Natural Ketosis Blog Archive

August' 2014

Concentration Levels & Food Choices

With the summer holidays over (or nearly over for some), getting back into the routine of old can be a bit tough. Regaining and maintaining high concentration levels can also prove daunting, especially after lunch time - or siesta time as it was a couple of days ago. So how can your diet help to increase not only your concentration levels, but also help to improve your overall health?

 

The Science So Far


Research in cognitive abilities has become more prominent in recent years, mainly due to the the fact that we, as a society, are living longer. Hence, interest in researching preventative measures we can make use of - whether they be lifestyle changes or other therapies - that can offer better cognitive function in our old age have become quite popular.


Our food choices play a big role and is a constant feature in the debate about what a “healthy diet” should consist of in order to reap the best results. The science however has been showing that the high carbohydrate diet that is commonly found in Western Societies is doing nothing to improve our physiological nor our mental health.


The science keeps showing that high blood sugars have a negative impact on our brain function. Scientific evidence, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggest that switching from burning sugar as a body fuel, to burning fat for energy not only has positive impacts on our health, but also helps to improve our cognitive function.


Current Eating Advice


The current healthy eating guidelines advise that to get the best nutrition, one needs to ensure that 50% of each meal is made up of a variety of carbohydrates. However, whilst these items are not usually associated with being sugary, the biological digestion of these items turns them into sugar and are recognised as such by the brain. This in turn leads to insulin being released in order to regulate these high blood sugars. Once blood sugars have been stabilised, there is a dip in energy levels which is often felt as a either sleepiness or alternatively as a hankering for something sugary. This is the body’s way of regulating it’s blood sugars levels - a constant cycle of highs and lows.


By minimising blood sugar spikes, insulin levels remain relatively stable throughout the day. Once stable, the body will look into sourcing its energy requirements from unwanted body fat. Due to this, the body will have a constant stream of energy - and the best part is that your concentration and energy levels improve as a result of this.


Reducing Sugars & Starches


Whilst reducing the amount of sugary and starchy items consumed in the form of biscuits, confectionary, fizzy drinks etc may help, this is not enough if you are going to get rid of that “brain fog” sensation and the need for a quick energy fix in the afternoon (usually in the form of a biscuit or a chocolate bar accompanied by coffee for a perceived boost). If you really want to get rid of those “brain fog” sensations, then a rearranging of the macronutrient intake in one’s diet is required.


Natural Ketosis


So how are you expected to make an informed decision that is going to benefit your health?


The Natural Ketosis way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress.


A quick glimpse at a low-carb meal plan one can notice that it is balanced, natural, low in trans-fat, low in sugar and low in salt. It also provides omega 3 and 6, and essential amino acids. It is full of food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, as well as fibre. A diet high in protein has also been extensively proven to alleviate satiety in individuals.


The Natural Ketosis way is not only about being healthy and making the right choices. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. We’ll answer any questions you have and help you make an informed decision.



References:


Born, J., Martens, M., Lemmens, S., Goebel, R. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2013). Protein v. carbohydrate intake differentially affects liking-and wanting-related brain signalling. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(02), pp.376--381.

Kavanagh, K., Wylie, A., Tucker, K., Hamp, T., Gharaibeh, R., Fodor, A. and Cullen, J. (2013). Dietary fructose induces endotoxemia and hepatic injury in calorically controlled primates. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 98(2), pp.349--357.

Maalouf, M., Rho, J. and Mattson, M. (2009). The neuroprotective properties of calorie restriction, the ketogenic diet, and ketone bodies. Brain research reviews, 59(2), pp.293--315.

Mortby, M., Janke, A., Anstey, K., Sachdev, P. and Cherbuin, N. (2013). High “normal” blood glucose is associated with decreased brain volume and cognitive performance in the 60s: the PATH through life study. PloS one, 8(9), p.73697.

Murphy, P., Likhodii, S., Nylen, K. and Burnham, W. (2004). The antidepressant properties of the ketogenic diet. Biological psychiatry, 56(12), pp.981--983.

Schoeler, N., Wood, S., Aldridge, V., Sander, J., Cross, J. and Sisodiya, S. (2014). Ketogenic dietary therapies for adults with epilepsy: Feasibility and classification of response. Epilepsy \& Behavior, 37, pp.77--81.

 

Why Are We Being Told to Look at our Waist Circumference?

Last week there has been a call from Public Health England to take the tape measure around our waist and use it to keep track of our health, especially for type 2 diabetes. So what does our waist measurement tell us about our health?

 
 

Why Waist Circumference?


In the mid-forties, a French physician reported that the complications most commonly associated with obesity, were in fact more closely associated with excess fat around the abdomen (upper body obesity) rather than weight per se.  Since then studies have continuously shown that this measurement is a better overall indicator not only for type 2 diabetes risk but also for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions associated with lifestyle choices. It is however important to note that there are different cut-off points based on age, sex, as well as ethnic groups.


Therefore it is important to define obesity not only on the basis of body mass index. Other measurements such as waist circumference, as well as skin fold tests have a place alongside other metabolic risk factors such as blood cholesterol levels.


How can a Low Carbohydrate Lifestyle Help?


By changing your dietary habits and choosing to eat items that are lower in sugars and starches will help to minimise the constant blood sugar spikes which will in turn lead to a stable levels of insulin.


Once insulin levels are stabilised, the body will start to look at using other sources to fuel itself, mainly fat and protein. By following a dietary lifestyle that is low in carbohydrates will allow the body to naturally start burning unwanted body fat for energy - the fat that has been deposited in the abdomen area as well as in other area of the body.


This will in turn not only result in changes on the scale (thereby affecting one’s BMI number) but also translate into changes in body shape as the body is essentially fuelling itself from it’s unwanted body fat deposits.


Natural Ketosis


The Natural Ketosis way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress.


A quick glimpse at a low-carb meal plan one can notice that it is balanced, natural, low in trans-fat, low in sugar and low in salt. It also provides omega 3 and 6, and essential amino acids. It is full of food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, as well as fibre.

 

Studies have also shown that high-fat meals do not increase the Cardiovascular Disease markers such as cholesterol and blood pressure. What has been shown is that subjects following a low-carbohydrate diet had better blood cholesterol profiles on the whole.


The Natural Ketosis way is not only about being healthy and making the right choices. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. We’ll answer any questions you have and help you make an informed decision.





Reference:



BBC News, (2014). 'Tape measure test' call on diabetes. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28564566 [Accessed 6 Aug. 2014].

Cameron, A., Magliano, D. and S\"oderberg, S. (2013). A systematic review of the impact of including both waist and hip circumference in risk models for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and mortality. Obesity Reviews, 14(1), pp.86--94.

Despr\'es, J., Lemieux, I. and Prud'homme, D. (2001). Treatment of obesity: need to focus on high risk abdominally obese patients. Bmj, 322(7288), pp.716--720.

Janssen, I., Katzmarzyk, P. and Ross, R. (2004). Waist circumference and not body mass index explains obesity-related health risk. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 79(3), pp.379--384.