Keto as a Way of Life
Try Keto – 5 Reasons Why
There are many reasons people seek out low carb diets like Keto. Doing research can be confusing though.
All you know is that you want to figure out a way to lose weight, feel better, or correct some health issues.
There’s a lot of information out there, but so few people actually talk about WHY they decide to live a low carb life.
In this post, I will tell you why Rebecca and I decided to adopt a Keto way of eating.
Note: “Way of Eating” is commonly abbreviated as WOE.
I also hope to give you some compelling reasons why Keto may make sense for you.
This post will be an overview that’s really meant to pique your interest. I’ll provide additional resources at the end of the post for those who want to know more.
Why We Adopted the Keto Lifestyle
Rebecca heard about Keto before I did and began looking into it. She enjoys the structure of a ‘diet’ and wanted to find something that both of us could do. Being a natural skeptic (and not wanting to give up ice cream) I had my reservations, but I started looking into it and began finding proof of a lot of the health benefits I was looking for.
It turned out that the timing of her discovery and our subsequent investigation was perfect.
The thing that cinched our decision to ‘Go Keto’, was a diagnosis from my doctor after a routine physical exam; Type 2 Diabetes. That disease runs in my family and I’ve seen people who I dearly love suffer with it my whole life. This was a thing I’d been running from and trying to ignore, but there it was; right in my face.
We had read reports before that a Ketogenic Diet may help those with Type 2 Diabetes, so we went into full research mode to learn everything we could about it. Convinced, we started Keto the very next day and haven’t looked back.
Reason #1 to try Keto: Lose Some Weight
Yep. It’s obvious. Why else would anyone in their right mind go on a “diet”? Am I right?! For a lot of people, losing weight is the primary reason they would consider a Keto Diet. That was certainly the case for me. A low carb, high fat diet like Keto has a way of causing your body to shed excess water, which is the first real kind of weight you’re going to lose. After that, continuing with the Keto Diet will put your body into a ‘fat burning’ mode. That’s where is uses fat for energy rather than carbs. As fat gets burned for fuel, you lose weight.
Growing up, I was always the fat kid and I’ve carried a little extra weight my whole life. I tried a little bit of every kind of diet you can think of over the years. Training for and participated in a handful of half marathons and several 5k events was part of the effort that I surprisingly enjoyed. I saw moderate success until I reached a certain weight and then hit the dreaded plateau. Losing more pounds, even though I still had a lot of fat around my middle (just being honest here), seemed to be pretty unattainable. At 40 years old, I assumed I would be stuck with a belly for the rest of my life. After all, isn’t that what happens at 40?
Since we started, I’ve blown the top off that plateau I was stuck at. At the time of writing this, I’ve lost 30 pounds and still have 20 to go before I reach my goal. Rebecca has been losing as well. To be honest, we both work a desk job, so we really haven’t put in any exercise to accomplish this. We’ve done it completely through diet so far. And you know what? We haven’t been hungry at all, and don’t feel like we’ve gone without anything.
Reason #2 to try Keto: Increase Energy & Mental Clarity
Many people think that if they simply eat better, they will have more energy. So they go on a diet and reduce their calories. But if calories are what gives you energy, then how are you going to have more of it if you reduce them? Do you see the flaw in that logic?
Here’s another wild idea. If fat is stored energy, shouldn’t fat people have crazy amounts of energy? Why does it feel like the more weight you gain, the less energy you have?
The answers to these questions have to do with science and biology. I won’t go into that right now since this is an overview, but I will tell you that Keto does give you more energy. From our experience, it gives you a fairly insane boost of energy. And it’s not the kind of energy you get after eating a candy bar or a plate of pasta. That kind of energy burns out quickly and leaves you wanting a nap.
The kind of energy your body is supplied with on Keto is long term, sustained energy. The kind of energy that motivates you to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, do yard work in 90 degree weather all day, take a shower and be ready for some social time with friends that evening; all while feeling fantastic and having full mental clarity. The first day I experienced that level of energy, I told Rebecca that it almost felt like I’d taken a drug of some sort. We both felt youthful and strong. Now that we’ve had many of those days, we know that it’s simply because we’re fueling our bodies properly.
Reason #3 to try Keto: Reduce Inflammation & Chronic Pain
Inflammation is given a bad wrap, but it’s actually a natural part of your body’s amazing defense mechanism. It’s meant to help fight off infection and localized damage. It’s meant to be a temporary thing, so when it lasts too long, though, or gets out of control, then it causes problems.
For a lot of scientific and biological reasons that I won’t go into here, high carb foods cause inflammation in your body’s tissues. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why that happens, but they’ve proven that it does. That means ALL of your tissues, throughout your whole body.
Chronic inflammation causes a whole host of problems. To name a few:
- Produces free radicals (responsible for causing Cancer and all sorts of other problems)
- Creates joint pain and leads to Arthritis and Osteasclerosis
- Damages tissues and cell walls, leading to a damaged and weakened cardiovascular system (causing heart disease / atherosclerosis)
- Brain inflammation contributes to mental disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease
Please note that there are other factors that cause inflammation, so a Ketogenic diet doesn’t protect you from it completely. Scientists believe that simply growing older causes its own certain amount of inflammation and cite it as one of the causes of aging in the body. But consider this; if inflammation ages the body, shouldn’t you do everything you can do in order to reduce all the inflammation that you can reduce? It may just keep you feeling younger longer.
When I was younger, I injured my shoulder. Long story short, it came to be that every time it would rain, my shoulder should hurt. Since I’ve gone Keto, that pain is practically non existent due to reduced inflammation. My mother-in-law reported the same thing with an old knee injury. In fact, that knee never hurts her any more and she’s super active on it. Rebecca and I both have less swelling in our hands, noted by how our wedding rings fit us now. Additionally, my blood pressure is lower.
We have also noticed that even after a day of physical work, we no longer have the typical headaches or joint pains we’ve experienced in the past. We’ve just had good old fashioned muscle fatigue and soreness that leads to better strength and endurance. It’s nice to know that when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll be stronger for having done some physical work, and not broke down because your joints hurt.
Reason #4 to try Keto: Address Metabolic Diseases
As I mentioned earlier, the reason we got into this was to fight Type 2 Diabetes; a metabolic disease. It’s commonly known that if you eat too much sweet stuff, you get fat. It’s all those carbohydrates, right?! Sweet, sugary foods aren’t the only foods with carbs, however. In fact, there are hidden sugars / carbs in a lot of foods that you might not even suspect. But that’s a topic for another post!
Consuming all of those foods has the same effect as eating lots of sweets. When those sugars / carbs are digested, they turn into glucose, which then gets pushed into your bloodstream. That increases your blood sugar levels and when those get too high, it becomes toxic for your body. To prevent this, your pancreas releases insulin. This hormone is responsible for either ushering glucose into your cells so they can burn it for fuel or store it for later.
The problem happens when this takes place too much and too often. Your blood becomes resistant to the effects of the insulin, so your body has to create more of the hormone to get the same job done. After a while, your pancreas just can’t keep up, glucose levels builds up and the toxicity of your blood begins to do all sorts of damage in your body. This is known as Type 2 Diabetes. This is an oversimplification, of course, but for an overview, I hope you get the idea.
Multiple studies have proven that a low carb diet benefits people with this condition. More and more studies have emerged proving that a Ketogenic Diet, specifically, improves and even negates the condition altogether. In a study posted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine 95.2% of Type 2 Diabetics in the study managed significantly to reduce their medication that lowers blood glucose levels or to eliminate it altogether.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are taking medication for Type 2 Diabetes, consult with your doctor BEFORE going on a low carb diet. To prevent hypoglycemia, your doctor may change your current dosage to compensate for reduced blood glucose levels.
After I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, my doctor immediately prescribed a couple of medications to me. I was familiar with both of them and knew that the side effects of both of them were awful. Diabetic medication, for the most part, is basically poison. It just happens to be the lesser of evils. I don’t recommend what I did next to anyone. It’s not even a good idea and I would never advocate for anyone else to do this….
I threw the prescription in the garbage.
Rebecca did begin prodding my finger with one of those glucose monitors, though. She wanted to keep an eye on my blood sugar as we began our Keto Diet. Starting out, my fasting blood sugar was running over 140 mg/dl. A healthy person’s blood sugar should run between 70-130 mg/dl while fasting (first thing in the morning, before breakfast) and should be less than 125 mg/dl after meals. On average, it should run around 100 mg/dl. This is all according to the American Diabetes Association. So yeah, mind was high.
Since we’ve been doing Keto, however, my fasting blood sugar has been hovering around 90 mg/dl and my blood sugar after meals has yet to get over 100 mg/dl. I’ve never taken the first bit of Diabetic medication.
This is the blood ketone meter we use. We like it because it lets us check blood ketones as well as glucose.
Here's the text right from the Amazon page, and I think it's pretty spot on:
"Blood testing is the most accurate way to test for ketone and glucose levels. The Keto-Mojo Testing Kit exceeds strict FDA and International standards ensuring you get the best measurement results possible."
Reason #5 to try Keto: Improve Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease runs in my family, so this was an obvious attention-getter for me. Like many people, I didn’t understand how a low carb, healthy fat diet could improve heart health. This is especially so in light of the fact that we’ve always been told that fat is bad for your heart.
Improved cardiovascular health results from a couple of the ‘reasons for trying Keto’ that I’ve already listed here. I talked about how Keto reduces inflammation, and that in turn creates a better environment in your body for your cardiovascular system in a number of ways. Losing weight also puts less stress on your heart to pump blood throughout your body.
So what have I not mentioned already?
Scientists have proven that a Ketogenic Diet lowers Triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that is a known risk factor for heart disease. It may seem counterintuitive that adding fat to your diet can reduce the amount of this type of fat in your blood, but it has everything to do with the way your body processes fat versus how it processes sugar. Sugar ends up turning into Triglycerides. Fat does not. It’s all fairly complex, incredibly amazing science.
Keto can increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases LDL (bad cholesterol).
Side note: HDL and LDL are not cholesterol at all. They’re proteins that act as shuttles for cholesterol. HDL is the one that gathers up excess Cholesterol and shows it the way out. That’s why they call it “good”.
That’s another oversimplification, but hopefully you get the point which is that Keto reduces the risk of heart disease by improving your body’s management of cholesterol. In fact, your body needs cholesterol for lots of healthy functions (like cortisol production and regulation), so it’s important that it can get where it needs to go. Managing a healthy balance of HDL and LDL is vital for those functions.
The most obvious thing I’ve seen in my life is that my blood pressure is lower now on a regular basis. Additionally, I seem to have more cardio endurance than I did before. In fact, as I’ve written this post, I’ve had to pause a couple times to run up and down the basement stairs, just to burn off a little excess energy. That process barely raises my pulse. There was a time when I would have been breathing heavy and sweating at the end of something like that. I’m not joking about that, by the way. Sitting at a desk all day is tough. It’s best to get up and move from time to time and get your blood going. I can do that now without needing a nap because…. Keto.
I wanted to provide you some additional places to find information that we’ve found helpful. Rather than go in depth on each one, I’ll just provide the link with a brief description. I may do a more in depth book review on some of these later.
Your 30 Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease
By Dr. Josh Axe
Tons of easy-to-understand science that explains how and why Keto works for many people.
The book even includes a bunch of good recipes!
The Obesity Code
Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
By Dr. Jason Fung, MD
One of the best and most inspiring books I've read on the subject. Lots of history about diet trends, a bit of science and biology, and a great deal of easy to understand information. This book puts weight loss into real perspective.
While not strictly about Keto, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their health through their diet.
Lies My Doctor Told Me
Medical Myths That Can Harm Your Health
By Dr. Ken Berry, MD
I initially read this book because I follow Dr. Berry on his YouTube channel. He provides a TON of useful information there, so I had to read his book. I was NOT dissapointed.
This book takes a practical approach to addressing your health with your diet as a lifestyle rather than a quick fix. Dr. Berry manages to be both informative and entertaining in a book that's well worth a second and third read through.
Thanks for Reading
There are really a ton more reasons to give Keto a shot. I wanted to tell you about a few of the ones that finally convinced me because I’ve seen real results.
We’re not doctors or professional health / fitness people. We just found something that genuinely works for us and we wanted to share it with others who may find some of the same benefits we did.
If you decide to try Keto or have questions, please drop us a line in the comments below, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us on our Facebook Page where we share and discuss Keto recipes and tips all the time.
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