10 Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet and How to Start One

Tim Tebow, the Kardashians, Adriana Lima, and even LeBron James are on it – the keto diet.

It’s by far the easiest eating plan to aid the body in burning fat by reducing your carbohydrate intake, but increasing your intake of healthy fats. What this diet does is burn fats in the form of ketones rather than burn glucose. The idea behind this diet is that it places your body in a metabolic state called ketosis.

When the human body goes into the ketosis state, it becomes highly efficient at burning fat to use up as energy. Fat deposits in the liver also turn into ketones that are used up as energy for the brain.

The ketogenic diet has numerous benefits because it can result in massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, while increasing the number of ketones in the body.

How can a high in fat, low in carbs diet help in weight loss? Aren’t fatty foods bad? The ketogenic diet has had its share of controversy, and it has been a subject of numerous studies.

Since 2002, at least 20 human-based studies have been done on the keto diet to understand its benefits and adverse reactions.

These studies have shown that a low-carb diet has indeed resulted in significant weight loss, improved other bodily functions, and reduced risk factors, including cholesterol levels.

Here are ten proven health benefits of the ketogenic diet.

1. Faster weight loss

People on the keto diet have experienced faster weight loss compared to those on other types of diets. There are no skipping meals or counting calories with the keto diet. Glycogen levels are also low, and it also prevents insulin from storing fat.

2. Improved cognitive function

The keto diet increases the good fat in the body. Healthy fats are crucial for brain development, mood control, and hormone regulation. Low-carb diets promote the need for healthy fats in your diet.

3. Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease

Heart disease risks significantly reduce for people on the keto diet. Studies have shown that keto diets provide more sustainable results in cardiovascular diseases.

4. Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

The keto diet significantly improves dyslipidemia of diabetes, and it also decreases metabolic syndrome. The keto diet also helps control blood pressure and insulin secretion.

5. Helps fight cancer

The keto diet fights cancer by dramatically reducing sugar in the body. Sugar contributes to the formation of abnormal cells. Going on a keto diet also makes a person crave less processed foods and grains, thus improving immunity. If you’re looking for resources and support for cancer, you can also get more information here.

6. Fewer cravings

Carbs cause a spike in insulin, which will result in cravings. Low-carb diets help regulate insulin, therefore reducing a person’s cravings.

7. Better digestion

A better intake of food increases better digestion. A diet that’s high in veggies, quality protein, and healthy fats helps break up food faster. The digestive tract is also nourished, and bacterial infection also reduces for people on a keto diet.

8. Improved hormone regulation

A keto diet also balances a person’s neurotransmitter function. Moods are also uplifted, depressive symptoms are alleviated, and enhanced feelings of well-being increases.

9. Reduces aging symptoms

Excess blood in the sugar leads to glycation. This glycation, which is the binding of sugar with amino acid molecules, causes premature aging of our skin. The keto diet reduces the amount of sugar in the body because of the low-carb intake.

10. Improves athletic performance

The keto diet improves athletic performance by developing musculoskeletal responses in the body. It also aids endurance and is usually done by athletes in Ironman challenges.

A Quick Guide in Starting a Keto Diet

The keto is undeniably the fastest, safest, and most effective way to lose weight, balance sugar levels in the body, and above all, you never go hungry, deprived, or have cravings.

Step 1 – Calculate your macros.

When starting your keto diet, you first need to make sure you achieve your fat and protein goals, while keeping the carbohydrates low. To do this, use a keto calculator, like the KETO CALCULATOR BY ANKERL. This calculator helps you determine your macro goals to achieve each day by inserting your fitness level, age, height, and weight.

Keep in mind that the keto diet is all about a high-fat, low-carb diet with moderate protein intake. This means your percentage should be in the region of 75% fat, 5% carbs, and 20% protein. As a general rule, keep carbs to a minimum, at 20 grams or less.

Step 2 – Choose the right foods.

Before we go into the recipes you can cook up in a keto diet, it’s always good to know what food groups are best for this diet. Here’s a grocery checklist you can keep on your fridge to remind you:

  • Fatty cuts of red or white meat
  • Eggs and low-lactose dairy products
  • Saturated and monounsaturated fats
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Low-starch fruits and vegetables that grow above ground
  • Water and unsweetened coffee and tea

Step 3 – Track your food intake.

Keeping a food diary for this diet helps, especially when you’re new to the diet plan. If dairy isn’t your thing, then opt to download an app that can help you track what you eat. This is an essential part of the keto diet, as it helps you remember what you eat, plan out your meals, and tracks your fat, protein, and carbs intake, so you don’t go beyond your macros. MyFitnessPal, Calorific, and even Evernote help you write notes, take pictures, and keep a food journal.

Step 4 – Manage your electrolytes.

Not to get too technical, but essentially, drinking water is one of the critical components of a keto diet. When your body begins producing ketones, detox of the body happens through kidneys, making you dehydrate quickly. To balance this out and make sure you get enough electrolytes from your food and supplements, drink water. When on a keto diet, make this your general requirements of nutrition intake:

  • 3,000 – 5,000 mg (3 g – 5 g) of sodium/day
  • 1,000 mg of potassium
  • 300 mg of magnesium

Not enough electrolytes when on a keto diet may result in headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue, symptoms normally associated with keto flu or low-carb flu. Avocados and spinach are a great addition to the keto diet, which gives you that much-needed electrolyte.