“Wow, you are looking tight, amazing and oh your tummy, looking so flat.”
These and many other complimentary comments have flooded social media lately especially Facebook as people mostly, women happily showcase their pictures after achieving “their aim” of losing weight through the Ketogenic regime.
Some testify of losing over chunks of body weight after four months, while others also share how people have visibly noticed a change in their body shape just a week or two after embarking on the journey to lose weight.
In the past, the African woman would do anything to gain some flesh to bring out her curves especially around her buttocks, hips and breasts as that was what the black man cherished. Those who lacked such fleshy looks were referred to as “tsingilingi”, “boney”, among others.
A woman who loses weight after given birth is mocked for not eating well or lacking the proper care after delivering. She must eat plenty carbohydrates with soup to ensure that she looked fresh and well nourished.
But over the past two to three years, young ladies, nursing mothers and even the middle age and the elderly have launched on to consuming cups of slimming tea, flat tummy tea, dietary supplement for weight loss, detoxing tea, among others. There was no single day you won’t see one advert or the other on these products.
It seems everything has its time, without any warning or announcement, more and more women have all of a sudden become conscious of their weight and would do anything and everything to lose some kilogrammes here and there.
The weight losing craze came to my notice when somebody added me to a social media group which is aimed at promoting weight loss through ketogenic lifestyle. I was confused at first as I saw the various testimonies and pictures of people losing weight. Mine! And the different images of appetizing foods on display wasn’t easy at all. As for the terminologies, I am still schooling myself on them, I hope I shall conquer them very soon.
So I finally got the gist, ketogenic diet or lifestyle is the new food revolution towards losing weight. But how can one lose so much weight by consuming lots of meat, chicken, eggs, sardines, cheese, mayonnaise, avocados, among others.
To achieve this, there are meal plans specially drawn by the administrators of these groups which members follow religiously to achieve their desired body size. Just like a church environment, everyone sang the chorus: wow what a miracle! Somebody had dropped from size 22 to 14 within some few months.
What is Ketogenic eating?
So what at all is keto, the short form of ketogenic eating. Information gathered from different health sites and authorities reveal that it is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet eating.
The diet regime has been used since the early 1900s to treat epilepsy in children successfully. It is still one of the most widely used therapies for children who have uncontrolled epilepsy. It allows fewer medications to be used while still offering excellent control.
On a normal diet of high carbohydrates, the body produces glucose and insulin. The insulin is produced by the body to process the glucose which is converted into energy. Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, the other fats are not needed and are therefore stored.
On the other hand, due to the lowering of the carbohydrate intake, the body does not have enough carbohydrate to produce the glucose and insulin, a situation which forces the body into a state of ketosis
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the lever.
The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force the body into this metabolic state (ketosis), this is not done through starvation of calories but rather low or no intake of carbohydrates.
When a person overload the body with fats and take away carbohydrates, it would begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health benefits including weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.
A typical keto dieter refrains from eating grains such as wheat, corn, rice, cereal, and sugars including honey, maple syrup. Also, fruits including apples, bananas, oranges and tubers such as potato and yams
They rather eat meat, fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, walnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamias, avocado and berries such as raspberries, blackberries, low glycemic impact berries and coconut oil, high fat salad dressing, saturated fats.
When they miss their banku, fufu and regular bread, keto dieters device ingenious ways of getting their favourite carbohydrate foods by taking cabbage banku, garden egg fufu, oats swallow, coconut flour and pysllium husk banku, among others, do the trick for them.
Other benefits of keto diet include its natural way of lowering blood sugar levels due to the type of food eaten. It is said to be the effective way to manage and prevent diabetes compared to low calories diets.
It is also said to improve mental focus as ketones are a great source of fuel for the brain and lowering carb intake, help one to avoid spikes in blood sugar, which could result in improved focus and concentration.
It is believed to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels mostly associated with arterial buildup. Low carbohydrates, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) and decrease in Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.
Losing weight with keto is not all that rosy as it has its side effects especially within the first few days of jumping onto it. These include frequent urination as the kidney excrete excess sodium as the levels of circulating insulin drops.
Dizziness and drowsiness also occurs during keto dieting as the body eliminates minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium. To conquer this, one must eat foods rich in potassium such as leafy green, broccoli, dairy, meat poultry, fish, and avocados.
Another side effect is the “ketosis flu”, a flu-like symptoms of headaches, tiredness, lethargy, brain fog, and irritability.
What the experts say
Even though people are happy they are getting their desired body size through keto, Mr Prince Baidoo, Tema General Hospital Dietitian and Mr Samuel Atuahene-Antwi, Tema Metropolitan Nutritionist told the Ghana News Agency that they do not approve of the sudden craze for keto dieting
They indicated that people were put on the diet as a therapy for intermittent seizures after careful assessment, therefore, it was not advisable for people to just jump on it without any proper medical assessment.
Mr Baidoo further said being on keto puts unnecessary pressure on the liver, a situation which could lead to the contraction of several liver diseases in future and a possible heart attack.
He added that such persons were also prone to having a higher cholesterol level, hypertension and stroke.
He, therefore, advised those who want to watch their weight to use medically acceptable ways instead of exposing themselves to long-term sicknesses.
Social media followers say Keto lifestyle is “bae”, but even as we do all we can to lose a kilo or more, let’s cherish the advice of the experts and stick to what is acceptable and good for our health instead of exposing ourselves to terminal illnesses. It is obvious that this weight loss craze could also lead us astray.