Over the last few years, the Keto diet has gained a lot of traction among people from across the world, with more and more individuals taking it up for various reasons. The diet became especially trendy early in 2017 when interest in it reached peak popularity. Still, it does not look like it is going anywhere any time soon. People are becoming more educated and aware about using food to fuel their bodies and for medicinal value. The Keto diet appears to be an easy way to achieve both purposes.
While there has been so much hype and hubbub especially on the internet about Keto over the past few months, it may surprise you that the diet has been around since 1921 when it was first used to treat epilepsy. However, nowadays, although it’s still used for a variety of health benefits, it has become more of a lifestyle than a diet. Before looking at how this diet-come-lifestyle is presently being used as medicine, you should probably know what it is.
What is a Keto diet?
A Keto diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet whose goal is to trigger your body into ketosis (a metabolic state that results in fat burning). The diet consists of 70-80% fat and very little to entirely no carbohydrates.
When your body runs out of glucose (which you mostly get from carbs), it has to find another source of fuel. The liver, therefore, starts to process stored fat into compounds called ketones, which become the body’s primary source of fuel instead of glucose.
The Newfound Love for Keto
The increased interest in Keto is due to a wide range of health benefits that the diet offers, most of which have been scientifically proven. Keto is used in various medical applications.
Keto diets have been found to help treat and prevent many diseases which include;
The Keto diet is a medically accepted treatment method for epilepsy’s chronic seizures as well as other epileptic disorders like the Dravet syndrome and the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Research has particularly shown that Keto significantly reduces seizure frequencies in children. This is actually where the Keto diet stemmed from.
This disease makes certain regions of a human brain unable to use glucose as fuel. Substantial scientific evidence shows that changing the source of body energy fuel from glucose to ketones plays a major role in the health of the brain, and helps in the treatment of the Alzheimer’s disease.
Different studies conducted by the National Institute of Health and the University of Iowa’s Department of Radiation Oncology found out that the Keto diet can effectively aid in cancer treatment. The studies show that the diet helps in treating brain tumors and aggressive metastatic cancers that aren’t effectively treated with just standard care.
Glucose can feed cancer cells and essentially, insulin is a growth hormone. So by reducing carbs, the Keto diet is reducing glucose as well as insulin levels. Body cells can re-adapt to use ketones as a fuel source, but scientists believe that cancer cells can’t.
-Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Keto can significantly reduce of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. Research conducted by the National Institute of Health shows that Keto reduces heart disease markers like triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (‘bad cholesterol’) especially in obese individuals. The study provides evidence that despite having a high-fat content; Keto is highly unlikely to impact your levels of cholesterol negatively.
-Type 2 Diabetes
Ketosis results in fat burning which reduces the release of such hormones as insulin. High insulin levels increase the risk of developing diabetes. Insulin is often released in response to elevated blood sugar levels. The Keto diet eliminates carbs which means no more glucose and, therefore, a little amount of insulin is produced.
Weight loss becomes real and easy on a Keto diet. A 2014 study that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that Keto has a strong biochemical and physiological basis and can induce weight loss effectively. Since fat is the primary source of energy for your body when you’re on a Keto diet, the body burns fat actively, which results in weight loss.
-Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a disorder that makes the ovaries to enlarge with cysts. Studies show that a high-carb diet may negatively affect women with this endocrine disorder. One study showed that Keto improved LH (luteinizing hormone)/ FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) ratio in women with the disease.
Other benefits of the Ketogenic diet include;
– Improved mental focus
– Appetite control
– Low blood pressure
– The diet has anti-oxidant properties
– Reduces acne
Where is the Keto Diet Most Popular and Among Whom?
The International League Against Epilepsy conducted a survey to evaluate the global use of Keto. The results showed that out of the 71 countries involved in the survey, Keto was popular in 16 countries. However, Canada appeared to have the most responses. The other nations include Austria, Brazil, Australia, England, Germany, France, Italy, Israel, Poland, Japan, Spain, Serbia, South Korea, and South Africa. Keto is also very popular in the U.S.
Nowadays, many people-young, old, overweight, fit-are using Keto and it is really hard to tell among which group of people the diet is most popular. However, since, because of its positive effects on weight loss, it is perhaps most popular among men and women intending to shed off some weight. This is also because much of the online hype about Keto has been revolving around weight loss.
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