Nutritional science has made many advances over the last two decades. There is now clear evidence to support the health benefits of high-fat diets. Likewise, there is also an extenuating body of research on the adverse health effects of a diet that is high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates.
The media has previously demonized fat as the macronutrient responsible for creating heart disease and obesity. Research now shows that this paradigm was flawed and it is refined carbohydrates and trans-saturated fatty acids that are responsible for the rise in cases of obesity and heart disease.
A Brief History of the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet came from the principles used in the Atkins diet. The Atkins approach was a popular modern lifestyle based diet that included a set meal plan executed over two to three weeks. The diet gained popularity due to the rapid weight loss effects it produced.
Nutritional scientists also became interested in these results, and as their research developed, they formed a body of work that became known as the ketogenic diet. The theory behind the ketogenic diet was that in the absence of glycogen, the body’s fuel source, the brain would signal the liver to produce ketones from dietary fat sources and body fat reserves, to be used for metabolic fuel.
The original diet featured a macronutrient split of 65% fat and 35% protein. However, the original ketogenic diet did not seem to produce the same results as the Atkins, and further research showed that the ideal ratio should be closer to 80% fat and 20% protein for optimal results that produce a stable ketogenic state.
This new advancement in the diet was labeled as the ‘modified’ ketogenic diet and came to popularity in the early to mid-2000’s. The fitness community promoted the diet as a way to enhance fat loss strategies and then was picked up by the mainstream media and where it was discovered and implemented by a wide variety of people in different walks of life.
The ketogenic diet was also found to be effective as alternative therapy for children with difficult-to-control seizures. In fact, it is more effective than many of the latest anticonvulsant medications and is well tolerated by children and families. It offers a new paradigm when thinking about epilepsy and its treatment.
The number one benefit of implementing a ketogenic diet is the reduction in inflammation that comes from eliminating all sources of carbohydrates in your diet. Refined carbs irritate and inflame the intestinal wall, impairing the ability of gut biomes to assimilate nutrients from your food. This inflamed environment leads to a reduction in metabolic rate and a drop in immune function. Going carb-free will reduce inflammation and keep your body in optimal health.
Clean Up Your Cholesterol Profile
A ketogenic diet will rebalance and improve your cholesterol profile. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated plant-based fat sources contain valuable plant phytosterol antioxidants. These antioxidants can reduce the level of bad cholesterol in your blood while improving the level of good cholesterol and decreasing total triglycerides.
Lower levels of inflammation allow your but biomes to get more out of the food you eat, increasing the number of nutrients available for metabolic and biological processes. As your metabolism strengthens, you can expect to feel improved levels of energy throughout the day, as well as improved sense of well-being, as well as clearer thoughts and faster decision-making capabilities. For those that are using a ketogenic diet as a fat loss strategy, you can expect a faster rate of fat loss in a caloric deficit as the body mobilizes adipose tissue stores and convert them to ketones for metabolic fuel.
Results with the ketogenic diet can vary. In some cases, it does not produce optimal results, and these people are better to continue with a carb-based diet. However, the carbs in any diet should never include refined products. Change your carbs to sprouts, whole grains, and dark leafy green vegetables.
If you do decide to try out the ketogenic diet, create a log book for yourself and track everything you eat. Include your total calorie consumption for the day and the foods you eat to find out the best time to weigh yourself and record the reading every day. Collect the data and analyze it after six to eight weeks on a diet. The ketogenic diet is safe to run year-round and has no harmful side-effects on human health, give it a try and see for yourself.