Doctors can measure levels of inflammation in the body using blood tests for high-sensitivity C-reactive proteins (hsCRP) and white blood cell (WBC) counts. In Dr. Phinney's study, "patients experienced a hsCRP reduction of 39 percent, and white blood cells were reduced by 9 percent," Dr. Phinney says. "Similar results were demonstrated in a two-year study, which showed a 29 percent decrease in hsCRP following a low-carbohydrate diet." Inflammation, Dr. Phinney notes, is directly associated with many different health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune conditions. "It is very possible that reducing inflammation through nutritional ketosis could improve a whole host of conditions," he says. These 10 keto diet recipes are reason enough to give it a try.
The ketogenic diet, lovingly referred to as "keto" by most who follow it, is a high-fat, very low-carbohydrate dietary plan whose goal is to change your metabolism. The main objective is to kick-start ketosis, which is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy (instead of carbohydrates). While many people turn to the ketogenic diet to lose extra pounds, the benefits of ketosis reach beyond weight loss.
While these findings are preliminary, in one study of mice, the keto diet helped reduce anxiety. The research suggests this could be due to the protective brain benefits of intake of healthy fats and low levels of sugar. A follow-up study found that mice exposed to a ketogenic diet while in utero showed less susceptibility to anxiety and depression than mice born to mothers who were not on the keto diet. Here's what it's really like to follow the keto diet.
There is also exciting early research suggesting that ketosis may be beneficial for many other conditions, such as reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, reversing PCOS, perhaps enhancing conventional brain cancer therapies, possibly slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, along with potentially helping people live longer, healthier lives. Although higher quality research is needed to confirm these effects, much of the early research is very encouraging.
One of the most commonly reported disadvantages of a ketogenic diet is constipation. The diet requires you to eliminate most sources of carbohydrates, which also happen to be some of the foods with the highest amount of fiber. As a result, digestion can slow down and leave you feeling uncomfortable, especially in the beginning stages as your body adjusts.
Another option is to decrease the intake of carbohydrates slowly, over a few weeks, to minimize side effects. But the “Nike way” (Just Do It) may be the best choice for most people. Removing most sugar and starch often results in several pounds lost on the scale within a few days. This may be mostly fluids, but it can still be great for motivation.
Healthy fats & oils are back in too: Eating fat does not automatically clog the blood vessels in the way that poring oil down the drain will eventually block the drain. You make your own cholesterol and lipids and are more likely to increase your levels of the more damaging Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLD), which is made in the liver when you eat a high carbohydrate diet.
Basic no-cook plates: Away from a kitchen or not wanting to cook for a meal? Sliced deli meats, cheese, and vegetables with dip make an easy lunch. Or boil up a dozen eggs and keep them ready in the fridge to grab for lunch or snacks. A can of tuna or salmon, with some full fat mayonnaise and vegetable crudités, is a simple lunch. Smoked oysters, sardines, herring with raw veggies or a salad are other easy no-cook choices.
There is extensive evidence for the benefit of the Mediterranean style low carb diet, including cutting your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It has even been found to reduce risk the risk of breast cancer, compared with those on a low-fat diet. Consuming extra virgin olive oil (the fresh squeezed juice of olives) seems to be particularly beneficial when it comes to cancer, perhaps because it contains compounds such as polyphenols which are known to be anti-inflammatory.