Ever tried the cabbage soup diet? Or counted fat grams in order to lose weight? If so, you’re not alone. For the last 50 years, low-fat diets have been very popular.
After all, most doctors encouraged their patients to go on a low-fat diet as a way to lose weight and lower their risk of heart disease.
But as Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a changing.
A diet rich in red meat and butter was once thought to be unhealthy; yet, research shows a ketogenic diet low in carbs and high in fat will improve your health. A ketogenic diet is a diet of 20 grams of carbohydrates a day or less.
So if you’re overweight, a low-carb diet will help you shed those unwanted pounds. And it may also help prevent or reverse disease.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 69 percent of adults ages 20 and older are overweight. If you are like most Americans and are overweight, try lowering your carbohydrates to 20 grams a day or less. A six-month study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that severely obese men and women lost more weight on a low-carb diet than a low-fat diet. This works because restricting your carbohydrates makes your body burn fat as energy. And not surprisingly, most people lose weight on a low-carb diet.
Here are three surprising benefits:
1. Starves Cancer
A ketogenic diet may help against cancer because it essentially starves the cancer from its source of food — glucose. In 2010, a case was published in Nutrition and Metabolism about a 65-year-old woman who had a brain tumor. She struggled with headaches and memory loss. But when she was put on a restricted ketogenic diet, her symptoms improved. More importantly, she experienced a complete remission of her tumor. And her case is not unique; there are many other studies that show the benefits of a low-carb diet on cancer.
2. Stops Epileptic Seizures
As many as 65 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy. Seizures happen when nerve cells signal incorrectly, which may result in strange emotions, strange behavior, convulsions or even a loss of consciousness. Most epilepsy is treated with medication, but it doesn’t work for everyone. So if medication doesn’t work, a doctor may recommend a ketogenic diet to help prevent seizures. To find out how to treat epilepsy through a ketogenic diet, The Charlie Foundation is a good resource.
3. Improves Autism
One in 68 children have autism, according to the CDC. While there’s no cure for autism, a ketogenic diet may help improve the symptoms of autism because it puts the body into a state that is similar to fasting. A study published in 2003 in the Journal of Child Neurology demonstrated that a ketogenic diet significantly helped reduce the symptoms of autism in autistic children. If you have a child who has autism, a ketogenic diet may help them. But make sure that you check with a pediatrician first before putting them on a low-carb diet.
From weight loss to improving the symptoms of autism, these are just a few of the benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet. Current research shows that a low-carb diet may also help those who struggle with:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Mitochondrial Disorders
A ketogenic diet is safe and effective, but make sure that you check with your doctor first to see if this diet is right for you. And don’t forget to get enough electrolytes. A low-carb diet can deplete your body of vital electrolytes. To avoid this life-threatening condition, drink lots of water and take a multi-vitamin. You might also talk with your doctor about taking a potassium supplement.
Whether you’re trying to lose those 10 pounds that you gained over the holidays or are struggling with a debilitating disease, don’t give up! A ketogenic diet may be just what the doctor ordered.
Have you ever gone on a low-carb diet? If so, did you lose weight or improve a health condition? Share your advice in the section below: