Health benefits


Explore 8 hidden Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diet apart from Weight Control

Have you ever thought of improving your health by eating fat? It sounds unbelievable, isn’t it? Yet, ketogenic diet can help you to do the trick! In the following, we will guide you through the journey to explore 7 hidden health benefits of Ketogenic Diet.

Improve Insulin Resistance

Produced in the pancreas, insulin is an essential hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels of the body and command the cells to absorb glucose when there is a rise in blood glucose level. If there are more carbohydrates, insulin level will be higher. Long-term excess in carbohydrates may trigger “insulin resistance”. When glucose in body is utilized efficiently, insulin resistance can be improved. Ketogenic diet reduces fasting glucose significantly, improving glycemic and insulin control in diabetic obese patients with its low-carbohydrates nature.[1]

Against Coronary Disease and Stroke

LDL is commonly known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol in our body. Excess LDL will lead to cholesterol accumulation on the walls of our arteries, narrowing or eventually blocking the blood vessels in a long term. This increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, HDL can carry LDL away and protect our body from heart disease and stroke. Lastly, triglyceride is the major type of fat in our body and it acts as energy storage. People with high glyceride level (over 200mg/dL) are found to have nearly 30% higher risk of stroke.[2] Research shows that practicing ketogenic diet can bring a decrease in LDL and triglycerides while an increase in HDL compared with low-calorie diet in overweight adults.[3]

Against metabolic syndrome

Improve triglyceride levels and HDL Cholesterol

Insulin plays an important role in the regulation of lipid homeostasis, which is strongly associated with triglyceride levels and HDL Cholesterol. When a diet of excess carbohydrates is consumed, the insulin blocks lipolysis. Ketogenic diet’s effectiveness in treating obesity reported a significant decrease in triglyceride levels and increases in HDL. It is proposed that the reduction in triglycerides increase post heparin plasma lipase activity and skeletal muscle post heparin plasma lipase activity in humans. In addition, an increase of 1 mg per deciliter in HDL cholesterol is associated with a decrease of 2 to 3% in the risk of future coronary heart disease.

Prevent abdominal obesity

Several studies illustrate that Ketogenic Diet regulated through appetite-mediating hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin. Where leptin suppress hunger and ghrelin stimulates appetite. The increase in the leptin level has proven to reduce adipose tissue. Reducing food intake during Ketogenic Diet has a result an average weight loss of 10 to 15.6 kg and an average waistline reduction of 12.6 cm. By preventing abdominal obesity, it reduces the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

Against Hypertension

Hypertension is a common chronic disease, especially for the elderly. There is no distinctive symptom for high blood pressure, but its complications are severe, including lethal cardiovascular disease and stroke. If the severity of hypertension can be controlled, complications may be delayed or prevented. Research reveals that ketogenic diet can significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6.7% and 10.7% respectively, a greater decline compared with low-calorie diet.[4] This may be accounted by the fact that ketogenic diet can cut down fasting serum insulin level, which positively correlates with systolic and diastolic blood pressure.[5]

Against Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common disease in women in their child-bearing age, with common symptoms of high level of bioavailable androgen in body and irregularity menstrual cycle.[6] High level of insulin may stimulate the additional production of androgen and thus worsening PCOS.[7] As mentioned above, ketogenic diet can improve insulin resistance. The decrease in insulin resistance and fasting insulin both contribute to improvement in menstrual cyclicity.[8] This in turn helps to alleviate PCOS and restore the fertility of the patients.

Background Knowledge: Androgen is a type of sex hormone which is generally known as ‘male hormone’. In fact, it is not only present in men, but also takes an important role in women. The major androgen is testosterone.

Against Cancer

Preclinical evidences illustrate that ketogenic diet is effective to suppress various cancer, including glioblastoma (a type of brain tumour), prostate, colon and pancreatic cancer.[9]

What is the rationale behind? First, tumor cells use glycolysis for energy instead of oxidative phosphorylation for energy, thus they rely on glucose for energy source. Some types of tumour cells cannot metabolize ketone bodies for energy, while normal cells can do so. Therefore, under ketogenic diet, low glucose level can starve tumour cells without affecting the operations of normal cells.[10] This may lead to suppression in tumour growth. Second, ketogenic diet can suppress the serum insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF-1) level in our body, which is a hormone that develops and progresses cancer cells.[11]

Source: Weber, D. D., Aminazdeh-Gohari, S., & Kofler, B. (2018). Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy. Aging, 10(2), 164–165.

Prevent Inflammation

Blood sugar level is related to inflammation. When your body is in ketosis, blood sugar level decreases and thus reduces inflammation. Research shows that one of the most important ketone body, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), can block the immune system receptors linked to inflammation. [12]

Lowering sugar level also prevents the production of free radicals. These molecules inflame linings of the blood vessels and stimulate the body’s immune system to respond. On the other hand, BHB is found to be associated with the decrease in oxidative stress.[13]

Tips: To maximize the anti-inflammatory effect of ketogenic diet, we can consume turmeric, ginger root, salmon and green leafy vegetables. These foods are anti-inflammatory and further strengthen the effect in addition to ketogenic diet.

Improve Mental Health

Depression is a common mental disorder around the world, which is blackhand accounting for the suffering of over 264 million people.[14] Ketogenic diet is found to regulate the level of neurotransmitters in brain which are associated with depressive behaviours, including GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), glutamate and dopamine, thus exhibiting antidepressant property. [15]

Apart from depression, researches find that ketogenic diet is also recommended for patients with anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson’s disease and autism spectrum disorders.

Fun Fact: Ketogenic diet was first designed for the patients with epilepsy, but not for weight control!

Disclaimer: This guide is for general information and reference only, it does not constitute medical advice. Individual should have different needs and should closely discuss with your healthcare team.​

#healthbenefit #insulinresistance #coronarydisease #stroke #cholesterol #hypertension #bloodpressure #PCOS #cancer #inflammation #mentalhealth #vegan

Reference [1]Boden, Guenther, Sargrad, Karin, Homko, Carol, Mozzoli, Maria, & Stein, T. Peter. (2005). Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Annals of Internal Medicine, 142(6), 403-411.
[2]Hussain, T. A., Mathew, T. C., Dashti, A. A., Asfar, S., Al-Zaid, N., & Dashti, H. M. (2012). Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes. Nutrition, 28(10), 1016-21.
[3]Morag, N. K., Eran, C., & Gold, B. (2002). High blood triglycerides are independent risk factors for stroke. Circulation, 26, 6-7.
[4]Westman, E. C., Yancy, W. S., Jr, Mavropoulos, J. C., Marquart, M., & McDuffie, J. R. (2008). The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition & metabolism, 5, 36.
[5]Kristjansson, K., Lissner, L., Bengtsson, C., Lapidus, L., & Blohmé, G. (1993). The Interrelationships between Fasting Serum Insulin Level, Obesity and Blood Pressure in Women: Results from across-Sectional Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hypertension Research, 16(3), 197-201.
[6]Dunaif, A. (1997). Insulin resistance and the polycystic ovary syndrome : Mechanism and implications for pathogenesis. Endocrine Reviews,18(6), 774-800.
[7]Yau, Tiffany T. L, Ng, Noel Y. H, Cheung, L.P, & Ma, Ronald C. W. (2017). Polycystic ovary syndrome: A common reproductive syndrome with long-term metabolic consequences. Hong Kong Medical Journal = Xianggang Yi Xue Za Zhi,23(6), 622-634.
[8]Moran, L. J, Noakes, M, Clifton, P. M, Tomlinson, L, & Norman, R. J. (2003). Dietary Composition in Restoring Reproductive and Metabolic Physiology in Overweight Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 88(2), 812-819.
[9]Weber, D. D., Aminzadeh-Gohari, S., Tulipan, J., Catalano, L., Feichtinger, R. G, & Kofler, B.. (2020). Ketogenic diet in the treatment of cancer – Where do we stand? Molecular Metabolism (Germany), 33, 102-121.
[10]Weber, D. D., Aminazdeh-Gohari, S., & Kofler, B. (2018). Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy. Aging, 10(2), 164–165.
[11]Shanmugalingam, T., Bosco, C., Ridley, A. J., & Van Hemelrijck, M. (2016). Is there a role for IGF-1 in the development of second primary cancers?. Cancer medicine, 5(11), 3353–3367.
[12]Youm, Y. H., Nguyen, K. Y., Grant, R. W., Goldberg, E. L., Bodogai, M., Kim, D., D'Agostino, D., Planavsky, N., Lupfer, C., Kanneganti, T. D., Kang, S., Horvath, T. L., Fahmy, T. M., Crawford, P. A., Biragyn, A., Alnemri, E., & Dixit, V. D. (2015). The ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nature medicine, 21(3), 263–269.
[13]Youm, Y. H., Nguyen, K. Y., Grant, R. W., Goldberg, E. L., Bodogai, M., Kim, D., D'Agostino, D., Planavsky, N., Lupfer, C., Kanneganti, T. D., Kang, S., Horvath, T. L., Fahmy, T. M., Crawford, P. A., Biragyn, A., Alnemri, E., & Dixit, V. D. (2015). The ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nature medicine, 21(3), 263–269.
[14]James, S. L., Abate, D., Abate, K. H., Abay, S. M., Abbafati, C., Abbasi, N., ... & Briggs, A. M. (2018). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with
[15]Włodarczyk, A., & Cubała, W. J. (2019). Mechanisms of action of the ketogenic diet in depression. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 107, 422-423.


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