7 health benefits of the keto diet that have nothing to do with weight loss

The keto diet can have healing effects on your brain.

“High-fat ketogenic diets have healing properties for brain conditions like neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy,” Dr. Luiza Petre, a board-certified cardiologist, told INSIDER.

She added that a consistent intake of fats from a keto diet will also have a powerful impact on your endorphin levels and mood.

The diet can be used as a treatment protocol for diabetes.

“More and more evidence is supporting the ketogenic diet’s use as a treatment protocol for diabetes,” Monica Auslander Moreno, a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, told INSIDER.

But what does this mean? Well, as Moreno explained, a ketogenic diet drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and, therefore, the necessity for so much insulin. As a result, it can quiet the body’s insulinemic response.

The keto diet can help regulate hunger and craving control.

According to the New York Times, eating foods with a high glycemic index — including most processed carbohydrates — can cause a dramatic rise and fall in blood sugar levels, which can stimulate hunger.

Since the keto diet is low-carb, Mindy Body Green reports that following it can stabilize blood sugar levels and, thus, suppress your appetite.

You might burn more fat during a workout.

In an interview with Shape, certified personal trainer Ramsey Bergeron explained that doing cardio while following keto can, “help increase fat oxidation, spare glycogen, produce less lactate and use less oxygen.”

In other words, it burns more fat.

The keto diet can help improve polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fertility issues.

“By avoiding insulin spikes while following a ketogenic lifestyle, women with PCOS report a reversal of increased androgen hormones, specifically testosterone, which leads to a reduction in PCOS symptoms and increased fertility,” Molly Devine, a registered dietitian and founder of Eat Your Keto, told INSIDER.

It’s worth noting that very little research has been done on the keto diet and fertility. HuffPost, however, notes that certain side effects of the keto diet— like weight loss and helping manage type 2 diabetes — have been known to help with fertility.

The keto diet can improve skin health.

Acne and other skin issues are commonly due to underlying inflammation and insulin resistance, according to Massom. Because ketones — a liver-produced chemical that serves as fuel on a low-carb diet — are anti-inflammatory, she explained that a diet that causes our body to generate ketones will help lower inflammation and unwanted acne.

The keto diet can improve your cholesterol.

“The ketogenic diet has been associated with improved biomarkers such as HDL cholesterol and triglycerides when compared to a low-fat diet. However, LDL cholesterol may increase which can be concerning,” registered dietitian Katey Davidson told INSIDER.

Healthline notes that there are instances where a low-carb diet can increase your cholesterol due to the amount of fat consumption. It’s important when giving up one macronutrient, like carbs, you balance the others.

But it’s important to supplement accordingly when observing the keto diet.

“Because the ketogenic diet is restrictive of sources of good carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, fruit, and plenty of vegetables, you are missing out on many nutrients and fiber,” registered dietitian Danielle Omar told INSIDER.

Because of this, she recommended considering incorporating supplements into your diet to help keep your body in proper balance. Adding magnesium, probiotics, and lipase-based digestive enzymes, she suggested, may be beneficial to your overall diet.

It’s also important to consider that there is a lack of research surrounding the keto diet.

“The long-term effects of the ketogenic diet still need to be studied in further detail,” Davidson explained to INSIDER. Effects on bone density and muscle mass are of concern, she said, as well as rebound weight gain which can happen to those following the diet.

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