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Common Myths: Matcha and Popular Diets

Nicholas Noble | December 05, 2019

Safely get MATCHA’ed: Paleo, Keto, Plant Based, Intermittent-Fasting.

Intermittent fasting, popularly including keto, paleo, and vegan diets often feel intimidating. The mass of information about these trends is overwhelming, especially to newcomers. In some cases, rigid, restrictive diets are being found to add to the problems they're meant to solve.

Leading health research agrees that these dietary conditions can have a positive influence on our health. Yet, the specifics aren't all dialed in. Many blogs and social influencers have taken advantage of the rapid growth of interest. They fill in the gaps with their own guesswork and develop confusion. 

Contradicting information has created anxiety and even toxic competitiveness. The absolute attitudes have also tricked many into ignoring their body’s needs, leading to new health complications. Many who take a step back choose to loosen-up and enjoy health-promoting food and drink (like matcha) previously believed unfit. 

Background & How the Diets Work

Hard rules can be more of an experiment to guide a healthy, successful, and less claustrophobic diet. Especially so, many are fearful of the unknown and avoid anything not specified as safe by their source of information. 

 Choices of food and drink become narrow and nutritional (even mental) health begins to foot the bill. This makes diets hard to follow, and is far removed from the exciting potential of healthier living. 

Instead, we should refocus on the benefits each diet offers. In combination with intermittent fasting, we’ll have the foundation to create more appropriate changes in our health, without suffocating nutrition (or taste). 

Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Carnivore

These popular diets each achieve health benefits by changing the way we respond to food. Generally, each diet emphasizes a mechanism of our metabolism. Keto helps us activate fat-burning, while paleo encourages natural balance of unprocessed foods. 

Relatedly, the carnivore diet allows for meats, fish, and some animal products. 

They each avoid whole grains and legumes, and most (or all) carbs. The latter avoids all plant foods entirely, contrary to the vegan diet which avoids all animal products.

Most controversially, the carnivore diet. As a type of keto diet (short for ketosis), your body is burning fat instead of glucose. Like fasting, this diet tells the body to produce more ketones (ketogenesis) to convert fat to fuel. Ketogenic diets are not without their own risks, but carnivores especially may have excess sodium, nitrates, and greater risk for certain cancers. [1] 

Nonetheless, many are excited to try different keto diets because of the health benefits. It’s suggested that ketosis may reduce the risks of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and certain hormonal syndromes. [2] 

Yet, studies have mostly analyzed the short-term benefits or specific medical conditions. 

Some experts argue that long term avoidance of carbs or entire food groups can host their own set of health problems. Like veganism, they can also be prohibitively expensive, or too difficult to follow.

Finding Balance

Researchers report a promising balance in using diet in combination with fasting. We can use this method to cycle between ketosis and glucose metabolisms. Each time we flip the switch we’re allowing our physiology time to rest and recover. It’s like working out, you can strengthen both sides, but individually.

Most of these diets are inspired by the belief that many modern health problems come from ‘working out’ only one type of metabolism. Ironically, strict paleo and keto diets can become unbalanced in their own ways too. That is why studies have only investigated certain short-term therapeutic applications, such as reversing diabetes or weight gain.

Actually, excess of either metabolism is associated with certain diseases. Cutting edge research can only safely recommend intervals of ketosis, and each person experimenting with a strict diet should be wary of balance. Some studies also show that these strict diets can underperform in nutritional criteria, and elevate levels negative health biomarkers. [3]

Intermittent Fasting

That isn’t to say any given diet is off the table. We can learn from each of them, maybe most interesting is how they relate to intermittent fasting. Fasting is a natural tool to freely cycle between ketosis and glucose metabolism. Successful diets combine dietary choices with limited eating time. 

Also called an ‘eating window’ the most common routine is only consuming calories during an 8-hour period. The advantage is each day has 16-hours of no food and triggers more ketones. It’s believed that this is our naturally evolved metabolic cycle. 

By making this simple adjustment, we can access health benefits reported from both types of metabolism, including improved exercise performance, related cardiovascular benefits, and more. [4]

Next Time + Matcha Myth

In part 2, we’ll discuss practical fasting strategies. We’ll also mention ways to adopt balanced principles from these preferred diets, without negating your original health goals.

In the meantime, rest assured that (unsweetened) matcha won't take you out of ketosis. It's actually synergistic due to a shared affinity to helping burn fat, and is enjoyed by people participating in each type of diet all around the world.

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