Health Benefits You Can Get From A Keto Diet

Health Benefits You Can Get From A Keto Diet

You’ve probably heard of the type of low carbohydrate diet that has risen in popularity over the years because of its significant results and benefits, especially when it comes to weight loss, lower glucose readings, enhanced brain functions, and so much more. Yes, you heard it right. The Ketogenic diet, or most popularly known as the keto diet, is well-known for delivering numerous benefits to our health.

But studies show that the Keto diet does so much more than that. In this article, we will explore the benefits you can get from the diet before you decide on embarking on the keto lifestyle.

What is Keto Diet?

Before anything else, let’s get this first out of the way: what is the keto diet, and why does it deliver numerous health benefits?  

First things first, the Keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and highest in the fat type of diet. The keto diet’s goal is to help your body reach the metabolic state of ketosis, where fat, instead of sugar, from your diet and body stores, is used to fuel your body.

The diet is rooted in the word “keto” because this type of diet induces your body to produce small molecules called “ketones.” The ketones present in your body are then used as an alternative fuel source for your body, especially when you run out of sugar stores.

Health Conditions That May Benefit from a Keto Diet

You may have heard about the Keto diet is an effective method for weight loss, but do you know that it does so much more to your body than just that?

Here are some health conditions that benefit from this type of diet:

1. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a kind of medical condition that causes seizures attributable to excessive brain activity.

One interesting fact about the keto diet before it has been popularly known as an effective diet for weight loss is the fact that it was primarily used as a treatment for epilepsy since the 1920s. And that is why, of all health conditions you can benefit from a ketogenic diet, the treatment of epilepsy is one of the most trusted and proven benefits since the early nineties.

Multiple studies show that seizures usually improve in about 50% of people with epilepsy who follow the standard type of keto diet. This traditional type of keto diet is also known as the 4:1 ketogenic diet because it prescribes four times as much fat as your carbs and protein intake combined.

In one study, researchers found that children with epilepsy showed various brain improvement patterns when they followed a ketogenic diet. Generally, a ketogenic diet is prescribed to many children and adults with epilepsy who don’t respond well to drug therapy.

2. Metabolic Syndrome

This condition is also known as a prediabetes condition that is characterized by insulin resistance. People who have metabolic syndrome are at greater risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and other severe health disorders associated with insulin resistance.

However, multiple studies support that following a ketogenic diet may help improve metabolic syndrome, which may include improved cholesterol values, reduced blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.

In a controlled 12-week study, the researchers found that people with metabolic syndrome who were subjected to a strict and monitored calorie-restricted ketogenic diet lost about 14% of body fat. Moreover, it was found that they also reduced triglycerides by more than 50% and experienced improved overall health condition.

In sum, individuals following a ketogenic diet show a significant reduction in abdominal obesity, blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood sugar in people with metabolic syndrome.

3. Glycogen Storage Disease

Individuals who have glycogen storage disease (GSD) have enzyme deficiency involved in storing blood sugar (glucose) as glycogen or in breaking glycogen down into glucose.

Commonly, this health condition is diagnosed in childhood, with symptoms varying depending on the type of GSD. However, most symptoms include low blood sugar, fatigue, poor growth, muscle cramps, and an enlarged liver.

However, research after research suggests that following a ketogenic diet may help individuals suffering from some forms of GSD.

For instance, Forbes-Cori disease (GSD III) affects the muscles and liver. However, research shows that following a keto diet may help mitigate the symptoms through the production of ketones as an alternative fuel source.

However, more research is needed to support the claimed potential benefits of keto diet therapy for people with glycogen storage disease.

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

This health condition is frequently marked by hormonal dysfunction. PCOS often leads to irregular periods, and sometimes, even infertility.

One of the most common indicators of PCOS is insulin resistance. Most people with PCOS usually experience difficulty in losing weight and are diagnosed as obese. These people show a more significant risk of having Type 2 diabetes.

However, while a lot of studies on the treatment of PCOS can be found online, only a few published studies verify the benefits of following a keto diet or other low-carb diet for PCOS.

The bottom line is, individuals with PCOS may experience loss of weight, decreased insulin levels, and improved reproductive hormone function for women.

5. Diabetes

Individuals who have diabetes notice significant reductions in blood sugar levels while on a ketogenic diet. This finding is found true on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Multiple controlled studies show that ketogenic diet aids in the control of blood sugar and the improvement of other health benefits.

In one study, several individuals following a ketogenic diet were able to reduce their diabetes medication dosage. Moreover, those individuals also experienced substantial weight loss, decreasing triglycerides and blood pressure.

In sum, ketogenic diets show a significant reduction of blood sugar in people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For some, blood sugar values revert to their normal range, with medications reduced or even discontinued.

6. Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a medical condition that is characterized by problems with social interaction, communication, and even repetitive behaviors.

This health condition shares some characteristics with epilepsy, particularly in excessive brain activities. One study conducted on children with autism showed some improvements in symptoms after following a cyclical ketogenic diet in six months.

The bottom line, studies show that a keto diet, combined with other therapies, may help individuals with ASD experience improvements in behavior.

7. Obesity

One of the most considerable metabolic dysfunction in obesity is insulin resistance. It also puts you at a higher risk of developing blood sugar issues like type 2 diabetes. To avoid such risks, many advise these patients to enroll and do some weight loss programs, exercises, or diets. For some, the keto diet provides them with the said benefit.

Keto diets help preserve lean body mass during weight loss. This preservation capacity is beneficial since this aspect of the ketogenic diet prevents metabolic shutdown, which causes most people to regain their weight.

One of the reasons why ketogenic diets are effective against weight loss is partly due to its robust appetite suppressing capability. Having an appetite suppressing capacity means that it can reduce your hunger.  In a study wherein they compared the effects of a keto diet versus a low-carb diet, they found that ketogenic diets are often more effective. At the same time, the keto diet provided more health benefits than the low-carb diet, such as the increase of their body’s good cholesterol and a drop of their triglycerides or commonly referred to as bad cholesterol.

8. Traumatic Brain Injury
Despite lacking conclusive evidence and studies to support how ketogenic diets can help people with traumatic brain injury, various studies suggest that when a patient with Traumatic Brain Injury follows a ketogenic diet, it can somehow  (not significant)  positively impact the patient’s recovery.
A person suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) commonly results from a heavy blow to the head, be it in vehicle-related accidents, sports injury, and other violent scenarios that have dealt with massive damage to their heads. In most cases, a Traumatic Brain Injury patient will likely suffer impaired compromised physical function, impaired mental and memory capacity, as well as a drastic change in its previous personality. Amongst the cells in our body, the brain cells, when damaged, often recover little and sometimes do not recover at all.

How does a ketogenic diet help in improving the condition of Traumatic Brain Injury patients? Most observational studies posit that a Traumatic Brain Injury patient will lose its ability to process sugar. A  ketogenic diet that advocates in the reduction of sugar intake will be helpful in this instance since the patient will have a reduced sugar intake. Also, it helped reduce the  Traumatic Brain Injury patient’s brain swelling, increase motor function, and improve recovery.

9. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis a disabling disease that causes damage to the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves in the eyes. It damages the protective covering of nerves that results in communications problems between the brain and the body. Also, it causes problems with the vision, balance, muscle control, and other physical functions of the body.

The effects of Multiple Sclerosis are often different. For some, they experience mild symptoms and do not need any treatment. However, for others, it impedes doing their daily tasks.

How does a Multiple Sclerosis happen? According to studies, Multiple Sclerosis occurs when your immune system attacks the fatty material in your brain cells called the myelin. Myelin wraps your nerve fibers to protect them. Without it, your nerves will be damaged, and scar tissue may form. Damaged myelin will likely result in damaged nerve cells as well, which also means the brain will not be able to perform its duties properly. With this, the brain can not send proper signals in your body correctly.

Most Multiple Sclerosis patients suffer symptoms such as trouble in walking, feeling tired, muscle weakness or spasms, blurred or double vision, numbness and tingling, sexual problems, poor bladder or bowel control, amongst others.

So how do ketogenic diets help patients with Multiple Sclerosis? In one study, ketogenic diets suppressed inflammatory markers. Suppressing these inflammatory markers improves a patient suffering from Multiple Sclerosis improves their memory, learning, and physical function. It also helps reduce the cells’ ability to use sugar as a fuel source. In a review, the ketogenic diet seems to have a potential in assisting with the energy production of the fuel source and helps repair cells in Multiple Sclerotic patients.

10. Migraine Headaches

Migraines can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation on one side of the head. Usually, it is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. When a person experiences migraine attacks, it can last for hours to days. The pain level can be severe that it sometimes interferes with a person’s daily activities.

For most, a migraine has its warning symptom. Most experience a warning symptom referred to as an aura that may occur before and during the headache. These aura or warning symptoms include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots. For some, it comes as a  tingling sensation on one side of the face or in an arm or leg, and sometimes they experience difficulty in speaking.

A ketogenic diet helps a person suffering from migraines by first, reducing the migraine frequency and medication. In one case study conducted to ascertain the beneficial effects of the keto diet to migraine patients, it was found that during their fourth week of the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, they experienced not just weight loss but their migraine headaches disappeared during their 4th-week ketogenic cycle. However, extensive research and studies are still needed to confirm these results significantly.