Diets come and diets go, but the Keto diet reigns in popularity. And surprisingly, it keeps getting more popular. Users of CBD might be wondering if their CBD use could adversely affect a ketogenic diet, and vice versa, but CBD and keto actually work in beautiful synergy together. This makes it a popular combo for athletes and biohackers, much like intermittent fasting and CBD or paleo and CBD. Most people on the keto diet know that it’s also key to find supplements that are keto-friendly, and it turns out CBD is one of them! Those who combine keto and CBD claim that its mind and body benefits make it an ideal choice for those looking for holistic weight loss, or simply holistic health.
What is the ketogenic diet?
A keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that can help the body burn fat more effectively. Keto is short for ketogenic, named because the diet can promote the creation of little fuel molecules called ‘ketones’. Ketones are used for energy when glucose (the body’s main source of fuel) is in short supply. Essentially, by depriving yourself of carbs, your body produces less glucose and is forced to burn fat to produce ketones.
When you enter a state of burning carbs and producing ketones, your body has entered ‘ketosis’. While the ketogenic diet does have benefits for those looking to shed some extra pounds, proponents of the diet claim that it has other paybacks:
If you’ve ever given up on a diet before, it probably came down to one simple fact: you were hungry. However, studies show that low-carb diets can actually make you less hungry. It makes sense if you think about it too: if you’re eating high fat and moderate protein, it’s likely that you’ll be fuller faster. Most people on keto diets end up eating fewer calories than they previously did, even while eating fats.
In the recent past, inflammation has become a buzzword in the medical and wellness community. Researchers are building on inflammation as the common factor between several diseases. An article published by Harvard Medical School claimed that “The four horsemen of the medical apocalypse — coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's — may be riding the same steed: inflammation.” While that sounds worrying, it’s important to note that inflammation isn’t inherently bad; it’s an important part of the body’s healing process. It’s only when it gets out of hand and begins overreacting to things that aren’t threatening, that it can damage one’s health.
Some early symptoms of inflammation are brain fog, anxiety, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The keto diet fights inflammation with the heroes of the diet: ketones. Ketones can be powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Also, there are links between ketosis and increased autophagy, the mechanism by which cells repair and clean themselves of old gunk.
Greater insulin sensitivity
By simply reducing weight, the keto diet can help fight insulin resistance: a precursor to diabetes. But there’s more to it than just that: ketones may also increase insulin sensitivity (which is the opposite of insulin resistance), which could make the diet doubly beneficial.1 Health experts warn that the keto diet can’t and shouldn’t be used as a cure for insulin resistance issues, but it might be useful in prevention.
Benefits of combining keto and CBD
We now know that the ketosis has several purported benefits, just like CBD. But how can they help each other? Anectodal reports suggest that not only can CBD help you stick to the ketogenic diet (we’ll expand on how exactly that works further on) but they also share several supposed benefits. Here are the most popular reasons for using CBD on keto.
Fighting hunger with ketones and CBD
Most people would think it makes sense to stay away from all things cannabis if you’re on a diet, because of the widely known ‘munchies’ that smoking cannabis causes. However, you can blame the appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis on THC, the same compound in cannabis that gets you ‘high’. CBD, on the other hand, might actually have the opposite effect.
Even though you feel it in the stomach, hunger actually originates in the brain – the hypothalamus controls appetite and modulates the secretion of 2 hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin stimulates the feeling of being full. When these hormones are overproduced or underproduced, it can stimulate intense cravings. By providing support to the endocannabinoid system (or ECS), which in turn brings balance to the endocrine system, people using CBD on keto might find that they don’t want to cheat on their diet as much.2 This, compounded with the hunger-reducing effects of the ketogenic diet itself, is a match made in heaven for those prone to giving up on their diets.
Reducing inflammation with a keto CBD combo
Let’s circle back to inflammation, the ‘bad guy’ associated with several health conditions. CBD, being an anti-inflammatory agent can help give the keto diet a boost with reducing inflammation. CBD might also help with reducing oxidative stress associated with inflammation, and research suggests it could help with inflammation in the bowels.3
Many people start the keto diet for weight loss purposes, in conjunction with exercise and training – something CBD might be able to help with. It’s the main reason why athletes and bodybuilders often combine the ketogenic diet with CBD supplements. A major part of sporting is building muscle, a process that involves straining the muscle – promoting an inflammatory response – so it can rebuild itself stronger. However, if the inflammatory process is too prolonged, it can lead to muscle damage and pain. CBD, however, can promote a healthy inflammatory response, helping athletes bounce back faster after high-intensity sessions. So if you’re looking to lose weight with a combination of keto and physical activity, using a keto CBD combo could help make it easier for you to keep hitting the gym.
Lose weight with the ketogenic diet and CBD
It goes without saying that reduced hunger might lead to a reduction in weight, and we’ve already established that both ketones and CBD might help with that. But the benefits don’t stop there. People on the keto diet find that their initial weight loss is very rapid. This is mainly because the keto diet supports the flushing out of excess water from your system, which leads to fast weight loss in the first couple of weeks.5
Moreover, the ketosis apparently has a greater effect on fat around the abdominal cavity (or ‘belly fat’). Why is that important? Mainly because not all fat in the body is the same. There are about 5-6 different types of fat, but we’ll focus first on visceral fat. Visceral fat, the kind of fat that collects around the abdominal belt, lodges around the organs in the torso. Scientists and doctors link this kind of fat to a host of chronic diseases. Public health officials in the US and other western nations suggest that a reduction in belly fat could be key to reducing metabolic dysfunction. Ketogenic diets and cardio exercises are particularly good at reducing visceral fat. Reports suggest that those on low-carb diets tend to make you lose visceral fat first.6 Can combining keto and CBD increase the rate and degree of weight loss?
We can attribute CBDs benefits to several very important processes. First, it’s supposed action on 2 other types of fat: white fat and brown fat. White fat (or adipose fat) is associated with several health risks. Brown fat, on the other hand, can help with temperature regulation and speed up metabolism. Reports suggest that CBD might play a role in fat browning. This is the process of converting white fat to brown fat, which can help in burning calories.
Sleep plays a part!
A healthy sleep-wake cycle with adequate hours of sleep is also an integral part of weight loss, so much so that studies have linked a lack of sleep to weight gain and obesity.7 A balanced endocannabinoid system can support a healthy circadian rhythm for healthy and stable weight loss.
Get sharper brain function with keto and CBD
Not too many people consider brain health when dieting, but it’s an excellent by-product to have! As mentioned earlier, ketones are an incredibly efficient energy source for the brain. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease, can be an inflammatory response to brain cells becoming insulin resistant, and insulin resistance is something that a low carb diet can help prevent before it becomes a problem. Moreover, the diet can help clear out beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, which are known to be the ‘building blocks’ in Alzheimers. Scientists originally saw the ketogenic diet as beneficial benefits for epileptic patients. Thus, it's not that surprising that there might be many other brain benefits. But could combining keto and CBD double its mental benefits?
Research about CBD’s effects on the brain are ongoing, however, studies suggest that it might be a neuroprotectant and neurogenerative. This means it may help protect old neurons and promote the growth of new ones. Since it is an antioxidant, it might also reduce free radical damage in the brain. Also an anandamide reuptake inhibitor, CBD shows some more hidden benefits. Due to its euphoric effects, the other name for Anandamide is ‘the bliss molecule’. By inhibiting the reuptake of this chemical, CBD helps it stick around in the brain for longer, allowing you to feel the effects longer.
Can the keto diet help CBD?
These two health trends share a lot of the same benefits. But together, two important things may happen. First, CBD may help you stick to your keto diet longer. Second, it’s also theoretically possible that the ketosis could help prolong the effects of CBD. This could be a wonderful symbiotic relationship. Scientists are now focusing on the fact that CBD binds to fat and the keto diet is high in fats. Perhaps being on the keto diet could slow the absorption of CBD and help you feel the effects longer.
But does CBD oil take you out of ketosis?
No it doesn’t, which makes CBD oil perfectly keto-friendly. Hempure, for instance makes CBD drops and capsules with MCT oil as a carrier. MCT oil has its own benefits that make it popular within the keto community. For example, it can boost brain health, promote weight loss and increase energy levels. Combining keto, CBD and MCT oil can be the health care regimen that you’ve been waiting for!
When combining CBD and keto, you have many options available: add some CBD oil to your pre-workout meal or drink, add a capsule to your daily vitamin intake, or simply vape CBD oil through the day as you please.