The Ketogenic Diet: Fueling Your Body with Fats

Reading Time: 6 minutes The Ketogenic Diet: Fueling Your Body with Fats In a world where low-fat and low-calorie diets have dominated the weight loss scene for years, the ketogenic diet has emerged as a groundbreaking approach to shedding pounds and enhancing mental clarity. This dietary regimen, often referred to as keto, is not just a passing trend but a scientifically backed strategy for transforming your body by shifting the primary source of energy from carbohydrates to fats. In this article, we’ll dive into the science behind the ketogenic diet, explore its benefits, and provide guidance on how to get started. Understanding the Ketogenic Diet The ketogenic diet is characterized by its high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and moderate-protein intake. The primary goal of this diet is to induce a state of ketosis in the body. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body primarily relies on fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. To achieve this state, you must significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake, typically to around 5-10% of your daily caloric intake, while increasing your fat consumption to approximately 70-75%. The Science Behind Ketosis When you consume fewer carbohydrates, your body’s glucose reserves become depleted. As a result, your liver starts converting stored fat into molecules called ketones, which serve as an alternative energy source. This transition from glucose to ketones is what defines the ketogenic state. Ketones are not only an efficient energy source but also cross the blood-brain barrier, providing your brain with a steady supply of fuel. Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet and Getting Started with Keto! Weight Loss: One of the most significant benefits of the ketogenic diet is its effectiveness in weight management. By reducing carb intake and increasing fat consumption, your body enters a state where it burns stored fat for energy. This can lead to significant weight loss over time. Improved Mental Clarity: Many individuals on the keto diet report improved mental focus and clarity. This is attributed to the stable energy supply ketones provide to the brain, reducing fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Better Blood Sugar Control: For people with type 2 diabetes or those at risk, the ketogenic diet can help regulate blood sugar levels by reducing carbohydrate intake and improving insulin sensitivity. Epilepsy Management: The ketogenic diet was initially developed as a treatment for epilepsy. It remains a valuable therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. Getting Started with Keto Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before starting any diet, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Plan Your Meals: Create a meal plan that emphasizes healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, along with moderate protein sources like lean meats and fatty fish. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is crucial on the ketogenic diet to help balance electrolytes and minimize potential side effects like the “keto flu.” Monitor Ketosis: You can use ketone strips or a blood ketone meter to track your ketone levels and ensure you’re in ketosis. Be Patient: The initial transition to ketosis may come with side effects such as fatigue and cravings, but these usually subside within a few days to weeks. Celebrities Who Have Embraced the Ketogenic Diet The ketogenic diet has gained popularity not only among the general population but also among some well-known celebrities. Their experiences and endorsements have contributed to the widespread recognition of the diet. Here are a few notable celebrities who have tried or publicly discussed their experiences with the ketogenic diet: Halle Berry: Halle Berry, an Academy Award-winning actress, is known for her advocacy of the ketogenic diet. She has been quite vocal about her journey with type 2 diabetes and how the ketogenic diet has played a crucial role in managing her condition. Diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, Berry turned to the ketogenic diet to help her maintain stable blood sugar levels. She frequently shares her experiences and insights regarding how this dietary approach has positively impacted her health. Halle Berry’s story serves as an inspiring example of how the ketogenic diet can be used as a valuable tool for individuals dealing with diabetes and insulin resistance. LeBron James: LeBron James, a basketball legend in the NBA, is not just famous for his on-court prowess but also for his commitment to maintaining peak physical condition. During his offseason training, LeBron has reportedly adopted a ketogenic-inspired diet as part of his comprehensive fitness regimen. This dietary approach involves reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing healthy fat consumption to support his athletic performance. LeBron’s dedication to nutrition and his utilization of the ketogenic diet have been key factors in his ability to excel on the basketball court. Kim Kardashian: Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is widely recognized for her publicized weight loss journey and her association with the ketogenic diet. Following the birth of her children, Kim Kardashian credited the ketogenic diet for helping her shed post-pregnancy weight successfully. Her openness about her experiences and endorsement of the diet has led to increased public interest in the ketogenic lifestyle. Kim’s journey illustrates how the ketogenic diet can be used as a tool for weight management and post-pregnancy recovery, and her influence has contributed to the diet’s popularity. Hrithik Roshan: Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan is celebrated not only for his acting skills but also for his remarkable physique and commitment to physical fitness. To maintain his lean and sculpted body, Roshan has reportedly incorporated the ketogenic diet into his dietary regimen. This dietary approach involves reducing carbohydrate intake while increasing the consumption of healthy fats. Hrithik emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition, including a low-carb, high-fat diet, in achieving and maintaining his fitness goals. His dedication to both his craft and his physical health serves as an inspiration to many. Rana Daggubati: South Indian actor Rana Daggubati gained widespread recognition for his role as Bhallaladeva in the highly acclaimed “Baahubali” film series. Daggubati has openly discussed his experience with the ketogenic diet, particularly in terms of weight management and energy enhancement.

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Get Over with Dietary Cholesterol Confusion: Traversing through Facts

Reading Time: 4 minutes Get Over with Dietary Cholesterol Confusion… Traversing through Facts Dietary Cholesterol: An innocent bystander Blood cholesterol is undoubtedly a risk factor for heart diseases, but what about dietary cholesterol (the amount of cholesterol consumed in the diet)? For decades, dietary Cholesterol has been seen as a culprit for causing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. People have believed that dietary cholesterol contributes to an increase in blood cholesterol. But, Is this true? Let’s find out in this article. What is the role of Cholesterol in the body? Is it important?   Yes, cholesterol is essential for our body to carry out normal functions… Cholesterol is an integral part of cell membranes and helps in the synthesis of vitamin D, hormones (testosterone, estrogen), and fat-dissolving bile acids. Our brain is a cholesterol-rich organ with 20% of the body’s cholesterol embedded in white matter, synapses, and membranes of brain cells. So, the brain is essentially made of cholesterol, which is needed for proper nerve cell functioning. Is dietary cholesterol linked to blood cholesterol levels? Our body (Liver and intestines) synthesizes 80% of cholesterol from fats, sugars, and proteins and 20% comes from the food we eat. Dietary cholesterol is not the measure of serum cholesterol levels as the body tightly regulates the production of cholesterol. Whenever more amount of cholesterol is consumed, the body makes less, and vice versa. Recent studies have concluded that dietary cholesterol intake has less impact on blood cholesterol. There is a weak association between the amount of cholesterol consumed and heart diseases. How much cholesterol does the body need to be healthy? As per new guidelines, there is no specific recommendation on limits for the consumption of cholesterol from food. However, it is also stated to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, to maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol. Diets rich in saturated fats are associated with an increase in the risk of obesity, chronic diseases, and cognitive impairments/deficits.  Facts around dietary cholesterol according to the current evidence Current Literature support that dietary cholesterol does not increase the risk of heart disease in healthy individuals. As per Harvard Health, the type of fats [saturated/trans fats] and carbohydrates [excessive sugar] in the diet are majorly responsible for blood cholesterol levels and not dietary cholesterol. Role of cholesterol-lowering drugs/Statins Various factors contribute to the development of heart diseases such as inflammation, oxidative stress, high blood pressure, and smoking. Statins/Cholesterol-lowering drugs along with lifestyle modification reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in high-risk patients. Statins effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases owing to their cholesterol-lowering capability. They also help lower blood pressure, stabilize the plaque, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Experts recommend the rational use of cholesterol-lowering drugs in people who have  Higher levels of Cholesterol due to genetic Defects.  For those with Established Cardiovascular Diseases. Dietary sugar – A probable culprit for health issues Our body breaks down the carbohydrates we consumed as food, to the simplest sugar that serves as fuel to provide energy. Carbohydrates are a good source of fibre and nutrients along with energy. How much sugar does the body need to be healthy? It is recommended to consume 130 grams of (Complex) Carbohydrates daily approximating 45 to 65% of total calorie intake. Added sugar (sugary drinks, beverages, candies) does not provide any health benefits. However, American Health Association recommends a daily intake of added sugar should not exceed 25g to 36 gms (Table 1). Excessive sugar intake may lead to health issues such as obesity, memory loss, dental caries, diabetes, and high cholesterol/triglycerides levels. Facts around Dietary sugar according to the current evidence Excessive added sugar has negative effects on heart health as it; Can affect lipid metabolism and may produce metabolic abnormalities: A high sugar diet may make the liver synthesize more “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, decreases good cholesterol, and increase triglycerides levels which may accelerate atherosclerosis. Sugar-coated LDL particles have a higher tendency to initiate the process of atherosclerosis as they tend to stay longer in the bloodstream. Can cause abnormally high insulin levels which may eventually culminate in Insulin resistance, which is thought to be the cause of heart disease Conclusion Blood cholesterol is the major determinant for health-related issues and not dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is not linked with high blood cholesterol levels in most people. However, in certain population segments, high-cholesterol foods may raise the blood cholesterol level due to their genetic makeup. Diabetics also don’t get a free pass on consuming high-cholesterol foods, they need to keep a check on consumption. Word from Editor It is advisable to limit saturated fats (to < 10 % of the calorie intake), trans fats (fried/processed food), and added sugars in the diet to have good health. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 must be included as they promote mental health.  Make sure that you consume all essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through a balanced diet coupled with an exercise regime for a healthy heart and sound mind.  Stay healthy! Author: Dr. Aarti Nehra

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