If you think the Ketogenic diet is only good for people who want to lose a massive amount of weight, think again! The health benefits of keto go way beyond weight loss! The changes that take place in your body affect everything from your gut to your brain. Read on to learn about some of the top benefits, along with a few tips to make sticking to the keto diet a whole lot easier.
Skeptical about keto? I was, too!
Before we get into the benefits of keto beyond weight loss, I just want to share a little background with you about my own keto story. Like many people, I was extremely skeptical about it, actually about any diets because I think they are temporary fixes and after you stop you gain all the weight back. However, with Keto being so popular I wanted to give it a try. Not so much for losing weight, which is nice too, but because of the health claims of the Keto diet.
So, I did for 10 days. Cutting all the carbs was very hard! Even most fruits are off the menu! After about a week, though, I started feeling the effects of ketosis. I had more energy! I also lost 7 pounds in 10 days but felt so much energy and focus. Unfortunately, after that I traveled to Punta Cana to the all-inclusive resort and gained it all back. If you are going on vacation any diets are really hard to stick to.
Now, I’m ready to start over, this time with help from Perfect Keto and other fantastic ketogenic products & snacks. Again, not so much to lose weight, but for the benefits. Sure, I do have 5-6 pounds that I’d love to get rid of that are still left over from two pregnancies. However, I’m even more interested in all the benefits! Which brings us to…
Benefits of Keto: More than Just Weight Loss
Ask anyone on the keto diet what their favorite benefit is aside from weight loss and you’ll get a few different answers. Most people will tell you that the energy boost is fantastic. Some will talk about how cutting carbs makes them feel overall. A few will even tell you that being on keto made their skin look fantastic! I know I personally really saw the difference.
So, which of these claims are actual benefits of keto and which are just coincidence? For that, we’ll have to dig a little deeper into scientific studies and expert opinions. Don’t worry, I did the hard part for you. You just have to read the results below.
1. Proven to help kids with epilepsy
The only 100% (or as close to 100% as you can get in science) scientifically proven benefit of the keto diet as a whole is its effects on kids with epilepsy. Doctors have been using it for nearly a century for this purpose, and the results are pretty outstanding. In most cases, the keto diet reduces seizure activity by half. Even better, 10-15% of kids actually became seizure-free. Current studies show great promise in helping reduce seizures in adults as well, but it’ll be some time before science can say with certainty that it works as well as it does in children.
Now, when I say, “the only scientifically proven benefit,” I mean this is the only one that has been studied extensively enough in repeated experiments to say with certainty, “Yes, it absolutely works for this.” Smaller studies are showing that keto works for way more than just epilepsy, and that the reason it works so well for preventing seizures translates over to other benefits, so let’s take a look at those.
2. Helping to manage your blood sugar
A ketogenic diet may help improve HbA1c levels in people with type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the Journal of Obesity & Eating Disorders. If you don’t know what it is, HbA1c (aka glycated hemoglobin) levels reflect your blood sugar over the long term (6-8 weeks). However, if you’re taking medicine, the keto diet can also cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, so you’ll want to work with your doctor before trying it for this benefit.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, managing your blood sugar is important. Significant increases and drops can make you feel, well, just plain awful. Both high and low glucose levels can make you feel tired, weak, dizzy, and unable to concentrate. Since the keto diet helps even out your overall blood sugar, it makes sense that you’d feel more energetic and even keeled on it.
3. Boosts your brain power
Many people claim that keto helps them focus better. Is there any science behind this? While the keto diet isn’t scientifically proven to make you smarter or anything, there is some evidence that suggests it actually does “boost your brain power.” Basically, the same “neuroprotective” properties that make keto so beneficial for kids with epilepsy may translate over into conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other brain conditions. Studies also show that low-carb diets can help improve your memory.
If you’re adding MCT oil (which comes from coconuts, usually) to your coffee, you may experience an even greater boost in brain power. These medium-chain triglycerides have numerous benefits ranging from increased energy to better mental focus. If you want to give it a try, I highly recommend MCT oils and coffees from Perfect Keto. They have super convenient instant coffee packs with the MCT already added. If you’re not a fan of coffee, you can add the oil to just about any keto-approved liquid. I don’t think it would taste great in plain water, though.
4. Anti-inflammatory effects throughout your whole body
A recent study performed by the University of California confirmed “massive anti-inflammatory effects” of the keto diet. That’s excellent news for those with everything ranging from chronic pain to arthritis to diabetes. See, inflammation plays a starring role in just about every nasty condition and disease. While it’s a good thing when it’s helping the immune system fight off invaders, in too many cases it gets out of control, leading to those painful issues and diseases we just discussed. Obviously, the study needs repeating to really confirm the results, but it’s incredibly promising news for anyone with autoimmune disease and chronic pain conditions.
5. Good for your heart
It may sound strange that a high-fat diet could be good for your heart but bear with me for a moment. Yes, eating a diet high in fat may be counterproductive for certain types of heart patients. Yes, you absolutely should talk to your doctor before starting keto if you have clogged arteries, heart disease, or other conditions. However, as Kevin Joy explains on the Michigan Health website, the weight you lose on the keto diet IS good for your heart.
He says, “Losing even a moderate amount of weight on the keto diet can help lessen cardiovascular risk factors…which helps protect against heart disease.” The lower blood sugar and anti-inflammatory effects also play a role in protecting your heart.
As you can see, preliminary evidence suggests that keto is great for pretty much every system in your body. Now, the hard part: sticking to it! Read on for a few tips that will help make this challenging diet a lot easier to follow.
How to stick to a keto diet
Some people can just dive right into a major diet without a second thought and excel at sticking to it. Hey, that’s awesome for them, they should be proud! The rest of us need a little extra help! Here are a few things to try to make it easier.
Ask yourself why you want to go on the keto diet
As I said earlier, while I’d love to lose a few pounds, that’s not my “why.” For me, I want to experience that increase in focus and energy. You need to decide what you want to get out of it for yourself. Don’t just say, “to lose a bunch of weight.” Try to come up with a deeper goal. If your family has a history of heart disease, you may say, “I want to lose weight to keep my heart healthy so I’ll be around to see my grandchildren one day.” It has to be meaningful to you on a deeper level than just “I want to look good because the media says I should be a size 0 to be pretty.”
Start out slowly and make gradual changes
It’s okay to start slow and dip your toes into the shallow end! Unless your doctor says, “You need to go on a strict keto diet right this minute,” no one is forcing you to go all out right away. What was hard for me was to cut carbs, specifically fruits and bread I LOVE bread. You will be surprised to know how many carbs processed foods have and almost EVERYTHING has added sugar. It is really crazy!
- Add MCT oil to your coffee (or tea if you’re not a coffee drinker).
- Swap out some high-carb items for lower-carb substitutes, like switching to cauliflower in place of pizza crust and other high-carb foods, or using a portabella mushroom as a bun.
- Start drinking more water and cutting out diet soda.
- Make more keto-friendly snacks, like my 2 Ingredient Parmesan Cheese Crackers or Cauliflower popcorn.
While you won’t experience all of the benefits of a full keto diet, starting slowly helps establish good habits that you’ll need as you dive further into the deep end. You can also try the 16/8 keto fast. That’s where you fast for 16 hours, then eat a ketogenic diet for the other 8. I actually did both the 16 hour fasting and Keto for 10 days. I am starting again and the Perfect Keto coffee I mentioned above helps because it keeps me feeling full for hours, gives me energy and focus and it is good for the brain.
Plan meals ahead of time and keep keto-approved food on hand
Diets fail for a very small handful of reasons. Either we don’t plan ahead for late dinners or snacks & grab fast food; we get tired of eating things we don’t actually enjoy; or we get lazy. Planning out your meals helps in all three cases. Keeping keto-friendly snacks everywhere (your pantry, your purse, your car, your office) also helps! Perfect Keto makes these great bars and chocolates. If you prefer crunchy snacks, I recommend these below:
- Pack includes 1 each: Parmesan, Cheddar, Asiago/Pepperjack, Tomato Basil & Bacon BBQ
- 100% Cheese - Nothing Else; Gluten Free, rBGH/rBST Free
- Excellent Source of Protein and Calcium
- Low Carb (1-2g/serving); Delicious Crunchy Snack for KETO & PALEO Diets
- Delicious on salads and sandwiches as well as On-The-Go, Anytime, Anywhere - No Refrigeration Required
Just go one day at a time
If you’re really struggling with the keto diet, decide to do it just for today. Then, wake up tomorrow and decide to do it one more day. Keep doing that, and before you know it, it’ll become your new lifestyle. THAT is when you’ll really start to succeed. See, fad diets are just that, passing fads. When you start thinking about it as a lifestyle, your whole mindset changes.
If you are going to purchase any of the products from Perfect Keto, I have a great coupon code you can use and get a 15% discount! Just use CHF15 at checkout and enjoy all their wonderful products.
One last note; while keto works fantastic for many people, it is absolutely imperative that you talk to your doctor, naturopath, nutritionist, or another medical condition before starting any new diet, especially one that virtually eliminates entire food groups. Good luck on your keto journey!
Last update on 2019-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API