I’m going to step out on a limb and speak up against keto. Keto is just the latest craze causing books to fall off the shelves and whole grains to drop into the trash. In my opinion, it is just as misguided as all of the other so-called miracle diets that preceded it.
You may recall paleo, gluten free, low carb, Atkins, low fat, South Beach - the list goes on and on. They are gimmicks that sell a ton of merchandise, condemn some perfectly good food, work for a small amount of people, and frustrate the othe 85% of those who try them.
Many years ago scientists medicalized food, giving it names like carbs, fats and protein, and thus the confusion and marketing began. Added to that are he huge number of people who don’t cook at home very much and rely on restaurants and grocery take-away. When you do that you have little control over what’s been added to your food to make it last and make it taste good.
Someone wrote to me and said she was beginning to think about carbs in a very negative way after some paleo and keto people were saying they were not good for weight loss - she only wants to lose the proverbial 10 pounds. That’s a lot of peer pressure and judging this sincere, conscientious woman is up against. Eat carbs? Bad person….
What Are Carbs Anyway?
Part of the problem is understanding what carbs are. They are not criminals. Carbs are the foods that give us energy. It’s just that some burn quickly and raise blood sugar and trigger cravings. The secret is many do not. I’ll share examples of the useful carb choices in a bit. And by the way, did you know powercouple Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen’s plates are filled with 80% carbs? They must be good for something, yes?
A Little More abut Keto
Keto is just the latest in the long line of miracle, life changing diets.
Ketogenic diets were first used to reduce the number of seizures in children. Why? Because children's brains need a good portion of fat to remain in balance, and for some reason children with epilepsy had inadequate amounts of fat in their brains.
For normal healthy people, prolonged use of a keto diet can lead to kidney stones and blood sugar imbalances because of the absence of needed carbs.
The problem with all these diets is in the first week or so people experience results like weight loss or reduced inflammation. It doesn't last for a variety of reasons. An example is the gluten free diet - it resulted in highly expensive products that were gluten free but contained all sorts of highly processed ingredients to give the foods that normally would have gluten some bulk. No good. It does matter that foods with gluten are potentially inflammatory and should be eaten in moderation, unless one has Celiac, and then no gluten should be consumed ever.
I've been doing this work for a long time and what I can tell you is our relationship with food and the quality of our food are the real solutions to a healthy life. Not portion control, not calorie counting, not what you're 'allowed' to have, but a variety of simple whole foods that you like and have enough of to feel satisfied.
More about Carbs
Here’s a sampling of the “good” ones- I invite you to look them over and see what you think about their value:
- whole grains
Within those groupings are hundreds of food choices. This is simply the classes of foods that are at least partially carbohydrates, with some protein and fiber included in them.
Do You Want to Lose Those 10 Pounds?
Whether it’s 10 or 40 pounds, the best place to start is with a balanced plate of “good” carbs that you like, some fat and some protein. Note that these macronutrients may be in the same food - beans have protein and carb, avocadoes have fat and carb. The simplest thing you can do is eat real food, not packaged, with a combination of many vegetables, some fruit, some protein and some fat. Vegetable sshould be the main attraction.
The Foods that Get in the Way of Weight Loss
These serve no nutritional purpose, though there might be pleasure and cravings associated with all of them. Simple carbs like white bread. whole wheat. bread that is not whole grain, bagels, pizza, white pasta, cookies, cake, soda, sweets, syrups in coffees, added sugar, white rice, refined crackers.
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