If you are considering a ketogenic diet, you might be wondering if it’s right for you. Maybe you have heard some of the benefits but still find yourself thinking about whether it is completely worth it to change your diet for these benefits. Truthfully, there are many advantages of going keto, from physical health and weight loss to a more stabilized mood and tons of energy. Let’s dive into the details of some of the biggest ketogenic diet benefits and decide for yourself if these benefits are ones you’d like to have! We’ll break these benefits down to the specific health goal you might be trying to achieve.
KETOGENIC DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS
When compared with low-fat dieting, low-carb can bring better results over a shorter period of time in terms of weight loss, cholesterol, and blood pressure. There can be several reasons for this:
- Low-carb and ketogenic diets are more satisfying with their low carb content and higher amounts of protein and fats.
- Going on a low-carb diet usually causes you to lose excess water weight.
- Most people can experience weight loss pretty rapidly, especially within the first week or so of starting a ketogenic diet.
If you would like to lose weight, the ketogenic diet provides the following benefits and will get you closer to reaching your goal.
Increased HDL Cholesterol
With the high intake of saturated and other healthy fats, the ketogenic diet may help increase HDL cholesterol and improve triglycerides levels. Both are important for promoting heart health.
KETOGENIC DIET AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
Going keto might also be able to help lessen inflammation of the skin and lesions in those with acne. This may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties ketosis offers.
Several studies have shown a link between low intake of sugar and improvement in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In fact, one study showed eating a ketogenic diet can improve stool habits, abdominal pain, and overall quality of life in those with IBS.
KETOGENIC DIET AND PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE
Steady Energy Levels
Don’t be surprised if you’re able to eliminate that afternoon coffee from your routine after adapting to the keto way. Becoming a fat burning pro includes benefits like no more afternoon slumps, no more crazy mood swings, and elimination of weird shifts in energy levels that you might experience otherwise.
Plus, you’ll likely find it easier to go long periods of time without food. This is helpful for weight loss, stable blood sugar levels, and extended periods of fasting (which is one of the best ways to get into ketosis).
Adjusting to the diet change might take time, but after your body becomes adaptive to burning fat for fuel on the ketogenic diet, you’ll likely notice a difference in physical performance and endurance—such as more energy and focus for workouts. This makes sense because being in ketosis “teaches” the body to burn fat for fuel more efficiently.
The best initial advice is that if you start the keto diet and notice limitations in your physical performance, give your body some time to adapt to moving from carbohydrates as its primary fuel to a fat-burning machine.
Note: For those who are serious athletes, a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet might be the best way to go.
Fat Loss / Muscle Gain
The good amount of protein intake on a ketogenic diet makes it great for building muscle mass. Results might seem to come more slowly than for someone fueling their workouts with carbs, but that’s usually because you’re building more lean mass along with fat loss.
For example, when recording my experience doing a keto fast for four days, I noted a full 2.4 lbs of muscle gain coupled with 1.1 lbs of fat loss.
KETOGENIC DIET AND MENTAL CLARITY
Some research shows a ketogenic diet may be able to support mental performance, help increase productivity, support better memory, and even have positive effects in relation to mild cognitive impairment.
Early use of the ketogenic diet was as a therapy for reducing seizures in those with epilepsy, especially children. It has also been shown to possibly provide benefit to those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative cognitive diseases. This is likely because ketone bodies having possible neuroprotective effects, along with the nutritious nature of the keto diet.
The biggest ketogenic diet benefits that come with this way of eating are expansive and significant—not only for weight loss and fitness but also for overall health. Ketogenic foods are not only delicious but also wholesome and health-promoting. When you’re eating more fats and proteins with less carbs, you’re more likely to end up eating fewer calories overall because you’re more satisfied and less hungry (without even trying). This is a huge advantage because you aren’t left feeling starved, deprived, and vulnerable to giving in like you would be on other diets. With this, you also don’t experience the rollercoaster of energy levels but instead maintain a steady level of energy that allows you to keep focused on your tasks. No matter the health goal you have in mind, the ketogenic diet offers many benefits to enhance your daily living and wellness.
Dr. Anthony Gustin is a board-certified sports chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, entrepreneur, podcast host, and founder of Perfect Keto.
Over the last few years, he has treated thousands of patients with movement rehab, internal diagnostics, and natural interventions, including NFL, MLB and NBA champions. After growing his sports rehab and functional medicine clinics to six locations in San Francisco, he shifted his mission to help as many people as possible achieve optimal health and well-being.