The keto diet gets credit for being a fast way to lose weight; however, research suggests many other benefits are possible with this low-carb -high-fat approach.
Here are ten unexpected changes that people following a keto diet plan might see.
Energy Levels Rise
In the first few days of the keto diet, it’s not uncommon for people to experience the “keto flu,” a brief period in which you may have headaches, fatigue, confusion, and nausea.
These symptoms are signs that your body is making the switch from burning glucose (sugar from carbs) for energy to burning fat—a process called ketosis.
The changeover can leave you feeling tired for a day or two, but once you break through to the fat-burning phase, you may find you have much more energy and greater peace.
“You can do more without hitting ‘the wall,” says Carrie Burrows, Ph.D., a health and fitness expert. “When we use fat as fuel, our health improves and is more sustainable.” That extra energy will carry over to your workouts, Dr. Burrows says. Here are more things you need to know before starting the keto diet.
Anxiety and Depression Diminish
While these findings are preliminary, in one study, the keto diet helped reduce anxiety.
The research suggests this could be due to the protective brain benefits of the intake of healthy fats and low levels of sugar.
A follow-up study found that mice exposed to a ketogenic diet while in utero showed less susceptibility to anxiety and depression than mice born to mothers who were not on the keto diet. Here’s what it’s really like to follow the keto diet.
You’ll Get Protection Against Type 2 Diabetes
The keto diet cuts your daily carbohydrates to less than 20 grams; for people with diagnosed diabetes, this may help them manage the condition.
A one-year study found that putting people with type 2 diabetes into ketosis dramatically improved their blood sugar control.
Also, reports study of author Steve Phinney, MD, Ph.D., chief medical officer of Virta Health, a type 2 diabetes reversal treatment, “Patients were able to lose on average 12 percent of their body weight, about 31 pounds.” Doctors want you to know these 13 things about the keto diet.
The Liver Gets Healthier
Fat accumulation in the liver is commonly associated with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
In severe cases, fatty liver disease can damage the liver. Doctors test for the condition by measuring levels of liver enzymes using blood tests.
“These enzymes were significantly reduced after one year in the clinical patients, indicating less risk of developing fatty liver disease,” Dr. Phinney says of the diabetes study.
If you’ve been told you’re at risk for fatty liver, you may want to give this diet plan a try.
And before you embark on any new eating plan, arm yourself with knowledge. You’ll want to read this: 11 hidden dangers of the keto diet.
Inflammation markers fall
Doctors can measure levels of inflammation in the body using blood tests for high-sensitivity C-reactive proteins (hs-CRP), and white blood cell (WBC) counts.
In Dr. Phinney’s study, “patients experienced a hsCRP reduction of 39 percent, and white blood cells were reduced by 9 percent,” Dr. Phinney says. “Similar results were demonstrated in a two-year study, which showed a 29 percent decrease in hsCRP following a low-carbohydrate diet.
” Inflammation, Dr. Phinney notes, is directly associated with many different health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune conditions.
“It is very possible that reducing inflammation through nutritional ketosis could improve a whole host of conditions,” he says.
These ten keto diet recipes are good enough to give it a try.
You’ll Sleep Deeper
Many people on a ketogenic diet report sleeping much deeper, says Pamela Ellgen, a personal trainer and author of Sheet Pan Ketogenic.
However, during the adjustment period (the first three to five days after you start keto), you may experience insomnia or difficulty staying asleep.
And this will end once your body adjusts to ketosis and burning stored fat.
Then, you may discover you’re able to sleep longer, sleep more profound, and feel more relaxed and rested when you wake up.
Ketosis May Help Treat Cancer
Early research suggests that the keto diet may slow the growth of cancerous tumors.
“Cancer cells have plenty of insulin receptors on them, making them flourish in environments high in blood sugar and insulin,” says Brandon Olin, host of The Deskbound Podcast, which focuses on overcoming the damage of a sedentary lifestyle.
“It’s essentially giving cancer cells a source of fuel to feed on and grow.” The research suggests ketone bodies may provide energy for your body without feeding the tumors.
Controlling your blood sugar levels helps you manage your cravings, Dr. Burrows says.
“When we are not on a sugar roller coaster from processed carbohydrates, most people make better food choices because they are not looking for their next hit of food,” she says.
You may also find you’re able to go more extended periods without eating, he says. Intermittent fasting is a common practice among dieters who’ve been eating keto for a while.
Keto Diet May Boost Heart Health
It may seem unusual that a diet filled with fats could be positive for your heart, but that’s precisely what Dr. Phinney suggests.
“In the one-year study, 22 of 26 cardiovascular risk factors significantly improved.
Most notably, these patients experienced a mean fasting triglyceride reduction of 24 percent, an 18 percent increase in good HDL cholesterol, and significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
” For all of these findings, Dr. Phinney notes that research into the benefits of keto is still in its earliest stages.
“The fact is, there is not yet any long-term, peer-reviewed data that connects some of these improvements to nutritional ketosis,” he says. Read more about the 11 hidden dangers of the keto diet.
Improved Fat Burning
By definition, being in a state of ketosis means you are burning fat for energy.
If you have excess body fat, you will be able to burn it at a much more efficient rate.
Being overweight is considered a risk factor for several diseases.
Additionally, having excess body fat (particularly in the gut) is associated with hormone imbalances and toxin accumulation in the body.
Skin conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis are often rooted in chronic inflammation or autoimmunity.
Often, inflammatory processes unnecessarily attack different structures of the skin which results in various conditions.
For example, acne is associated with inflammation of the sebaceous glands in the skin, whereas eczema is generalized inflammation of the skin cells.
Things like chemical exposure, environmental allergies, chronic stress, hormone imbalance, and imbalances in gut bacteria can all contribute to these skin conditions.
While the factors should also be addressed, following a ketogenic diet can also help to lower inflammation and accelerate healing quickly.
Many people don’t realize how much their lives revolve around their next meal.
Sudden intense hunger pangs and mood changes are seen as common and normal in our society.
In reality, these things are caused by chronic blood sugar instability, signaling the brain that you are starving. And this is where the sudden urge to eat NOW comes from.
If you find yourself getting hangry a lot, you’re likely dealing with blood sugar instability.
Getting into a state of ketosis balances blood sugar provides the brain with stable energy and completely eliminates cravings.
In fact, I often have people tell me that they barely think about food between meals anymore.
I briefly touched upon this benefit already, but this one is profound.
Most of us have been using sugar for energy our entire lives, and this is what our mitochondria are comfortable with.
The initial phases of keto-adaptation actually act as a powerful stressor and stimulus to your mitochondria.
During the transition phase, as your cells are stimulated to burn fat, old and weak mitochondria die off.
As we’ve said earlier, improved energy production has a broadly beneficial impact on the body’s ability to heal and perform in general.
Your brain seems sharper
While sugar may be a great quick form of energy, it doesn’t keep your brain at its best.
“There is a lot of evidence coming out which suggests that the brain operates more efficiently on ketones than it does on blood sugar, but the research is all fairly new,” Olin says.
“Ketones are made to fuel the brain in the absence of glucose,” says Kristen Mancinelli, a registered dietitian, and author of The Ketogenic Diet.
“On a regular diet, the brain gets 100 percent of its energy from glucose.
On a ketogenic diet, up to two-thirds of the brain’s energy comes from ketones.
Understandably, brain function would change drastically on a ketogenic diet.” Here are 13 things doctors want you to know about the keto diet.
A ketogenic diet can improve your health in many ways. Lowering inflammation and improving mitochondrial energy output can drastically improve your life and reduce your risk of acquiring many chronic diseases.
If you are looking to implement a ketogenic diet into your life and don’t know where to begin, these articles can be great resources for you. Get in touch with us to help you developed an in-depth program that provides you with everything you need to implement a ketogenic diet for maximum benefits.