The idea of low carb diets such as the keto diet have been around for years, and have always had an air of controversy to them. Some people insist that such diets increase cholesterol and heart disease risk due to their reliance on fat, while several scientific studies have shown that low carb diets can offer health benefits .Let’s look at five benefits of the keto diet and a suitable alternative called carb cycling. But who wins the battle between carb cycling vs keto? Let’s try to find out. We’ll start with the benefits of the keto diet.
Top 5 Benefits of the Keto Diet
1. Reduced Appetite
The hardest part of dieting will always be the hunger pangs. It’s why a lot of people give up. However, eating less carbs has been shown to reduce appetite naturally. Studies show that reducing carbs and increasing protein and fat intake can lead to eating fewer calories naturally.
2. Better Initial Weight Loss
Going low carb has been shown to be the most effective way to lose weight initially. Studies show that people on low carb diets do indeed lose more weight than those on other diets. Low carb can help to shed more weight than calorie counting for some.
This is because it eliminates excess water and reduces insulin levels for quick and effective weight loss during the first few weeks. Low carb and low fat diets tend to balance out over time, but keto is always the way to go for rapid weight loss.
3. A Slimmer Abdomen
Most people diet to lose weight in their abdomen specifically. They want a slimmer figure and smaller tummy. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t work like that. Not all fat is created equal. Different fats in different areas can affect the risk to health.
Fat is generally broken down into subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. These are found under your skin and around your abdomen respectively. Visceral fat gathers around organs and presents a serious health risk. Low carb diets are the best at reducing visceral fat as most of the fat lost through these diets tends to come from the abdomen.
4. Increased HDL/”Good” Cholesterol Levels
Much like fat, not all cholesterol is created equal. The “good” cholesterol is HDL cholesterol. The more of that you have compared to LDL (bad) cholesterol, the better. One of the best ways to boost HDL levels is to eat fat, which can be found in spades in a low carb diet.
It’s hardly surprising to learn that eating a healthy low carb diet can increase HDL levels, especially when compared to low-fat diets.
5. Reduced Insulin and Blood Sugar Levels
Low carb diets like the keto diet are great for people who want to manage their insulin and blood sugar levels. Many diabetics swear by the diet, with some suggesting it has even reversed the condition for them.
Studies show that reducing carb intake has a significant impact on blood sugar levels. Diabetics who start a keto diet could find they need half as much insulin as usual almost instantly. One study in particular looked at type-2 diabetics. 95% of the people in the study reduced, if not eliminated, their dependence on glucose-reducing medication within 6 months.
Why You Should Consider Carb Cycling
As great as the keto diet can be, not everyone is ready for that kind of commitment. The thought of not eating carbs at all can be scary and intimidating. That’s where the idea of carb cycling comes in. This offers a combination of a low-carb diet with the chance to eat carbs on occasion.
Carb cycling takes a planned approach to making eating carbs part of a low carb diet. Rather than following the same ratio of carbs/fat/protein each and every day, you follow a low carb diet for a few days and have one day as a “refeed” day where you’re allowed to eat some carbs.
It could be as simple as a cycle of three days on, one day off or six days on, one day off. What matters is that you give yourself the chance to settle your cravings for sugar. Just don’t go overboard of course! You should still aim to eat healthy.
No matter how you choose to approach the ketogenic diet, you can only get results through consistency. That’s one way in which it’s like every other diet. No matter whether you go straight keto, choose carb cycling, or an entirely different diet, you have to stick with it and follow it through. That’s the key to losing weight and achieving any other goal you’ve set for yourself.