If you've been looking into starting a keto diet, you've probably also been looking into the health benefits it holds. While many people try it to help them lose weight, it can actually do so much more than that.
Here is a list of 6 proven health benefits you can experience on a keto diet, but first, we'll explain what it actually is first for those who are just hearing of this type of diet.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
Known as a keto diet for short, there are actually different types of ketogenic diets one can try. A standard ketogenic diet is the most common, particularly for those who want to speed up their weight loss journey. It'll include a low carbohydrate diet with some moderate protein and high fat.
There's also the cyclical ketogenic diet. This ranges between a strict high-fat, low-carb ketogenic meal plan and a higher carb intake. Typically, people will follow the standard keto diet for 5-6 days of the week followed by a cyclical keto diet for 1-2 days for higher carb consumption. This is a type of diet popular amongst athletes wanting to improve their performance and muscle growth.
What's On The Menu?
Those on low carbohydrate diets can expect to eat a lot of meat (like lamb, beef, game meats, organ meats, pork, or even tofu and tempeh), fish (crab, lobster, shrimp, etc.) cheese (cashew-based cheese are great low-carb options for vegans), butter (real, delicious butter) and plenty of vegetables (for example broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, avocado, etc.). Those who aren't vegan will also want to get used to eating a lot of eggs and high-fat dairy products, however, if you are vegan, coconut milk is a great substitute as it's naturally high in fat but low in carbs. Nuts and seeds will also be a large part of your diet, specifically pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and hemp and chia seeds.
6 Proven Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet
1. Reduces Your Appetite
One of the many reasons people choose a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is because it suppresses their appetite. When you increase your protein and fat intake, you won't consume as many calories; a good way to promote weight loss and putting an end to poor eating habits. Low-carb diets also rid your body of excess water which results in lower insulin levels and rapid weight loss that is noticeable within the first two weeks.
2. Improves AcneIf you have acne-prone skin, refining your carbohydrate intake can improve gut health and, therefore, affect your skin health, especially because acne can be directly related to elevated blood sugar levels and other dietary reasons. A lower blood sugar level can improve your skin and give it a healthier glow.
3. Improves Heart Health
High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease but eating healthy fats, low carbs, a high protein diet, and less processed foods can lower bad cholesterol levels. A study was conducted with people in 2017 and results showed that cardiovascular risk factors were decreased, even in obese patients and those with type 2 diabetes. But for optimal results, one should continue to eat a balanced diet, not stop after a few weeks and go back to their old ways.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to many health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease/failure, blood clots, and more. But did you know that a low-carb diet can help reduce high blood pressure? If you're at risk of obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, a keto diet can help you lose excess fat which goes hand-in-hand with lower blood pressure.
5. Boosts Brain Health
For those with neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, a low-carb ketogenic diet can provide your brain with more energy. In fact, it can provide up to 75% of the energy your brain requires. This energy is directly related to the part of the brain that is in charge of memory and learning.
6. Reduces Seizures
The standard ketogenic diet has helped people control their seizures and is even introduced to children who don't respond to medications (while monitored by a dietician). Usually, our bodies use carbohydrates for its fuel, but since a ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, fats become the primary fuel instead because it's mimicking a "fasting" state and, therefore, alters the excitability in the brain and reduces the tendency to seize.
Vegans Can Go Keto Too
Even if you're vegan and want to try a different kind of diet, why not try keto? You don't have to just rely on meat, seafood and dairy products. As mentioned above, there are plenty of vegan foods that are naturally high in fat such as coconut milk, coconut-based yogurt, tofu, tempeh, seafood, and nuts and seeds. Don't let a vegan, ketogenic diet scare you. Doing both at the same time can improve any health complications you may be experiencing, and just make you feel better in general.