There have been so many fad diets and food trends that have promised to melt fat and tackle the United States obesity epidemic, yet according to the CDC, 1 out of every 3 American adults are considered obese. With the obesity epidemic climbing to record heights, it should come as no surprise that the ketogenic diet has gained most of its attention from weight loss success stories.
That being said, the ketogenic diet is different from other diets that simply manipulate caloric intake or food choices because it induces a metabolic state known as ketosis. This change in metabolism allows your body to burn fat for fuel and has been shown to drastically reduce weight when compared to low-fat diets. Some argue that low-carbohydrate diets lead to the same amount of weight loss as low-fat diets; however, if you look at the specific studies they are referencing, they may show similar overall weight loss, but the source is different. Ketogenic dieting groups lose more fat mass and retain more lean muscle mass than the low-fat groups.
Beyond just weight loss, the ketogenic diet is particularly useful for individuals who are obese because it has been shown to mitigate associated health disorders including inflammation, type II diabetes, high levels of visceral fat and more.
Inflammation is a hallmark of obesity. Studies have shown high levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-a), as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1b and MCP-1 in the adipose tissue of obese individuals. What does this mean? One key issue with chronic low-grade inflammation is insulin resistance. The aforementioned pro-inflammatory cytokines activate inflammatory kinases that act on insulin receptors and promote insulin resistance. This is believed to be a contributing factor to the development of type II diabetes in obese individuals.
Furthermore, another condition associated with obesity is high levels of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your organs. While it is normal to have visceral fat, too much can increase pressure on your organs and cause serious harm. The main cause of increased visceral fat is inflammation, insulin levels and stress (specifically the hormone cortisol). Luckily, the ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce all three.
Keto is more than just a diet; it induces a metabolic state that has tremendous benefits for obese individuals. Beyond just weight loss, the ketogenic diet can help alleviate associated co-morbidities, making it the optimal diet for overcoming obesity.
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