The Vitamin Shoppe® has designated January 5th as National Keto Day in support of the keto community. So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to start a diet or at least return to sensible eating habits, you might consider the keto diet.
What is a Keto Diet?
A keto diet cuts carbohydrates and increases fats so that the body starts burning fat for fuel (ketosis) instead of glucose (glycolysis.) It’s a high fat/ low carb diet. The standard keto diet is roughly 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrate.
Origin of the Ketogenic Diet
Fasting was regularly used in ancient times to treat and manage health problems. The Greek physician Hippocrates recommended fasting as the only way to manage epileptic seizures.
The first modern scientific study of fasting to treat epilepsy began in the early twentieth century. Physicians were having success reducing or even eliminating seizures in epilepsy patients with fasting diets and low calorie vegetarian diets.
In 1921 endocrinologist Rollin Woodyatt found that when fasting the liver produces ketone bodies (acetone, β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate for all you organic chemistry geeks) and that a high fat/ low carbohydrate diet produces the same ketone bodies. Russel Wilder (Mayo Clinic) named this diet “ketogenic” and it was used to treat epilepsy until anticonvulsive drugs were developed in the late 1930’s.
Other Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diet
The renewed interest in the keto has identified other health benefits to be had from a high fat/ low carb diet.
1. Reduces blood glucose level and increases insulin sensitivity for diabetics.
2. Treats symptoms of neurological diseases Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and brain injuries as well as epilepsy.
3. Helps manage heart disease by burning body fat, improving HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol), lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.
4. Stops growth of cancer cells – maybe. The theory is that cancerous cells feed on sugar so maybe a ketogenic diet will stop the growth of cancer cells. They’re working on it!
So happy Keto Day! Have some real butter and eggs. Or an avocado. For your health!