There was so much I could have written about the Ketogenic diet in my last article that I decided to write another one detailing its benefits. The Keto diet is an approach to eating whereby you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and dramatically increase your fat intake.
I have to admit; I never really knew what Keto was until recently, and even then, I wasn’t really that interested in it. Initially, I thought it was another health industry fad that wouldn’t last. However, as I began researching it, I realised it had in fact been around for a long time in the medical industry, and there was a growing body of evidence supporting its benefits.
There are several benefits to the Ketogenic diet supported by a growing body of research.
In fact, it turned out that my diet had closely resembled the Keto diet. Having done the research and experienced the difference for myself, I started prescribing the Keto diet to clients who either wanted to know more, were struggling to lose weight, or had high levels of inflammation. The results were amazing!
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
- Weight loss
The Keto diet causes your body to switch from burning glucose as an energy source, to stored fat. When this stored fat is broken down, ketones are released. It’s this raised level of ketones in the body that gives the diet its name.
- Reduced inflammation
The body can use both carbohydrate and fat for energy. However, burning acetone from fat for energy is much cleaner. Think of it like using wind and solar energy instead of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. This cleaner energy reduces inflammation in the body.
- Increased satiation
One of the things I hear the most often when someone starts eating this way is, “I can’t eat as much as I used to”. While typically being higher in calories, the foods that make up the Keto diet are more filling. This means you don’t need (or want) to eat as much or as often. Even though carbs contain less calories per gram than fat, you typically need to eat more to feel full. Plus, you feel hungry again sooner. This often leads to eating more and consuming more calories in the long-run.
- Mental clarity
Another common statement I hear, and certainly one I’ve felt myself, is feeling more mentally clear. It’s still unclear exactly why this is the case; however, it’s likely related to the way ketones are metabolised and the way they impact on the neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Enhanced emotional state
One of the neurotransmitters in the brain, GABA, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Another, glutamate, is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Too much excitement in the brain leads to neurotoxicity, ultimately manifesting as seizures. Neurotoxicity has also been linked in some way to depression, bipolar disorder, migraines and dementia. While GABA is made from glutamate ironically, ketogenic diets favour glutamate becoming GABA. In short, this means your creating a better environment for your brain to recover, repair, build, grow and operate.
There are several benefits to the Ketogenic diet supported by a growing body of research. In addition, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence for how the Ketogenic diet has helped lose weight, reduce inflammation, feel fuller for longer, increase their mental clarity and enhance their emotional state.
If you’ve tried the Keto diet, what benefits have you experienced? If you haven’t, what benefits appeal to you most?
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