Nowadays so many people are fixated on the way they look. It’s difficult to comply with modern beauty standards, and media makes it even harder. We go to the gym to lose weight, but we forget that the change should start from inside, from what we eat. The solution is not eating less and starving ourselves like many diets out there are promoting.
To improve the way you feel and your overall well being you need a healthy lifestyle that you can follow in a long term. The ketogenic diet has been judged by many people because it seems unconventional. How is possible to eat delicious food and still lose weight, look and feel amazing?
We decided to address this question in this post. For that, we gathered insights from 43 keto experts. These people have tested the ketogenic diet on themselves. Some are doctors, nutritionists, and fitness experts. We asked them the following question:
What do you personally feel is the best benefit of the ketogenic diet?
We received some amazing stories that we would love to share with you. Keep reading to learn how the keto lifestyle is beneficial for people of all ages, even for the ones that have serious medical conditions like cancer.
As we continue to face the health epidemic in today’s society, it’s important we look for viable options to alternative ways of eating. Living a ketogenic lifestyle is something that has emerged as a way to put control back into our hands by avoiding unnecessary processed carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods.
Though the ketogenic diet has been around for well over a century, it has now hit the mainstream for its capabilities beyond just helping managing epilepsy. Most often, people embark on ketogenic diets for their ability to improve body composition. However, the applications of being in a state of ketosis extend far beyond that.
For example, several of our colleagues are investing areas such as Alzheimer’s, Migraines, PCOS, Autism, and even cancer. Our laboratory was the first to do a study investigating the effects of a ketogenic diet on body composition in well-trained athletes and found that they were able to gain muscle and lose a significant amount of fat.
Now, our research efforts are focusing on applications of both the ketogenic diet as well as exogenous supplementation for neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). To me, the most exciting aspect of the ketogenic lifestyle is its versatility.
From putting appetite back into our control to helping manage certain therapeutic conditions, we are on the brink of providing alternative eating strategies that can help revolutionize and change the health and nutrition industry on a global level.
Most people think of it as another fad or a temporary fix, but the ketogenic diet goes way beyond effortless weight loss with astounding results and is neither new nor fad.
Ketogenic means being able to eat wholesome, satiating foods that low-calorie dieters can only dream of. It means never being constantly peckish. It means forgetting the insulin highs and lows caused by eating carbohydrates as the main element of daily food intake. It means sustained energy. It means feeling great and looking great.
Personally, I consider weight loss to be a welcome side effect of the ketogenic diet. The health aspect of it is by far the most important. Tons of published scientific studies link eating high fat, medium protein and low carb with an improved metabolic profile, better-controlled diabetes, better cardiovascular markers, reduced epilepsy episodes, prevention of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and tumor regression, amongst the many benefits. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
As for me, there was never a weight issue. But I should have died in my 30s, according to the ‘experts’, because of familial hypercholesterolemia, sky-high serum cholesterol, and eventually refusing to be statinated any longer – following several years of muscular pain and constant fatigue.
Well, not only am I almost 55 years old and still here in 2018, but I don’t take any medication whatsoever, I cannot remember the last time I had a headache, a sniffle, a cold or flu, and I don’t have any medical concerns.
The best bit, however, is that I’m no longer at cardiovascular risk – according to my physician’s calculations based on the latest blood results.
And there’s more: normal blood pressure and pulse, balanced electrolytes, an absence of liver damage, perfect kidney filtration, normal plasma glucose, and amylase, plus low triglycerides and C reactive protein – both of which are reliable indicators of inflammation.
For anyone wishing to embrace the ketogenic diet as a lifestyle, my advice is to choose organic, unadulterated produce, as well as pasture-raised wild meat and fish, as I do, for maximum detox and reduction of inflammation.
The best benefit of the ketogenic diet for me has been to never worry about what I eat to maintain a healthy weight. Before moving to a low carb eating plan, my weight would always creep up. Then, I’d have to restrict what I ate and get moving to lose the extra weight.
Since moving to a low carb lifestyle, I get to enjoy foods that I love and not have to worry about my weight. And, I’m never hungry or feel like I’m missing out like I did when I went on those low-fat and low-calorie weight loss plans.
By following the keto way of eating, I get to enjoy healthy fats and lots of fresh vegetables. I rarely have cravings for sweets and my weight has been the same for over seven years with little effort. It did take a little time to adjust, but that time was well worth it.
For people like me who enjoy eating delicious foods, a ketogenic diet is the easiest and best way to eat. My sweet tooth is long gone too. Now I prefer eating a few berries instead of those sugary treats that I used to love. And, as a result of the ketogenic diet, my health has never been better!
Thanks to Keto, I no longer think there is something wrong with me.
For so long I was told: “Eat less and exercise more”. All I have to do to be thin and healthy is to consume fewer calories than what I burn with exercise. Easy!
I tried that. I even lost a lot of weight with a very low food diet. (Almost no fat, low to medium carb and low to medium protein.)
The problem was that I was always hungry, I was tired and I thought that there was something wrong with me. I bought into the story that I just have no self-control. L Thinking back to this time in my life, I feel anxious and sad all over again.
… and in the end… I gained most of the weight back.
Then I found the Ketogenic diet!
Now I feel that I have control over myself. I don’t need to eat constantly because I am not hungry all the time. I don’t feel deprived because I enjoy the most delicious meals.
Changing my fuel from sugar to fat is the most important decision I have made to improve my health, clear my mind, have energy and of course, lose weight.
I discovered Keto 2 years ago, as I was worried there was dementia running in my family and I wanted to avoid it for as long as possible. I was 35 at the time, and the middle-aged spread was kicking in too. I wasn’t overweight, but that was the way it was heading.
There are massive short-term benefits to Keto like weight management, consistent energy, reduced inflammation and less mental fog. However, I think the best benefit of Keto is not something you will see for maybe 20 years or so. For when I am in my 60’s or 70’s, I firmly believe I will be free from the diseases of civilization such as Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s. I don’t think you can put a price on that. This Chinese proverb really makes sense to me: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.
I currently eat a Carnivore Diet, which I see as a niche section of the already niche Ketogenic Diet. I eat more protein and less carbs than traditional Keto, but I am still very much a fat burner. In fact, all I ate yesterday was 1kg of mince patties and cheese, my macros came in at 1% carbs, 30% protein and 69% fat.
I love the energy fat adaption brings you, and I am currently training for a Marathon in April.
The best benefit of the ketogenic diet is the transformational effects it has on the body. The power of having ketones in your system gives people the opportunity to look, feel and function how they’re genetically designed. Living life optimally provides a transformation of mind, body, and soul.
The most notable is the energy increase and inflammation reduction – which most people struggle with daily. For me, a significant reduction in inflammation was something I’ve tried to achieve through other diets, supplements, and modalities for over a decade.
In just a few days, I had reduced my inflammation so much that I was able to walk down the stairs normally for the first time in years. My energy increased from only able to function for a few hours a day, to have the endless energy to allow me to have a fully functioning coaching practice.
Additionally, the clinical results I’ve seen in my client practice is astounding. From rapid and dramatic fat loss, the energy that lasts so my clients can be more engaged with family and friends, reduced carb or eliminated cravings, so the diet is no longer a DIET – but a lifestyle people want to adopt forever.
The boost in energy and mental concentration is the main thing I love about the ketogenic diet.
I used to wonder why I was always so tired after eating toast for breakfast and why I couldn’t stay awake after my lunch of pasta or sandwiches.
It never occurred to me that it was all to do with what I was eating until around 10 years ago. That was when I first tried a keto/low carb diet. Instead of toast, I switched to eggs and bacon. Instead of pasta, I had grilled chicken or salmon salads. And then for dinner, easy soups, stews, or stir-fries with lots of vegetables and meats.
Eating this way gave me so much energy (both physically and mentally) that it was addictive!
There were other benefits too – from less bloating to losing weight. And all this while feeling less hungry.
Yes, another one of the benefits that came with Keto was that I wasn’t feeling hungry all the time. I used to have to eat 3 meals per day and if I missed a single meal, I would be very grumpy. But then I discovered intermittent fasting through Keto and realized that I no longer needed to be tied to meal times and being fed 3 times per day to stay happy!
Not only has Keto improved my quality of life, but it has also made me realize how much my own moods and thoughts were affected by my diet.
I have never been able to stick with a diet before. Having tried calories in calories out, Weight Watchers, and the 21 Day Fix from BeachBody. The focus has always been on eating multiple times a day, small meals, low fat etc. I always felt like I was depriving myself of the foods I really wanted and food just wasn’t enjoyable.
Instead of pizza and French fries (which I totally craved!) I was eating dry salmon with brown rice and broccoli (hold the butter). Where was the FLAVOUR!?
Add to that my blood sugar was all over the place swinging up and down from all the carbohydrates I was eating. No wonder I couldn’t make it work.
In my opinion, Steady blood sugar has been the best benefit of keto. While using fat for fuel, you don’t get the sugar highs and lows. This means that your body always has a fuel source available and cravings are few and far between.
Now my food is full of flavor (thanks to all the fat) and sticking to the ketogenic has been a breeze for me. I have been able to successfully maintain my weight also as I work at changing my body through added workouts and weight training.
I have been on my ketogenic diet for 7 years now (it’s a lifestyle) and after my own personal results from trial and error I went from 240lbs and a 44” inch waist to a healthy 172lbs and a 31” waist in my first 1.5 years and kept it off – it changed my life.
Outside of the weight loss, I feel the top 3 benefits I personally appreciate daily from living a ketogenic lifestyle is the mental clarity and focus you get, being energetic all the time (honestly feel like I am in my 20’s – I am currently 42), and lastly the appetite control is amazing which helps stay the course of making wiser choices when you are in a situation where it’s not all “keto”.
In my time of changing my personal life, I now have helped over 4000+ people adopt a ketogenic lifestyle and love hearing the positive changes everyone is having through their journey to getting healthier.
I love that while on a ketogenic diet, I no longer hyperfocus on food. Cravings aren’t so overwhelming that I can’t think of anything else, and hunger pangs don’t feel like an emergency. For years, I obsessed over what I ate, and when I could eat next, but a ketogenic way of eating has completely freed me of that. Now, I can just eat what I want, when I want, and I feel great.
I have also noticed an overall improvement in how my body feels. When I am in ketosis, or even just on a low carb diet, my joint pain subsides and the inflammation in my hands and other joints goes down.
I hadn’t even realized how much inflammation I had in my joints until starting keto and realizing one day that my joints no longer ached all the time!
The best thing about the ketogenic diet is that it works. You can read thousands of success stories about people who have tried everything, and nothing worked until they tried keto.
If anyone is curious as to why it works, they’ll quickly find the answers in the many scientific studies backing up its claims on weight loss, increased brain function, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory effects, and curing medical conditions.
Aside from the science, what makes the ketogenic diet so effective is that you can eat satisfying foods while not feeling deprived, and still lose weight. You’ll naturally experience less hunger, making it easier to eat fewer calories and practice intermittent fasting. And thanks to the healthy fats, you’ll feel fuller longer. But it’s not just about weight loss.
The ketogenic diet is a lifestyle change. Those who become fully keto-adapted experience more energy and focus, allowing them to experience more out of life. And unlike popular belief, you don’t have to eat just bacon and cheeseburgers. I take whole food, mostly plant-based approach with plenty of colorful vegetables and healthy fats, and experience the same results.
The bottom line is, whether you want to lose weight or simply feel better, the ketogenic diet will work
I crossed paths with keto quite serendipitously. One of my sojourns on youtube led me to fitness experts talking about keto diet. One thing led to another and before I knew I was sold hook, line, and sinker. And as journeys are best enjoyed with a partner, I discussed this with mine. Several stimulating (point/counterpoint?!) conversations and hours researching later, we decided to embark on our keto journey together.
We have had the occasional battle with resistant tummy fat which refuses to go despite rounds of a liquid diet (beer…), but other than that I would like to consider myself fit. Working out 5 days a week is my idea of fun and I didn’t have much weight to lose. But more than physical fitness, I was keen to experience the calmness, mental clarity and long-lasting satiation that keto brings.
Nothing in life worth having comes easy, and to be honest I struggled a bit initially on keto with electrolyte imbalances (manifesting in crappy moods, so says my wifey ). But after a couple of days of researching and adjusting sodium/magnesium supplements in my diet, I was able to figure out my exact requirements and started feeling a whole lot better. You would be surprised to hear me say this, but although
I am a foodie with a keto recipe blog site and youtube channel, I am happy to say I no longer crave food every few minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I still love good food and am ecstatic in my kitchen but I only eat when I am hungry. Keto keeps me satiated and satisfied and has made me a calmer person with a sharper focus on life.
While there are several benefits to keto, the one close to my heart is the ability to stay lean without having to restrict foods that I like (yes, I even lost that stubborn belly fat you see). The initial couple of months tracking my intake helped, but now my body knows what it needs and
I no longer need to track everything I eat. And the mind to body connection I have experienced on keto enables me to stay very active, focused and satiated at the same time.
I follow simple principles in life and believe a healthy body and healthy mind are essential building blocks that go a long way. When I first started experimenting with keto, I thought I would try it for a few weeks…. did I hear famous last words ? It’s been 16 months now and I never felt any better. I don’t think I will go back to carbs anytime soon.
Food freedom. Keto for me has been the only way to finally break free of my addiction to sugar and food in general. I lived constantly thinking about food, about sweets and what I going to eat next. Even on a paleo diet, I still struggled with overeating and abusing natural sweeteners.
When I transitioned to keto, and after I survived the infamous keto flu I found myself sated for hours with my bulletproof coffee. I would go days without thinking o sweets and I no longer craved carbs all the time.
A ketogenic diet has the potential to be a varied, delicious, and nutritious way of eating, and I truly enjoy it without feeling restricted or like I’m missing out on anything.
I believe that this can be especially beneficial for those with insulin resistance, and keto is even proven to improve insulin sensitivity. Not only making it possible to lose weight again but to get the bodies hunger signals back in sync.
Well, there are several so its hard to narrow it down! Personally, I didn’t find the ketogenic diet like many who were using it to lose weight. I came across the diet in the search for overall health and wellness. I have a family history of health issues like Diabetes and Cancer. Both my father and mother have had cancer and my grandmother had diabetes. My grandmother died of complications from diabetes and my father from his cancer. Luckily my mother is still here and shining!
This experience has always made me very health conscious and when I found out about the anti-cancer effects of ketosis I was floored. How amazing it would have been if this was more widespread and accepted in 2008 when I needed it most. It could have made a world of difference in my life. Not that anyone can know for sure if the ketogenic diet would have made the difference for my father but it would have been a tool that we could have applied.
For those not familiar with the anti-cancer benefits of ketosis it’s important to understand how cancer cells are different. They have 10x more insulin receptors than a normal healthy cell. This enables them to gorge themselves on glucose to feed their rapid multiplication. Part of a cancerous cells mutation causes damage to its mitochondria. These damaged cells cannot metabolize fatty acids (ketones) for fuel. So by limiting glucose and running your body on ketones, you are defending against cancer by starving those cells out before they have a chance to grow.
Many in the Keto community practice intermittent fasting. While your body is fasting it is not busy processing the most recent load of calories and nutrients and science is finding that your body can use this time to clean house and perform other cellular duties. Similar to how your body heals and repairs itself during sleep your body can perform more maintenance activities during this fasting period when it’s not combating spikes in blood sugar and managing digestion.
So not only is intermittent fasting a good way to boost your ketone levels and stay in ketosis it gives your body a break so that it can get around to those other important duties of cleaning out cancerous cells and maintaining your metabolic machinery.
To come back to my Grandmother, diabetes and obesity are on the rise in our country and almost all of the keto community are aware of its benefits on insulin sensitivity and weight loss. I see the keto wave as a serious opposing force to this health crisis which has imposed so much harm on American families. It affects those who have the illness as well as those close to them. It puts stress on our medical system and welfare programs. This diet can make the difference for so many and I’m happy to be a part of the community and the outreach helping to get people exposed to the possibilities that lie in front of them.
Personally, we feel the best part of the Ketogenic diet is the health benefits that come along with this lifestyle. We call it a lifestyle not a diet.
When we first started Keto we were significantly obese and feeling all the health risks that come along with being so overweight. Within a couple months of switching to the Ketogenic lifestyle, we noticed a significant improvement in our health.
Within the first 12 weeks, we were completely off of all medications. No more blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney, sleep apnea, or pre-diabetic medications. This was a huge victory for us. Not only were all of our medications a thing of the past we had a huge increase in energy. This was a huge bonus benefit to our family.
More energy to play with our children, more energy to dedicate to our business, more energy to spend doing the things we love to do. It is wonderful to feel like ourselves again, and enjoy activities that we have not been able to do in a long time. It is the simple things, being able to sit in the booth again at a restaurant, not needing a seatbelt extender on an airplane, playing sports with our children and much more.
The primary reason a ketogenic diet has been both beneficial and sustainable for me is the self-control I now possess. I can now control my hunger and my moods more so than I ever have been able to before.
When I followed a traditional high-carb, low-fat diet, not only was I constantly hungry, I experienced sudden swings in mood and energy. I was dependent on consuming high-carbohydrate meals and snacks every two hours without fail. Now that my diet consists of low-carb, high-fat foods, I can go many hours without thinking about my next meal, have stable energy, and am an overall happier, more positive person.
Finding the ketogenic diet has also given me the wonderful opportunity of beginning a food blog where I share delicious, nutrient-dense, low-carb recipes. There are few things better than a low-carb baked good or fat bomb! Keto is not only a nutritional state for me, it is a way of life and I am so grateful to have benefited so much from this diet lifestyle.
I think the best benefit is how it makes you feel.
When you are on a properly formulated ketogenic diet, after just a couple weeks you start seeing huge improvements in moods, mental clarity, increased energy and much more. Many people come off many prescription medications. That is why this is such a powerful lifestyle.
Most of my clients see the weight loss as just a bonus to how great they feel.
Following a well-planned and nutritious ketogenic diet can be a great option for many people. While there are so many health benefits I could speak on, if I were to choose one benefit of the lifestyle above all the rest, it would be its ability to control hunger and cravings. What I see happen time and time again is people going on ‘diets,’ extremely motivated in the beginning but ultimately falling off because they feel hungry or deprived. That is where a ketogenic diet is different.
One reason for this is the satiating quality of a high-fat diet. Fat is extremely efficient at delivering energy to the body, leaving us feeling full and satisfied longer. Perhaps more interestingly, though, is the effect ketosis has on our hunger/satiety hormones. A common roadblock for those on a weight loss journey is that the more weight they lose, the less Cholecystokinin (CCK, the hormone responsible for making us feel full/satiated after eating) their bodies secrete after meals.
Likewise, Ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) tend to rise with weight loss. That means as weight is lost, the same meals become less satisfying and the individual experiences more hunger and cravings.
Ketosis can prevent or reverse these changes in hormone levels, allowing people to lose weight and then maintain weight loss without struggling with feeling hungry. We could talk all day about the health benefits of a ketogenic diet, but in my opinion, this aspect is what sets people up for success in creating lasting changes.
The best benefit of the ketogenic lifestyle is its effect on mental well-being. Most people begin the keto diet with weight loss as a goal, and it definitely does a great job at that. It’s certainly much easier to lose weight when you are not constantly hungry, get to enjoy delicious food, and are able to stabilize blood sugar. However, many people quickly discover that the ketogenic diet has other incredible benefits in addition to the body composition improvements.
Being in ketosis has been shown to have mood-stabilizing properties and even acts as an anti-depressant. This has been my personal experience and I have seen a dramatic improvement in my overall mood since I have been eating low carb.
It is often reported that the ketogenic diet enhances cognitive ability and concentration, as well. I can personally vouch for my improved ability to focus and get things done since I started eating keto. It can even protect the nervous system. This is one of the reasons that it has been used for years to treat epilepsy and is being explored as a treatment for other neurological disorders.
Since the keto diet stabilizes blood sugar and insulin production, it leads to stabilized energy levels. When you eat sugar, it rapidly enters the blood stream and triggers a release of insulin. This causes a spike in energy levels, followed by a dramatic drop. The release of insulin also encourages the body to store fat. The ketogenic diet avoids both issues. With the stable energy levels, better concentration, and improved mood that this lifestyle offers, these benefits provide plenty of value beyond weight loss.
For me, the best benefit after weight loss is the reduction in aches and pains!
I had no idea that this would happen when I started the Keto diet. In fact, all I could think about was the foods I was giving up.
However, after two weeks I was sold on what an incredible, nutrient-rich diet Keto is!
It might sound like snake oil. But do any digging on the internet about the ketogenic diet, and you’ll find personal stories of rapid weight loss and improved memory.
If you’re interested in losing weight, reversing type 2 diabetes, or recovering from PCOS — the keto diet may be your jam. More serious conditions such as dementia and cancer may also turn around on a ketogenic diet. The point is to avoid carbs like the plague and consume plenty of fat so you can make ketonic fuel. If you’ve got a health problem you can’t hack — and this problem involves blood sugar control, brain health, or your metabolism — you may thrive on a keto meal plan.
Our ketogenic diet meal plan on Real Plans includes REAL food (meat, eggs, nuts, yogurt, vegetables and occasionally some fruits) while limiting high carb foods and focusing on healthy fat and protein sources. The good news is that eating low carb foods doesn’t mean you leave the table unsatisfied. Our meals range from quick and easy to comfort food makeovers, plus you can import recipes from all over the web to build the recipe collection of your Keto dreams.
Many people come to the ketogenic diet for weight loss. They see a before and after photo on social media and they get excited to achieve similar results. And that is fantastic. They share their amazing results and inspire someone else, and the cycle continues.
As we know, diets typically aren’t long term. People look at them as a temporary solution to a lifelong problem.
With the ketogenic diet, it’s different. We call this a lifestyle, or a WOE = way of eating. As once an individual feels the mental clarity, the boost in energy, the stable blood sugar, the decreased inflammation, they don’t want to go back to feeling like crap. Giving up the bread is worth feeling amazing.
As a Health Coach, whose focus in on aging younger, I look even deeper.
The health benefits and healing our bodies may enjoy are decreased risk and potential healing of the following age-related ailments: Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, auto-immune conditions, heart disease, and cancer, to name a few.
Did you know that over 75% of people over 60 are on medications? That’s crazy. And most are on 2 or more.
The diseases of aging can often be countered with food. Feeding your body, the fat it needs to thrive, and the cholesterol it needs for healthy hormone production provides hope for reversing the ill effects of aging.
I personally feel the best benefit of the Ketogenic diet is reducing cravings due to the burning of fat as your primary fuel (nutritional ketosis) and decreasing inflammation and cellular damage. Pervasive western diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer have something significant in common.
They are all rooted in insulin and leptin resistance – a metabolic dysfunction caused by eating too many carbs such as those found in processed and refined foods and grains, thus leading not only to the body holding on to fat but also affecting hormone balance, energy levels, and emotional well being.
Burning fat as fuel helps to conserve the BCAA (branch chain Amino Acids) as well preserving muscle mass important for longevity and optimal health.
The best feature of a ketogenic diet is the metabolic flexibility it provides.
The mainstream keto’ers have really butchered this concept. This is common in our culture to look for a simple, black & white, reductionist solution.
At any rate, the unique feature of a ketogenic diet (or modified versions of the diet) is that they can promote metabolic flexibility. What does this mean? It means that your body is going to be more efficient at using it’s own fat for ‘energy’, in addition to enhancing its ability to utilize dietary fat and carbohydrates as fuel sources.
Mainstream science and health practices tell us to eat too many carbohydrates and also to eat too often. These practices can be major factors in deprogramming our natural ability to be metabolically flexible. By following a ketogenic diet, a modified version, and/or by regularly including periods of fasting and lower carbohydrate days of eating, we can reprogram our metabolism to its natural state.
The underlying mechanism for this in part is insulin, a storage hormone. If our body is receptive to insulin, it can store carbohydrates properly as both organ glycogen and muscle glycogen. But if we eat too frequently, or eat too many carbohydrates, the insulin receptor sites get taxed and lose their sensitivity (like an iPhone battery that’s been overcharged). By taking a temporary lower carbohydrate on-ramp time period (this looks different for different situations), we can promote insulin sensitivity and repair glucose issues.
The benefits that come with this are optimal health, fitness, athletic performance, and better long-term sustainability to the diet.
Carbohydrates are not evil-they just need to be included in the proper amounts at the proper set & setting.
Incredible hunger control is by far the greatest benefit of a ketogenic diet and the single most important factor that allows it to stand out from the crowd. The downfall of many fad diets is that ultimately hunger wins and the diet becomes unsustainable. Even with the strongest willpower, it is impossible to fight hunger forever.
When we burn fat, as is the case when following a ketogenic diet, we produce ketones as a by-product and it is the presence of these ketones that are the wonderful secret to hunger control. With your hunger under control, you do not need to eat as often or as much and thoughts of food don’t rule your day (as is the case when attempting to follow many other diets).
With less of a need to eat regularly and your body’s ability to access and burn fat easily and effectively, you literally become a fat burning machine. In this state weight loss is effortless. As an added benefit all of this can be achieved whilst eating delicious food that feels indulgent yet is extremely healthy for you.
Even though it’s hotter than a tea kettle at the moment, the ketogenic diet has been around for quite some time. In fact, some would say keto (which, physiologically, closely resembles a state of fasting) has roots that run as deep as 500BC. Heck, there’s even reference to the therapeutic potential of fasting in the New Testament of the Bible. (No, Jesus wasn’t going around telling people to limit carbs to 30 grams a day or anything.)
But it was the influential work of several pioneers (including Bernarr Macfadden, “the Father of Physical Culture”, and several medical doctors, such as Dr. Russell Wilder) in the early 1900s that really laid the foundation for what we know today as the ketogenic diet. And again, even though the ketogenic diet is just now being crowned homecoming queen, outside-the-box thinkers like Dr. Robert Atkins, Dan Duchaine, Lyle McDonald, and Dr. Mauro di Pasquale were advocating the ketogenic diet during the low-fat era—as early as the 1970s. (I actually experimented with McDonald’s The Ultimate Diet 2.0 back in 2003.)
Fascinating history aside, keto is synonymous with hype—some worthy, some far-fetched, and some the topic of heated debate. In the case of the latter, I’d say that’s actually one of the benefits of the ketogenic diet. That is, keto’s rise in popularity has spurred quite a bit of very important, revealing research and subsequent findings (including the promising potential for keto and certain types of cancer and cognitive health, and on the other hand, nixing the notion that there’s some “metabolic advantage” to keto). Either way, it’s encouraged people to evaluate their beliefs, and (at least among the “evidence-based” crowd) it’s incited quite a bit of healthy debate (as well as a lot of nonsensical chatter).
From a practical standpoint, if you ask me, the effectiveness (and benefits) of keto can be traced back to its RULES. You see, in my experience, people like for you to tell them what to do. They like guidelines and boundaries. They like some sort of standard up to which they can compare themselves. We want to know where we’re at. We want to know how we’re doing.
And the rules of keto do just that. Limit carbs to 30 grams or less per day. Simple as that. (Of course, keto is more complex than that, but honestly, this is THE rule.) And when someone follows that rule, their menu of food options gets limited tremendously. You take a ton of ultra-processed, calorie-dense, highly-palatable “foods” off the table. And when you do that consistently over time, voilà! Improvements in virtually all aspects of life and health ensue.
This highlights the significance of your food environment. When you’re committed to the rules, you make sure there aren’t foods that are “out of bounds” at home (to tempt you), and you do your homework to make the appropriate choices when you’re out of the friendly confines of your own home.
Now, I’m not saying that severe restriction is the way to go for everyone—or anyone, for that matter. However, specificity is critical when it comes to improving in any domain of life. Sure, believe that you’re a “multi-tasker”, but the truth is that placing all your energy and focus into single task is going to be waaayyy more efficient and effective.
Be that as it may, I’d say another one of the greatest benefits of keto is the buy-in. Up until now, it’s been an outside-the-box approach. Before, people kind of looked at you like you had a third eye if you told them you were keto. Now that it’s more popular, that means other people are doing it, and that means there’s positive social support and accountability. And those, my friend, are critical elements to success. If you’re keto, you’re not the elephant in the room; you’re “normal”, and that makes everything easier.
All that being said, as straightforward and “simple” as the rule(s) may be, that doesn’t make keto easy (to follow). Along those lines, some experts argue that it’s so extreme that it bears being ranked last among a list of diets. While the research doesn’t necessarily corroborate that distinction (i.e., adherence to a low-carb diet doesn’t seem any worse than a low-fat diet), it does highlight the significance of compliance and finding what works best for you.
The two best benefits of the keto diet for me have been:
1) The ability to stay slim, even in my 50’s, without any hunger, starvation or extreme exercise.
2) Feeling like I have more energy that I have ever had in my life before.
The best benefit of the keto diet is being able to eat keto versions of my favorite comfort foods and desserts while being healthy. Almost all other diets restrict an arbitrary list of foods, whereas the keto diet does not. Everything is allowed on a keto diet as long as it fits your daily carb limit.
The premise is quite simple and backed by numerous scientific studies. This means that I can use low carb ingredients and substitutes to make my favorite comforting foods and desserts. I don’t know any other diet where you can be healthy while eating low carb biscuits and cheesecakes, but on keto, you can.
Some of my favorite baking ingredients include almond flour, which I use to make chocolate chip cookies and pie crusts, and erythritol, which is a versatile sweetener that has no digestible carbs and has no impact on insulin levels.
I personally feel the best benefit of the ketogenic diets is its antiepileptic effects as there are decades of strong scientific evidence demonstrating ketogenic diets as an effective treatment for epilepsy.
In the recent years, more and more research indicated ketogenic diets could be utilized in weight loss, managing diabetes and endocrine disorders, treating certain cancers, optimizing athletic performance and modulating circadian clocks, and potentially be useful in controlling Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases.
However, most of the research studies are short-term, overall low quality, and the results are inconsistent. More long-term studies are urgently needed to confirm the impacts of ketogenic diets on different health parameters and conditions considering the vast popularity of the diets.
For healthy individuals, as ketosis may not be achieved until a ketogenic diet is followed for several days to weeks depending on the diet regimen, it is also important to consider the adherence and sustainability of the diet and other side effects such as reduced fiber intake (gut health) and constipation.
More individualized approaches that consider an individual’s current health states (nutritional and laboratory evaluations), goals, social contexts, and potentially harmful effects (hyperuricemia, kidney stones, etc.) are essential in planning, initiating and maintaining a ketogenic diet, and ensuring the individual’s optimal nutritional and health status.
I started the keto diet about two years ago, and though it was a difficult transition, it helped me with a myriad of health issues within a few weeks. The best benefit in my option is the improved insulin sensitivity, which acts as a domino effect, affecting many other functions/systems in the body. Before starting keto, I had circulation issues (likely related to insulin resistance), as well as energy issues.
Even during the first week of being on the keto diet, even dealing with the “keto flu”, I already had improved circulation. My chronically cold hands and feet warmed up, and my tight neck/shoulder area (sitting at the computer too much) loosened up.
After a month of adapting to ketosis, I felt a steady improvement in energy levels, no more fatigue or afternoon post-lunch slumps. These two issues, circulation and energy levels, affect every minute of one’s daily life. Having proper blood flow to all parts of the body helps the lymph system function properly, allowing it to clear out waste more effectively, which helps our immune system work well and helps us heal and detox quicker.
All of this is actually secondary to the multitude of health benefits that come with increased insulin sensitivity. Any doctor will tell you that insuline resistance puts one at risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and many other conditions. Someone like me with a family history of diabetes gets even more benefit from being in nutritional ketosis than the average individual.
A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat, moderate protein diet. When you restrict carbohydrates, your body can run on ketones (which come from fat) instead of glucose (which comes from carbs). An important benefit of the ketogenic diet is blood glucose control. This nutritional approach can be highly beneficial for people living with type 2 diabetes.
In an in-hospital study, patients with type 2 diabetes showed significant improvement in glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in only 2 weeks when put on a very low carbohydrate and high-fat diet. Significant improvements in triglycerides and cholesterol were also seen.
This quick improvement was also seen in a randomized trial of patients with type 2 diabetes following a very low carbohydrate and high fat diet versus the dietary guidelines from the American Diabetes Association. After 3 months, blood glucose control, weight loss and medication reduction all favored the low carbohydrate, high fat group.
Another 16 weeks, very low carbohydrate diet study also found that patients with type 2 diabetes were able to reduce medication while improving blood sugar control.
If you are on medications for blood pressure or blood sugar, I would recommend against doing a ketogenic diet without medical supervision. A ketogenic diet can lower your blood sugar and blood pressure naturally, and a patient on medications would need to be monitored closely to ensure that their medications are safely reduced
The Ketogenic diet has been studied for some time and has provided us with a lot of insight into what it is capable of. From treating epilepsy to losing weight, from helping people with cancer to diabetic blood glucose control, the Ketogenic diet has proved it’s usefulness many times over. However, what I believe to be it’s most powerful benefit is not in what it can do, but what it has taught us about nutrition and health.
Through studying the Ketogenic diet we have learned so much about macronutrients and our body’s ability to adapt and run as an efficient machine. Contrary to past deeply held beliefs, we have learned that fats are not our enemy. They are good for us and we can run quite well on a fat based diet. High-fat diets also tend to be quite anti-inflammatory and can actually work towards lowering the risk of heart disease.
It has made us look at conventional food pyramids and government recommendations for “healthy eating” and re-evaluate what should comprise a proper diet. We can now look at the food pyramid and almost completely flip it upside down. The most powerful thing we can take from this diet is that fat is not our enemy, it should be included and embraced in a healthy diet and that what we should really be taking a closer look at are the sugars that sneak their way into almost all manufactured foods.
These days, you’re probably hearing a lot about how eating fat is no longer a sin. But what you might not know is that healthy fats might also be that missing ingredient in our diet to help alleviate chronic pain.
Today, we see some practitioners recommending high-fat diets, like the ketogenic diet, as possibly helpful for a number of conditions that cause chronic pain syndromes such as neurodegenerative disease, migraines, mood disorders, and autoimmune problems. In other words, what if we could reach for the avocados and coconut oil instead of popping ibuprofen?
A ketogenic diet may be the solution you have been searching for when it comes to weight loss, blood sugar control and alleviation of pain.
I am a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Medical Center. I specialize in the ketogenic diet and personally follow a modified Atkins diet (less than 50 grams of net carbohydrate per day). I conducted my thesis research (at Rush University), looking at the effects of a ketogenic diet on seizure activity in adults with epilepsy.
For individuals with epilepsy, I believe the biggest benefit of the diet is the reduction in seizure frequency and severity. When it comes to individuals without epilepsy, I personally believe the biggest benefit of the ketogenic diet is increased weight loss while also improving satiety and dietary satisfaction, which ultimately improve diet adherence.
Patients typically feel deprived at the thought of cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables; however, their minds are placed at ease when I inform them of the endless dietary possibilities while following a ketogenic diet. Who is opposed to eating eggs, bacon, meat, fish, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, cheese, low carb veggies, and high-fat foods, while still losing weight?
People following the diet typically report feeling satisfied and less hungry on a ketogenic diet when compared to previous diet attempts. For some this pay be a temporary modification to encourage weight loss, while for others this becomes a lifestyle that they enjoy.
Other benefits (personal experienced and reported) are improvements in cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c (blood sugar marker), sleep habits, mental clarity, energy level, gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas and bloating, and improvements in fatty liver disease markers (ALT, AST).
As a functional medicine practitioner, the ketogenic diet is something I use very often in my clinic to help with a variety of different health cases. The benefits of this type of high-fat, low-carb diet are so vast yet there is one that stands out to me from seeing it manifest in multiple different patients.
A ketogenic diet’s ability to boost brain power and reduce inflammation is second to none. Our brains are comprised of 60% fat and about 25% of our body’s total cholesterol is found in the brain. It only makes sense to fuel our brain with exactly what it is made of rather than depriving it.
Also, a high-fat diet just makes sense when you look at it from a biological and evolutionary standpoint since from the time we were babies we relied on fat in the form of breast milk for brain growth and development.
Multiple studies have shown enhanced cognitive function and lowered inflammation by down-regulating pro-inflammatory pathways in the body through switching from a state of sugar burning to fat burning. It is something I have seen firsthand in almost all of my patients who have tried out a ketogenic diet.
Beyond the physical benefits of mental clarity, focus, energy, weight loss and more. I believe the best benefit of a ketogenic diet is what goes on deep within the cells.
The research is rapidly catching up and showing how a KD diet enhances mitochondrial health. Your mitochondria are the power house of every cell in your body. Cells may have anywhere from 2- 5000 mitochondria per cell. Why does this matter?
If these tiny organelles are the engines which give your cells the energy needed to thrive, imagine what an upgrade in fuel would do to your cells and overall health. This is exactly what a ketogenic diet accomplishes.
When you switch from our typical low calorie, low fat, high protein or worse our typical Standard American Diet to KD you give the powerhouse of ever cell (mitochondria) the cleanest and most efficient fuel possible. It’s like rocket fuel for your cells.
The cells with the highest concentration of mitochondria are heart, liver and brain cells. This is why we experience the amazing physical benefits of mental clarity, focus and energy just to name a few.
Before starting any new program or diet I believe it is essential to understand what it is and why you are doing it. These will be important factors that once determined, will assist you after the first few weeks to continue on and to be successful in achieving your goals.
To summarize the ketogenic diet in a sentence, this low carb diet known as “Keto” places your body into a state of ketosis where it uses fat as it’s primary fuel source.
Based on my experience, the most popular reasons people would follow a keto diet are to see results in the following categories: Weight loss, Anti-inflammatory, Appetite suppressing, Lower risk of cancer and lowering insulin levels
Results will vary from person to person but where I usually recommend most people starting is with reducing their amount of sugar intake. Sugar is one of the most addicting things that trigger cravings. When you are shifting from a high carb diet to a keto diet, your cravings for things can be very strong. Sugar contributes to “craving” signals being sent to the brain so if you start to reduce your sugar intake BEFORE starting a keto diet I believe your success rate will be higher.
Going low carb can be fairly tough on your current lifestyle or exercise regime. Often, gels or sports drinks are combined with the keto diet to ensure you don’t hit a wall and end up feeling defeated.
At the end of that day, if you determine your “why” this will assist you in staying on track and reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. Here are a few alternative switches to make so that you can continue to enjoy your favourite foods. Crumbled cauliflower instead of rice. Zucchini ribbons instead of pasta. Almond flour and stevia in baked goods.
You are capable of whatever you set your mind to so determine why you want to follow the ketogenic diet and reach out for support if you are having a hard time.
The best benefit of the ketogenic diet for me personally is clarity of mind. As a fitness entrepreneur who’s not only studied the various dietary strategies but has also tested them out myself, by far the ketogenic diet wins for helping to clear brain fog; thereby, increasing mental focus, productivity, and mood.
Because the brain loves clean-burning fuel, ketones are the preferred source and this happy brain drives all the activities in life to support positive habits overall. For example, when we are clear-minded, we can better organize our thoughts and our day, finding the amazing opportunities to be more effective and more efficient with our time.
With this then comes greater productivity where we can then reach our goals faster. Reaching our goals faster leads to our brain experiencing a boost in the pleasure center, which only supports continued progress.
We can now see what a positive cycle this creates as we are able to move faster toward our goals, but also experience more joy in the process – all by having clarity of mind from a ketogenic diet.
In my own experience, I find that the best benefits I receive from living a ketogenic lifestyle are the mental clarity, brain power, increased energy, better digestion, and not having to eat as often.
As an entrepreneur, I am constantly on the go and have many things going on at one time in life. Because I do not have to eat as often, because keto is very satiating, I can get so much more done without having to worry about stopping to eat.
For the longest time, I had issues with my digestion, I couldn’t enjoy things with dairy and would often get bloated after my meals. But since going keto I no longer have these issues. I can enjoy some dairy now and don’t get that after meal bloat. I’m also more in tune with my body and can eat until satisfied rather than overstuffing myself.
But my favorite benefit is the cognitive function, keto gives me so much mental clarity and brain power I can get so much done with little distraction. My brain fog is gone, I can focus for much longer periods of time; when in ketosis it’s like my brain is supercharged. There is no more afternoon brain slump and no need for coffee late in the day.
Keto gives you such an energy boost because your body is no longer using glucose as a quick energy source. It is tapping into fat as its main source of fuel providing you with much longer lasting steady energy. So if you have been tempted to give keto a shot, this would be the reason I suggest you try it.
The ketogenic diet is gaining popularity, and more and more people have experienced its amazing benefits. These can be different for everyone, and depend on every person’s initial goals, expectations and adherence to the keto lifestyle, but we have noticed a few that stick out.
And they’re great.
Weight loss & improved body composition – for many people that’s the number 1 reason they have started doing keto, and many have achieved great results with it. Keto naturally suppresses hunger, which helps tremendously when dieting. If you add working out to the mix, your body composition will change even faster.
Stabilizing blood sugar levels – limiting carbs has helped many people stabilize their blood sugar and keep it within normal ranges. Many have noticed that it boosts their energy levels and helps them get rid of the feeling of “mental fog” that comes from heavy carb consumption.
As a result, keto has helped many people reverse insulin resistance & pre-diabetic conditions, and can be an excellent aid in managing Type 2 Diabetes (you should always consult your doctor before lowering your meds, though!), or reducing the risk of developing it later in life.
Reducing inflammation – many people who do keto have reported successfully lowering inflammation and improving its symptoms, such as swelling, joint pain, acne, general fatigue.
Better sleep – after the initial adaptation phase (sometimes associated with insomnia), a lot of ketoers notice an improvement of the quality of their sleep, which helps them wake up well-rested and refreshed.
These are some of the many benefits that people in the keto community have experienced. If you are thinking of changing to a new way of eating, give keto a try!
THE BEST THING ABOUT A KETO DIET
Diets—the kind I grew up with—consisted of three things. Keep food portions small, limit calories to 1,000 a day and NEVER eat fat in any form. Follow these rules and you’ll be rewarded with a slim and healthy body.
Unfortunately, no-one mentioned the starvation and hunger you’d need to endure. Or the disappointment and loathing—not with the diet but with yourself—for failing to “control” your eating, not once but many times over.
Thankfully, a keto style diet, based on low carb high-fat foods, is nothing like that. Far from being restrictive, keto makes it possible to eat a variety of healthy, great tasting food AND still lose weight!
The best thing about a keto diet and the reason it succeeds where others fail is the absence of deprivation. Yay, keto!
In essence, a keto diet works with your body, not against it! It allows you to rediscover the pleasures of eating while losing and/or maintaining your weight. What’s not to love?
Further Keto Information
A keto style eating plan is based on:
- Low carb foods that contain very little sugar. The less sugar you eat, the less insulin your body creates to regulate blood sugar levels. This is a good thing as excess insulin is associated with pre or full-blown diabetes and hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Insulin is also known as the “fat hormone”. It acts as a key that unlocks the cells where excess energy is stored as fat, beneath your skin, and around your organs.
- Moderate (not excessive) amounts of protein. Eating adequate protein is essential for tissue and muscle health. Eating too much, however, puts you at risk of a process called gluconeogenesis. In simple terms, this is where your body, via a metabolic pathway, is able to convert excess protein into glucose that can then be stored as fat. You may as well just overload on carbs!!!
- Healthy fats. Counter to what many people think, eating fat does not make you fat. Healthy fats are an essential component of a keto diet and can be eaten liberally. The reason for this is that fats promote satiety—the feeling that comes with having eaten enough. They help you feel full for longer and prevent overeating.
As a basic guideline, a keto diet can be broken down into macronutrients and the percentages of each to aim for:
– Carbs 10%
– Protein 20%
– Fat 70%
A quick Google search for “keto calculators” will help you determine the exact macronutrients for your age, weight, body type, fitness level, etc.
Why work at teasing out a single “best benefit” of a ketogenic diet? Instead, we can define that in the context of individual needs and priorities. We’re all familiar with the weight loss successes but the potential impact the diet can have on other health problems has been unfairly sidelined by mainstream medicine, mostly because the research still lacks funding.
If you have diabetes, wouldn’t you want your doctor to tell you that there is now evidence that a ketogenic diet can help you to better manage your blood sugar ─ and in some cases, even reverse your disease?
And who among us doesn’t value keeping ─ or regaining ─ mental clarity as we age? Ketogenic therapies have such great potential in changing how we view and treat these so-called diseases of aging.
My specialty is Keto for Cancer. One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is hearing the joy in a client’s voice as they tell me about their “amazing response to treatment”, above and beyond what could be expected from conventional treatment alone. Am I surprised? Absolutely not! I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of a shift in how we view and treat metabolic disease.
As a registered nutritional therapist supporting clients who are facing a cancer diagnosis, I have witnessed many people, including children, benefitting from a carbohydrate restricted and ketogenic diet as a complement to the standard of care. However, given that this article specifically deals with “personal” experience, I’d like to share my own story and how the ketogenic diet helped me with my own illness.
I was diagnosed with a malignant ocular melanoma 10 years ago, at the age of 28. After doing all the conventional treatments offered, including surgeries and radiotherapy, I initially seemed to respond well and my tumor shrank rapidly. But not even 2 years later, I suffered a relapse and had to do radiotherapy and surgery again. In addition to my tumor inside the eyeball, I had also developed an extraocular tumor. It was scary to think that if the mass could spread locally, it could maybe also metastasise to more distant parts of my body. When it looked like the tumor was active again after another 2 years, I decided that it was time to look for other options.
The ketogenic diet had been part of my research for a good year before I decided to implement it when another, a third relapse seemed to be in the cards. With consent from my consultant, I started reducing my carbs gradually. Soon my scans showed reduced angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels- one of the hallmarks of cancer), my oedema (water retention) had gone down and my vision also started to improve again. It looked like I could avoid the dreaded Avastin injections, which I was supposed to get to reduce the growth of new blood vessels.
A while after implementing the ketogenic diet, we also did a CT scan of the orbit of my eye to assess the size of my extraocular tumor. To my absolute relief and delight, it wasn’t visible anymore on the scan- there wasn’t even a lesion. The tumor hadn’t reduced in size after radiotherapy and apart from the ketogenic diet and supplements, I hadn’t undergone any conventional treatment in the meantime.
Since 2012 I’ve been in stable remission and still follow a low carb approach, although not as strict as it used to be in the initial stages. There are so many other factors to consider with a cancer diagnosis, but diet is certainly key.
I’m sharing my story not to promise any cancer patients that they will witness a similar “miracle” when following a carbohydrate-restricted diet, but to encourage them to investigate, consider and discuss all their options with their caregivers. There is so much we can do to support ourselves and I’m convinced that my conventional treatment might have been more successful if I had discovered the ketogenic approach earlier.
Pre-clinical research shows that ketogenic diets can reduce side effects and potentially improve the effectiveness of radio- and chemotherapy in some types of cancer. We desperately need large, long-term studies into the effects of the ketogenic diet as a complement to conventional therapies in cancer patients. My mission is to do everything I can to spread the word and further the field of nutrition research in oncology.
Thank you to all the keto experts that contributed to this expert roundup! I feel so inspired by your stories. Once again we see that the right nutrition has such a big impact on a person’s life.
If this post made you wanna try the ketogenic diet, check out our supplements that will help you with your transitions to the keto lifestyle.
Minuca is a freelance writer specialized in creating expert roundups. Her posts provide quality content, bring huge traffic and get backlinks. She also helps bloggers connect with influencers. You can contact her at her blog, MinucaElena.com
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