In this article, we summarize several promising scientific studies in the ketogenic research field.
An article from Harvard’s School of Public Health explains that the keto diet can produce “beneficial metabolic changes,” which can result in positive health markers for people who adopt the diet plan.
The ketogenic diet is often associated with other weight loss diet plans such as Atkins diet, Whole30 diet, Paleo diet, among many others. While it is true that keto is an effective and proven weight loss plan, studies show that it does more than just get rid of the fat.
Blood Sugar Levels
In an article by Rudy Mawer, a licensed sports nutrition consultant and an expert on nutrition and dietetics, he explains that Keto can help lower blood sugar levels. Since the diet essentially removes sugar and carbohydrates from a person’s diet, one can expect blood sugar to go down -- this is supported by the science. Mawer cites a 56-week experiment with participants found to have very high blood sugar. The study showed a blood sugar decrease by as much as 5 mmol/l for the first 8 weeks and continued to decreased until it reached target levels within 56-weeks.
Reduction in blood sugar is important, as high blood sugar is associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and obesity.
Triglycerides levels indicate the amount of fat that is in the blood. When the body does not have any use for energy taken from food, it converts energy into triglycerides and then stores them in fat cells for later use. Triglyceride levels are often high in overweight and/or obese people, as well as people with unhealthy diets comprised of pizzas and fast food.
Studies have shown that keto diet can help lower fasting triglyceride level by as much as 44% within a 6-week period (Mawer). This reduction in blood triglycerides does not only improve a person’s marker for health, but also lowers the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, and other cardiovascular problems.
Alzheimer’s disease is a problematic neurodegenerative disorder that is common amongst the adult population. For people with Alzheimer’s, their brain cells degenerate and die, which causes decline in the ability to think, analyze, and remember. Currently, there are no conclusive ways to prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease.
However, several studies show that a ketogenic diet can be helpful in the prevention and slowing down of Alzheimer’s disease amongst the elderly population. In a 2019 research study by Marta Rusek, Ryszard Pluta, Marzena Ulamek-Kozoil, and Stanislaw Czuczwar, found that the presence of ketones in the blood during ketosis has a “neuroprotective impact” on brain cells. This prevents brain cells from wasting away, reduces inflammatory responses, and increases mitochondrial function from within the brain cells.
This study argues that the ketogenic diet could be a potentially effective dietary intervention for the elderly population, especially for high-risk individuals.
Diet review: Ketogenic diet for weight loss. (2020). Harvard School of Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/
Mawer, R. (2017). 10 graphs that show the power of a Ketogenic diet. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-graphs-power-of-ketogenic-diet
Rusek, M., Pluta, R., Ulamek-Koziol, M., & Czuczwar, S. (2019). Ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s disease. International Journal of Molecular Science, 9(20). Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/16/3892
***The Keto Project does not make any health related claims as it pertains to diet. This is a summary of scientific studies and their findings. Please reference the FDA and USDA for guidance on any and all health claims as it relates to diet.