Natural Ketosis Blog Archive

April' 2014

Review - KetoDiet App

With the rise in interest in Low Carb and Paleo diets it is great to see an app available to help people make the right decision on what to eat which will comply with this new way of eating.

 

For so many years we have been pushed by dieticians and other health experts to value and chose food according to the amount of calories or fat in the food but for a low carber the issue is not about calories but carbs. This becomes even more key if you are looking to achieve nutritional ketosis which is triggered by keeping your carbs down to below 60-50 grams a day. So quickly working out the carbs in each portion of food is critical to success. The KetoDiet App does just this. Thank you!

The Keto App provides reliable information in an easy interactive way.. Not only that the keto diet website provides fantastic recipes which work with the App to make it truly supportive to a low carb/paleo lifestyle.

 

NET CARBS

One of the areas that does cause much confusion is the term Net Carbs. The Keto Diet App has been originated in the USA and that is why the term Net Carbs is the term used for calculating carbohydrates. In the UK we do not have this phrase but do not worry as you should treat the carbohydrate  count in the UK as the equivalent of Net Carbs.

This is because the USA government defines carbohydrates including fibre but for some reason in the UK our government defines carbs as those carbohydrates excluding fibre.  As a consequence our carbohydrate value is the same as the term Net Carbs as used in the USA.

For example:

If an item, in America, contains 5g of Total Carbohydrates, out of which 2g consist of Dietary Fibre, then the Net Carbohydrate content of this product is 3g.

 

Here in the UK Net Carbohydrates are already calculated within nutritional labels as simple/complex carbohydrates are one entity (Carbohydrate) and dietary fibre is separately labelled as Fibre. Hence there is no need to calculate Net Carbohydrate content for a product that follows EU labelling rules.

For example:

If an item, from an EU country, is said to contain 3g of Carbohydrate and 2g of Fibre. Then the amount of carbohydrates that will affect blood sugar levels is 3g.

 

Overall Verdict


Everyone here at Natural Ketosis loves this App. It is simple to use, looks great and the recipes are easy to follow (not to mention the food photography which is enough to get your stomach rumbling). We would certainly recommend this application for individuals who are looking at maintaining their weight as well as looking to get back to a clean ketogenic eating pattern after a few too many nights out.

 

You can find out more about KetoDiet App here:  www.ketodietapp.com

7+ FRUIT AND VEG A DAY? ON A LOW CARB DIET!?

Earlier this month a paper was published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reporting favourable improvements in markers of CVD and decreased total cause of mortality with increased consumption of fruit and vegetables.  We covered the article in a blog earlier this month here and assessed the strength of the research behind the original ‘5-a-day’ message. 

 

The paper demonstrated that an increasing fruit and vegetable intake was associated with decreased all cause, cancer and cardiovascular mortality with individuals consuming 7 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day exhibiting the lowest risk.  This has led to numerous recommendations to increase our fruit and veg guidelines from 5-a-day to 7-a-day. 

An increased fruit and veg intake may be beneficial from a public health perspective but what about for those individuals who are already conscientious about what they eat and in particular for individuals on a reduced or low carbohydrate diet?

With every additional portion of fruit and veg consumed there is an inevitable increase in total calorie and carbohydrate intake (providing the portion of fruit or veg isn’t replacing a less favourable option).  So how do these new guidelines fit in with a low-carb lifestyle?

Well, the good news is that there is a wide range of fruits that can easily be adopted into a low carb diet.  But the great news from the report is that they identified that the health benefits from consuming vegetables were greater than that of fruits and as we will show, virtually all above ground vegetables can be integrated to a low-carb diet plan.

So here is our quick guide to the best sources of fruits and vegetables to integrate into your low-carb diet plan.

 

FRUITS:

Fruits tend to be higher in sugar (fructose and glucose) than vegetables and unlike vegetables there is a much greater variation in sugar content across different types of fruit.  This means additional caution has to be taken to ensure that carbohydrate intake from fruit is managed whilst maximising the intake of important micronutrients and fibre.

SIMPLE TIP: To rate a fruits nutrient density the general rule of hand is to opt for deeply coloured fruits where you consume the whole fruit including the skin

 

TOP CHOICES

Low carb - Eat regularly

REASONABLE CHOICES

Moderate carb - Eat occasionally

POOR CHOICES

High carb - Best avoided

Berries

Avocado

Bananas

Lemons & Limes

Kiwi Fruit

Pears

Rhubarb

Oranges

Grapes

Melon

Pineapple

Fruit juices

Coconut

Tomato Juice

Dried fruit

 

VEGETABLES:

Virtually any vegetables that grow above the ground can be included into a low carb diet.  Those vegetables that grow below the ground (e.g. potatoes, carrots, parsnips) contain moderate to high amounts of starch and therefore are unlikely to feature regularly in a low-carb plan.  The fibre content of vegetables is one of their key features as both soluble and insoluble fibre are essential for optimal gastro-intestinal health, and if your gut is happy then the rest of your body and mind is likely to follow suit.

SIMPLE TIP: To rate a vegetables nutrient density the general rule of hand is to opt for dark green leaves first then stems and flowers

Because of the vast array of vegetables that can be eaten the main challenge is to consume a variety of vegetables to maximise your antioxidant exposure.

Our favourite choices are:

·         Green leafy veg (e.g. spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli):  These nutrition powerhouses are packed with fibre and antioxidants and are very versatile; tasting great when raw in salads or wilted in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil.

·         Mushrooms: A good source of B vitamins that are essential in the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy.  Try cooking with different varieties of mushrooms for variations in flavour and texture.

·         Asparagus: Packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients which have been linked to decreasing cancer risk and maintaining mental health, we love them fried in a little coconut oil then served with poached eggs and smoked salmon on a lazy Sunday morning.

·         Cauliflower:  Plenty of Vitamin C and folate means a bowl of creamy cauliflower soup with flaked smoked mackerel makes a great lunchtime filler.

·         Tomatoes: Ok, so technically they are a fruit (seeds are contained inside the skin) but in most circumstances they are used as a vegetable.  We love their flexibility from firm cherry tomatoes in salads to plump roasted tomatoes with balsamic vinegar.

 

Vegetables best to be avoided due to their high starch (carbohydrate) content:

·         Root vegetables (e.g. potatoes, parsnips, beets)

·         Peas

·         Winter squashes (e.g. butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash)

·         Corn

 

To find out more on how to integrate fruit and vegetables into your low carbohydrate lifestyle then give us a call.

 

Richard Chessor

@RJC_Nutrition

Dr Campbell's 'The Low Carb Fraud' - Book Review

Following on from the success of his best-selling book The China Study, Dr Campbell turns his hand at debunking the science behind a low carbohydrate diet. Here is our take on his new book, The Low-Carb Fraud.

Before we delve into Dr Campbell’s book describing why the science behind a low carbohydrate lifestyle is flawed, here is a little background on Dr Campbell’s research.

 

The data collected by Dr Campbell and his team is based on the data published in Diet, Life-Style, and Mortality in China: A Study of the Characteristics of 65 Chinese Counties. This study was a massive undertaking involving thousands of man hours collecting and analysing data. A feat to be reckoned with and a study which has yet to be rivalled within nutrition academic circles for sheer scope and size. The data presented in this study is the foundation upon which the bestselling ‘The China Study’ book is based on. The book claims that this study is the definitive proof that a plant based diet is key to prevent disease. He argues that the reason behind our current health issues is because we consume too much animal based products i.e. dairy and animal protein. There are a lot of critiques on the web as to why the conclusions reached by Dr Campbell in his book do not reflect the data that was presented in the study. Our aim here is not to criticise the China Study, but rather a response to the claims made in Dr Campbell’s book the Low Carb Fraud.

 

Throughout the book, Dr Campbell singles out Gary Taubes’s arguments as the ones that need correction (Gary Taubes is a science journalist, writer of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. He is one of the mainstream advocates for the promotion of a low carb lifestyle to help prevent and manage the current obesity epidemic). Dr Campbell states that the science behind a low carbohydrate lifestyle is flawed.

 

However, upon reading his book, it seems to me that Dr Campbell is unaware of what a low carbohydrate diet is actually all about. Advocates of this lifestyle do not promote a zero carbohydrate lifestyle but rather a differentiation between simple, complex and dietary fibre carbohydrates due to their effect on blood sugar.

 

He goes on to say that carbohydrates are required to “facilitate the digestion and absorption of other nutrients in the gut” - carbohydrates, according to biochemical textbooks, are required as a bulking agent (dietary fibre) however starches and simple carbohydrates have little to no impact on mineral and vitamins. Rather, dietary fat is required to facilitate fat-soluble vitamin absorption, not to mention that the greatest nutritional profiles come from fruits and vegetables that contain a higher degree of dietary fibre rather than anything else.

 

Dr Campbell goes on to add that a diet low in carbohydrate is by definition a diet high in fat. This is not necessarily true. A dietary approach such as Natural Ketosis, allows the body to enter a state of nutritional ketosis through a low sugar, low starch, high protein, moderate fat approach. He goes on to explain that a low-fat diet, with this fat coming from plant based food items is good for health. By this I’m assuming he means the omega-3 & 6 found naturally in nuts and seeds - which funnily enough are also a main staple on a low carb diet.

 

Our bodies are also made up of cholesterol. In fact, if dietary cholesterol is not sufficient to meet the body’s demand, then the liver will have to produce cholesterol. A diet deficient in cholesterol leads to conditions such as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). One way of explaining why excess carbohydrate intake (from simple and starchy food items) is to understand how foie gras is made: ducks are fed a high carbohydrate, low fat diet to help fatten their livers up to produce this French delicacy. In humans, the same process is happening through the continuous health message to eat 50% of your total energy from grains and less fat. Studies have shown that when a low carbohydrate diet is followed, liver function is helped.

 

However, what was most unsettling about reading this book is that Dr Campbell describes and understands the dangers that too much or too little sugar in the blood can have on overall health. Yet a diet rich in fruits and plant based foods such as legumes (legumes are not starchy carbs but related to pulses which are still starchy), whilst they do have a level of other important micronutrients, will be digested into simple sugars which will reach the bloodstream. This latter outcomes far outweighs any nutritional benefits from consuming these items as a staple in one’s diet.

 

Eating starch whether in legumes or grains or root vegetables will raise insulin levels significantly in some people which leads to weight gain and other metabolic disorders.

 

Weight loss and health are not simply the results of calculating energy intake, but about maintaining your hormones balanced, especially insulin, and your inflammation markers low. For optimal benefits, it is important to ensure that real food is the core of your nutrition regimen. Here at Natural Ketosis we believe that real food is key to keeping healthy and slimmer forever.



 

Further Reading:

 

Browning JD, et al. (2011). Short-term weight loss and hepatic triglyceride reduction: evidence of a metabolic advantage with dietary carbohydrate restriction.  Am J Clin Nutr, 93(5): 1048-1052

 

Steven E. Shoelson, Jongsoon Lee, Allison B. Goldfine. (2006). Inflammation and insulin resistance. J Clin Invest. 116 (7): 1793-1801.

 

Linda Wasserbach York, Swathy Puthalapattu, and George Y. Wu. (2009). Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Low-Carbohydrate Diets. Annual Review of Nutrition. 29: 365 -379

 

David Tendler, Sauyu Lin, William S. Yancy Jr., John Mavropoulos, Pam Sylvestre, Don C. Rockey,Eric C. Westman. (2007). The Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Pilot Study. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 52 (2) :589-593

 

Goodarz Danaei, Carlene MM Lawes, Stephen Vander Hoorn, Christopher JL Murray, Majid Ezzati. (2006). Global and regional mortality from ischaemic heart disease and stroke attributable to higher-than-optimum blood glucose concentration: comparative risk assessment. The Lancet, 368 (9548) : 1651-1659,

 

Rossi M, Turati F, Lagiou P, Trichopoulos D, Augustin LS, La Vecchia C, Trichopoulou A: Mediterranean diet and glycaemic load in relation to incidence of type 2 diabetes: results from the Greek cohort of the population-based European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Diabetologia 2013.

 

Gardner CD, Kiazand A, Alhassan S, Kim S, Stafford RS, Balise RR, Kraemer HC, King AC: Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial. JAMA 2007, 297(9):969-977.

 

Halton T.L, Willett W.C, Liu S., Manson J.E, Albert C.M, Rexrode K, Hu F.B.  Low-Carbohydrate-Diet Score and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women. NEJM, 2006, 355:1991-2002  

 

Hession M, Rolland C, Kulkarni U, Wise A & Broom J. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities. Obesity Reviews, 2008, 10 (1): 36-50.

 

Daly M.E, Paisey R, Millward B.A et al. Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in type 2 diabetes-a randomized controlled trial. Diabetic Medicine, 2006, 23: 15-20.

 

Dyson P.A., Beatty S., & Matthews D.R. A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabetic Medicine, 2007, 24: 1430-1435.

 

Boden G, Sargrad K, Homko C, Mozzoli M, Stein TP. Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2005, 142: 403–411

 

Yancy WS, Jr., Olsen MK, Guyton JR, Bakst RP, Westman EC: A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2004, 140(10):769-777

 

Foster GD, et al. A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity. NEJM, 2003, 348:2082-2090

 

Samaha FF, et al. A low-carbohydrate as compared with a low-fat diet in severe obesity. NEJM, 2003, 348:2074-2081    

 

Brehm BJ, et al. A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2003, 88:1617–1623

 

Shai I. et al. Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. NEJM, 2008, 359:229-41.

 

Forsythe CE, Phinney SD, Fernandez ML, Quann EE, Wood RJ, Bibus DM, Kraemer WJ, Feinman RD, Volek JS: Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating Fatty Acid composition and markers of inflammation. Lipids 2008, 43(1):65-77.

 

Volek JS, Fernandez ML, Feinman RD, Phinney SD: Dietary carbohydrate restriction induces a unique metabolic state positively affecting atherogenic dyslipidemia, fatty acid partitioning, and metabolic syndrome. Prog Lipid Res 2008, 47(5):307-318.

 

Volek JS, Phinney SD, Forsythe CE, Quann EE, Wood RJ, Puglisi MJ, Kraemer WJ, Bibus DM, Fernandez ML, Feinman RD: Carbohydrate Restriction has a More Favorable Impact on the Metabolic Syndrome than a Low Fat Diet. Lipids 2009, 44(4):297-309.

 

Nickols-Richardson SM, et al. Perceived hunger is lower and weight loss is greater in overweight premenopausal women consuming a low-carbohydrate/high-protein vs high-carbohydrate/low-fat diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005, 105:1433-1437.

 

McClernon FJ, Yancy WS Jr, Eberstein JA, Atkins RC, Westman EC. The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. Obesity 2007, 15(1):182-7.

 

Aude YW, et al. The national cholesterol education program diet vs a diet lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and monounsaturated fat. Arch Intern Med. 2004, 164:2141-2146

 

Meckling KA, et al. Comparison of a low-fat diet to a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss, body composition, and risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in free-living, overweight men and women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2004, 89: 2717–2723

 

Keogh JB, et al. Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008, 87 (3):567-576

 

Tay J, et al. Metabolic effects of weight loss on a very-low-carbohydrate diet compared with an isocaloric high-carbohydrate diet in abdominally obese subjects.J Am Coll Cardiol 2008, 51:59–67

 

Guldbrand, et al. In type 2 diabetes, randomization to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss. Diabetologia, 2012, 55:2118–2127

 

Nancy F. Krebs, Dexiang Gao, Jane Gralla, Juliet S. Collins, and Susan L. Johnson. Efficacy and Safety of a High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss in Severely Obese Adolescents. J Pediatr, 2010, 157(2): 252–258.

 

Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek J.S, Grimaldi K.A.  REVIEW: Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. EJCN, 2013, 67: 789–796.

 

Samaha F.F, Foster G.D, Makris A.P. Low-carbohydrate Diets, Obesity, and Metabolic Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 2007, 9:441–447

 

Liu X, Zheng G, Xingwang Y, Li H, Chen X, Tang L, Feng Y, Shai I, Stampfer M.J, Hu F.B., Lin X. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiometabolic profile in Chinese women: a randomised controlled feeding trial. BJN, 2013, 110, 1444–1453  

 

Bueno N.B, Vieira de Melo I.S, Lima de Oliveira L, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BJN, 2013, 110, 1178–1187  

 

HM Dashti, TC Mathew, T Hussein, et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Exp Clin Cardiol, 2004, 9(3):200-205.

 

Andrew P, McPherson C & McEneny J. The biochemistry of ketogenesis and its role in weight management, neurological disease and oxidative stress. J Physiol Biochem, 2012, 68:141–151

 

Wood RJ, Volek JS, Liu Y, Shachter NS, Contois JH, Fernandez ML.  Carbohydrate Restriction Alters Lipoprotein Metabolism by Modifying VLDL, LDL, and HDL Subfraction Distribution and Size in Overweight Men. J. Nutr., 2006, 136 (2): 384-389

 

Pérez-Guisado J, Muñoz-Serrano A & Alonso-Moraga A. Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean diet: a healthy cardiovascular diet for weight loss. Nutrition Journal 2008, 7:30  


 

 

Do We Need 7-a-day?

With recent research suggesting that we increase our fruit and vegetable consumption to 7-a-day from the current 5-a-day guidelines, does the initial science that brought us the 5-a-day message solid enough to withstand this new research of increasing this to 7 portions a day?

Over the past century the health concerns of the British population have changed significantly. At the beginning of the 20th century the main health concerns were communicable diseases whilst the present day focus has shifted to non-communicable diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases. Public health has focused over the past decades to prevent the onset of these preventable non-communicable chronic diseases. This has been done through a number of intervention and prevention programmes whereby the population or specific sub-groups within it have been specifically targeted to modify their behaviour so as to enhance their health both in the short and long term.

The current 5-a-day campaign owes its origin to a campaign launched in the US back in 1991 and since then has been adopted in one form or another by other countries. The scientific claims behind this campaign was based on studies that linked fruit and vegetable consumption to cancer prevention. It is important to note that a subsequent report published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) stated that the advice of this campaign is broad as there are no known specific protective effects of fruit and vegetables, whether in combination or not, still requires confirmation.

Not only is the science that initiated this campaign vague, focusing on five portions again has no scientific basis. Whilst food variety is an important component to ensure that micronutrient requirements are met, the number of portions required was literally pulled out of thin air.

The big concern surrounding the 5-a-day message is that it does not focus on the differences between fruit and vegetables or about swapping junk food for fruit and vegetables. Rather, it is about eating these in conjunction with items that are already high in sugar. Instead of advocating fresh fruit and vegetables, examples of how to easily incorporate fruit includes consuming tinned fruit and vegetables including high sugar items such as corn and peas to a pasta bake. Science keeps indicating that this excess sugar consumption is contributing to the current obesity and diabetes epidemics.

What counts as part of your 5-a-day?

A quick look at the NHS’s Change4Life website campaign you may be shocked to see that smoothies count towards 2 of your 5-a-day portions. If you would like more information on the sugar content of popular health drinks (some of which have been endorsed as contributing to the 5-a-day target) found in stores, the Daily Mail wrote a good piece on the topic in March 2013.(15 WORST sugary drinks in Britain Daily Mail dated 1 April 2013. Please see: http://ow.ly/sax7C )

What is concerning is the emphasis placed on fruit consumption rather than vegetable. Vegetables, in the context of overall health, are a richer source of minerals and vitamins as well as dietary fibre which is important for bowel health. Fruits on the other hand mostly contain sugar. There are no guidelines to specify the fruit to vegetable ratio, this is left up to the individual and as we know, most people will choose fruit over vegetables.

Although the Change4Life website does mention that potatoes do not count towards the 5-a-day target, there is no mention, or help, on how to incorporate other vegetables into the diet. They do mention briefly on how certain vegetables do not count as they are mostly a form of starch (yet no more information on the fact that starch is digested into its sugar components). This guidance is less than helpful and quite confusing to say the least.

Scientific Basis against sugar consumption

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) currently reviewing it's position on daily sugar intake, the UK government needs to take stock of the emerging evidence to reduce sugar consumption in all its forms when advising the public.

The current obesity and diabetes epidemic in the UK is constantly mentioned in the media, however the debate is greatly biased towards perceived common sense rather than based on solid scientific research. 

By readjusting the macronutrient content in the nation’s diet, the health benefits range from weight loss to reduced cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk.

 

 

Cereal Killers Movie: A Must Watch Documentary for Anyone interested in their Health

With the media attention on the amount of hidden sugars in our products, the documentary looking at the physiological effects that following a low carbohydrate diet is indeed timely.

Cereal Killers is a documentary which follows Donald O’Neill investigate the health implications of following a low carbohydrate high fat diet for 28 days. To understand the full extent that this diet may or may not have on his health, Donald leaves no stone unturned by undergoing various medical tests to fully understand the outcome.


The documentary follows Donald’s personal journey on this diet. Along the way he speaks to Professor Tim Noakes, one of the main advocates of this diet, who helps explain why following a low carbohydrate, high fat diet is not only helpful from a weight loss perspective but also from an overall health perspective. Donald also speaks to Dr Peter Brukner, a respected sports physician credited with helping the Australian Cricket Team win The Ashes by changing their old high carbohydrate diet to a low carbohydrate, high fat diet and to Dr John Briffa, a respected UK physician who actively advocates the health benefits of following a low carbohydrate high fat diet.


Here at Natural Ketosis we highly recommend that everyone interested in their health should watch Cereal Killers to help them not only understand the history behind current dietary guidelines, but also to understand that dietary fat is not the enemy.


You can rent/buy this documentary here: http://www.cerealkillersmovie.com/

What is low GI?

A food item’s Glycaemic Index (GI) score reflects the amount of carbohydrates present and the overall effect this item has on blood sugar levels. A low GI score means that the food item takes longer to be absorbed/digested thereby releasing energy in the form of glucose slowly into the body. In terms of feeling full, what this does it that it keeps you fuller for longer due to the way such items are digested. 

A food item’s Glycaemic Index (GI) score reflects the amount of carbohydrates present and the overall effect this item has on blood sugar levels. A low GI score means that the food item takes longer to be absorbed/digested thereby releasing energy in the form of glucose slowly into the body. In terms of feeling full, what this does it that it keeps you fuller for longer due to the way such items are digested.

In theory such an approach to a healthy diet could work as it would help individuals with diabetes navigate through food items to help them control their blood sugar levels. Here’s the main items often listed according to their GI score:

Low GI Foods (55 or less)

  • 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
  • Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
  • Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium GI (56-69)

  • Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
  • Quick oats
  • Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous

High GI (70 or more)

  • White bread or bagel
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
  • Russet potato, pumpkin
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
  • melons and pineapple

A glance at this list and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all ok. However, what is not mentioned on such a list is that simple sugars such as fructose have a GI score of 11 and can therefore be considered to be “healthy” and a tool to be used for weight loss. Fructose, unlike other simple sugars such as glucose (GI 100), lactose (GI 46) and maltose (GI 105) is the only natural sugar which has such a low score.

Unfortunately, nutrition is not as straightforward as other branches of chemistry where we are dealing with inanimate objects. Nutrition not only deals with the digestion of food items but also with the intricate biochemistry that is each and every human being.

Fructose is metabolised primarily by the liver and is absorbed by a different mechanism than glucose by the gut. Once fructose is absorbed, unlike other foods, it will not instigate an insulin response. Insulin is required as it is one of the main hormones responsible for appetite regulation. In other words energy released by fructose intake is not registered by the body. The final result being that dietary fructose contributes to increased energy intake and weight gain.

Obesity experts such as Dr. Lustig now believe that the rise in fructose consumption in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and agave nectar in beverages and pre-prepared foods are responsible for the current obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics. Unfortunately, a recent ruling by the EFSA will allow beverages and food items containing only fructose as the sweetener, to claim that such products are beneficial of health.

Therefore, it is important to understand that just because an item is labelled as low-GI; it does not mean that it is low in carbohydrates or that it will help control blood glucose levels. We at Natural Ketosis are happy to help. So if you have any further questions or would like to know if switching your diet may help then please do get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to help.