What is a Ketogenic Diet?
If you have been paying attention to recent health trends, you have no doubt heard people raving about the ketogenic diet. What is it? What does it help with? And should you consider trying it?
As always, please consult with your physician before changing your current diet or exercise routine.
So what is the ketogenic (keto) diet? It is generally considered a diet that is high in fats, with a moderate amount of protein, and a very low amount of carbohydrates. It tends to promote the metobolic production of ketone bodies by causing the body to use fat (rather than carbohydrates) as its principal source of energy. In other words, it is a diet that encourages your body to burn fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates. One of the myths that we have been told for years is that in order to lose weight, you have to eat many smaller meals throughout the day. Unfortunately, this tends to keep your body fueled with only the sugar from the most recent meal that you've eaten, instead of getting rid of the stubborn body fat that is plaguing most people who are trying to lose weight. When your body enters a state of ketosis, it begins to use the fat stores that your body has and utilizes them as fuel. Many people have seen dramatic changes in body composition when they begin to follow a keto diet, even if they aren't changing their exercise routine at all, because they finally begin to burn the stubborn fat stores that seemed impossible to get rid of.
What are some of the health benefits of following a keto Diet? First and foremost, it has been found to be an EXTREMELY effective way to help lower a person's body weight by helping to get rid of the dangerous body fat that is linked with all kinds of negative health conditions. But are there other benefits? Of course! A ketogenic diet can help focus the brain and aid in increased memory, cognition, and clarity. It also helps improve your overall energy levels and quality of sleep. Another huge benefit of the ketogenic diet is that it helps decrease inflammation throughout the body! Especially at a chiropractic office, we see all kinds of conditions that are caused or aggravated by chronic inflammation. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could begin to feel relief even by just changing the way you were eating? There are many other health benefits of eating keto, including better gastrointestinal (gut) health, improved metabolic function, and even fighting some types of cancer! There has been all kinds of clinical research done on the health benefits of this specific diet, so it is not just some flash-in-the-pan fad that someone is trying to make a quick buck off of.
As with any diet, there are going to be those who have concerns and some who are against the idea of ketogenic eating altogether. In order to help clear up any misinformation, here are some of the most common myths surrounding this particular way of eating.
A ketogenic diet increases your risk for cardiovascular disease.
This myth is centered around the misinformation that saturated fat and cholesterol are the main causes of heart disease. Even though it has been shown that dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol and saturated fat has little correlation to heart disease, there is still a stigma around both. In fact, when used as a part of a weight management program including exercise and lifestyle modifications, the ketogenic diet can actually improve other biomarkers of cardiovascular risk, such as weight, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood levels of saturated fat, HbA1c, inflammation, and more!
The human body requires carbohydrates to survive.
This one may be hard to wrap your head around considering there are actually some cell types