Cutting carbs, or more specifically, the ketogenic diet, is one of the hottest diet trends today. Many people are choosing this diet, in particular, for continuous weight loss and a vast improvement in both their mental and physical health. Research also shows that the keto diet may help with acne, mental clarify, improve cholesterol, and the list goes on. Wondering what other positive and shocking body changes may happen when going on the keto diet? The keto diet is no ordinary diet — it’s life changing! We explain why this is the case in the Body Reboot and below we give you a brief rundown of some of the incredible body changes you may experience after going on this low carb, high-fat diet.
One of the most apparent body changes is losing weight. When you switch from a high carb diet to a high-fat diet, your body is forced to burn fat, which leads to rapid weight loss. Alex Fergus further explains how this body change takes place:
Low carb, high fat diets have been used for centuries by doctors when working with obese patients. William Banting published the widely popular booklet titled ‘Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public’ in 1863. In this booklet he explained how he had slimmed down by eating a diet high in fat void of carbs. The Banting diet was used for decades by individuals looking to lose weight.
Though the banting diet may not be a true ketosis diet, it did bring about many traits that are present on a ketogenic diet. One huge benefit being suppressed appetite. Combine this with lowered insulin levels from lack of carbohydrates and you have a 1-2 combo in decreasing body fat levels.
Many people successfully use ketogenic diets today in their quest for decreased body fat levels for these exact reasons. By consuming a higher fat/lower carb diet you also retrain the body to use fat as an energy source. This allows the body to tap into its own fat reserves – burning it as energy.
If your body is used to burning carbohydrates for fuel, then when those carb sources run out or are not consumed, your body craves another ‘hit’. Despite there being a plentiful store of fat mass.
Combine this diet change with additional low caloric fuel in the form of ketone supplements (ketone salts & MCT oil) and you can fast track your way to ketosis.
May improve PCOS
Many women suffer from PCOS, but Medical News Today tells us that they may have a way to experience relief from the keto diet. A pilot study in 2005 (as Medical News Today explains) revealed that women experienced positive effects from the diet.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts. A high-carbohydrate diet can negatively affect those with PCOS.
There aren't many clinical studies on the ketogenic diet and PCOS. One pilot study that involved 5 women over a 24-week period found that the ketogenic diet:
increased weight loss
aided hormone balance
improved luteinizing hormone (LH)/follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) ratios
improved fasting insulin
As we mentioned above, a pilot study in 2005 by Nutrition Metabolism showed that women might experience a decrease in their symptoms by going on the ketogenic diet. Check out the results of the study below:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age and is associated with obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance. Because low carbohydrate diets have been shown to reduce insulin resistance, this pilot study investigated the six-month metabolic and endocrine effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) on overweight and obese women with PCOS.
Eleven women with a body mass index >27 kg/m2 and a clinical diagnosis of PCOS were recruited from the community. They were instructed to limit their carbohydrate intake to 20 grams or less per day for 24 weeks. Participants returned every two weeks to an outpatient research clinic for measurements and reinforcement of dietary instruction. In the 5 women who completed the study, there were significant reductions from baseline to 24 weeks in body weight (-12%), percent free testosterone (-22%), LH/FSH ratio (-36%), and fasting insulin (-54%). There were non-significant decreases in insulin, glucose, testosterone, HgbA1c, triglyceride, and perceived body hair. Two women became pregnant despite previous infertility problems.
In this pilot study, a LCKD led to significant improvement in weight, percent free testosterone, LH/FSH ratio, and fasting insulin in women with obesity and PCOS over a 24 week period.
Brain function improves
Having more energy is always desirable, which is why you should get excited because Alex Fergus reveals that going on the keto diet may improve your brain function. Wondering why this is the case? Check out a few studies the blogger cites below:
Other than fat loss, a big reason why so many people rave about ketogenic diets is due to improved brain function, clarity of thought, memory recall, improved learning etc. etc.
And science backs up these claims. One study done on rats found that a ketogenic diet leads to cognitive performance in aged rats. Another rat study showed that the ketogenic study was protective against diet induced cognitive impairment (from eating a standard western diet).
A human study found that ketogenic diets, even in the short term, can improve memory function in older adults. Also, a ketogenic diet was shown to increase ATP concentrations and the number of hippocampal mitochondria in the brain of mice by up to 50%. The hippocampus is involved in memory, learning and emotion.
Dr Myhill states that the brain (and heart) run at least 25% more efficiently on ketones than blood sugar. A huge number when you remember that the brain uses up to 20% of the bodies total energy.
But the proof is in the pudding, anyone who has experienced a state of ketosis will be able to tell you first hand the beneficial effects on their cognitive function.
If you or a family member is struggling with high cholesterol, Keto Logic mentions how the keto diet may help improve HDL (good cholesterol) and low bad cholesterol:
Studies show the keto diet can improve “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Eating fat increases blood levels of HDL. The higher your levels of HDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. But that’s not all. Eating low-carb can also change your LDL cholesterol, altering it from “bad” to “benign” cholesterol. It does this by turning LDL particles from small (high risk of heart disease) to large (low risk of heart disease) while also decreasing the number of LDL particles in the bloodstream.
A study called A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity from The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 found that overweight people in the study not only lost weight but they also found that high cholesterol levels lowered.
The effects of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on weight loss and risk factors for atherosclerosis have been incompletely assessed.
We randomly assigned 132 severely obese subjects (including 77 blacks and 23 women) with a mean body-mass index of 43 and a high prevalence of diabetes (39 percent) or the metabolic syndrome (43 percent) to a carbohydrate-restricted (low-carbohydrate) diet or a calorie- and fat-restricted (low-fat) diet.
Severely obese subjects with a high prevalence of diabetes or the metabolic syndrome lost more weight during six months on a carbohydrate-restricted diet than on a calorie- and fat-restricted diet, with a relative improvement in insulin sensitivity and triglyceride levels, even after adjustment for the amount of weight lost. This finding should be interpreted with caution, given the small magnitude of overall and between-group differences in weight loss in these markedly obese subjects and the short duration of the study. Future studies evaluating long-term cardiovascular outcomes are needed before a carbohydrate-restricted diet can be endorsed.
Acne is awful, which is why if there’s a diet that can improve acne, why not give it a shot? Medical News Today discusses why the keto diet may be the perfect way to kick acne to the curb:
There are a number of different causes of acne, and one may be related to diet and blood sugar. Eating a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can alter gut bacteria and cause more dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, both of which can have an influence on skin health. Therefore, by decreasing carb intake, it's not a surprise that a ketogenic diet could reduce some cases of acne.
The keto diet may also help with aging, and Alex Fergus says this is because by lowering oxidative stress in the body (more on this below), you may live a longer life.
Lowering oxidative stress in the body is one way to increase lifespan. It seems that by lowering insulin levels, oxidative stress in turn is decreased. A ketogenic diet decreases insulin levels – allowing the formation of ketones to be used as fuel.
Many experts are turning to ketogenic diets in a quest to slow down aging.
Giving up carbs may seem difficult — but the rewards are so worth it! Go on a high-fat diet and crave carbs less and experience the incredible body changes as we just discussed, and there are also many more benefits that we talk about in the Body Reboot book. Help us cover shipping, and we’ll send you a copy of our book for free!
Sources: Medical News Today, NCBI: The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005, KetoLogic, A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity, New England Journal of Medicine, 2003, Alex Fergus
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