09th Nov , 2020
Thinking of starting keto? Then you’ve come to the right place! A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat and moderate-protein diet that alters the body’s metabolism to use fat as the preferred fuel, rather than sugars. It’s lauded for its weight loss benefits but you may be surprised to learn the advantages extend well beyond just physical.
The benefits of keto
- Supports weight loss and management
One of the primary benefits of a ketogenic diet is its metabolism-boosting and appetite reducing effects, which ultimately contribute to weight loss. When it comes to most diets, hunger is the biggest deterrent and often the reason they’re ultimately not sustainable. However, with low-carb eating you’ll feel fuller for longer and end up eating fewer calories. Studies consistently show that keto-friendly foods fill a person up and may reduce hunger-stimulating hormones. For these reasons, following a keto diet may reduce appetite and promote weight loss.
In a 2013 meta-analysis of 13 different randomized controlled trials, researchers found that people following ketogenic diets lost about 1kg more than those following low fat diets over one year.
Similarly, another review of 11 studies demonstrated that people following a ketogenic diet lost 2.25kg more than those following low-fat diets after six months.
- Improved brain function
It’s often thought low carb, low sugar diets result in low energy, making it difficult to concentrate but the brain works in mysterious, quite incredible, ways. Here’s a bit of science for you: on a keto diet the brain can get energy via processes called ketogenesis and gluconeoegenesis. Glucose, the sugar found in your blood, is usually the brain’s main fuel but it can also use ketones – in fact they can fulfil up to 70 percent of the brain’s energy requirements. Your liver produces ketones from fatty acids when glucose and insulin levels are low and production is further accelerated during fasting or when carb intake falls below 50 grams per day. While most of the brain can use ketones, some areas require glucose to function. On a very low-carb diet, some of this glucose can be supplied by the small amount of carbs consumed. The rest comes from a process in your body called gluconeogenesis, which means “making new glucose.” In this process, the liver creates glucose for the brain to use.
- Improves skin clarity
Research has indicated that a high-fat, low-carb diet could help improve and manage overall skin health. Speaking to Insider, registered dietitian Suzanne Dixon said a keto diet could be beneficial for those dealing with problem skin. "In theory, a ketogenic diet could be beneficial for acne. Higher levels of insulin and related hormones can worsen acne, and the ketogenic diet lowers insulin levels.”
- May reduce seizures associated with epilepsy
The ratio of fat, protein and carbs in a keto diet alters the way the body uses energy, resulting in ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic process during which the body uses ketone bodies for fuel. The Epilepsy Foundation suggests that ketosis could reduce seizures in people with epilepsy — especially those who have not responded to other treatment methods.
- Reduced risk of heart related disease
Not all fat in your body is equal. Keto diets have been found to reduce fat in the abdominal region more so than other diets. The two main types of fat are subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) and visceral fat, which accumulates in your abdominal cavity. Where fat is stored determines how it affects your health and risk of disease. Visceral fat is a dangerous type of fat that accumulates around your vital organs. Low-carb diets are very effective at reducing this harmful abdominal fat. In fact, a greater proportion of the fat people lose on low-carb diets seems to come from the abdominal region.
- Manages diabetic symptoms
It might seem counterintuitive to follow a high fat diet to manage blood sugar levels but bear with us. Research has found that following a low-carb diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin. Managing carbohydrate intake is often recommended for people with type 2 diabetes because carbohydrates turn to sugar and, in large quantities, can cause blood sugar spikes.