Everyday that I progress with my journey into the ketogenic diet, I continue to discover new found benefits of being in ketosis. These are the top 5.
There are much, much more benefits that come along with this type of eating habit, but if I had to narrow it down – these would be the top 5 benefits to being in a state of ketosis.
1. Increased Focus and Energy
When you reach a state of ketosis, a large part of your brain will begin to burn ketones instead of glucose. Ketones are a very powerful fuel source for the brain. Numerous studies have been performed which show using ketones (rather then glucose) as a fuel source greatly improves memory and brain function. See here for a study on keto improving brain cognition.
The brain is the fattiest organ of the body, composed of roughly 60% fat – It makes sense that on a high fat ketogenic diet your brain performs at a higher rate.
Many researchers also point to the fact that being in ketosis stabilises blood sugar levels, which could also be a reason for the increased levels of focus on a keto diet.
In 2017 there was a huge trend in silicon valley where many tech workers and venture capitalists started implementing a keto diet of solely hamburger meat. Many claimed that this helped them work upwards of 20 hours a day. Although, I wouldn’t recommend this approach, as it’s not sustainable long term and you’re highly likely to crash diet after a few weeks. The point is: being in ketosis can do huge things for your focus, energy and brain power.
2. Appetite Suppression
Probably the biggest reason why keto has surged in popularity is it’s ability to suppress your appetite. Thousand of people have praised keto for it’s weight-loss benefits.
When people snack or “binge” eat, it’s almost always on high carb foods. Think sweets, chips, fast food and even fruit. It’s easy to eat huge amounts of these foods in one sitting and still not feel full. I could eat a large bag of chips and swish it down with a bottle of coke and I’ll still be hungry. When eliminating carbs you essentially eliminate the need to binge eat.
When on the keto diet, here’s how your body responds:
- You feel satiated and satisfied after each meal.
- You wont have cravings for food, rather you’ll eat when your body actually requires nutrition.
- No snacking required because your blood sugar levels are stabilised.
- You no longer crash after meals.
3. Reduction in Anxiety / Depression
There could be many reasons as to why being in ketosis could result in a reduction in anxiety and depression. Although there are not a lot of studies done on this, we can take an educated guess.
For one, you experience less insulin spikes and crashes which a normal high carb diet tends to result in. Stabilising not only your blood sugar levels but also your mood and energy levels.
Being in ketosis also improves your sleep – which could lead to a reduction in anxiety. It’s been well documented that eating carbs at night may disrupt sleep. On keto there is no likelihood of you binge eating carbs at night (which is a very common phenomenon). Thus resulting in greater level of well being and restfulness.
The widely renowned book “The Ultra Mind Solution” by Dr Mark Hyman suggested that the foods we eat contribute to almost all mental illnesses. Eating a ketogenic diet forces you to eliminate many toxic foods and chemicals that are found in artificial food. Almost all artificial and high-fructose foods are not allowed on the keto diet. So eating in a ketogenic manner and being in ketosis essentially eliminates many toxins from the body. This results in BIG changes in your brain and body chemistry – which could be a reason why many people report alleviated anxiety.
4. Reduced inflammation
What’s the result of eating food our body has no idea how to process? Inflammation. Donuts, pasta, pastries, grains, smoking. Essentially, when we consume things we aren’t meant to be consuming, our body creates inflammation as a response.
Inflammation can ultimately affect any part of the body. It can lead to diseases like arthritis, but often times it effects you in milder symptoms such as fatigue, flu, anxiety and muscle stiffness.
If you’ve ever done a water fast or detox you’ll notice a massive reduction in inflammation. Before doing keto I used to practise 3 day water fasts, in which I drank nothing but water for 72 hours. The results were quite tremendous. I noticed at the end that my body felt lighter, healthier and my mood was highly elevated. It wasn’t until later research that I discovered fasting is actually quite similar to being in ketosis.
Both fasting and ketosis are known to greatly reduce inflammation. Inflammation is one of those grey areas because a lot of people don’t know they suffer from inflammation. It’s not until after you treat the inflammation that you understand just how much inflammation was negatively effecting you.
Luckily you can fight and cure inflammation with the keto diet. Many people have fixed diseases caused by inflammation (such as arthritis and autoimmune disease) with the ketogenic diet.
5. Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Lowering carb intake has been well documented to regulate insulin levels and treat type 2 diabetes (as shown in this study). Being in ketosis takes it one step further.
When you have a lowered carb intake your body is essentially still using carbs for fuel. Your body is in a constant state of carb craving, like a car that’s running on the last 1/8th tank of fuel – you’ll find yourself consistently stalling and having to re-fuel every hour or so.
When bodybuilders diet down for a show they mostly eat a low carb diet. They generally eat high protein, low carb and low fat. You’ll often hear them complain that they have almost no energy during these times, this is a result of them limiting their fat intakes to small amounts. They eat low carb, so they can’t derive energy off carbs – but they also eat low fat, so they cant derive energy off fats. The result: zero energy.
Your body produces ketones even on a high carb diet – but in much, much lower quantities. When being in ketosis, you no longer require carbs as a fuel source. Instead, fat and ketones are your new energy source – which your body will produce in accelerated amounts if correctly following a keto diet. When you’re in ketosis, your body will produce ketones at a much higher rate. You no longer depend on glucose for energy, which results in greatly improved insulin levels.
The Benefits of Being In Ketosis – Conclusion
These are the top 5 benefits of being in ketosis. Being in ketosis has many physical and mental benefits. It’s important to note that not all of these benefits have been documented, as their is only so many studies that can be done on the subject and their will always be grey areas that are hard to cover via a scientific study. If you feel like 1 or more of these benefits may be of help to your personal journey, I suggest you implement a keto diet for a week or two and see if you notice improvements, such as the ability to wake up earlier.