(Disclaimer: The Ketogenic diet may not be appropriate for people with diabetes, so if you fit into that category, please consult your doctor for more information).
With the ketogenic diet, you’re able to optimize your body’s physiology in order to help it reach its maximum fat-burning potential. More specifically, you facilitate ketosis, a condition characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies (which are, in turn, associated with abnormal fat metabolism).
Think of it as the exact opposite of conservation—here you run through your carbs more efficiently (compared to other diet approaches) to target fat burn, which causes you to lose weight.
Let’s start with the benefit you want to hear about most. Ketogenic diets may help you lose more weight in the first 3 to 6 months than other diets. This is (partially) due to the number of calories it takes to change fat into energy. A high-fat, high-protein diet may also satisfy you longer, enabling you to eat less while still feeling full.
While research is ever-evolving, it’s theorized that there may be a link between ketogenic diets and protection against certain cancers. It all involves insulin, a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel.
As ketogenic diets enable you to burn through this special type of fuel quickly, your body no longer needs to store it. So, your body requires—and makes—less insulin, which may actually slow the growth of cancer cells.
While a link between a diet that calls for more fat and heart health may seem counterintuitive, it actually makes perfect sense—once you consider that ketogenic diets are linked to the raising of “good” cholesterol (and the lowering of “bad”).
As it’s theorized that lower levels of insulin may possibly stop your body from making more cholesterol, this heart-healthy consideration is also linked to point #2 above.
Finally, lower cholesterol levels mean lower probabilities of experiencing high blood pressure, hardened arteries, heart failure, and other avoidable heart conditions.
While not yet proven, there’s reason to believe that nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and sleep disorders can be helped by ketogenic diets.
These types of disorders affect your brain, spine, and the nerves linking them together. It’s speculated that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect these brain cells from damage.
According to womanshealth.gov, polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. The condition, which is caused by a hormonal imbalance, impacts women’s ovaries and can even lead to infertility.
As PCOS can be caused by high levels of insulin, ketogenic diets, which lower both the amount of insulin you make and the amount you need, may help to treat it.
Just make sure you make other key beneficial lifestyle changes, like exercising frequently.