Keto diets are very popular at the moment, but they’re so much more than just a fad as this guest post explains. This pattern of low carb, high fat and moderate protein eating puts the body in a metabolic state called ‘ketosis’, which can positively impact health in many ways. As humans, we evolved to utilise this state, it’s one of the main reasons we have survived as a species. We can eat when food is plentiful and store the excess as fat- then utilise this energy later on during leaner times. The problem is that food in the modern world is rarely scarce, and so we find ourselves being constantly fuelled by the carbhohydrates in our diets, rather than having to burn off the excess we’re storing in our bodies. But acessing these stores is possible by switching up what you eat, without having to go hungry or inconvenience your life much at all. Want to find out more? Here’s how entering ketosis and following a keto plan could help your health.
We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Low cost convenience food is available all day and night, it tastes good and actually has addictive qualities that keep people coming back for more. We all work long hours and so reaching for those tasty, easy options can be all the more tempting- which is unfortunate for our waistlines. Many of us have tried traditional diets at one time or another, they usually work by restricting calories and fat which lead to weight loss over time. The problem with this is theyre very difficult to maintain long term, restricting can lead to hunger which can cause periods of binging and overeating. Many people will return to their old ways of eating, where the lost weight creeps back on- plus more. Keto diets are different, they allow you to eat to satiety. You’re reducing carbohydrates and instead eating protein and fat, which is both tasty as well as filliing and satisfying. This means a keto diet is something people are able to maintain over a long time frame, with many following it for years or even permanently. When your body is ‘fat adapted’, it burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This means that saturated fat doesnt accumulate in the blood like it would in a diet that’s also rich in carbohydrates, meaning you can eat high fat dairy, animal fats and vegetable fats without risking heart disease and other complications. If your weight puts you at risk of preventable diseases, losing weight is always a good idea. With a keto style plan, you can do this without going hungry or going without. It’s easy to adapt the plan if you eat out at restaurants too so you don’t have to give up your social life like you do on most weight loss plans.
Ever get sudden cravings for sweets, or feel an intense hunger pang come out of seemingly nowhere? This is a result of carbohydrates. When you eat carbs, they spike your blood sugar– it’s when your blood sugar drops again that signals are sent to the brain to eat more. For this reason, eating carbs can leave you feeling like you’re on a roller coaster of highs and lows. You can easily over eat as your body is signalling you to eat more, and it’s generally going to be sugar laden, carb heavy foods you’re going to want to reach for. When you’re on a keto plan, your body isn’t fuelled by carbohydrates and so you don’t experience the spikes in blood sugar. As a result of this, cravings and hunger are much more easily controlled- in fact, once you break free of the sugar and enter ketosis you find that you really don’t desire it. People might say things like ‘I couldn’t survive without chocolate!’ but you’d be so surprised, when your blood sugar is under control and you’re satiated with real foods you find you just don’t need it. Hunger generally doesnt hit you like a ton of bricks out of nowhere, it starts gradually and gets more intense over time. Most people however no longer know what real hunger feels like, as they eat when they experience the hunger pangs caused by carbs. Keto can essentially ‘reset’ your appetite, without the constant blood sugar spikes and strong desires to eat every hour, you get to learn your own body again. Because your body has a constant source of fuel (its own fat reserves) it’s easy to fast and generally eat less. When you do eat, eat until your full without going overboard and you’ll soon notice the weight drop off.
Blood sugar control
For all of the reasons mentioned above, keto diets are great for blood sugar control. It makes it the perfect plan for diabetics, pre diabetics or anyone at risk of getting the disease. It’s not just sugar you need to worry about in regards to these conditions, all carbohydrates are converted to glucose in the body (with simple carbs being metabolised the quickest and therefore spiking blood sugar the most). So by cutting these out, you can gain control of your insulin levels. Losing weight will also help in the case of type two diabetes, and staying in ketosis for long periods can actually help your body to become more sensitive to insulin again. Meaning your condition is much better managed and you’re less likely to experience complications as a result of the disorder. If you’re worried about diabetes, want to safely attempt to reduce your medication or even reverse your condition then a keto diet is something you can mention to your doctor. When it comes to prescriptions, you might have found them cheaper online, but think of how freeing getting rid of the condition completely would be?
Management of health conditions
As well as diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is another disorder that’s affected by blood sugar- this endocrine disorder has been shown to be made worse by a high-carbohydrate diet. Restricting carbohydrates like in a keto diet can help hormones to regulate, reduce symptoms and can even mean women with the disorder can start ovulating again- restoring fertility. Another health condition ketosis can help with is seizures in people with epilepsy. The jury is still out on how effective this actually is, though it seems to be most effective on children who have focal seizures. Some studies suggest that the keto diet even offers neuroprotective benefits, which can help to treat or prevent conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even some sleep disorders. The ketogenic diet has recently been investigated a great deal for how it may help prevent or even treat certain cancers. One study found that it may be a suitable complementary treatment to chemotherapy and radiation in people with cancer, this is due to the fact that it causes more oxidative stress in cancer cells than in normal cells
There are a number of different causes of acne, and so we can’t say that a keto diet will cure the condition. However, becacause one cause may be related to diet and blood sugar, it’s fair to state that eating a keto diet could help with skin issues. Research shows that a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can alter gut bacteria and cause more dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, both of which can have an influence on skin health. Therefore, by decreasing carb intake, it’s not a surprise that a ketogenic diet could reduce some cases of acne.