Uses and Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
When you use a ketogenic diet, your body becomes more of a fat burner than a carb-dependent machine. Several researches have linked the consumption of increased amounts of carbohydrates to the development of several disorders such as diabetes and insulin resistance.
By nature, carbohydrates are easily absorbed and can therefore be easily stored by the body. The digestion of carbohydrates begins the moment you put them in your mouth.
As soon as you start chewing them, the amylase (the carbohydrate-digesting enzymes) in your saliva is already working on the carbohydrate-containing foods.
In the stomach, carbohydrates are further broken down. When they enter the small intestine, they are then absorbed into the bloodstream. When entering the bloodstream, carbohydrates generally raise blood sugar levels.
This increase in blood sugar levels stimulates the immediate release of insulin into the blood. The greater the rise in blood sugar, the greater the amount of insulin released.
Insulin is a hormone that causes excess sugar to be removed from the blood to lower blood sugar levels. Insulin takes the sugar and carbohydrates you eat and stores them either as glycogen in muscle tissue or as fat in adipose tissue for future use as energy.
However, the body can develop what is called insulin resistance when continuously exposed to such high amounts of blood glucose. This scenario can easily cause obesity because the body tends to quickly store any excess glucose. Health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease can also result from this condition.
Keto diets are low in carbs and high in fat and have been linked to reducing and improving several health conditions.
One of the main things a ketogenic diet does is stabilize your insulin levels and also restore leptin signaling. Reduced amounts of insulin in the blood make you feel full longer and also have fewer cravings.
Medical benefits of ketogenic diets
The application and implementation of the ketogenic diet has grown significantly. Keto diets are often indicated as part of the treatment plan in a number of medical conditions.
This is basically the main reason for the development of the ketogenic diet. For some reason, the rate of seizures decreases when patients follow a keto diet.
Pediatric epilepsy cases are most responsive to the keto diet. There are children who have experienced the elimination of seizures after a few years of using a keto diet.
Children with epilepsy are generally expected to fast for a few days before starting the ketogenic diet as part of their treatment.
Research suggests that the therapeutic efficacy of ketogenic diets against tumor growth may be enhanced when combined with certain medications and procedures under a “press-pulse” paradigm.
It is also promising to note that ketogenic diets lead to cancer cell remission. This means that keto diets “starve the cancer” to reduce symptoms.
There are several indications that the memory functions of patients with Alzheimer’s disease improve after using a ketogenic diet.
Ketones are a great alternative energy source for the brain, especially when it has become insulin resistant. Ketones also provide substrates (cholesterol) that help repair damaged neurons and membranes. All of this helps improve memory and cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
It is generally accepted that carbohydrates are the main culprits of diabetes. Therefore, by reducing the amount of carbohydrates ingested using a ketogenic diet, the chances of improving blood sugar control increase.
Also, combining a keto diet with other diabetes treatment plans can significantly improve their overall effectiveness.
Many people with a gluten allergy are not diagnosed with this condition. However, following a ketogenic diet has shown an improvement in associated symptoms such as digestive discomfort and bloating.
Most carbohydrate-rich foods are high in gluten. So, by using a keto diet, much of the gluten intake is kept to a minimum due to the elimination of a wide variety of carbohydrates.
This is arguably the most common “intentional” use of the ketogenic diet today. It has found a niche in the traditional diet trend. Keto diets have become part of many weight loss diets due to their well-known side effect of aiding weight loss.
Although initially decried by many, the growing number of favorable weight loss results has helped ketogenic gain greater adoption as a major weight loss program.
Along with the medical benefits above, ketogenic diets also provide general health benefits, including the following.
Improved insulin sensitivity
This is obviously the primary purpose of a ketogenic diet. It helps stabilize your insulin levels, thereby enhancing fat burning.
Since proteins are oxidized, they help preserve lean muscle mass. The loss of lean muscle mass slows an individual’s metabolism because muscle is generally very metabolic. Using a keto diet actually helps preserve your muscle while your body burns fat.
pH and respiratory function checked
A ketoc diet helps lower lactate, improving both pH and respiratory function. A state of ketosis therefore helps to maintain your blood pH at a healthy level.
Improved immune system
Using a ketogenic diet helps fight aging with antioxidants while reducing inflammation in the gut, thereby boosting your immune system.
Reduced cholesterol levels
Consuming fewer carbs while on a keto diet will help lower blood cholesterol levels. This is due to the increased state of lipolysis. This leads to a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels.
Reduced appetite and cravings
Adopting a ketogenic diet helps you reduce both your appetite and your cravings for high-calorie foods. As you begin to eat healthy, satisfying, and beneficial foods, your hunger pangs will naturally begin to decrease.