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The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that can help you shed pounds and enhance your health – but it can be challenging to stick to.
One advantage of the keto diet is that it encourages you to enter ketosis, a metabolic state where fat serves as your primary fuel instead of glucose.
1. Weight loss
The keto diet helps you shed pounds by shifting your body’s fuel source from glucose to fat. It reduces carbohydrates and increases fat and protein intake.
Additionally, exercise reduces insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to use sugar as fuel or store it for later.
However, this can lead to dangerously high levels of ketones in your blood, which could prove disastrous if you already suffer from diabetes.
Before starting a keto diet, those with diabetes, particularly type 1, should consult their physician.
Ketosis is a natural process in which your body uses fatty acids and ketone bodies as energy instead of glucose. According to Dr. Stephen Phinney of Virta Health, who co-founded the company with Dr. Phinney, ketosis may aid weight loss as research found it helped overweight individuals exercise more effectively.
2. Lower blood pressure
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb eating plan that emphasizes fat sources like nuts and seeds, avocadoes, olive oil, and meats. Eating these foods may help lower your blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.
According to the American Heart Association, people should aim for systolic pressure (the first number) below 120 millimeters of mercury and diastolic pressure (between two heartbeats) below 80 millimeters of mercury. A person with either high systolic or diastolic pressure is considered hypertensive; this can be dangerous and lead to serious medical conditions like heart disease or stroke.
Some researchers have observed that the keto diet may increase blood pressure in certain individuals due to an electrolyte imbalance, particularly when high-sodium foods are included. To counteract this effect, try increasing your potassium intake.
3. Lower cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance in your body that assists cells in building membranes, synthesizing vitamin D and producing hormones. Additionally, cholesterol plays an essential role in preventing heart disease by helping build cell walls.
Ketosis, or a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat, can help lower cholesterol levels by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Most people who follow a keto diet will experience an improvement in their cholesterol, however some won’t. That’s largely because how the diet is structured depends on what types of foods people eat, according to Soffer.
Eating too much saturated fat can increase your LDL, so it is best to minimize it during a keto diet. If you are uncertain as to how much saturated fat is safe for you to eat, consult your doctor before beginning this new lifestyle.
4. Improved mental health
People who follow a ketogenic diet tend to experience greater emotional balance and clarity of thought. This could be attributed to better blood sugar control as well as the brain-enhancing effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, an important neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation.
Additionally, a keto diet could reduce inflammation and oxidative stress – both linked to depression and other health issues. Furthermore, it could increase your body’s production of GABA, an important neurotransmitter that alleviates symptoms related to depression.
Recently, a study suggests that the keto diet may benefit the 30% of individuals with major depressive disorder who are resistant to drug-based therapies. This is an incredibly encouraging finding.
5. Lower inflammation
The keto diet alters how your body processes energy, switching from a carb-based metabolism to one based on fat. This shift can reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s response to infections, illness, or injury. But when it becomes chronic, it can lead to serious health complications.
A recent study suggests that the keto diet can reduce inflammation in the brain. This could provide comfort to people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and stroke.