The Keto Craze: Is It Really Healthy?
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Category: Health
Cardiologist Joshua Latzman from White Plains Hospital weighs in on the benefits of the latest diet trend.
Chances are you’ve heard of the latest diet and weight-loss fad sweeping the nation: the ketogenic diet (keto for short). It’s a low-carb, high-fat plan that’s become so popular, it was credited for making a dent in Weight Watchers’ numbers.
By drastically cutting back on carbs, keto followers reduce the amount of blood sugar available to be used as energy, which, in turn, causes their livers to produce more ketones for fuel. Since ketones are produced from fat and the body is relying on them for energy, fat burn increases dramatically.
As effective as keto may be, is it really healthy to manipulate the body in such a way? Dr. Joshua Latzman, cardiologist at Maple Medical, believes it can be. “A well-formulated keto diet full of non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats and high-quality protein can be healthy,” he says.
The keto diet isn’t just an effective way to lose weight—it may help improve your health in other aspects too. “From a cardiac standpoint, reducing the amount of carbs in the diet generally improves triglyceride levels,” Dr. Latzman says.
Keto may also help manage diabetes. “The diet prevents swings in blood sugar that can result from ingesting large amounts of carbohydrates, especially in people whose bodies have difficulty regulating blood sugar,” Dr. Latzman says. The keto diet is even suspected to be good for conditions such as epilepsy, dementia, and certain cancers, though much more research needs to be done.
But before you dive right in, consult with your doctor. “People with elevated LDL should be careful about significantly increasing their intake of saturated fat when undertaking the keto diet, as this may further increase their LDL levels,” Dr. Latzman warns. He recommends having bloodwork done prior to starting the keto diet and then being monitored on a regular basis to ensure that issues do not develop.
Additionally, “people taking exogenous insulin must work closely with their endocrinologists when drastically lowering their carbohydrate intake,” Dr. Latzman says. In fact, if you’re on any medications, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor just to make sure keto is the best plan for you. Taking the proper precautions is important whenever implementing a new diet or weight-loss plan, but generally, it is safe to give keto a go.
Here’s what to eat:
• Structure your diet to be low carb, moderate protein and high fat
• Choose minimally processed, whole foods and avoid anything highly processed
• Low-carb veggies such as arugula, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bell pepper, kale and zucchini
• Low-sugar fruits such as tomatoes, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
• Healthy fats such as avocado, almonds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, nut oils, walnuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts
• Quality proteins such as wild or sustainably farmed salmon, tuna, codfish, shrimp, organic chicken, turkey, grass-fed organic beef and eggs
• Snacks such as nut butters with no added sugars, sugar-free jerky, cheese, plain Greek yogurt, kale chips and dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cacao
Dr. Joshua Latzman is a cardiologist with Maple Medical at 30 Davis Avenue, White Plains. To make an appointment, call (914) 328-2151.
Mindful Eating for the Holiday Season
- Written by Wendy MacMillan
- Category: Health
It was like a Halloween miracle...the clouds parted and the rain stayed at bay, but now all that trick or treating has left us with bags of tempting candy right before Thanksgiving and a season of feasting. What better time than now, to talk about mindful eating?! No, mindful eating isn’t a new diet fad, but if you practice it regularly you might just feel the effects in both your body and mind.
As Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it, mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” So simply put, mindful eating is the act of slowing down and drawing our attention to the physical and emotional sensations that we may feel while we eat. The premise of mindful eating is to try to clear your dining space of other distractions so that you can really focus on how the food you are consuming smells, how it tastes, and how it feels as you chew it. We’re all guilty of chowing down while we distractedly look at our phones or watch T.V. or of shoveling in a granola bar while running from one place to the next, but if we practice mindfulness while eating, we can also begin to create an awareness of how our bodies feel when we are hungry and start to recognize the physical cues of when we are full.
Benefits of mindful eating:
The benefits of mindful eating are plentiful. Practicing mindfulness in general has been scientifically proven to not only strengthen executive functioning skills such as impulse control and decision making, but it has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. What’s more, when practiced while eating, mindfulness can also help aid digestion, establish a healthy relationship with food, contribute to weight loss, and so much more!
Ready to give mindful eating a try?
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that practicing mindfulness takes, well...practice! It might not feel natural at first, but with a bit of effort and time, it can become second nature and before you know it you have created a new, healthy habit for yourself! Here are a few tips to help get anyone started:
-Try to avoid eating food right out of a package or while standing at the counter. Instead, plate your food and sit down to eat it at a table.
-Try to eliminate distractions such as cellphones and T.V. so that you can give all of your attention to your meal.
-Spend a moment feeling grateful for your food and how it was provided for you.
-When you start to eat, use all of your senses to enjoy the food. How does the food smell, taste, feel?
-Take small bites and really try to savor each one.
-Try to take notice of how you the food makes you feel while eating it and how you feel once you’ve finished.
-Tune into your body’s signals and try to recognize when you are full.
Please remember, while it is important to try to focus your attention on the present moment and the food that you are eating, it is perfectly natural for your mind to start to wander. If this should happen just gently bring your focus and awareness back to the sensations of eating and savoring your meal.
For more information about mindful eating and for guided mindful eating mediations check this out.