Fat is back in this ultra-low-carb, high-fat diet. Find out what foods you can eat on the keto diet if the keto diet would work for you and what you can expect if you lower the carbs and replace it with fat.
While the keto diet certainly is not easy, research shows it has some potential therapeutic benefits, in addition to its use for treating epilepsy. Here, some areas of research where a keto diet shows promise.
• Alzheimer’s Disease: Research suggests that when patients with Alzheimer’s eat a ketogenic diet, cognitive function significantly improves. It’s believed that this has something to do with improving mitochondrial function by providing the brain with new fuel.
• Parkinson’s Disease: One of the key features of Parkinson’s disease is the abnormal accumulation of a protein known as alpha-synuclein. Research funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation has explored whether a ketogenic diet stimulates the breakdown of these proteins, reducing the amount of alpha-synuclein in the brain.
• Multiple Sclerosis: In a small 2016 study, patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) were put on a ketogenic diet. After six months, they reported improved quality of life, as well as physical and mental health improvements. Before doctors or researchers can make a connection between keto and MS, they need bigger sample sizes and more thorough research. Still, the preliminary findings are exciting.
• Cardiovascular Disease: This is definitely a point of confusion and controversy since a diet that relies so heavily on meat and fat is naturally thought to raise blood cholesterol and cause heart issues. However, some evidence suggests that this may not be the case. In fact, the keto diet may help improve triglyceride, HDL, and LDL levels. A 2017 review looked at all of the available evidence around the ketogenic diet and cardiovascular health and found that the diet may be associated with some improvements in cardiovascular risk factors. Mind you, the authors also expressed their concerns with maintaining the diet in the long term, and they proposed that these benefits may not be long-lasting. It’s clear that we need long-term studies to fill that gap.
• Type 2 Diabetes: This population has been studied heavily with the keto diet since it’s technically as low-carb as you can get. While the research to date has been conducted in very small sample sizes, evidence suggests that an ultra-low-carb diet (like the keto diet) may help reduce A1C and improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 75 percent. In fact, a 2017 review found that a keto diet was associated with better glucose control and a reduction in medication use. Having said that, the authors cautioned that it was unclear whether the results were due to weight loss in general, or higher ketone levels.
• Cancer: Early experimental research suggests that the keto diet may have anti-tumor effects, likely because it reduces overall calorie intake (and circulating glucose) for tumor growth. In one 2014 review of animal research, a ketogenic diet was found to be successful at reducing tumor growth, colon cancer, gastric cancer, and brain cancer. More research on humans with larger sample sizes is needed, but it’s definitely food for thought.
3 basic mindsets that ensure keto diet success
I don’t know many diets you’ve been through, but let me tell you, if you don’t have the right mindset, chances are you’re not going to succeed. In fact, if you’re like most people, your experience will fit a very familiar pattern. First, you’re all excited about the diet and sure enough, you follow the directions very closely.
Thanks to your careful dietary guidelines, and your eager compliance, you start losing a lot of pounds. So far so good, right? This keeps up for maybe a few more days or even a few more weeks. But sooner or later, the pounds start coming back.
Next, things go from bad to worse. You start gaining more weight than when you began your diet. Isn’t the whole point of going on a diet to lose weight? Sadly, most diets are gateways, believe it or not, to add weight; talk about a frustrating situation.
The reason why people go through this all too familiar tragic pattern is because they don’t have the right mindset. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to adopt the keto diet, the paleo diet, the Atkins diet, the Ornish, or any other loss program, without the right mindset, you are playing the game to lose.
At the very least, you should adopt three basic mindsets that will ensure keto diet success.
Assume that you can do it
It’s very easy to get excited about the testimonials included in many diet books. You look at the before-and-after pictures and you and you get all pumped up. Please understand that a lot of those pictures are exaggerated. In fact, a lot of books that are very shady even use photoshopped pictures.
I know it’s shocking. I know that it’s hard to believe that people would actually do that, but they do. So a little bit of skepticism goes a long way. Still, don’t just focus on the fact that the diet can work for other people. Instead, wrap your mind around the possibility that the diet can actually work for you.
That’s right, you personally, individually. If you can’t understand that, and if you can’t accept the likelihood of a certain weight-loss program waiting for you, then you’re making things much harder on yourself. It’s like trying to play basketball and trying to put the ball through the hoop.
If in the back of your head you’re saying to yourself, “Other people can shoot really well, but not me,” what do you think will happen? You’re shooting accuracy will go down. You’re sabotaging yourself. You’re making things unnecessarily harder on yourself.
This is why it’s really important to assume that you can achieve success with the keto diet. Not the case study pictures, not the people giving testimonials, we are talking about you. If you can’t make this assumption, then it’s going to be a rough road ahead for you.
Begin with what you have
One common reason why people fail with diets is that they think that they have to transform into a completely different person. Alternatively, they believe that their circumstances or their situations need to change so dramatically so as to ensure success.
When people think along these lines, they’re basically just giving themselves excuses for either not trying, or for expecting bad results. Believe me, I can understand why people do this. If you have been let down by diet after diet, it’s very easy to become jaded.
In fact, in many cases, it’s very easy to expect failure. After all, you’ve gone through the familiar process of initially losing weight, and then getting it all back. It becomes an old story, and it’s only a matter of time until your heart gets broken again.
This is why you think that you should change everything that you can possibly change, to lay the groundwork for ultimate success. Again, you’re making things unnecessarily harder on yourself. It doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to move heaven and earth to create optimal conditions.
You know why? Conditions are never perfect. There will never be a time when your circumstances will be just right for you to ensure success. You’re going to have to take that risk. You’re going to have to begin with what you have.
It doesn’t matter what discipline level you have. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in your life. It doesn’t matter whether you feel good about yourself. All that matters is that you are ready, willing, and able to begin with what you have and assume that this will work for you.
Enjoy your food according to rules you choose
Another key “pillar” for keto diet success involves the issue of control. A lot of people fail with diets because they think that they are putting some sort of dietary straitjacket on themselves. For instance, they don’t normally like a certain taste, but since they’re switching over to a new diet, they force themselves to like a certain range of flavors.
Let me tell you, it’s only a matter of time until your old self rears its ugly head. It’s only a matter of time until you go back to how you normally eat. This is a very frustrating situation. It’s as if you are doing really well, and you’re making all these changes, and all of a sudden your old self pulls you back. You end up where you began.
This is why it’s really important to focus on enjoying your food. This is not an ordeal. This is not some sort of punishment. This is not some sort of situation where you feel that you are denying yourself. Instead, the keto diet should be a celebration of taste. It all really boils down to enjoying your food according to keto rules.
You have to first choose the keto rules. You have to first choose to go on the diet, and then you select based on your existing tastes. There’s no need to become somebody else. There’s no need to change your taste buds. There’s no need to go through any of that. Instead, allow yourself to enjoy the flavor range that you are already enjoying.
Now here’s the thing, even if you have a sweet tooth, you’re going to have to minimize that. That’s the only change, but for everything else, whether you like sour foods, salty foods, or definitely fatty foods, you should be fine. But as long as you manage your sweet tooth, you should be okay.
Keep atop the mindsets above if you want to be successful with the keto diet. I’m not going to lie to you and say that you can adopt these mindsets overnight. After all, the way you see things, and the way you expect things to play out, have been with you for a long time. You’ve grown accustomed to thinking about food a certain way.
But if you change your mindset according to the 3 key pillars above, adopting the keto diet will become easier, and it is more likely to stick.