If you’re a health mark, you probably already know what the ketogenic diet is and the wonders it does for your body. Some of these wonders apart from weight loss include improved brain and heart health, better blood control and more energy for a whole day.
However, many aren’t aware exactly how this diet works, which can be due to lack of proper research and skimming over details. Fortunately, we have that covered in this post.
The main purpose of a ketogenic diet is to activate a metabolic state called ketosis, providing our bodies with ketones.
We’re going to cover exactly what ketones are and what benefits they present for the human body.
What are Ketones?
When our body is low on carbohydrates or glucose, it switches to fat that is then broken down by our cells as an alternative source of fuel. Keep in mind that the kind of fat we’re talking about are healthy fats such as avocados, whole eggs, nuts and seeds, fatty fish and cheese among others that come that the category.
The body goes to ketosis if people generally eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, maybe even as little as 20 carbs a day. You can test your ketones level by using a breath analyzer such as House of Keto Monitor. It will tell you if your body is in ketosis or not.
This means you have to get rid of some foods that you usually eat, including candy, grains and sugary soft drinks. You also have to limit your intake of potatoes, certain fruits, and legumes.
When you’re on a ketogenic or low-carb diet, levels of the hormone insulin in our body decreases and fatty acids are released from body fat stores in large amounts.
The fatty acids are then transferred to the liver, where they get oxidized and are eventually turned into ketones (or ketone bodies). Though, unlike fatty acids, ketones can provide energy for the brain.
Unlike glucose which, if you eat too much of it, gets stored in your body as fat, ketones build up in the blood and are processed as urine when there are a lot of them. After that, they get excreted.
Ketones are always present in the blood, even if we’re not in ketosis. The number of ketones increases as we enter the nutritional state of ketosis and that’s when our body switches from burning glucose to burning fat.
Benefits of Ketones
Aside from providing the body with a great source of energy, ketones also provide a slew of fascinating health benefits that many aren’t aware of. The best ones among them include:
1. Reduces Inflammation
Ketones lower the production of damaging free radicles, which in turn reduce tissue inflammation. It also reduces the production of hydroxyl radicals and lactate levels, both of which are known to boost tumor inflammation and inflammatory molecule (cytokine) production.
2. Enhance Brain Function
A study involving 152 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease found that oral consumption of ketones improved cognition. Another study showed that those with mild cognitive impairment had improved memory upon a low-carb diet.
Animals with brain trauma are reported to have improved cognitive and motor function post-trauma when their bodies use ketones as a source of fuel.
Ketones are also a carbon source for glutamate that can balance the brain’s glutamate and glutamine levels. This is crucial because they are both responsible for energy metabolism and recovery during an ischemic event.
Ketones also boost the number of mitochondria that your brain cells have to improve cognitive processes.
3. They Act As Antioxidants
Ketones are able to act as antioxidants by reducing cell death and reactive oxygen species production. They probe around the body for free radicals and restrict oxidative stress that leads to severe damage and disease.
4. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels And Helps In Weight Loss
One of the most notable changes of switching to a low-carb, ketogenic diet is that it increases your glycemic response. Since your body no longer requires carbohydrates as fuel, its levels of insulin also decrease.
As such, the lack of blood sugar in your bloodstream won’t cause any spikes. With that in mind, your body won’t be storing excess carbs as fat, allowing you to reduce weight in the process.
5. Improves Skin Conditions
Fatty acids, especially the ones found in olive oil, seeds and salmon aid in rebuilding membranes, thus preventing dry and irritated skin. The anti-inflammatory molecules (cytokines) within ketones also help in improving skin health.
Dark green vegetables that are meant to be consumed in low-carb diets contain vitamin A improve how our skin sheds, thus leading to improved skin health.
Some keto-diet-based foods such as eggs, seeds, and beans that are rich in collagen can help make the skin smoother.
6. May Prevent Type-2 Diabetes
A study of 84 obese patients, as well as those with type-2 diabetes, showed that following a low-carb diet led to improved glycemic control and reduced or eliminated medication use.