The Keto Diet (see products below)
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?
As humans we are hardwired to believe our current diet is the best and any suggestion that we could improve our diet can be met with disbelief and anger. Normally we only make efforts to improve our diet when our health suffers, our Doctors puts us on prescription medication or excessive weight gains increase the risk of chronic metabolic diseases. Many have heard about the growing popularity of the Keto Diet but there are numerous misunderstandings, read on for more info.
The basic principle of the Keto Diet is to reduce our dependence on excess carbohydrates in the diet in favour of high quality fats such as those from coconut oil, avocados, eggs and so on. It shares many similarities with the Low Carb High Fat diet as well as the Paleo Diet. In fact, most of these diets that were its precursors have adopted the basic keto principles. The great revolution that the Keto Diet has brought to our nutritional understanding is the measuring of ketones as a sign that we have successfully become fat adapted. When we reduce our constant dependence on sugars for energy then the body may now burn fat instead, producing ketones in the liver that are sent into the bloodstream where they may be utilized by your muscles, tissues and brain as an alternative source of energy.
Normally the only time we produce ketones is when we are fasting, and this is indeed the main reason that fasting has beneficial effects on health and this can be seen with the growth of interest in intermittent fasting (IM). Intermittent fasting has been shown to extend life, prevent illness and is also used in the treatment of specific diseases for hundreds of years. The keto diet, when properly followed produces the same results on a daily basis without having to undergo strict fasting and there are an unlimited number of delicious recipes that can be made that keeps us within the "ketosis" range that is normally only seen when we fast. This is also the reason that a morning "Bulletproof" coffee has become popular. The morning is the best time to practice intermittent fasting and by adding healthy fats to coffee we also create appetite satiation that allows us to make it through to lunch time before needing to have our first meal of the day. Those who do this for only 1 month have found they feel great and lose significant weight while maintaining muscle.
Ketones are considered a clean fuel in comparison with sugar, as relying only on carbohydrates for energy can promote inflammation and metabolic imbalance, especially when taken in excess. Humans have evolved to use both energy sources but the modern diet with excessive calories from carbohydrates has switched off our ability to burn body fat.
As we all know, it's easy to gain fat but very difficult to lose it. This is where the keto diet provides the key and most importantly it is not guess work but an evidence based approach we may monitor on our own. Ketones may be measured in either our blood, urine or the most non-intrusive method of all, from the breath. All these testing equipment can be easily purchased and used in the comfort of our own home.
The 3 ketone bodies or ketones for short produced when we break down fat for energy are; Acetoacetate (AcAc), Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB) and Acetone. While blood ketone measuring is the most accurate it is not as convenient as it does involve drawing a tiny drop of blood to apply to the ketone strip. Our preference is breath ketone measuring, although while it only measures one of the ketones, acetone on the breath, it does give a strong correlation to the overall level of ketosis that one is in. This of course not to be confused with ketoacidosis which is a life threatening condition that diabetics must guard against and a sign of advance progression of the illness.
Here in Malaysia where we have some of the highest obesity and diabetic statistics in all of Asia, the Keto Diet is proving to offer a practical and effective solution. Depending on ones individual circumstances and health goals then it can be adapted as is practical. There is no "one size fits all" especially when it comes to our human diet but with the knowledge and insights provided by the Keto Diet we can all improve our own family's diet today.
There's also many great free resources from Keto bloggers and recommendations on where to buy the best ingredients that it's becoming easier and easier to "go Keto" every day. Now that more Malaysians have adopted Keto cooking tweaks to their favourite local dishes you can get all these cooking tips and ingredients to replace rice, noodles, flour, sugar and refined carbohydrates with healthier carb-free alternatives. In order to adopt a keto lifestyle (and not just a fad diet you try and give up after a month or two) then home testing of ketone levels and a deeper technical understanding and recipe experimentation will go a long way in your getting sustainable results and here at Rainforest Herbs we understand the challenges and welcome any enquiries you may have and invite you to also check out our blog for more creative ideas, enjoy!