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The ketogenic diet (a.k.a. keto) has been getting quite a bit of press lately. Some swear by it and others mock it. The main goal for most is to boost the bodys ability to burn fat by eating more fat, moderate amounts of protein, and lower amounts of carbohydrates. And truth be told, there is solid science behind it. But the real question isis keto safe?

I do believe a ketogenic diet is a great way to ignite ketosis (i.e., fat-burning) and help balance your blood sugar and insulin, which are essential for weight loss. In fact, if you follow my Bone Broth Diet or 10-Day Belly Slimdown plans exactly as written, you should achieve ketosis safely. But just like any other diet plan, safety all depends on how you approach it.

Are You Eating the Right Fat?

The keto diet is not a blank check for eating heavily processed high fat foods, such as deep fried mozzarella sticks. In addition, increasing your intake of inflammatory vegetable oils, such as canola, corn, and soy oil is sure to put you at risk for disease.

Healthy fats on the keto diet, or any diet for that matter, must come from whole foods and be minimally processed. This includes foods such as coconut, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, wild fish, and grass-fed dairy.

Speaking of dairy, many keto followers rely heavily on it. And I do believe this can cause problems for many. First, we must consider lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. Because according to the National Institute of Health, approximately 65% of the world population struggles with some degree of lactose intolerance after infancy. And for many of us, our ability to digest lactose continues to decline with age. And when lactose isnt digested, it sits your gut. Eventually, your gut bacteria ferment it, which creates gas, bloating, and many other unpleasant symptoms.

Second, we must consider casein, a milk protein that is among the top food allergens. Symptoms range from diarrhea and vomiting to hives and eczema.

Are You Relying on Processed Keto Foods?

When the Atkins Diet was big, a slew of Atkins bars and shakes kit the market shelves. And yes, while they were low in carbohydrates, they were full of junk. Followers may have lost weight by eating these packaged products, but not without risk.

This is true for many of the commercial keto foods on the market today. Many of these concoctions contain artificial sweeteners along with chemical preservatives and flavors. While these ingredients may keep carbs low, I dont consider most of them to be safe. Especially when eaten daily or in place of home cooked meals.

Its also important to understand that since your carb intake is so low, you must make your carbs count. Each bite must provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its essential that you dont consume any empty calories from processed grains and sugars.

Thus, just like all my diet plans, the majority of your food should come from nature and be minimally processed, if at all. On a safe keto diet, your meals and snacks should consist mostly of the fats I mentioned above as well as protein from pastured meats and eggs and non-starchy vegetables and low carb fruits. Collagen and bone broth both also fit nicely with the keto diet.

When is Keto Bad for You?

Its important to recognize the keto diet isnt for everyone. According to science, its contraindicated in those with pancreatitis, liver failure, or impaired fat metabolism. Basically, if any of your organs or systems involved in the digestion, absorption, and utilization of dietary fat are compromised, you need to take that into consideration before significantly increasing your fat intake.

Also, to play it safe, if you suffer from any other serious health conditions, you should discuss your keto plans with your healthcare provider before diving in. In some cases, you may need to adjust your medications before starting. In fact, this may be true for those with diabetes taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents. Otherwise, severe hypoglycemia may occur.

There is some concern of whether or not the keto diet is healthy for those that are obese. Well, it may be problematic if youre obese and on diabetes medications or have any of the complications I discussed above. But other than that, research supports using the ketogenic diet as a way to induce rapid weight loss among the obese population. In this study, the mean initial weight of 83 participants dropped from 223 pounds to 191 pounds in 24 weeks. In addition, these patients experienced a significant loss in body mass index, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while their HDL cholesterol significantly increased.

Whats the Catch?

Most of the research only extends as far as two years with most studies lasting much shorter. Thus, while the short term effects are better understood, the long term effects arent as clear. Plus, eating so little carbs can be difficult to maintain for the long haul.

However, I dont see these as problems. Because I dont recommend following a strict ketogenic diet indefinitely. Instead, I would recommend a short keto stint to start burning fat fast followed by a gradual increase in carbs up to 20% of your daily calories. This would still be considered a low-carb plan, but one that is much easier to maintain long term.

For example, if your daily caloric intake is 1600 calories, this means you would start with 20 40 grams of carbohydrates a day to reach ketosis. Then, you would gradually increase to 80 grams to continue losing weight steadily.

Once you reach your goal, you can keep your carbs at 20% or gradually rise to 40%, which would be 160 grams on a 1600 calorie daily diet. However, for some, anything above 20% may trigger weight gain. So you may need to do a little experimenting to find your personal sweet spot. And most importantly, I never recommend going above 40%. This will almost definitely put you in the weight gain danger zone fast.

Below is a helpful chart with a breakdown of macronutrient percentages and their benefits (or disadvantages).

These percentages are based on a study, which found that participants on a low-carb (20% carbs) plan successfully maintained their weight after completing a weight-loss diet. In fact, participants on the low-carb plan burned 250 calories more a day than the high-carb diet group. In addition, as an added bonus, the low-carb dieters had significantly lower levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin than participants on a high-carb plan. This is beneficial because ghrelin stimulates your appetite. And high levels of leptin, especially in obese individuals, can also lead to an increased appetite.

What About the Keto Flu?

In the beginning of the diet, you may experience what some refer to as the keto flu. The symptoms generally include fatigue, headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, and insomnia. But these symptoms typically subside within a few days. Staying hydrated is key and taking a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement may also help.

Finally, rapidly switching from a ketogenic diet back to the standard American diet will most likely cause you to gain weight back quickly and possibly more than you lost. But this is true for any diet, which is why I created my 80/20 Maintenance Program.

Bottom Line

Sois the keto diet healthy? Yes! It can be a great tool to turn your body into a fat-burning machine quickly. But its got to be done right. Youll need a transition and maintenance plan to keep the weight off. You must listen to your body. If something doesnt feel right, dont ignore it. And if it doesnt work for you, dont worry! Youre not alone and you can still drop the weight with a more moderate approach.

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!

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May 22nd, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

Q: Is the ketogenic diet safe for people with diabetes?

A: The ketogenic diet is one treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight.A 2013 review found the diet significantly improved blood sugar control, A1c and weight loss and reduced insulin requirements inoverweight individuals with type 2 diabetes.

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Originally created in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrate (less than 20 grams a day), high in protein, and moderate to high in fat.

Because of the extremely low carbohydrate intake, your body is forced to convert fat into energy instead of sugar. This process, called ketosis, allows for rapid weight loss when followed properly,but should be medically monitored by your doctor.

The ketogenic diet restricts all forms of carbohydrate, including starches, starchy vegetables, grains, fruit, milk, yogurt and sugars. It allows meats, heart-healthy fats and limited amounts of non-starchy vegetables.

Because certain food groups are eliminated completely, vitamin and mineral supplementation may be needed. (The ketogenic diet is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant, has chronic kidney disease or is prone to gout.)

Its important to keep in mind that weight loss requires an individualized approach, and that multiple meal-planning options are safe and effective for people with diabetes.

Dietitian Melissa Matteo, MS, RD,LD, CDE,Diabetes Center

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May 3rd, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

Weight loss: Choosing a diet that's right for you

Don't fall for gimmicks when it comes to weight loss. Evaluate diets carefully to find one that's right for you.

When it comes to weight loss, there's no shortage of advice. Magazines, books and websites all promise that you'll lose all the weight you want for good, using diets that eliminate fat or carbs or those that tout superfoods or special supplements.

With so many conflicting options, how do you know which approach might work for you? Here are some suggestions for choosing a weight-loss program.

Before you start a weight-loss program, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can review your medical issues and medications that might affect your weight and provide guidance on a program for you. And you can discuss how to exercise safely, especially if you have physical or medical challenges, or pain with daily tasks.

Tell your doctor about your previous efforts to lose weight. Be open about fad diets that interest you. Your doctor might be able to direct you to weight-loss support groups or refer you to a registered dietitian.

There's no one diet or weight-loss plan for everyone. But if you consider your preferences, lifestyle and weight-loss goals, you'll likely find a plan you can tailor to your needs.

Before starting a weight-loss program, think about:

It's tempting to buy into promises of rapid and dramatic weight loss, but a slow and steady approach is easier to maintain and usually beats fast weight loss for the long term. A weight loss of 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.2 to 0.9 kilograms) a week is the typical recommendation.

In some situations, faster weight loss can be safe if it's done right such as a very low-calorie diet with medical supervision, or a brief quick-start phase of a healthy-eating plan.

Successful weight loss requires a long-term commitment to making healthy lifestyle changes in eating, exercise and behavior. Behavior modification is vital, and could have the greatest impact on your long-term weight-loss efforts.

Be sure to pick a plan you can live with. Look for these features:

The table below lists some of the more common diets. There's overlap, but most plans can be grouped into a few major categories.

Studies comparing different weight-loss programs have found that most programs result in weight loss in the short term compared with no program. Weight-loss differences between diets are generally small.

Before you dive into a weight-loss plan, take time to learn as much about it as you can. Just because a diet is popular or your friends are doing it doesn't mean it's right for you. Ask these questions first:

Successful weight loss requires long-term changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find a weight-loss approach you can embrace for life. You're not likely to maintain whatever weight loss a diet helps you achieve if you then go off the diet and revert to old habits.

Diets that leave you feeling deprived or hungry can cause you to give up. And because many weight-loss diets don't encourage permanent healthy lifestyle changes, even if you do lose weight, the pounds can quickly return once you stop dieting.

You'll likely always have to remain vigilant about your weight. But combining a healthier diet with more activity is the best way to lose weight, keep it off for the long term and improve your health.

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Mar 27th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

Are low carb diets safe to follow? There is a lot of conflicting information, so lets examine some of available research to answer this question.

Walk into any supermarket, not just Whole Foods, and youll see in the racks at the checkout aisle more than a couple of low-carb-geared magazines. These range from from Paleo publications to other natural health titles.

More and more people are starting to realize that fat isnt the enemy. Dietary fat is not why heart disease and strokes and obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise. Nope. The macronutrient culprit responsible for many diseases is carbohydrates, especially high-glycemic carbohydrates.

High glycemic carbohydrates quickly convert into sugar. They do so almost immediately upon making contact with saliva. Even a piece of wheat bread gets broken down into simple sugar quite quickly. How this metabolic process is responsible for a wide range of inflammatory-rooted diseases is a topic for another article. But heres a brief primer.

Your cells receive sugar via the hormone, insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. When the cells are full of sugar, and cannot accept any more, the excess sugar gets stored as body fat. Excess body fat can cause inflammatory disorders.

Its easy to see why low carb diets have become more popular. All it takes is the initial consciousness about the danger of eating excess high-glycemic carbohydrates, some willpower, as well as satisfying recipes.

So are low carb diets safe to follow? That really shouldnt be the question . The question should be is it safe NOT to follow a low carb diet?

There are a lot of misconceptions about low carb diets. But consider that a search on the U.S. National Library of Medicine (under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health) website, aka Pubmed.com for low carbohydrate diets yields over 6000 studies.

Before reviewing what a few of those studies say about the safety of low carb diets. Lets get back to the question: Is it safe to follow a low carb diet? To answer, we need to get a few thingsout of the way first.

Low carb diets can indeed be unhealthy. But so can any diet. A low carb diet can be unhealthy if the fats and proteins eaten in the carbohydrates place are toxic. Eating unspoiled, all-natural fats and lean, high-quality protein is essential to eating a safe low-carb diet.

That means that you cant eat anything with trans fats. That means no packaged pastries that have hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils. These are used to extend the shelf-life of cakes, cookies, pastries and the like. Trans fats can lead to heart disease. Other examples of spoiled fats include cooking with seed- and vegetable oil, such as corn, most Canola oils, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, etc. These fats are highly inflammatory and can easily spoil once exposed to cooking heat.

Eating a lot of factory-farmed meat is another example of not eating a safe low-carb diet. Factory farmed meat can also cause a smorgasbord of inflammatory diseases. The pork industry still has a long way to go until most pork products can be deemed safe to eat for a low-carb diet. Opt for wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and eggs and wild game and organ meats.

And now, lets talk about carbs.

One may argue when looking at the question, Are low carb diets safe? is that it depends on the amount of restriction on carbohydrates. Is it safe to follow a low carb diet if you eat just a tiny bit of pasta, a portion of rice, a sliver of cake, a shot glass worth of orange juice, a kernel of corn, and a handful of chips?

No. Even if the examples of carbs, above, totalled just 50 grams of carbs, which is towards the low-end of a low-carb diet, the type of carbs matters very much. The healthiest carbs to eat on a low-carb diet are the same type of carbs everyone should be eating. And those are low-starch vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Think spinach, broccoli, kale, chard and other nutrient-dense veggies. Limit fruit intake to a handful of organic berries and one whole piece of other low-sugar fruit such as a green apple.

But lets now take a look at some of those studies proving that low-carb diets are beneficial for health.

A study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology concluded that a variation of a low-carb diet (a specific type of ketone diet) improved physical performance and cognitive function in rats, and its energy-sparing properties suggest that it may help to treat a range of human conditions with metabolic abnormalities.

This study, published in Nutrients concluded A diet that is reduced in carbohydrates may optimize improvements in other type 2 diabetes risk factors, including insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. The researchers also said, However, these findings are in contrast to current guidelines for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in adults which recommends a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

Does the research answer the question, Are low carb diets safe?

One might say that the above study was several years old, before the recent surge in popularity of low-carb diets began in earnest. However, this study was published in August of 2016.

Another study, this one published in Digestion, concluded, Diets low in carbohydrates favor a healthy gut microbiome and improve glucose tolerance, in people with type 2 diabetes.

So not only are low-carb diets good for your external belly, theyre also good for your gut.

These are just a few of the hundreds of studies proving that low-carb diets are safe. Perhaps one day, federal government guidelines will encourage low-carbohydrate diets as a way to defeat the ever-rising obesity and diabetes epidemic.

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Mar 12th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

South Beach Diet teaches a way of life where you rely on the right carbohydrates and fats. This new way of eating allows you to live contently without eating the bad carbohydrates and fats. In contrast, when a person eats bad carbohydrates and fats they feel hungrier, causing them to eat more, which causes weight gain. In exchange for eating right, you become healthier and can enjoy an 8 to 13 pound weight loss in just two weeks!

The Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a highly respected cardiologist, to work with your body safely and effectively. This diet works in phases, the first two for a specific timeframe and the third phase for life. With this new approach, you can stop counting calories, stop weighing food portions, and stop feeling as though you are deprived from eating good-tasting and satisfying food! Actually, you will be eating three, normal-size meals but wait, that not all! You will also get two snacks each day and with meal plans that are designed to be flexible, you can enjoy a variety, based on what sounds good to you on any particular day.

Best of all, you will see amazing results in a short amount of time. Your hips, thighs, and stomach will be thinner, the number on the scales will go down, and all those overwhelming food cravings will be gone! Just imagine losing weight while still enjoying many of your favorite foods. With the diet, you can dine on mouth-watering foods like Chicken en Papillote, Shrimp Louis, and even Chocolate Sponge Cake and still lose the weight!

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Mar 9th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has become very popular lately because of its potential to help with weight loss, eliminate cravings, and improve mental clarity. Everyone from Mark Sisson to Dr. Mercola to Dave Asprey is singing its praises, and some people claim it can even cure cancer.

It is one of the topics I always get lots of questions about because there are many different ways of doing it. Yes, it is possible to do it healthfully and yes, it is possible to turn it into another fad diet while eating a lot of unhealthy foods. (No, you cannot eat only bacon and be healthy!)

In this post, I will cover the science behind the ketogenic diet and the best way to do it.

Broadly speaking, a ketogenic diet is a diet that is sufficiently a) high in fat and b) low in carbohydrates and proteins to force the body to rely on fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. Originally it was used in the 1920s to treat severe cases of epilepsy in children, though now many people use variations of it for other outcomes.

A ketogenic diet puts the body in a state of ketosis, where the primary fuel for the body is a broken down product of fat called ketone bodies. Ketosis can occur through reduction of carbohydrates in the diet or through fasting (or through taking an external ketone-producing product). It is the liver that produces ketone bodies by breaking down fatty acids, either from body fat or the fat that we eat.

This is in contrast to the bodys fuel source when not in ketosis: carbohydrates, which the body breaks down into glucose.

It is important to note that there is a difference between burning dietary fat for fuel and getting the body to utilize stored fat. More on that later.

This is an interesting question and there are hundreds of opinions about the best answer.

A typical low carbohydrate diet may simply focus on limiting carbohydrate with liberal amounts of other foods, without a specific emphasis on fats. It is easy to be eating mostly meats and any other non-carbohydrate foods for a low carbohydrate diet, and not get into ketosis.

So whats different? The ketogenic diet goes a step further and limits protein as well in order to achieve ketosis. According to Dr. Daniel Pompa, a ketogenic diet is comprised of:

In short, it is critical to use liberal amount of fat and limit protein and carbohydrate intake in order to achieve ketosis.

Consider a 135-pound woman who has about 25% body fat and 100 lb of lean mass. If she follows a 2,000 calorie diet, she would be eating between 145 179 grams of fat, 50 grams of protein, and between 50 124 grams of carbohydrates (depending on her activity level). She would need to keep her carbohydrates under 50 grams a day in order to keto-adapt (for her body to adapt to using fat as the primary fuel).

Also note that this model is not a bacon-only type diet and should include copious amounts of non-starchy vegetables for fiber and micronutrients.

Ideally, a keto diet should be assembled with whole and nutritious foods that do not cause inflammation. This means that the 5-10% of the carbohydrates would be from vegetables, nuts, and seeds rather than another source of starch.

On a keto-type diet, the plate should consist of mostly non-starchy vegetables, a reasonable portion of meat (about 3 ounces), and a liberal amount of good fats. The fats can be nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, pastured lard or bacon, grass-fed butter, MCT oil, or a condiment like a healthy mayo made from these.

Once a person is keto-adapted, the appetite is often regulated. Rather than feeling deprived, it is natural to feel less hungry overall and naturally inclined to go without eating for 12 hours overnight. This form of extended fasting may provide some added health benefits as well.

Not only have ketogenic diets been successfully used as a treatment for epilepsy for nearly a century, but it also has many potential health benefits even healthy people can use.

As Mark Sisson puts it, doing aketo reset restores our factory settings, which is our flexibility to alternate between different types of fuels and stored fats for energy, depending on whats available. This flexibility has allowed humans to thrive for millions of years because hunter-gatherers didnt always have access to constant abundance and variety of foods that we have today.

As it turns out, this flexibility is actually important for health. The biochemical pathways that ketogenic diets turn on have anti-aging effects and can even eradicate many modern diseases.

In fact, research showsketogenic diets provide health benefits by:

When done correctly, the ketogenic diet may help:

When we switch from burning glucose to burning ketones for energy, the blood sugar and insulin fluctuate much less than when we rely on carbohydrates for energy. The liver can constantly supply just enough glucose in the blood to keep the brain going.

Stabilizing blood sugar has many health benefits, including:

If you monitor your fasting blood glucose in the morning when you are in ketosis (more on how and why to do that in a bit), be aware you may experience elevated morning blood sugar due to a surge of cortisol and adrenaline. This is known as the dawn phenomenon and should decline to healthy levels during the day and improve over time.

According to Chris Kresser, post-meal blood sugar is the best time to detect blood sugar problems. In addition, one should never rely on one single test to diagnose a health issue.

Its true ketone bodies can suppress appetite by acting on the hypothalamus in the brain. In addition, the stabilized blood sugar can help reduce hunger and food cravings. Lastly, high-fat meals can stimulate a hormone that increase satiety in the gut.

As a result, many people on ketogenic diets find that they are much less hungry and no longer craving the high-carbohydrate foods they used to love. They can even skip meals or fast for days and wont really be bothered by the hunger. (Imagine!)

In many ways, the ketogenic diet is very good for the brain. Users report that it helps improve cognitive function, slows down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, and may even protect from such diseases.

Here are some of the ways ketosis benefits the brain:

Because the brain is the most energy-demanding organ in the body, it is extremely sensitive to the fluctuation of available fuels. People who regularly go through blood sugar rollercoasters often experience brain-based symptoms of low blood sugar, such as anxiety and fatigue when blood sugar dips low.

Being in ketosis can help prevent this from happening. For many women, stabilizing blood sugar has a mood-stabilizing effect.

According to Psychology Today, several studies suggest that ketogenic diets can help stabilize mental illnesses, sometimes even more powerfully than medications. Ketogenic diets reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression in rats and mice, while many small clinical studies demonstrate that ketogenic diet can help stabilize schizophrenia.

In my own experience, I find that I am highly productive, calm and focused when in a state of ketosis (as measured by blood ketone and breath acetone levels).

Before the discovery of neuroplasticity, scientists believed that a damaged brain cannot regenerate. However, by improving mitochondria health, reducing inflammation, and stimulating cellular cleanup, ketogenic diets can help a damaged brain repair itself. Thus, the ketogenic diet is almost a miracle for many brain diseases that were thought of as incurable.

Studies are emerging that ketogenic diets (in conjunction with other treatments) can either reverse progressive brain disorders or help repair the damage. These include traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons.The Wahls Protocol also utilizes this benefit of the ketogenic diet to help repair neurological damage from multiple sclerosis.

Want to slow down the clock? The keto diet might be the one to try.

Ketosis, similarly to fasting or caloric restriction, turns on a group of genes called Sirtuins. When scientists activate Sirtuins in animals, they found that these animals live longer. In addition, Sirtuins can help keep you lean and energetic during the day and sleeping well at night. More research is needed to know if this effect is the same in humans, but evidence seems strong that spending some time in ketosis is beneficial.

Oxidation is what causes steel to rust and apples to turn brown when they are exposed to air. Inside our bodies, oxidation helps our immune cells kill off germs and makes us tired at the end of the day. However, excess oxidation can cause aging and DNA damage.

By reducing blood sugar, ketosis significantly reduces the oxidative stress in the body. Glucose is an oxidizing sugar because an exposed oxygen of glucose can attack other molecules and damage them. These damaged proteins are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

People with high blood sugar will have a lot of AGEs and therefore age faster.

In addition, studies show ketosis turns on antioxidant genes and increases levels of cellular antioxidants like glutathione.

Ketosis and fasting also activates an anti-aging cellular cleanup process called autophagy (auto = self, phagy = eat). Autophagy is when a cell eats its own defective parts in order to recycle nutrients and keep the different parts functioning like new. In addition, autophagy can protect against neurodegenerative diseases, viral and bacteria infections, and cancers.

Everyone has emerging cancer cells, but the cells can only develop into full-blown cancers if the body fails to kill off them off. DNA damage, inflammation, poor cellular cleanup, high blood sugar, and inability of the immune system to kill emerging cancer cells together lead to cancers. Proponents claim that ketogenic diets may help prevent cancers by addressing all of these aspects.

Ketogenic diets reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, stimulate cellular cleanup, reduce blood sugar, and stimulate the cancer-killing immune responses. In addition, ketogenic diets capitalize on the fact that cancer cells cannot feed on ketones.

Healthy cells have the choice to rely on glucose or other fuels and whether to use the mitochondria. In contrast, according to the 1931 Nobel Laureate Otto Warburg, cancer cells lack the ability to use ketones for energy. They can only generate energy by burning glucose and glutamine for energy.

Since the state of ketosis forces cells to rely on ketones and to use the mitochondria for energy, ketosis feeds healthy cells while starving cancer cells. This especially seems to be true against some of the most deadly and incurable cancers. Researchers like Dr. Dom DAgostino are also researching the role of ketosis and fasting in improving the outcomes and reducing the side effects of existing cancer treatments.

A ketogenic diet has many health benefits. However, it is possible to make mistakes that can hinder them from achieving their goals.

These include:

Its not a good idea to include a lot of dairy in a ketogenic diet because the protein in dairy can deactivate Sirtuin, the anti-aging pathway, and create an insulin spike. While butter and ghee (from quality pastured sources) generally dont cause this effect, high-fat cheeses and heavy creams do. In addition, dairy products can be inflammatory for many people.

If you tolerate dairy then enjoy some in your diet, but dont rely on a liberal amount of cheeses or heavy cream as a source of fat. I personally believe that raw, pastured, and organic dairy is best, but limit it in my diet.

Being in a ketogenic diet is muscle-sparing, so you need much less protein than you would if you rely on carbohydrates or proteins for energy.

Amino acids can be converted into sugar and burned as energy. In addition, high intake of protein can turn off the anti-aging and anti-cancer processes in our cells, so it is best to only eat just enough protein on a ketogenic diet.

Eating very little or no carbohydrates can starve your good gut bacteria. This cant be good for health!

Studies have shown that food composition influences the gut bacteria much more than any probiotic supplements. It is therefore very important to feed your gut bacteria while you are on a ketogenic diet.

Resistant starches can be included as part of a ketogenic diet or as a supplement because it has minimal effects on blood sugar, so it doesnt disrupt the state of ketosis. Resistant starches not only feed good bacteria in the gut but can also get fermented into substances that are beneficial for health. (Read this post to learn more about the health benefits of resistant starches and how to use them.)

Vegetables also contain a lot of fiber that can feed the gut bacteria and provide an important source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. In my opinion, it is absolutely vital to eat a wide variety of non-starchy vegetables on a keto diet to protect gut bacteria!

Many health benefits of the ketogenic diet mentioned above are as a result of activating our survival genes. To reap full health benefits from the ketogenic diet, it is important that you dont tell your body that there is an abundant of foods.

According to Dr. Daniel Pompa, it is also important to be in a caloric deficit if one goes on a ketogenic diet to treat neurological diseases or cancers.

If your goal is weight loss, it is still important to be in a caloric deficit as simply cutting carbohydrates alone wont be enough for fat loss.

As Mark Sisson says, always be asking yourself if you really are hungry for the next bite.

Salt gets a bad rep as unhealthy, but it provides a very important mineral. Being in ketosis causes the body to excrete more salt, so it is important to ensure that to eat extra salt and mineral supplements as necessary.

As mentioned above, not getting enough fiber from vegetables can starve gut bacteria. The keto diet is not a meat, egg, and cheese diet, though many treat it this way. Most of us arent getting enough vegetables anyway and this can be an easy trap to fall into on a keto diet.

Remember, though, that this is not about deprivation. Rather, it is about finding the sweet spot where you feel good and without excessive hunger or craving. Everybody is different, so it will be important to experiment in order to find your sweet spot.

Most people, including Mark Sisson himself, do better when they always include some natural sources of carbohydrates (e.g., lots of vegetables) and occasionally add starchy carbohydrates to their diet.

The good news is, it is not necessary to stay on a ketogenic diet at all times to reap this benefit. Our ancestors went through fast and feast cycles and the body is designed for flexibility. We may be able to reduce cancer risk, prolong life, improve brain function, and benefit from ketosis otherwise by being in ketosis or fasting a few days a week.

In general, men tend to do better on a long term ketogenic diet than women do. From my own research and experimentation, women can follow a keto diet, but with some adaptions. Most women will do well with a cyclical ketogenic diet when they stay on ketogenic diet most of the time and eat starchy carbohydrates occasionally to spike calories and carbs.

Dr. Daniel Pompa recommends at least one feast day a week for women where carbohydrates and calories are both increased, as well as up to seven days once a month with increased carbs (often during the menstrual cycle).

Ketogenic diets are not for everyone. There are some people who should be very careful with the ketogenic diet, or at least should not do it without medical supervision. While I understand not many mainstream doctors will be well versed in the ketogenic diet, there are online services that can pair you with a primary care doctor who understands keto in detail.

Type 1 diabetics are dependent on insulin injections to manage their blood sugar and are at risk for ketoacidosis, which as a life-threatening condition where there is dangerously high levels of ketones much higher than a healthy person in ketosis can actually achieve in their blood.

ApoE stands for Apolipoprotein E, which is a protein that transports fats and cholesterol in the body. There are three variants of this gene: E2, E3, and E4. Everyone has two copies, so you can have any combination of these variants.

People with two copies of the E4 variant (ApoE4/E4) often dont respond well to saturated fats. These people will have very high cholesterol and it tends to run in their families. These are a small subset of the population that have to be careful with the ketogenic diet.

If you have these genes (heres one way to test for them), be sure to monitor your blood lipids if you were to go on a ketogenic diet. In addition, focus on monounsaturated fats such as those found in avocados or olives rather than saturated fats or MCT oil.

For anyone else, it is a good idea to monitor your blood tests when you start out with a ketogenic diet.

This is a controversial one as many doctors believe that the baby needs carbohydrates to develop, and many moms need carbohydrates in order to produce milk. However, dietician Lily Nichols believes that a healthy ketogenic diet is safe for pregnant women and that it is easier to get into ketosis during pregnancy.

Perhaps the best approach is to listen to your body, because every pregnancy is different. If you choose to get on a ketogenic diet during pregnancy or breastfeeding, be sure to consult your healthcare practitioner to ensure that you do it safely.

Being in ketosis and fasting can turn on the survival genes in the body and causes the body to attempt to conserve energy. For some women, this can cause irregular cycles and infertility.

A ketogenic diet may help with infertility due to polycystic ovarian syndrome because it is partly caused by insulin resistance. However, the ketogenic diet can make irregular cycles and infertility worse for women who struggle with it from other causes, including stress and over-exercise.

Lifting heavy things and high-intensity exercises utilizes mainly carbohydrates. Many strength trainees and athletes will find that their performance drop significantly when they are on a ketogenic diet.

If you have been keto-adapted for years, your body can eventually adapt to generate the carbohydrates you need to fuel these activities. However, if you are relatively new to ketosis and need to perform athletically, then perhaps going full ketosis may not be such a good idea.

If youve determined the ketogenic diet might be for you, I recommend this podcast with Mark Sisson for a great introduction. His bookThe Keto Reset Diet explains the benefits and cautions in detail, as well as exactly how to get started.

Another easy way to start planning a ketogenic diet is to use Real Plans. Not only can this meal planning app filter recipes to avoid most any food allergy, it also can generate a keto-friendly meal plan and shopping list.

Unless youve already been eating a paleo or primal diet and are somewhat keto-adapted (burning ketones for fuel), it is a good idea reset the body in order to regain the metabolic flexibility to go into ketosis or even stay in ketosis despite eating some carbohydrates.Intermittent fasting is one efficient way to do this. During a water fast, ketosis can occur in days instead of weeks or months and often sustains for a while after the fast.

Being in ketosis has many health benefits but also some potential side effects. In order to maximize the health benefits, you should:

It is entirely possible to follow a low-carbohydrate diet or keto diet and not be in ketosis. When Ive personally experimented with ketosis, I used various methods of testing to make sure my ketone levels and blood glucose levels were within healthy ranges:

I used the Keto Mojo meter(and blood glucose strips) which tests both blood ketone levels and blood glucose levels. More on this soon in an upcoming post about fasting, but I testing fasting morning glucose and post-meal glucose at one hour. I also tested fasted morning ketones and evening ketones.

Another way to test the bodys response to nutritional ketosis is through breath acetone levels. This essentially shows how much of the ketones are being utilized by the body. I used a Levl meter (use the codewellnessmama at this link for $25 off) to test breath acetone levels. This device is more pricey but does not require strips so it can be used more often. I used it to test my response to certain foods or exercises and to see if they pulled me out of ketosis.

The keto diet is not the Atkins diet, or an all-meat diet, or anything close. A healthy version should include an abundance of non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats from various sources.

The more I learn, the more I am convinced that variation is one of the biggest factors in health. The ketogenic diet can be a useful tool, but in my opinion it should be cycled and should include occasional days with extra carbohydrates from good sources.

I most often experiment with keto in the winter when food would have traditionally been more scarce and carbohydrates harder to find. During these times, the majority of my plate is still mostly green vegetables and I make a very conscious effort to consume a wide variety of vegetables.

From testing, I personally enter ketosis much more efficiently when fasting and will be sharing my experiences on this soon.

Have you tried a ketogenic diet? Whats your experience? Please share in the comments below.

Sources

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Ketogenic Diet Benefits (& How to Do It Right) | Wellness Mama

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Mar 5th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

Every diet designed to help you live a healthier and better life each has their own specific rules and promised outcomes. One diet that has constantly been gaining popularity, with several people backing its credibility, is the Ketogenic (Keto) Diet.

Keto Diet focuses on eating low to no carb meals to force your body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is when ketone molecules, which come from your bodys stored fat, are released and build up in your bloodstream.

In the absence of blood sugar that come from carbohydrates, the cells in your body would turn to using the ketone bodies to create and generate energy.

Youre usually able to get into ketosis within two to four days.

Because the body uses up the stored fat instead of blood sugar to generate energy, there are several benefits tied to practicing the Keto diet such as:

Aside from these benefits, Keto diet promises quicker and severe weight loss. Because the body adapts to using stored fat as energy sources, fat loss from abdominal cavity takes place.

Being under the Ketogenic diet need supervision and maintenance.

Maintaining your body in ketosis (learn more about it here) state can be helped in three ways:

One misconception tied to the Keto diet is that you can eat a high amount of protein intake, meaning steaks and roasted chicken.

However, your body can break down the protein you put into your system and turn it into fuel, putting aside the stored fat you want your body to burn.

You must keep a balanced diet of less protein and more healthy fats so your body will use up the fats and ketones to generate energy.

Observing the Keto diet doesnt necessarily mean that you have to give up your carbs entirely. Most things I have read, suggest trying to stick to 20 grams of carbs per day if you want to reach and maintain ketosis.

You can have a low-carb keto diet, where you keep track of all your carb intake. If you eat carbs, you must take a very high intake of healthy fats along with it.

However, it would be a challenge to eat and monitor your carb intake once you successfully achieve ketosis.

There are several do-it-yourself testing products that are made to assess your ketone levels. Pretty much like a pregnancy test stick, ketone levels can be tested using urine sticks, breath meter, and blood extraction.

Many Native Americans live their lives in a permanent state of ketosis and their population did not drop due to it.

So I guess it is safe to say that Ketogenic diet is safe to practice for a very long time.

Keto therapy is also used for children with epilepsy and is known to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures.

Many of these children stay under the Keto diet for as long as 12 years.

So aside from its physical benefit outcomes, it also has a genuine effect on people with this serious illness.

A recent study also showed and proved that staying under the Ketogenic diet for 10 years is safe and healthy. The study proved that there are no cardiovascular risks that are tied up with people who undergo the Keto diet.

These people were watched for 10 years and were sent to medical assessments to observe and evaluate the possible effects on their body and overall health.

There are some people who are not fit to observe and practice the Keto diet, such as people who have diabetes or are acidic and alcoholics.

The risk of having a diet that has high-protein and low carb can also affect people who suffer from osteoporosis, have kidney problems, and people who generally have high cholesterol.

These people could potentially have major health complications. Anyone who undergoes the Keto diet must keep being observant with the effects it has on their bodies and emotional states.

However, there are no known health complications that are brought about by Ketogenic diet, but some doctors caution that more research needs to be done before knowing for sure.

Keto is on the strictest end of the low carb diet plans, and thats because you pretty much eliminate sugar, and keep your carbs to around 20 grams per day.

There are some other low carb diets out there that work well too, and arent quite as strict as keto.

The Atkins plan has some less strict options that you can follow now, and the South Beach Diet is another decent alternative (see how it compares to keto here).

If youre wanting to keep maximum fat burning results, though, then the ketogenic is the best diet I have tried. Thats in terms of the amount of weight you can lose in a very short amount of time.

There are a lot of different reviews out there, but if you browse the Reddit forums at all, you can find some pretty incredible success stories. These are great to see some of the results that people have achieved, but also to help get you motivated!

Before you throw out everything in your pantry that has sugar and high carb content and start filling your freezer with nothing else but high-fat foods and protein, you might want to do a test run if the Ketogenic diet is the right diet for you.

As with other diets, Keto also has its distinct set of disadvantages, making it a less than ideal option for people who have certain health issues.

*You should consult with your physician first before starting your journey with the Ketogenic diet as it can be counterproductive in terms of boosting your overall health and wellness, and you want to make sure that you are healthy enough for an extremely low-carb diet, like keto.

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Mar 5th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59 percent of cats living in the United States are obese. If you have a fat cat, helping him shed a few pounds will do wonders for his health and might even add years to his life theres no better motivation than that to inspire healthy cat diets.

Cat diets are not something to take lightly. Cats are sensitive when it comes to weight loss, so crash diets are a big no-no. If weight loss is too fast or there is not adequate protein in the diet, the risk of a disease called hepatic lipidosis a very serious metabolic liver disorder is a very real danger, explains Ken Lambrecht, D.V.M., medical director of West Towne Veterinary Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Heres how to configure cat diets safely and effectively:

Your vet will weigh your cat when he comes in for his visit. Photography sae1010 | Thinkstock.

Its very important for cat owners to work directly with their veterinarians regarding weight-management issues, especially for cats that are significantly overweight, Dr. Lambrecht says about cat diets. Your vet will help you select the right food and feed the right amounts, as well as monitor your cats weight loss to ensure the diet is working. At the first visit, your vet will weigh your cat and also identify his ideal goal weight.

Ifcats lose weight too fast, they may become very sick. Weight loss has to be slow and steady, with frequent reassessments by the veterinary team to make sure muscle loss does not occur, Dr. Lambrecht explains regarding cat diets. The rate of weight loss should not be more than 1 to 2 percent per week.

Cat diets should include foods that are high in proteins and moderate to low in calories. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat and a good amount of it. Some diet cat food contains a lot of carbs, which is not great for weight loss. Most canned foods will have more proteins and fewer carbs than dry foods, but its possible to find high-protein, lower-carb dry foods. Again, your vet will help guide you to choose the ideal food for your cats weight loss.

When it comes to cat diets, free feeding is usually not helpful. Measured meals allow you to keep track of how many calories your cat is consuming. But figuring out exactly how much food to feed is tough. Calorie needs vary according to lifestyle, age and individual cat, Dr. Lambrecht explains. Calories are not always clearly labeled. The bag feeding guide often shows too many calories for most cats. Once again, this is where your vet comes in. Decide on a brand and have your vet calculate how much of that particular food to feed your cat in order to achieve a slow and steady weight loss.

Awwww, no treats? So sad. Commercial cat treats are high in calories and low in nutrition, so theres no place for them on most cat diets. If you must feed your cat treats, keep them to a minimum and preferably stick to small amounts of high-protein human foods, like tiny bits of cooked chicken or a little bit of scrambled eggs.

A fat cat lying on a hardwood floor. Photography ESezer | Thinkstock.

It might take some time, but with diligence, the right cat diets will help your cats drop those pounds and get healthier. Weight loss can be tricky, but the rewards are huge, Dr. Lambrecht says. A cat that feels better, lives longer and acts like a kitten again is a win/win/win.

Tell us: Have you ever put your cat on a diet? What did you feed him or her? Did you see results?

Thumbnail: Photography adogslifephoto | Thinkstock.

This piece was originally published in 2017.

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Feb 12th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

The foods and drinks we consume have an important effect on our physical and mental wellbeing for better or for worse.

While there isnt a specific diet that is recommended for everybody, the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013)provide advice on the amounts and types of foods that we should consume every day for good health and to reduce our risk of diet-related diseases.

The Guidelines are based on the best available scientific evidence about food and nutrition. They apply to all healthy Australians, as well as those with common health conditions such as being overweight. They do not apply to people who need special dietary advice for a medical condition, nor to the frail elderly.

In this page:

There are five main guidelines (below), plus specific advice about the types and amounts of food and drinks to consume, and those to limit, for a balanced diet that meets our energy and nutrient requirements.

Guideline 1: To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs

Guideline 2: Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five food groups every day

Guideline 3: Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol

Guideline 4: Encourage and support breastfeeding

Guideline 5: Care for your food and store it safely

Click to read the Australian Dietary Guidelines in full.

The five core food groups

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013 provide specific recommendations on the amount of food to consume from each food group each day, for a balanced diet.

Consuming the recommend amounts will provide you with adequate energy (kilojoules) and nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc) for your age and gender.

Click a link below to see therecommend intakes:

Choose mostly whole foods or minimally-processed foods. These are the best choices because they still have most of their original nutritional value and limited added fat, sugar and/or salt.

Foods in the five foods groups are considered core foods as they should make up the core of your diet. They can be eaten individually or combined to create meals, snacks and drinks.

For example we combine bread, cheese and salad to make a sandwich, and we can combine chicken, vegetables and rice to make a stir fry.

Plus, choose water as your main drink; and include small amounts of unsaturated fats, oils and spreads.

Discretionary choices

Discretionary choices are foods and drinks that dont fit into the five core food groups, and are not an essential part of our diet - so their intake should be limited.

These foods and drinks are high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars, salt and/or alcohol, and have very few nutrients (eg, vitamins, minerals or fibre).

Examples of discretionary choices include:

Discretionary choices can be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet, but only in small amounts. We recommend limiting your intake to one serve per day as a maximum (approx 600kJ).

The revised Australian Dietary Guidelines were released in February 2013, with an increased focus on foods and food groups, instead of nutrients, making them more user-friendly. They also have an increased focus on the effect of food on health outcomes, in particular weight gain, heart disease and some cancers.

Key differences in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines:

Disclaimer: the above is based on average serves/day across all age groups. Differences in some age groups may vary from the averages listed above. Click herefor specific recommendations on for each age and gender.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (below) accompanies the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. It is a food selection guide which visually represents the proportion of the five food groups recommended for consumption each day.

TheHealthy Eating Pyramidis Nutrition Australias own food selection guide which is also based on the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.Click here to read more.

It shows the five core food groups according to how much each contributes to a balanced diet. It is based on the recommended food intakes for 19-50 years olds, but it is generally applicable to all ages 170.

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Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013 | Nutrition Australia

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Feb 10th, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely

Lemme start with a disclaimer.

I am no nutritionist. I just love the ketogenic diet. So, whatever I am stating is purely based on the research I have done.

When I started with the keto diet I was surprised that so many fruits are being taken out of the list. I really could not understand, why?

I am a fruit lover and relish just any kind of fruits. So it was hard for me to omit a certain bunch.

I love oranges and watermelons so I know how hard it was for me to give it up.

Fruits are definitely good while you are on a regular diet for the nutritional values.

But many fruits contain fructose in high amount andFructose is a BIG NO for keto.

The high fructose level in fruits gets metabolized in the liver which in turn turns into fat. This fat deposits around the abdomen (which is really hard to get off).

So the fruits which contain a high amount of fructose or sucrose leads to high carb diet and hence omitted from keto list.

So check out the fruits which you can happily gulp down while in a keto.

Blackberries are reasonably low in carbohydrates. It contains only 4.9 grams of carbs per 100 gms.

Not only it is tasty but I like the blackberries more for its medicinal values.

Blackberries lower the blood glucose level and hence leads to a better cholesterol profile. It also provides the antimicrobial and antidiabetic effect.

Blackberries also reduce inflammation. This is where your stomach and waist starts to shrink ( Keto effect ) So,happily include it in a keto diet.

I love this fruit.

Really delicious and full of nutrients. And what I like most about it is, instead of being sweet and juicy, this fruit is quite low in carbs.

The loveliest part of strawberries is that I can make several keto desserts with it. Especially strawberry dipped in chocolate. Just too yummy for a keto diet.

You know, strawberries even protect our health with the bio-active compounds. It also improves our blood sugar levels.

Strawberry contains only 5.7 grams of carb per 100 gm.

Should I start with its carb content? Its only 1.8 grams of carbs for per 100 gm of avocado.

They are just amazing.

It is so delicious and can be combined with any type of keto salads.

It provides with many essential fats that are just perfect for a keto diet.

This fruit also comes with a large number of vitamins and minerals and improves our cardiovascular health.

Have you checked the keto recipes? You will find coconut in ample recipes. Whether its coconut milk or coconut creamed bars. Oh, I just love these bars. In fact, I like almost all the keto desserts.

There are other coconut items too like:

They are very useful in making low carb snacks as they themselves contain only 6.25 carbs per 100 gm.

Coconut contains a fairly large amount of medium chain triglycerides which are used by the body to produce instant energy.

Can you believe it that olives have only 1 gm of carbs for per 100 gm?

Yes, olive is one of the best low carb fruits available.

Not only it contains a high amount of good fat (You know how much fat is necessary for keto diet) but it also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

I love to put a good amount of olive pieces on my keto pizza.

Oh forgot to add that olives improve our bone health too. Yes, it is a win-win from every angle.

Lemons are just so common to use in any of the dishes. Not only it brings the tangy taste but lemons are loaded with hell amount of benefits too.

100 gms of lemon gives only 6 gm of carbs.

This tasty fruit has the highest amount of antioxidants and serves 5.4 grams of carbs per 100 gm of it.

I love to mix the raspberries with some buttercream. It tastes amazing and serves as a quick keto dessert.

This is a fruit which can be a bit tough to consume raw. It is sour.

So you can half dry it in the sun with sprinkles of salt over it.

But the benefits are innumerable.

Gooseberries are well known for its positive effect on skin and hair.

It also contains anticancer properties.

I can tell you about the endless benefits of this fruit but when it comes to keto then it is carb and sugar content that matters.

Gooseberries serve 5.9 grams of carbs per 100 gm. Quite reasonable.

Tomatoes and fruits? Well yes, it is.

Now tomato is a fruit which you can put in any recipes to bring the tangy taste. So when you are mixing it with other vegetables then our mind holds a perception that tomato is also a vegetable.

Even the tomato sauces are widely used.

Tomatoes also contain micronutrients and vitamins which improve our health condition.

It serves only 2.7 grams of carbs per 100 gm of it.

Starfruit is a delicious tropical fruit which is rich in vitamin C.

I love its crunchy yet juicy pulp.

It also carries a small amount of minerals and electrolytes. And yes starfruit is rich in antioxidants too.

It serves 4.2 of net carbs per 100 g

Lime and lemon are often confused with each other.

The difference between them is that lime has a higher concentration of vitamin C and other antioxidants.

It provides a net carb of 8.2 g per 100 g.

Though the carb content is a bit higher, limes keep your arteries cleaner and thus aids in better blood flow.

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11 Fruits can you Eat Safely in a Ketogenic Diet - Cool ...

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Feb 3rd, 2019 | Filed under Diet Safely