High-fat ketogenic diets have healing properties for brain conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy

Together with the Mediterranean and Dutch diets, ketogenic (or keto) diets are among the most popular in the world. High in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, this type of diet has sufficient evidence that proves its efficiency to lose weight quickly, although the most respected specialists argue that it is difficult to maintain it over time (which is why they group it within the so-called yo-yo diets) and warn about their risks.

“It is a search for magic. No extreme or heterodox food pattern can be adopted as a lifestyle. Therefore, sooner or later, it will be abandoned. In other words, the diet will break along with the spell. And so it will appear, with its pompous and sweeping entrance of illusions, the regain of lost weight, ”Dr. Mónica Katz tells Clarín, adding:“ While it is true that they facilitate weight loss, they have multiple negative effects on health. Since we humans only have three options of available fuels – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – to compensate for the decrease in carbohydrates, the contribution of proteins and especially fat increases. ”

However, even so, according to different studies, the ketogenic diet may have other health effects, which do not necessarily have to do with weight loss. These claim that it has healing properties for brain conditions, such as neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy. And it also has a powerful impact on endorphin levels and mood.
But, let us start at the beginning.

What is a ketogenic diet?
“In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones in the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of blood sugar circulating in food, we begin to break down fat stored in molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The change, from the use of circulating glucose to the breakdown of stored fat as an energy source, usually occurs for two to four days of eating less than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones, ”explains Dr. Marcelo Campos, a professor at Harvard University School of Medicine, in an article which was published in Harvard Health Publications in mid-2017.

Additional benefits
As Dr. María Vaccarezza, a specialist in pediatric neurology at the Italian Hospital, explains the ketogenic diet for years in the treatment of epilepsy. “Epilepsy affects 1 in 100 children and 30% do not respond favorably to drugs, so they can resort to the ketogenic diet that improves their seizures and cognitive functions,” says Vaccarezza.

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“The ketogenic diet is a treatment that is used to help control seizures in children with intractable epilepsy. This diet has been around since the early 1920s, but its use declined with the development of many appropriate drugs to treat seizures. Since the nineties its use has been increasing thanks to an emblematic case in the United States of a boy named Charlie, who was cured of his epilepsy thanks to the ketogenic diet, ”adds the specialist.

Let’s see then, other probable health benefits of following this at least controversial diet:

1- It can have healing effects on the brain
“High-fat ketogenic diets have healing properties for brain conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy,” Dr. Cardiologist Luiza Petre told Insider. And he added that a constant consumption of fats from a keto diet will also have a powerful impact on endorphin levels and mood.

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2- Can be used as a treatment protocol for diabetes
“More and more evidence supports the use of the ketogenic diet as a treatment protocol for diabetes,” said Monica Auslander Moreno, a nutrition consultant at RSP Nutrition. “A ketogenic diet drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and, therefore, the need for so much insulin. As a result, it can calm the insulin response.

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