The benefits above are the most common ones. But there are others that are potentially even more surprising and – at least for some people – life changing. Did you know that a keto diet can help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, may help control migraine, might help with certain mental health issues and could have a few other potential benefits?
We have solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.
Wondering what fits into a keto diet — and what doesn’t? “It’s so important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start, and how to incorporate more fats into your diet,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. We asked her for some guidelines.
I was a Corpsman (not a corpse-man as some recent somewhat fanatical president would say), and I can tell you many stories of Marines and Sailors who maintained restrictive diets (aka picky eaters). Most obvious was lack of sustaining energy (hypoglycemia) at mile 15 (with 80lbs of gear including a 6.5lb rifle and 200 rnds of ammo, etc.) and depletion of essential vitamins, electrolyte imbalance. They were always the first to collapse and have to hear me scold “see I told you so.” An IV of D5W usually does the trick (D is for dextrose, OMG!)
When the craving for alcohol was evaluated, no statistically significant changes were observed in the MACS scores through the nutritional intervention, taking all patients together (Table S1). However, when the analysis was performed considering the gender of participants in the study, men experienced a significant decrease in the total score through the study (p = 0.047). This decrease was more notable in the maximum ketosis phase as compared with baseline (−15.14; p = 0.047). Moreover, a statistically significant reduction was observed in the lack of inhibition item (−27.19; p = 0.042).
For breakfast, we are going to change it up a bit. Here’s where we introduce ketoproof coffee. Now, don’t get me wrong – I know some of you won’t like it. If you’re not a fan of coffee, then try it with tea. If you’re not a fan of the taste (which is very rare), then try making a mixture of the ingredients by themselves and eating it like that. So, why ketoproof coffee?
In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.
“I encourage my patients to do fasting coupled with a very-low-carbohydrate, whole-foods diet because of the astounding biochemical and clinical improvements these interventions provide, in terms of managing chronic metabolic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. I invite my patients to go to Diet Doctor because it is a very reliable source of information for people following a low-carbohydrate diet.”
Carbohydrates have been linked to this skin condition, so cutting down on them may help. And the drop in insulin that a ketogenic diet can trigger may also help stop acne breakouts. (Insulin can cause your body to make other hormones that bring on outbreaks.) Still, more research is needed to determine exactly how much effect, if any, the diet actually has on acne.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to force your body to stop burning its favorite fuel—glucose from the carbs you eat—and start burning fat stores for energy. The body does this by converting the fats to ketones—a state called ketosis. Keto dieters accomplish this digestive feat by cutting way back on their carbohydrate intake. But to do it right, it’s not enough to just guesstimate your carb intake; you could get it wrong and undermine all your efforts. “If you are a beginner to the ketogenic diet, counting carbs is an absolute necessity to avoid frustration in the future,” says Steven Santo, a spokesman for Kegenix/Real Ketones, a keto supplement company. Track your food intake with an app like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, or just use old-fashioned paper and pen. What you learn may surprise you. “You may be wearing ‘carb-blinders,’ meaning you are unaware of how many carbohydrates you are really consuming in a day,” says Santo. “If you can’t see the number of carbs sneaking into your day, you may be eating many more than you think.”
The classic ketogenic, or “keto,” diet calls for consuming a low amount of carbs, a high amount of fat, and a moderate amount of protein. But in the current study, participants induced ketosis by getting the majority of their calories from protein, a small amount from fat, and a low amount from carbs. One of the side effects of very low-calorie diets is loss of lean muscle mass, but on the adjusted keto diet in the study, participants preserved lean muscle mass. Researchers attributed the preservation of lean muscle mass to participants’ sustained RMR, and their results support those of a prior study, published in February 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
By discriminating the components of the FFM as determined by DXA, it was observed that these variations were mainly due to changes in lean mass, whereas bone mineral content remained unchanged from baseline (0.003 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-2; −0.018 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-3; and −0.028 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-4; P > 0.05). Given that DXA technique is unable to discriminate the composition of lean mass, the question was raised as to whether the observed reductions in lean mass were at the expense of muscle mass or body water content. Therefore, further analysis was performed by MF-BIA , which is able to discriminate these 2 variables. Remarkably, the measurements performed by MF-BIA showed that the initial loss of FFM at visit C-2 (−3.1 ± 1.5 kg) was mostly due to total body water loss (−2.3 ± 1.1 kg), both intra- (−1.5 ± 0.7 kg) and extracellular [−0.8 ± 0.5 kg; Fig. 3(B)], probably because of the intense diuresis that occurs in the first phase of any VLCK diet. In subsequent visits, a slight recovery of intra- and extracellular water was observed, similar to the recovery observed with total FFM. This means that reductions attributable to muscle mass were, depending on the method used, around 1 kg throughout the 4-month study; only 5% of the total 20.2 kg of weight lost was FFM.
There is also a common worry the ketogenic diet may cause ketoacidosis, which occurs when the acidity in the blood increases. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by very high blood sugars and a deficiency of insulin in insulin-dependent diabetics, a very different state from ketones produced by a fat-burning metabolism on a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Certain studies suggest that keto diets may “starve” cancer cells. A highly processed, pro-inflammatory, low-nutrient foods can feed cancer cells causing them to proliferate. What’s the connection between high-sugar consumption and cancer? The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but it’s believed that cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat rather than glucose. (11)
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
Ketosis was determined by measuring ketone bodies, specifically β-hydroxy-butyrate (β-OHB), in capillary blood by using a portable meter (GlucoMen LX Sensor, A. Menarini Diagnostics, Neuss, Germany; sensitivity <0.2 mmol/L). As with anthropometric assessments, all the determinations of capillary ketonemia were made after an overnight fast of 8 to 10 h. These measurements were performed daily by each patient during the entire VLCK diet, and the corresponding values were reviewed on the machine memory by the research team to control adherence. Additionally, β-OHB levels were determined at each visit by the physician in charge of the patient. Glucose, insulin, HbA1C were performed using an automated chemistry analyzer (Dimension EXL with LM Integrated Chemistry System, Siemens Medical Solutions Inc. (Tarrytown, NY, USA). Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), and free triiodothyronine (FT3) were measured by chemiluminescence using ADVIA Centaur (Bayer Diagnostics, Tarrytown, NY, USA). The overnight fasting plasma levels of ghrelin and leptin were measured using commercially available ELISA kits (Millipore, Burlington, MA, USA). The fasting plasma levels of dopamine was tested by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC; Reference Laboratory, Barcelona, Spain).
In the first week, many people report headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, and aggravation. Most of the time, this is the result of your electrolytes being flushed out, as ketosis has a diuretic effect. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your sodium intake up.6One of the fathers of keto, Dr. Phinney, shows that electrolyte levels (especially sodium) can become unbalanced with low carb intake.