Ketogenic diets have been around for many, many years!! Initially it was made very famous as it was a very effective dietary intervention for children with epilepsy. It has now popped again and gained huge popularity as a very effective weight loss dietary approach, but there are so many other benefits that come with this diet, lets take a look at some common benefits!
LOWERS TRIGLYCERIDE LEVELS AND IMPROVES CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Triglycerides are the main form of fat in our bodies often called lipids. Elevated Triglycerides are thought to play a negative role in cardiovascular health, which is questionable to say the least, but having healthy levels are beneficial. Elevated triglycerides can be seen in people who eat a high refined carbohydrate diet. Studies have found that adhering to a Ketogenic diet actually decreased triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and increased HDL Cholesterol which is highly beneficial.
It is very interesting to note that most recommended dietary approaches for high cholesterol are low fat and high complex carbohydrate diets….. Go figure! And this often in not an effective approach.
REDUCES INSULIN LEVELS AND SUPPORTS FAT LOSS
Insulin is released in response to glucose, which is the simplest form of carbohydrate, increased insulin levels are often associated with elevated weight, triglycerides and type 2 diabetes. Ketogenic diets play an active role in decreasing insulin due to the low carbohydrate intake, they do no stimulate the pancreas to secrete high amounts of insulin.
Put basically Ketogenic diets are a very effective way to lose weight.
IMPROVES MEMORY, CLARITY AND SUPPORTS MENTAL HEALTH
Ketogenic diets have been shown to play a significant role in altering brain chemistry and there is a body of evidence supporting these diets as a therapeutic intervention for Mental Health, Memory and improved cognition. The exact way in which this diet works is still not exactly known and more research is emerging, but what we do know there are definite positive outcomes for mental health patients.
MAY HELP SLOW NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES SUCH AS PARKINSON'S AND ALZHEIMERS
This is growing research that is showing individuals suffering from Neurodegenerative disorders, researchers have received very positive results so far with little to no side effects, there seems to be changes in cell signalling in the brain resulting in reduction in symptoms. With such great results it would be great to see this diet implemented more often!
INCREASED ENERGY LEVELS
Ketogenic diets can play a significant role in improving energy levels! The current diet that we are recommended to follow focus’ on carbohydrates for energy production to which we continuously consume carbohydrate to be broken down to glucose for energy. When following a ketogenic diet our bodies change to a different energy source, fats and fatty acids, for energy which provide a more constant energy supply. More to come in another blog post on this particular topic!
Ketogenic diets, particularly Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, have been shown to provide numerous anti-inflammatory properties. Many chronic illnesses have an inflammatory pathway involved such as auto-immune disease, cancers and pain conditions so it only makes sense to implement an anti-inflammatory diet, such as a Ketogenic and/or Paleo diet to reduce disease progress and improve symptoms. Diet is an extremely powerful intervention when used effectively!
INCREASE EXERCISE PERFORMANCE
As ketogenic diets put our bodies into a state of Ketosis, our bodies breakdown fat stores and produce ketones from the fat we consume we often have a constant supply of ketones being produced which our bodies use to produce ATP, energy. Ketones improve energy performance and also decrease lactate production.
ABILITY TO REDUCE SEIZURES IN EPILEPSY
The ketogenic diet was a popular therapeutic intervention for children suffering epileptic seizures prior to the introduction of anti-seizure medication. Studies had shown that up to 90% of children adhering to a ketogenic were seizure free through the study and 22% remained seizure free after the study finished! The positives of the ketogenic diet over anti-seizure medication is the diet lacks the potential side effects experienced by the medication. The negative is that many people may find it hard to adhere to a ketogenic diet.
IT MAY BE EFFECTIVE AT DECREASING CANCER PROGRESSION
There has been a lot of recent research around ketogenic diets and cancer. Cancer cells generally use a process called glycolysis to produce energy and grow, it has been shown that some Cancer cells may not be able to use ketones for this process so in a way it starves the cancer cells and limits their growth. Please note this is not in all cancers and it is important to discuss this option with your healthcare professional.
BENEFICIAL FOR REDUCING PCOS SYMPTOMS
As elevated insulin levels are one of the main drivers in PCOS it only makes sense to implement a diet that reduces those insulin levels and a ketogenic diet is a great option.
Simply put there are some great benefits that come from following low carb and Ketogenic diets!