Benefits of Keto

A little appreciated (but important) fact: for most of human history, the average person would have been regularly exposed to ketosis. This was mostly light and transient, sometimes more protracted, but they were never far from a mildly ketogenic state. Food wasn’t always a sure thing, after all, and carbs weren’t necessarily readily available year-round. Ketosis was normal, it was frequent, and it was beneficial, even life-saving.  Today, few people achieve ketosis without intentionally fasting or following a ketogenic diet. The latter refers to any very low-carb diet—low enough that your liver churns out ketones that your cells can use for energy in place of glucose. It may feel like keto exploded into popularity out of nowhere, but doctors have actually been prescribing therapeutic keto diets to treat epilepsy for more than a century. Today, keto is popular mostly as a weight-loss diet, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits a keto diet has to offer. That’s because keto diets have two things going for them: the carbohydrate restriction and the resulting ketones. Each profoundly affects health and longevity, beyond halting seizures and helping people fit into smaller jeans. I’ve been talking about keto since the early days of the Primal Blueprint because I firmly believe that everyone should spend time in a state of ketosis. Here are some of the reasons why. Why Go Keto? The Big Picture The number one reason I recommend that everyone try keto is for metabolic flexibility. To put it bluntly, if you want to be metabolically healthy, you must be metabolically flexible.  Metabolic flexibility, you may recall, is your cells’ ability to use any available substrate—glucose, fat, or ketones—for energy on an on-demand basis. It’s the opposite of carbohydrate dependency, the metabolic state that characterizes the vast majority of the population today. Keto diets upregulate your cells’ ability to burn ketones, obviously, but they also make you more fat-adapted. And being able to metabolize fatty acids efficiently is important whether you’re keto or eating a “regular Primal” pattern.  There are other things that keto does uniquely well compared to other types of diets, namely lowering blood glucose, insulin, and inflammation. Hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and chronic inflammation are the triumvirate of doom when it comes to chronic disease. I can’t think of a single chronic disease of any kind—metabolic, autoimmune, neurodegenerative, cancer—that doesn’t have one, if not all three, as a contributing factor.  It’s obvious why seriously restricting carb intake would reduce blood sugar and insulin secretion, in turn reducing inflammatory markers. Keto diets also trigger more complex downstream biochemical processes that account for many of their beneficial effects. For example, keto modulates the action of a critical enzyme called AMPK that is involved in cellular energy regulation—improving glucose uptake by cells, improving insulin sensitivity, and decreasing inflammation. The ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate has direct anti-inflammatory effects.  In short, with keto diets, you reap the benefits of NOT eating too many carbs plus a host of other benefits that … Continue reading “Benefits of Keto”

The post Benefits of Keto appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

Read more