Natural Ketosis Blog Archive

October' 2014

Thyroid Health & Weight Management

With 1 in 10 people in the UK being diagnosed with a thyroid-related condition, in this blog we aim to help you understand the thyroid gland’s function and how it is involved with weight loss and overall health.

 

 

What is the Thyroid Gland?


The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland (a gland which secretes hormones) and is responsible for secreting two main hormones called:

·       Thyroxine

·       Triiodothyronine


These hormones are responsible for controlling the body’s metabolism and if one becomes defective it can cause problems in the body.


One of the major thyroid problems which can occur is hypothyroidism also known as an underactive thyroid. This condition occurs when the thyroid is underactive; an underactive thyroid effectively means that it slows down the body’s functions and therefore slows down your metabolism. The main symptoms include:

·       Extreme tiredness

·       Weight gain

·       Constipation

·       Intolerance of cold

·       Thinning of hair

·       Swelling of face


With the functions of the body being slowed down, it means that weight loss can become a big issue. For many women weight gain will occur and trying to lose this weight may be difficult. However this is not to say that weight loss is impossible, but rather that it will be slower and when embarking on a weight loss journey, it is about making realistic expectations.


Another common cause of thyroid problems stems from the body attacking the thyroid gland i.e. an autoimmune reaction. Individuals who have an allergy/intolerance at wheat and especially gluten are more at risk of developing thyroid problems as the same antibodies that attack the wheat protein, will attack the thyroid gland as these have a very similar structure.  


Whilst having a compromised thyroid function will lead to weight issues, the science shows that on its own, this is only responsible to around 10-15lbs weight gain. However, the thyroid gland controls many other areas of the body that are closely interlinked with weight. Hence the weight problems associated with a compromised thyroid function, tend to be caused due a “snowball effect”.


How can the Natural Ketosis dietary approach help?


It is important to fuel your body correctly.


On this programme you will be consuming adequate amounts of protein and beneficial fats which help contribute to the normalisation/improvement in thyroid function. Also, the addition of beneficial fats helps to increase the production of the thyroid hormones which in turn helps towards establishing hormonal balance.


On the Natural Ketosis Programme you are fuelling your body through a low carbohydrate, high protein moderate fat approach. What this means is that by removing refined carbohydrates we are activating the body’s fat burning mechanism. Therefore throughout your weight loss journey with us you are losing fat and maintaining muscle mass.


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.


The way the Natural Ketosis Programme works allows you to lose weight without feeling deprived. You will be losing weight by eating real food as well as being able to maintain your social life. The Natural Ketosis Programme is not about deprivation, it is about eating the right foods and learning to make the right food choices.




References:


Amino, N. (1988). 4 Autoimmunity and hypothyroidism. Bailli\`ere's Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2(3), pp.591--617.

Strieder, T., Prummel, M., Tijssen, J., Endert, E. and Wiersinga, W. (2003). Risk factors for and prevalence of thyroid disorders in a cross-sectional study among healthy female relatives of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. Clinical endocrinology, 59(3), pp.396--401.

Thomas, B. and Bishop, J. (2007). Manual of dietetic practice. Oxford: Blackwell Pub.

Volek, J., Sharman, M., Love, D., Avery, N., Scheett, T., Kraemer, W. and others, (2002). Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism, 51(7), pp.864--870.

How do you effectively manage diabetes through diet?

Diabetes is a condition associated with the body’s inability to maintain stable blood glucose levels for a variety of different reasons. As blood sugar is directly affected by the composition of the food eaten, irrespective of the underlying physiological issue causing diabetes, then logic would dictate that a change in dietary habits is required so as to help manage the condition as much as possible.

 

The current advice prevalent in the UK is that carbohydrates are essential for life. A quote from the the British Dietetic Association on the matter reflects the current advice on carbohydrates which is in turn mirrored in the EatWell Plate recommendations:


“ If we eat too little carbohydrate our body will begin to use up stored fat but quickly moves on to burning protein tissue such as in the heart and muscles.”


Quite a strong stance, but is this description accurate? The author is deliberately neglecting the biochemical fact that the human body is able to run on other dietary fuels such as protein and fat. In light of this statement I refer you to the Biochemistry textbook written by Berg, Tymoczko & Stryer 2012(1). In particular refer you to Chapter 16.3 “Glucose can be synthesised from non-carbohydrate precursors”; Chapter 21 “Glycogen Metabolism”; Chapter 22 “Fatty Acid Metabolism”. This textbook is on the required reading list for the majority of university modules that deal with biochemistry and the human body.


Whilst it is true that the brain and red blood cells can only utilise glucose for energy, the body is well-equipped at ensuring it meets these recommendations, whilst preserving important tissues such as these.


Glycaemic Load, Glycaemic Index, low-carb and low carb ketogenic diets are popular approaches designed to help manage blood sugar levels. The similarities and differences at times seem to be subtle at best, so how do you get equipped with all knowledge you need to make an informed choice?




The difference between GI, GL, Low Carb & Ketogenic diets and their impact on blood sugar management



Approach

Terminology

In Practice

Low carb Ketogenic

Carbohydrate intake is restricted (less than 60g a day). What this restriction does is that it encourages the body to use up its fat stores as fuel. This happens because the low presence of simple and starchy carbohydrates in the meals does not give rise to a blood sugar spikes.

A well formulated ketogenic meal plan, one can notice that it is balanced, natural and low in sugar. It also provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as essential amino acids. It is full of food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and most importantly dietary fibre to ensure minimal blood sugar spikes in the progress.


The body will be fuelling itself from stored body fat as well as from the dietary fat consumed. Due to this, blood sugar levels remain stable and in turn reduces the need for high insulin levels.

Low Carb

Not as strict a restriction as ketogenic diets. Daily total carbohydrate intake between 130-150g.

More similar to Paleo and other grain-free protocol diets as items such as sweet potatoes and other fruit are allowed.

A well formulated low carb lifestyle will have positive benefits on diabetes, however, due to the higher carbohydrate intake, may not bring about stable blood sugars as quickly as a ketogenic diet.

Glycaemic Index (GI)

used to identify food items that can be quickly broken down into their respective simple sugars. Scale runs from high GI (100 rating eg: white bread) to low GI (0 rating eg: eggs)

Can be a simple approach, however some ingredients, can still be had even though they are sugars. The reason being that these items bypass the usual metabolic pathways and hence are not picked up the lab methods used to determine the GI number of a food item.

Glycaemic Load (GL)

A number that takes into account the GI of the food item and also the available carbohydrate in it:


( GI x amount of carbohydrate in food item ) / 100

            

Can be a simple approach, however recipes containing multiple ingredients can make it a bit of a mathematical mess.


 

 

So what’s the final verdict?


Minimising sugars in the diet is always a positive and your body will thank you for it. However, starchy carbohydrates will still have a negative impact on blood sugar levels as starches are linked sugar molecules. Hence, once digested, starch will have the same impact as granulated sugar does on blood sugar levels.


However, the science and personal testimonies, all show that specifically following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet which actively minimises sugars and starches will deliver better results and help to successfully manage diabetes through diet.

 

 

 

 

References:

 

Berg, J., Tymoczko, J. and Stryer, L. (2012). Biochemistry. 1st ed. New York: W.H. Freeman.

 

Are Starchy Foods Required for a Healthy Diet?

We are constantly being told that items such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and cereals are required for a healthy diet as they are full of nutrients. However, does their nutrient density outweigh their impact on our blood sugar levels and in turn on our health?

 

 

With the growing levels of individuals being diagnosed with diabetes or diagnosed as pre-diabetic, the message of prevention is better than cure is a constant headline in the media. What else needs to be done to improve the nation’s health? What else can people do to change their lifestyles and so have a positive impact on their health? Our food choices are not immune to this spotlight.

 

Turning to the NHS for guidance, one meets the constant message that starchy foods are an essential part of a healthy diet. With the debate heating up about which food item is public health enemy number 1 - fat or sugar, in this piece we explore why starchy food items are not required for a healthy diet and in fact substituting these items for other vegetables will positively impact your health.

 

Starchy Food - What Are They?

 

Food items in this category can be broadly classified as fitting into the following categories: breads, pastas, rice, cereals and grains. These food groups are also commonly referred to as complex carbohydrates.

 

Complex carbohydrates are a series of glucose (sugar) molecules linked together in a long chain. Once in the gut, our digestive enzymes break these links thereby releasing the individual glucose molecules. It is these molecules that are then absorbed into your bloodstream and have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels and in turn cause a spike in insulin levels.

 

How do you know a food’s impact on your blood sugars?

 

The effect that individual food items have on our blood sugars are measured using the Glycaemic Index (GI).  Whilst the amount of total carbohydrate in a food item (from the food label or from the using national databases such as McCance & Widdowson for the UK and the FDA in the USA) will give a good indication i.e. the higher the carbohydrate content the greater the impact on your blood sugars.

 

However, some items can be misleading. For example, 100g of potatoes contain around 17.2g of total carbohydrate - a reasonable amount some would say - however it has a GI reading, when baked, of 69 (with the skin) and 98 (without the skin). Table sugar has a GI of 58.

 

How’s that for a shocker?!

 

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

 

For more information on Gl please visit: http://ow.ly/C9nar

 

However, just because table sugar has a lower GI than potatoes, that does not mean a free reign to start adding sugar to your tea! What this shows is that carbohydrates are not all created equal and that starchy carbohydrates do still have a very immediate impact on blood sugar levels.

 

So what’s the final verdict?

 

Minimising sugars in the diet is always a positive and your body will thank you for it. However, starchy carbohydrates will still have a negative impact on blood sugar levels as starches are linked sugar molecules. Hence, once digested, starch will have the same impact as granulated sugar does on blood sugar levels.

 

The science and personal testimonies, all show that specifically following a lifestyle that is low in simple and starchy carbohydrates actively helps to successfully manage diabetes through diet. By focusing on fruit and vegetables that are naturally higher in dietary fibre will help to ensure that you are meeting all the vitamin and mineral requirements for optimal health, but without compromising your blood sugar levels in the process.