Benefits of the Keto Diet: How a Low-Carb Diet Can Improve Health

No diet is going to be one-size-fits all because everyone is different. Understanding where to begin, how to maintain it, and what the best strategies are for incorporating a new eating plan into your life can be confusing.

Adopting a low-carb diet has been proven to provide a wide variety of health benefits, ranging from weight loss to the prevention and management of chronic illnesses. A keto diet takes this a step further, encouraging a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate solution that is easy to integrate into your daily routine.

A Low-Carb Diet Can Reduce Hunger

Typically, whenever you follow a new diet plan—especially those centred on caloric deficits or reduced meals—hunger is a common side effect. This often results in discomfort, leading to a lack of consistency and, ultimately, not following through on the plan.

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, low-carb diets like the keto diet have been proven to reduce your appetite. By focusing on increasing your fat intake, consuming a moderate amount of protein, and limiting carbohydrates, your body remains full for longer, while still receiving the necessary nutrients. Studies have shown that following this type of diet consistently allows people to eat fewer calories.

More Initial Weight Loss

Cutting out carbohydrates is one of the most effective ways to lose weight quickly, while remaining healthy. Some studies have proven that people who choose to follow a low-carb diet (such as the keto diet) manage to lose more weight at a faster rate than those maintaining a low-fat diet. This remains the case even when caloric restriction is involved.

Low-carb diets typically focus on reducing excess water within the body. This results in lower levels of insulin, ultimately leading to rapid weight loss during the first week or two. Studies have found that low-carb diets allow people to lose two to three times as much weight as low-fat diets, without experiencing any additional hunger.

Targeting Abdominal Fat Loss

Fat distribution plays a significant role in your overall health, as well as the possible risk of disease. There are two main types of fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is found directly beneath your skin, whereas visceral fat accumulates in your abdominal cavity.

Visceral fat has a tendency to gather around your internal organs. Additional visceral fat is most often associated with inflammation and insulin resistance. This is commonly recognized as one of the leading factors behind metabolic dysfunction.

Research has shown that a large proportion of the fat that is lost during a low-carb diet comes from the abdominal cavity. Given that these types of diets can help regulate insulin, it is understandable that abdominal weight would be targeted.

When followed consistently, low-carb diets like keto can help lead to a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Several Brain Disorders Can Be Treated

Some parts of your brain only function if they have enough glucose to burn. As a result, your liver naturally produces glucose from stored protein if you consume little to no carbohydrates.

However, when your carbohydrate intake is incredibly low, your brain begins to burn off ketones instead. This is the objective behind a keto diet. Often used as a treatment for epilepsy in children, the keto diet promotes the conversion of foods to ketones, providing a beneficial alternative energy source for the brain.

Researchers are also studying the potential impact that very low-carb and keto diets have on other brain conditions, including Alzeheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Increasing “Good” HDL Cholesterol Levels

Recognized as the “good” kind of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) impacts your risk of heart disease. When there are higher levels of HDL relative to LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the ongoing dangers of heart risk decrease drastically.

One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of HDL levels in your body is to eat healthy fats. That’s what makes the keto diet ideal because it aims to increase fat consumption, while moderating protein and minimizing carbohydrate intake.

Decreasing “Bad” LDL Cholesterol Levels

When “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in your body are too high, the risk of suffering a heart attack increases significantly. The size of these particles determines how severe the risk actually is. Smaller particles have been linked to a higher risk of heart attack, whereas larger particles indicate a lower risk.

Following a low-carb diet allows you to easily reduce your carbohydrate intake, ultimately helping to improve your heart health. In some cases, this type of diet reduces the number of total LDL particles altogether, thus boosting your heart health.

Reducing Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels

Both low-carb and keto diets are recommended for anyone looking to better manage their diabetes and reduce insulin resistance. Several studies have shown that reducing the amount of carbohydrates you take in helps lower both blood sugar and insulin levels drastically.

When initially starting a low-carb diet, people with diabetes may need to consider reducing their insulin dosage by 50% right away. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes either reduced or eliminated their need for glucose-lowering medication within six months.

Nevertheless, it’s important to speak with your doctor before starting any new medication or lifestyle changes, including dietary shifts.

Lowering Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure isn’t always something you can feel, it is considered one of the most common risk factors for other serious conditions, such as stroke and heart attacks.

Reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet has proven to help lower blood pressure, thus minimizing your risk of many common diseases. Following a low-carb or keto diet allows you to effectively lower your blood pressure by increasing intake of fats and reducing carbohydrate consumption.

Key Takeaways for Low-Carb and Keto Diets

The various health benefits of low-carb and keto diets are undeniable. These diets not only help improve your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, but also reduce your appetite, ultimately helping to promote weight loss.

Whether you are concerned about an existing condition, or want to find ways to naturally reduce your risk down the line, either a low-carb or keto diet could be the right choice.

 

 

 

About Joel Levy 2599 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography