Everything Fit Women Need to Know About the Keto Diet

Why the nearly 100-year-old keto diet is finding some modern-day love.

Butter Melting

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Body Benefits of Ketosis

Experts agree that there are actually a few benefits to possibly going into ketosis, whether it’s to change your body composition, get control of cravings, or more.

1. Blood Sugar Control

Going keto may be useful for “helping to improve insulin resistance, as does exercise,” says Megan Roberts, the scientific director of Nourish, Balance, Thrive, an online health-coaching company. “It may also help improve conditions associated with insulin resistance like PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome].”

By cutting carbohydrate and protein intake, ketosis can also help with other diseases of high insulin, including type-2 diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease, adds Jason Fung, M.D., author of The Complete Guide to Fasting. And for those who grew up in the era of “low-fat everything,” adding in healthy fats can help hormonal balance and brain health, Roberts explains.

2. Weight Loss

A growing body of evidence points to at least short-and medium-term weight-loss effects. A British Journal of Nutrition review of 13 studies (totaling more than 1,400 people) showed that those on a very low-carb keto diet (with less than 50g carbs daily) had a decreased body weight and blood pressure at studies’ end compared with those on low-fat diets. You can also see rapid weight loss on a keto diet because insulin causes salt and water retention in the kidneys, and lowering insulin on a keto diet can often produce fast water loss, says Fung.

3. Appetite Suppression

“There’s no better diet than a ketogenic-style diet if you have always had trouble controlling cravings and body composition, aka once a fat kid, always a fat kid,” says Mark Bell, a champion powerlifter, owner of Super Training Gym, and author of The War on Carbs. An analysis of appetite studies in Obesity Reviews reveals that appetite does seem to be suppressed on low-energy, low-carb ketogenic diets, despite calorie restriction, which usually makes people ravenous. Surprisingly, even butter contains a fat-loss dynamo called butyrate, which has been shown to affect the gut-brain neural circuit by boosting metabolism, suppressing calorie intake, and raising fat burning, according to the journal Gut.

4. Endurance

“Keto diets train the body to burn fatty acids directly, which is often beneficial during prolonged training sessions and endurance athletics. Training muscles to use fat for fuel means the body is able to carry large amounts of fuel. Also, because keto diets are more satiating, they often lend themselves well to restricted time eating or intermittent fasting,” says Fung.

5. Longevity

A keto diet may add more years to your life, according to a study in the journal IUBMB Life. Researchers say that by reducing glucose, you may limit free-radical damage and decrease insulin/insulin- growth-factor-receptor signaling, which in turn boosts the FOXO (forkhead box O transcription factor) proteins, which raise antioxidant enzymes.

See the next page to figure out whether a keto diet suits your goals.