With the rise in cases of overweight and obese individuals all around the world, the blame has been placed squarely on carb-rich foods. Overconsumption of carbs, especially the type contained in processed foods, can lead to weight gain and increases the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease later on in life.
Because of this, it has been identified that one way to get back to your healthy weight is to follow a low-carb high-fat keto diet.
How the diet works
The body uses carbohydrates as one of its main sources of fuel. Without carbs or by limiting its consumption, the body assumes that it is fasting and will try to look for alternative sources of energy. The body is now in a state of ketosis.
Simply put, ketosis is when the body uses the fat as an alternative source of energy. It does this by converting the fat into energy molecules called ketones. Dietitians and nutritionists assert that keeping your body in a state of ketosis or fasting is a normal physiological process and is safe.
Benefits of a low-carb/keto diet
Backed by some health authorities and a number of scientific experts, the ketogenic diet is known to provide a wide range of advantages:
- Reduces epileptic seizures
Since 1924, studies have shown that the keto diet can effectively reduce the frequency of seizures in individuals who suffer from epilepsy. The ketogenic diet works just as well in epileptic individuals who are or are not taking prescribed medication. In fact, it was for this very reason that the ketogenic diet was introduced.
- Reverses the effects of diabetes
Studies show that eating a high-carb diet can lead to insulin resistance which could later result in prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. However, reversing insulin resistance and lowering the chances of developing diabetes is achievable by modifying the person’s meals and switching to a low-carb diet such as keto.
Avoiding high-carb foods is effective in controlling a person’s blood sugar. By following a low-carb keto diet, individuals can better regulate their blood sugar levels and get their insulin sensitivity levels back to normal.
Type 1 diabetes also involves issues with insulin but it occurs in a different way. In individuals who have Type 1 diabetes, their bodies are no longer able to produce a healthy amount of insulin. As a result, insulin needs to be injected whenever the levels are too low.
- Increase in good cholesterol
Not all foods containing cholesterol are bad for your health. On the contrary, there are two types of cholesterol: ‘good’ cholesterol contains high-density lipoproteins or HDLs, while ‘bad’ cholesterol contains low-density lipoproteins.
HDLs are referred to as the good forms of cholesterol as these types of fats and proteins are delivered to your liver where they can be later removed from the body. LDLs on the other hand, go to your arteries. As the LDLs build up, they block the artery walls, causing blood clots and increasing a person’s rate of having a heart attack or stroke.
Consuming more ‘good’ cholesterol is recommended as it controls your body’s total cholesterol and reduces the chances of getting a heart attack or stroke.
Keto diets are low in carbs but rich in fats, allowing individuals to consume HDLs while losing weight. Foods rich in HDLs include beans, legumes, Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and sardines, to name a few.
What to eat
The keto diet is low in carbs, high in fat and allows for the consumption of moderate levels of protein. As such, salads with green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and asparagus are recommended. To add flavor and protein, salad dressings and eggs can be added to the mix. Individuals can eat meat but in controlled amounts. A healthier alternative to meat includes fatty fish.
Ditching carbs can be difficult but there are ways of partaking in your favorite carb-rich foods without feeling guilty. For instance, you can make your own keto-friendly breads by substituting regular flour, sugar and dairy products with almond flour, coconut flour, grass-fed ghee, and eggs.
The same substitutions can also be used to make sumptuous keto desserts. No need to feel guilty with these tempting sweets as each snack nets around 2 grams of carbs.
Lose weight the safe way while controlling your blood sugar and total cholesterol levels with the keto diet. And while it may take some time for you to get used to the diet, you will reap the benefits in the long run.
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.