What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto (Ketogenic) diet promotes weight loss by causing ketosis. Ketosis is when the body breaks down fat for energy. This happens every day, depending on what and how often we eat, but the keto diet increases ketosis frequency, which can lead to weight loss.

moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are restricted to 50 grams or less per day. For reference, a large apple has 25 grams, half a cup of beans 22 grams, and 1 cup pasta 45 grams. Those on a Keto diet are restricting grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, and yogurt.

Cutting board with vegetables

What’s the problem? First, the body needs carbohydrates for energy. Second, restricting carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less can reduce the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber from plant foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains). It is not for people with issues with their pancreas, kidneys, liver, or thyroid.

Is it safe for someone with diabetes? That depends on the type of diabetes as well as other health conditions a person has. It is possible the Keto diet may help with weight loss and blood glucose control, but sometimes it makes diabetes worse. People with diabetes should consult their diabetes care team before making any dietary changes, including Keto.

Source: Eat Right, go.iastate.edu/LLRMCR

Virtual Fitness Resources

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity a day. A wealth of resources to get you moving is just a click away!

ISU Extension’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart website, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/, includes nine videos
such as chair workouts, low impact cardio, cardio intervals, and more. They are safe, free, and easy to follow for all ages and physical activity levels.

Find our fitness resources at: go.iastate.edu/Q6EUYK

November is National Diabetes Month

Diabetes and prediabetes affect many Americans. Diabetes is when blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high in the body. There are many factors that lead to diabetes such as genetics, body composition, and lifestyle.

Prediabetes is when blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet (i.e., produce, lean meats, whole grains, low fat dairy) and being physically active can help prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 is when the body does not make insulin (hormone that helps glucose get into the cells). Insulin therapy is used since the body is not producing it.
  • Type 2 is when the body does not use insulin properly. Some people can control type 2 with healthy eating and exercise alone, others need medicine or insulin.
  • Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy. Treatment varies from healthy eating and exercise to medications or insulin.

Diabetes can be managed through diet, exercise, and medication. People with diabetes should work with their diabetes care team to improve overall quality of life.

Source: American Diabetes Association, https://diabetes.org/

Fighting Higher Grocery Prices

Contributed by Suzanne Bartholomae

bag of vegetables

Inflation has hit America’s dinner table. Consumers are paying 11.9% more on groceries now than last year at this time. Supply chain shortages, bottlenecks in shipping and transportation, and a tight labor pool have all led to rising food prices.

Inflation means the buying power of your money is decreasing. To fight inflation, build an inflation fighter budget with The Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm, or use this cutting expenses tool, files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_your-money-your-goals_cutting-expenses_tool.pdf. Inflation won’t last forever; in the meantime, be proactive in your fight against rising food costs with these tips.

  • Make a food budget using the budget tips from Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/.
  • Make a grocery list before you go to the store.
  • Plan menus—preferably for an entire week, but even a few days is recommended.
  • Compare prices between stores; changing grocers may save money.
  • Use coupons, but only on products you already use.
  • Shop sale items and substitute ingredients you find on sale.

Busted: SNAP Myths

Having access to safe and nutritious foods is important in all stages of life. About 250,000 Iowans do not have enough money to buy food! The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest hunger prevention program in the United States. Misconceptions are preventing older adults from using SNAP benefits.

  • “If I use SNAP, I’m taking it away from someone in greater need.” All who are eligible and enroll in the program will receive assistance.
  • “I won’t be able to use SNAP where I live.” SNAP is accepted in many places, including grocery stores, convenience stores, Schwan’s, farmers markets, and Meals on Wheels. Look for an EBT sign to determine if a vendor accepts SNAP.
  • “Applying is hard.” There is help available during the application process. To see if you, a friend, or a family member qualifies for SNAP, call 1-855-944-3663 or visit SNAP Eligibility, dhs.iowa.gov/food-assistance/eligibility.

Source: National Council on Aging, www.ncoa.org

What Is a Plant-based Diet?

plant-based bowl of food

Plant-based diets are growing in popularity. Eating plant foods may protect from chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

The goal of a plant-based diet is to consume more whole plant foods—like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains—that will provide adequate nutrition overall.

Some people may choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, while others may just eat one meatless meal a week. Eating a vegetarian diet means not eating flesh foods (meat, poultry, seafood, wild game) and may or may not exclude eggs or dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all flesh foods, eggs, and dairy products and may also exclude honey.

There are many plant-based foods that make eating a plant-based diet easy. Check out this list of meat alternative products, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1021p42.shtml, on the market.

Be a smart shopper, though! Choose mostly whole and minimally processed food from a variety of food groups to have a well-balanced diet.

Eat Right, www.eatrightpro.org
Eating Well, www.eatingwell.com

Discover Iowa by Trail

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes (30 to 60 minutes, 5 days weekly) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, biking, or hiking each week.

Did you know there are more than 1,800 miles of trails in Iowa available to explore on foot or by bike? Iowa by Trail is a resource from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. It is available as an app or on the Iowa by Trail website, go.iastate.edu/XOJQ8I. Search for trails by location and find information on distance, surface, and accessibility. The app allows users to track the trails they completed and the distance they traveled.

To download the app on a cellular device, open the App Store. Search for the app using the Search tab. Tap “download” to install the app. Check out this resource to learn why Iowa is referred to as the “Trail Capital of the Nation.”

Shut Off Your Screen for Health

woman looking at cell phone

Screens are part of daily life. Many people spend hours each day on computers, on phones, on tablets, and watching television. Too much screen time can lead to negative health effects.

Watching television for hours leads to sedentary activity and increases the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Spending time on social media decreases social connections with others, raises feelings of loneliness, and increases risk of depression. Too much screen time also causes eye strain due to long periods of blue light exposure, which may cause headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, and lower melatonin levels. Melatonin helps the body feel tired and ready for sleep.

We can’t get rid of all screens, but we can take steps to limit our time on them. Use these tips to reduce your screen time.

  1. Limit screens outside of work or school to 2–4 hours or less per day. Consider using time limit controls on your devices.
  2. Take frequent breaks from screens throughout the day. You can download a free app, tek.io/3NaMKEz, to remind you to do so.
  3. Make time to be active and spend time outside when Iowa weather is nice.
  4. Avoid screens during mealtimes.
  5. Shut off screens for at least an hour before bedtime.

Association between screen time and depression among US adults, go.iastate.edu/SBV0HZ
Television Watching and Other Sedentary Behaviors in Relation to Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women, go.iastate.edu/K1ZIZ3
Sleep Foundation, go.iastate.edu/9ZYARC

Immune Boosting Adaptogens


Stress can affect the immune system. Research suggests that adaptogens, a group of plant-based herbs, may help our immune system by calming our central nervous system, decreasing anxiety, and boosting overall health. Five common adaptogens are:

  • Astragalus Root. Increases the production of immune cells and boosts heart health.
  • Ginseng. May reduce inflammation, enhance strength and stamina, and improve blood sugar.
  • Holy Basil. Antioxidant that treats bacterial, inflammatory infections.
  • Licorice Root. Soothes the stomach, reduces stress, and cleanses the respiratory system.
  • Raw Cacao. Helps improve digestion, enhances learning, and balances mood swings.
  • Schisandra. Boosts the immune system by managing stress, protects against liver disease, and treats menopause symptoms.

Before adding any adaptogen, other herbal remedies, or supplements, consult with your health care provider to ensure they are safe for you.

Plant Adaptogens- History and Future Perspectives, go.iastate.edu/SFTK2S
10 Adaptogens that Boost the Immune System, go.iastate.edu/KGSETP

Protect Your Eyesight

Man at eye exam

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss for adults over age 50. The macula is part of the back of the eye that detects light. When the macula breaks down, central vision becomes blurry. This affects the ability to see fine details.

Early signs and symptoms of AMD:

  • Increased blurriness of smaller print
  • Fuzzy appearance of straight lines
  • Increased difficulty adapting to dim light
  • Difficulty recognizing faces

AMD can be prevented and/or treated. To help lower your risk of AMD, keep the following in mind:

  • Wear sunglasses to prevent UV damage.
  • Choose lutein-rich foods. Lutein maintains eye health. The body does not make lutein, so it needs to come from the diet. Lutein-rich foods include egg yolks, dark green leafy vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, and fruits such as kiwi and grapes. Check out your local farmers market, go.iastate.edu/E16ZAI, for lutein-rich produce.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can advance AMD damage. If you are ready to quit, call the tobacco hotline at 1-800-784-8669. The hotline is open 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Get regular eye exams. Early treatment is critical to prevent common eye diseases from causing permanent damage. EyeCare America, go.iastate.edu/HBIWUX, provides free eye exams for adults ages 65 years and older.

Dry Macular Degeneration, go.iastate.edu/SX6LN1
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, go.iastate.edu/AJCG3Z

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