With children everywhere going back to school and summer vacation indulgences in the rear view mirror, many Americans will be focused on adopting a healthy, dietary plan leading into the upcoming fall season and beyond. With an array of dietary templates to follow, it is often difficult to discern which diet is most compatible to your individual lifestyle. One of the most popular diets in the news lately is the Keto Diet, based on the premise of modifying carbohydrate intake in favor of more proteins and healthy fats. As the owner of Mia Brazilia, i was recently approached by a dietician team to partake in a Keto “experiment” over the span of one month. From Mia Brazilia’s participation in this dietary, group study, i was able to quickly discern the following five benefits of a Keto Diet:
1.) Increased Energy
- During the first few days of adopting the prescribed Keto Diet, my initial energy levels felt depleted. However, the dietitian team working with Mia Brazilia said to expect that temporary feeling as they explained that this fatigued state was due to my body converting from burning the glucose or sugar coming from carbohydrates for energy to burning fat. This transitional phase is called “ketosis,” and is experienced by almost everyone starting the Keto Diet. Once this depleted phase evaporated after a day or two with my body converting to the fat-burning phase, a funny thing happened: to my surprise, i discovered that my energy and endurance had measurably improved! During the following weeks, I was able to extend both my cardio and strength training sessions beyond the plateaued states that i had been accustomed to. This is due to the fact that as we become more efficient at burning fat as fuel (rather than carbs), our endurance is accelerated.
2.) Improved Sleep
- One of the most unexpected benefits of the Keto Diet for me was the improvement in my sleep habits. As someone who had always suffered from spotty, light sleeping, I was pleasantly surprised to find that post-Keto, my depth and duration of sleep improved dramatically. Similar to the initial adjustment with my energy levels, during the first few days of the Keto Diet, my sleep was abbreviated and short. However, after an adjustment phase of a couple days, my body’s transition to a ketosis phase allowed me to sleep more deeply and for a much longer phase than ever before. When i woke up the following morning, I felt rejuvenated and more relaxed and calm than ever before.
3.) Decreased Abdominal Fat
- One of the exciting benefits of following a disciplined, Keto Diet is the ability to diminish fat storage in your abdominal cavity region. High levels of fat storage in the abdominal region is a significant risk factor for a myriad health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Excess abdominal fat typically leads to increased inflammation around your vital organs and higher insulin resistance. After adopting the Keto Diet, my abdominal region shed visceral fat and became more toned and muscular in appearance. Better yet, eliminating this abdominal fat lowered my risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
4.) Increased HDL or “Good” Cholesterol
- One of the interesting revelations of my experiment with a Keto Diet was the follow up blood test that was performed by the dietician team sponsoring this group study. My blood test results showed that my “bad” cholesterol or LDL cholesterol had dropped and that my “good” cholesterol or HDL cholesterol had increased. This was a stunning result to me. People with high LDL cholesterol levels have much higher risk of suffering from high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes than individuals with lower LDL cholesterol levels. The dietary team explained that due to ketosis, my body was expending fats as energy rather than storing it and releasing LDL cholesterol as a byproduct into my bloodstream. The biochemical process of ketosis also dramatically reduces the number of triglycerides that freely roam in my bloodstream. Triglycerides are fat molecules that result from excessive carbohydrate consumption and can lead to a heightened risk of heart disease if left untreated.
5.) Diminished Urge for Sugar
- As someone who always indulged in the occasional dessert or sweet tooth craving, it came as a shock to me that by the end of the month-long, Keto experiment, my desire for sugary foods had evaporated. By stabilizing my blood sugar levels, my former cravings for that immediate, sugar “spike” had clearly abated. Without this chaotic, blood sugar roller coaster ride, my unhealthy desire to snack also dissipated. Thus, I no longer suffered from any concomitant sugar fall that commonly awaits every individual who partakes in eating high-sugar foods and my focus and attention on Mia Brazilia only sharpened. The dietician team also shared with me that many advocates for Keto have discovered that their anxiety and depression levels diminished as their blood sugar levels were kept under control.
With the end of summer approaching, many Americans are deciding to newly-commit to a healthier lifestyle that incorporates both an improved diet in tandem with achieving new, fitness goals. If your aim is to develop a more reinvigorated spirit and energy, improve your sleep, decrease body fat and bad, LDL cholesterol, increase good, HDL cholesterol , and reduce your sugar cravings, then give the Keto Diet a shot and enjoy these immediate health benefits. For Mia Brazilia, it was certainly and eye-opening revelation!