Keto: much more than a weight loss program
The Ketogenic Diet (Keto) is a low carbohydrate diet often associated with quick weight loss. The way the diet works is that calories are consumed primarily from eating proteins and fats rather than refined sugars and carbohydrates. When the body consumes less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, after about 3-4 days it runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use for energy. At this point the body is said to go into a state of ketosis as it starts to break down protein and fat to produce ketones to be used by the body as an alternative energy source.
However, the Keto diet is much more than a weight loss program. Research indicates there are some significant longer-term health benefits to following the diet over and above reducing body weight and BMI. The strongest scientific link is to epilepsy and seizure disorders in children, but there are also indicators that because the diet has been shown to decrease levels of triglycerides, ‘bad’ cholesterol, and blood glucose, and increase levels of good cholesterol, this can help mitigate some of the risks of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, Lyme Disease and Type 1 & 2 diabetes as well as the health complications associated with diabetes.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): A great choice for the Keto Diet
Critics of the Keto diet point to the fact that people following the diet often eat an abundance of saturated fats from low quality refined vegetable oils, seed oils, animal fats, and highly processed meats such as bacon and sausage therefore increasing their risk of chronic inflammation and disease. Exchanging these for polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids) and monounsaturated fats from foods like salmon, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados which have all demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects therefore provides healthier alternative fat sources.
There is a significant amount of research that proves the health benefits of consuming a good quality EVOO which is an excellent source of oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid known to prevent heart disease and reduce cholesterol. The monounsaturated fats and polyphenols such as hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleuropein, and oleocanthal which are abundant in EVOO have been scientifically proven to reduce chronic inflammation, one of the leading cause of diseases of the body and mind and their potent antioxidant properties can also help protect and heal the body against the effects of oxidative stress.