Many athletes and celebrities are active in promoting health and wellness among fans and people, in general. For example, actor and model Brooke Shields support patient advocacy group partnership campaigns related to postpartum depression. Comedian and late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel contribute to advocacies related to heart health in a major part, due to his own son’s heart disease. Michael J. Fox, best known for his Back to the Future movie series, is an active supporter of research related to Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating condition that he himself was diagnosed with.
Keto and the King
Dubbed by fans as “The King”, Lebron James’ advocacy is related to eating right. Still on top of his game, leading his fellow Lakers in the ongoing NBA conference finals, he often speaks about the way he eats now and how it has changed his game.
Now an advocate of keto eating plans, he is now 35 years old and is still peaking in terms of athletic performance. In terms of his sports career, he is already considered a veteran since he was actually drafted into the NBA at the young age of 18. What is his secret? Well, there are many reasons why he is one of the best players in the game today. But no doubt, his way of eating is a big factor for his continued success.
The 6-foot and nine-inch athlete credits his amazing health and athleticism to his ketogenic diet. He began in 2014 after deciding that he needed to be more serious about his health and overall performance. Cutting down all forms of dairy, sugar, and carbohydrates for more than 60 days, he began to lose excess fat and brought down his weight. His keto-style eating focused mainly on consuming fish, vegetables, and fruits although he did allow himself a few treats.
What is Keto Diet
How did this eating plan improve Lebron’s weight management and athletic performance? What is a keto diet in the first place? Can anybody do it and see good results?
First, this type of diet is defined as a high-fat, low-carbohydrate eating plan that promotes fat loss. In this eating plan, at least 75% of the daily caloric requirements need to be met with fat intake instead of carbohydrates like rice or bread. Protein needs to be at least 20 percent while any intake of carbohydrates must be limited to no more than five percent.
When the body is forced to get its energy from fat rather than carbohydrates, a process called ketosis starts to operate. Ketosis occurs when the body naturally produces certain molecules from the fat that is processed inside the liver. Normally, the body uses sugars that are derived from carbohydrates as an energy source. The molecules from the liver are called ketones, hence the term ketogenic. While the body still needs some forms of glucose as an energy source especially for the brain, ketones are also absorbed well by the body. Ketosis, after all, is a normal part of the body’s metabolic processes.
4 Key Benefits of Keto
1. Weight Loss
Aside from promoting weight loss, this diet has been found to help control the breakout of acne, improve brain and heart function, increases good cholesterol even as it decreases bad cholesterol, and normalizes blood sugar and insulin levels.
2. Acne Control
Studies show that acne breakouts are connected to sugar and carbohydrate consumption. Since the diet plan promotes zero or heavy reduction of carbs and sugar, skin health improves and acne is also controlled much easier.
3. Diabetes Control
Again, with reduction or elimination of sugar from the eating routine, a person is able to have normal insulin levels which help in people diagnosed with diabietes.
4. Heart Health
This diet also promotes good heart health when the fats consumed are high-density lipoprotein or HDL which are considered as healthy fats. Some sources of good LDL are avocados, flax, nuts, and chia seeds.
There are many other benefits connected to this diet but more advanced studies are still underway to confirm their validity. But with the above four health benefits alone, anyone can and should try following this sensible eating plan that worked for NBA superstar Lebron James and a host of other people.
How to Start
As they say, the beginning of something is the most exciting moment and the most difficult part. To be successful in shifting to this diet plan, please consider the following suggestions:
First and foremost, consult your physician about your plan to shift to another diet. Get a proper and thorough medical check-up to determine if there are any contra-indications between the diet and your current health condition. Also, be sure to have another consultation with a registered nutritionist-dietitian who was the professional expertise when it comes to diet shifts and its impact on human health.
Second, after getting medical clearance and advice from the dietitian, clean out your pantry and cupboards. Make sure to remove all the ingredients and food items that are not supposed to be consumed as part of your keto eating plan.
Third, download a free app that can provide you with a guide on what food items to buy and where to buy them, recipes that are specific to the diet plan, and even a diary to note down everything you eat. All these will be crucial to measuring your progress.
Fourth, list down your personal goals in following the diet. Is your goal to lose or gain weight? How many pounds or kilos do you want to gain or lose? Keep recording your progress so that it will motivate you to follow the plan.
Fifth and last, tell your family or closest friends about your decision to change your diet for health and other personal reasons. Ask them to help you stay on the program and encourage you to remain committed to your set goals. Focus on the many benefits to your life when you follow this healthy diet.
Indeed, one does not need to be an NBA legend to start eating right. By making the right decisions about what we eat and drink, we can turn our lives around and lead a healthier and more vibrant life. By living strong, we can enjoy more of life and love as long as we remain disciplined and responsible for everything we consume as food and all that we do each day of our lives.