The keto diet gets a lot of credit for being a quick way to lose weight, but its unique approach to eating has a number of other health benefits as well. Let’s have a look at some of these benefits and what someone following a keto diet may expect to see.
1. Improved Body Composition
Several studies have concluded that the ketogenic diet is far superior to calorie restriction when it comes to losing weight. In fact, one study split over 100 severely obese people into two separate groups: a low-carb group and a low-fat, calorie-restricted group. After six months, the low-carb group lost substantially more weight than the participants in the low-fat, calorie-restricted group.
This was just one study, and several others have been performed drawing the same conclusion. In short, if you restrict your carb intake, you’ll lose weight. However, the fun doesn’t stop there, because the increased protein intake of the keto diet is terrific for increasing muscle mass and improving body composition as well. By using a keto calculator to determine your daily protein needs and fulfilling those needs, you’ll begin noticing not only less fat but more muscle as well.
2. Increased Energy
It’s not uncommon for new keto dieters to experience fatigue, nausea, and headaches during the first few days. This is known as the “keto flu.” These symptoms are perfectly normal and signal that your body is transitioning from burning glucose for fuel to burning fat. Despite being short-lived, this transition can leave you feeling weak lethargic for a day or two.
The good news is you’ll experience much more energy and endurance once your body makes the transition. You’ll be able to run further, workout harder, and do more before hitting the proverbial “wall.” You’ll feel better, live better, and have the energy you need to perform at your peak when your body begins burning fat for fuel.
3. Better Liver Function
Fatty liver is often associated with Type 2 Diabetes, which is serious enough. However, it can also be a sign of fatty liver disease. Doctors utilize blood tests to measure the liver enzyme levels in order to test for this debilitating condition.
Many of them have found the keto diet to be a great way of reducing your risk of fatty liver and improving its overall function. In studies on fatty liver disease, researchers discovered fat loss can drastically improve the condition. In fact, a fat loss of only five percent can reduce inflammation and minimize liver damage.
4. Lower Inflammation Markers
Inflammation is measured using blood tests to measure the body’s white blood cell and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or hsCRP, counts. The higher these counts, the worse the inflammation is.
In one study, patients experienced a nine percent decrease in white blood cell counts and 39 percent decrease in hsCRP after following a low-carb diet. These results were backed by another two-year study in which patients saw an average decrease in hsCRP of 29 percent. So, to say that keto lowers inflammation markers would be an understatement.
5. Better Sleep Quality
You’ll sleep sounder while on a keto diet. In fact, most people following a ketogenic diet report being able to sleep much more deeply. Of course, this is after the first few days after starting a keto diet, during which time you may have difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Once this initial period is over, your body will adjust to burning stored fat instead of glucose, and you’ll find yourself sleeping deeper and longer. As a result, you’ll feel rested, relaxed, and ready to tackle the day when you wake.
6. Improved Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Heart Health
In a 2007 12-month study, researchers looked at the impact of four different diets on the blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness of women. At the conclusion of the study, all of the participants experienced a reduction in triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. However, the participants who followed a low-carb diet enjoyed the best results.
These low-carb participants were able to decrease their diastolic blood pressure by 2.93 percent and their systolic blood pressure by 7.6 percent. The numbers may seem low, but each point may have extended their life by years.
These results were later confirmed in another study in which researchers looked at the effects of a low-carb diet and the effects of a low-fat diet combined with blood pressure and weight-loss medication. According to researchers, the low-carb diet was noticeably more effective at lowering the participants’ blood pressure.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t trade in your blood pressure medication for some of our delicious keto recipes (at least not yet). While a low-carb diet is more effective at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol than a low-fat diet, or even a low-fat diet and blood pressure medication, you should consult your doctor before tossing out your blood pressure medication.
As you can see, there are some incredible health benefits associated with a keto diet. However, we haven’t even mentioned them all. If you want to lose great, feel great, and extend and live a long, healthy life, keto is definitely the way to go!