Keto Diet: What It Is and What Are Its Benefits

In the health world, there are always new fad diets popping up. Some of them gain so much popularity, but eventually fade out. Some of them actually work. Unfortunately, a lot of them fall flat. The keto diet is one of the successful ones.

What Is the Keto Diet?

So what exactly is the keto diet? It’s complete name is the ketogenic diet. It is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Studies show that this diet helps you lose weight and improves overall health. It is a little similar to the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets.

It drastically reduces your intake of carbohydrates and replaces it with fat. The reduction of carbohydrates puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. This makes your body incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. This also turns fat into ketones in the liver. This then supplies energy to the brain.

History of the Keto Diet

The keto diet was first used as treatment for childhood epilepsy in the 1920s. Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic came up with the idea. It was very effective and was widely used. However, because of the rise of anti-seizure medications in the 1940s, the keto diet’s popularity waned. In the past fifteen years, it has started to gain popularity once again, this time as an answer to weight loss.

Types of Keto Diets

There are several versions of this diet. Here are a few of them:

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

This diet contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. It is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb kind of diet.

  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

This diet has periods of higher carb refeeds. For example, there are 5 ketogenic days and then 2 high-carb days.

  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

This diet lets you add carbohydrates with your workouts.

  • High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HKD)

This is quite similar to the standard diet. The percentage of fat is lowered, and the percentage of protein increases. It’s usually 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

These are just four examples of the many different types of keto diets out there. However, the most researched and the most recommended one to follow is the standard diet.

Keto Diet Benefits

Controls Epilepsy

This is why the keto diet was designed in the first place. The diet reduces or prevents seizures in many children whose seizures can’t be controlled by medication. It is great for children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

It is particularly helpful for several epilepsy conditions. These include infantile spasms, Dravet syndrome, Rett syndrome, Doose syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, and also GLUT-1 deficiency.

Weight Loss

One of the most popular reason for trying out the keto diet. Studies show that this is far more superior than low-fat diets. And in this diet, you don’t have to count calories or track your food. This is because of the increased intake of protein. The increase of ketones, low blood sugar levels, and better insulin sensitivity also help.

In addition, there is also a decrease in insulin levels. Insulin is the body’s main fat-storing hormone.

Reverses Type 2 Diabetes

Eating too many carbs increases the sugar in the blood. Since this diet features low intake of carbs, it’s no wonder that blood sugar levels are controlled. Studies show that the keto diet improves insulin sensitivity by 75 percent.

Calms the Stomach

People who are on the keto diet experience less stomach troubles. There’s a lot less gas, a lot less bloating, a lot less stomach cramps, and a lesser risk of diarrhea.

Acts as Brain Food

Ketosis results in a steady flow of fuel, in the form of ketones, to the brain. This means your focus and your concentration increases too.

The keto diet also reduces concussions. It also aids in recovery after brain surgery.

Increases Physical Endurance

The keto diet greatly increases your physical endurance. What happens is it gives you full access to the energy of your fat stores. The fat stores carry enough energy that can last for weeks, sometimes even months. The keto diet makes sure you have all the energy you need with whatever physical activity you’re going through.

Reduces Acne Problems

Studies show that there is a connection with eating too many carbs and acne. This is because carbs boost the production of growth hormones like IGF and insulin. These hormones are the ones responsible for acne. This is why this low-carb diet can help get rid of those blemishes on your face.

Prevents Cancer

There are several medical studies that show that the keto diet prevents and kills cancer cells. How? It’s really simple. Cancer cells need glucose to survive. Carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body. So if you eat loads of carbs, then there is a bigger chance for cancer cells to grow. But if you eat a lesser amount of carbs, that means lesser glucose is produced. This means the cancer cells’ source of energy is depleted.

A Word of Caution

I’m sure you’re all hyped up about the keto diet and the benefits you can obtain from it. However, don’t go planning a diet all on your own. Make sure to consult your physician if you are able to handle the diet. And if you are, hire a proper nutritionist to set your meals for you.

Also, as with any diet, it will only work if you are fully committed to it. Make sure to strictly follow the meal plans to reap its benefits.

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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