Keto diet benefits for weight loss, diabetes & PCOS
Ivana Raschia

October 31, 2019

What is a ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic or "keto" diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating program that's been used for centuries to treat certain health conditions. In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet has been commonly utilized to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in carefully tracked settings for diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, cancer care, weight loss, and Alzheimer's disease.

But this diet is gaining significant attention as a possible weight-loss strategy as a result of not just a low-carb diet fad, but increasing research. There are other low-carb diets such as the Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are high in protein but moderate in fat. By comparison, the ketogenic diet is distinctive because of its exceptionally high-fat content, typically 75%. The remainder is broken down to about 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbs.

In normal conditions, the body uses glucose as its preferred form of energy. Glucose can be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is insufficient sugar available to meet energy requirements, like when doing a ketogenic diet, the body will turn to stored fats and break down those instead.

Scientific studies reveal that a ketogenic diet generates not only weight loss and improved vitality, but also other important health benefits such as reductions in markers of diabetes, chronic pain, and much more.

The Keto diet has taken off in popularity, and there is some scientific evidence to demonstrate it can be good for preventing and treating a variety of diseases. But have you ever wondered what ketones are and the way the ketogenic diet can help with weight loss and general health?

As everyone is different, consult with your physician or dietitian for tailored recommendations which specifically cater to your health objectives.

See: Fat Adapted Or Keto Adapted Basics

What are ketones?

The premise of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that if you deprive the body of sugar - the principal source of energy for all cells in the body, which can be obtained by eating carbohydrate foods- an alternative fuel called ketones is generated from stored fat. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is consumed, the body pulls stored sugar from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release sugar. If it lasts for 3-4 days and saved sugar is totally depleted, blood levels of a hormone known as insulin reduce, and the body starts to utilize fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which may be utilized in the absence of sugar.

When your body is forced to burn the fat for energy vs. glucose, the liver converts fat into fatty acids. Ketosis simply describes the metabolic condition where the body converts fat stores into energy, releasing ketones. Ketones are a byproduct of the process and are acids that build up in the bloodstream, and are ultimately eliminated in urine.

See: Break Keto Plateau & Keto Weight Loss Stall

Advantages of the ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet was studied previously and now for use in many different neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, narcolepsy, and melancholy, and has shown promising results.

See: Diet therapy for Diabetes Type 2

Moreover, the clinical use of the ketogenic diet has been tested in various other ailments such as diabetes, blood glucose problems, obesity, PCOS, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic disorders, trauma, and cancer.


How to use the ketogenic diet for Type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and infertility

More lately, ketogenic diets have been shown to be promising for weight loss, and it has emerged as somewhat of a diet fad. The concept is that ketone bodies create more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy than glucose (sugar) or fatty acids by lowering the mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide few and oxidizing the coenzyme Q couple.

See: Diet therapy for PCOS

Put simply, the body can produce fuel more effectively in spite of a caloric loss. Ketogenic diets promote weight loss by:

1. Suppressing appetite.

You feel full longer as a result of changes in your satiety (hunger) hormones such as leptin and ghrelin and an immediate appetite suppressant activity of ketones.

2. Decreasing fat storage.

During Ketosis there's a reduction in lipogenesis, a process in which sugar from carbs and processed foods is converted to fat.

3. Increasing fat burning.

When in ketosis, our bodies increase the amount of fat-burning even during rest. Particularly excess abdominal fat, which can be inflammatory and raises the risk of metabolic syndrome.

See: The Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Starving

What is ketosis?

When ketone bodies accumulate in the bloodstream, this is known as ketosis. Healthy individuals naturally experience moderate ketosis during times of fasting (e.g., sleeping overnight) and very strenuous exercise. Proponents of the ketogenic diet condition that when the diet is closely followed, blood levels of ketones shouldn't reach a damaging level (called "ketoacidosis") since the mind will use ketones for fuel, and healthful people will normally produce enough insulin to prevent an excessive amount of ketones from forming. How soon ketosis happens and the number of ketone bodies that collect in the blood is variable from person to person and depends upon factors such as body fat percent and resting metabolic rate.

The first 1-2 months of a ketogenic diet may include a few unpleasant side effects. It was nicknamed the "keto flu" and while not everyone experiences it, it's normally related to your body becoming accustomed to being in ketosis. You might not feel great in this transition period, but these are typical signs you are effectively transitioning into ketosis. The nice part is that they are usually temporary and in a couple of weeks you're most likely to notice improvements in a number of health markers.

It is possible to encounter weakness and fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, brain fog, digestive discomfort, trouble sleeping, low energy levels, irritability, & sugar cravings.

See: Functional Medicine For Brain Fog Treatment

What is ketoacidosis?

Excessive ketone bodies may create a dangerously toxic amount of acidity in the blood, known as ketoacidosis. Throughout ketoacidosis, the kidneys start to excrete ketone bodies together with body water in the urine, causing a few fluid-related weight reduction. Ketoacidosis most often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes because they don't produce insulin, a hormone that prevents the overproduction of ketones. 

See: How To Manage Fibro Fog Or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Ketogenic Diet

There's not one "standard" ketogenic diet with a particular proportion of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The ketogenic diet generally reduces overall carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day--less than the amount found in a moderate plain bagel- and may well be as low as 20 grams each day. Normally, popular ketogenic sources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein. To get a 2000-calorie diet, this equates to approximately 165 g fat, 40 g carbohydrate, and 75 g protein. The protein level on the ketogenic diet is kept moderate as compared with other low-carb diets because eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. The amino acids in protein could be converted into sugar, thus a ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to maintain lean body mass including muscle, but that will still result in ketosis.

Many variations of ketogenic diets exist, but all prohibit carb-rich foods. Some of these foods may be evident: starches from both refined and whole grains such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and biscuits; berries, corn, and other starchy vegetables; and fruit juices. Legumes and many fruits might not be so apparent. Most ketogenic plans make it possible for foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, lard, and butter, in addition to sources of unsaturated fats, like nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and fatty fish. Based upon your source of advice, ketogenic food lists may vary.

See: How to lose belly fat naturally

Scientific studies for Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short term. Together with weight loss, wellness parameters related to carrying extra weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, higher blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides and cholesterol. There is also increasing interest in using low-carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes.

Cleveland Clinic researchers directed the research of a fertility treatment tailored to PCOS patients who targeted one of the principal causes - insulin resistance. Patients with insulin resistance have elevated levels of insulin, which suppress ovulation. The intention of the study was to see whether the ketogenic diet would improve the results of fertility therapies by considerably reducing insulin levels and their detrimental consequences to the ovaries. All four patients successfully adhered to the keto diet and could get rid of weight (between 19 and 36 pounds). All four patients had intermittent periods before starting the diet. Within only four to eight months of beginning the diet, they resumed regular menstruation. Two women could conceive spontaneously without childbirth.

"Previous data in medical literature clarified how weight loss helps manage PCOS. However, nobody identified the superior weight reduction program to make this happen," explains Dr. Abed Alwahab, who led the research. "While this analysis is only the start, our initial results are very promising, indicating the capability of the keto diet to solve the symptoms of PCOS sooner than other procedures."

 

The following is a list of study findings:

- Possible Pitfalls

Following an extremely high-fat diet could be difficult to maintain. Possible indicators of intense carbohydrate restriction that may last days to weeks include appetite, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain "fog."

Some unwanted side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet have been suggested, such as the increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, and increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout). Potential nutrient deficiencies may arise whether a wide variety of foods that are recommended on the ketogenic diet aren't included. Because whole food groups are excluded, the aid of a registered dietitian may be beneficial in making a ketogenic diet that reduces nutrient deficiencies.

See: High Protein Low Carb Diet for Diabetes

Who must try the ketogenic diet?

There are several precautions with adhering to a rigorous ketogenic diet, and it is important to talk to your physician for specific recommendations that specifically target your entire body.

You can try a ketogenic diet under the supervision of a health expert and a dietitian. They can monitor certain biomarkers to follow your progress, and track metabolic changes like fasting, and making up for nutrients needed with other suggestions for complications of this diet.

The Keto diet isn't necessarily right for everybody. It's not suggested for individuals with cardiomyopathy, hypotonia, exercise intolerance, easy fatigability, myoglobinuria, and specific metabolic conditions.

The ketogenic diet may cause many side effects, including constipation, dehydration, acidosis, slowed height speed, dyslipidemia, kidney stones, and bone fractures. New research also shows that it could put people at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

See: How to lose visceral fat vs subcutaneous fat

Choose high quality ingredients for keto diet

If you decide the keto diet is ideal for you, choosing high quality fats from foods such as avocado, unrefined coconut or MCT oil, chia or flax seeds and grass-fed dairy products are the healthiest way to do your diet. Keep in mind that:

· The keto diet isn't for everybody and can be tricky to do right by yourself.

· Working with a physician can help you do the keto diet more efficiently and make certain that you're in ketosis.

· Aim for high-quality sources of fats, including a lot of plant sources.

See: How to lose 100 pounds safely

Summary

Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still restricted. The majority of the research so far have experienced a few of participants, were short-term (12 weeks or less), and didn't include control groups. A ketogenic diet has been proven to offer short-term benefits in certain people including weight loss and improvements in total cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure. But these effects after one year in comparison with the effects of conventional weight loss diets aren't significantly different.

Eliminating several food groups and the possibility of unpleasant symptoms can make compliance difficult. An emphasis on foods high in saturated fat also counters recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association and might have adverse effects on blood LDL cholesterol. However, it's possible to alter the diet to highlight foods low in saturated fat such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.

See: Udvartana Ayurvedic Weight Loss Massage

References

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2.    Cleveland Clinic, https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/study-looks-at-ketogenic-diet-to-treat-pcos-and-infertility/

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References

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Miller, V. J., et al. (2018). Nutritional ketosis and mitohormesis: Potential implications for mitochondrial function and human health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828461/

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See: Intermittent Fasting Diet & Weight Loss

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