There are so many benefits that come from cutting out carbohydrates from your diet. Whether you decide to go full on ketogenic, or you decide to go low carb, you will reap similar benefits from either. Why go keto or low carb? Because what most people don't know, is that as far as the body is concerned, carbohydrates are just sugar. That is what they convert into within the body, and that is what causes fat formation and weight gain, as well was an array of other medical and health conditions. But the benefits to cutting them, could be the best possible dietary decision that you make for yourself, health, mind + appearance.
Weight loss, specifically fat loss, is the number one benefit that brings most people to keto. A decade ago, when keto was admittedly more difficult due to a lack of attention and ketogenic diet options, people turned to keto when all other diets failed. Now, with keto a popular and well-known diet strategy and lifestyle, people are coming straight to keto based on the science and the proven results.
If the fundamentals of fat loss boil down to the simple concept of burning more calories per day than you consume, why is keto far more successful at delivering on the promised results?
Keto works for weight loss because it does more than create a caloric deficit. When carbs are
heavily restricted, your body can no longer create glucose sugars for fuel. It must metabolize
the fatty acids and proteins you’re giving it when eating keto. This sets up a unique metabolic
shift to ketosis. Without the fast-burn glucose energy, your body relies on ketones for fuel and they are far more efficient at powering your human power plant.
What does this mean? It means you will find yourself having more energy in a more consistent pattern. Glucose hits hard and fast, but it burns off just as quickly. Naturally, this creates spikes of energy and exhaustion. When you’re tired, your brain sends signals that it needs more fuel and you get hungry. A vicious cycle of endless carby snacks ensues and before you know it, you’ve eaten a thousand calories more than you’ve burned. The end result: weight gain.
Eating keto delivers a steady stream of energy that keeps you from feeling tired and therefore less hungry. To add to this, fatty acids take more work to break down and metabolize into ketones. While your stomach is busy breaking down your high-fat meals it’s too busy to send hunger signals. It holds back the ghrelin chemical that tells your brain you need to eat more because it has plenty of work to do and that work is creating plenty of ketones for energy.
All of this translates into you eating fewer calories. Other diets run on the philosophy that you
need to simply ignore your hunger and not eat more than your daily calories allotted for fat
loss. But dedication to a diet is something that needs to be learned and practiced. It’s no
wonder most people fail when trying normal, calorie restriction diets; they’ve gone from
answering the hunger call every time they get it by eating to now suddenly having to ignore a
biological impulse they’re used to. Keto works because it keeps you feeling fuller for longer. You simply don’t want to eat as much on keto because your fat-fueled, new way of eating leaves you with higher energy and a lack of hunger.
The added bonus to running your system on fat instead of sugar-carbs is that in a matter of
weeks your body becomes fat-adapted and begins to prefer fat as its main fuel. Once this
magical transformation hits your system, your body will actively seek out your stored fat and
begin to supplement its ketone production using the fat you already have and want gone.
The reason the fat we eat is stored as body fat is the glucose that results from carbs must be
burned off before our bodies can tap into the fat. But because our diets are so filled with carbs and sugar, our systems never have a chance to catch up to the carbs we eat and burn them off. The fat gets stored and continues to grow as the carbs get replenished at every meal.
Keto and the practice of cutting carbs corrects this imbalance and allows our bodies to finally
tap into our stored fat, using it for fuel and creating a leaner, lighter, healthier body as a result.
improved mental focus
The benefits of keto go far beyond the diet’s ability to quickly and drastically change your body composition, whether losing fat or gaining muscle. But these benefits are the number one reason people try keto to begin with. We at niKETO know this because we ask what’s brought people to the lifestyle and the overwhelming top response is weight loss.
What tends to shock people, and makes us here at niKETO smile and chuckle like hosts of a
surprise party when everyone jumps out, is the amazing spike in mental clarity and focus
unknowing, first time ketoers feel once they hit the optimal ketosis stage around the 30-day
mark. Imagine having no idea that the diet you’re on to lose fat is also making better use of
your brain and giving you a sharper cognitive acuity by erasing the brain fog that can slow you down throughout parts of your day. It’s like getting an extra prize in your kid’s meal.
Now, before the skepticism takes over, read this: a scientific study proving that a ketone-run
brain is more focused and less susceptible to mental haziness. If that one doesn’t prove it you, try this one, or this one, maybe this one.
Keto’s effect on your thinking clarity is real; it’s not a placebo and it’s not a psychosomatic response. It happens and it’s measurable.
WHY KETO BOOSTS THE BRAIN’S FUNCTION
The easy answer: your brain prefers ketones as fuel. The BHB ketone, created in abundance
during ketosis, is more efficient in providing longer-lasting neurological energy than simple
glucose. When your brain is well-fed it can fire faster, make clear connections at a higher rate,
and stop those mental dips that fog your ability to perform. Glucose burns off so quickly that it can slow your thinking. It’s absolutely true that thinking and reasoning take energy, and low
mental energy can lead to lapses and the commonly used term, brain-fart.
Eating a keto diet can actually prevent those mental hiccup moments that make you feel silly,
like leaving your keys in the front door, or walking into a room and forgetting why, or taking an extra step on a staircase. But a ketone-fueled brain can also help you use more sound
judgement and reach conclusions based on critical thinking and not reaction.
Fat provides protections to the brain that glucose can’t be bothered with. Fatty acids and the
ketones created from them protect nerve endings and can act as neuroprotective antioxidants that shield the brain’s receptors and cells from damaging reactive oxygen species that are produced in the body as a byproduct bodily stresses. Ketones stop or slow damage to brain cells that comes from these oxidants. Fat is a natural anti-oxidant that can prevent these harmful effects.
With ketones being so efficient and giving the brain a larger bank of energy fuel to draw from, ketones are used to signal the brain that it has additional ketoens to spare that can be spent to upregulate mitochondrial production. Why is that important? Mitochondria is responsible for the metabolic processing of energy. The more healthy mitochondria available to metabolize fuel into energy, the more energy can be created. With an uptick in mitochondria, older or damaged cells can be cleared out faster and replaced by the new mitochondria which expands the brain cells’ capacity and makes synaptic firing faster. All this means you have more brain power to work with because the power plant between your ears is running at peak performance. You no longer have cognitive lulls or that sleepy after lunch lethargy because there’s no longer a dip in your brain’s fuel.
Your basal forebrain, hippocampus, and cerebral cortex might be the most fun to say parts of
your entire body, and they are all in the brain and all three of them are responsible for your
memory, your ability to learn and retain new information, and to form new thoughts based on
evolving information. They are incredibly important when it comes to thinking and raising your thought process above normal levels. All three of them also rely on a protein called the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF stimulates the growth of neurons and helps preserve the neurons you already have by keeping the neural connections firing and healthy.
Can you guess where this is going? Yes, ketones promote the production of BDNF due to the
favorable brain environment created by the ketones’ efficiency, anti-oxidant behaviors, and
stimulation of mitochondrial.
Amazing what some fatty acids can do.
So, as you can see, the brain upgrade on keto isn’t imagined, it’s physiologically proven. You
become cognitively sharper and able to make mental connections faster because ketones are
sweeping up the clutter and making you mind a more efficient, calculating machine.
If you need more proof and explanation that than, you’re going to need a PhD in neuroscience.
One of the great benefits of keto, that goes hand-in-hand with keto for fat loss, is an increased level of sustained energy. Living a keto lifestyle means switching to a fuel source that keeps your batteries charged and keeps you moving without those morning grumpies or midday energy crashes. Ever notice that after lunch all you want to do is unbutton your pants and put your head on your desk for an hour or so? That is an insulin crash that results from a carb heavy meal.
Carbs become glucose in the body and when glucose is present, your system recognizes that
glucose is the quickest burning energy and prioritizes getting rid of it first. This is why eating a sugary candy or drink can give you a jolt of energy within minutes. Sugar glucose metabolizes quickly then burns as energy just as fast. Think about throwing balled up newspaper in your fireplace as opposed to wooden logs. Glucose, like the paper, will ignite faster and burn out quicker. This means you’ll need to keep adding paper to the fire if you want to keep the flames going. The problem is, it takes a moment to pull out, ball up, and throw more paper in the fire. In that time, the flames have dwindled and they’re barely visible by the time you’re ready with more.
This is how your body’s energy works. The easier the fuel is to burn off, the more you’ll have to supply and the more dips in energy you’ll have to endure between refeeds. So why not just
dump an entire stack of papers in the fire at once? Because the same way that will smother the flame in a fireplace, your body can only handle so much glucose at a time. Your body needs insulin from your pancreas to chauffer the glucose through your blood so it can either be used as immediate energy or stored in muscles. But muscles can only hold so much. When the cells are filled to the limit with glucose, insulin tells the liver to stop metabolizing glucose for fuel.
So what happens to the extra glucose? It sits in your blood, creating insulin resistance problems and skyrocketing your blood sugar levels which can lead to diabetes or worse.
Ketones, on the other hand, are the result of switching to the ketogenic diet and cutting those quick burn carbs. Ketones are more like a log of wood. They burn off more efficiently because your body requires fewer ketones to get the same amount of energy it was getting from glucose. It takes nearly twice as many glucose molecules to generate 1 oxygen unit of energy as it does to create that same unit from ketones. From an economics standpoint, would you rather pay $10 to put a gallon of gas in your car or $5 for that same gallon?
With ketones as your fuel, you won’t need to eat as many calories as you did with a glucose-
fueled metabolism. Meaning you can lose weight and have a more sustainable energy source
that burns slower but just as hot.
The sustainability of energy on keto comes from the fact that when your ketone-fueled fire
does start to diminish, you already have fat hanging around that can be called upon to keep the fire stoked. This burns off body fat and ensures you won’t have that rollercoaster of energy spikes and crashes that comes from a carby diet.
Because glucose can only be stored in smaller amounts in your tissue’s cells before your insulin signals your liver to just stop, it’s not a reliable backup to keep the fire burning. You will find that it helps for a little while, but you’ll soon be hungry again and taking in even more calories just to stay awake and functional.
Staying with the paper versus wood metaphor, it might be more difficult to chop down a tree
and divide it into useable fire wood than it is to collect paper, but in the end the extra effort
pays off 100 fold. Keto is the same way. When you first begin it can seem daunting, but you get used to it quickly and once you do, it’ll be as easy as throwing another log on the fire.
Keto works for weight loss because it does one thing better than any other traditional diet, it
reduces the hunger that sabotages your fat-burning efforts. Traditional diets don’t work
because they focus on cutting calories to create a caloric deficit: eat 2000 calories, but expend 2500 during the day. Do this every day and at the end of every week you’ll have lost 2 pounds. This quick and simple math problem is absolutely the correct way to lose weight, and it’s easy to understand on paper. So why do so many diets fail when the math doesn’t lie and the rules are so simple?
Calorie restriction is easy to explain but difficult for most people to put into practice. Suddenly cutting 500 calories out of your daily eating habits is incredibly difficult to do. We are creatures of habit and our bodies thrive when they can predict our behavior. It seems extreme, but going from eating 2500 calories on Sunday to eating 500 fewer calories on Monday, cold turkey, is like deciding to quit drugs or cigarettes. The reason it’s as hard to jump on a diet as it is to stop smoking is that, like smoking, you are denying a chemical dependency that you’ve established and made your body used to.
When your body is suddenly receiving 500 fewer calories per day, that’s 3500 calories fewer per week, it assumes something is wrong and kicks into survival panic mode. That panic begins with a ramp up in the hunger hormone, ghrelin. This natural chemical is pumped from your stomach to you brain to create hunger signals. The more ghrelin your brain receives, the hungrier and more ravenous you become. Ever tried dieting only to cave on the fifth day and eat an entire package of cookies? This is your chemical dependency forcing you into a relapse. It’s not something to feel bad about, 9 out of 10 traditional diets fail because hardly anyone has that much willpower, humankind hasn’t ever needed willpower like that.
KETO’S HUNGER REDUCTION MAKES CALORIE CUTTING WORK
The reason keto works as a fat loss diet is because is cuts hunger down and makes it easier to
eat fewer calories. The nice thing about keto’s hunger reduction is that you’ll get this benefit
right away. The high-fat foods and proteins that comprise the keto food list take a lot longer to break down into usable fatty acids for keto production than a carby meal does. A sugary candy bar is good for a fast energy spike because it metabolizes almost immediately and gets used as energy just as fast. The problem is, the quick usage of carbs leaves you hungry far more often and susceptible to over eating calories.
Fats, the choice food of the keto diet, take time to digest and metabolize for fuel. The fatty
acids being broken down and used for fuel are steadier and keep your energy more leveled out instead of spiking and crashing your energy all within the same hour timespan. While your gut and liver are busy working on your fatty meal, the brain is sending signals to the gut looking for ghrelin, trying to find out if you should eat more. But your gut is replying with, “no, we have plenty of work to do down here. Sending more would only slow us down.”
Less ghrelin telling you you’re hungry means less eating and snacking during the day, which
means fewer calories consumed. And just like that, you’re hitting those caloric deficits without even thinking about it.
STORED FAT USAGE
Once you’re fat adapted and in optimal ketosis, your body will always be looking for fat to turn into ketones. This adaptation is another amazing benefit to your hunger reduction and by extension, fat loss. Even when your system has broken down your fatty bacon, egg, and
buttered coffee breakfast, and sent all the fatty acids to the liver for ketone manufacturing, and your stomach is empty, your keto adapted metabolism will hold off on sending the emergency ghrelin signal to the brain because it still has fat it can work with.
Your stored body fat, the stuff you want to get rid of on a diet, is enough to stave off the
hunger pangs as it will fill in for newly eaten fat calories. When the brain checks into see if your gut needs more food, the gut responds by saying, “we’ve got years of backlogged work to do. How about we catch up on metabolizing this first, then we can take in new calories in a little bit.”
This pattern ensures an end to snacking and unneeded calories. With your body fat-adapted
and your hunger leveled off, you’ll never again get hangry, and you can focus on eating only 3 well thought-out keto meals per day.
So you see, keto isn’t magic. It adheres to the same diet math that makes weight loss possible, but it addresses the part of dieting that doesn’t come from the books: the human element. We aren’t perfect, we do slip up, and we are tempted by a chemical from our own body that betrays our rational thought. Keto works because it stops the hunger that sabotages our best intentions for our healthy diet.
Traditional diets emphasis thinking about your food, focusing on what you eat. Keto works
because is does the opposite. With keto, you don’t think about food all day, you actually tend to forget about it because your stomach and brain are busy making the best fuel source
possible without asking for more.
Not being hungry is the number one key to diet success. Being this key is why keto works.
lower blood sugar
Lower blood sugar as a benefit of eating keto, a near sugar-free diet, is an obvious check in the plus column for keto. Eating foods with less sugar and fewer carbs that can be turned into sugars is a clear way to lower blood sugar. Keto is the natural perfect choice for a diet that seeks to achieve this.
But why is lower blood sugar important?
High levels of glucose in the blood can lead to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart
problems, and a higher percentage of dietary fat being stored as body fat. The really horrible
part about spiked blood sugar is that it creates a vicious cycle as having sugar-saturated blood actually makes your brain crave more sugar.
Switching to a keto diet, and severely limiting carb intake, can reset your system and repair
damage done by elevated sugar levels. Regulated and corrected blood sugar is an important
part of what keto stands for. Fixing the amount of glucose running rampant through your body and causing health problems is one of the major benefits of keto as it helps you not only to lose weight but to reverse the issues caused by years of bad diet.