What are the benefits of the keto and LCHF diets?
You’ve probably heard a lot about the ketogenic (or keto) and low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diets. But what exactly are they? And what are the benefits of following these diets? In this article, we explore the answers to the these questions.
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic (or keto) diet is a very low-carb diet where the carbohydrates in the diet are replaced with fats.
The aim of the keto diet is to reduce carbohydrate intake to such an extent that the body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis. When the body is in ketosis, it burns fat very efficiently. In this state, energy is derived from fat, instead of from carbs. This is enabled by the fact that fat is then being converted into ketones in the liver.
Here is the approximate breakdown of macronutrients in the ketogenic diet:
- Fat: 75% of calories
- Protein: 20% of calories
- Carbohydrates: 5% of calories
The ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s and has been used since then to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy, and drug-resistant epilepsy in particular. There are more benefits to the keto diet, however, and we will consider these further on in the article.
What is the difference between the keto diet and an LCHF diet?
The keto diet is a specific type of low-carb, high-fat diet. It is more restrictive than most other LCHF diets, such as the Atkins diet, for example.
In the keto diet, there is a limit of 50 grams of carbohydrates per day to enable the body to enter the state of ketosis. This low limit means that you have to avoid all starchy vegetables, beans, and most fruits. With other LCHF diets, there is not such a severe restriction on carbohydrate intake, and you are still able to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The keto diet is more difficult to sustain over a long period due to its restrictiveness and lack of variety in nutrients.
What are the benefits of the keto and other LCHF diets?
As mentioned previously, the keto diet has been proved to reduce seizures in children (and sometimes also adults) with epilepsy. These days, however, most people following the keto diet and other LCHF diets are doing so in an effort to lose weight.
A keto diet promotes weight loss by boosting your metabolism and helping you feel less hungry, which leads to a reduction in your calorie consumption. Additionally, weight loss is stimulated as a result of the body being in ketosis, where your body burns fat for energy, instead of the carbohydrates that you would usually eat.
Other LCHF diets also promote weight loss by reducing appetite, since consuming fats instead of carbs helps you to stay feeling fuller for longer.
One of the benefits of losing weight with the keto diet is that it may help you lose body fat without reducing your muscle mass.
Both the keto diet and other LCHF diets also help to lower and stabilise blood sugars levels and may also improve insulin sensitivity. This may help to reduce the need for medication in people with type 2 diabetes.
Studies are also being done to determine the effectiveness of the keto diet in treating neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Keto and low-carb diets may also be able to improve symptoms in people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but more research needs to be conducted to confirm this.
Other possible benefits of the keto and other LCHF diets include the following:
- Clearer skin - due to the reduced carb intake, which stabilises blood sugar levels.
- Reduced chances of contracting a yeast infection - due to lower blood sugar levels.
- Greater mental clarity and improved focus - due to stabilised blood sugar levels.
Now you may want to know: Why are we talking about the keto and LCHF diets on a website about biltong?
Well, that’s because biltong is an excellent snack if you’re following one of these diets. In fact, if you consider the composition and nutritional value of biltong, combined with how tasty it is and how convenient it is to eat on the go, you’ll realise that it may be one of the best keto-friendly snacks you can find!
Why choose biltong as a snack when you’re on the keto or another LCHF diet?
- It’s high in protein, some biltong is also high in fat.
- It contains almost no carbohydrates.
- It’s free of preservatives.
- It contains essential B vitamins (which, unlike in cooked meats, have not been reduced as a result of the heat processing).
Want to buy the best South African-style biltong in the Netherlands? Click here
Interested in Keto/LCHF/Carnivore diets? Here are some interesting resources you can look at: