FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Is the Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss Safe?

 

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Sally Feltner, PhD, RDN

Glucose is the preferred fuel for the body to use for energy. However, when carbohydrates are limited there may not be adequate glucose for energy use. The body can make some glucose from protein but it can also supply an energy source from fatty acids called ketones.

Ketones ( ketosis) are molecules formed in the liver from fatty acids and released in the blood when there is not sufficient carbohydrate. Ketosis can be generated in a ketogenic diet by fasting or by strictly restricting carbohydrate intake to less than 20-40 grams a day. Fat intake is increased to about 70-80 percent of total calories. Protein intake makes up the rest of the calories.

Ketone production is a normal response to starvation or to a diet very low in carbohydrate. Ketones can be used for energy by the heart, muscle, and kidney. After about three days of fasting, even the brain adapts and can obtain about half its energy from ketones. Ketones not used are excreted in urine. However, if produced in excess, they can build up in the blood. If severe in untreated diabetes, it can increase the blood’s acidity so much that normal body processes cannot proceed, eventually causing possible coma or even death.

The ketogenic diet was originally developed to treat children with epilepsy with some success. Lately, it has become a new diet trend in weight loss. When ketones are used for energy, the body can burn fat stores more efficiently often resulting in rapid body fat loss. Ketosis also lessens hunger helping to avoid excessive calorie intake.

In general, registered dietitians, but not all, do not recommend the ketogenic diet for weight loss due to some serious concerns about its safety. This is due to the lack of research especially on long-term effects. It may in some people cause adverse kidney function and bone metabolism leading to a reduction in bone mineral content. Since it is a carbohydrate restrictive diet, there may be other nutritional deficiencies that occur from a lack of fruits, vegetables, or fiber-rich foods. It is also generally a high fat diet causing some to question the safety of consuming high saturated fats and increasing heart disease risks.

There are other cautions. It is estimated that about 7 million people don’t know they have diabetes type 2. With a high number of people in the population that may have undiagnosed diabetes, the serious dangers of high levels of ketones in the blood can have serious consequences as previously discussed above.

Food choices should be monitored by a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) in order to keep the carbohydrate content low and help the dieter choose healthy fats. Electrolytes such as sodium and magnesium should be assessed periodically. Lab values for total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, blood glucose and blood pressure should be monitored.

My opinion? Long-term use of the ketogenic diet is not recommended until more research tells us more about its safety. Perhaps it may help people  to lose weight on a short-term basis; however, please consult your physician before trying any version of a ketogenic diet.

For more click HERE.

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More Glyphosate News?

The news continues to warn about the extensive use of glyphosate. While its carcinogenicity still remains to be determined, there are other health concerns about its extensive use. There are so many questions and biases  about the production and use of the herbicide from both sides of the  issue. Have the research findings been suppressed by the industry? Have they have been altered by the corporations that produce it? That depends on which side one believes. It is extremely hard to find an unbiased opinion about an important topic regarding our food supply.

CLICK HERE.

For more news about Ben & Jerry ice cream, click HERE.


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Is Soy Safe? Or Not?

Soy foods have been the subject of such controversey in the past decades, it is almost impossible to sort out the sense from the nonsense. The latest article I could find explains the confusion. The article is a long read, but well worth it if you are a tofu, soy, edamame lover  or eat any type of vegan diet and rely on soy foods for your protein source.

CLICK HERE.

 


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Another Certification: Glyphosate?

CLICK HERE

Concerned about the herbicide glyphosate? Soon you may see yet another label or residue -free seal on supermarket foods. Will there be room on food labels to list everything that is not in the product?

Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.

See my previous post HERE.

Source: Wikipedia

 


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The Hazards of Diet Supplements

We are a country obsessed with dietary supplements. Try taking them away and see how people resist the idea.  But do we need all those vitamins and minerals- sometimes, especially during key growth periods (pregnancy and childhood)?

So you think that just to be sure, you should take them as insurance against certain diseases. Maybe not. Sometimes excess is not the answer and may become harmful.  A famous example was a study that gave beta carotene  supplements(vitamin A) to smokers. The reason was that beta carotene was thought to be protective against lung cancer since it functions as an antioxidant. The result showed that there were more cases of lung cancer in the vitamin group than in those smokers given a placebo. Subsequent studies supported this finding.

What does the research say? You may be surprised.

Read the article HERE.

 

 

 


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The Mac and Cheese Dilemma ?

Just recently, there have been many scary articles in the food news about chemicals called phthalates in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a favorite (according to the ads) of our kids.

Marion Nestle gives us the facts and suggests some reasonable and simple advice about how to avoid this alleged problem.

Read about it HERE.