News | St. Thomas Medical Group

What Is the Keto Diet? Should I Try Keto?

So long, Atkins, there’s a new diet in town. And if it looks a little familiar, well… it is.

  1. Low in carbs.
  2. High in fat.
  3. Promotes weight loss.

The ketogenic diet (“keto” for short) has captured the country’s attention, and Nashville is no exception. Check out the following graph, which shows Google search interest in Nashville in keto (blue) compared to Atkins (red) since November 2016.

No doubt, you’ve heard of keto. But what exactly is it? And should you try it? Today on the St. Thomas Medical Group Blog, we’re going to take a closer look at that question. As always, please remember that this blog does not constitute medical or diet advice and is not a substitute for the specific recommendations provided by your doctor. As always, do not begin a new diet without first discussing risks and benefits with your physician.

About the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet emphasizes a high fat and low carbohydrate intake. The standard ketogenic diet, for example, typically follows these proportions:

  • 75% fat
  • 20% protein
  • 5% carbs

A popular and well-researched variant is the high-protein ketogenic diet, which looks something like this:

  • 60% fat
  • 35% protein
  • 5% carbs

Other variations exist, yet they lack the the same degree of evidence-based research that these two diets have supporting them.

So, what’s the science behind the keto diet? In a typical diet, people consume carbohydrates for energy. These foods include bread, pasta, some fruits (like bananas), and starchy vegetables. The keto diet drastically limits carbohydrate intake, prioritizing fats instead. This puts the body in a state of ketosis, forcing it to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Additionally, fats turn into ketones in the liver, and ketones then supply energy to the brain.

Many people experience weight loss with the keto diet without having to count calories and limit portions to the same degree required by other diets. This is due, in part, to the fact that foods in the keto diet are often quite filling and satisfying. Of course, this is also one of the reasons why this diet has grown quickly in popularity!

Should I Try the Keto Diet?

If you’re interested in the keto diet, talk to your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group to learn more about how diet and lifestyle changes can best serve your health goals. The keto diet can be a drastic change for many people, and patients are not advised to begin this diet without first discussing it with their healthcare provider. With that being said, some studies have shown that the keto diet may be effective in improving the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • …and others

Generally speaking, the keto diet is not recommended for high-performance athletes or those wishing to gain significant weight or muscle mass. Also, it’s worth stating that the keto diet, like many diets, does require a serious long-term commitment in order for results to be seen.

Keto Diet Questions? Talk to a Doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group.

Have more questions about the keto diet and whether it’s right for you? Schedule an appointment with a physician at St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults, conveniently located at the intersection of Green Hills, Sylvan Park and Belle Meade. Meet our providers online, or call +1 (615) 297-2700 to schedule.

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

Let’s be honest… few people relish in taking a trip to the doctor. It’s okay, we don’t take it personally. But since you’re coming… why not make the most of it? Whether you’re coming in for your first wellness exam in a few years or returning for a follow-up appointment just a week since your last visit, these tips will help you make the most of your visit. After all, your time is valuable, and you deserve the best care you can get. Plus, who knows… your next visit to the doctor’s office might be just a little bit more enjoyable if you maximize your time by using these recommendations from St. Thomas Medical Group doctors!

  • Prepare questions in advance. Do you ever sit in the waiting room with that burning question about your health… and then as soon as you get in the examination room it just slips your mind? Happens all the time! Make your appointment the most effective it can be by writing down your questions in advance. Use a sheet of paper, a notes app on your phone, or whatever it takes. Numerous studies have found that patients who prepare and take an active participation role in their healthcare are more satisfied, less anxious, and enjoy a higher quality of life.
  • Bring something to write on. Of course, asking the question doesn’t guarantee you’ll remember the answer, so be sure to bring something to write on. Again, your phone or a pad of paper can work. The best tool is the one that’s easiest for you to use.
  • Bring a friend or family member. Having a friend or family member with you is another great way to absorb the information your doctor shares during your appointment. Sometimes we hear information about our own health through our own subjective lens. A third-party might bring clearer perspective to the information received.
  • Be open about symptoms. As doctors, we’ve heard it all. There’s never any reason to be embarrassed about symptoms. If it hurts, tell us. If it seems kind of weird, tell us. If you’re just not sure… tell us! By sharing the whole picture, you provide us with a better opportunity to more fully serve you.
  • Have a list of medications. Speaking of total picture, we need to know what medications you’re currently using. Be sure to bring this full list with you to your next appointment at St. Thomas Medical Group!

Schedule With a Doctor in Nashville Today

Need a local doctor who will listen to you and advocate for your health and well-being? Find a Nashville doctor in one of the following specialties at St. Thomas Medical Group:

  • Audiologists
  • Aviation Medical Examiner
  • Children and Adult
  • ENT and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pulmonary
  • Rheumatology

To schedule an appointment, call +1 (615) 297-2700 or schedule online.

The Opioid Crisis in Tennessee: Safety Guidelines & Resources

The opioid crisis has reached a point that is impossible to ignore. Opioid abuse has skyrocketed in Tennessee, destroying lives and posing a serious health threat to communities in Nashville and surrounding areas. In October 2017, the White House declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Fast Facts About Opioid Abuse In Tennessee

While numbers can never tell the full story, these statistics shine an unforgiving light on the tragedy that has begun to unfold in Tennessee over the last decade…

  • Tennessee had the 2nd highest prescription rate for opioids in 2016 (source).
  • That same year, there were 1,186 opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee – 18.1 deaths per 100,000 persons. For comparison, the national rate for 2016 was 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons (source).
  • Deaths from heroin overdose in Tennessee have increased since 2010 from 17 to 260 (source).

Our Commitment at St. Thomas Medical Group

Doctors at St. Thomas Medical Group are committed to safe opioid prescription practices. This includes:

  • Showing preference to nonpharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy prior to prescribing opioids.
  • Establishing clear treatment goals prior to prescribing opioids. Prescriptions should only continue if the improvements in pain and function outweigh the risks to the patient’s safety.
  • Clearly discussing with patients the risks and benefits of opioid therapy v. non-opioid therapy.

Learn more about safe guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain with this resource from the CDC.

Get Help for Opioid Abuse

If you or someone you know struggles with opioid abuse, help is available. At least three Tennesseans die each day from an opioid-related overdose, reports the Tennessee Hospital Association. Even more visit their local hospital emergency room for care. If you need help, call the Tennessee REDLINE at +1 (800) 889-9789. This resource operates “a 24/7 addiction treatment and recovery hotline that connects Tennessee residents with state funded, addiction treatment and recovery services.”

If you need help, we also encourage you to talk to your Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group to find out what resources may be available to you. If nothing else, remember the following (via Tennessee Department of Health):

  • Opioids are highly addictive.
  • Abuse, addiction and overdose can happen to anyone.
  • There are pain management alternatives.
  • Just because a doctor prescribed you opioids, it does not mean that they are 100% safe.
  • Opioids are not ideal for long-term pain relief.
  • Never take prescription drugs that were not prescribed for you by a doctor.

Additional Department of Health resources available here.

Need Help? Find a Nashville Doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group.
For additional help, call St. Thomas Medical Group at +1 (615) 297-2700
or schedule your appointment online.