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How does the ketogenic diet work?

5 July 2019

How does the ketogenic diet work?

What is a ketogenic diet?

A keto diet refers to a ketogenic diet that is high in fat, adequate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. The goal is to get more calories from protein and fat than carbohydrates. 

How does it work?

The body, in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates for fuel (glucose), will deplete glycogen stores and the main source of energy will become the burning of liver fat.


  • Helps in weight loss.

It takes more work to convert fat to energy than it does to convert carbohydrates to energy. Because of this, a ketogenic diet can help speed up weight loss. And because the diet is high in protein, it doesn’t leave you hungry like other diets.

  • Reduces acne.

There are several different causes for acne, and one may be related to diet and blood sugar. Eating a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can upset your gut bacteria and cause more dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, both of which can influence skin health. 

  • May help reduce cancer risk.

The ketogenic diet has received a lot of research on how it can help prevent or even treat certain types of cancer. One study found that this may be a suitable adjunctive treatment to chemotherapy and radiation in people with cancer. This is because it would cause more oxidative stress in cancer cells than in normal cells.

  • Improves heart health.

When the ketogenic diet is followed in a healthy way (which considers avocados to be a healthy fat instead of pork rinds), there is some evidence that the diet can improve heart health by lowering cholesterol. One study found that HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels increased significantly in those following the keto diet. LDL (“bad”) cholesterol dropped significantly.

  • Potentially reduces seizures.

The combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates is thought to alter the way the body uses energy, resulting in ketosis. Ketosis is an elevated level of ketones in the blood.

Ketosis can lead to a reduction in seizures in people with epilepsy. Specialists don’t yet know how effective this is, although it appears to be most effective in children who have focal seizures.

At the Nutrition and Obesity Center of the ABC Medical Center we can give you specialized care. Contact us!

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