Ketogenic Diet – Overview, Benefits, and More

Ketogenic Diet – Overview, Benefits, and More


The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular eating patterns in the world. It is a high-fat, low-carb diet that forces the liver and myocytes (i.e., muscle cells) to use fat for energy.

There is a ton of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet.

In this article, we will dive deep into the benefits of the keto diet, basing our claims on evidence-based studies.

The health benefits of the ketogenic diet

1. Promotes weight loss

Limiting your sugar intake forces the body to use stored fatty acids for energy. This is due to a metabolic state called ketosis.

Relative to other eating patterns, the ketogenic diet is superior at inducing weight loss. One study found that following the keto diet causes 2.2 times more weight loss relative to a caloric-restrictive diet.

What makes this diet popular is that you don’t have to starve yourself. You can eat whatever you want as long as it’s keto-friendly food. Fortunately, the high intake of protein and low carbohydrate consumption will promote feelings of satiety. This was confirmed in a recent study.

In order to experience all the benefits of the keto diet, you need to place your metabolism in the ketosis state. For that to happen, modifying your macro ratios becomes indispensable.

2. Helps with diabetes

Researchers found that the ketogenic diet aids diabetics to control their blood glucose levels. What’s more impressive, however, is that keto can prevent the disease in people with prediabetes.

To understand this mechanism, we need to briefly cover the risk factors of diabetes:

The nature part

This category includes any factors that you cannot control. Examples include a family history of diabetes and genetic predisposition.

A 2012 study found that family history boosts the risk of diabetes by 2.5-fold.

The nurture part

The nurture part is the primary area where you can act. It includes the following risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Chronic blood hypertension
  • Dyslipidaemia (e.g., high LDL, low HDL)
  • Smoking
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Obesity is by far the most important risk factor, especially when adipose tissues are located around the abdominal region.

Scientists believe carbohydrate-rich meals desensitize the cells to the action of insulin. This is due to the endless cycles of glucose and insulin spikes.

From this list of risk factors, the ketogenic is able to modify obesity, chronic blood hypertension, high LDL, and low HDL. Consequently, the risk of diabetes plummets.

As for diabetic patients, the keto diet also helps with controlling glucose levels in the blood.

In one study, scientists conducted a 24-week clinical trial with three groups of participants. The first group followed the keto diet (less than 20 g of carbs per day), the second group adopted a low-carb diet (more than 20 g of carbs per day), and the third group was on a low-glycaemic, reduced-calorie diet (less than 500 calories per day).

After analysing the results of the study, researchers found that individuals on the keto diet had significantly lower blood sugar levels compared to the other two groups. They also noted that these patients needed fewer pharmacological drugs to control their blood glucose.

3. Optimizes heart health

Similar to type 2 diabetes, the ketogenic diet addresses the risk factors of heart disease in order to improve the patient’s status or prevent the ailment altogether.

The primary risk factors targeted by the keto diet include:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic blood hypertension
  • High LDL
  • Low HDL

Additionally, following the ketogenic diet will unintentionally render you more conscious about the health choices you make, which eventually results in a more active lifestyle, better dietary choices, and excluding unhealthy foods from your meals.

Overall, this leads to a drastic decrease in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (e.g., coronary artery disease).

Aside from disease processes, the ketogenic diet showed impressive results in optimizing athletic performance.

In a 2019 study, researchers found that both aerobic and resistance training athletes may significantly benefit from being on the keto diet, especially during the first 3 to 12-week period.

These findings confirm that the keto diet is not exclusive to one group of people, as it’s a good choice for healthy and sick individuals.

4. Enhances neurocognitive function

The central nervous system (e.g., brain, spinal cord) is susceptible to numerous biochemical disturbances that could alter its functions.

The neurons (i.e., brain cells) are especially prone to damage, which rapidly leads to the irreversible loss of certain motor and sensory functions.

Unlike other organs, when brain cells die, the process is irreversible. In other words, once a part of the brain gets damaged, there is no going back.

Some of you might read somewhere that researchers discovered new regenerative abilities of the brain; however, the effect of this process is too insignificant, making it clinically irrelevant.

The primary pathogenesis that destroys brain cells is known as oxidative stress, where the number of reactive oxygen species (i.e., free radicals) exceeds that of antioxidants.

The good news is that the keto diet is incredibly efficient at restoring the balance of oxidation to protect neurons.

In a 2012 study, researchers concluded that ketosis improves memory in patients with mild cognitive impairment (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease).

Interestingly, the effect occurred after as little as 6 weeks from starting the keto diet.

In another study, lab rats scored impressively higher cognitive function scores after switching to the keto diet.

In summary, the keto diet offers the following benefits to the brain:

Takeaway message

The ketogenic diet is a marvellous eating pattern that optimizes the function of most organ systems, including the endocrine system, heart, brain, liver, and more.

Hopefully, this article managed to highlight the major benefits of the ketogenic diet and how it can help you achieve optimal health.

Remember to check out our fitness journals and body tape measure which will help you keep track of your ketogenic diet if you wanted to give it a try for yourself.

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