Health 03 October 2018
From personal trainers to celebrity athletes, the ketogenic diet has been on the tip of everyone's lips. LeBron James credits the high-fat, low-carb lifestyle for his dramatic weight loss, Halle Barry claims it's been key to managing her diabetes, and Gwyneth Paltrow praises it for keeping her svelte.
But any diet craze—particularly one with a massive following on social media—is bound to be riddled with falsehoods. The danger with this is that those not in the know may experience frustration, disappointment—even significant health consequences.
With that in mind, here are the biggest myths about the keto diet—and the facts you should know before starting it:
Myth: The keto diet is a butter and cheese free-for-all
One of the draws of the keto diet—which originated in the 1920s to treat epilepsy—is that it eschews the low-fat, tasteless diets of earlier decades. Instead, it demands a rigorous refusal of carbohydrates (as in, less than 30 grams per day, or the amount of a sweet potato) and a strategic dependence on fats. To some keto-ers, this has meant forgoing Fritos for bowls of bacon but the type of fat you eat is of utmost importance. Why? Besides the obvious—that saturated animal fats such as ham and sausage can lead to a host of health issues—filling your plate with conventional beef and dairy products may increase your exposure to xenoestrogens, compounds that can mimic estrogen and result in hormonal havoc (and the health complications that often arrive with it). Rather, reach for unsaturated fats like almonds and flaxseeds. What protein you do eat should come from organic eggs, wild-caught fish, hormone-free, grass-fed beef, lean cuts of poultry, and plant-based foods like Brazil nuts. Which brings us to our next point…
Myth: The keto diet is super high in protein
Blame The Zone and Atkins for the misconception that the ketogenic diet is low in carbs but high in protein. In fact, the breakdown of most keto diets looks like this: 75-90% fat, 5-15% protein, and 5-10% fibrous carbohydrates. In other words, you will need to eat adequate protein, but you won't be snacking on beef jerky and bun-less sliders. Indeed, eating too much protein can shift your body out of ketosis—the aimed-for metabolic state under the keto diet that burns stored and consumed fat for fuel instead of glucose. The excess protein will convert to glucose, and these are carbohydrates that you won't be able to count.
Myth: Without carbs, I'll have zero energy
True: The body's preferred source of energy is glucose, which is produced by carbs, and asking it to start relying on a new form of fuel can be physically and mentally demanding (hence the “keto flu," a cluster of symptoms that includes brain fog and
constipation, which often occurs as the body adjusts to this fresh way of functioning). But ketosis—that aforementioned metabolic state that delivers real results—actually promotes energy. For starters, it decreases cortisol release and supports your adrenals and thyroid glands—and both are central to maintaining a healthy weight, thinking sharply, and feeling vibrant. Research also demonstrates that ketosis fosters beneficial levels of “feel-good" brain chemicals. Having an improved mood almost always translates to bolstered energy. As for those star athletes dodging tortilla chips but downing chia seeds? The keto diet can also give rise to improved stamina and performance.
Myth: You can't lose fat if you're eating fat
To some, the keto diet seems farfetched, even, well, mythical. How can you possibly shed fat if you're eating mostly fat? The keto diet's potential—to aid not only in weight loss but also in clearer, more radiant skin, enhanced energy, and superior memory—comes from radically curbing carbs, the over-consumption of which tells our bodies to store fat. Instead, the keto diet lowers insulin, decreases blood sugar swings and reduces your vulnerability to the litany of health issues that occur with insulin resistance, such as obesity and type-2 diabetes. Further, healthy fats—the sort found in walnuts and avocadoes—can reduce hunger and encourage a sense of satiety, while also providing you with essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. Or, as Dr. Ron Rosedale of The Rosedale Diet says, “Our bodies thrive on good fat" and “our metabolism needs good fat to burn bad fat." (The emphasis here being on good).
In sum, the keto diet's wild popularity may suggest it's just a fad but, its rich history and long list of potential pluses—including more balanced hormones, a stronger libido, enhanced cellular immunity, and enriched brain power—is grounded in science. It's best to know precisely what that science is, however, so that you can avoid potential pitfalls—and, instead, reap its copious benefits.
5 Min Read
Elizabeth Warren majorly called out "arrogant billionaire" Michael Bloomberg for his history of silencing women through NDAs and closed-door settlement negotiations. Sound familiar? Probably because we already have a president like that. At this point, Bloomberg may just spend the remainder of his (hopefully) ill-fated presidential campaign roasting on a spit over a fire sparked by the righteous anger of women. A lesser punishment than he deserves, if you ask me.
At last night's Democratic debate, Michael Bloomberg could barely stammer out an answer to a question on whether or not he would release any of his former accusers from their nondisclosure agreements. His unsatisfactory response was basically a halting list of what he has done for certain nondescript women in his time at City Hall and within his own company.
But that certainly wasn't enough for Elizabeth Warren, nor should it be, who perfectly rephrased his defense as, "I've been nice to some women." Michael Bloomberg is basically that weird, problematic Uncle that claims he can't be racist, "Because I have a Black friend." In a society where power is almost always in the hands of straight, white, cisgendered, men being "nice" to a lucky few is in no way a defense for benefiting from and building upon the systematic silencing of all marginalized communities, let alone women. Stop and frisk, anybody?
Here is a brief clip of the Warren v. Bloomberg exchange, which I highly recommend. It is absolutely (and hilariously) savage.
But let's talk about the deeper issues at hand here (other than Warren being an eloquent badass).
Michael Bloomberg has been sued multiple times, yet each time he was able to snake his way out of the problem with the help of his greatest and only superpower: cold, hard cash. Each time these allegations have come up, in Warren's words, he throws "a chunk of money at the table" and "forces the woman to wear a muzzle for the rest of her life."
As reported by Claire Lampen of The Cut, here are just a few of his prior indiscretions.
- Pregnancy discrimination—Bloomberg reportedly told a former employee of his to "kill it," in reference to her developing fetus.
- Sexual harassment—You could literally write a book on this subject (someone did), but for the sake of brevity...
"I'd like to do that piece of meat" - Michael Bloomberg in reference to various women at his company.
- Undermining #MeToo—Not only did he defend the accused, but he went on the disparage accusers every step of the way.
- Defaming transgender people—Though he claims to support trans rights, he has also been qupted multiple times as referring to trans women as "some guy wearing a dress."
Yeah... That's not a winning formula for me, Mike.
Furthermore, Warren points out the simple fact that if, as Bloomberg claims, these instances were simply big misunderstandings (He was just joking around!) then why go to all the trouble to cover them up? Does Michael Bloomberg think women can't take a joke? Or can we only surmise that the truth of these events are far darker and dirtier than we could even imagine?
Certain commentators have called Elizabeth Warren's debate presence "agressive," especially in regards to this instance but also continually throughout her entire campaign. If asking poignant questions to known abusers who are seeking to further their own political power is considered "aggressive," then I am here for it. Bring on the aggressive women, please and thank you.
Calling a woman aggressive for being confidant and direct is a gendered complaint. You don't see anyone whining that Bernie is "aggressive" when he goes off on a screaming tangent. Also, have you seen our president? He's basically the poster boy for political temper tantrums. But still, it's Warren that is deemed "aggressive," for honing in on the exact issues that need to be considered in this upcoming election.
This type of derisory label is another aspect of how our society silences women—much like Bloomberg and his NDAs. Because "silencing" is more than just putting a "muzzle" on someone. It's refusing to listen to a person's cries for help. It's disregarding what a woman has to say, because she's too "aggressive." It's taking away someone's power by refusing to truly hear their side of the story. Because if you aren't listening, responding, or even just respecting someone's words, they may well have said nothing at all.
"Silence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard." - Renecca Solnit
Nondiscolusure agreements are a legal gag for people who have experienced harassment and abuse at the hands of those above them.
Gretchen Carlson, possibly the most famous person subject to an NDA, is one of these people. Her story is so well-known that it has even been immortalized on film, in 2019's Bombshell. Yet she is still forced to maintain her silence. She cannot tell her side of the story even when Hollywood can. She was cajoled into her current position after facing harassment in her workplace. She didn't have the power then to do more than accept her fate. And now, she doesn't have the power to tell her story.
She was, and still is being, silenced.
After her experiences, Carlson was moved to fight for all women to have the power over their truths. In a recent op-ed for the New York Times she declared: "I want my voice back. I want it back for me, and for all those silenced by forced arbitration and NDAs."
Carlson may still be tied to her NDA, but there are those who go a different route. Celeste Headlee, who wrote an op-ed on SWAAY about her experience, chose to break her nondisclosure agreement. Though doing so undoubtedly opened her up to numerous legal ramifications, she knew that she could no longer "sign away [her] right to justice."
Because that is what an NDA is all about, signing away a person's right to justice. Their story is their justice. Their NDA is a lock and key. Headlee may have broken through that lock, but she must face the consequences.
Neither Carlson nor Headlee are any less brave for how they have handled their journeys. They are both actively working to shift the cultural and political norms that led them here, and their work will, with hope and time, lead to real change. But they are just two drops in an ocean of women who are held hostage by their nondisclosure agreements, by men like Michael Bloomberg, and by a society that would rather silence them than let truth and justice be had.