I believe one of the most-studied strategies in the recent years for weight management is the ketogenic diet. Many studies have shown that this kind of nutritional approach has a solid physiological and biochemical basis and is able to help the body burn fat as fuel to support a healthy weight while also offering other health benefits.
New to the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) and keto-friendly foods … and wondering how it works?
Here’s a quick rundown of what a keto diet is and what I believe are the top 6 benefits.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet plan. It was originally designed in the 1920s for a specific purpose, but there was more to the diet that caught researchers’ attention.
They discovered that fasting came with some additional benefits that are generally acquired only through a radical overhaul of the diet.
Now, you and I both know that long-term fasting (or even short-term fasting for some people) is not a feasible option. It is typically meant for no more than a day or so, and must be approached carefully and under the supervision of a health professional.
So, researchers kept digging. And the ketogenic diet was born.
It’s a diet designed to mimic similar beneficial effects of fasting — without completely eliminating certain foods, or being laden with the risks and unsustainability that can come with a drastic, extended reduction in calories.
Today, the ketogenic diet goes by several different names, including “keto.”
But what does “keto” stand for exactly? Keto is short for “ketogenic” or “ketosis.”
Following a ketogenic diet can put the body into a state of “ketosis.”
Here’s what it all means: When the body has the ability to burn fat as fuel, the liver naturally creates fats called ketones. Ketones can burn fat more efficiently than carbs can, which, in turn, creates a balanced environment for maintaining a healthy weight and overall health.
Long story short, eating fewer carbs, more healthy fats and moderate protein fuels the body to achieve ketosis, in which most of the body’s energy comes from ketone bodies in the blood, rather than from glucose. This is in contrast to a glycolytic state, where blood glucose (sugar) provides most of the body’s fuel (or energy).
Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, then the person has officially entered into a state of ketosis.
While everyone is different, generally, people usually enter into ketosis after 3-to-4 days of following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that forces the need for an alternative energy source: body fat!
Typically, when following a ketogenic diet, the body burns fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. In the process, a person can enter the fat-burning zone rapidly, even when consuming lots of fat and adequate calories through the diet.
Top 6 Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
1. Healthy Weight Management Support
Low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diets (such as keto) have been used for decades to help people maintain a healthy weight.
By consuming a higher-fat/lower- carb diet, the body is retrained to use fat as an energy source, allowing the body to tap into its own fat reserves for energy.
2. Appetite Control Support
High-fat diets such as the keto diet can actually reduce appetite — even when restricting calories. This is due to the satiating nature of fat-rich foods.
3. Mental Clarity Support
Not interested in the fat-burning aspect of a keto diet? Keto may still be right for you. A big reason why so many people love the ketogenic diet is due to its support of mental clarity. In fact, the keto diet is becoming incredibly popular in many high-performance career fields.
4. Gut Support
Many with sensitive guts shudder at the thought of eating a high-fat, low-carb diet because increased fat intake can sometimes boost bowel transit time. But this is generally only a short-lived side effect.
Overall, a low-carb diet can support a healthy gut, so the keto diet may be a great “gut” option!
5. A Healthy Response to Stress
The keto diet and lifestyle has also been show to help support a healthy response to stress—and who wouldn’t want that?
6. Energy Support
What’s probably most shocking about a ketogenic diet is how it reportedly supports energy levels.
How is that possible? Fat (and the ketones produced from fat) are readily available source of fuel. Once someone is fat-adapted and in ketosis, they will typically find that they can easily go for hours without certain foods and not come up short on energy.
Ketosis for the Win?
There’s a solid amount of benefits for those who make the switch to a
After reading this, if you are interested in trying the ketogenic diet, be
sure you check with your medical professional prior to beginning.
Here’s why: As with any dietary or lifestyle regimen, before attempting
a ketogenic diet in any capacity, I recommend you try it ONLY with the
support of your doctor or other health professional.
Also, if you are interested in trying the ketogenic diet, be sure check out my brand new diet and lifestyle program, Keto360, designed to help you as you embark on a “keto” journey.
Of course, the ketogenic diet of high-fat, low-carb and moderate-protein foods is primary, but I believe this combination of step-by-step coaching, supplements, meal plans, regular exercise and other lifestyle measures can help you maximize your experience with the keto diet.
If you want to learn more, you can check it out here.