Health Benefits A Keto Diet Could Improve
Written by Tony Berardo
on September 13, 2022
Over the years, low-carb or Keto diets have become controversial. Some people claim that eating this way will raise cholesterol and cause heart disease because these diets focus on high-fat content.
However, research has shown the opposite to be true. According to the Harvard School of Health, a moderately low-carbohydrate diet can actually help the heart, as long as the protein and fat are coming from healthy sources. Most studies show us that following a healthy lower-carbohydrate diet, like Keto, will do a better job of lowering blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol than a healthy, higher-carbohydrate diet.
What other great health benefits come from following a ketogenic diet? Here are some of the many!
Low-Carb Diets Reduce Appetite
When followed correctly, a keto diet can help you lose weight a lot faster than other methods, which is one of the biggest reasons people are attracted to low-carb diets. One big stigma surrounding dieting is the increased hunger that some people experience.
Hunger can cause people to feel miserable and give up on their diet. However, eating a low-carb diet leads to an automatic reduction in appetite! Studies have shown that cutting carbs and eating more protein and fats can cause people to eat fewer calories, which will in turn cause them to lose weight.
More Weight Loss At First
Cutting carbs is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. Even though it might be difficult, it’s worth it to get fast results.
Studies illustrate that most people on a low-carb or keto diet lose more weight faster than those on low-fat diets - even when those diets restrict calories. Research (New England Journal of Medicine) shows that this is because low-carb diets help rid the body of excess water, lowering insulin levels and leading to rapid weight loss within the first month, or sooner.
Almost without exception, low-carb diets lead to more short-term weight loss. However, when not managed correctly this diet could become less effective long-term.
Effective Against Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition associated with a risk of diabetes and heart disease. This syndrome has a myriad of symptoms which include:
- Abdominal obesity
- High blood pressure
- Low “good” HDL cholesterol levels
- Elevated fasting blood sugar levels
- High triglycerides
According to an article from BioMed Central, carbohydrate restriction has been shown to be incredibly effective at treating these symptoms.
Reduced Insulin Levels & Blood Sugar
Keto diets can also be particularly helpful for people with diabetes and insulin resistance, which affect millions of people worldwide. Studies prove that cutting carbs lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels drastically.
Some people with diabetes who begin a low-carb diet may be able to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% almost immediately.
In one study in people with type 2 diabetes, 95% had reduced or eliminated their glucose-lowering medication within six months.
May Lower Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, is a significant risk factor for many diseases including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. According to an article posted in 2021, Nearly 1 out of 2 adults in the United States has hypertension (close to 116 million).
In many randomized studies, low-carb diets have been proven to be an extremely effective strategy to lower blood pressure, which reduces your risk of these diseases that plague a lot of Americans and will help you live a longer, healthier life.
Therapeutic For Brain Disorders
Your brain needs glucose, as some parts of it can only use this type of sugar. That’s why your liver produces glucose from protein if you don’t eat any carbs. That said, a large part of your brain can also use ketones, which are formed during starvation or when carb intake is very low.
This is the scientific process behind the ketogenic diet. It has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to drug treatment. In a randomized, controlled trial by Science Direct, over half of the children on a ketogenic diet experienced a greater than 50% reduction in their number of seizures, while 16% became seizure-free. In other studies around the world, low-carb and ketogenic diets are being looked at to help other brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Oh, the “I” word! Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to help heal and fight off infection, but too much of it can cause some unpleasant symptoms. The symptoms can include pain, joint stiffness, swelling, fatigue, and more.
The good news is, when you’re on a keto diet and regularly in a state of ketosis, your body produces ketones, specifically BHB (B-hydroxybutyrate), a strong anti-inflammatory chemical. BHB helps to inhibit the inflammatory pathways which could also activate the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway. This process assists in inhibiting the inflammatory NF-kB pathways.
Additionally, BHB has been shown to exhibit effects similar to pain-relief drugs, such as NSAIDs, by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme.
A keto diet encourages the consumption of a ton of anti-inflammatory foods, which is another benefit! Some of these foods, which are typically high in omega-3s, are listed below:
- Olive Oil / Coconut Oil
- Fatty Fish
- Bone Broth
If you feel you are experiencing any symptoms of inflammation, be sure to take a close look at your diet and see if you’re consuming any inflammation-causing foods such as:
- Processed Oils (canola, corn)
- Refined Sugars
- Fried Foods
- White Bread & Pastries
- Starchy Vegetables
Of course, if you suffer from any symptoms above or are currently taking medicine to treat blood pressure, diabetes, or other diseases, you should talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet or fitness regimen.
The bottom line: the immense health benefits of low carb and ketogenic diets are well established in nutrition science. Study after study continues to show that there are more pros than cons!
Ketogenic diets can not only improve your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, they can also reduce your appetite, boost weight loss and lower your triglycerides. So if you’re curious about ways to boost your health and get some fast results, the keto diet could be worth considering!