3 Profound Keto Health Benefits besides Rapid Weight Loss
Over the past few years, the keto diet has been getting credits for its rapid fat- and weight loss. Although these are without doubt amazing benefits, a keto lifestyle offers so much more! Being in a state of ketosis can result in a number of health benefits. Curious what these other health benefits are? Here are 3 profound keto health benefits you can expect to experience when following this low-carb high-fat approach.
1: Increased endurance performances
During the first few days into a keto lifestyle, you might experience the ‘keto flu’ when your body switches from using carbs as fuel to using fats as fuel. It’s called the ‘keto flu’, since flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, nausea, and weakness can occur. This mostly happens when you drastically reduce your carb-intake, and you don’t consume enough water and electrolytes. In this article you can read exactly how to avoid this situation and enjoy your keto journey to its fullest.
However, once your body gets used to using fat for fuel, you are very likely to experience much more energy in a sustainable way. This can improve your endurance performances big time, cause you don’t have to rely on stored carbs anymore (aka glycogen), and therefore there’s no need to replenish. You can use your stored fat for hours and hours because your body can store up till 90.000 kcal of fat! I crushed my marathon PR with 50 minutes on keto compared to a high-carb vegan diet, and it was absolutely amazing!
2: Improved mental clarity and brain function
For a long time, it has been said that your brain cells especially need glucose from sugars in order to perform at its best. Nowadays, more and more research shows evidence that your brain operates more efficient by utilizing fats into ketones as apposed to glucose. Your liver starts to produces ketones, in response of the absence of glucose. Since glucose is a quicker form of energy, and your body always takes the easiest path, your brain relies on glucose when you follow a ‘standard diet’. On a keto diet, your brain uses energy from ketones. This can result in improved mental clarity and memory, and better focus and concentration (1)!
The largest part of our brain tissue consist of fatty acids, so it only makes sense that fats are vital for important functions like learning, and memorizing. The keto diet even shows promising results for sowing down and reversing symptoms of cognitive impairment throughout the stages of dementia (2).
3: Lower insulin levels; less sugar cravings and lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
If you use carbohydrates as your primary fuel, your blood glucose levels spike, and drop throughout the day. This mostly results into sugar cravings. However, when you ‘train’ your body to use fat as primary fuel, you can experience a steady energy supply that lasts for hours and hours without having these annoying sugar cravings. Once you are fully fat-adapted (after a couple of months of eating keto), you can even find yourself not feeling hungry for about 24 hours. When this is the case, you can start experimenting with intermittent fasting, a common practice that provides extra health benefits if combined with eating keto. We are planning to tell you more about it in another article!
Consuming less carbs automatically means producing less insulin. Less insulin means lower blood sugar levels and a higher insulin sensitivity. Therefore you strongly decrease the chance of developing the most major Western diseases, namely insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome or Type 2 Diabetes (3).
There are way more health benefits to experience on a keto diet than ‘just’ the most common reported health benefit of rapidly losing weight. Above-mentioned are the most profound, and most likely to experience once your body is fat-adapted. Other keto health benefits you might experience are: reductions in acne (4), decreased levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (5), decrease of inflammation (6), and deeper sleep.
In addition to these benefits, studies have shown potential health benefits for a wide variety of serious health conditions such as heart diseases, cancer, alzheimer’s, polycystic ovary syndrome (7), and depression (8). In conclusion more and more research shows promising results of the use of a ketogenic diet in a variety of health issues. We will closely follow and evaluate all the amazing developments, and are excited and optimistic about what the future brings.
1: Murray AJ, Knight NS, Cole MA et al. Novel ketone diet enhances physical and cognitive performance. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 2016.
2: Staff U. Ketogenic Diet Shows Promising Results for All Dementia Stages. University Health News Daily, 2019.
3: Fung J. The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. Scribe Publications. 2016
4: Smith RN, Mann NJ, Braue A et al. A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007.
5: Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, 2004.
6: Forsythe CE, Phinney SD, Fernandez M et al. Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation. Lipids, 2008.
7: Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013.
8: Damen L. The Ketogenic Diet and Depression. The Noakes Foundation, 2018.