Here’s a phrase you’ve likely heard lately, and if not, you will, and most likely while discussing the newest diet that your PureBarre and BLAST friends have started.
Or Ketogenic Diet, to be accurate.
If you dabbled in the Atkins Diet in the 90’s and 00’s, you are probably familiar with “ketosis,” or the phase of the Atkins Diet that indicated you were burning fat for fuel instead of sugar (as most of us do). Ketosis also came hand-in-hand with the less-attractive side effects of bad breath, mood swings and constipation.
Although similar to Atkins with its relatively higher ratios of protein and fat than the typical American intakes, the ketogenic diet, or keto diet, takes a cleaner, less-processed approach to protein and fat sources and has risen to the forefront of health due to the incredible health benefits that have been observed over decades. Some say over thousands of years, as fasting has been a religious practice since the dawn of time. (Those unpleasant side effects still hold, but only last for 1-2 weeks, say practitioners.)
Where did it come from?
Like many other diets, the keto diet was originally “prescribed” as a method to treat disease. Doctors used this method of eating to treat children with epilepsy in the 1920s. In its original form, the diet reduced carbohydrate intake to just 5% of caloric intake with 75% from fat and 20% from protein. Today, many people who subscribe to the keto way of eating alter the amounts & types of carbohydrates, protein and fat to include 30%/40%/30% respectively, all of which are clean, aka non-processed. For instance, bacon, though OK for Atkins, is not OK for keto.
So, what’s the big deal about keto?
As mentioned above, keto brings the body into ketosis where it burns fat for fuel instead of sugar, thus burning through the fat stores in the body, simulating fasting and eventually achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Weight loss and weight maintenance are not the big deal, though.
The reduction, elimination and prevention of cancer cells, recovery from diabetes, reversal of cognitive impairments, like Alzheimer’s symptoms and brain fog, and protection against heart disease risk factors are the biggest headliners of benefits of the keto diet.
Wait, it does what? How?
By reducing the amount of glucose in our blood, insulin is not released. Insulin strongly influences the chemistry and balance of our bodies. It tells cells to store as much energy as possible, which means if we don’t burn the sugar, we store it as fat. Fat storage is a result of too much sugar, not too a result of too much fat.
Therefore, by eliminating carbs (and eating the right amount of protein, which, in excess, also gets stored as fat) and by keeping the carbohydrate stores empty, we avoid a flood of insulin being released that we can’t fully utilize, which triggers insulin resistance, which contributes to diabetes AND premature aging, oxidative stress, chronic systemic inflammation, and other degenerative conditions and diseases.
The keto diet offers a solution by eating in such a way that the body is quasi-fasting, insulin is not released, inflammation and insulin resistance are avoided, and disease is prevented.
The Main Take-Away
The ketogenic diet is a proven method of eating that yields impressive results. Its focus on healthy fats and protein, much like the foundation of other blood-sugar regulating diets, allows the body to heal and repair itself, prevent disease and even reverse damage.
As with any diet, do your research, apply what feels right for you, and have check-up’s with your trusted medical professional to track the changes through blood work and biomarkers.
We love to hear what works for you and how you’ve taken charge of your own health journey by actively participating and applying what makes sense to you. Tell us about it below!