Many Health Benefits from a Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet
Feb 26, 2014 12:36PM
By Nick LeRoy,DC
There is much interest lately in a ketogenic diet, which is not the same as the popular Paleo diet. Ketosis refers to the process by which ketones are formed by the liver as an alternative energy source to the body. This shift in metabolic function occurs when a person severely restricts carbohydrate intake and the need arises to create energy for the body by something other than sugar; namely, fat.
Very low carbohydrate and sugar consumption will make the liver burn fat and produce ketones to fuel the brain, heart and muscles. In fact, the body likes ketones so much that it will spare muscles from being broken down to produce energy. Besides preventing muscle loss, however, there are additional reasons to favor a ketogenic diet for weight loss, disease prevention and improved health.
A major challenge with any weight-loss program is hunger, and ketones are natural appetite suppressants. Sugar cravings are caused by eating too much sugar; so the reverse is achieved by eating no carbs.
Also note that it’s carbohydrates, not fats, that are the cause of high cholesterol. Overabundant carbs, especially in overweight and older individuals, will be converted into cholesterol, with insulin as the driver of this reaction. A ketogenic diet effectively lowers insulin to block production of cholesterol.
A ketogenic diet is the most effective way to lose belly fat that becomes in effect, an endocrine organ that secretes hormones which interfere with weight loss and cause disease. A person must lose belly fat to maintain a lower weight and its associated health benefits.
The ketogenic diet is straightforward: eat lean healthy proteins, fats and low-starch vegetables, while avoiding all grains (this includes anything made flour), sugars, fruits and legumes. This diet can be maintained until belly fat is reduced and a healthy, long-term, low-carb diet can be followed.
Dr. Nick LeRoy, DC, MS, is the director of the Illinois Center for Progressive Health. He specializes in alternative therapies for gynecologic conditions, including cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and breast health.