As we discussed in part one of this series regarding the benefits of keto beyond weight loss, the keto diet has shown to substantially improve our waistline and reduce excess body weight leading to improvements in overall health and energy. But did you know living a fat-fueled life comes with many more health benefits beyond weight? Studies continue to show that the keto diet helps to improve and prevent many health conditions related to insulin resistance such as diabetes and heart disease… let’s take a look.
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 combines two different approaches: elimination of foods that raise blood sugar and insulin levels and losing weight. Studies repeatedly show the ketogenic diet outperforms the conventional, low-fat diabetes diet, resulting in greater glycemic control and medication reduction. More bacon please!
Type 3 Diabetes (Alzheimer’s Disease)
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, it is showing positive effects for prevention of 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, low-carb, high-fat diets such as keto may greatly benefit.
Cardiovascular Disease/Metabolic Syndrome
Most of us have been taught that a low-fat diet is the healthiest diet for heart health and that a high-fat diet is unhealthy because it raises cholesterol “clogging” your arteries, leading to heart disease. Today studies examining low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets, such as keto, not only indicate these predictions to be wrong but to show they actually protect the heart!
Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for encompassing all the contributors to heart disease: 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. Coincidence? I think not.
Although controlled trials on carb restriction for acne has yet to be done, many people have reported improved acne and clearer skin as a result of following a low-carb or keto diet. A number of studies suggest a link between high glycemic foods (food that significantly elevate blood sugar and insulin levels) and the development of acne. By following a diet that limits these foods, one can likely benefit from clearer skin. Just one more reason to embrace the full-fat lifestyle!
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 benefit some of the largest health complications the U.S. faces today.
Please remember to always speak with your doctor first if you have any chronic medical condition as using keto for medical treatment involves close monitoring and guidance from multiple clinicians.
Tara Finnerty RDN, CSP, CD — is a ketogenic specialist and fat-fueled enthusiast. Tara is a registered dietitian in Utah and owner of Sugar House Nutrition LLC. Her aim is to provide nutrition support for people wanting to reap the many health benefits of the ketogenic (keto) diet. Her expertise in the keto diet was initially working with children who have uncontrolled epilepsy. Tara supports nutrition diversity and works toward helping people find an individualized approach to make healthy eating sustainable.