There are numerous discussions about the benefits of a ketogenic diet on the internet currently. One of the first things you probably Googled about the keto diet is the benefits. Your next query might be about the harm or side effects.
In my honest opinion, there haven’t been any negative side effects (other than the Keto flu…YUCK!). The benefits far out weight a day or two of feeling icky.
So let’s start with what the ketogenic diet is and why you should be working towards adopting this lifestyle so you can get in on those keto diet benefits.
Keto or Ketogenic?
A ketogenic diet (keto for short) is based on eating low carb with a moderate amount of protein and focusing on high-fat percentages. Because of the moderate amount of protein, it’s a “Keto” diet and not a “Paleo” diet.
The goal of the diet is to get your body to enter a state known as ketosis. This is where your body switches to a preferred energy source of ketones (energy from fat that has been digested) instead of sugars (energy from carbohydrates that have been broken down.
Ketosis happens when your body has processed all the sugar in your system that it possibly can. If you aren’t continuing to eat fuel that can be broken down into sugars aka carbs, your body will switch to using ketones from the fat and protein that you are eating.
Trust Your Body
Your body is very smart. Think of it as a machine that can use both gasoline and diesel. If it runs out of one fuel, it can flip a switch in your liver and start using the secondary fuel.
Sugar is meant to be burned quickly. Whatever you don’t use is stored as fat for later. Fat is a longer burning fuel and it isn’t as easily stored for energy at a later time. Your liver processes fat into easier to use ketones and if you don’t use them, the body flushes them out.
It’s the difference between hoarding groceries for a famine and just eating what’s available each day when you are hungry.
The Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
Most likely, if you are reading this article, you have been on the search for a way to lose weight. There are loads of programs that can offer you weight loss. However, they don’t offer you health. That’s where the keto diet benefits start to kick in.
Once you have implemented the Keto lifestyle, you will start to see many benefits. If you have struggled with weight loss before, inflammation, an autoimmune disease, or you are just sick food consuming your life, read on.
You will be pleasantly happy with the benefits of ketosis.
1. Weight Loss
This is the main reason you have entered a search for “keto diet benefits” I am sure. Your second reason might be one of the other benefits, but for the majority of us, this is truly the number one reason.
We want off the diet roller coaster.
Within the first few days of being in ketosis, your body is going to drop a load of water. The scale drops and you whoop and holler for joy.
This happens because your blood sugar and insulin levels are lowered when you enter ketosis. Cells that have been holding on to all that water to help your body process sugar and insulin don’t need to hold the water anymore.
It takes a few days for your body to finish using up the stored glycogen in your system and finish flushing toxins.
Then the magic starts to happen.
Your body is now primed for “fuel” and because there isn’t anything quick and easy to use (aka sugars/carbs) it starts to turn fat into ketones and use them for energy.
Keeping yourself at a slight caloric deficit will enable your body to reach for reserve energy that was previously stored as fat. You have a few “items in the pantry”. Using up those fat reserves (aka love handles) is another one of those fabulous keto diet benefits.
2. More Energy
When have you ever started a diet and felt like you had more energy instead of less energy? This is one of the other major benefits of a ketogenic diet.
You won’t need that chocolate and cup of coffee at 2:00 p.m. to help you get through the afternoon.
You won’t go home and fall on the couch after a grueling day at work and wish for the maid/cook that you don’t have to just take care of All. The. Things. (okay…you might still wish for a maid/cook but only so you can have more free time to do something with all that energy).
Where Does All This Energy Come From?
Remember how we discussed sugar being a quick and easy fuel source? And that ketones from fat are more of a long-term fuel source. Well not only does your body have plenty of fat to work with and use as a source of energy, it also takes your body longer to process the fat you eat and turn that into energy.
Fat is calorically dense (more calories per gram than carbs or protein) and it takes longer to convert to energy. It’s not a flash in the pan like sugar that causes and mental and physical slump after it has burned up.
3. Mental Clarity
Do you ever hit that energy wall at about 2 or 3 in the afternoon and feel like you are viewing the world through a foggy veil?
You feel like if you eat something you will be able to clear your mind and focus on your to-do list again. This is a sugar crash. It happens when your blood sugar levels fall. Your body is screaming at you for more carbs, which is why you usually go in search of a snack that contains sugar and instant energy.
This foggy feeling goes away when you adopt the Ketogenic lifestyle. You will be able to resist those stupid little butt bombs in the workroom (aka chocolate donut gems).
When your brain switches to using ketones as it’s primary fuel source, it is able to maintain a consistent energy level. You will be able to focus for longer periods of time and you won’t need to eat every few hours to maintain your mental clarity.
4. Appetite Control
Your afternoons spent chasing down an energy boost in the form of some yummy but not so good for your snack are going to be a thing of the past. Another one of the benefits of a ketogenic diet is appetite control.
I’m not even sure if you have to think of it as control. That inner mental conversation or battle you once had with yourself over whether or not you should eat the cookie just won’t happen.
You will walk past the cookie and check in with yourself. Most likely you will say “I’m not hungry” and then you will say “It’s not worth the hangover feeling” and you will walk away. That easy.
It’s amazing how little you think about food when you are no longer controlled by sugar ups and downs that affect your mood.
5. Less Time Spent Eating
This leads us the next thing on the keto diet benefits list. You won’t be consumed by the thought of food anymore. You won’t obsess about what you will eat next. In fact, you might even forget to eat.
Gasp! It seems impossible but it will happen. Skipping a meal will be effortless. You won’t get hangry. You won’t even get slightly irritable. When you finally get around to finding something to eat, making a good choice won’t be a battle of wills (with your inner voice again).
6. Lower The Risk of Type II Diabetes
Cutting sugar from your diet is one of the number recommendations if you are at risk of developing Type II Diabetes. That is easier said than done if you are struggling with a sugar addiction (or fluctuating blood sugar levels).
Multiple studies have shown that one of the major benefits of ketosis is that you can reduce key markers that show an elevated risk of becoming a diabetic.
Losing weight is another recommendation if you are at risk of developing diabetes. Well, that just happens to be on our list of keto diet benefits!!
7. Increase Your Good Cholesterol
A cornerstone of the ketogenic diet is to eat fat. Not just any fat. You need to be eating healthy fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter. The benefits of these healthy fats are that you will increase your HDL Cholesterol.
These are the healthy fats that help prevent heart disease. HDL is used to carry bad cholesterols to the liver where they can be reused or excreted out of your system.
8. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Keto will help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is indicative of heart problems (or future heart problems). The sooner you can lower your blood pressure, the better.
Eating veggies and healthy fats on the ketogenic diet is a great way to decrease your blood pressure.
Maybe it’s just because you aren’t stressed about not eating that cookie anymore. Kidding!
9. Reduces Inflammation
If you have an autoimmune disease you have probably experienced inflammation after eating certain foods. Especially high carb foods.
Eat a sandwich and your joints hurt. Or maybe you get headaches easily.
These are all signs of inflammation.
One of my favorite benefits of ketosis is reduced inflammation. I hardly ever experience swollen joints and fingers. My ankles don’t lock up when I walk anymore and I rarely get headaches.
Besides the weight loss, reducing inflammation is one of the main reasons I chose to start living a Ketogenic lifestyle.
Keto is a Lifestyle
It’s easier to adopt a new way of eating and thinking about your health if you think about the benefits instead of the things you are “no longer allowed”. You will have moments where you make a mistake. That’s okay. Just get back to it as soon as you can.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet far out weight the things you can no longer have. An honestly, after you make your first successful batch of cloud bread or have a fat bomb as a snack, you will wonder why you ever thought it was going to be a terrible thing, to begin with.