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Seafarers risk health with low-carb diet

Seafarers risk health with low-carb diet

(Posted on 20/04/21)

The starkest warning yet that following fad diets can cause more damage than good has been delivered by catering management and training provider MCTC as it sees an increase in popularity by seafarers of the keyogentic (keto) diet.

The keto diet, favoured and promoted by many celebrities, is a high-fat, high protein, low carbohydrate diet which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. According to MCTC, seafarers following the keto diet can suffer nutrient deficiencies, an increase in heart disease and many other medical issues and this should be guarded against.

Nichole Stylianou, Nutritionist at MCTC, warned that any seafarer considering the diet should speak to his/her doctor beforehand and remember that the keto diet was originally introduced by physicians to support epilepsy in the 1920s before celebrities made it trendy.

She said: “The keto diet can also be dangerous if you suffer from conditions involving your pancreas, liver, thyroid or gall bladder because the diet can put you at risk of hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), kidney stones and hyopropteinemia (low levels of protein in the blood). Any diet which forces your body to do something it is not naturally designed to do, isn’t something we would recommend.

“Food fuels the body with nutrients to function so if you deprive it of these, then you’re causing damage. Often people following the keto diet complain of nausea, tiredness and headaches which are all signs that the body is lacking vital vitamins. Following a celebrity diet is not safe and can lead to long-term health implications. MCTC educates seafarers on the importance of leading a wholesome nutritiously-rich diet and exercising.”

MCTC offers a full Catering Management Programme covering the vessel’s entire catering management needs such as ordering supplies, recipe planning, menu management, health and nutrition - all of which reduce vessel running costs. It also provides a complimentary Catering Competency Development Programme designed to increase standards in the galley through a safe food handling and nutrition course; onshore upgrading culinary course; trade tests, briefings, on board visits and also crew conferences.

Christian Ioannou, Managing Director at MCTC, said: “We’re concerned that celebrity diets are potentially damaging seafarer health due to lack of education and knowledge. We’re passionate about supporting our crew to cook and understand why nutrition matters, to help them and their families. Our Catering Competency Development Programme incorporates a 365 Healthy Day Workshop where crew’s entire family is invited and MCTC even provides childcare for them. We know that good eating habits can transform lives ultimately.

“A healthy crew also perform better because their body and mind have the right nutrients to help it function to its full potential,” concluded Mr Ioannou.

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