There are several reasons why a ketogenic diet is superior to a low- fat diet, including the increased protein intake, which provides numerous benefits. The increased ketones, lower blood sugar levels and im- proved insulin sensitivity may also play a key role in longevity.

“The ketogenic diet can boost insulin sensitivity and cause fat loss, leading to significant health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, overweight or having cardio issues.”

“Ketosis is a metabolic state that can be caused by a low- carb or ketogenic diet. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet.”

In a layman’s’ language, our body is like a well-oiled ma- chine, immaculately crafted by Vishwakarma ( Almighty). To run the machine on the rails of normalcy, in succession, down the lane of time- we need fuel in sequence. God has provided all of us with three types of fuel. As we run motor vehicles on gas, diesel or CNG; like wise three options are available to us in the following types of fuels in chronological order of preference in our body:

• Glucose [ has 4 calories]

• Fat [ has 9 calories]

• Protein [ has 4 calories]

Carbs, the energy boosters To put things in proper per- spective: Carbohydrates, fats and proteins comprise 90 per cent of the dry weight of the diet and provide 100 per cent of its energy which is measured in calories. From the 3 macronutrients mentioned above, carbohy- drates and fats stand apart from proteins. These two mac- ronutrients are the subject of many misconceptions when it comes to health and nutrition. Let’s understand how our bod- ies convert these substances into energy/ calories.

Carbohydrates, consumed as food, are broken into sugars. Generally, sugars end up be- ing broken down into glucose, fructose and galactose. One thing that separates carbs from proteins and fats is the rapid speed at which the body can process them. Certain carbo- hydrates can be converted into sugars and be present in your bloodstream for use as soon as 1 minute after you eat. This is why athletes prefer to eat carb-heavy meals before longer workouts.

In essence, the body enters a state of glycolysis (for glucose) or fructolysis (for fructose) that converts these simple sugars into energy. Excess calories from sugar that don’t get used immediately are stored in the liver as glycogen. However, not all carbohydrates are equal. Always, keep this in mind.

Fit ‘n’ fine

Fats have unfairly received a poor reputation over the past years. For years, popular medical wisdom told us that fats were dangerous for our health and that they should be avoided as much as possible. Now we’re beginning to un- derstand that fats are a critical component of total body well- ness, and they provide energy to fuel our bodily processes. And that Unsaturated fats are awfully healthy beyond an iota of doubt.

When it comes to energy, fats are the slowest digesting of the three macronutrients, but they are also the most efficient. Every gram of dietary fat supplies the body with about 9 calories. To put things in perspective, protein and carbohydrates both supply 4 calories per gram. In the intes- tine, fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. These fatty acid chains are converted into energy via a process called beta-oxidation.

Fat side story

How does dietary fat become visible body fat? The answer lies with the extra calories that the body don’t consume and store it. The body likes to store excess calories for emergency, in the waiting, even if that never happens in future. This leads to depos- its in the abdomen, under the skin, and even in blood vessels and organs. Fat itself does not cause weight gain, but consuming more energy (in calories) than your body requires does. This is true re- gardless of whether the calo- ries are coming from protein, carbohydrates or fats.

Where things go wrong

People sometimes blame car- bohydrates and fats for various health issues. This Is preposter- ous. These two nutrients are vital sources of energy for our body. Carbohydrates and fats are not inherently unhealthy. The main cause behind many of these problems is over consumption without doing anything to convert the glucose and fatty acids into energy. To make those conversions, the body responds to stimuli. For example, if you work out, the body takes note of this and starts turning those calories into the energy you need to complete your workout. Without any use, the calories become the deposits of fat or the elevated levels of sugar in the blood that we associate with being unhealthy.

Prof. Surinder Kochhar (Shaun)
LPN, FCN, M.Com, CAIIB, DIM A freelance writer with 36 Years Exp. A Health Coach