The Health Benefits of the Keto Diet Extend Far Beyond Just Weight Loss

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The health benefits of the keto diet extend beyond weight loss!

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The benefits of the keto diet offer relief for many common health problems. The keto diet is so powerful, it’s something to celebrate! 🥳

The health benefits of the keto diet extend far beyond weight loss. In fact, the keto diet is beginning to take a front seat in treating a vast array of health conditions like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, neurological disorders, and much more. The use of the keto diet for medical therapy is highly researched and shows promising results, pretty much across the board.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of the keto diet in relation to specific health problems.


doctor holding patient chart

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is a state of profound carbohydrate intolerance and insulin resistance. The keto diet as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes is successful for two reasons. It helps stabilize blood glucose by eliminating foods that raise blood sugar. This then keeps insulin levels stable. The keto diet also promotes weight loss and we know weight loss can lead to remission of Type 2 Diabetes.

Studies repeatedly show the ketogenic diet outperforms the conventional, low-fat diabetic diet, resulting in greater glycemic control and weight loss. The American Diabetes Association now also acknowledges the health benefits of the keto diet for managing diabetes.


Alzheimer’s Disease – Type 3 Diabetes 

Type 3 Diabetes is a term used when Alzheimer’s disease is triggered by insulin resistance in the brain. It is often preceded by Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 2 Diabetes may have a 60% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. For the same reasons the keto diet may benefit Type 2 Diabetes, the keto diet is showing positive effects for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age and is a major cause of infertility. Side effects of PCOS include absent menstrual cycle, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and excessive body hair. Because PCOS occurs alongside insulin resistance, research is showing that the health benefits of the keto diet work for PCOS as well as Type 2 diabetes.


holding up heart shaped bacon hearts

Cardiovascular Disease

Most of us have been taught that eating low-fat is the healthiest diet for heart health and that a high-fat diet is “dangerous” because it raises cholesterol which will clog your arteries and lead to heart disease.

Today studies examining low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets, such as keto, not only indicate these recommendations to be wrong but also show they actually be beneficial to heart health!


Metabolic Syndrome 

Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for encompassing all the contributors to heart disease. It includes insulin resistance, increased abdominal circumference, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high triglycerides, and low HDL (“good” cholesterol). But guess what? The keto diet improves all of these.


Epilepsy

The oldest use of ketogenic therapies began with the treatment of epilepsy. Childhood epilepsy remains one of the most common health problems treated with a ketogenic diet today.

The original ketogenic diet was designed in 1923 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic specifically for the treatment of epilepsy. It is suggested that ketogenic therapies and brain surgery are the only known cures for epilepsy. The ketogenic diet is effective in people where surgery and pharmacological interventions have failed.

This is a wonderful example of the power and benefits of the keto diet.


Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome

Glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) deficiency syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that results in the inability to move glucose (sugar) into the cells of the brain to be used for energy. The ketogenic diet is the only effective treatment for this condition as it allows ketones (fat) to be used as an alternative source of fuel instead of glucose. In fact, the benefits of the keto diet for Glut1 Deficiency are so profound, that it is the standard of care.


hand holding a book open with pictures of brain

Brain Tumor Cancer

Cancer cells prefer glucose (sugar) for energy. In fact, cancer’s dependence on glucose is how oncologists locate tumor cells. They mix a dye with glucose and use a PET scan to show where the highest amount of sugar is being taken up in the body. The area that lights up is where the tumors are located.

The ketogenic diet lowers glucose levels and forces our healthy cells to rely on fat (ketones) for fuel rather than sugar. Unlike healthy cells throughout our body, cancer cells have been studied to have a “broken” metabolism and are unable to use ketones efficiently as fuel.

Research is showing that the benefits of the keto diet in relation to cancer are that it potentially starves the “broken” cancer cells and ultimately may cause cellular shrinking and death. Although the mechanism of ketogenic therapies as a treatment for cancer is not completely understood, studies using animal models strongly suggest that changing how our cells use energy (glucose vs ketones) may be a highly effective supportive therapy option to current standards of care for the treatment of brain tumors.


Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment disorder associated with problems related to communication, social interaction, and often repetitive behaviors. Of the commonly tried diets for ASD, the ketogenic diet has been shown to improve autistic behaviors. This study showed a gluten-free ketogenic diet to also be a promising approach to improving behaviors, speech, and development.


Other Neurological Health Problems

Emerging evidence suggests the ketogenic diet may be of benefit in multiple neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain trauma, migraines/headaches, sleep disorders, mood disorders, and multiple sclerosis. The keto diet is shown to provide neuroprotective benefits and studies indicate promising results for many of these neurological disorders.


groceries in shopping cart showing the benefits of the keto diet

The healing power and health benefits of the keto diet aren’t new and extend far beyond simply managing weight. Thousands of people are quickly discovering the energizing health benefits that keto offers and as a result, ketone metabolism and disease continue to be a highly studied topic.

A well-formulated ketogenic diet significantly impacts conditions associated with insulin resistance as mentioned above. Fat-fueled living not only shrinks our waistlines but has been proven to improve some of the largest health complications the U.S. faces today. The health benefits of the keto diet cannot be disputed when you examine all the available research.

IMPORTANT: Please remember to always talk with your doctor first if you have any chronic medical conditions, as using keto for the medical treatment of health problems requires close monitoring and guidance from multiple clinicians.


Ready to start your keto journey? Check out our Essential Keto Shopping List!


About the writer:

Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Idaho, holds 5 years of blogging experience, and has been featured in Every Day Health and Women's Health Magazine.


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Comments 3

  1. B Foley

    The point that says bairn tumor/cancer is pretty misleading. That would suggest they are for all brain tumors. Please change the label to cancerous brain tumor/cancer.

    Having a brain tumor, I read and re-read the article looking for the information specifically about brain tumors. Mine is Vestibular Schwannoma. Non-cancer. Turns out the research was only about cancerous tumors. If there is any research that shows it helps all types of brain tumors, please include!! But thanks for all you do. I have lost 40 pounds and don’t plan on finding it again!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re SO very welcome. Congrats on your success! 💞 Thanks so much for the feedback! We’ll take another look at this! 💕

    • Emily (Hip Sidekick)

      I changed the Brain Tumor/Cancer section to say “Brain Tumor Cancer”. Sorry for any confusion. I’m not aware of any research that shows keto helps with non-cancerous brain tumors at this time but will keep my eyes open and update the article if I come across any! Sounds like you’re doing great with keto, keep up the good work!

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