Uses and Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

When using a ketogenic diet, your body becomes more of a fat-burner than a carbohydrate-dependent machine. Several researches have linked the consumption of increased amounts of carbohydrates to development of several disorders such as diabetes and insulin resistance.

By nature, carbohydrates are easily absorbable and therefore can be also be easily stored by the body. Digestion of carbohydrates starts right from the moment you put them into your mouth.

As soon as you begin chewing them, amylase (the enzymes that digest carbohydrate) in your saliva is already at work acting on the carbohydrate-containing food.

In the stomach, carbohydrates are further broken down. When they get into the small intestines, they are then absorbed into the bloodstream. On getting to the bloodstream, carbohydrates generally increase the blood sugar level.

This increase in blood sugar level stimulates the immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream. The higher the increase in blood sugar levels, the more the amount of insulin that is release.

Insulin is a hormone that causes excess sugar in the bloodstream to be removed in order to lower the blood sugar level. Insulin takes the sugar and carbohydrate that you eat and stores them either as glycogen in muscle tissues or as fat in adipose tissue for future use as energy.

However, the body can develop what is known as insulin resistance when it is continuously exposed to such high amounts of glucose in the bloodstream. This scenario can easily cause obesity as the body tends to quickly store any excess amount of glucose. Health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease can also result from this condition.

Keto diets are low in carbohydrate and high in fat and have been associated with reducing and improving several health conditions.

One of the foremost things a ketogenic diet does is to stabilize your insulin levels and also restore leptin signalling. Reduced amounts of insulin in the bloodstream allow you to feel fuller for a longer period of time and also to have fewer cravings.

Medical Benefits of Ketogenic Diets

The application and implementation of the ketogenic diet has expanded considerably. Keto diets are often indicated as part of the treatment plan in a number of medical conditions.

Epilepsy

This is basically the main reason for the development of the ketogenic diet. For some reason, the rate of epileptic seizures reduces when patients are placed on a keto diet.

Pediatric epileptic cases are the most responsive to the keto diet. There are children who have experience seizure elimination after a few years of using a keto diet.

Children with epilepsy are generally expected to fast for a few days before starting the ketogenic diet as part of their treatment.

Cancer

Research suggests that the therapeutic efficacy of the ketogenic diets against tumor growth can be enhanced when combined with certain drugs and procedures under a “press-pulse” paradigm.

It is also promising to note that ketogenic diets drive the cancer cell into remission. This means that keto diets “starves cancer” to reduce the symptoms.

Alzheimer Disease

There are several indications that the memory functions of patients with Alzheimer’s disease improve after making use of a ketogenic diet.

Ketones are a great source of alternative energy for the brain especially when it has become resistant to insulin. Ketones also provide substrates (cholesterol) that help to repair damaged neurons and membranes. These all help to improve memory and cognition in Alzheimer patients.

Diabetes

It is generally agreed that carbohydrates are the main culprit in diabetes. Therefore, by reducing the amount of ingested carbohydrate by using a ketogenic diet, there are increased chances for improved blood sugar control.

Also, combining a keto diet with other diabetes treatment plans can significantly improve their overall effectiveness.

Gluten Allergy

Many individuals with gluten allergy are undiagnosed with this condition. However, following a ketogenic diet showed improvement in related symptoms like digestive discomforts and bloating.

Most carbohydrate-rich foods are high in gluten. Thus, by using a keto diet, a lot of the gluten consumption is reduced to a minimum due to the elimination of a large variety of carbohydrates.

Weight Loss

This is arguably the most common “intentional” use of the ketogenic diet today. It has found a niche for itself in the mainstream dieting trend. Keto diets have become part of many dieting regimen due to its well acknowledged side effect of aiding weight loss.

Though initially maligned by many, the growing number of favorable weight loss results has helped the ketogenic to better embraced as a major weight loss program.

Besides the above medical benefits, ketogenic diets also provide some general health benefits which include the following.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

This is obviously the first aim of a ketogenic diet. It helps to stabilize your insulin levels thereby improving fat burning.

Muscle Preservation

Since protein is oxidized, it helps to preserve lean muscle. Losing lean muscle mass causes an individual’s metabolism to slow down as muscles are generally very metabolic. Using a keto diet actually helps to preserve your muscles while your body burns fat.

Controlled pH and respiratory function

A ketoc diet helps to decrease lactate thereby improving both pH and respiratory function. A state of ketosis therefore helps to keep your blood pH at a healthy level.

Improved Immune System

Using a ketogenic diet helps to fight off aging antioxidants while also reducing inflammation of the gut thereby making your immune system stronger.

Reduced Cholesterol Levels

Consuming fewer carbohydrates while you are on the keto diet will help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. This is due to the increased state of lipolysis. This leads to a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels.

Reduced Appetite and Cravings

Adopting a ketogenic diet helps you to reduce both your appetite and cravings for calorie rich foods. As you begin eating healthy, satisfying, and beneficial high-fat foods, your hunger feelings will naturally start decreasing.

8 Tips For Eating Healthy While Traveling

If you travel for work or pleasure, you know that healthy food can sometimes be hard to come by. Or I should at least say there are so many temptations out there that the healthy options seem few and far between. Being prepared is 75% of the battle when it comes to eating healthy while traveling. It definitely requires a little planning and a special nutritional strategy. Luckily, you can adhere to your healthy eating plan with a little extra work. These 8 tips for healthy eating while traveling provide some solid ideas to staying on track while on the go.

1. Location – When you’re choosing where to stay, it’s all about location. Let’s say you’re traveling for work and you’ll be in the same location for at least a few days. Finding a spot that’s close to healthy resources is key. Is there a grocery store nearby that you can run to for healthy snacks and/or meals? Are there healthy cafes or restaurants within walking distance that you can stop in for a bite to eat? It’s easy to make the excuse that you can’t eat healthy while on the road if there aren’t good options around you. Don’t make that your excuse. Choose as wisely as you can to set yourself up for success.

2. Accommodations With A Kitchen or Kitchenette – One of the best ways to ensure healthy eating while traveling is to have access to some type of kitchen. Extended stay hotels, vacation rentals and Air B & B are all great options if convenient to your location. If a kitchen isn’t available, having a refrigerator in your hotel room for some healthy options is a great alternative. The point being that if you have either a kitchen or a refrigerator, you have the ability stock up with good snacks and easy meals. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables, bottled water, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, nuts, natural peanut butter, rotisserie chicken and canned fish are fantastic options that are easy to store and don’t require a lot of prep work to create a quick meal or snack.

3. Ship Items Before – Another strategy would be to ship your favorite dry goods to your location before hand. Protein powder, beans, nuts, canned tuna, bread and quick cooking oats are all items you could have sent prior to your arrival so that you have some healthy options waiting for you.

4. Carry A Cooler – Tote your health food around with you. Stock a cooler full of your favorite healthy snacks, sandwiches, bottled water and anything you need for the day. This options works well if you can drive to your location and bring your cooler with you. If you’re flying, you’ll need a collapsible cooler to pack in your suitcase.

5. Research Restaurants In The Area – Do your research before you go. Even if you have access to a kitchen or a refrigerator, you still may want or need to eat for a few meals. Find out what restaurants are in the area and which menus offer healthy options that interest you. You can plan any outings to one of these restaurants and know what you’re going to eat when you walk in the door.

6. Protein Powder – Protein is often the hardest thing to come by. Healthy eating on the go is made much easier if you can bring some protein powder with you. Even it it’s a back up, you know you have a good protein source to go to if you can’t find a viable option. Sometimes your healthy eating strategy might require using a combination of options. For example, finding some fruit and vegetables might be easy but grabbing a protein source might be pretty expensive. In certain cases, protein powder can fill in the gaps.

7. Supergreen Supplement – It’s often times very difficult to get the correct amount of vegetables in when traveling. This is the perfect time to incorporate a great supplement like Amazing Grass, Green Defense or Greens +. A supplement is just that – a way to supplement your diet. While this shouldn’t be your mainstay to getting in vegetables, it can always be used as a way to up your micronutrient intake and get some greens into your diet.

8. Bring Homemade Snacks – Bring homemade non-perishable snacks with you. Homemade granola or protein bars, protein muffins, kale chips and homemade granola or trail mix are all wonderful options to take with you. If you have healthy food with you, chances are that you’ll eat that healthy food rather than seeking out the junky stuff.

If you’ll notice (or maybe you already have), the common theme here is that you need to be prepared. If you’re committed to a goal of weight loss, a health goal or just want to ensure you’re eating good quality meals, you’ve got to set yourself up for success. Healthy eating while traveling is totally doable but it does require a bit of planning and strategy to make it work.