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There is growing support for the keto (ketogenic) diet, a kind of diet that requires you to eat very little carbohydrates and much larger amounts of fat. There are several claims that the keto diet has many health benefits. Since the diet is an important part of your heart’s health, it is a good idea to explore whether this keto diet helps or hurts your heart.
The keto diet is thusly called because the large amounts of fat and low carbohydrates cause your body to rely on a different source of energy that it produces itself. Your body produces molecules called ketones which it uses to fuel the brain and muscles. Some people have even enhanced this idea by taking a keto supplement to kick start and support their keto diet.
The Great Debate
There is a big debate at the moment about whether the keto diet is good for your health at all. And there are experts on either side of the debate. However, most of the scientific literature seems to support using a ketogenic diet to improve your health. The literature seems to say the same thing about how the ketogenic diet is specifically beneficial for heart health.
The major consideration in both cases is that the studies on ketogenic diets are still emerging. There aren’t many large scale studies or fancy statistical analyses at the moment, but there are several randomized controlled trials which are a very good source of evidence.
What Exactly Does “Good For Your Heart” Mean?
When people refer to lifestyle choices that are good for your heart, they are usually referring to things that reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading killers in the world and there are many risk factors that feed into it. The major risk factors that contribute to developing cardiovascular disease are:
Family history of heart disease
Being overweight or obese
Having a high blood pressure
Having a high cholesterol
Living a life low in exercise
Now some of these can’t be changed, like your age or family history but many of them can be controlled which reduces your overall risk of having an unhealthy heart later in life. So when we assess whether a particular diet is good for your heart, we can have a look at the impact it has on some of these factors.
The Best Benefit – Weight Loss!
A study that looked at several scientific articles about the ketogenic diet noted that this diet repeatedly performs as well or better than the usual low-fat diet. As an even stronger piece of evidence, there was a team of scientists who did statistical analysis on 10 other studies about the ketogenic diet and concluded that it significantly improved weight loss.
Being overweight or obese is considered to be a big risk factor for developing heart disease because research has shown that your fat cells secrete a certain hormone that causes water retention and makes the heart work harder to pump blood. By losing weight, individuals can reduce the stress on their heart, which helps it to stay healthy.
It Lowers Your Cholesterol Too
Another major risk factor for developing heart disease is having high levels of cholesterol. This is because cholesterol deposits in blood vessels and makes them narrower, or even worse, it can sometimes cause clots that block blood vessels in the heart, which leads to a heart attack.
Research has shown that following a ketogenic diet significantly reduced triglyceride levels and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Basically, this means that it causes less fat to circulate in the blood and less dangerous (HDL) cholesterol too.
It Reduces Your Risk Of Developing Diabetes
Another great benefit is that it addresses indirect factors like diabetes. A keto diet causes less insulin to be produced, which reduces the chance of the body developing insulin resistance, also known as type 2 diabetes. So the keto diet actually helps and lowering the risk of developing two diseases – one of which has an effect on the other.
So at the moment, the science seems to support using a keto diet to improve your health including lowering the risk of developing heart disease.
To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets, exercises and lots more check out my comprehensive Weight Loss and Exercise section.
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