The Amazing Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

Capture a a a a a a a'pkjds'kljarasdfThe ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate (low-sugar) diet that combines high fat with adequate protein consumption. Most people are shocked when they hear that this diet actually encourages them to eat more fatty foods because for decades we’ve been told to ‘cut the fat’ to be healthier.

But before you go hog wild eating high fat content foods, it’s important to note that not all types of fat are the same. The best fat to eat is the kind that is called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), such as the fat found in coconut oil, avocados, butter, olive oil, lard, and tallow. MCTs are readily absorbed and go directly to the liver, where they are immediately used for the body’s energy.

While not a fat, carbohydrates (also called “carbs”) are what we’ve been taught previously that our bodies need to fuel itself. But a more proper name for them should be “sugars”. Carbohydrates come not only from sugars, but also from things that convert to sugars when digested, such as bread, pasta, and potatoes.

Everyone’s body first uses any carbohydrates it has to provide energy before using fat. If there is a constant supply of carbohydrates, the body never burns up any fat for energy.

The idea of the ketogenic diet is to reduce carbohydrate intake so severely, that the body goes into a state of ketosis, which means it starts using fat supplies stored in the body to provide energy. Some people need to reduce carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day, others can reach ketosis while still consuming twice this amount, so it varies depending on the individual.

It is not easy to get the body into the state of ketosis. For an average person, with the help of a severely restricted diet, it is possible to reach this state in about three days. When the body is in ketosis, it is metabolizing fat (using fat for energy). One of the by-products of this process is the production of ketones, which are excreted from the body as waste.

It is possible to measure the amount of ketones excreted in the urine, found in the bloodstream, or exhaled with the breath. By testing for ketones, one can maintain this state of ketosis by simply eating the correct foods and drinking plenty of pure water.

Who is the ketogenic diet beneficial for?

This diet is beneficial for those seeking good health in a proactive way and for those with high blood pressure, epilepsy, and people with cancer. It is also good for those who want to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

This diet will improve skin tone, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, help to lose weight (especially belly fat or hip fat), reduce food cravings, increase the strength of the metabolism, and help prevent the onset of certain illness, such as diabetes 2.

After a short adjustment period, when a person gets used to the diet, many experience an increase in energy, decrease in joint stiffness, clearer thinking, and an improvement in sleep patterns. This diet can really make you feel great.

What are the contradictions?

People with type 2 diabetes should exercise extreme caution with a ketogenic diet because they risk ketoacidosis, which may be deadly. Even though ketosis and ketoacidosis sound similar, they are quite different. Those who have type 2 diabetes already have ketone levels that are too high. They need to lower ketone production, not try to increase it. When the body is overloaded with ketones to a very high level it reaches a stage of ketoacidosis. With serious diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) it may cause the brain to swell, a loss of consciousness, a coma, and ultimately death.

It is nearly impossible for people, who do not have type 2 diabetes, to reach these levels of ketones because they have good amounts of insulin in their bodies. Type 1 diabetics have too much insulin so they can go on a ketogenic diet without risk. The lack of the hormone insulin is what causes DKA. Without insulin, the body cannot process sugars in the bloodstream into energy, so they build up to a level of toxic overload.

What are the unwanted side-effects?

You may lose muscle mass, especially if you eat too little protein. When you lower your sugar intake, the body is able to convert muscle tissues into glucose to use it for fuel. This effect can be minimized if you eat adequate protein.

When you first try to reach ketosis, you may experience the body’s natural reaction to the change of diet as something like light flu. They call this keto-flu. You may feel tired, dizzy, run a low fever, and not be able to concentrate. You may crave sugar, get slightly nauseous, have trouble sleeping, and become cranky or irritable. Usually, this only lasts about one week and it is worth going through the adjustment.

In rare cases, you may develop a rash around the mid-section. This is called Prurigo Pigmentosa. It is not uncomfortable and it goes away if you increase your carbohydrate intake temporarily.

To combat any side effects increase your carb intake slightly. But instead of eating any old carb heavy food, eat “clean” carbs, like sweet potatoes or fruits. Once the symptoms of the side-effects go away then go back to ketosis once again. Basically, to get on the ketogenic diet, a person is coming off of the addiction to sugars and that transition may be slightly challenging.

Ketosis and Cancer

Cancer cells are young cells growing out of control that end up making massive tumors. A ketogenic diet starves them of glucose (a type of sugar), which is what they need to grow. A ketogenic diet has helped those with cancer gain a position of stasis (balance) and hold the cancer in remission.

Why should you tell your friends about this?

Not everyone has heard about the ketogenic diet. For decades, due to the mistakes made by researchers, there has been a cultural prejudice against eating fat. Everyone believed this incorrect information and lowered fat consumption. Meanwhile, sugar consumption went through the roof. It turns out there are very good fats, like butter and coconut oil for example, and it is beneficial for many people to eat them. The newer research demonstrated this and has now changed the overall thinking about the subject.

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