What does it mean

Eat well.  What in the world does that mean?! It seems like every day something comes up on my Facebook thread about diet.  Low carb is good, low carb is bad. Alcohol is okay, alcohol is awful. Coconut oil is a super food, coconut oil is poison.  There is a never-ending parade of ‘new research’ either supporting or condemning virtually every way of eating.  What’s a girl to believe? I don’t know about you, but I just want to be healthy.  I don’t want to feel miserable from eating foods I hate the rest of my life, and I really don’t want to avoid foods I love just to find out years later that I didn’t need to eliminate them from my diet after all.  There is still a heated debate over what ways of eating are healthy, and honestly I’m not sure there will ever be a consensus among experts.  However, below are a few key things I’ve come to realize…

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Ketogenic Diet

There’s a ‘new’ diet around called a Ketogenic diet, or Keto. In actuality, it is not new at all – it has been around for about 100 years. But it is a new fad, so I feel like it is appropriate to discuss it here.

Never heard of Keto? Keto is a way of eating that was originally designed to treat seizures, and ongoing evidence continues to prove that it does indeed help seizure disorders.
Over the last several decades, it has actually been used to help with a number of neurologic disorders, including traumatic brain injury and dementia. It is used as an adjunct to cancer treatments. It is used for diabetes management, inflammatory conditions, as well as many other chronic medical disorders.  The research in the nutritional and medical communities includes thousands of studies discussing the advantages of this way of eating, but it never actually took off until it was used for weight loss. Many people find they can lose a great deal of weight quickly by eating this way, and this discovery has brought Keto out of the shadows and into mainstream culture.  Below I will discuss what Keto is and try to address a few common concerns.

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Fasting

Fasting?! What? Why in the world would anyone want to starve themselves, other than for religious reasons? Because it’s good for you, that’s why.  Fasting is the planned, controlled absence of eating.  Everyone fasts at some point – after all, ‘breakfast’ just means the meal that breaks your fast.  Fasting – absence of food – can be done for hours or days, depending on your health goals. Benefits of fasting include reduced insulin resistance, weight loss, increased metabolism, improved levels of growth hormones (which leads to sparing of lean muscle mass), improved mental clarity, and decreased inflammation.  It will also make you live longer, according to many well-designed studies looking at fasting and longevity.  Fasting has been a pillar of healthy living for centuries, and only fell out of favor when there was a cultural shift towards eating ‘small meals’ every few hours.  Frequent eating helps with satiety and prevents dips in blood sugar, but it can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to properly produce and use important hormones like insulin, ghrelin, and growth hormones, leading to obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and other problems.

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The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s

A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.

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Is Keto Bad for the Thyroid?

Keto is fantastic, everyone says. It’s a great way to lose weight, improve cognition, and stave off degenerative disease. It may help your performance in the gym and on the track. It could even give Grandpa some respite from Alzheimer’s.

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