What's with this low carb and keto diet? Is this just another fad that will fade away with time? Short answer: No. Long answer: Read below.
First of all, I am no expert in the world of nutrition science. I am an avid learner and will continue to learn, experiment and challenge conventional wisdom while adding value to the lives of others. Tides change and with it, so does knowledge. I find that very humbling. This article looks at this topic from a philosophical magnifying glass. To me, life is to be cherished as an experience and not just limited to a conquest of goals. I prefer to do things that I find gratifying with people I enjoy. This last point is also a strong point used against the low carb 'bandwagon.' For the moment, let's digress a bit.
Recently, a few decades ago, we came across what is called the 'information age' where through the magical powers of wires, zeros and ones and some geniuses down in Silicon Valley(a pathetic snapshot of the actual advent) created something we call the world wide web or the internet. Besides overdosing our dopamines with cat pictures and viral videos, it did allow many of us to connect and obtain knowledge that was at one point in history very difficult to acquire. Come to think about it: just a few centuries ago, you may have had to travel to the land of a tyrant to acquire that one book from that one library. One false misstep could have cost your head or any useful part of your body depending on the ruling despot. Well, those days are gone and now the challenge isn't acquiring knowledge itself but focusing on what's relevant, useful and accurate. Enter millennials.
Millennials are an interesting bunch. We got exposed to this all-you-can-grab-information buffet and it was a fantastic social experiment of how adaptable we are as human species. Now here's where it gets interesting. Fingers get pointed at this generation for coming up with some weird, out-of-the-box thinking. This includes this ridiculous low-carb, paleo, ketogenic and various other diets that these young kids seem to be banging their heads about! Why? Okay, let's do a quick Google search, diabetes rates have gone up, obesity rates have skyrocketed, nearly 5 million people are living with Alzheimer's, over 500,000 people still dying from cancer and heart disease still remains the top hitman. Now, the reality is that numbers can be deceiving and the picture is always complicated when we go down to individual cases. However, the snapshot doesn't look too pretty as a whole and that is what most of us see. The bustle of demanding professional life and societal conformity doesn't allow many of us to seep into intricate chiming among the resonating noises of every single research paper and scientific study that is out there. But, we do leave that homework to several experts, researchers and writers that are consistently educating about alternative lifestyle, diet and medical procedures that makes a lot of sense to our ever-evolving brain and many of them are supported by solid scientific evidence. Example would be The Big Fat Surprise, The Great Cholesterol Myth, We We Get Fat, The Art and Science of Low Carb Living, Keto Clarity, Grain Brain, The Obesity Code along with countless videos, blogs, articles and podcasts. In short, there is a very strong doubt against the current guidelines and foundations in place. They seem antiquated and not working well at all. This is where all the 'fad diets and lifestyles' come in.
One of the most interesting thing that is concurrently happening is the creation of communities and groups. Just log onto your Facebook account or visit Reddit and you will see bands of health communities, each with their own followers and gurus looking to find ways to optimize health, performance and lifestyle as a whole. This brings an interesting dynamic that challenges scientific studies as well. We all know that large studies take several years and hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to perform and they are also performed in strict labs or metabolic ward settings which may or may not simulate real world and practical scenarios filled with countless external variables. With the advent of such online communities, you can perform such 'studies' catalyzed into a matter of hours or days without shelling a single dime. Now, they may not be quantified, remotely accurate or probably may be a total fluke but that's not the only thing these people find in such online social experiments. These places answer the deeper questions that many scientific studies may not answer such as 'how does this make me feel?' and sometimes technical questions like, 'how does 20 grams of broccoli change my glucose levels?'. In other words, these communities appeal to both their rational and emotional part of the brain while providing quick responses and above all, make you feel wanted, cherished and not lied to. Also, there is a distrust of the medical community(weren't we told a few decades ago that smoking was fantastic?) and media outlets that may be propagating contradictory scientific information within the same hour. If you tread into any of these online communities, interestingly enough, you may find plethora of scientific papers and information supporting their advice and deductions. Sometimes you'll see several physicians, trainers and nutritionists among the group silently wearing a badge of revolt against conventional wisdom. What this means that where there is smoke, there is usually fire or at least something warm. Might be a smart to see what's going on before it becomes a mighty conflagration?
The reality is, the younger generation wants to create a change and improve their lives and the lives of others. Pitching against our current generation and demonizing them for utilizing and cherry picking a combination of technology, science and existing wisdom is not going to solve our problems. That process only caters to the inflated ego and consumes lives of humans. Instead, maybe we should sit back for a bit, observe and admire at how we continue to adapt and innovate. Remember, we are on the same side: Team Human Effin' Beings, anyone? Arguments and discussions will continue to take place between communities but that is beautiful in its own: conflict can be the first step to hypothesis, analysis, quantification, obtaining results and eventually preventing future damage. Yes, we will continue to have doorknobs and trolls but we are still trying(plus, they can be pretty entertaining!) So, enough with these safety nets of conformity and antiquated ideas while every day lives of people are being claimed by various diseases that could be moderated or vanquished with cheaper and progressive solutions.
Cutting to the chase, the reality, based on my humble research and the aforementioned reasons, is that the low carb diet is here to stay. It's a strong tool that can be utilized in conjunction with other tools for combating various diseases connected to metabolism and food consumption. Stamping it may cause some real harm to those who may obtain some serious benefits from it. Personally, I want to die continuing to lift barbells above my chin till my very last day while maybe living to play soccer with my great grand kids. If the low carb lifestyle helps me obtain this goal while providing a positive experience throughout, heck yea, I am sold!
To end this article, let me iterate my experience when I was at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Wearing my 'Ketogeek' shirt like a pirate among the charming and pristine banners of organic-natural-sugar infested booths, I dredged up to a table where a kind lady offered me some chocolate. With a dismaying smile and refusal of 'I am low carb and don't consume any sugar,' I guiltily deflated her large and vibrant eyes into tiny shirt buttons. However, the brave and optimistic soul in her continued to pry, 'Oh c'mon, just have a piece. Life is too short!' And voila, I came up with one of the best one-liners of this year as a response, 'Exactly! Don't make it shorter!'
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