Addressing the Keto Craze
On Our Minds
Do you have a friend who is constantly bashing her body? Who categorizes food as “good” or “bad”? Who maybe even comments on other people’s bodies as being “too big” or even “too small?” Do you?
In today’s world, it is difficult to escape diet culture. We have to be the change if we want to see the change. If it’s coming from a friend, show them love and support. If it’s coming from you, show yourself compassion and acceptance. In both situations, work on changing your language around food and your body (and bodies in general). Instead of focusing how to change your appearance, speak positively about the function of your body or what it allows you to do (ex. playing at the beach with your kids, walking to work, hugging your loved ones).
Instead of looking at food as “good” or “bad” or high in calories, think about food as nourishment. No one food or meal will make you lose or gain weight. Changing your behaviors around food by neutralizing your language, eating more mindfully and learning to choose foods that work for you will have a greater impact on your health than a particular food ever will.
In Good Health,
Lisa Brown & Jennifer Medina
Addressing the Keto Craze
Ketogenic (or “keto”) diets are all we are hearing about right now. According to keto enthusiasts, the ketogenic diet may have numerous benefits including protection from cognitive impairment, improved glycemic control for diabetics, reduced risk of developing cancer, improved cholesterol and lower blood triglycerides, and weight loss. After hearing this, you may be thinking, “Why am I not doing this?!”.
We’ll tell you why, but first let’s review the diet:
The ketogenic diet isn’t new. It’s been around since the 1920’s and has been historically used to treat epilepsy in children who didn’t respond to drug therapy. It is very high fat diet, very low carbohydrate diet that results in the production of ketones (byproducts of fat oxidation). This forces you to enter “ketosis”, a state in which the body uses ketones (or fat) for fuel instead of glucose (AKA carbohydrates). Despite being used for nearly a century, the mechanisms underlying its efficacy in epilepsy remain unknown.
So, what does a ketogenic diet look like?
Typically, the goal is to consume 75% of daily calories from fat, 5% daily calories from carbohydrate and 20% daily calories from protein. So, let’s say your calorie needs are 2000 (for easy math). This would look something like 167 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates and 100 grams of protein.
Food Translation: 3.5 tablespoons oil, ½ cup half and half, 2 eggs, 6 ounces sirloin, 5 ounces chicken thighs, 2 ounces cheddar cheese, 2 cups broccoli, 1 cup romaine lettuce and 1 avocado.
There are obvious drawbacks
First off, we don’t encourage consuming copious amounts of oil and half and half (and we love our veggies too much to be that restricted!). Second, this way of eating predisposes you to many nutritional deficits in energy (if you can’t get enough fat down), vitamins and minerals (lack of vegetables).
We are learning more and more about the gut microbiome and its impact on aging, digestion, the immune system, and cognitive function. Following a very low carbohydrate diet for a long period of can lead to gut dysbiosis and a reduction in the diversity of the gut flora. This may be due to restriction of fibrous vegetables which provide prebiotics (i.e. food for your “good bacteria”).
Another important fact: Carbohydrates play a very important role in regulating thyroid function (you know, that thing that basically controls your metabolism?). They are needed to convert the inactive T4 hormone into the active T3 hormone to ensure proper function of the thyroid.
Finally, you have to consider the effect any type of super restrictive diet will have on your life. It can be difficult to go out to eat, spontaneously meet a friend for drinks, or meet your grandma for tea and cookies. It also may require more time in the kitchen, food tracking, and lots of recipe research. You’ll also need to test your body with ketone strips to ensure you are in ketosis.
There are so many things to consider before embarking on any new diet. What works for someone, won’t always work for you. Tuning into your body is key. Need help? Reach out to us for an individualized evaluation and plan today!
While we don’t promote the ketogenic diet for weight control we also don’t promote extremely low fat diets. Fat is essential for hormone production, absorbing fat soluble vitamins (i.e. A, D, E and K) and for keeping us full and satiated from one meal to the next. More avocado please!
Recipe of the Month: Charred and Raw Corn with Chile and Cheese
- 4 ears of corn, husked
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
- ½ red chile (such as Holland or Fresno), with seeds, thinly sliced into rings
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, divided
- 2 oz fresh Cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
- Prepare grill for medium heat. Cut kernels from 1 corn cob and toss with shallot, chile, and lime juice in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Brush remaining 3 ears of corn with 1.5 tablespoons oil and grill, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred in spots, 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
- Cut kernels from cobs and add to reserved corn mixture along with cheese, cilantro and remaining 1.5 tablespoons oil. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.
Recipe slightly modified from Bon Appetit