What is the keto diet for? Weight loss, reversal of type 2 diabetes, health gains, all of these? The keto diet shows you how to enjoy all these benefits and more by following its high fat, medium protein and low carb way of eating.
The keto diet aims to move you from where you are now to the healthiest version of yourself that you can be. In other words, it’s much more than a weight loss diet. The keto diet is a way of maximizing your health by eating in a way that is in tune with your body and your hormones.
The keto way of eating aims to do this by causing your body to use up its stored glucose. Once this has happened, you’ll start to use the fat from your body and from your diet for your immediate energy needs.
It’s all about ketosis
The process of using fat for your energy needs produces ketones. When this is taking place you’re in ketosis. This is the goal of everyone who follows the keto diet.
For this reason, the keto diet can be used for multiple goals. Although weight loss is one of the main motivations for turning to keto, there are many other health benefits too.
The keto diet has so many benefits that many people choose to stay on the keto diet for long after they have achieved their weight loss goals.
The keto diet for weight loss
This is the most common reason to consider starting a keto diet. Increasing numbers of people are struggling with obesity. They’re overeating and seem unable to control their appetite nor their weight.
Most of these people will be following the Standard American Diet.
Unfortunately the Standard American Diet is all about carbohydrates. The much quoted food triangle suggests that your diet should be based on carbs such as grains, breads and potatoes.
It’s this overeating of carbohydrates which is causing both obesity rates and chronic diseases to become so common.
There is far too much dietary advice around that mistakingly tells people it’s a good thing to make carbs the basis of their entire diet.
However, what’s much less known is this fact: There is no such thing as an essential carb.
Despite what is often said (including by some doctors and nutritionists) carbs are not essential to our good health.
While it’s true that certain functions in the body do require carbs, we are able to synthesize glucose from lactic acid, amino acids and glycerol via gluconeogenesis .
Glucose can be obtained from our diet, but only the brain, kidney and red blood cells need glucose. If the body is not given enough carbs to convert to glucose it can make its own.
What is essential for health is:
The keto diet is able to help you to lose weight quickly and efficiently by limiting daily carb intake to 20g net or less each day.
By doing this, your body will quickly use up its store of glycogen, and will turn to its second metabolic pathway. It will begin to burn fat for fuel instead.
Because Fat provides you with a steady supply of energy, you’re less likely to feel hungry between meals.
You’ll become a fat burning machine once you’re adapted to low carb eating.
Moreover, the keto diet will cause you to lose dangerous visceral fat which is more commonly known as belly fat.
This fat is found deep in the abdominal cavity, very close to the stomach, liver, intestines and pancreas.
Visceral fat is dangerous as it wraps around these organs and can increase your risk of many diseases.
The Keto Diet Is Based On Fats And Protein
Fats and protein limit the amount of times that your blood/glucose levels are raised.
This is important, because once blood/glucose levels are raised, you’ll have a corresponding raise in Insulin levels.
When Insulin levels are continually spiked with carb heavy meals you’ll gain weight.
This is due to the fact that Insulin is the body’s trigger for moving excess glucose and storing it as fat.
Surprisingly, eating a high fat diet won’t make you fat; it actually helps to prevent you from gaining weight.
When you base your diet on Fats and Protein, you’ll be eating in a way that helps your body to use your food for energy. You’ll be able to do this without laying down extra fat stores.
Remember: Carbs are the real enemy.
For more details of how the keto diet works for weight control read here
Keto for the prevention of type 2 diabetes
The keto diet aims to have you keep your Insulin levels low. This is achieved by limiting the amount of glucose producing carbs that you consume each day.
When Insulin is continually spiked you will run the risk of developing Insulin Resistance.
Insulin resistance responsible for the development of many other diseases including type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Because your insulin levels will be low, The keto diet is able to reverse Type 2 diabetes.
A recent study (April 2019) found that fa low carbohydrate diet could reverse type 2 diabetes. Moreover, they also proved that even when the diabetes had been an issue for many years, it could still be reversed by limiting carb intake.
If you’re suffering with type 2 diabetes, the keto diet could help you to completely reverse this condition in as little as a few weeks. There is no need to consider type 2 diabetes as a chronic condition.
However, if you are taking medication for T2D, seek the advice of your medical adviser, as you will need to change the amounts of medication you are using as your condition improves.
Keto diet will lower your risk for heart disease.
When you limit your carbohydrate intake to 20g net carbs or less each day you’ll be lowering your risk of heart disease.
This is because you’ll be benefiting from a very large reduction in blood triglycerides. These are the fat molecules that are associated with heart disease.
Further, the high fat requirement of the keto diet will increase your blood levels of good HDL cholesterol. These high levels are associated with much lower levels of heart diseases (1)
Ketosis is good news for your brain
This has been known for a very long time: the keto diet was originally developed to successfully treat children who had drug resistant epilepsy.
What is now known is that the brain is able to use the ketones (produced when following the keto diet) in a way that is healing and possibly preventative too.
Moreover, there is evidence from uncontrolled clinical trials and studies in animal models that the ketogenic diet can provide symptomatic and disease-modifying activity in a broad range of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and may also be protective in traumatic brain injury and stroke. (2)
For more information about how the keto diet can help Alzheimer’s disease see here.
Chronic Inflammation is not to be confused with normal, healthy inflammation. Normal inflammation takes place when we are under attack from a foreign body or virus, and is part of the immune response.
However, long term chronic inflammation is associated with multiple health issues such as:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
Neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer and Parkinson Disease
Fortunately, the keto diet is low on inflammatory foods, and bans the worst villain – sugar – completely. The dietary requirements of keto are high in anti inflammatory whole foods which will reduce and eliminate chronic inflammation .
Keto and Migraine
It’s been known for a long time that the keto diet can calm inflammation in the brain. It’s also known that migraines are a response to cerebral energy deficiency.
This energy deficiency arises when the brain is unable to utilize the glucose that it needs to function. By following a keto diet and producing ketones, you’ll be giving your brain a form of energy that is it able to uptake.
This is because ketones are able to cross the blood/brain barrier and provide the brain with an alternative source of energy.
This is especially important for people who suffer from migraines because many attacks are associated with hypoglycemia.
Further, an inflamed brain is more susceptible to pain, which is greatly reduced when that inflammation is also reduced.
For more details about preventing migraine with low carb eating see here.
Keto and blood pressure
High blood pressure ( hypertension) will put you at risk of many diseases including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
The keto diet is an effective way to lower blood pressure, which should reduce your risk of these diseases and help you to stay as healthy as possible.
Due to the fact that the keto diet will help you to lose weight fast, you’ll be able to improve your high blood pressure.
Make sure that you seek the advice of your medical provider if you’re on medication. You may find that you need to change your dosage often as your blood pressure normalizes.
The keto diet is famous for its ability to help you to rapidly lose weight. This is possible because you’ll be eating in a way that works with your hormones.
You’ll feel more full due the high fat content of the diet. Further, your appetite will decrease and you’ll experience fewer cravings for high carb or sugary foods.
These benefits will become more pronounced as you become fully fat adapted on the keto diet.
Moreover, the keto diet is able to help reverse or prevent multiple health issues. These include many serious diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Plus, due the diet’s ability to help you maintain stable blood/glucose levels, you’ll find you have a lot more energy throughout the day.
You won’t be suffering from the post carb slump that often comes with a high carb meal.
Further, due to the way that ketones help to calm your brain, you’ll find that your mood will lift: you’ll feel less sad or anxious.
Many people come to the keto diet looking for a way to manage their weight issues, and find a sustainable way of keeping the pounds off.
However, it’s not uncommon for people to enjoy how the health benefits of the keto diet make them feel. For this reason, many stay long term on the keto diet as a way of maximizing their health both now and in the future.