The keto diet refers to a ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb diet. The goal is to get more calories from protein and fat than from carbs. It works by depleting your body of its store of sugar (accumulated from using carbs to fuel your body), so it will start to break down protein and fat for energy, causing ketosis (and weight loss).
Once you've cut carbs from your diet, your body needs to look elsewhere for fuel. By consuming "good fats" and healthy proteins primarily, your body learns to burn fat for fuel and energy. Once you've burned through the foods you eat, your body moves on to your other fat to sustain itself. Compared to carbs, ketones are a cleaner burning energy source.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE WEIGHT LOSS
Once eaten, carbs are broken down into smaller sugars (glucose, fructose, and galactose) to be used as energy for immediate tasks. Any unused glucose will be converted into glycogen and stored in the muscles and liver, or as triglycerides in fat cells, for future use. This is where we all slowly add unwanted weight.
Ketosis, or “keto", is a natural state for the body in which it becomes almost completely fuelled by fat through eating a ketogenic diet: low carb, moderate protein, and lots of healthy fats. While in ketosis, the body is producing ketones. These small molecules are used as fuel when we have depleted our glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar) supply. Ketones are produced in the liver from fat, as we eat very few carbs and a moderate amount of protein. The entire body – including the brain – consumes ketones as fuel.
Did you know? Cancer cells have ten times more insulin receptors on their cellular surface, and require glycogen to feed malignant growth.
If glucose (carbs) is consumed as a primary diet source, cancer cells will continue to thrive and spread. By following a ketogenic lifestyle, lowering carbohydrates will reduce levels of glucose and will assist in depleting cancer cells of their energy supply. Intermittent fasting, which happens naturally when we become keto-adapted, also increases ketone production and will starve cancer cells!
Bottom line: Committing to a ketogenic lifestyle may help reduce the risk of cancer, or aid in cancer treatment therapies. Many cancer nutritionalists will first recommend this diet during treatment and recovery therapies.
INFLAMMATION & ARTHRITIS
The leading cause of inflammation, believe it or not, is diet. Complex carbs, sugars, processed foods - all of these are a major contributing factor. Keto has been proven in many studies to reduce, if not completely eliminate, major inflammatory problems; including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and even migraines.
(On a personal note here, I have been battling a laundry list of aches and ailments for many (many!) years. After committing to a strict Keto diet, I can happily brag that ALL of them have disappeared!)
MORE POTENTIAL BENEFITS
- reduced acne
- potentially reduces seizures
- improves health in women with PCOS
- increased mental alertness and increased brain function
- possible improvement in autistic behavioural symptoms
- a better way to delay brain aging (Dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons), by possibly preserving cognitive function and memory in people who are at a relatively higher risk