Metabolic syndrome is a number of risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. According to dictionary.com, metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities which are associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include a large waist, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, low HDL levels as well as elevated blood sugar levels. While these are a cluster of symptoms and not a disease they are classed together. Their association with a variety of different diseases suggests that there is a common cause.
In addressing the common cause, treatments that work for one symptom and not the others should be considered inferior. The ketogenic diet improves symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome. Additionally, for each of the diseases associated with Metabolic Syndrome, the studies have shown favorable evidence that it is helpful. This supports the hypothesis that the ketogenic diet addresses the common cause.
Ketogenic Diet Treats Insulin Resistance
The ketogenic diet is diet very low in carbohydrates and high in fat. This is very effective at maintaining stable blood sugars. Carbohydrates have a tendency spike blood sugars and increase the complications that are associated with Diabetes.
As the body begins to burn the fats, it breaks them down into ketones. Because the body does not require glucose, it does not need to produce as much insulin.
Carbohydrate restriction tends to have a more favorable impact on metabolic syndrome compared to a low fat diet. The ketogenic diet can be effective in reducing anti diabetic medication dosage.
In a 2013 review published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was determined that a ketogenic will lead to significant improvements in blood sugar control, A1c levels, and can also lead to a discontinuation of insulin requirements.
The Ketogenic Diet to Address Obesity
Researchers have been studying whether a high fat diet can address the obesity that is associated with metabolic syndrome. In an article published in 2014 in the International Journal for Environmental Research and Public Health, it was determined that a ketogenic diet may be helpful to reduce obesity. A low carbohydrate ketogenic diet helps control hunger and improves fat oxidative metabolism. This will in turn reduce body weight.
New ketogenic diet recipes that mimic carbohydrate rich foods increase compliance to the diet. Many people want to continue eating some of their favorite flavors, but don’t want to add the carbohydrates to their diet.
While many were concerned about the long term effects of a ketogenic diet, researchers examined the impact of a ketogenic diet on obese patients over 24 weeks. The study was published in Experimental and Clinical Cardiology in 2004.
The patients saw weight and body mass index decrease significantly. The level of total cholesterol decreased as well. HDL levels in the patients increased significantly, while LDL levels decreased after the treatment. The triglycerides showed a significant decrease during the 24 weeks of treatment. Blood glucose levels also significantly decreased.
It was determined that the ketogenic diet is a safe treatment for obese patients. There were no negative side effects that were noticed.
Ketogenic Diet and High Blood Pressure
There is not a lot of research on the ketogenic diet and blood pressure. However, Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland published a comparison of the ketogenic diet and the DASH’s impact on blood pressure. They discovered that there was no difference in the reduction of blood pressure between the diets. The DASH diet and the ketogenic diet both decreased hypertension compared to the control.
The higher fat DASH diet produced lower triglyceride and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. This is due to eliminating the calories from juices and other natural sugars which are permitted on the DASH diet.
Ketogenic Diet and Cholesterol Levels
Researchers have investigated the impacts of very low carbohydrate diets on the important metrics of cardiovascular health, including HDL cholesterol levels.
The diet was limited to less than 50 grams of carbohdyrates. This is lower than is recommended to diabetics. Researchers included 13 randomized controlled studies with 1,415 subjects. The studies lasted for a full year. The low carbohydrate diets were compared to low fat diets.
Twelve studies examined the impact of HDL cholesterol. The individuals who were assigned to the very low carbohydrate diet achieved an increase in HDL of 0.12 mmol/L. This increase was double what the low fat dieters experienced at 0.06 mmol/L. The authors concluded that carbohydrate restricted diets improve the levels of HDL in the body.
The ketogenic diet is extremely effective in addressing the wide variety of conditions that are associated with Metabolic Syndrome. While these symptoms may seem unrelated, the ketogenic diet has been successful at treating them. The conditions seem to be linked through insulin resistance. The ketogenic diet is successful at treating insulin resistance as it reduces the glucose that is introduced to the body. This allows the body to correct the underlying cause.
The ketogenic diet could also be used to prevent metabolic syndrome in individuals who have a family history of metabolic syndrome. The ketogenic diet is becoming easier and easier to follow as more and more people are adopting it as a way of life.
To get started with the ketogenic diet, check out the free cookbook, Bacon and Butter. It has a free digital version and an option for shipping. Bacon and Butter will give you lots of ketogenic recipes and information on how to implement the ketogenic diet in your life.
6 thoughts on “The Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Syndrome”
I have heard of the ketogenic diet and metabolic syndrome but had no idea what they really were. This has certainly opened my eyes and given a better understanding. Thank you 🙂
Hi Melinda Thanks for another great post about this way of eating and lifestyle. Love the freebies as well and the more I know the more I may introduce into my diet. To your continued success
I am so glad to see the Keto diet become more mainstream. I like the idea of using food to heal our bodies, but I could never go Vegan because meat is just so tasty and nutritious!
What are your thoughts on the Keto diet and the role it can play in Intermittent Fasting?
I don’t do intermittent fasting. I know that many people love it and it can be healing. I know that consuming more protein and fat can keep you feeling full longer.
Awesome article! I really learned a lot from this. Keep it up!
I didn’t know that the ketogenic diet can help us treat metabolic syndrome.