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There are a huge number of different diets out there, and they almost all make some extremely lofty claims. The thing is, finding a good diet isn’t as straightforward as finding a trustworthy plumber. For all of the different celeb-endorsed diet schemes which are meant to help you to achieve your life goals, ranging from fitness to personal finance and spiritual development, some will inevitably fail to live up to the hype, while others will demonstrate benefits endorsed by science.
One of the most popular diets of the current day is the ketogenic, or “keto”, diet, which involves getting most of your daily calories from fat, a moderate amount from protein, and virtually zero from carbs.
While many people may find the diet overly restrictive, or uncomfortable to stick with, there are in fact various benefits associated with it.
Here are a few ways a keto diet can benefit your fitness and sense of wellbeing.
Lose more fat more easily
Studies, conducted both in normal individuals, obese subjects, and even elite athletes such as gymnasts, have repeatedly shown that a ketogenic diet works wonders for fat loss.
In fact, the diet promotes significantly more fat loss than any of the rival eating plans it’s been tested against, especially a high-carb, low-fat diet. What’s more, evidence suggests that a ketogenic diet not only helps you to shed the extra pounds, but preserves your muscle mass while doing so.
Many fitness fanatics have even made anecdotal reports that they’ve managed to lose weight while eating at a calorie surplus on a ketogenic diet — a thing usually thought to be impossible.
Improve your mental clarity and mood
The ketogenic diet wasn’t actually developed for fat loss. Originally, it came about as an effective medical intervention for epilepsy. Since the early 1900’s a ketogenic diet has been known to reduce seizures in epileptic patients, and new research has suggested that it might have various other cognitive benefits, including potentially being able to alleviate depression.
The reason for these cognitive benefits is that a ketogenic switches the brain from being fuelled mostly by glucose, to being fuelled mostly by “ketones”. Ketones appear to be a more “efficient” fuel for the brain, and appear to have assorted health benefits which can bypass various mental conditions and interrupt various mood disorders.
In other words, once you’ve adapted to a ketogenic diet (a process that generally takes around 2 weeks) you might well find that your mood and focus is noticeably improved as a result.
Take the stress out of dieting
Dieting is often a very stressful and unpleasant experience, and of the fundamental reasons why, is that feeling constantly hungry just plain sucks.
A ketogenic diet might have the potential to virtually do away with that unpleasant side-effect, due to its high-fat, moderate-protein nature.
Fats are the slowest digesting of the macronutrients, and is also intimately tied to creating a feeling of satiety, or “fullness”. Even if you’re even fewer total calories in the day, the fact that you’ll be eating significantly more fat is likely to mean that you feel far less hungry and irritable while dieting.
More consistent energy during the day
One of the key reasons for feeling energy crashes during the day, is indulging in a high-carb, high-GI diet which results in massive blood sugar spikes and drops throughout the day.
A ketogenic diet will result in much stabler energy levels during the day, as it excludes almost all carbs by default. Of course, if you eat a truly enormous meal, you should still expect to feel sleepy afterwards, but if you stick to normal portion sizes, you can expect to find that you have more energy during the day, and may avoid the dreaded “afternoon slump” altogether.
Gives you an excuse to enjoy bacon and steak
Diets are, by their very nature, restrictive. That is, a diet is more or less a list of things you’re allowed to eat, and things you aren’t, as well as guidelines for how much you’re allowed to eat, and when.
While a ketogenic diet is no exception to this (high carb foods are off the table), it does allow you to enjoy certain pleasure-foods which are almost always excluded from most conventional diets.
Feel like eating a big plate of eggs and bacon for breakfast, a chunk of cheese as an afternoon snack, and a juicy steak, slathered with butter, for dinner?
That’s all completely alright on a keto diet. Just be sure to skip the fries, toast, and morning muffin.