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The Keto Diet: Improve Cholesterol Numbers, Inflammation, and Burn Fat

Americans struggle and obsession with weight loss is an age-old issue.  As we have been discussing for the last several months, stress physiology makes weight loss more difficult and is often associated with dangerous increased belly fat, increased blood sugar, along with fatigue and inflammation.  Some of the most common barriers to weight loss include patients’ issues with sleep disturbances, as well as complaining of uncontrollable cravings and feeling hungry.  These physiological problems are attributable to chronic stress physiology experienced by millions of Americans.  One of the side-effects of stress physiology and high cortisol levels includes dysregulation of hunger hormones like ghrelin and leptin.  With this dysregulation, people may feel like they are never full or feel like they could eat uncontrollably.  This isn’t true hunger, rather it is hormonally-driven hunger.  For many patients, this phenomenon is frustrating, leading to food choices they know are not healthful or not conducive to their goals.  The good news is that these types of cravings and dysregulation can be improved using specific strategies.  

A solution for many patients in this situation has been a ketogenic (keto) diet.  With macronutrient ratios high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is opposite to what many Americans typically think of as a healthy diet (please realize that implementing a keto diet is different than the diabetic state of ketoacidosis, a very dangerous state).  Much of this belief is from outdated media encouragement of eating low-fat, highly processed foods which has led to America’s increase in cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.  It is true that a keto diet isn’t healthy if done with fatty cuts of processed meat and heavy amounts of dairy like cheese and cream (as often seen in the media).  But, when designed with healthy nutrients in the proper ratios, a keto diet can actually decrease inflammation, drastically reduce belly fat, and regulate hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin.  In this way, many who implement a keto diet feel little hunger and experience virtually zero cravings as they lose fat.  A healthy keto plate is colorful, offers much variety, and can taste delicious.  

I have had many patients use a keto diet for 1-2 months to decrease stress physiology and heal inflammation.  Other patients have used a ketogenic diet to lose significant amounts of weight over year-plus-long periods (up to 100 pounds).  Research actually shows that when designed with supportive nutrients, a keto diet can actually reduce Triglycerides and total cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol numbers.  Increasing good cholesterol (HDL) is often difficult to do but is one of the most protective measures for heart health (even more beneficial for heart health than decreasing bad (LDL) cholesterol).  A keto diet can prevent the build-up of plaque in inflamed blood vessels, improve insulin sensitivity (HgA1c numbers), and increase lipogenesis (the body’s process/ability to burn its own fat)!  Not only are results documented for cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes, but also neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Autism (research shows that the ketones produced with a ketogenic diet may be neuro-protective).  Of course, this is when a keto diet is applied in a healthful way with specific considerations.  

Join me on Monday, June 21st at 6:15pm for a virtual class to discuss, “The Ins and Outs of the Keto Diet.”  We will discuss tools to execute a keto diet in a healthful, balanced, and supportive way that can achieve results for healing and/or weight loss.  Register at BodyInBalanceChiropractic.com/events or call us at 303-215-0390.  We want to be a health and education resource for you.  Remember, Create Health by Choice, Not by Chance.

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