The ketogenic or keto diet is a diet that focuses on eliminating carbohydrates from the daily caloric intake. Therefore, this is a diet with:
- high fat,
- average protein content,
- low in carbohydrates.
The diet works around the principle that the body will get more calories from the proteins and fats that enter the body and less from carbohydrates.
When a person reduces carbohydrate intake, the body eventually runs out of fuel or blood sugar, which it can use quickly; this usually occurs after three to four days of minimizing carbohydrate intake. When the body realizes that there is not enough fast fuel, it begins to break down proteins and fats for energy.
What is a ketogenic diet?
The word keto comes from the word ketones , which is an alternative source of fuel for the body when there is a deficiency of glucose in the body. Now usually when we consume carbohydrates, they break down into sugars that the body absorbs and uses as fuel.
However, on the keto diet, the body switches its fuel supply and works on fat. In other words, the keto diet helps with weight loss, by causing the body to enter a ketogenic state, in which the liver begins to break down fat into ketones, by actually breaking down fat into acid to supply energy.
Therefore, when a person reduces carbohydrate intake, the body eventually depletes fuel or blood sugar, which it can use quickly; this usually happens after three to four days of minimizing carbohydrate intake. When the body realizes that there is not enough fast fuel, it begins to break down proteins.
The ketogenic diet offers several benefits, but it should not be forgotten that starting it is a real commitment. This is a strict diet that aims to limit carbohydrate intake per person to about 50 grams per day and therefore it is useful to consult a nutritionist to understand and customize the diet according to your needs.
The ketogenic diet is known to be useful in so many areas of health and medicine, that it is important to understand clearly what and how it is best used. So, it is very important to be aware of the health benefits of a ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic diets are very low in carbohydrates and usually very high in fat. Glucose (blood sugar) is usually the main source of energy in the body.
When the body’s intake of carbohydrates and limited carbohydrate stores are insufficient to maintain minimum blood glucose levels, the body begins to burn fat for energy and converts certain amino acids from protein (first from recently consumed food, then if needed by the muscles) in glucose. Fats become the main source of energy and also feed the conversion of amino acids into glucose.
In addition to weight loss and decreased appetite, ketodiet helps to overcome inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Therefore, it can definitely be said that it is much more than a fast diet for weight loss .
Ketone diet – in the fight against epilepsy
For more than 100 years, the keto diet has been used in people with epilepsy. Recent studies have evaluated the keto diet as an alternative dietary treatment for obesity and diabetes. In fact, it’s more of a lifestyle change, with the benefits far greater than just looking good in a swimsuit.
That is why the keto diet has other health benefits besides weight loss. If done correctly, it helps people lose weight while feeling healthier both mentally and physically. This is a diet that focuses on eliminating the group of carbohydrate foods and replacing the energy obtained from it with healthy fats!
In some conditions, such as epilepsy, the benefits of a ketogenic diet have been widely studied. It is one of the medical treatments for chronic seizures and other epileptic disorders, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Studies show that it helps reduce the frequency of seizures in children. About half of children whose seizures do not respond to any medication stop seizure activity almost immediately after being in ketosis. The reason for the effectiveness of ketogenic diets in treating children is not entirely clear. Researchers are studying this approach in adults.
Keto diet and diabetes
Studies show that ketogenic diets not only help people lose weight faster than other diets, but also help with diabetes (type 1 or the more common type 2) to better control blood sugar. This diet has been shown to be effective in improving blood sugar control and helping to lose weight in people with diabetes.
Since you eliminate sugar and most carbohydrates, it is not difficult to find out why the keto diet is a great way to control your blood sugar. The less sugar and carbohydrates you eat, the less sugar there is in your blood.
Therefore, after starting a keto diet, most people will notice a decrease in blood sugar almost immediately. In fact, the effect is so immediate that it is recommended that diabetics who start a ketogenic diet constantly consult their doctor so that they can adjust their medication as needed until glucose levels become lower and lower. stabilized.
The keto diet helps to dramatically lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, whether it is type 1 or 2. A low-carb diet helps to reduce unwanted sugars.
The keto diet reduces carbohydrate intake to such an extent that blood glucose levels fall, thus the body produces and uses less insulin, burning fat and potentially improving insulin sensitivity.
Blood pressure control with keto diet
Anyone with high blood pressure will appreciate the positive control of blood pressure that results from a keto diet. Blood pressure often rises with weight gain. Being overweight can also cause shortness of breath while sleeping (so-called sleep apnea), which further raises blood pressure.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes to control blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you are overweight or obese can help lower your blood pressure.
In studies following obese patients, those on a ketogenic diet had a more drastic reduction in their blood pressure than those on low-fat diets. At the same time, these same patients after the keto diet had comparable weight loss results and triglycerides as subjects who followed a low-fat diet and took a weight loss drug.
Ketone diet – in the fight against some cancers
The keto diet has been shown to be effective in fighting some cancers. Studies have shown that the addition of ketones reduces the viability of tumor cells and prolongs the survival of mice with metastatic cancer. Cancer cells express abnormal metabolism, characterized by increased glucose consumption due to genetic mutations and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Studies show that unlike healthy tissues, cancer cells are unable to use ketone bodies efficiently for energy. In addition, ketones inhibit the proliferation and viability of cultured tumor cells.
This is much less effective than aerobic glycolysis and means that cancer cells have a much higher glucose requirement for energy. Because cancer absorbs glucose much faster than normal cells, a test tracks the activity and location of the cancer in the body, noting what happens to the injected glucose.
But here’s the most interesting part: Some cancers don’t have the ability to metabolize ketone bodies. This means that if such a cancer does not have access to sugar for energy, it cannot thrive.
In these cases, the ketogenic diet essentially causes the cancer cells to “starve.” Unfortunately, not all cancers respond in the same way, and this effect (the Warburg effect) is not universally observed in all cancers.
However, there are promising studies on the role of the ketogenic diet as an effective complementary intervention for the treatment of cancer. In a study on neuroblastoma, a cancer that most commonly affects children, a ketogenic diet significantly reduced tumor growth and prolonged the survival of subjects (in this case mice).
By creating a state of ketosis, the ketogenic diet can play a role in supporting the treatment of aggressive metastatic cancers and brain tumors that are not effectively treated with standard care alone.
Sugar is a source of fuel that can feed cancer, and insulin is essentially a growth hormone. A ketogenic diet can drastically reduce carbohydrates, which helps lower blood sugar and the amount of insulin in the body.
We are seeing an increasing number of preclinical studies evaluating the ketogenic diet as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of cancer, alone and / or in combination with classical therapy. In addition to neuroblastoma, the strongest evidence for the tumor-suppressing effect of a ketogenic diet has been reported for glioblastoma (brain tumor), cancer of the prostate, colon, pancreas and lung.
The ketogenic diet has significant health benefits in various areas, from metabolic health to heart and brain health and more. As research continues and more is understood about the body’s response to the ketogenic diet and how it can be used for various wellness initiatives, there will certainly be more discoveries in this regard. In short – the benefits from eating foods high in fat, moderately high in protein, and low in carbohydrates, have already been proven. This is embedded in the ketone lifestyle.