People with various health problems such as obesity and diabetes are increasingly turning to nutritional arrangements as alternative methods of managing their health issues. This is because medical interventions are sometimes limited.
Moreover, medical solutions may require one to completely change their lifestyle; this can be extremely difficult. For this reason, the majority of people are embracing various kinds of diets. One of the infamous diets that have gained popularity over recent years is the ketogenic diet.
So, what is a ketogenic diet?
This is a diet that entails a reduced daily carbohydrate intake. The carbohydrates are typically brought down to 50 grams a day or less, while protein and fats are relatively increased. Normally, the fats are used at a high percentage, surpassing the proteins. More so, it is not easy to increase the protein levels beyond a certain point.
How does the Ketogenic diet work?
After a few days of adhering to a strict low carbohydrate diet, glucose reserves become depleted.
Due to the carbohydrate restrictions for a considerable number of days, the central nervous system is forced to seek alternative sources of energy. This system cannot rely on fatty acids as its source of energy
Therefore, it has to turn to an alternative source of energy known as ketones.
Ketone bodies are formed in the mitochondrial matrix of the liver as a result of carbohydrates scarcity.
This can be attributed to the need for energy, which must be generated from the breakdown of fatty acids. Consequently, the ketosis process prompts fat loss in the body.
So what are the benefits of a ketogenic diet?
1. Weight loss
Ketogenic diet has a myriad of benefits and weight loss is the most popular one.
A ketogenic diet is a proven method that is effective, both in weight loss and insulin resistance. This diet works to benefit people who are overweight in their efforts to lose weight.
You can cut your calorie intake tremendously without having to contend with a pang of ravenous hunger.
This makes it bearable for anyone willing to reduce weight.
2. Helps in Managing Type 2 Diabetes
People with diabetes are constantly advised to keep their weight in check by medical doctors.
Given that a ketogenic diet is also a proven way to reduce weight, type 2 diabetes patients benefit in both weight loss and blood sugar management.
This study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January issue of the year 2007. Patients were put in a strict diet that reduced the carbohydrates intake to about 20g/day.
This led to a drastic reduction in calories with a minimal change in hunger, energy levels as well as diet satisfaction. This was effective in controlling and managing diabetes.
3. Reduces heart disease risk factor
High triglycerides levels in the blood are known to pose a substantial risk of heart disease. In modern lifestyle, triglycerides levels tend to rise due to high carbohydrate intake.
One of the common drivers includes simple sugars known as fructose.
If you were to cut your carbohydrate level, there will be a drastic reduction in blood triglycerides. This contributes to reducing the heart disease risk factor.
4. Boost Good Cholesterol Levels
High-density lipoprotein is usually termed as “good” cholesterol. When the HDL levels are high, the chances of being a victim of heart disease are reduced.
One of the most effective ways to raise your good cholesterol levels is to consume fats. A low carbohydrate diet allows you to do so.
That's why it's relatively easy to boost your HDL levels when on a ketogenic diet.
5. Reducing Acne
Recent studies show that eating some types of food results in a nutritional influence that causes acne. The foods associated with acne development include milk and those with a high glycemic load.
published by the European Journal Clinical Nutrition showed that acne was prevalent in the westernized population in comparison to other populations. This is because non-westernized populations tend to lean more towards traditional diets. Traditional diets can be sometimes conservative, but healthy.
Typical traditional diets have a low glycemic load, same as a ketogenic diet. Although the research carried out on nutritional and acne cannot be described as conclusive, a ketogenic diet can evidently help reduce the severity of acne.
6. Cancer Prevention
Cancer attacks the body as a result of a mutation activity. The mutations take place in the DNA of normal cells over a significant period of time, which could be a few years.
There is evidence that hyperglycemia, as well as chronic inflammation, sometimes affect the neoplastic process in various ways.
One of these ways is through the insulin pathway. Most cancer cells have a habit of manifesting themselves through IGF1 receptors and insulin.
Insulin may, in turn, stimulate mitogenesis and other cancer mechanisms, including metastasis and invasion. It may also promote the progression of other types of cancer cells and lead to cancer diffusion through a process known as angiogenesis.
When you look at the close relationship between insulin and carbohydrates, you can then see the connection between cancer and carbohydrates. Back in the 1920s, it was realized that glycosuria reduced notably in diabetic patients who developed cancer. In a nutshell, a ketogenic diet can prevent you from developing certain strains of cancer
A lot of studies and research on ketogenic diet continue to be carried out in various institutions the world over. These efforts are geared towards ascertaining the existing benefits of a ketogenic diet as well as finding out more.
However, there are overwhelming benefits that a ketogenic diet is instrumental in alleviating and managing numerous health problems.
Nevertheless, patients should not substitute their prescribed medication with a ketogenic diet without consulting their physicians first.
Supplementary diets coupled together with the right medication under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner can work hand in hand with modern medicine in the treatment and prevention of various diseases.