May 24, 2018

 Hmmm, let’s talk about this Keto thing!- Emeka Nwolisa

 Hmmm, let’s talk about this Keto thing!- Emeka Nwolisa

If you don’t know what Keto means then you must be the proverbial only person in Jerusalem not aware that Christ had risen from the dead.  

Keto is short for Ketogenic.  The ketogenic diet is the in-thing now, the latest fad, the trending ajebutter things.

Trust Nigerians and our ways , we treat  every new fad  like  the-next-best discovery since  the combo of groundnut and banana  or ewa agoyin and Agege bread combo were discovered.

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, high protein  and  very low or no carbohydrate diet.   Carbohydrates when taken in meals are usually converted to glucose and helps tremendously in providing the daily caloric or energy  requirement of the individual. However in ketogenic diets since there is no carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source.

The ketogenic diet was designed in 1924  by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic in America  as a treatment modality for children with epilepsy.  But by the 1940s as newer and more effective drugs for epilepsy were discovered and massively produced it lost its pride of place.

Fast forward to the 1990s precisely in 1997, when the  film ‘First Do No Harm’ again popularised and glamorised it. The film was directed by Jim Abrahams  and was about a boy whose severe epilepsy was unresponsive to drugs but was effectively controlled by use of ketogenic diet. Jim Abrahams, was inspired to make the film as a result of his own experiences with his son, Charlie.

Ketogenic diets have lately gone mainstream and  are  now touted as the trendiest  way to lose weight.  Several  groups now exist on social media all eulogising and propagating the ideals of keto.  Accepted, people  can lose weight on the ketogenic diet but  the inherent and possible risks are gleefully ignored. The weight loss results primarily from the body having to burn fat for energy, secondly eating  high fat diet keeps you full and  makes you feel not hungry. Most critics say the keto-type diets usually work only in the short term and can be unhealthy.

Ketogenic  diets have been found useful though  in some cancer patients  and patients with  type 2 diabetes . In type 2 diabetes the weight loss it induces is said to improve insulin sensitivity but it is advocated that  it  should only be used under clinical supervision and only for brief periods.

The  changes in dietary consumption and the body’s adaptive mechanisms to cope with the reduced carbohydrate intake results in  several changes in the blood composition of individuals following the ketogenic diet.  Significant changes occur in  the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the blood resulting in higher levels usually above normal.  Other deleterious effects include constipation and  women may also experience amenorrhea or other disruptions to the menstrual cycle.

So  while ketogenic diet would help you lose weight, you may just be attracting other health challenges. If you must keto be sure to get a medical  evaluation and be followed up  by your doctor or  a health care practitioner  with a good knowledge of nutrition and dietetics.

But wait a minute, I thought African men were supposed to like their women frontally and posteriorly endowed  anatomically. So why this new-found  craze for lepaciousness?



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