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.
CINNAMON improves insulin sensitivity and helps correct for the insulin resistance
that’s so damaging to the body. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes and diabetes
TURMERIC contains curcumin which helps produce beta cells in the pancreas –which
produces insulin- to help drive blood sugar down. This bump in beta cells also helps
your body absorb and better use the carbs you eat instead of letting the glucose they
produce roam around in the blood.
Eating keto and taking the recommended supplements can stop elevated blood sugar, correct the damage done by high blood sugar, and it can help type 2 diabetics get off of glucose regulating medication, exogenous insulin shots, and reduce the extreme inflammation most diabetics experience.
WHY DOES KETO WORK TO LOWER BLOOD SUGAR?
When the human body eats an abundance of carbs and sugars, and has been doing so for a long period of time, it needs to figure out what to do with all that sugar. The first thing your body does to get rid of all that glucose is to burn it for energy.
Glucose converts very quickly, so any sugar still in your system when your brain sends the signal that it has enough sugar for energy right now must be stored. So your pancreas creates extra insulin, the hormone that allows sugar to be stored in your body’s cells where it can be kept as glycogen for emergencies: like the times when you need a burst of energy and maximum effort.
The problem with storing sugar is that your body can only hold so much extra sugar. Once all
the rooms are filled in your body’s cellular hotel, the remaining sugars are left to roam free in
the blood stream. The roaming blood prompts your pancreas to continually create more insulin to help park the sugar in cells even though the cells are full. Now you have too much sugar and too much insulin in your blood and you’re in the insulin resistance zone where your cells become defiant of the insulin hormone that keeps insisting the cells can hold more glucose when they can’t.
The cells begin turning down insulin even when they do get extra space because they become used to too much insulin trying to bombard them. This prevent even more sugar from being stored, leaving it to flow in the blood, raising blood sugar levels and causing problems when the sugar flows through the heart, or gets near cancerous cells that feed off of the simple, easy to burn energy that is glucose.
Keto works to stop and reverse all of this by turning off the glucose spigot. With no new carbs coming in, the body has no more sugar to try and store or let flow through the blood. Keto’s fat-based foods force the body to use up all of the sugar in the blood, and it forces the sugar hiding in the cells to come out. This drastically reduces the amount of sugar in your blood and ensures that when you do have a bump in blood sugar it’s taken care of right away before the ill effects can take hold.
The proof is in the sugar-free pudding: Duke University medical center did a study that proves how amazing keto is for lowered blood sugar and diabetes management. This study has become a rallying cry amongst physicians who now recommend the ketogenic diet to their patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
If you have type 2 diabetes or have been told you are pre-diabetic, keto can be your lifeline. It can help you correct your blood sugar naturally and save you tons of money on expensive
medicines and it can stop the decline into diabetes before it become s a lifelong problem for
those worried about becoming diabetic.
cholesterol + blood pressure
Cholesterol and its effects on your health is one of the most misunderstood areas of diet
health. Let’s go over what cholesterol actual is, what it isn’t, how it guides your overall health,
and why the keto diet is an amazing tool for optimizing your cholesterol.
First things first, cholesterol is the group name given to any lipoprotein that carries fat through your blood. Fat is not soluble in water or blood and won’t absorb. This is where cholesterol comes in to guide your fat though the body to areas when it can be parked and stored as a triglycerides.
A triglyceride is a metabolized form of fat that is energy dense and can be called upon in times of starvation to run your body’s functions. If you’re starving, your body calls on stored fat and the parked triglycerides to keep you going.
This stuff gets pretty complicated and dry if you don’t have a PhD, so we’ll try to keep it simple and sweet. With us so far? Good.
Back to the cholesterol group. There are three main lipoproteins that make up the cholesterol group. High Density Lipoproteins, Low Density Lipoproteins, and Very Low Density Lipoproteins.
Here’s how they break down:
High Density Lipoproteins (HDL): HDL cholesterol is fast-moving and it’s the smallest lipoprotein with the densest core. All of these characteristics make it perfect for the job It performs, which is to collect other kinds of cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids (stay with us) for delivery back to the liver for recycling. HDL’s ability to move fast keeps it from getting stuck to artery walls, meaning HDL doesn’t lead to atherosclerosis, the clogging of arteries. And because HDL is good at collecting other cholesterols, it helps prevent bad cholesterols from blocking arterial channels too.
HDL is a good cholesterol.
Low Density Lipoproteins and Very Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL, VLDL): These are the bad
guys if they’re together in bulk and HDL isn’t around to help out. They are necessary in smaller to moderate doses because they are good at carrying certain fats around the body for storage and use. The problem is, they are slow and light which makes them susceptible to getting stuck to your artery’s walls. Once stuck, they are prime targets for oxidation which hardens them and, overtime, can create a wall that blocks the artery completely. These free-radical oxides that harden LDLs are why antioxidants are so important.
LDL and VLDL, en masse, are bad cholesterols.
Hopefully, cholesterol is a little easier to understand now. Not all cholesterol is bad. And having some triglycerides is a good thing.
HOW DOES KETO HELP HDL CHOLESTEROL?
This national study set out to study the effects of a ketogenic diet on the good, the bad, and the ugly of cholesterol. The conclusion is clear, Keto helps your body find a balance between the HDL and LDL cholesterols while keeping your triglycerides from getting out of hand. Keto works to raise the HDL cholesterol where it needs to be in order to keep LDL in check by helping you lose weight and allowing your liver to focus on the fat and recycling rather than having to convert carbs into glucose.
The truth is, three quarters of your cholesterol is endogenous, which means it’s made by your
body. Only 25% actually comes from the food you eat. The reason what you eat effects your
cholesterol is due to the way in which the types of food you take in distract or optimize your
body’s ability to remain balanced and kicking out the right levels of proteins. If the liver is busy making glucose, the triglycerides from the fat you eat as part of those carby meals get ignored due to insulin resistance, which forces your blood sugar to wait longer, which puts triglycerides in the back of the line and forces them to wait even longer to be used or stored.
This is why high triglyceride levels indicate high levels of LDL and prediabetes. LDL cholesterol will grab the triglycerides and park it if the parking spaces are open, but excess carbs and glucose means the LDL created to move the triglycerides has to wait. LDL waiting around is a bad idea because it can so easily get stuck on arterial walls and become hardened there, creating clogs.
Keto’s low-carb intake allows LDL to work quickly to park the triglycerides, and keto promotes
the production of HDL to come swooping in to remove any LDL that lingers around after the job is done.
SO WHAT DOES CHOLESTEROL HAVE TO DO WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
Keto’s ability to help the body regulate its own balance between HDL and LDL has a direct,
positive effect on lowering high blood pressure.
Hypertension is the technical name for high blood pressure because it perfectly describes what high blood pressure is doing to your arteries and veins. It’s causing very high tension on the walls of your arteries, pushing them out like an over-inflated balloon.
This happens due to the clogging problem caused by the hardening of LDL getting stuck and oxidized in your arteries, your blood’s main highway of travel throughout the body. Think of your arteries as a firehose. You want the fluid to run through the hose freely so it can be used with confidence at its most effective. But if there’re a bunch of kinks in the hose or rusty spots inside that restrict the flow, you’re going to have to turn the water up higher to get the same effect. But turning the water pressure up can put tremendous strain on the hose in certain spots an cause it to bulge and nearly burst. Now imagine this hose is 50 years old and it has some wear and tear. That high pressure bulge might be too much for it to handle. This is where heart attacks, burst arteries, and major heart issues can occur.
The ketogenic diet promotes HDL which can help keep the arteries clear. It also helps lower the risk factors for other cardiopulmonary issues caused by hypertension and arterial blockages. Keto not only promotes future heart and arterial health, the combined benefits of keto help to undo and reverse a lot of the damage already done.
increase physical endurance
A major misconception about keto is that it will leave you with no muscle glycogen and unable to perform any kind of sustained physical activity. Opponents of keto love to point to this myth because there is a short window of time of keto where this is partly true. Between the moment you commit to achieving ketosis and when your body becomes fat-adapted your energy levels and physical endurance can drop. For the first month or so of keto, while your system is acclimating to a completely new way of running its engine, your athletic performance and energy can dip and people who love to hate keto use this two to three-week period to bolster their weak points, and this is incomplete data is what’s used to
create this false myth.
It takes the human machine three to six weeks to adapt and get rid of the old fuel, glucose, and switch to the more efficient, higher octane fuel that is ketones. Think of this transition period between fuels as moving to a new house. You’ve packed up and ditched the old place for a better place to live. The problem is, you can’t just take all the boxes out of the truck and put them in the house and call it a home. Sure, you’re in the new house, but you need to unpack, decorate, get rid of all the junk from the old place that doesn’t fit your new swanky house. It’s not comfortable until you’ve had a chance to make it livable and comfortable.
This is exactly how keto works. You cut out all the carbs that make new glucose, but you have to get rid of the old stuff that’s hanging around in your blood. It takes a while for the ketones to move in and make your ATP energy system their new home. Once fat-adaption occurs, you will have an upgraded physical endurance and a more comfortable fuel for your athletic activity.
WHY KETO HELPS YOUR ENDURANCE
Does keto help with athletic endurance and performance? Ask Kobe or LeBron how they felt winning championships and scoring titles while on keto, outpacing and outlasting their opponents on the court. Keto works to keep you going during longer-duration exercise because your system can tap into stored body fat for more ketones to use as energy when you need to move and don’t have time to stop for more calories. Carbs become usable glucose quickly, but that fast transition doesn’t stop when it’s time to use the glucose for energy. Glucose burns off quickly when used as fuel as well. Glucose works for bursts of power or speed, but for endurance, fat burns slower, lasting longer, and it’s readily available in your tissue when the supplies get low.
Check out what this study found when it comes to a ketone fueled body for athletic performance:
“Beyond simply providing a stable source of fuel for the brain, the major circulating ketone body, beta-hydroxybutyrate, has recently been shown to act as a signaling molecule capable of altering gene expression, eliciting complementary effects of keto-adaptation that could extend human physical and mental performance beyond current expectation”
This means that a ketone-fuel body can be a more efficient performance machine due to the way BHB ketones talk to your DNA and genes. Ketones are the switch that flips on the genes that give you the ability to push further than ever before. It’s like ketones are turning on extra power you didn’t know you had, turning your V-6 motor into a V-8.
The ability to burn fat for fuel and to use stored fat in times that demand extended performance is amazing. It raises your personal miles per gallon by double or triple over glucose that can only be stored in the body in a minimal amount.
KETO FOR EXPLOSIVE ENDURANCE
While keto does give your body the fuel to keep going into overtime, the championship rounds, the extra innings, the final mile, that advantage can come at the cost of explosiveness. Short bursts of maximum effort energy are used in weight lifting, sprinting, boxing, and in spurts during organized team sports. For explosive energy, nothing beats glycogen. Glycogen is glucose stored in your muscle fiber that allows it to react quickly when called upon. Your fast-twitch muscle fiber is especially important to explosive performance and contains hefty amounts of glycogen to fuel the max effort burn they call for.
Luckily, like most parts of the keto lifestyle, there is a ketogenic answer for this. If you are participating in activities that require endurance over time and quick burst of maximum effort, you can adjust the keto diet to the Targeted Keto strategy (TKD) or the Cyclical Keto diet strategy (CKD). Both versions of keto see you eat a normal keto diet with the adjustment of adding simple carbs meant to metabolize quickly for immediate use so you will have the explosiveness you need.
Targeted keto keeps you going over the long-haul, but it also introduces carbs right before or during an activity that requires explosive movements for the quick-burn fuel need for bursts of power. The exercise that the carbs are being used for is typically enough to burn off every last bit of the glucose, leaving you in a ketogenic, fat burning state when the activity is over.
Cyclical takes this strategic carb-feeding to a weekly schedule that sees you consume carbs for two days before burning them all off completely during the hard workouts of the next five days. This carb surplus is great for keeping your explosive power high enough to perform at your peak, enough to see gains, but low enough that by the end of day seven your body has depleted all of the glucose from the carbohydrate refeed, leaving you back in your fat-adapted state.
TKD and CKD are very effective strategies that give you the best of both worlds, optimizing your endurance and explosiveness as long as you are working hard enough to burn the new glucose off before it can interrupt your fat adaption.
Keto is a great diet for increasing your athletic endurance that will keep you competing when your opponent has long since tired out. Keto also addresses the explosive endurance question by offering strategies that keep you fat-adapted and burning while at the same time giving you the glycogen you’ll need to perform at max effort.
From the moment you get your first pimple, you’re bombarded with conventional wisdom and old wives’ tales about how to get rid of them, and how to keep them from coming back. “Don’t touch your face, don’t eat chocolate, nothing with grease, stay away from fatty foods if you want to avoid acne.” Rubbing mustard on your skin was actually a semi-common practice at one point.
Thank goodness for actual scientific studies. We now know that what you eat actually does
have a huge bearing on the health and appearance of your skin. And guess what, ketoers, living the keto lifestyle scores another big win.
Keto’s ability to reverse insulin resistance and make cells more insulin sensitive means less
insulin floating around in the blood. It’s been shown that having a higher than normal level of
insulin in the blood has a direct correlation to frequency and severity of acne break outs, and
can even be linked to more chronic skin disorders link plaque psoriasis. Insulin feeds the
pathogenesis of acne by creating tissue build up that makes clogged pores more likely to occur.
Keto creates an insulin sensitivity that reverses the insulin resistance, and it’s all based directly
on the low-carb dictates of the ketogenic lifestyle. Higher GI foods create a demand for insulin by supplying an overabundance of glucose. Glucose needs insulin to open the door into the body’s cells for storage. But when the cells are full, and there’s still a ton of glucose left floating around, creating a spike in blood sugar, the pancreas that makes your insulin goes into panic mode and creates far too much insulin to be used. Now this insulin is saturating the blood, looking for a job to do, and the body’s largest organ, the skin, is its biggest target. Insulin hits the soft tissue of the skin and causes it to inflame.
Inflammation can cause pores to restrict and prevent dead skin cells from properly shedding
and making way for new growth. This build up and inflammation is made very clear on the
skin’s surface when a puss nodule, known as a pimple, is forced out and creates red, inflamed
skin around it.
Aside from not looking good, acne can cause scarring, and infections. Bad bacteria can get into pimples and create larger problems, including a yeast infection on the skin and around hair follicles.
Skin pores are very susceptible to hormones like insulin. This is why puberty sees so many breakouts. Testosterone and Estrogen can trigger the sebaceous glands that create and regulate new skin growth. These growth hormones kick skin cell production up and jam up the works. Adding another hormone in insulin only gums things up further.
Keto makes sure insulin is created and used as needed. No extra insulin is available when the
body is being deprived of the glucose that causes the problems.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
Keto doesn’t just prevent acne and other skin issues, it also swings far in the other direction by making the skin softer, suppler, and more illuminous. It sounds like a cosmetics commercial, but it’s true. The healthy fats and good carbs that comprise the keto diet are full of collagen-creating proteins and lipids.
The healthy fat you eat on keto softens your skin and makes it glow. The collagen that plastic
surgeons get paid big bucks to inject is a natural byproduct of eating healthy fats. As the
collagen is created and used to bolster your skin, it tends to push out wrinkles and smooth the damage your skin sees every day. You can eat your way to healthier skin.
Plus, the leafy greens and low-carb fruits like berries that keto recommends are full of the
antioxidants that stop the damaging chain reactions that come from oxidization. Stopping
oxidation means a better chance of avoiding skin cancer and keeping you skin’s elasticity for
Keto can heal your outside from within.
treat insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a part of the metabolic syndrome that can lead to issues with your heart
health and the deterioration of other vital organs… and the ketogenic diet can help reverse it.
Here’s how insulin resistance happens and affects your health:
When you eat more sugar and carbs than your body currently needs to fuel itself, the glucose
that is made from those carbs and sugars is stored in your muscle tissues and cells for use in
case of emergency. Glucose stored in your muscle tissue becomes glycogen which can be used in cases of extreme stress or emergency to give your fast twitch muscles a kick of energy.
Having some glycogen stored in your muscles is incredibly useful. A few thousand years ago it helped humans escape charging wooly mammoths; today, it fuels all those stories of super
strength you hear about where a mother lifts a car off of her kid.
But what happens when your muscle tissue’s cells are filled to the brim with excess glucose and there’re still more carbs and sugars coming in through the mouth? What happens to that new glucose when there’s nowhere left to put it? That sugar roams around in your blood with
nowhere to go and damages nerves, vital organs, and that blood sugar flows through the heart and chips away at its integrity.
Now your pancreas is in full emergency mode because its sole job is to create the hormone
insulin that communicates with the cells and gets them to open their doors to allow the glucose in for storage. But when the cells are filled, they don’t answer the insulin’s knocks on their door. So the pancreas gets nervous and send out even more insulin, like debt collects being sent to knock on every door over and over. Now your blood has a huge amount of free floating sugar and a ton of insulin that’s not being used because the cells are closed for business.
The major problem with this over-production of insulin is that cells begin to see the insulin as
solicitors, coming to their door for no reason and, even when the cells have room to store
glucose, they still don’t open the door to let the glucose in.
By over eating sugar you essentially harass your cells with insulin to the point that even when
they can easily store more glucose they won’t answer the door for the insulin that is needed to park the glucose inside. Now a pattern of behavior has been established, and even though
there’s room, the sugar-glucose continues to stay in your blood, flowing through areas it was
never intended to go and creating havoc by damaging your vital functions.
The problem is, our diet has driven our national and worldwide insulin resistance through the
roof. And the problem only gets worse as we get older.
Do you see how the last three bars are maxed out and equal? That’s because the severity of the insulin/ prediabetes problem is too much to track after a certain point. It’s off the charts.
KETO PROMOTES INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Insulin sensitivity is the hero to insulin resistance’s villain. Insulin sensitivity is the kind face that shows up on your cells’ door steps and coaxes the cells to open up when insulin comes
knocking, and to open up on the first try so your pancreas and beta cells don’t have to
continually pump out more and more insulin trying to get the job done.
Here is great Ted talk about how your pancreas and beta cells work and why they’re so
Keto works to increase insulin sensitivity because it helps you lose weight, and being
overweight is a huge contributing factor in insulin resistance. Plus, the fundamental core
purpose of living a keto lifestyle is to severely cut the carbs and eliminate the sugars that can
become blood glucose. The 20g of carbs you need to eat per day on keto is just enough to fill your cells with the right amount of glycogen your muscles need for explosiveness. If you’re not eating an excess of carbs and sugars, you don’t have to worry about having too much sugar in your blood to cause trouble with your heart, your vision, and your nerves.
Keto also promotes the use of Cinnamon and cinnamon supplements, as well as Turmeric and apple cider vinegar. All of these things help the keto diet, and all of these things assist insulin sensitivity, here’s the proof:
Keto also promotes getting more sleep, exercising, avoiding trans fats, and reducing stress.
Practicing any or all of these things will help you avoid insulin resistance and make your cells
more susceptible to receiving insulin and running properly.
When discussing the benefits of a ketogenic diet, one of the most over-looked positives to living a fat-based lifestyle is the affects it has on your mood and overall outlook on life.
Can the way you eat really change your mood?
How does a physical food change what is essentially a personal feeling?
The answer, of course, is yes, your diet can drastically alter your mood. For many ketoers, this clear uptick in mood and sense of enjoyment comes as a surprise. It’s not a benefit that’s discussed much since so much of keto is focused on the transformation of the body and physical health. But the noticeable changes in ketoers moods over time has le ad researches to dig deeper into the idea that keto is also the ideal diet for mental health.
HOW DOES KETO HELP MOOD?
This first component to the link between a ketogenic diet and its effects on mood come down to the sense of achievement and self-satisfaction a ketoer feels when they’ve accomplished the difficult task of dropping pounds and shedding the fat. Being overweight and unhealthy takes a tremendous psychological toll that only helps thoughts of hopelessness grow. Actually turning your life around and losing massive amounts of fat, allowing you to enjoy moving again, is its own reward, and your mental outlook on life and your sense of self-confidence skyrocket. A better opinion of yourself is enough to shoot your mood through the roof and keep it there.
Self-satisfaction is a great thing, but it’s an intangible, we want some evidence, proof that keto has a physical effect on mood. Ok, we hear you.
Now, keto doesn’t spike your mood and keep you rolling around on cloud nine all day, every day: that’s drugs, drugs do that. Keto helps your mood by stabilizing it. The same way keto evens out your blood sugar and stops the roller-coaster of spikes and crashes, keto tempers your mood and keeps it more consistent. Instead of feeling energetic with a false sense of euphoria for half an hour followed by a two-hour crash of self-loathing and impatience with the rest of human kind, keto gives you the ingredients you need to stay happy and satisfied without a major dump in mood and attitude.
Have you ever noticed that the term ‘Comfort Food’ more often than not refers to foods that are carby, sugary, and generally unhealthy, but give you a pick me up in mood? That’s because those carby and sugary components are giving the brain a quick shot of energy and in response, the brain is releasing endorphins to reward you for supplying fast energy. That’s right, comfort food hits the reward center of your brain and makes you feel good. But that fast energy and happy feeling go away just as fast if you aren’t constantly supplying more and more sugary carbs. This reward center of the brain is a dangerous biological hold over from the days when food was scarce. Now that we have sugary foods available in abundance, this pleasure reward center really only promotes over eating. And those feelings of euphoria that jump up super high, super fast, come down with the same speed and force, leading to feelings of sadness and misery that in turn lead to tension.
Keto takes the consistent approach to your energy supply which releases serotonin at a much more regulated level. The brain-protecting benefits of keto also help to make your neurological connections stronger which makes better use of your serotonin, the happy hormone. With keto, your reward center isn’t over stimulated, meaning you won’t be chasing the high of eating sugar-rush foods and packing on extra calories. Eating keto sounds less exciting since you won’t be getting rewards from you brain in such high numbers, but remember, it’s better to keep your plane in the air, flying at a consistent altitude, than it is to fly as high as possible, run out of fuel and come crashing back to Earth in a ball of fire.
Keto’s leveling effect on mood is proven and re-proven, but the newest question about keto’s relation to mood is being explored and studied right now. There’s a question, and scientific abstract, exploring the link between the ketone BHB and the mood elevating neurotransmitting, psychoactive chemical gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid… GHB.
Yes, that GHB. Before GHB was used as a party drug and for far more sinister purposes, it had medical applications for narcoleptics, people with extreme alcoholism, and people suffering clinical depression. GHB is also used by professional athletes for performance and alertness.
Now, we are of course not advocating the use of GHB, but the science being studied right now suggests that the similarity in structural design between GHB and the primary ketone created by ketosis, BHB, plays a major role in the heightened mood that comes with living a keto lifestyle. This would mean that a keto diet supplies a natural chemical that boosts your mental health while at the same time delivering all of the other keto benefits.
CLINICAL APPLICATION OF KETO
Keto is great for boosting your mood and morale. But the euphoric feelings propagated by living a keto lifestyle have actual mental health and mental healing applications. Psychologists have actually begun turning to keto and low-carb diets to help their patients suffering from clinical depression and other disorders. Mental health, just like physical health, is an issue that can be worked on and corrected. The health properties of keto work to help heal the brain and make it more efficient. The brain-boosting benefits that keto offers, such as nerve protection, aiding in synaptic connection and response, and running the brain on a more stabilized fuel that assists in keeping mood from dropping, are all major boons for mental health and wellness.
Keto is also a huge help to degenerative brain issues. Eating a diet that levels out your mood and helps heal the brain can keep depression at bay and stop it from becoming a larger problem. And the stabilizing effects keto has on mood have been enough to allow many sufferers to stop having to rely on medications.
The mood boost from keto can be felt almost as soon as you get into ketosis. However, fully fat-adapted ketosis, around the 30-day mark, is when the real differences will be seen and felt. So stay with it. 30 days of dedication is worth a lifetime of happiness.
Keto’s therapeutic effect on epilepsy is the granddaddy of all keto benefits. The reason the ketogenic diet exists today is due to its creation to help treat epilepsy in children.
UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF EPILEPSY TO UNDERSTAND KETO’S ORIGIN STORY
Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain and nervous system. It’s characterized as abnormal brain and nervous system activity that can result in a pattern of unpredictable seizures.
In the mid-1920s, doctors and researchers at the prestigious Mayo clinic were desperately looking for answers to treat epilepsy, specifically pediatric epilepsy. Up to that point, the only medications used to treat epileptic seizures were hold overs from the late 1800s that hadn’t seen any significant progress since they were first discovered. Even then, the scant seizure medications available were more of a gambler’s best guess as they only worked a fraction of the time.
It was this period, around 1924, that the physicians at the Mayo clinic noticed their pediatric epileptic patients who were seeing a sudden reduction in seizure severity and frequency were returning low blood-sugar scores and had symptoms associated with the onset of nutritional glucose starvation. Blood tests returned larger than normal amounts of ketones in the patients’ blood, prompting the doctors to begin the radical idea of treating their epileptic patients with a very low carbohydrate diet that relied on fats to create ketones for fuel instead of relying on glucose.
The ketogenic diet trials were a success and their rate of child seizures went down significantly. The word was spread across the country, and for the first time, there was an effective treatment that worked with regularity. Keto was used as the most effective answer to epilepsy for about ten years before stronger and more proven anti-seizure medications were developed.
Normally, this revolution in pharmaceutical treatment would spell the end of the old way of treatment, but there were a percentage of epileptics whose seizures were immune to the new drugs. Keto was used in response and worked wonders for the patients whose seizures defied the drugs.
KETO WORKS FOR EPILEPSY
Here at niKETO, we take pride in giving you well-research answers about the keto diet that explain the why and the how. It’s important to understand how eating a keto diet works to produce the benefits it does. The problem with keto and epilepsy is that we can explain and show proof that keto does work to stem the onset of epileptic seizure and minimize their severity, but as of right now, even science can only make informed, educated guesses as to how it all works. Researchers and the greatest medical minds would love to discover the exact link that turns a fat-laden, carb-restricted diet into the signals in your brain that reduce or stop epilepsy, but they just can’t make the connections.
The biggest roadblock in figuring out how keto works to help epilepsy is the fact that epilepsy itself is not completely understood. There are so many types of epilepsy and so many things going on in the brain and nervous system that it’s hard for doctors to pinpoint where in the human wiring epilepsy occurs. Seizures are unpredictable which makes studying their cause very difficult.
The good news:
We may not know how keto works to help epilepsy, but we do know that it does work. Keto is responsible for lessening seizures, shortening their duration times, and reliving their severity.
This study, done in 1998, was one of the first modern studies done on keto and epilepsy. Here are the highlights:
The children (mean age, 5.3 years), averaged 410 seizures per month before the diet, despite an exposure to a mean of 6.2 antiepileptic medications.
Three months after diet initiation, 83% of those starting remained on the diet and 34% had >90% decrease in seizures.
At 6 months, 71% still remained on the diet and 32% had a >90% decrease in seizures.
At 1 year, 55% remained on the diet and 27% had a >90% decrease in seizure frequency.
Their findings and recommendations?
“The ketogenic diet should be considered as alternative therapy for children with difficult-to-control seizures. It is more effective than many of the new anticonvulsant medications and is well tolerated by children and families when it is effective.”
Read that again.
Keto is major leap forward in treating epilepsy, especially in those cases where medications are ineffective. Many families with epileptic children, with the approval of their physician, are turning away from drug options all together in favor of this healthier, more natural approach. Using keto therapeutically to help treat epilepsy is a money saver and can stop epilepsy’s grip before more drastic options need to be explored, as is the case with the invasive surgical options.
Since this landmark study in 1998, there have been even more studies that prove keto is a wonderful option for the treatment of epilepsy.
While epilepsy is more prevalent in children and the elderly, it can affect people into adulthood, and keto is as effective in treating epilepsy in adults as it is for children.
If you’re interested in using the ketogenic diet as a tool to manage epilepsy, and to hopefully reduce seizures, talk to your doctor. Keto for epilepsy treatment is designed to be even more carb restrictive than normal, nutritional keto. Dropping carbs even further and upping healthy fats has been the magic recipe for keto’s success with epilepsy. But because of this, it’s important to talk to your physician so they can advise you on how best to follow keto, and how to incorporate medications into a mutli-pronged approach.
For further reading on epilepsy, to receive help with the condition, and to find answers, visit https://www.epilepsy.com/.