Natural Ketosis Blog Archive

April' 2013

Banned Slimming Drug Kills Medical Student

In September 2012 Sarah Houston was found by her flatmate after having taken a banned slimming pill. At 5:15pm Sarah was pronounced dead by paramedics. The pill she had been taking is banned in the UK but through an internet firm, Sarah was able to purchase and consume the banned substance DNP.

The BBC reports that Sarah’s parents, Geoff and Gina Houston have now begun to lobby government to implement changes so that such a tragic loss of life cannot happen in the future. Read the article here.

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The substance in question is called DNP and its dangerous active ingredient is 2, 4-Dinitrophenol. DNP is commonly used as a pesticide or fungicide but can easily be found online in tablet form. This can only mean that it is intended for human consumption.

DNP has previously been recommended for body builders to help them slim down as the substance can help dramatically increase an individual’s metabolic rate. This enables the individual to burn more calories than would normally be possible. However this places undue pressure on the heart, causes the body to overheat and can often cause breathlessness.

The company that supplied Ms Houston with the DNP that caused her death does have a statement on their website that states ‘DNP is not fit for human consumption’. However Ms Houston’s family are arguing that by making DNP available in capsule form they are fully aware of what individuals will be using the substance for.

DNP first arrived on the weight loss market in 1930 in America. However by 1938 it was made illegal due to the severe negative side-effects. Aiming to lobby the government to ban the substance is unlikely as DNP is still used as a valid pesticide. Although banning DNP is unlikely, it is entirely possible to aim for the substance to be banned from being sold in capsule form.

Despite DNP having valid uses aside from weight loss, it shouldn’t mean that the government is not doing all it can to ensure no one else falls victim to the same tragedy as the Houston’s. Dangerous substances are made illegal to protect the public from harm, and more can certainly be done to make DNP impossible to obtain if not being used as a pesticide.

Ultimately the most effective way of ensuring DNP stops being used as a slimming aid is through education. By raising the awareness of not only the dangers of DNP but also the benefits of a nutritionally balanced diet, individuals will have the knowledge to make informed decisions on how best to address any weight issues they may want to address. Education will also help alleviate the short term orientated goals so common in the weight loss industry and place a greater emphasis on healthy and sustainable weight loss in the long term.

Atkins and the never-ending battle over carbs

A decade on from the death of the infamous Dr. Atkins the battle over carbohydrates continues to wage as fiercely as ever. Taking an opposing viewpoint to the governmental advice that a healthy diet is low fat and high carb, the low carb community quickly caused controversy.

The government remains faithful to its reductive principles ‘eat less – move more’ even though the low fat/high carb diet has failed to resolve the obesity epidemic. In fact we are heading further into the epidemic. Is it time we reconsider the government’s outdated and over-simplistic take on healthy eating?

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Since 2002 when Dr. Atkins released his ‘New Diet Revolution’ a body of evidence has developed that empirically support low carb and the principles it espouses. Despite this, critics of the diet have tried to find research that shows low carb to be nutritionally incomplete and bad for your health.

Despite these criticisms having been dispelled countless times in the past, they are still commonly drawn upon to critique low carb. Let’s dispel them one last time.

Firstly, by eating a low carb diet you are not leaving yourself with a nutritionally incomplete food intake.  By forgoing starchy carbs you do not miss out on their nutrients. In fact the nutrients present in starchy carbs are often fortified and are therefore not natural or healthy. On a low carb diet you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need from many other places including eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy and meat.

Secondly, a criticism frequently used to disprove the validity of low carb is that eating no carbs at all is dangerous for your health. It must be understood that a low carb diet is not no carb. Carbs are still consumed but from healthier sources than you would find on a high carb diet. While on The Natural Ketosis Programme you do not cut out carbs altogether, you will still eat fruit (predominantly from low sugar sources such as berries) and green vegetables which are carbs. We simply recommend that you cut out foods that are high in sugar and starch such as sweets, cake or breads.

An interesting point was made in the BBC article that today’s population are no longer interested in FAD techniques or outdated unscientific views. Today’s consumer is savvier than ever and wants to see clear scientific evidence that can clearly support the principles of the diet. Luckily low carb dieting is supported by a large body of evidence.

In recent years this evidence has shown the superiority of low carb diets, especially when compared to the low calorie and low fat diets. Amongst the advantages are increased satiety, greater sustainability and a maintained metabolic rate.

The battle over carbs is likely to continue, that is until a greater value is placed on empirical scientific research rather than outdated advice.

Sweet Poison: Why Sugar is Ruining Our Health

Last time we were talking about sugar on this blog it was discussing the miracle healing power of sugar on wounds. This time however it is back to business as usual as we continue to stress the addictive and damaging nature of sugar.

It seems like the Guardian is on our wavelength.

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Very few of us Brits can state we make it through the week without consuming any sugar, and if we do we often underestimate the amount of sugar we are consuming. This is easily done as it is not just the sugar we have with our hot beverages or cans of fizzy drinks that help to accumulate over time. More often than not it is the hidden sugar that is our downfall, for example most ready meals are going to be completely saturated with sugar.

To highlight this point the average Briton consumes 238 teaspoonfuls of sugar every week! We doubt anyone would predict that their weekly sugar consumption could be anywhere near that level.

How many of you would estimate your weekly sugar consumption to be in that region?

The situation is made even worse when you consider that a healthy diet based on current advice from the Government is founded on low fat/low calorie principles. When low fat products are made they become tasteless and bland due to the process of making the product low fat. It has often been said that this process can make the product taste like cardboard. To get past this and make the product palatable once more, sugar is added often in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Hidden sugar is not only a danger in processed ready meals but also in foods that we typically expect to be healthy for us. In a separate article in the Guardian they have a really insightful graph that shows the relative levels of sugar in some fruits. The graph shows that amongst the worst fruits for their level of sugar are, in descending order: Grapes, Apples and Bananas.  Check out the graph here.

At the Natural Ketosis Company we provide food that is low in sugar and is free from  artificial ingredients to ensure the damaging effects of sugar are not felt when you adopt the Natural Ketosis way of eating. Furthermore by restricting your intake of sugar you restrict any cravings for these products. This will eventually lead to you no longer being enticed by sugary products.

Ultimately the question is ‘Can you give up sugar?’ With our help there is no reason why you couldn’t.