The “keto” in ketogenic diets comes from the fact that it makes the body produce molecules called “ketone” or “ketone bodies”.
A ketogenic diet is an extremely very low-carb diet, which is high in fat and moderate in protein (1). With low-carb and high fat, it turns the body into a fat-burning machine leading into a metabolic state called ketosis.
The liver converts fat into ketones, which then supply energy throughout the body, including the brain (2, 3). After a few days or weeks of being fed such diet, the body and brain adapt effectively and become very efficient at utilizing ketones for fuel instead of carbs.
Common staple foods on a ketogenic diet may include meat, salmon, butter, eggs, cheese, heavy cream, oils, nuts, avocados, seeds and low-carb vegetables.
Benefits of Ketogenic Diets
Although it has many potential benefits for weight loss, health, and performance, it also may have some potential initial side effects.
1. It Aids Easy Weight Loss
There is strong scientific evidence that ketogenic diet are very effective for weight loss (5). Their ability to turn your body into a fat-burning machine makes it highly beneficial for weight loss.
Fat burning is markedly increased while insulin levels drop dramatically. This creates a perfect circumstance in which fat loss can occur, without hunger.
They can also help you preserve muscle mass and improve many markers of disease (6, 7, 8, 9). Findings often show ketogenic diet to be superior, even when total calorie intake is compared to other diets. (10, 11).
How Does this Work?
ketogenic diets promote weight loss in one of the following ways:
- By suppressing appetite: Ketogenic diets help suppress appetite by making you feel full. This is supported by positive changes in hormones, including cholecystokinin (CKK) a hormone which makes you feel full and ghrelin a hunger hormone (12).
- Increase in protein intake: Some ketogenic diets could lead to an increase in protein intake, which is beneficial in weight loss (13).
- Improving insulin sensitivity: Ketogenic diets can effectively improve insulin sensitivity, which can help improve fuel usage and metabolism (14).
- Decreasing fat storage: Ketogenic diets may reduce lipogenesis, the process of converting sugar into fat (15).
- Increasing fat burning: Ketogenic diets effectively increases the amount of fat burn during rest, daily activity and exercise (16).
2. Fight Metabolic Diseases
Risk factors like high blood pressure, abdominal fat, high blood sugar, high blood level of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol can be improved with nutritional and lifestyle modification (18).
3. Diabetes type 2 reversal
A ketogenic diet is excellent for reversing type 2 diabetes.
A scientific study shows that after only 2 weeks on the ketogenic diet, insulin sensitivity improved by 75 percent and blood sugar dropped markedly from 7.5 mmol/L to 6.2 mmol/L (21).
4. Improved Brain Health
Ketogenic diet provides a steady flow of fuel to the brain. This often results in improved good brain health and improved concentration.
A lot of people specifically use ketogenic diets for increased mental performance.
5. Increased Physical Endurance
Since Ketogenic diets give the body constant energy to the body, it can vastly increase your physical endurance, especially during exercise.
The body’s carbohydrate store only last for a couple of hours during intense exercise. It is the fats stored in the adipocytes that carry enough energy to easily last for longer hours or even weeks.
Since most people are adapted to utilizing carbohydrates for energy production, their fat stores are not readily available, and they can’t fuel the brain.
This result in constantly having to replenish by eating before, during and after longer exercise sessions.
Once your body gets used to ketogenic diet this problem is solved and your body can easily be fueled by fat stores.
It has been proven that Ketogenic diets can also reduce metabolic-related diseases.
In order to get the most out of this diet, you must eat high-fat foods and limit your carbs intake.
If your aim is to achieve weight loss, you should stick with this diet.