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keto food pyramidWhat’s up with everyone “doing keto”? I was at a friend’s house for dinner and all her salad dressings were “Keto” and the café I was having a PTA meeting at had “Keto friendly” salads for lunch. As I began inquiring, the endocrinologist in the crowd chimed in saying that she has patients coming in regularly complaining that they’re tired and fat and they want to begin the keto diet under physician supervision.

The theory behind the Ketogenic Diet is high-fat, low-carbohydrate (carb) and moderate protein food intake. By restricting the body of carbs, one will eventually reach a state of ketosis – a metabolic state where fat is burned for energy. Ketosis can only occur when carbohydrates are kept at extremely low levels (usually below 30/40 grams per day and some plans restrict intake to below 21 grams per day). Percentage-wise, the diet suggests a daily intake of foods that consist of 75% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
Initially used by the medical community to treat epilepsy patients with seizure disorders, there is some preliminary data showing that a ketogenic diet may benefit patients with certain types of other diseases.

One woman in our community told me that she had been diagnosed with glioblastoma (brain cancer) and through online research learned that a ketogenic diet may prevent recurrence. There actually is data to back this claim, though much of it is still preliminary. There is also increasing data revealing that the keto diet may help patients with neurologic diseases and with diabetes. “My tumor was resected in January,” she said, “and I began Keto about three weeks ago. It’s not too difficult to follow and I’ve lost about ten pounds.” I asked if her doctor was supportive as the diet was based on information she found online versus information that was physician-provided. “My doc was supportive but warned that it might be hard to restrict carbs to 21 grams per day. It hasn’t been too difficult though.” (I didn’t think so either until I realized that my one cup of yogurt contained an entire day of Keto- Diet carbs!)

Another person here in Scarsdale said she saw a classmate of hers lose “…oodles of weight on the Keto Diet so I thought I would try it. The first two to three days were really tough…I was light headed so I spent of lot of the time laying down. I ate lots of cheese. I did the diet religiously for 20 days and I must admit that my clothes fit better and I lost six pounds quickly.” She explained that being from an Indian family, she felt she could not continue the keto diet. “I went back to India and of course pigged out on the carb rich diet and realized I could never go back on keto!” She learned a lot though and did lose weight quickly and noticeably. “My skin brightened up with all the veggies,” she said, “but as soon as you stop the diet, the weight piles back on. I also didn’t like the feeling of being cranky and not having the energy to work out.”

There are other issues that come up surrounding the Keto Diet. For example, my endocrinologist friend told me about her keto diet patients feeling extremely tired and cranky at the start of severely reducing carbohydrates. Some patients even describe themselves as not thinking clearly. Other people have termed this “Keto flu” as the body adjusts to limited glucose availability and people actually experience flu-like symptoms. These issues usually resolve within a week or two.

I reached out to long-time nutritionist Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, Director of the Nutrition Center at Scarsdale Medical Group to get the facts and her expert opinion on the ketogenic diet.

Do you have patients coming in asking about the Keto Diet? What are the most common reasons patients want to begin this diet?

Yes, I do have patients coming in asking about the Keto Diet, usually inquiring because they have heard of someone who has lost weight doing it and heard that they did not feel hungry. I believe the biggest draw is that people say they feel full/satisfied and are losing weight at the same time.

How does it stack up against similar diets, like Paleo or Atkins, in terms of weight loss and sustainability?

Keto is similar to plans such as Atkins and Paleo and everything else that reduces carb intake. The difference is the focus on increased fat in the Keto Diet versus increased protein in the others. Any plan that reduces carbs ultimately reduces calorie intake and thereby results in weight loss. An increase in protein and an increase in fat helps people to feel satiated. People seem to crave carbs less when they all but eliminate them. When you start your day off with a higher-carb breakfast, your body needs to produce more insulin and that extra circulating insulin can actually make you feel hungrier and crave even more carbs. With a higher protein breakfast, your body does not need to produce insulin in response to that meal so a higher protein breakfast helps people feel full quickly and feel full for longer. Protein and fat both promote satiety (or feeling full) so therein lies the success of the Keto Diet.

In your professional opinion, what type of patient is a good candidate for the Keto Diet (and who is not)?

I think it’s reasonable for someone try a Keto type of approach if they want to lose weight and they don’t feel satiated with their higher carb lifestyle. The Keto Diet is based on increased fat, however, and it allows that fat to come from saturated fat. The downfall to this is that I have seen this raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, in people who previously did not have high LDL cholesterol. Saturated fat is the type of fat that can cause plaque to build up in the arteries. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 13 grams or less of saturated fat per day. The Keto Diet includes coconut oil which in and of itself has 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. The AHA recently made a statement that coconut oil should not be ingested because of its high saturated fat profile. As a nutritionist, I believe that people can achieve the same level of success with this plan by choosing unsaturated fats over saturated fats. Fat does help people to feel full and modifying the type of fat can make this plan a healthier option. For example, I would suggest nuts over cheese as a snack on the Keto Diet as nuts contain healthier fats than cheese. If we compared the satiety of a snack such as a 100-calorie bag of pretzels to a 100-calorie portion of veggies with guacamole dip, the guacamole would likely promote greater satiety because of its high fat and low carbohydrate make up; and avocado is high in unsaturated or “healthy” fat. This is especially important for people with a personal or family history of heart disease; I advise using olive oil over butter, turkey instead of salami and other unsaturated-fat food options.

Do you have any other thoughts on the Keto Diet from your perspective as a nutritionist?

It’s okay to follow a more restrictive plan initially, but it is extremely important to have a transition plan and a longer-term plan in place. For example, when the weight loss goal is achieved or if a patient is feeling bored or like they are veering off course, rather than giving it up completely and returning to old unhealthy eating habits, it would be a good time to start to add versions of foods they have been missing in small quantities. Take a bagel, for example. Rather than indulging in such a high-carb food, a Keto dieter can add two slices of a whole grain healthier bread as part of their lunch. (As a side note, my new favorite find is Dave's Killer Bread at 60 calories a slice!) I have learned that different things work from each of the many diet plans that have been popular over the years. There is some truth in each of them, but the key is to find what works for the individual in order for the to sustain the lifestyle.

Have you tried the Keto Diet? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

Please email us your feedback at ScarsdaleComments@gmail.com.

We would love to hear from you. Thank you!

eclipse3It's come and gone – the 2017 eclipse of the sun that reached its peak in Scarsdale at 2:44 pm on Monday August 21. The event, which last occurred in 1979, stopped everyone in town in their tracks, as they put their eclipse glasses on to watch the moon pass in front of the sun – leaving just a crescent of the sun to view. Here in New York, we were able to view about 75% coverage of the sun. As the moon passed over the sun it created a dark shadow over town.

Earlier in the day, the Scarsdale Library promised to distribute 140 pairs of eclipse glasses and those were gone quickly when over 300 library cardholders lined up to collect their own pair. They were gone quickly – and unfortunately some walked away without a pair of their own. But since one pair was given to each family, everyone could share the lenses and observe the eclipse.

Some traveled to interesting venues to view the eclipse. Andrea Seiden and Peggy DaSilva went to the roof of the Museum of Natural History where an area of devices were available to use to look at the sun. 

Brothers Adam and Benjamin Longman, who have been interested in astronomy for years, decided that the eclipse was the ideal reason for a road trip.  First they drove to Washington D.C. where Adam is a third year student at George Washingon Law School and spent the night. The next day, they were originally headed for Charleston when they heard that bad weather might prevent a good view.  Instead they headed to Clemson University in South Carolina where they were able to see the total eclipse. Adam said he looked up and saw "a black disc covering the sun" and the shadow turned the bright afternoon into "twilight."

Liam Haller also took a long road trip, driving 29 hours from Scarsdale to Alcoa, Tennessee where he watched the eclipse in Springbrook Park. Along the way he picked up friends at the University of Virginia.

Commenting on the phenomena, Michelle Lichtenberg said, "What I loved about the eclipse was the opportunity it gave us as a nation to unite and examine this solar event together.  After a bleak week of news, this was a welcome chance to rise above our differences and appreciate mother nature from coast to coast."eclipseglasses

What did you think of the eclipse? Did it live up to all the media hype? Send your comments and photos to scarsdalecomments@gmail.com and we'll include them here!

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LatimerState Senator George Latimer pulled off a big victory in Westchester County, defeating two-term incumbent Rob Astorino to become Westchester County Executive. Though Astorino was initially in the lead, the margins narrowed in the weeks before the election. Latimer's supporters knew the vote would be close and a committed group of volunteers organized to bring out the vote. Latimer surprised everyone by winning 57% of the 206,230 votes cast, soundly defeating Astorino's 43%. Astorino, a former radio personality and producer was a rising star in the Republican Party and challenged Andrew Cuomo in the race for NYS Governor in 2014.

Latimer rode a wave of Democratic Party support across the country as voters expressed their frustration with Trump's policies. Key issues in Westchester include taxes, gun control, water safety, women's rights and the proposed privatization of Westchester County airport. A controversial $1 million donation to Astorino's campaign by Breitbart supporter Robert Mercer brought national politics to the local level and may have swayed some voters.

According to results from the Westchester County Board of Elections, Latimer won 66.79% of the vote in Scarsdale, getting 2,561 of the 3,834 votes cast for county executive.

Myra Saul headed up the volunteer effort in Scarsdale with Deborah Porder, Stephen Sherman and student Jack Greenspan. Commenting on the results, Saul said, "Many volunteers from Indivisible Westchester, Democratic clubs and local advocacy groups greatly helped Latimer, who never had the financial resources available to the Astorino campaign. People power was Latimer's secret sauce. Many people in Scarsdale volunteered for phone banks, postcard writing and canvassing events. Many of the volunteers had never been politically active before. A Scarsdale high school contingent was also active. While much of this activity reflected a desire to rid Westchester of a very conservative Republican who is associated with the Trump brand, there also was a deep desire to change the course of the county's policies. For example, many in Scarsdale were horrified at the gun show held last year at the County Center at which racist and anti - Semitic literature was available. Latimer has pledged that no gun shows will be held on county property. We can expect that Latimer will stop privatization of the airport and will be more diligent in addressing environmental concerns. Finally, Latimer has promised a return to a pragmatic, non-ideological county government. After the contentiousness of the Astorino era, many are looking forward to an administration that believes in government and a desire to get things done competently and in the public good."

 

Mark Lewis, who chairs the Scarsdale Democrats provided the following analysis of the race for County Executive and the Board of Legislators, where Scarsdale's representative Ben Boykin ran unopposed. He said, "Scarsdale went for George Latimer by a 2 to 1 margin. The win means that we will be going in a new direction in the County. George will be more supportive of helping non-profits who get funding from the County. The Democrats also won three more seats in the Legislature, probably signaling a change in leadership in January when the newly elected legislators and the new County Executive begin their terms in office."

He continued, "All the unions need new contracts and Astorino has not negotiated with them. George will have to find a way to settle new contracts. Astorino has let our County roads and other infrastructure deteriorate. George will be proactive in fixing the County infrastructure. He has pledged to increase the Planning Department so they can plan and implement improvements to the County infrastructure. He will not let bridges wait eight years, while pieces of the bridge fall on cars passing under them before repairing them, which is what happened on the Ardsley Road Bridge going over the Thruway in Greenburgh. He will not wait eight years to repair swimming pools such as the Sprain Brook pool, which had to be closed down for three years due to ill repair, before fixing them."LattimerEngel

He concluded, "Rob Astorino is presenting his last County budget so we do not know what that will look like. The new budget will be coming out in the next few days. George will have to live with an Astorino budget which will be passed before he takes office in January. Ben Boykin, who represents Scarsdale and White Plains, also won as he ran unopposed and will be one of the more senior legislators. Ben is a CPA and is very knowledgeable about budgets."

As for the three propositions on the ballot, here's how Westchester County voted:

Proposition One to convene a NYS Constitutional Convention was defeated 81% to 19%.

Proposition Two to allow courts to reduce or revoke the pensions of public officers who are convicted for felonies was approved 73% to 27%.

Proposition Three to permit the use of preserved forests for health and safety needs was approved 60% to 40%.

parade2Super heroes, princesses, and a variety of wild animals commandeered the streets of Scarsdale Village last Sunday for an enchanted Halloween parade. The costumed children gathered in Chase Park in the afternoon before beginning a brief march to show off their alter egos.

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Throughout the day, kids also displayed their creativity by painting the windows of the town's stores. They competed to see who could create the funniest, spookiest, or othewise most original Halloween-themed painting. Students from elementary to high school participated, resulting in a fun collage of strorefront art.

See photo galleries of the painters at work and kids at the Halloween Parade in the village.

 

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