Guest blogger Jennifer Dodd shares her insights about a newly found passion - going keto!
So, you’ve heard about this thing called “the keto diet.” Maybe a friend is losing weight or celebrating that she’s been taken off medication, or maybe you’ve seen a sudden flurry of #keto posts on social media. So you became keto-curious and did a little research.
You know that in simplest (and scientifically accurate) terms, adopting the ketogenic way of eating means lowering your carbohydrate intake to a sufficient level each day to move your body from burning glucose for fuel to burning fat  . You’re game for all the best-known benefits of this way of eating: weight loss, appetite control, and diabetes management or reversal.  But there are still many more wonderful advantages that you can experience as you move through your keto journey.
Let’s jump in and talk about five of them.
Keto isn’t some new fad. In fact, it’s been used clinically to treat epilepsy for 80 years,  and is being widely studied today for its ability to protect and improve neurological function. [3,4] Eating ketogenically can protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and even help patients with Parkinson’s and Traumatic Brain Injury. 
Increased Performance & Improved Body Composition
Yes, keto can help you lose weight, but this way of eating is also muscle sparing and can help increase your lean body mass while nibbling away at your fat cells. If you’re an athlete, you may see an initial decrease in performance while you transition from glucose burning, but keep training and, once fat adapted, you’ll find you have more power and endurance. [6, 7, 8] A bonus for you distance runners: no more goo-induced disaster pants!
Feeling tired all the time? Blame the carbs. They’re keeping your insulin levels high and preventing your body from accessing the energy stores you’re carrying around every day (fat). Eating low carb/healthy fat (LCHF), a.k.a. keto, helps keep insulin levels low, which allows your body to access your energy reserves.  So don’t be surprised to find yourself excited to head to the gym because you have so much energy. (And FYI, “keto libido” is a real thing.)
Ketogenic diets have proven helpful in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and some cancers.  And many trailblazers in the keto community, like Ali Miller, Christina Curp, Josh Perry, and Shawn Wells, describe this way of eating as a key disease management strategy in their lives (check out their stories in the What the Fat podcasts).
Increased Happiness & Self-Confidence
When you look good you feel good! Cutting out processed foods and adding in nutrient-dense whole foods bring changes like stronger nails; youthful, glowing skin; and new hair growth that will have you posting #goodhair selfies.
The antidepressant properties of the keto diet have been observed though not yet rigorously studied. [11, 12, 13]
Keto isn’t a magic pill, and not all your problems will disappear, but when you have increased mental clarity and more even moods, you can confront them head on—and overcome! Fewer problems equal less stress, right?
1. The Keto Diet for Beginners. https://ketogenic.com/keto-diet-for-beginners/.
September 5, 2016.
2. Gasior M, Rogawski MA, Hartman AL. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural Pharmacology, 2002;17(5-6):431-439.
3. Henderson ST, Vogel JL, Barr LJ, Garvin F, Jones JJ, Costantini LC. Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202 in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2009;6(1):1.
4. VanItallie TB, Nonas C, Di Rocco A, Boyar K, Hyams K, Heymsfield SB. Treatment of Parkinson disease with diet-induced hyperketonemia: a feasibility study. Neurology, 2005;64(4):728-730.
5. Studies Show Efficacy of Keto for TBI. https://charliefoundation.org/keto-for-tbi/.
Accessed November 14, 2018.
6. Wilson JM, Lowery RP, Roberts MD, Sharp MH, Joy JM, Shields KA, D’Agostino D. The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2017.
7. Gregory RM, Hamdan H, Torisky DM, Akers JD. A low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet
combined with 6-weeks of crossfit training improves body composition and
performance. Int. J. Sports Exer. Med, 2017;3:1-10.
8. Volek JS, Sharman MJ, Love DM, Avery NG, Scheett TP, Kraemer WJ. Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism, 2002;51(7):864-870.
9. My Best Weight Loss Tip. https://idmprogram.com/my-single-best-weight-loss-tip/. Accessed November 14, 2018.
10. Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013;67:789–796.
11. Brietzke E, Mansur RB, Subramaniapillai M et al. Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders: Evidence and developments. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2018;94:11-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.020.
12. Murphy P, Likhodii S, Nylen K, Burnham WM. The antidepressant properties of the ketogenic diet. Biological Psychiatry, 2004;56(12): 981-983. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.09.019.
13. El‐Mallakh RS, Paskitti ME. The ketogenic diet may have mood‐stabilizing properties. Med Hypotheses, 2001;57:724–726. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2001.1446.
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Keto Nutrition. Two words joined together in dietary matrimony. If you're ready to say, "I do" to keto, this is a must watch podcast with Dr. Amy Savagian, a Functional Medicine doctor in Colorado (Denver's Diet Doctor) who explains why it takes more than food for this marital bliss.
Click here to see the full presentation and download PDF slides of her presentation.
What's the deal with all the fat in the keto diet? Are all fats equal? And do I have to eat cheese? Dr. Mark Hyman gives us the skinny on fats in this podcast (or read the transcription).
Fat is not the enemy, says Mark Hyman, MD, medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. It plays a crucial role in our diet and is the cornerstone of the increasingly popular ketogenic diet. Learn the science behind keto and who it’s appropriate for as Dr. Hyman answers your frequently asked questions. Click here for the podcast or to read the transcription.
Is it a fad? Is it a diet? Is it science based? We're taking a look at what our favorite array of Functional Medicine practitioners say about the ketogenic diet and whether it's a viable (and healthy) option.
To start with, Dr. Josh Axe walks us through the basics of this diet that's been around for quite some time!
Unlike many fad diets that come and go with very limited rates of long-term success, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has been practiced for more than nine decades (since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science.
The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain — including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels, and the cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with.
Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower, this low-carb diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because...click here to see the full post.
Living my WellnessME.Life is our quarterly newsletter, compiled of separate blog posts created by Louanne and Sharon Saraga Walters and contributed by esteemed healthcare practitioners, colleagues and friends with a holistic (interrelated, synergistic, systemic) view of wellness.