the ketogenic diet in patients with type-2 diabetes, the authors found that the ketogenic diet improved glycemic control so much so that that they were able to reduce and even eliminate medications for diabetes in most participants.6

Putting it all together

The Keto diet has an excellent and well-deserved reputation for its weight loss benefits, but also offers so much more.

While the Standard American Diet can have significant negative effects on your health, the ketogenic diet can actually improve your health in several significant areas!

In fact, the ketogenic diet can improve some of the very same areas of your health that the SAD worsens!

In comparing options, the ketogenic diet stands out as a no-brainer for an effective tool for working towards your goals for maintaining a healthy weight and pursuing optimal health and well-being.


[1] Totsch SK, Quinn TL, Strath LJ, McMeekin LJ, Cowell RM, Gower BA, Sorge RE. (2017). The impact of the Standard American Diet in rats: Effects on behavior, physiology and recovery from inflammatory injury. Scand J Pain. 17, 316-324.

[2] Myles, Ian A. “Fast Food Fever: Reviewing the Impacts of the Western Diet on Immunity.” Nutrition Journal 13 (2014): 61. PMC. Web. 2 May 2018.

[3] Grundy, S. M., Cleeman, J. I., Daniels, S. R., Donato, K. A., Eckel, R. H., Franklin, B. A., … Costa, F. (2005). Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome: An American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute scientific statement – Executive summary. Critical Pathways in Cardiology, 4(4), 198-203. DOI: 10.1097/00132577-200512000-00018

[4] Paoli, Antonio. “Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe?” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11.2 (2014): 2092–2107. PMC. Web. 2 May 2018.

[5] M.K.Gibas,K.J.Gibas,Induced and controlled dietary ketosis as a regulator of obesity and metabolic syndrome pathologies, DiabMetSyndr:ClinResRev(2017).

[6] Yancy, W. S., Foy, M., Chalecki, A. M., Vernon, M. C., & Westman, E. C. (2005). A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2, 34.