One of the most basic and most profound benefits of a ketogenic diet is that it drastically lowers inflammation (1). This is mainly due to the reduced amount of free radical production that occurs when burning ketones for energy instead of glucose. Less inflammation allows for more energy production and an overall more efficiently functioning body. This allows for a heightened ability of the body to heal in many different aspects.
Improved Fat Burning
By definition, being in a state of ketosis means you are burning fat for energy. If you have excess body fat, you will be able to burn it at a much more efficient rate.
Being overweight is considered a risk factor for several diseases. Additionally, having excess body fat (particularly in the gut) is associated with hormone imbalances and toxin accumulation in the body.
Mental Clarity & Sharpness
One of the first benefits you will likely notice when following a ketogenic diet is that your brain feels sharper. Neurological inflammation is insidious and has been linked with depression, anxiety, and poor cognitive function (3).
Inflammation is always present in the body. Some is advantageous, however, too much quickly becomes a problem. While there are many strategies to combat unnecessary inflammation, a ketogenic diet is a powerful tool to have.
You have increased amounts of energy for several reasons when following a ketogenic diet.
- Lowered Inflammation
- Upregulation of Mitochondrial Biogenesis
- More ATP per Molecule of ketone vs glucose
- Stable Blood Sugar
Combined, these benefits drastically increase energy output in the body. Mitochondria are basically your energy factories. So, taken together you get less inflammation, more efficient energy production, AND more energy production factories that result in an overall increase in energetic potential of your body.
Many people don’t realize how much their lives revolve around their next meal. Sudden intense hunger pangs and mood changes are seen as common and normal in our society. In reality, these things are caused by chronic blood sugar instability signaling the brain that you are starving. This is where the sudden urge to eat NOW comes from.
If you find yourself getting hangry a lot, you likely are dealing with blood sugar instability.
I briefly touched upon this benefit already, but this one is profound. Most of us have been using sugar for energy our entire lives, this is what our mitochondria are comfortable with. The initial phases of keto-adaptation actually act as a powerful stressor and stimulus to your mitochondria.
There are many theories about what causes aging. The commonly held belief up until recently was that it solely depended on the rate at which your telomeres shorten. What we are beginning to understand is that mitochondrial health may be more foundational
Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease
Finally, if you haven’t come to the conclusion already, a ketogenic diet may protect your body against a wide array of disease processes. The combination of anti-inflammatory effects along with improve mitochondrial function simply allows the body to heal and mitigate disease processes much more effectively.
It can be hard to conceptualize but a huge proportion of modern chronic diseases are rooted in chronic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Just a short list might include: