A ketogenic diet helps your teeth? Explain how!
Sometimes my brain is a stupid idiot, bent on my destruction. Bad decisions require minimal synaptic paperwork. I’ll be chugging along killing it on my keto diet when suddenly my mind starts yelling “You know what we need right now, a reminder of that time Andrew made a sandwich out of a pizza!”
Conversely, every idea that actually benefits me doesn’t seem to overtake my brain. I’m constantly having to prove to my conscious mind that my good ideas are, well, good! Keto is one of those good ideas.
Chances are if you’re like me, you can come up with a million reasons not to do something healthy. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could come up with a million reasons to change your life for the better? Well, it won’t be a million. It’ll be five and it’ll be about the Ketogenic Diet.
The Ketogenic diet is helping people all over the world lose weight, get healthy and feel better. However, like any lifestyle change you’re going to experience some resistance. If you’re only armed with one reason to do something, you could get overwhelmed by the horde of self-sabotage that lurks in the corners of our brains. That’s why, for me, it’s important to come up with a smorgasbord of good reasons to keep doing something healthy. I have a feeling these will help you too. If the only positive I was getting from the ketogenic diet was simply weight loss, I think I could talk myself out of it just to indulge in the fleeting pleasures of an afternoon muffin. But armed with multiple, interesting and cool benefits of the ketogenic diet, I can keep those harlot muffins where they belong, in apocalypse-proof plastic wrapping, next to the rack of children’s sunglasses near my drugstore checkout line.
1. SMILE, BABY
People all know the familiar rhyme, “Healthy mouth, healthy down south. “. Which isn’t what it sounds like…I think it means that if your mouth isn’t gross then you’re probably healthy. Dental health has been linked to overall health probably because your mouth is part of your body and you’re definitely not in good shape if parts of your body are falling out or rotting. The ketogenic diet is low carb and very, very low sugar. Sugar and refined carbs are the main culprits behind tooth decay, causing certain bacteria in your mouth to overfeed and release excess acid, which causes cavities. The absence of sugar and carbs keeps these bacteria from going bananas and as a result, you have a much slimmer chance of developing cavities and gum disease. You might think that “not getting cavities” is not really that great of reason but have you paid for a cavity as an adult? It costs more than taking an entire family to Disneyland. I’d personally prefer to go on Space Mountain than flip through a copy of Highlights from 1992 while I wait for someone to stick a drill in my face. Dentists agree that there are numerous benefits to oral health from the ketogenic diet with the only negative listed as “keto breath” and, baby, keto breath just lets me know I’m in the zone.
The ketogenic diet puts you into a metabolic state where you burn fat for energy. This is why it’s so effective for people who want to lose weight. But another factor in controlling our weight is that it improves our insulin response. A side benefit of this is weight loss (of course), but it also provides better control over hunger and cravings. Oh, and it improves your insulin resistance. I was prediabetic before my ketogenic diet. Thanks to said diet, I am no longer prediabetic…
That’s a big deal because there are a lot of health consequences to having Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetics with Type 2 and Type 1 have reported success in better controlling their blood sugar and insulin with the ketogenic diet. Always check with your doctor prior to changing a diet, particularly if you have diabetes as the nature of treatment could change as your insulin response gets better. I’m not Wilford Brimley on a horse, I’m a dude on the internet. Talk to your doctor.
3. BRAIN DRAIN
Every day as a sleep-deprived parent is like an ultra-high resolution, 3-dimensional dementia simulator, so I’m aware of how important brain function is. Good news, ketogenic cadets, the keto diet is also good for your brain.
New research is linking poor insulin response and disorders to brain function problems ranging from memory lapse to full-on Alzheimer’s disease. The ketogenic diet could be crucial in combating these diseases and preventing them in the first place. So keep eating that grass fed butter and watching those carbs and you’re well on your way to holding in an embarrassing “brain fart.”
4. BUTTER VS DEPRESSION
How can you be sad eating bacon? Maybe if you’re a drifter cowboy who’s seen some things in the desert he can’t unsee and now he wants to hang his guns up on the wall forever because “she ain’t coming back, man…” But for the rest of us, a plate full of bacon and eggs is pretty great. New research suggests that eating a low carb, ketogenic diet, has a positive effect on mood. I can personally attest that after struggling with depression for the better part of my life, I feel genuinely happier on this diet. Dr. El-Mallakh, a psychiatrist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine believes that part of the reason for this might be because blood sugar crashes and low energy mimic the symptoms of depression. People on ketogenic diets no longer experience these crashes to the same degree. There is also interesting research being done on the link between serotonin and carbohydrate consumption and that a reduction in carbohydrates can positively impact serotonin levels in a way that can treat depression.
5. KETO AND CANCER
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the ketogenic diet is in the battle with cancer. While it’s too early to tell, there is promising research that suggests a link between sugar consumption and accelerated cancer cell growth. Pair that with the effects of “starving” cancer cells by denying them their favorite food source (glucose) and the effects are looking more and more promising. All of this research is in its infancy, but there is some amazing work being done by people like Dr. Thomas N. Seyfried, Dr. Roberto E. Flores, Dr. Angela M. Poff and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino that links cancer cell growth to metabolic disorders.
The idea of fighting cancer with coconut oil and chicken wings fried in lard is simply too awesome to not get excited about. It brings to mind that old adage from Hippocrates, “Let bacon be thy medicine and medicine be thy bacon.” Well, you know how it really goes.
I hope that this has gotten you a little more pumped to stick with your ketogenic diet. Making a lifestyle change isn’t easy, even if it means you get to eat steak whenever you want. Giving yourself some extra reasons to stick with your diet can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the long haul. Raise your mugs of butter coffee high! Let’s drink to success on your keto journey!