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posted on Thu, Jan 19 '17 under tag: health

Diet, like religion, is forced upon you by your immediate surroundings. What if you were eating the wrong things all your life?

The first time I hear about keto diet is when I was reading about Novak Djokovic’s incredible run of grandslam successes. Apparently, the credit goes largely to switching his diet to a gluten-free one as detailed in his book Serve to Win (affiliate link).

There was also a conversation in a telegram group of mozillians in which I was ardently debating against Benjamin Kerensa (of Glucosio) who was supporting keto diet with carbohydrates restricted to less than 30g a day. I was keen on seeing randomized control trials and double blinded studies to prove the efficiency of this diet. But I think I was wrong in doing so because the onus does not necessarily have to lie with the keto community.

The Science

It is definitely a food for thought - whether we must shun all aspects of our lifestyle that has not been scientifically validated as healthy. And if we do that, what should we fall back to? What is a default human lifestyle?

Common sense says that humans are probably evolved for a hunter gatherer lifestyle. Because that’s what we had been before agriculture was invented (or discovered?). Rice cultivation started only about 10,000 years back1. And my diet these days is predominantly based on rice. I have no reason to believe that this is a healthy diet.

On the other hand, I can’t think of a good reason why I should not follow what would have been the diet habits of our ancestors either. They probably had access only to meat, eggs fruits, vegetables, etc. In fact, when I was watching the Human Planet episode on Inuits2, I was wondering how they can subsist on such a frugal diet. But in hindsight, the question I should have asked myself is “Why am I eating so much?”.

There is this whole other question of whether it is glucose or fat that the body prefers. And like the question of what the default should be, this one can probably never be answered by science per se. A lot of arguments on why fat is more preferred is presented here

The Medicine

There are millions of diabetics in India and world over. The pathophysiology of diabetes (type 2) is that cells become resistant to insulin and stop accepting glucose. And in our carbohydrate rich diet, glucose is infused into blood with every meal.

The moment someone is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, the cat and mouse game between diabetic drugs and blood glucose level starts. Why take drugs to lower the level of glucose in blood, if you can just stop consuming glucose at the first hand?

Turns out keto diet is indeed prescribed by some endocrinologists for diabetics.

The Practicality

Keeping the fact that I was scared about starving my brain cells aside, the main reason I did not try keto diet was that I believed it would be impractical to get the right stuff to eat.

But yesterday I read about Kiran Jonnalagada and Zainab Bawa being on keto diet for more than a year now. If they can, why can’t I?

The Search Begins

My task now is to figure out what food items I can get which are rich in fat from the markets of Mysuru. I had two double omlettes today morning. But I can’t just keep eating eggs. So, if you have recipe ideas or any other comments, let me know.

  1. Between 8,200 and 13,500 years ago, according to sources on wikipedia 

  2. BBC Link