It seems like there is a new headline about the ketogenic diet just about every day now. What started as a treatment for childhood epilepsy has since become one of the fastest-growing dietary trends in the world.
But with so much information coming at you, it can be hard to find the clear benefits and drawbacks to keto. Without those, it’s hard to decide if keto is right for you.
There are, luckily, some very clear pluses and minuses that come from adopting a keto diet. A few of them vary from person to person, while others hold true for nearly everyone who tries keto.
Before you jump into the diet, take a look at this list. Even if you don’t think a side effect will apply to you, it’s good to know what you might find while practising keto!
Keto Diet Benefit: Improved Insulin Response
Keto is a diet high in healthy fats with a reasonable amount of protein on the side. It allows for very few carbohydrates.
This, by extension, means that it allows for little to no sugar. It doesn’t matter if the sugar comes in the form of honey or raw sugar or high fructose corn syrup. You may miss sugar, but it is proven to be something that needs to be removed in order to easily and safely burn off fat in troublesome areas.
Put simply, sugar equals carbs. Even the natural sugars in fruit count, which is why you have to be sure you only choose the best fruits to eat while on keto.
This means that your body will not have to process as much sugar as it did before you switched to keto. With less sugar in your blood, your body can relax its insulin response.
Keto Diet Drawback: Keto Breath
When you go on a keto diet, your body goes into a state of ketosis. This means that it burns fat for energy instead of using carbohydrates, which is what your body would normally use.
This can be a great thing for weight loss. But it also leads to some unpleasant side effects, such as keto breath.
As your body burns stored fat, it burns through the sugars and such that are stored with it. This causes your breath to take on an almost chemical odor like old, spilled alcohol.
Most people report that it only lasts a few weeks. But keto breath can put a real damper on your day until it clears up.
It is a very common side effect, so be sure and take it into consideration if you want to start keto and you have any big social events coming up!
Keto Diet Benefit: Weight Loss
Weight loss is the biggest reason most people today turn to keto.
As mentioned above, keto puts your body into a state of ketosis. When this happens, you will begin to burn the fat you’ve stored around your body.
If you practice keto long enough, you’ll start to see stubborn fat stores vanishing from your body.
This is the main way that keto helps you lose weight. So long as you’re practising safe and healthy keto, it is a great way to address stored fat without moving into your gym.
Of course, the process is even more effective when coupled with exercise. Just be sure you adjust your protein needs to account for the nutrients your muscles will need to recover after each workout! A great way to tackle this is looking for low carb Keto protein powders that will fortify your worked muscles.
Keto Diet Drawback: Increases Cortisol Levels
If you’ve done any reading on the way stress affects your body, you’ve probably come across mentions of cortisol. This is the chemical released whenever you experience a high level of stress.
Cortisol is supposed to help keep your blood pressure and blood sugar balanced whenever your body is put under pressure. And, if you generally don’t suffer a lot of stress, this can be a good thing.
But if you suffer from chronic stress, your body becomes overloaded with cortisol. It produces too much, which can cause weight gain and intense mood swings.
Cortisol can also have a negative effect on your blood pressure and blood sugar, since it is working overtime at a job it doesn’t need to be doing.
Some people find that keto increases their cortisol levels. Scientists still aren’t sure why, but most people suspect it is the stress of changing to a diet wildly different from the one someone grew up with.
And since most people grow up on very carb-focused diets, the change to keto is a big one.
Keto Diet Benefit: Reduce Androgen Levels
While some people find that keto increases their cortisol levels, others find that the diet actually helps balance their hormones. If you suffer from PCOS or a similar endocrine imbalance, there is evidence that keto helps reduce your androgen levels.
This, in turn, improves symptoms of PCOS, such as weight gain, irritability, and blood sugar imbalance.
Keto can seem extreme and confusing. But when you get down to the root of things, it just means you reduce your carb intake and stop fearing healthy fats.
It makes sense that this would have a drastic effect on your body. But so long as you pay attention to signals your body sends you and stay honest with yourself about how the diet makes you feel, the benefits far outweigh the downsides.
Keto isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you.