The ketogenic diet is super-popular among the celebrity set right now (just check out these five stars who swear by it)—but unlike many health crazes, this one appears to be pretty sound. Case in point: A new study by researchers at the University of Oxford and University of British Columbia, suggests that keto shakes might have real benefits when it comes to controlling blood sugar.
In case you don’t spend time keeping up with Kim Kardashian, the keto diet—or, ketogenic diet—involves super-loading your nutritional intake with fats, rather than carbohydrates or proteins: no grains, no legumes, no fruits that aren’t berries, no sugar. The thinking goes that, when your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel (ketosis), you lose weight.
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This new study, published in the Journal of Physiology, didn’t look at fat-burning potential, but rather, how keto shake consumption helps control blood sugar spikes. Researchers corralled 20 healthy people willing to undergo a 10-hour fast on two separate occasions. Once that time was up, half the group drank a ketone monoester supplement (basically: a beverage that helps raise your blood ketone levels) and the other half drank a placebo shake.
Half an hour later, participants consumed 75 grams of sugar. They had their blood sugar tested regularly throughout the experiment, which they underwent twice. Compared to the placebo shake, keto shakes correlated with less extreme blood sugar spikes.
Researchers say this could be huge for helping people at risk for type 2 diabetes control glucose levels.
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Whether or not you’re diabetic, though, keeping blood sugar in check is crucial. “Glucose levels are critically important for the function of every cell in the body,” says Leslie Bonci, R.D., and the owner of Active Eating Advice.
Eating more fat may help us avoid blood sugar crashes. “What a lot of women do when they’re trying to lose weight is they cut their fat intake to an absolute minimum,” Bonci says. “The problem with that is you get hungrier sooner, food doesn’t have as much taste so we might consume more of it.” Fat keeps people feeling fuller for longer, and that might be part of the reason it helps people lose weight, Bonci says: less snacking throughout the day.
The only problem: Apparently, ketone monoester supplements taste pretty nasty, according to the study’s authors. So if you would like the apparent metabolism-boosting benefits of keto shakes without the nauseating taste, consider some of these keto-friendly smoothies.