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keto diet – Everything you need to know

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Following a keto diet means getting more of your daily calories from fat, and fewer of them from carbohydrates. You could lose weight by following a keto diet, and there may be other benefits. Improvements in total cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure have been shown.

But should you follow a keto diet? If so, what foods do you need to eat, and which recipes should you use? We’ve got the answers. Find more about healthy eating, plus tons of recipes (healthy and indulgent) on our dedicated page.

What is a keto diet?

Normally the body converts carbohydrates to glucose to use as fuel. Following a ketogenic diet where carbs are in very short supply causes the body to produce ketones from stored fat – it’s an alternative fuel. Hence the diet is ketogenic. The bottom line is that after three or four days with little glucose available from your diet, the body starts to use fat as the primary fuel.

Consuming fewer carbohydrates means eating less sugar, rice, pasta and bread, for example, and also cutting out sugary drinks and more (see below). A keto diet usually reduces daily carb consumption to under 50g a day, although it can be as little as 20g a day.

What are the keto diet foods?

When you’re on a keto diet, you can eat meat, including beef, pork, poultry, lamb and game. When you’re choosing meat, remember that processed meats can contain carbs, so check the labels, or avoid them altogether and prepare your own recipes using unprocessed meat.

Fish and other seafood is fine, too, with fatty fish like salmon or mackerel preferable.

Eggs, butter, cheese and cream are also keto diet friendly. (Milk, by the way, contains sugar, so see foods to avoid, below).

You can also eat vegetables, but think leafy and green mostly, and stick to those that grow above ground, so that’s cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and so on. Potatoes are out (see foods to avoid, below).

Other things you can include in your diet? Nuts – but swerve higher carb cashews and pistachios and opt for pecans, brazils and macadamias. Seeds like flax and chia, are okay, too, as are avocados, and oils such as olive and coconut.

Fruit is generally a no-no (see foods to avoid, below), but you can have berries such as strawberries and raspberries in small portions.

Overall, most of your daily calories (see above) should be obtained from fat, which will come from meat or fish, the fat you cook with, and even high-fat sauces.

Which are the foods to avoid on a keto diet?

Some of what you’ll need to avoid will probably suggest itself to you, while other food and drink can catch you out.

Sugar in its many guises is on the banned list – and that includes foods like honey and maple syrup. You can’t add sugar to your tea and coffee, of course, nor can you have soft drinks. However, you’ll also need to avoid fruit juices and sports drinks.

Breakfast cereals are out as well. Sugar is also used in lots of products where you might not expect to see it – think ready meals and sauces. Always check labels. Naturally, you’ll be saying no to sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate bars, ice cream…

Watch out for milk in your drinks. A splash to whiten is OK, but skip the lattes and Frappuccinos, Starbucks fans. And while we’re on the subject of drinks, beer is out, too. Generally, plain water, and black and white tea without sugar are best, and you could even have a small glass of wine on a special occasion.

Carbs: say goodbye to bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Just for the avoidance of doubt, that includes crisps and chips.

Legumes: perhaps surprisingly, you’ll also need to cut out legumes – including beans, chickpeas, lentils – to follow a keto diet.

Fruit: You’ll also need to step away from fruit aside from berries (see keto diet foods, above).

How to follow a keto diet plan

Generally, if you follow a keto diet, what you eat daily should be around 70% to 80% fat, 10% to 20% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrate.

To attain the required fat consumption of the diet, you’ll probably need to eat some at each meal. Your protein intake, on the other hand, will be moderate. Bear in mind that this isn’t a high fat and high protein regime – like the Atkins diet, for example. Opt for free range poultry, wild-caught fish and organic beef for preference.

You can follow the diet plan if you’re vegetarian as you can consume eggs and dairy products. As a vegan it’s not considered a healthy option because eating legumes and grains is key to obtaining essential nutrients on a plant-based diet.

If you’re going on a keto diet to lose weight, programmes frequently suggest following it until the weight you want to lose is shed. Then, you are advised to return to the diet perhaps some weeks of the month or some days of the week.

Stay healthy on a keto diet

A keto diet can be a healthy choice for many people but the ratio of fat, carbs and protein needed can vary from one person to another.

If you are diabetic, discuss the diet with your doctor before starting as it’ll likely involve changes to medication and increased monitoring of your blood sugar.

On medication for high blood pressure? Again consult your doctor before starting a keto diet.

Don’t start on a keto diet if you’re breastfeeding.

Be aware that restricting carbs can make you feel irritable, hungry and tired, among other possibilities. This could be a temporary effect, however.

Remember, also, that your diet should still be balanced so you’re obtaining all the vitamins and minerals you need. Also crucial is sufficient fibre.

Find keto recipes

Cooking from scratch makes sticking to a keto diet easier as you won’t need to scan lists of ingredients of pre-prepared foods to check for hidden carbs. Dishes like bacon and eggs are on the agenda, together with meals such as omelette, scrambled eggs and frittata. You can also base meals around chicken, beef or fish, for example.

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Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on – Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin

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Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on

Two years on, half of a group of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, still have at least one lingering symptom, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study followed 1192 participants in Wuhan infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.

While physical and mental health generally improved over time, the study found that COVID-19 patients still tend to have poorer health and quality of life than the general population. This is especially the case for participants with long COVID, who typically still have at least one symptom including fatigue, shortness of breath and sleep difficulties two years after initially falling ill.1

The long-term health impacts of COVID-19 have remained largely unknown, as the longest follow-up studies to date have spanned around one year.2 The lack of pre-COVID-19 health status baselines and comparisons with the general population in most studies has also made it difficult to determine how well patients with COVID-19 have recovered.

Lead author Professor Bin Cao, of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, China, said, “Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from COVID-19. Ongoing follow-up of COVID-19 survivors, particularly those with symptoms of long COVID, is essential to understand the longer course of the illness, as is further exploration of the benefits of rehabilitation programs for recovery. There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who’ve had COVID-19, and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health outcomes.”3

The authors of the new study sought to analyse the long-term health outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, as well as specific health impacts of long COVID. They evaluated the health of 1192 participants with acute COVID-19 treated at Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, between 7 January and 29 May 2020, at six months, 12 months and two years.

Assessments involved a six-minute walking test, laboratory tests and questionnaires on symptoms, mental health, health-related quality of life, if they had returned to work and healthcare use after discharge. The negative effects of long COVID on quality of life, exercise capacity, mental health and healthcare use were determined by comparing participants with and without long COVID symptoms. Health outcomes at two years were determined using an age-, sex- and comorbidities-matched control group of people in the general population with no history of COVID-19 infection.

Two years after initially falling ill, patients with COVID-19 are generally in poorer health than the general population, with 31% reporting fatigue or muscle weakness and 31% reporting sleep difficulties. The proportion of non-COVID-19 participants reporting these symptoms was 5% and 14%, respectively.

COVID-19 patients were also more likely to report a number of other symptoms including joint pain, palpitations, dizziness and headaches. In quality of life questionnaires, COVID-19 patients also more often reported pain or discomfort (23%) and anxiety or depression (12%) than non-COVID-19 participants (5% and 5%, respectively).

Around half of study participants had symptoms of long COVID at two years, and reported lower quality of life than those without long COVID. In mental health questionnaires, 35% reported pain or discomfort and 19% reported anxiety or depression. The proportion of COVID-19 patients without long COVID reporting these symptoms was 10% and 4% at two years, respectively. Long COVID participants also more often reported problems with their mobility (5%) or activity levels (4%) than those without long COVID (1% and 2%, respectively).

The authors acknowledged limitations to their study, such as moderate response rate; slightly increased proportion of participants who received oxygen; it was a single centre study from early in the pandemic.

References:

1. – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network – Royal College of General Practitioners. COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng188
2. – Soriano – JB Murthy – S Marshall – JC Relan – P Diaz JV – on behalf of the WHO Clinical Case Definition Working Group on Post-COVID-19 Condition. A clinical case definition of post-COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021; 22: e102-e107
3. – Huang L – Yao Q – Gu X – et al. 1-year outcomes in hospital survivors with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study. Lancet. 2021; 398: 747-758

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ink drop

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2SLGBTQ+ lobby group head speaks on the trauma of conversion therapy

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Although conversion therapy has now been outlawed in Canada, many are still victims causing them to go through a lot of trauma in the process.

According to Jordan Sullivan, Project Coordinator of Conversion Therapy Survivors Support and Survivors of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts (SOGIECE), survivors of conversion therapy identify the need for a variety of supports including education and increased awareness about SOGIECE and conversion practices.

Also needed is access to affirming therapists experienced with SOGIECE, trauma (including religious trauma), safe spaces and networks, and access to affirming healthcare practitioners who are aware of conversion therapy or SOGIECE and equipped to support survivors.

“In January of 2021 when I was asked to be the project coordinator, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure that my experience could be classified as SOGIECE or conversion therapy. I never attended a formalized conversion therapy program or camp run by a religious organization. Healthcare practitioners misdiagnosed me or refused me access to care.

In reality, I spent 27 years internalizing conversion therapy practices through prayer, the study of religious texts, disassociation from my body, and suppression or denial of my sexual and gender identities. I spent six years in counselling and change attempts using conversion therapy practices. I came out as a lesbian at age 33, and as a Trans man at age 51. I am now 61 and Queerly Heterosexual, but I spent decades of my life hiding in shame and fear and struggled with suicidal ideation until my mid-30s.

At times I wanted to crawl away and hide, be distracted by anything that silenced the emptiness, the pain, the wounds deep inside. I realized that in some ways, I am still more comfortable in shame, silence, and disassociation, than in any other way of being and living, but I was also filled with wonderment at the resiliency and courage of every single one of the participants.

However, many of us did not survive, choosing to end the pain and shame through suicide. Many of us are still victims in one way or another, still silenced by the shame, still afraid of being seen as we are. Still, many of us are survivors, and while it has not been an easy road, many of us are thrivers too,” said Jordan.

In addition, Jordan said conversion practices and programs are not easily defined or identified, and often capture only a fragment of pressures and messages that could be considered SOGIECE.

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Some in B.C. cross U.S. border for their next COVID-19 vaccine – Global News

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Global News Hour at 6 BC

There is evidence of the lengths some British Columbians will go to get a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — crossing the border to Point Roberts, WA for a shot. The movement comes thanks to the different approach to the fourth shot south of the border. Catherine Urquhart reports.

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