Is Healthy Eating Making You Unhealthy?
It's a common story: you eat well and yet the results aren't fully there. Some people find that despite doing everything right, they just can't shift weight from parts of the body or health conditions are not improving.
There are a number of dietary factors that contribute to the health of each unique individual, so consultation with a qualified health professional is always recommended. However, a relativity common cause for many health issues (despite eating what we might think is a healthy diet) is insulin resistance.
Too Much Insulin
One function of the hormone insulin is to get cells to take up excess sugar from the blood. Insulin also sends excess blood sugar to fat stores. Carbohydrates (bread, cereals, rice, pasta and anything sweet) tend to increase blood sugar so more insulin is produced.
Over time this makes cells resistant to insulin so more sugar remains in the blood causing damage to the body. To compensate, the body produces more insulin making the problem worse. If this trend is left unchecked, it can become a root cause for: obesity, fatty liver, some neurological conditions and diabetes.
One method for reducing the negative effects of insulin resistance is a ketogenic diet.
The Ketogenic Diet
The goal of ketogenic diet is to have the body using mostly fat for energy. This generally happens when carbohydrate intake is low enough to cause insulin levels to drop. The body then starts to break down fat, producing ketones for energy. This state is known as nutritional ketosis.
Nutritional ketosis is normal and healthy for the body. Most people experience the appetite suppressing effects of nutritional ketosis, and with the body in fat burning mode (rather than fat storage mode) it becomes good at removing excess stores. This is why people often successfully use ketogenic diets for weight loss.
Getting the right amount of carbohydrate, fat and protein is essential and the best balance is usually different for each person.
Other Health Benefits
Nutritional ketosis is not just for weight loss. In fact, people who are trying to gain or maintain weight often benefit. There is also mounting evidence to suggest that it has the following health benefits:
- Improved mitochondrial production (more energy and healthier cells)
- Protection and regeneration of the nervous system
- Antioxidant effects (protection from cell damage and disease)
- Preservation of muscle mass (major factor in longevity)
- Prevention of growth of some cancers
Of course, anyone taking insulin (type 1 or late stage diabetics) or anyone with a serious health condition should consult an experienced health practitioner before starting a ketogenic diet. Like most health sciences, dietary science is always evolving. The goal is to find a diet that best supports your own health and longevity.