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Uses and Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

 

When you follow a ketogenic diet, your body becomes more of a fat burner than a carb-addicted machine. Several studies have linked consuming higher amounts of carbohydrates to various diseases such as diabetes and insulin resistance.

Carbohydrates are naturally easily absorbed and can therefore be easily stored by the body. Carbohydrates begin to be digested the moment you put them in your mouth.

As soon as you start chewing them, the amylases (carbohydrate-digesting enzymes) in your saliva are already working on foods that contain carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are broken down even more in the stomach. When they get into the small intestine, they are absorbed into the bloodstream. When carbohydrates reach the bloodstream, they usually raise blood sugar levels.

This increase in blood sugar levels stimulates the immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin is released.

Insulin is a hormone that removes excess sugar from the bloodstream to lower blood sugar levels. Insulin takes the sugar and carbohydrates you eat and stores them as glycogen in muscle tissue or fat in adipose tissue for future use as energy.

However, the body can develop something called insulin resistance if it is continually exposed to such high glucose levels in the bloodstream. This scenario can easily lead to obesity as the body tends to store excess glucose quickly. Health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease can also result from this condition.

Ketogenic diets are low in carbohydrates and high in fat and have been linked to reducing and improving various health problems.

One of the most important things about a ketogenic diet is stabilizing insulin levels and restoring leptin signaling. Reduced levels of insulin in your bloodstream will keep you feeling full longer and having fewer cravings.

Medical benefits of ketogenic diets

The use and implementation of the ketogenic diet have increased significantly. Often, ketogenic diets appear as part of the treatment regimen for several medical conditions.

Epilepsy

This is the main reason the ketogenic diet evolved. For some reason, the rate of epileptic seizures is reduced when patients follow a ketogenic diet.

Pediatric epilepsy cases respond best to the ketogenic diet. Some children have had seizures eliminated after a few years on the ketogenic diet.

Children with epilepsy are generally expected to fast for a few days before starting the ketogenic diet as part of their treatment.

Cancer

Research suggests that the therapeutic effectiveness of ketogenic diets against tumor growth can be enhanced when combined with certain drugs and procedures under a "pulse pressure" paradigm.

It is also promising to see ketogenic diets propelling cancer cells into remission. This means that ketogenic diets will "starve cancer" to reduce symptoms.


Alzheimer's disease

There is several evidence that memory functions improve in patients with Alzheimer's disease after a ketogenic diet.

Ketones are a great source of alternative energy for the brain, especially when it has become insulin resistant. Ketones also provide substrates (cholesterol) that help repair damaged neurons and membranes. All of these help improve memory and cognition in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Diabetes

It is generally accepted that carbohydrates are the main culprit in diabetes. Therefore, by reducing the number of carbohydrates consumed during a ketogenic diet, improving blood sugar control increases.


Additionally, combining a ketogenic diet with other diabetes treatment plans can significantly improve overall effectiveness.

Gluten allergy

Many people with gluten allergies have not been diagnosed with this condition. However, a ketogenic diet has shown improvement in related symptoms such as indigestion and gas.

Most foods high in carbohydrates are high in gluten. Using a ketogenic diet minimizes much of your gluten intake due to eliminating a large number of carbohydrates.

Weight loss

This is probably the most common "deliberate" use of the ketogenic diet today. It has carved out a place for itself in the mainstream of the regimes. Ketogenic diets are a part of many diets today due to their recognized side effect of helping you lose weight.

Though initially frowned upon by many, the growing number of beneficial weight loss results has helped Keto gain acceptance as an effective weight loss program.

Besides the medical benefits listed above, ketogenic diets also offer some general health benefits, including the following.

Improved insulin sensitivity

This is the first goal of a ketogenic diet. Helps stabilize your insulin levels and thereby improves fat burning.

Muscle maintenance

As proteins are oxidized, they help maintain muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass slows a person's metabolism because muscles are usually very metabolic. Using a ketogenic diet helps strengthen your muscles while your body burns fat.

Controlled pH and respiratory function

A keto diet helps reduce lactate, thereby improving pH and breathing function. Hence, being in a state of ketosis helps keep blood pH at healthy levels.

Improved immune system

Using a ketogenic diet helps fight aging antioxidants while reducing inflammation in the gut, strengthening your immune system.

Lowering cholesterol levels

We are eating fewer carbohydrates while on the ketogenic diet can lower blood cholesterol levels. This is due to the heightened state of lipolysis. This leads to a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels.

Decreased appetite and cravings

A ketogenic diet will help you reduce both your appetite and your cravings for high-calorie foods. When you start eating foods high in healthy, satisfying, and beneficial fats, your hunger pangs naturally begin to decrease.

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