Ketogenic diets are all the rage, but they’re much more than just a fad. Cutting back carbs and eating a diet high in protein and fat has been shown time and time again to yield all kinds of benefits- despite it appearing to be very unhealthy at a glance. Here are some reasons why it’s well worth a try.
1. Weight loss
One of the main reasons people embark upon a keto plan is because you genuinely can lose weight, and unlike traditional ‘diets’ you never have to feel hungry. Keto works by cutting out carbs, forcing your body to burn its own fat supplies for fuel rather than the carbohydrates that you’d normally eat.
Because you’re not hungry and don’t feel deprived, you’re much more likely to stick with the plan over the longer term, meaning it has excellent results even in people that have struggled with diets in the past. If you don’t want to lose weight, eating keto can also help you to maintain your current weight- simply adjust the number of calories you consume based on your body weight.
2. Delicious food
Losing weight and eating delicious food aren’t usually two things that go together. However with keto, you get the enjoyment of eating and all of the benefits of weight loss. Sure, you can’t eat bread, cereals or sugary foods but there’s so much that you can eat. Meat, fish and eggs which are all really filling and satisfying, season them with herbs and spices (just be sure the blend does not contain flour or sugar).
You can eat eggs, many different types of vegetables in moderate portions and some keto plans even allow for limited amounts of certain fruits. You can have bacon, egg and sausages for breakfast with mushrooms and tomatoes. You can eat chicken caesar salad with boiled eggs and chunks of cheese for lunch. Dinner can be a juicy steak with a low carb sauce and some vegetables, and you can snack on everything from boiled eggs to salami sticks to string cheese.
3. Controlled blood sugar
Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, pre diabetes or are just worried about your blood sugar levels. Keto eliminates sugar from your diet and as a result, your blood sugar stabilizes. You’re no longer on the sugar ‘roller coaster’ of highs and crashes which give you cravings and energy slumps.
You’re very leveled out and maintain good levels of energy all day without needing to keep reaching for sugary treats. If you already have blood sugar issues like diabetes then you can hugely improve your condition, if you’re trying to avoid them then maintaining good blood sugar will definitely help with this. Reductions in high blood sugar are often linked with reduced blood pressure and cholesterol as well.
It might seem strange that a diet high in fat would reduce cholesterol but there’s a good reason for this. When your body is ‘fat adapted’ (meaning it burns fat rather than carbohydrates for fuel, fat in the diet is burned off for energy and isn’t absorbed into the blood. This means that if you eat a diet high in carbs and fat it’s a recipe for a heart attack. Eat the fat without the excess carbs and you’ll actually improve your cholesterol over time.
4. Improved mood
Because keto stabilizes blood sugar, it can reduce the cravings and mood swings that come with sugar crashes. A ketogenic diet has been shown to support and balance hormones in both men and women too, and it’s these hormones that are responsible for everything from hunger to mood to sleep, meaning when they’re in check we feel better all round.
All of us want to be happy, but we can overlook just how important mood is. When you’re in a good mood, you’re more resilient, you can handle setbacks better, you’re more likely to laugh and have fun. Overall, you just live better and have a better quality of life.
If you’re forever in a bad mood, chances are you miss out on opportunities where you just want to go home and hide away in your bedroom. So the physical and mental benefits of mood aren’t to be overlooked, and it’s definitely something you can achieve with a keto diet.
5. Better exercise performance
Exercising while in keto is different to being fueled by carbs. You more than likely will need to make some adjustments to your routine, this is because when our bodies use energy from carbs we can access it more quickly, with fat it takes longer so sudden bouts of activity can leave you a little dizzy. Keto is better for endurance performance, so longer distance since the body has access to plenty of energy you’re likely to be able to go for longer.
It’s not as good for short bursts of cardio such as HIIT training, although people find that the longer they’re in keto and the better fat adapted they are, the easier this becomes. You could always utilize a pre workout supplement to give you a boost, or even have carbs before your workout which you’ll then burn off. That way you’ll stay in keto but get the benefit of the boost of carbohydrates.
6. Better sleep
Finally, because of everything mentioned above, chances are you’ll sleep better on keto. If poorly controlled blood sugar means your bladder keeps you up all night then this will be eliminated. Your mood will be better and you’ll get better performance from your workouts which will help you to sleep too. Good sleep is beneficial for all areas of mental and physical health.