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Science-Backed Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: Why You Should Be Eating Low Carb

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Why is the keto diet so popular right now? What ate the benefits of the ketogenic diet? I can speak from experience that there are quite a few benefits of eating a low carb diet.

I’m not going to only speak from experience in this post though, I’ll be citing some science along the way. Off the top of my head, the immediate benefits are obviously weight loss and overall health and fitness benefits.

That’s why most people gravitate to this diet, because of how quickly you lose weight. I was also surprised however when I went on a very challenging hillside hike about 2 weeks into the diet and had the energy to push through.

I was not exercising at the time (still haven’t stepped in a gym recently) and expected to be out of breath with immense chest pains based on the path. However the high-fat low carb diet kept me in high spirits and with enough energy to complete the task and still drive 3 hours home through Jamaica’s twisty hilly region that evening.

There was also no immense soreness after. That’s when I knew there was definitely something about this diet to write home about.

New to the keto diet? Start here! This will help you to figure out how to stick to this diet and make it a lifestyle for you

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

Low carb has been studied and it is well documented that its effectiveness is multi-faceted. Of course, the thousands of people who have lost a lot of weight and were able to keep it off makes a low carb eating plan something of an attractive proposition, especially since it is not your typical fad diet, but marketed to be a lifestyle change.

Harvard completed a study that explored just how impressive the results of a low carb diet can be for weight loss, in comparison to a low-fat diet that people tend to rely on for all of their weight loss needs.

By now, most people are aware of how excellent low carb diets can be for rapid weight loss, so let’s look at some of the other health benefits of a keto diet.

Medical professionals have been using the ketogenic diet since the 20’s to help epilepsy sufferers reduce their symptoms, and in some cases it has rendered the use of medication unnecessary.

There have also been strides made in proving that a low carb diet can be used a therapeutic tool for a number of other conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, a number of strains of cancer, diabetes and even acne. (source)

I have seen a remarkable difference on my face since being on this diet.

The Mayo Clinic has also explored the other effects that are seen when on a low carb diet. While citing many of the same issues listed by the above-cited study, the Mayo Clinic has added cholesterol levels and high blood pressure to our list.

It should be noted that there are variations on what is considered a low carb diet.

Anything from 20 grams to 150 grams can be considered low carb. 150 grams will not kick start ketosis, the process that occurs in the body to burn fat stores on the ketogenic diet. That process actually requires less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Dr. Judith Wylie-Rosett led a study that makes mention of The American Diabetes Association’s belief that a low carbohydrate, low fat diet can be used to achieve improvement in both weight and metabolism, pointing to the Mediterranean diet as evidence.

Related: Why I Cycle On and Off Keto

The Mediterranean Diet

This is an interesting point, because it’s well documented that the residents of countries in the Mediterranean have higher life expectancies, and while they do eat carbs, their carb intake is much lower than it would be in the United States, or the United Kingdom.

The main principle of the Mediterranean diet focuses on eating plant-based foods, nuts whole grains, and legumes. Olive oils are used in place of butter, and herbs and spices replace salt. It is more common to eat white meats and leave red meat to the odd occasion, and meals are spent with family and friends and consumed over a few hours.

The World Health Organization has a list of life expectancies for every country and the United States average is 79, while Greece is 81, Spain is 83, and so is Italy.

The Case for Low Carb

There are a number of low carb diets that you can follow. You can be as strict or as lenient as you wish or be like me and cycle on and off the diet. Whether you are looking to lose weight, maintain muscle, or reduce your risk of heart disease, a low carb diet has been proven effective and I can vouch for it being easy to stick to.

In addition to the benefits listed above, a low carb diet can also serve as an appetite suppressant. Studies have explored the reasons why, concluding that the high protein in some low carb diets could be an explanation.

Other studies saw participants on a diet that was high in protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates didn’t have the same food cravings as the participants did that were on a low calorie, low-fat diet. This is because greatly reducing carbs and eliminating sugars, actually helps to regulate blood sugars so that the appetite is naturally suppressed eliminating those horrid out of control food cravings.

I can certainly attest to this fact. When I’m on strict keto diet, my hunger pangs are few and far between and I eat much less than I do when I’m having carbs.

They say fat is very satiating and certainly paired with protein it is even more so. This is why it is relatively easy for those on a keto diet to also intermittent fast because we’re generally not hungry people.

Yet another benefit of eating less is the long blocks of concentration I now benefit from. When I’m in the zone and I want to knock out a new blog post or get some work done, I can usually get it all done if I’m not otherwise distracted whereas I usually would have to pause at some point to go make a meal.

I think giving the keto diet a shot if you have a lifestyle illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or high cholesterol is a good idea.

Related posts:

On and Off Keto | + posts

Iva discovered the keto diet back in 2020 and has experimented with it, off and on. She recently took over this site and shares experiences, her knowledge and some yummy recipes. She also runs a women only website Women Blazing Trails.

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