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Keep Calm and Keto On

According to the American Heart Association, the average woman should be consuming 25 grams of sugar a day. One eight-ounce serving of Sodexo’s African Vegetable Peanut Curry contains 53 grams of added sugar. There is no need for a dish to have more than twice the daily recommended amount of sugar. Accommodation for dietary needs in the caf are not good. Being ketogenic, it’s difficult to enjoy meals when so many of them are carb laden and sugar filled. To clarify, a ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet, emphasis on low carb. I consume 20 grams or less a day of net carbohydrates (Total Carbs minus Dietary Fiber). For reference, one slice of white Wonder Bread has 26 grams of net carbs.

I was denied accommodation because I had no medical need to be on the diet. Even though I’ve been ketogenic for more than five years and consuming an excess of carbohydrates and sugar will make me sick, Sodexo will not budge. All I’m asking for is less added sugar, and to stop adding unnecessary flours and thickeners and sauces to the caf’s dishes. Also, there is always rice, beans, fries, tortillas, bread, noodles, and pizza, so why do we also need to add potatoes to a dish when there’s already so many other options? I just want protein cooked simply with salt and pepper or maybe some herbs, spices and garlic alongside simple vegetables. I’m asking to take away and not to add a new product.

I jokingly say that “keto is the future,” but I also kind of mean it. A lot of people think Keto is comprised of eating cheese, butter, and bacon all day, and while I could, I eat a pretty healthy balanced diet. I eat a healthy amount of protein and a lot of leafy green vegetables like brussels sprouts. What I’m not eating are processed foods, added sugars, white flour, grains, and other foods that spike one’s blood sugar.

So why is it the future? Keto has helped people who are epileptic, type 2 diabetic, obese or pre-obese, overweight, and new studies have shown ties to it possibly helping with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Personally, it’s helped me lose over 70 pounds, lower my blood pressure, lower my cholesterol, and get me to a healthy and active place in my life.

The biggest benefit for me is that I have become mindful of what I eat. I used to make fun of people who would read every nutrition label, but now I am one of them. I researched how my body functions and I now look up ingredients I don’t recognize. I cook more and am more active physically. Is keto the future? Maybe. Is it the best way to eat? I don’t think that there’s one diet for all, but I do think practicing discipline and self-control is important. So until a brighter future of campus eating, keep calm and keto on.  

Michael Lee is a third-year psychology major at PLNU.

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