The Ketogenic Diet: How It Works and the Many Benefits

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is low-carb, moderate protein and high fat diet that forces the body into ketosis producing ketones to be used as energy instead of using glucose as energy. On a normal diet the body will typically convert the carbohydrates that are consumed to glucose which is then used as the primary energy source. However, when glucose is used as energy, fats are not needed for energy and are instead stored. Also, a typical diet provides more glucose than the body can use as fuel so the excess glucose is also converted to fat and stored. The Ketogenic Diet forces the body to enter ketosis which is natural process that allows for an alternative source of energy. When carb intake is lowered, glucose and blood sugar levels drop which in turn also lowers insulin. The fat cells in the body are then able to enter the bloodstream and be processed into ketones by the liver. Ketones are then able to be used as an energy source for the body. This is the whole goal of the ketogenic diet - the use of fat for energy as opposed to glucose and this is accomplished by starving the body of carbohydrates.

What are the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet?

There are many health benefits people notice when starting to follow a ketogenic diet. One of the first is weight loss. Once the body enters ketosis, fat is being burned as energy so naturally one of the noticeable benefits is weight loss. Another benefit related to the lower blood sugar levels is better blood sugar control for those that may have difficulty with blood sugar regulation. Another very common benefit is improved mental focus and concentration. Excessive consumption of Carbohydrates have a tendency to cause brain fog and poor concentration but ketones on the other hand are a great source of fuel for the brain. The increase of fatty acids on a ketogenic diet may also help to improve brain function. The ketogenic diet may also help to provide stabilized energy levels throughout the day. The use of glucose as energy causes spikes and dips in energy as blood sugar rises and falls whereas ketosis allows for a much more stable blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day. There is also some evidence that the ketogenic diet can help to support cardiovascular health by improving lipid levels and fatty acid metabolism. 

 What does a Healthy Ketogenic Diet Look Like?

 When following a ketogenic diet, around 10% of daily calories come from healthy carbohydrates (leafy greens, nonstarchy vegetables and some legumes or berries), 20% of daily calories come from proteins and 70% of calories come from high-quality fats such as avocado, medium-chain triglyceride oils, nuts, seeds and coconut. The 10/20/70 ratio is the guideline for all meals while on the ketogenic diet. Once starting the ketogenic diet it typically takes a couple of days to a weeks before the body is able to switch into ketosis and positive effects are noticed. 

A ketogenic diet can be a relatively simple lifestyle change that produces postive full-body effects. If you have any questions regarding a ketogenic diet or would like to learn more contact Wholesome Health Pharmacy for additional information! The ketogenic diet should not be implemented indefinitely and always notify your Doctor of any modifications to diet or drug regimen. 


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