Keto diet for Joint Pain
“Keto” is undoubtedly a buzzword these days, and for a good reason.
In addition to rapid weight loss on the ketogenic diet, there are also many other medical benefits:
- Lowered blood sugar levels.
- Improved cholesterol and lipid panel.
- Increased insulin sensitivity.
The incredibly long list also includes:
- Mood stabilization.
- Increased energy and mental function.
It has also shown to be beneficial to those suffering from:
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Early dementia.
- Mental health disorders and.
- Even some cancers.
Chronic pain / Chronic Joint Pain is also in the list of benefits.
The research so far has shown there to be a three-fold combination of ketogenic benefits which aid in neurological and other inflammatory pains.
We’ll look at all three shortly.
First, let’s understand the basics of the keto diet, to get clarity on how it can help with chronic pain relief.
The Keto Diet Explained
A ketogenic diet is a low-carb way of eating. Instead of using sugar to provide the energy, ketosis compels the body to use stored fat for energy.
Our body produces ketones; the alternate cleaner fuel when carbs aren’t present! When on a ketogenic diet, followers are advised to limit carbohydrates, get sufficient protein and high fat on a 5%-25%-70% caloric ratio, respectively.
The percentages may vary slightly for specific individuals; however, the ratio demonstrates a high percentage of calories absorbed from fats. It sounds unrealistic at first. However, gram for gram: fat has more than twice the calories of carbohydrates or proteins. There are nine calories per gram of fat versus only four calories per gram of carbs and proteins.
Many foods you are currently eating is taboo in a keto diet, and some of these foods could be causing you inflammation and pain.
What to Eat?
The easiest way to summarize keto-approved foods is to label it as clean eating.
Many keto-approved foods are both delicious and satiating.
Here are the basics:
Good fats. Avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, full-fat dairy and eggs are ideal for reaching the goal of 70% daily fat.
The best choices in vegetables have the least amount of carbs. Examples are dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, collards, etc. Plants grown above the ground like broccoli and cauliflower are great for a keto meal.
String beans and squash are also good options.
Zucchini is also a favourite with keto-ers, especially since the arrival of spiralizers in the kitchen.
Even though, nuts are a good source of both protein and fat; eat them in moderation.
Similarly, fruits should be limited to berries, as most other fruits are high on carbs.
Lean meats with the least amount of processing are optimal.
Shellfish is another excellent option; however, watch out for the fat content!
What NOT to Eat in a ketogenic diet?
This list is so small that people doubt it at first.
The list of foods to avoid:
Stay away from processed foods.
Say no to sugary/starchy fruits.
Avoid underground starchy vegetables.
Legumes & grains.
Many of the foods mentioned above cause inflammation and therefore, pain.
The Triad of Keto on Chronic Joint Pain
There are three specific components in the ketogenic way of eating, which help with controlling chronic pain relief.
Some argue most pain issues originate with inflammation.
And it turns out; sugar is inflammatory.
Research and common sense indicate a diet high in carbohydrates could undoubtedly be the source of at least some of your chronic pain.
Say goodbye to painkillers and hello keto diet!
- Less Weight equals Less Pain.
A significant benefit of the ketogenic diet is weight loss. When you weigh less, there is less pressure on joints and stiff bones, hence less pain in Joints. It makes perfect sense.
The human body has more self-healing mechanisms than most realize. Adenosine is the body’s naturally produced anti-inflammatory analgesic. Studies have shown a direct correlation between the state of ketosis with higher adenosine levels.
Ingested sugar, which is highly inflammatory, sets off the insulin alarms to help get the sugar to the cells that need energy. What happens when there is extra sugar roaming around? Most of it is converted to fat.
Double trouble: Sugar is not only inflammatory but also responsible for increased fat stores. The ketogenic diet is devoid of inflammatory sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Remove the sugar, remove the pain? Maybe “remove the pain” is reaching a bit, but the science is there.
Those with IBS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, and any number of other problems where inflammation is at the core could benefit from a great deal of relief.
Additionally, better mental focus increased strength and stamina, and improved overall health is all part of the reward plan of the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet is an excellent option for most people with unlimited benefits but unfortunately isn’t for everyone.
There are certain circumstances where one should not entertain the ketogenic lifestyle.
As always, discuss drastic dietary changes with medical professionals to be on the safe side.