Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is low in carb content, while it contains higher concentration of fat. This particular diet has several similarities with the Atkins diet and other diets that are low in carb content.

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There are various types of ketogenic diets and people who follow this diet actually have a very low carbohydrate intake. The carbohydrate content in their diet is substituted by fat. When the amount of carb intake is reduced, it puts the body in a metabolic condition which is known as ketosis. As a result, you body burns fat efficiently for energy. At the same time, fat is converted into ketones in the liver, which then supplies enough energy to the brain.

One important aspect of ketogenic diets is that they may lower the blood sugar and insulin levels considerably. Together with this, this type of diet increases ketones that offer a number of health benefits.

Different types of ketogenic diets

There are many types of the ketogenic diets and they include standard ketogenic diet (SKD), cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD), targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) and high protein ketogenic diet.

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Standard ketogenic diet: This version of ketogenic diet is very low in carb content, while the protein content is moderate. As in any type of ketogenic its fat content is high. Precisely speaking, standard ketogenic diet contains only 10% carbs, 20% protein and 70% fat.

Cyclical ketogenic diet: This type of ketogenic diet entails specific periods of high level of carb re-feeds, for instance five ketogenic days, which is followed by two high carb days.

Targeted ketogenic diet: This version of ketogenic diet permits one to increase carb intake when he or she is working out.

High protein ketogenic diet: This version of ketogenic diet has some similarities with standard ketogenic diet, but its protein content is comparatively high. Often the proportion is like 5% carbs, 35% protein and 60% fat.

While there are a variety of ketogenic diets, so far scientists have studied the merits of standard ketogenic diet and high protein ketogenic diet. In fact, targeted ketogenic diet and cyclical ketogenic diets are more advanced means and they are mainly used by athletes and bodybuilders.

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Health benefits

Using ketogenic diets help us in various ways. For instance, the ketogenic diet may possibly aid in weight reduction in a number of ways, which includes boosting the body's metabolic system and lessening your appetite.

In fact, ketogenic diets contain foods that help in keeping a person satiated for long and this, in turn, reduce the hormones that stimulate hunger. Therefore, if you follow a ketogenic diet you will not only be able to lose weight, but also not overeat.

Undertaking a meta-analysis of 13 dissimilar randomized controlled trains in 2013, researchers discovered that those who followed ketogenic diets lost 2 pounds of body weight compared to people who have been following a low fat diet for more than a year. Likewise, a different review of 11 studies showed that people who followed ketogenic diet lost 5 pounds more body weight compared to those who took low fat diet for a period of six months.

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Aside from promoting weight loss, ketogenic diet also helps in improving acne. There are several different reasons why we develop acne and many of these are associated with our diet and the blood sugar levels in some individuals. In fact, having a diet that contains high levels of refined and processed carbohydrates may change the equilibrium of the bacteria in our gut. As a result, there will be a significant rise and fall in the blood sugar levels. Both abrupt rise and fall of blood sugar levels can have negative effects on the health of our skin.

Findings of a study undertaken in 2012 showed that when you lessen the intake of carbohydrates, it could help in reducing the symptoms of acne in certain people. In other words, ketogenic diet is beneficial for reducing acne for some people.

In fact, some researchers have also studied the results of following ketogenic diet in reducing as well as treating specific types of cancers. According to the findings of one study, following ketogenic diet may be a suitable as well as safe complementary therapy alongside radiation and chemotherapy in patients suffering from specific forms of cancer. The reason behind this is that ketogenic diet would help to create more oxidative stress in the carcinogenic cells compared to the healthy cells, thereby causing the cancer cells to die. The death of cancer cells in this way is known as apoptosis. So, in a way, ketogenic diet helps to promote apoptosis in certain types of cancers.

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Findings of another study undertaken more recently in 2018 put forward that since ketogenic diet lowers the level of blood sugar, it could also help in reducing the chances of developing insulin complications. Basically, insulin is also a hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels that may have a relation with specific types of cancers.

While a number of studies suggest that following ketogenic diet may be helpful to some extent in treating cancer, researches in this field are quite limited. Therefore, it does not require saying that more studies are needed to understand the entire potential benefits of ketogenic diet in preventing as well as treating cancer.

Ketogenic diet is also beneficial for the health of our heart. An individual following ketogenic diet regularly should necessarily opt for healthy foods. There is some evidence to prove that consuming healthy fats, for instance avocados rather that fats that are less healthy like pork rinds, can be helpful in promoting the health of the heart by means of lowering the blood cholesterol levels.

A review of various studies undertaken in 2017 on humans and animals, who were on a keto diet, found that a number of people experienced considerable decline in their total cholesterol levels, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) - also known as bad cholesterol, while there was an increase in the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is also known as "good" cholesterol.

High levels of cholesterol, especially LDL or "bad" cholesterol, only increase the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Hence, following a ketogenic diet may help in reducing the heart complications of an individual since this type of diet reduces the levels of cholesterol.

The review, however, concluded that the health benefits of any diet is subject to the quality of the diet. Hence, it is important that you only eat healthy foods that are balanced nutritionally. This is all the more important while following a ketogenic diet.

According to the findings of a number of studies, the ketones generated during the keto diet provide us with neuroprotective benefits. In other words, ketos possess the ability to make our nerve cells and brain stronger and protect them from various harms. This is the primary reason why following a ketogenic diet may be helpful for a person in preventing and also managing various brain-related health conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

Nevertheless, further researches are required to fully understand the positive effects of the ketogenic diet on our brain.

In fact, the proportion of carbs, protein and fat in ketogenic diet changes depending on how our body utilizes energy, which results in ketosis. Ketosis can be described as a metabolic process during which our body utilizes ketone bodies for fuel for the functioning of the different systems and organs.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, ketosis has the ability to decrease incidents of seizures in individuals suffering from epilepsy, particularly people who have failed to respond to other methods of treatment. In this case too, further studies are required to ascertain how effective ketogenic diet is for people suffering from this condition. However, it appears to have very positive effects on children who suffer from focal seizures.

There are a number of reports that back the hypothesis that ketogenic diet can possibly support people suffering from epilepsy. In fact, following the ketogenic diet may help to decrease the symptoms of epilepsy by various different means.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by hormonal disorder. Such hormonal disorder can often result in the production of excessive male hormones (testosterones), polycystic ovaries and ovulatory dysfunction. A diet that is high in carbohydrate content can result in adverse effects in people suffering from PCOS. Such adverse effects may include weight gain and also skin problems.

As of date, very few clinical studies have been undertaken on the effects of using ketogenic diet on polycystic ovary syndrome. Till now only one pilot study undertaken in 2005 studied five women over a period of 24 weeks. The findings of the study showed that following a ketogenic diet helped to improve many markers of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some of the improvements noticed in these five women included hormonal balance, weight loss, improved levels of fasting insulin and better ratios of luteinizing hormone (LH) as well as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Another study was undertaken to find the benefits of using ketogenic diet for people enduring hormonal disorder, such as PCOS as well as type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, the authors of this study also warned that the topic of the research was very extensive and so it was difficult to recommend using a ketogenic diet as a general therapy for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

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