Natural Ketosis Blog Archive

September' 2014

Artificial Sweeteners & Why Avoid Them

paper published this week showed that substituting your teaspoon of sugar for an artificial sweetener may not be the healthier way forward. In fact, the consequence of consuming artificial sweeteners was found to negatively affect the beneficial bacteria in our gut which directly affected the glucose metabolism.


The amount of sugars and hidden sugars in our diet is currently a hot topic in the media. With the detrimental effects of excess sugar consumption on our health becoming ever more apparent, those of us with a sweet tooth have had to make tough decisions on what to put in our shopping basket and faced having making the decision of what sugar-substitute to use.


Our gut bacteria matter


This particular research paper continues to shed light about the important role that the bacteria in our gut play in our health. Not only do they help us to properly digest plant-derived foods, but also play a part in our immune system which is why taking care of these bacteria is important. As this paper shows, what we eat has a direct impact on them, and in this case negatively affecting our glucose tolerance.


Oligofructose - a better option all round


Oligofructose (also known as Fructooligosaccharide [FOS]) is a naturally occurring alternative sweetener. A growing body of evidence continues to show the importance of a healthy gut environment is not only helpful for gut health but also to enable full absorption of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, through our gut. Studies into the health benefits of oligofructose show that it stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the human gut and hence termed as prebiotics.


The use of oligofructose as a natural sweetener offers satisfaction to one’s sweet tooth whilst also avoiding blood sugar spikes and unwanted laxative side effects like some artificial sweeteners can. It is for this reason that here at Natural Ketosis we use only oligofructose in our products, thereby ensuring that the quality of our food is second to none.




Frost, G., Sleeth, M., Sahuri-Arisoylu, M., Lizarbe, B., Cerdan, S., Brody, L., Anastasovska, J., Ghourab, S., Hankir, M., Zhang, S. and others, (2014). The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nature communications, 5.

Kelly, D., Conway, S. and Aminov, R. (2005). Commensal gut bacteria: mechanisms of immune modulation. Trends in immunology, 26(6), pp.326--333.

Legette, L., Lee, W., Martin, B., Story, J., Campbell, J. and Weaver, C. (2012). Prebiotics Enhance Magnesium Absorption and Inulin-based Fibers Exert Chronic Effects on Calcium Utilization in a Postmenopausal Rodent Model. Journal of food science, 77(4), pp.88--94.

Lustig, R., Schmidt, L. and Brindis, C. (2012). Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature, 482(7383), pp.27--29.

Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C., Maza, O., Israeli, D., Zmora, N., Gilad, S., Weinberger, A., Kuperman, Y., Harmelin, A., Kolodkin-Gal, I., Shapiro, H., Halpern, Z., Segal, E. and Elinav, E. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2014].


Dairy Fats and Health

Over the past few days there have been 2 studies which have shown dairy fats do play a role in health. One looked at the association of dairy intake and the risk of developing certain conditions whilst the other was a poster presentation of a study that dairy intake and it's effect on type 2 diabetes. Both came to the conclusion that full fat dairy is positively associated with health. In this blog we explore why full fat dairy options contribute to health.



Beneficial Fats


When we talk about dietary fats being an important component in the diet, this is not a mandate to eat deep fried foods and confectionary. By consuming beneficial fats in your diet, we mean the use of butter, extra virgin olive oil and/or coconut oil in your cooking. We also mean consuming oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, etc and also the consumption of eggs and full fat dairy. Before panic sets in about the high amount of cholesterol consumed, science is continuously showing that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease.


Trials upon trials keep showing that individuals who consume beneficial fats in their diet and consume low amounts of refined sugar and starchy items, have better blood results and are not at risk of of heart disease. These individuals exhibit decreased triglycerides, increased HDL (the good cholesterol) as well as making the transition to less atherogenic LDL (bad cholesterol) particles.


So where does dairy fit into the picture?


In a world where chronic conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Heart Disease are becoming more prevalent, diet has a major role to play in the prevention process. The dietary fats found in dairy are naturally occurring i.e. they are not man-made. Due to this, they exhibit beneficial properties that are required for optimum health.


Such properties include the beneficial effect of milk proteins such as leucine which studies continue to show contributes to improved metabolic health outcomes. Other milk properties include its mineral content especially calcium, potassium and magnesium.


It is also important to note that studies have also shown the beneficial health properties of the Stearic Acid, a saturated fatty acid, thereby showing that not all saturated fat is created equally. Stearic acid has been shown to contribute to a decrease in cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.  


It is for this reason that we here at Natural Ketosis recommend full fat dairy options as we understand that dietary fats from natural sources are required by the body for optimal health.


So what are you waiting for? 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.




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


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


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.


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


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.


Garcia-Palmieri, M., Sorlie, P., Tillotson, J., Costas, R., Cordero, E. and Rodriguez, M. (n.d.). Bonanome. A., and Grundy, SM 1988. Effect of dietary stearic acid on plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein levels. New England Journal of Medicine 318: 124b48. Science, 454, pp.239--47.

He, F. and MacGregor, G. (2007). Beneficial effects of potassium on human health.

Laires, M., Monteiro, C. and Bicho, M. (2004). Role of cellular magnesium in health and human disease. Front Biosci, 9(262), p.76.

Miller, G. and Anderson, J. (1999). The role of calcium in prevention of chronic diseases. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 18(sup5), pp.371--372.

van Loon, L. (2012). Leucine as a pharmaconutrient in health and disease. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition \& Metabolic Care, 15(1), pp.71--77.

Comfort Eating - Can it be done on a Low Carb Lifestyle?

With the weather getting colder and the day getting shorter, let’s face it, we all look forward to a hearty meal to warm ourselves up. However, if you are thinking of embarking on a weight loss journey, you may be thinking that in order to achieve your goals you need to deprive yourself of good hearty food. But what if I were to tell you that losing weight may be a great way to actually enjoy good food?



When you think of “going on a diet” and wanting to “lose weight”, then bland food, meal replacement bars and shakes come to mind. The reason for this is that we have been told that in order to lose weight we need to remove all the food that tastes good. Here at Natural Ketosis we have all been on our own weight loss journeys and we can all say, we hated every diet that we have ever done. What did help us lose weight and more importantly maintain it, was to switch to a low carb lifestyle and eat REAL FOOD.


What is a Low Carb lifestyle?


A low carb lifestyle is one which embraces 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.


I can hear you thinking “What, no pizza? no pasta? NO BREAD?!” What if we told you that there is a way to eat and enjoy food without these items? Hard to believe I know, but it can be done! We work with a lot of people who come to us after having struggled with their weight for years. They have tried every weight loss approach, yet nothing worked.


Change your habits


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. This will translate into a loss on the scale but also a change in body shape as the stored body fat around our body is used up for energy. Less body fat will also help to reduce the risks of developing certain chronic conditions.


So why is Natural Ketosis different?


The Natural Ketosis way is about making the right choices rather than complete avoidance.


Autumn is here so a good shepherd's pie can be what the doctor ordered at the end of a cold day. As potatoes are too high in starches, why not substitute this layer with some mashed cauliflower and/or mashed celeriac? Same hearty texture yet a much more waist-friendly option. Or why not have a nice cabbage lasagne by substituting the pasta layers with cabbage leaves?


We here at Natural Ketosis love food and we have channelled that passion into all our products. All the food is natural and free from artificial preservatives thus ensuring that the nutrient quality of our products is not compromised. So why not tuck into our Red Thai Chicken Curry? or into our Beef in Peppercorn? snack on our nut bars or treat yourself to our delicious brownie? You will be hard pressed to believe that eating real food will help you achieve your goal weight and goal dress size!


So what are you waiting for? 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.







Low Carb & Gut Health

The nation’s diet is a constant topic of debate within the media. The current obesity epidemic has been linked to a higher risk of cancer occurrence within the population. So what has diet got to do with it all?


The current ‘Western-style’ diet is made up of energy-dense, nutrient-poor food items, that are not complementary to the needs of the body for optimal health. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome as well as heart disease have all been linked to lifestyle, making one’s food choices all the more important.

What’s the Science so Far?

A research paper published in July, looked at the effect that refined carbohydrates have on the gut and how it can contribute to colon cancer. What the researchers found was the bacteria in the human gut, upon consuming these carbohydrates, produced a chemical that encouraged the growth of colon cancer cells.

When comparing the effects of a high carbohydrate diet vs a low sugar low starch diet, the researchers found this latter approach reduced the growth of colon tumour cells.

These results continue to build on previous studies that have shown a link between a high carbohydrate diet and colon cancer.

So what changes do you need to make to your diet?

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 and minimal hormonal disruption.

Studies continue to show that basing your food choices on items that contain more dietary fibre, help to decrease the risk of colon cancer as well as other chronic conditions.

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 as well as bringing about other health benefits.


The Natural Ketosis way is 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.


Anderson, J., Baird, P., Davis Jr, R., Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V. and Williams, C. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition reviews, 67(4), pp.188--205.

Bingham, S., Day, N., Luben, R., Ferrari, P., Slimani, N., Norat, T., Clavel-Chapelon, F., Kesse, E., Nieters, A., Boeing, H. and others, (2003). Dietary fibre in food and protection against colorectal cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC): an observational study. The Lancet, 361(9368), pp.1496--1501.

Habib, A., Richards, P., Rogers, G., Reimann, F. and Gribble, F. (2013). Co-localisation and secretion of glucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY from primary cultured human L cells. Diabetologia, 56(6), pp.1413--1416.

Kant, A. (2000). Consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods by adult Americans: nutritional and health implications. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988--1994. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 72(4), pp.929--936.

Michaud, D., Fuchs, C., Liu, S., Willett, W., Colditz, G. and Giovannucci, E. (2005). Dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate, sugar, and colorectal cancer risk in men and women. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers \& Prevention, 14(1), pp.138--147.

Slattery, M., Benson, J., Berry, T., Duncan, D., Edwards, S., Caan, B. and Potter, J. (1997). Dietary sugar and colon cancer. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers \& Prevention, 6(9), pp.677--685.

Zelenskiy, S., Thompson, C., Tucker, T. and Li, L. (2014). High Dietary Glycemic Load is Associated With Increased Risk of Colon Cancer. Nutrition and cancer, 66(3), pp.362--368.


Can You Change Your Cravings?

We all love to eat food that we know is bad for our health and waistlines. So whether it’s ice cream, a slice of chocolate cake or a scone or all the items on a high tea menu we all know these are not the best choices for health. However we tend to prefer to eat these items over a bowl of salad leaves. Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced this! So, losing weight can feel like you’re depriving yourself, albeit for a good cause, but what happens when you are allowed to eat these items once again? If cravings are the issue, then why not address this by changing your palate?


A study published this September, has shown that when individuals start to change their dietary regimen by basing their food choices on items containing dietary fibre and protein, then there is a positive shift in their reward systems i.e. they do not crave these items any more. By completely avoiding processed food items, then the palate will also change which in turn results in a carving for items that are naturally healthier and better for you. Once the craving goes away, then sustaining your weight loss will become easier and here at Natural Ketosis we see this on a daily basis.

The Science So Far

Due to the nature and implications of investigating the effect of food and the different reward systems that it activates in our brains, the number of studies looking at the effects of food on human subjects are few and far in between. Hence the data that we have on the psychological implications of food consumption are, for the most part, based on animal studies.

Of the studies conducted on this issue, revealed that when these animals were offered a choice of cocaine, morphine or sugar (in the form of oreo biscuits), these animals always went for the biscuit. What does this say about the processed sugar and carbohydrate effect on the brain reward systems?

Another study showed that excessive sugar consumption led to the animals experiencing a state similar to that shown to morphine and nicotine dependence. Yet another study showed that after a period of abstinence from sugar, these animals exhibited a greater intake of sugar, due to their previous deprived state.

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. An interesting study showed that the brain’s liking and wanting mechanisms were higher after consuming a meal consisting of mostly carbohydrates compared to consuming a high protein meal. This want/liking mechanism operated independently of total energy intake. In other terms, although subjects ate a big meal consisting of carbohydrates, they were still hungry afterwards and wanted more, unlike the subjects that ate a protein-based meal.

Whilst reducing the amount of sugary items consumed in the form of biscuits, confectionary, fizzy drinks etc may help to reduce your cravings, this is not enough if you are going to get rid of those constant hunger feelings and the need for a quick energy fix in the afternoon (usually in the form of a biscuit or a chocolate bar or the ideal opportunity to go for a high tea). If you really want to get rid of those constant hunger cravings, then a rearranging of the macronutrient intake in the diet is required to lessen not only these cravings -  but also the feeling of still feeling hungry even if a meal has just been consumed!

So how can we help you change the foods you crave?

On the Natural Ketosis programme we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. Protein in the diet is also critical as our bodies cannot store protein. Hence, we need a constant supply each day. Our bodies require protein to build muscle and repair any internal damage. Studies keep showing that a high protein diet helps to reduce hunger and control cravings as you feel satiated for longer.

Therefore the Natural Ketosis way is not only about being healthy and making the right choices, but about having a healthy relationship with food.




Avena, N.M., Rada, P. & Hoebel, B.G., 2007. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 32(1), pp.20–39.

Deckersbach, R., Das, S., Urban, L., Salinardi, T., Batra, P., Rodman, A., Arulpragasam, A., Dougherty, D. and Roberts, S. 2014. Pilot randomized trial demonstrating reversal of obesity-related abnormalities in reward system responsivity to food cues with a behavioral intervention.Nutrition & Diabetes, 4(e129).

Student-faculty research suggests Oreos can be compared to drugs of abuse in lab rats. 2013.

Colantuoni, C. et al., 2002. Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence.Obesity research, 10(6), pp.478–488.

Avena, N.M., Long, K.A. & Hoebel, B.G., 2005. Sugar-dependent rats show enhanced responding for sugar after abstinence: evidence of a sugar deprivation effect. Physiology & behavior, 84(3), pp.359–362.

Born, J., Martens, M. & Lemmens, S., 2013. Protein v. carbohydrate intake differentially affects liking-and wanting-related brain signalling. British Journal of. Available at: