Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

In recent years, dietary fat has been vilified and classified as unhealthy, artery-clogging and disease-causing. As a result, “low-fat” labels are slapped onto products and they’re marketed with aggressive campaigns, touting them as healthier and better-for-you—even when that’s not actually true.

However, more and more emerging research has come to the same conclusion: eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, a diet high in healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and seeds can actually come with a host of pretty impressive health benefits. Enter the ketogenic diet, an eating plan centered around trading empty carbs for ample amounts of fat and protein. This diet has been making headlines lately, and for good reason—it’s been shown to improve just about every aspect of health and wellbeing, from reducing the risk of chronic disease to catapulting you towards your weight loss goals.

Need more convincing? Here are a few of the top reasons that you should consider giving keto a try and eating more (healthy) fat in 2018.

1) It Ramps Up Weight Loss

If you’re like most people, dropping a few extra pounds was likely on your list of New Year’s resolutions. But if you’re finding that the scale won’t budge no matter how many times you hit the gym, a ketogenic diet may be right for you. In fact, a review in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those following a ketogenic diet were able to achieve better long-term weight management than those on a low-fat diet.

Additionally, healthy fats and proteins—the key components of a ketogenic diet—tend to be more filling and satisfying than a diet high in refined carbohydrates. Eating protein and fat has also been shown to result in a greater reduction in levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, compared to carbohydrates.

Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

2) It Protects Against Heart Disease

Although many people have the misconception that a high-fat diet is directly related to heart disease, there is a growing body of research showing that the ketogenic diet may actually be protective against heart disease by reducing several heart disease risk factors. One study out of Kuwait, for instance, found that following a ketogenic diet for 24 weeks resulted in lower levels of triglycerides, bad LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar, while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol in obese patients.

Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

3) It Boosts Longevity

Filling up on the healthy fats isn’t just good for your health and waistline in the short term, but it may also help you live longer. A study in The Lancet looked at over 135,000 adults from 18 countries and found that a higher carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher risk of total mortality, while a higher intake of total fat (including different types of fat) was associated with a lower risk of total mortality.

Not only that, but the ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce the risk of several other types of chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer, which can also help keep you healthy and extend your lifespan.

Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

4) It Fights Off Cancer

Some studies have found that cancer cells feed off of refined sugar and carbohydrates. As a result, eliminating these nutrient-poor, pro-inflammatory foods from your diet and loading up on heart-healthy fats instead can help “starve” cancer cells and keep them from spreading. In fact, a review in the journal Redox Biology even suggested that a ketogenic diet may be effective as an adjuvant therapy for cancer, noting that a high-fat, low-carb diet could help selectively sensitize cancer cells to radiation and chemotherapy.

Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

5) It Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to rise and your pancreas to pump out insulin, which is the hormone responsible for the transport of sugar from the blood. A carbohydrate-rich diet keeps blood sugar levels high, forcing your body to produce more and more insulin to keep up with the constant demand. Eventually, this can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar and even diabetes. Carbohydrates are restricted on the ketogenic diet, which can help maintain normal blood sugar and control the release of insulin. Multiple studies have actually shown that reducing your carbohydrate intake can prevent high blood sugar and even help reverse insulin resistance.

Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

Transitioning to a Ketogenic Diet

When starting on a ketogenic diet, remember that everyone has a different “ideal” level of carbs for their body and lifestyle. While most people aim for 30-50 grams of net carbs per day to stay in ketosis, this number may vary. To find your carb limit, try experimenting by slowly adding 5 grams of complex carbs from fruits or vegetables into your diet and monitoring your ketone levels until you notice a drop.

If you find it difficult to stick to a low-carb diet or have a very active lifestyle, you may also want to consider carb cycling. This allows you to increase your carb intake 2-3 times per week — especially when you’re most active — while still taking advantage of the benefits of keto benefits.

Additionally, although the ketogenic diet is high in fat, that doesn’t mean that you should start filling your plate with greasy fast food. Instead, check out my keto diet food list and opt for healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Note that some people may experience “keto flu” symptoms like headaches, bad breath, and fatigue when transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, these symptoms should subside within 1-2 weeks of starting the diet. To minimize those symptoms and maintain a healthy diet, be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid processed foods and synthetic ingredients, and include a good variety of non-starchy vegetables to help meet your micronutrient needs.

This story "Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Ketogenic Keto Diet" was written by Josh Axe.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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