Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

May 29, 2017 | 148 views

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By Dr. Mercola

Lifestyle diseases are largely caused by a lack of control concerning food and other substances. They can lead to the dramatic deterioration of the body. Some of these diseases, like obesity, heart disease and diabetes, result from leptin resistance or metabolic dysfunction.

This usually happens because the average American diet is laden with sugar and carbohydrates. This unhealthy diet is responsible for the enormous percentage of percentage of the population that is obese and disease plagued.

By correcting your diet and optimizing your metabolic function, you’re setting yourself up to take control of your health and meet your body’s needs. The first step is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate and low- to moderate-protein diet, which can help you can achieve nutritional ketosis.

What Is Nutritional Ketosis?

Nutritional ketosis refers to the state wherein the body starts to use fat as fuel instead of glucose. By being in nutritional ketosis, you may be solving your health problems by removing the stress high-carbohydrate diets are exerting on your body. Some health problems that can be solved by following this diet are obesity, type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.

Nutritional ketosis can also potentially lessen hunger pangs or cravings because of the shift between your body burning fats instead of sugar. Studies also suggest that entering nutritional ketosis slows down or stops the apparent degradation of branched-chain amino acids, such as leucine. This helps maintain your muscle mass and promotes longevity.

How Can You Go Into Nutritional Ketosis?

By replacing carbohydrates in your diet with healthy fats, you slowly train your body to make the switch from using up glucose or sugars as fuel to using your body fat reserves. This allows the body to burn fats and thus promotes weight loss.

To trigger this transition, you need to limit you daily carb intake to 50 grams or less. This is can vary from person to person. Some people can enter ketosis when they eat 70 grams of carbohydrates, while people who are already insulin or leptin resistant should limit their intake to only 30 grams of carbs per day.

To be sure, I recommend measuring your glucose levels and your ketone levels. I specifically use a breath analyzer to check the amount of ketones in my blood. You can determine if you’re in ketosis when your blood ketones are in between 0.5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter.

Other Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

Studies show that a ketogenic diet has a great impact on epileptics as well. Some epilepsy patients are drug-resistant, making it nearly impossible for them to deal with this condition. The ketogenic diet has been used for these patients since the 1920s and has been proven effective for both children and adults.

Another benefit of the ketogenic diet is it helps in improving your overall brain health. By allowing your body from burning fats instead of glucose, you’re providing your brain with fuel that is both neurotherapeutic and neuroprotective.

Normally, the first indication that you’ve entered natural ketosis is you observe improved cognition and mental acuity. The brains of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have been observed to have a lower ability to use glucose as fuel, which then causes some of the neurons to die off. By entering a ketogenic diet, you’re ensuring that you’re providing your brain with fuel that it can fully utilize.

These improvements have also been observed in patients with autism, by keeping the brain cells from getting over-excited from the glucose that is normally used by the body. Studies also suggest that it helps in reducing migraine episodes as well as brain swelling, while expediting brain injury recovery.

The Link Between Your Metabolism and a Ketogenic Diet

Entering a nutritional ketosis also helped in the improvement in diseases and disorders that are connected to metabolism. These disorders include diabetes, obesity, glycogen storage disease (GSD), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and GLUT1 deficiency syndrome. People with NAFLD have shown an improvement in their weight, blood pressure and liver fat levels within a few months of employing a ketogenic diet.

Patients with GLUT1, which is a rare genetic disease wherein the patient lacks the protein that transports glucose into the brain, are also advised to employ the ketogenic diet because ketones do not need proteins to be transported into the brain and be used up as fuel. It allows their brain to function more normally, without the repercussions of the lack of glucose as fuel for their brains.

Intermittent Fasting Also Promotes Fat Burning

If your goal is to increase the fat that you burn, I would suggest that you consider intermittent fasting with the ketogenic diet. Intermittent fasting helps the body burn more fats because of the spacing between meals. It gives your body more time to digest and absorb what you are ingesting, removing the excess stress on the digestive system to burn and absorb the nutrients that are in the food.

Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss without the stress of removing too much of the calories that you are used to eating. This only requires that you space your meals out where you fast for about 14 hours or more. Some people can even fast for up to 32 hours.

To know more about how to achieve nutritional ketosis and the benefits of a  ketogenic diet, go to “Conditions Shown to Benefit From a Ketogenic Diet.”