The Ketogenic Diet

What is a Keto Diet?  

    The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. Unlike other diets, the keto diet forces the body to use different fuel sources for energy. Usually, the body relies on carb (sugar) reserves as fuel. When following a normal carb-rich diet, the cells, tissues, and organs use up glucose from carbohydrates and convert it into energy. While this is the ideal biochemistry for the body, consuming too many carbs leads to an excess of glucose in the blood. If the cells are no longer able to use the excess, it gets stored in the liver as glycogen and eventually converted into fats. This means that if your physical activity is too little, you end up accumulating fat in your body, leading to chronic problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and others.   

    How Keto Works  

    The Keto diet focuses on the drastic reduction of carbohydrates and replaces these carbs with fats. When you follow the keto diet, your body bypasses glucose and instead uses fats as its main fuel source. When the body detects little carbohydrates in the bloodstream, it automatically turns on another pathway that burns the stored fat into energy.   

    This is when the body enters into a state called ketosis. Ketosis is the ultimate goal of the keto diet. Ketosis is a metabolic process where the body is forced to use body fat for energy instead of carbs and sugars.

Entering Ketosis  

    You need to understand ketosis to understand the ketogenic diet. Ketosis is a process whereby the body burns off fat as an alternative energy source in the absence or deficit of glucose. Under normal circumstances, the body uses the hormone glucose to push glucose into cells to provide energy. Low glucose levels switch on another metabolic pathway in the body, which is ketosis, to burn off fats as an energy source. Ketosis is a normal process, and it plays a vital role in humans’ evolutionary success.   

    With keto, your body starts to use fat as fuel. Once your body has limited access to blood glucose or sugar, your body will enter a state of ketosis. With keto, the levels of insulin hormones in your body decrease, and the fatty acids in your body will be released from the fat stores.   

    From this point, the fatty acids that are being released into your body are then transferred to your liver. Once in place, the fatty acids are oxidized and turned into ketone bodies, which provide your body with energy. Once the process has occurred, ketones provide energy for your body and your brain without ever needing glucose.

The Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet  

  1.      Supports weight loss: The ketogenic diet reduces appetite, boosts metabolism, and promotes weight loss. Studies show that ketogenic diet foods reduce hunger-stimulating hormones.   
  2.      Improves acne: Eating a carb-rich diet changes the balance of gut bacteria and causes a blood sugar spike. Both of these degrade skin health and trigger acne. The ketogenic diet lowers carb intake and solves the acne problem.  
  3.      Lowers risk of certain cancers: Researchers have revealed that a ketogenic diet can prevent or even treat certain cancers. One study shows that the ketogenic diet can be practiced in conjunction with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The ketogenic diet reduces insulin production. Excess insulin for a long period of time can cause several types of cancers.    
  4.      Improves heart health: The ketogenic diet encourages eating healthy fats, which improves heart health. Animal and human studies on keto show that some people experience a major decline in bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and an increase in good cholesterol after starting the keto diet. High levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.   
  5.      Brain function: A study shows that ketones generated during the keto diet can provide neuroprotective benefits. This is why people at risk of Alzheimer’s should follow the keto diet.  
  6.      Reduces seizures: The carb, protein, and fat ratio of the keto diet ensure that the body goes into ketosis. Studies show that a state of ketosis can help reduce seizures.   
  7.      Improves PCOS symptoms: PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes various health problems. Eating a diet high in carbs can worsen PCOS symptoms. On the other hand, following a low-carb diet can help diminish PCOS symptoms.   
  8.      Migraines: Some studies suggest that a keto diet can improve the symptoms of migraines.
  9. Multiple sclerosis: Animal studies show that the ketogenic diet helps suppress inflammatory markers. This can help lower the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.   

Diabetes: The ketogenic diet is extremely effective against diabetes. Prolong periods of abnormal insulin production can trigger diabetes. Blood sugar causes insulin production. The keto diet is a low-carb diet. Thus, it solves the excessive insulin production problem. If you have already developed diabetic symptoms, then you should opt for the keto diet.

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