Keto Diet Benefits: What The Actual Research Says

When attempting to change your life and lifestyle, you must always yourself ask one question: Why?

Why should I adopt this new way of living? Why have my previous approaches failed to get me to my destination?

The keto diet has been part of the dieting world for decades. Despite this, few people know of its actual benefits. The internet is both a gift and a curse. There are too many studies out there to consume. We have all of this information, but never have the time to consume enough of it (or the right pieces).

So consider this article your one-stop answer to the “why” behind ketogenic dieting. If you want to read more about any one particular area, we’ll link out to the specific information over time, and the sources are cited in the References section. Let us parse through the research and tell you the actual science demonstrating the benefits of the keto diet.

PricePlow intends the following information to be solely educational. This is not medical advice, and only serves to recap the various research that has already been undertaken. Seek out the opinion of your physician before embarking on any lifestyle changes like exercise, diet, and/or supplementation.
  • Main Keto Diet Benefit: Weight Loss and Diet Adherence

    Keto Diet Benefits

    One of the biggest benefits of the keto diet? It provides less glucose to certain cancer cells that thrive on it![10]

    Let’s start from the top. Ketogenic diets are best known for the rapid results they can produce for those seeking to drop a few pounds. Even without discussing the additional benefits of ketosis itself, people on ketogenic diets default to consuming fewer calories.[1] One reason why could be that the keto diet is known for providing satiety.[2] Since “calories in versus calories out” allows us to lose weight in the first place, any diet that helps us default to a lower intake — and stick to it — is sure to help you reach your weight loss goals.

    In general, overall dietary adherence also skyrockets on low carb diets[2]. For losing weight, adherence is king. If people can’t follow a diet and even turn it into a lifestyle, they simply won’t experience the results — especially not lasting ones. Those that have had other diets fail them due to adherence may find solace in the ketogenic approach[3]. Join us!

  • Diabetes

    Before insulin therapy, low-carbohydrate dieting was the only effective treatment for diabetic patients. Patients that followed it strictly, which is thankfully easy due to heightened adherence over ordinary diets, found an improved degree of glucose control.[4,5] Even today, many experts will advise patients to try low carbohydrate diets prior to medicinal treatment.[6]

  • Body Composition

    Ketogenic diets tend to induce amazing body recomposition stories, especially in the obese. Several investigations have found that ketosis causes rapid weight loss, significant improvement in lean body mass, and even improved health markers in overweight populations. For those seeking to go from average to SAVAGE, trying a ketogenic diet will help.[7,8]But it’ll definitely take some time to transition in.

  • Epilepsy

    NEVER adopt a ketogenic diet in anyone with pyruvate carboxylase deficiency.

    A benefit that needs little introduction. Ketogenic diets actually were created to combat epilepsy! Ketogenic diets have been shown to almost entirely stop seizures in their tracks in epileptic populations. While early studies may have been confounded by selective screening of patients, modern meta-analysis has shown that a ketogenic diet may reduce seizure occurrence by up to 50% or more[10]. For many, a ketogenic diet is a great addition to their epileptic treatment plan. Some even became seizure-free![11]

    Bonus: The movie “First, Do No Harm” highlights the story of a woman (played by controversial actress Meryl Streep) rediscovering the keto diet — buried in old literature for nearly 100 years — for treatment of her son’s epileptic condition.

  • Cancer

    keto kills cancer

    Cancer avoidance is critically important!

    Along with epilepsy, there has been a push to adopt ketogenic diets for those dealing with cancer. One recent study in particular saw a MASSIVE decrease in brain tumor growth due to adoption of a low-carbohydrate diet. Considering it has been long-known that cancer feeds on fructose, taking on a ketogenic diet along with a typical cancer treatment plan is likely a very good move. It even seems like the keto diet might impact gene expression, which lies at the heart of cancer[9]. There’s a good chance that lower levels of insulin will lead to lower overall tumor growth[12]. However, like anything, this is a topic that must be explored further.

    Please keep in mind that this is always adjunctive therapy. It goes ALONGSIDE a normal treatment plan – the keto diet (or any other diet) is never a replacement for western medicine – more like a ‘supplement’ to it.

    Is cancer a metabolic disease?

    For those of you not in the “diet causes cancer” camp, see the following video, and consider following Thomas Seyfried:

    The above researcher is who authored the “Press-Pulse” citation cited above.[10]

  • GERD/Acid Reflux

    GERD, also known as acid reflux, impacts many adults worldwide. Thankfully, the ketogenic diet seems to tackle the symptoms well! SEVERAL investigations have shown immense reduction in symptomatology which, in turn, improves quality of life. If you feel like the acid has you down, it might be time to put the carbs down![13]

    Some of the most inflammatory foods, such as processed grains, are also high in carbohydrates. By removing them from your diet completely, you may receive the auxiliary benefits that simply come from no longer introducing your body to the inflammatory compounds (and ever-increasing amounts of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides used on them).[14-16]

  • Appetite

    Related to dietary adherence, ketogenic diets destroy appetites in people that adhere to the diet. While the exact mechanisms behind this are unknown, a good guess is that fatty-foods and proteins are rather satiating. Individuals that have issues with hunger on other diets might find the keto diet to be their “key-to” success![17]

  • Depression

    keto antidepressant

    His day will turn around once he drops the pasta for some bacon.

    Depression is a big, nasty problem in the US and other developing countries. Interestingly enough, low carbohydrate diets seem to reduce the “problem behavior” involved in depressive patients. Given the current state of affairs with depression medications and their side effects, it might be a good idea to try out a lower carbohydrate diet if you’re feeling down,[18] but if you have a clinically-diagnosed mental disorder, you must speak to a doctor before.[18]

    Increased fats: increased omega-3’s?

    Quick side note on dietary fat. Multiple investigations have found that consciously intaking more omega-3 fatty acids tends to lower depressive symptoms. As a ketogenic dieter, you will be consuming more fat in general. If you feel that you are the kind of person to fall into depressive mood states, ketogenic diets might be a great fit! Just make sure you pursue high omega-3 foods like fish, walnuts, or just good ol’ fish oil![19,20]

  • Migraines

    Oen of your beloved PricePlow Keto writers himself suffers from these devastating headaches. When migraines hit, you can usually kiss your day and productivity behind. Instead, you’ll find yourself wrapped in a blanket-burrito with a face-mask on to eliminate any source of light. However, it turns out that ketogenic diets might be a great band-aid for these headaches. For added benefit, combine a ketogenic diet with a low dose of tylenol and caffeine.[21]

  • Cholesterol and Lipid Profiles

    Our favorite thing about science is data that destroys held belief systems. The media have always pushed the notion that consumption of high-levels of dietary fat worsens cholesterol levels. However, there is a substantial amount of data available showing the exact opposite! If your doctor wants you to lower your cholesterol, you should consider discussing a ketogenic diet approach under his (or some other doctor’s) care![22]

This page will remain up-to-date as more research comes out and we write articles going into further depth on each area. You can follow our @RedPillKeto pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see when we make changes.

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References

  1. McDonald, L., & McDonald, L. (1998). The ketogenic diet: a complete guide for the dieter and practitioner. Austin, TX: The Author. https://www.bodyrecomposition.com/the-ketogenic-diet/
  2. Greenberg, I., Stampfer, M. J., Schwarzfuchs, D., & Shai, I. (2009). Adherence and Success in Long-Term Weight Loss Diets: The Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT). Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 28(2), 159-168. doi:10.1080/07315724.2009.10719767 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19828901
  3. Thom, G., & Lean, M. (2017). Is There an Optimal Diet for Weight Management and Metabolic Health? Gastroenterology, 152(7), 1739-1751. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2017.01.056 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28214525
  4. Meng, Yan; Bai, Hao; Wang, Shijun; Li, Zhaoping; Wang, Qian; Chen, Liyong (September 2017). “Efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 131: 124–131. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28750216
  5. Noakes, Timothy David; Windt, Johann (January 2017). “Evidence that supports the prescription of low-carbohydrate high-fat diets: a narrative review”. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 51 (2): 133–139. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28053201
  6. Feinman, Richard D. (April 2011). “Fad diets in the treatment of diabetes”. Review. Current Diabetes Reports. 11 (2): 128–135. doi:10.1007/s11892-011-0178-y https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21234818
  7. Volek, J. S., Sharman, M. J., Love, D. M., Avery, N. G., G[Oacute]Mez, A. L., Scheett, T. P., & Kraemer, W. J. (2002). Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism, 51(7), 864-870. doi:10.1053/meta.2002.3203 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12077732
  8. Willi, S. M., Oexmann, M. J., Wright, N. M., Collop, N. A., & Key, L. L. (1998). The Effects of a High-protein, Low-fat, Ketogenic Diet on Adolescents With Morbid Obesity: Body Composition, Blood Chemistries, and Sleep Abnormalities. Pediatrics, 101(1), 61-67. doi:10.1542/peds.101.1.61 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9417152
  9. Woolf, E. C., & Scheck, A. C. (2016). Ketogenic Diet as Adjunctive Therapy for Malignant Brain Cancer. Oxford Medicine Online. doi:10.1093/med/9780190497996.003.0013 https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-4-5
  10. Seyfried, T. N., Yu, G., Maroon, J. C., & D’Agostino, D. P. (2017). Press-pulse: a novel therapeutic strategy for the metabolic management of cancer. Nutrition & Metabolism, 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12986-017-0178-2 https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-017-0178-2
  11. Kossoff, E. H., Zupec-Kania, B. A., & Rho, J. M. (2009). Ketogenic Diets: An Update for Child Neurologists. Journal of Child Neurology, 24(8), 979-988. doi:10.1177/0883073809337162 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19535814
  12. Selter, J. H., Turner, Z., Doerrer, S. C., & Kossoff, E. H. (2014). Dietary and Medication Adjustments to Improve Seizure Control in Patients Treated With the Ketogenic Diet. Journal of Child Neurology, 30(1), 53-57. doi:10.1177/0883073814535498 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0883073814535498
  13. Yancy, J. R., Provenzale, D., & Westman, E. C. (n.d.). Improvement of gastroesophageal reflux disease after initiation of a low-carbohydrate diet: five brief case reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11712463
  14. Samsel, A., & Seneff, S. (2013). Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 6(4). doi:10.2478/intox-2013-0026 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/
  15. Zhang, L., Nichols, R. G., Correll, J., Murray, I. A., Tanaka, N., Smith, P., . . . Patterson, A. D. (2015). Persistent Organic Pollutants Modify Gut Microbiota–Host Metabolic Homeostasis in Mice Through Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation. Environmental Health Perspectives. doi:10.1289/ehp.1409055 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4492271/
  16. Nemets, B., Stahl, Z., & Belmaker, R. H. (2002). Addition of Omega-3 Fatty Acid to Maintenance Medication Treatment for Recurrent Unipolar Depressive Disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(3), 477-479. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.3.477 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4492271/
  17. Sublette, M. E., Ellis, S. P., Geant, A. L., & Mann, J. J. (2011). Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) in Clinical Trials in Depression. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(12), 1577-1584. doi:10.4088/jcp.10m06634 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21939614
  18. Seneff, S., & Samsel, A. (2015). Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies. Surgical Neurology International, 6(1), 45. doi:10.4103/2152-7806.153876 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392553/
  19. Gibson, A. A., Seimon, R. V., Lee, C. M., Ayre, J., Franklin, J., Markovic, T. P., . . . Sainsbury, A. (2014). Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 16(1), 64-76. doi:10.1111/obr.12230 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1111/obr.12230/abstract
  20. Murphy, P., Likhodii, S., Nylen, K., & Burnham, W. (2004). The antidepressant properties of the ketogenic diet. Biological Psychiatry, 56(12), 981-983. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.09.019 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15601609
  21. Strahlman RS. (2006) Can ketosis help migraine sufferers? A case report. Headache 46:182. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16412174
  22. Dashti, H. M., Al-Zaid, N. S., Mathew, T. C., Al-Mousawi, M., Talib, H., Asfar, S. K., & Behbahani, A. I. (2006). Long Term Effects of Ketogenic Diet in Obese Subjects with High Cholesterol Level. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 286(1-2), 1-9. doi:10.1007/s11010-005-9001-x https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16652223
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