If you’ve been considering making the switch to a ketogenic diet, you’re at the right place. You’ve probably heard lots of things about the keto diet and you might even know of many people who’ve adopted this diet successfully. But, in spite of its hype in recent times, this diet is not a brand new fad. In fact, medical professionals have been relying on this diet for as many as 100 years, in order to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in kids. Surprised?
But, first things first. Before you make the switch, it’s essential to understand what a ketogenic or a keto diet really is. Let’s look at it this way. Our bodies tend to use up blood sugar from the carbohydrates in our food, to generate energy. But when you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re cutting down on your carb intake. Your body also begins to release ketones into your bloodstream – basically, it breaks down stored fat into what is known as ‘ketones’. This process is called ketosis. This is when the cells in your body (at least most of them) begin to generate energy using these ketones.
Typically, since it requires a reduction in carb intake, a keto diet contains more fats and proteins. Since carbohydrates comprise a large portion of our diet today, we end up eating not enough protein and fats that aren’t really good for the body. On a keto diet, your body ingests a sufficient amount of protein as well as good fats and swings into ketosis. And when it does this, your body begins to burn fat for energy, helping you lose weight.
But can a ketogenic diet be good for you? Well, it’s certainly known to have a series of benefits. Evidence exists to show that a ketogenic diet reduces the risks of seizures in children. This diet is said to have ‘neuroprotective effects’, meaning something that protects your nerve cells from damage. Studies have even been taken up to find out whether a ketogenic diet can assist in treating illnesses like Alzheimer’s, autism and even multiple sclerosis.
Here are some of the benefits of a ketogenic diet:
Helps control appetite
When you’re on a ketogenic diet, it’s relatively easier to gain control over your appetite. Research suggests that this diet helps curb feelings of hunger, because you’re eating just enough with every meal. You also tend to eat less or eat only when you’re hungry.
Aids in weight loss
As we explained above, when you’re on a ketogenic diet, your body slowly begins to burn fats instead of carbohydrates in order to generate energy. So, you’re definitely bound to lose weight.
Reduces acne breakouts
An acne breakout is fairly common today. But it’s still pretty annoying! One of the many causes of acne is an improper diet or a fluctuation in blood sugar levels. When you’re eating lots of carbs and processed food, blood sugar fluctuations are a given. But on a ketogenic diet, your carb intake is drastically cut down and so, the chances of an acne breakout are pretty slim.
May have neuroprotective benefits
Although research on this is still being conducted, there are studies that say that a ketogenic diet comes with a series of neuroprotective benefits. What this means is that this kind of diet can greatly assist those afflicted with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other such diseases.
Improves liver health
Sometimes, because of our food habits, fats tend to get accumulated in the liver. This happens when the liver is unable to process and break down these extra calories and unhealthy fats. Paired with other conditions such as diabetes or obesity, this is known as fatty liver. Studies have suggested that when such patients were put on this diet, they were at a lesser risk of developing this disease a year after they started on the diet.
Lets you sleep better
While the first week of keto can be difficult, you will find that once your body adjusts to this diet, you will be sleeping longer, deeper and better. Research shows that this kind of a diet helps relax the nervous system, bringing better sleep. And as we all know, good sleep means good health!
Having said that, we can’t stress enough on the fact that everyone’s body is different. Each body will react to different diet plans in different ways. So, it’s always better to ease yourself into a new diet, instead of diving right in. As always, it’s best to speak to your doctor or dietitian before you make the switch.
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