JM | Feb 23, 2023

Why a keto diet may be the best choice for you

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is not often that individuals are encouraged to increase their fat intake, however, a diet with low carbohydrates replaced with high-fat foods such as cheese, fish and meats can provide a myriad of health benefits such as weight loss and reduce the blood sugar and pressure level in the body.

A ketogenic, or keto, diet refers to a diet that lowers carbohydrate intake and replacing them with fat which helps the body burn fat energy. Keto diets have been in existence since the early 19th Century, however not many people are aware of the many health benefits that the diet can yield.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, in an article titled Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss, In the 19th Century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. 

Studies also suggest that keto diets are used under the supervision of physicians for diabetes, cancer and epilepsy.

Weight loss

The keto diet has several health benefits, however one of the most profound health benefits of the diet is weight loss. The keto diet deprives the body of carbohydrates which provides the body with energy, this then forces the body to break down fat stored in the liver into molecules known as ketones.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health noted that for most people to begin using stored fat as fuel, they need to limit daily carbohydrate intake to fewer than 20 to 50 grams depending on body size.

Once the body begin to use of the fat in the liver for energy, the process is classified as ketosis. This can result in weight loss once the method is maintained consistently. In order to achieve the desired weight loss, the diet must be followed for a few days a week and to prevent weight regain.

Great source of energy

The keto diet also increases energy in the body because when you replace carbohydrates with fat, the body breaks down the fat to produce energy. The body breaks down this fat into a compound which is known as ketone. Instead of using glucose produced from carbohydrates, ketone serves as the body’s main source of energy.

Lower the risk of heart disease

Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths in the Caribbean. According to a report published by the World Health Organization, in 2020 coronary heart disease deaths in Jamaica reached 1,726 or 9.88 per cent of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate is 49.69 per 100000 of the population.

Studies have suggested that the keto diet reduces the risk of heart disease because keto diet is associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which absorbs cholesterol in the body and takes it to the liver to be flushed from the body as waste product.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high levels of HDL can reduce the risk of individuals developing heart disease. Heart disease refers to a disease that affects the heart and blood vessels.

Lower blood sugar level

Research has also shown that the keto diet can assist persons with type-2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels. When individuals consume foods high in carbohydrates, the body breaks down those foods into glucose, raising blood sugar levels.

The keto diet substitutes the carbohydrates in the diet for fats, therefore it is the preferred choice for a person with type-2 diabetes because it lowers and stabilises the blood sugar level in the body.

Lower blood pressure

Another great health benefit of the ketogenic diet is the reduction in the blood pressure level in the body. A reduction in carbohydrates in the diet is a great way to maintain the blood sugar level in the body. Hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, is a major health issue affecting several Jamaicans, mainly because of their food choices.

According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in 2019, one in three Jamaicans were hypertensive (35.8 per cent women and 31.7 per cent men). The report also revealed that four out of 10 persons with the disease were unaware that they were hypertensive (60 per cent men and 26 per cent women).

Foods to eat while on keto diet:

  • Seafood
  • Meat and poultry
  • Diary products
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Fruits and vegetable

Foods to avoid while on Keto diet:

  • Grains
  • Foods with high starch content
  • Sugary products (sodas, syrups, juices)
  • Crackers
  • Gluten products
  • Legumes


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