Tag Archives: diabetes

The Keto Diet – Everything You Need to Know

There’s been a lot of hype about the keto diet.  More and more people are going keto to manage their weight and overall health.

If you’re curious or wondering if this diet is for you, read on! I’m here to give you a quick low down on the KETO DIET!


 

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What is it?

The ketogenic diet or keto diet, is a strict low carb high fat diet. The idea is to put the body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic process where the body uses fat for fuel instead of glucose. This occurs when the body has drained all of its carbohydrate stores – during times of fasting, starvation or when carbohydrate intake is limited. The process involves the breakdown of fats in the liver to produce ketones.

Ketones are an alternative fuel,  which can continue to fuel the brain (the brain can only run on glucose or ketones) and the body.

Essentially, you become an efficient fat burning machine.


The benefits

The keto diet promotes FAT loss.  As mentioned, carbs are so limited that the body is forced to tap into its fat stores for fuel, leading to weight loss. Studies have found that it trumps the low fat diet [1]. Fat increases satiety and you are less likely to feel hungry in between meals.

Also, the low carb intake reduces the production of insulin. When you eat carbs, insulin is constantly being produced. Insulin prevents the breakdown of fats and encourages the conversion of glucose to fat. How-Weight-Loss-Works-02

The nature of this diet is also benefitial for people with Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or insulin resistance [2]. This is because fat does not impact insulin the same way as carbs and proteins [3]. Low carb intake helps with managing blood sugar levels. Also, weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity.

Less carbs = Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels751d33ec93eeac18f86f285f892e2314

The keto diet also seems to improve markers associated with other metabolic diseases [4]. Other health related benefits include neurological (Alzheimers, epilepsy, seizures) [5, 6], cancer [7], improves blood lipid profile and reduces inflammatory markers.
In terms of the keto diet for athletic performance, there is limited research. This diet is thought to be suitable for endurance based sports at submaximal effort (such as the marathon or ultramarathon) where high intensity sprints/bursts are not involved [8].
Then again, there are some high performing athletes that can thrive off a keto diet. It all boils down to their unique genetic make up, how well they can tolerate and adapt to the diet.

LOW carb, HIGH fat

There are different degrees of “low carb” within the keto diet.ketogenic-dietBut the standard protocol looks like the image above.

5% of carbs = 15-20g of carbohydrates a day!

1 small banana = 23g of carbs

Carbs are found in foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, noodles, legumes, fruits and some starchy vegetables (beetroot, parsnips, potatoes etc).


What to eat?keto-diet-picture

Vege

  • Non starchy vege (leafy greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, spinach, rocket, bok choy etc)

Protein

  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring etc)
  • Red meat (grass-fed beef, pork, lamb etc)
  • Turkey, chicken (free range)
  • Omega-3 eggs

Dairy

  • Unprocessed cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese etc)
  • Full fat milk (limited amounts as milk contains the sugar lactose)

Fats and oils

  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, flaxseeds, macadamias, walnuts etc)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • MCT oils
  • Grass-fed butter and cream
  • Grass-fed ghee

What to avoid/eliminate?

  • High sugar foods (Ice cream, cake, fruit juice, soda, sweets, some sauces and condiments, sweet breads, highly processed low-fat/diet products, foods with sugar alcohols etc)
  • Cereal/grain products (breads, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals etc)
  • Highly processed fats and oils (vegetable oil, margarine)
  • Highly processed foods (chips, biscuits, cookies etc)
  • Alcohol
  • Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, red beans etc)
  • Fruit (Most fruits except lower sugar fruits such as berries)
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots etc)

IMPORTANT NOTE:

This is NOT your GREEN LIGHT to load up on highly processed fatty foods and junk food.

It is about moving away from highly processed foods, vegetable oils, foods filled with trans fat and omega-6, and margarine. This practice should apply to EVERYONE, not just for people on a keto diet.


Bottom line:

  • The keto diet is scientifically sound and valid
  • It is pretty extreme and it is not for everyone
  • It is great for people wanting to lose weight or have a metabolic disease
  • Before you get into ANY diet, pls do your research + get help/advice from your doctor and dietitian
  • Thanks to our uniqueness, two people on the exact same diet can have very different results!
  • For any diet to work, you need to make it work for YOU
  • It needs to be sustainable and not get in the way of your life
  • Most importantly, you need to ENJOY eating and FOOD!
  • Find your sweet spot and happy balance!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

Added Sugars – Everything You NEED to KNOW!

Sugar seems to be the biggest enemy right now, with good reason. The general population is consuming WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR, esp ADDED SUGARS!

Let’s take a closer look.


Natural sugars

Sugars are naturally found in fruits (fructose) and dairy foods (lactose). Lower levels are also found in semi-starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beetroot.

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Sources of sugar from wholefoods (the ones mentioned above) are more than just sugar. They come packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. When eaten in the right amounts, these foods can reduce inflammation, improve immune function and enhance gut health.

 Added sugars

Added sugars are well, basically sugars that have been added to foods and drinks at any stage during preparation or processing. These can be added on top of the natural sugars that are already present.

Sugars are added to enhance the taste and palatability of foods. If it taste great, people are going to buy it. The food industry has relied on this to increase sales of processed foods – by adding loads of sugar to their products.

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Head down to your nearest supermarket, and randomly pick one packaged processed food item. Look at the ingredients. I can almost (ALMOST!) guarantee that some form of sugar (refer to infographic below – Other sugar names) will be among the top 5 ingredients.

The problem with these foods (besides being high in sugar) is that they have no additional nutrient value. Added sugars can really mess with your hormones (insulin) and metabolism, leading to an increased risk of chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity, heart disease) and tooth decay.

Current recommendation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that added sugars should not exceed 10% of your total energy intake, preferably below 5% or about 25g/day. That’s about 6 teaspoons of added sugar over a whole day.

What does that look like?

To put things into perspective, just look at the amount of sugars in the foods below. You can see why we EASILY exceed 6 teaspoons a day!

 Kellogg’s Coco Pops7442f090-bd1d-4498-afba-68a82a736907

1 cup = 3.6 tsp

Five:am Apple Crumble Granola780753

1 cup = 4.6 tsp

Peel Fresh Orange Juice461707_L1

250ml = 4 tsp

Cokeairbornecokecan2

375ml can = 10 tsp

Common sugar claims

Navigating Sugar Claims

Other sugar names

Other Sugar Names JPG

How to spot hidden sugars

Sugars are usually hidden in processed and packaged foods. The problem with nutrition information labels is that it will give you the TOTAL (natural + added) amount of sugar. ingredient-list-THEIRS

What you can do is to take a look at the ingredients list. These are listed in order of their quantity in foods, starting from the highest to the lowest. If sugar is lined up right in front, it probably has a lot of added sugar!


 I hope this helps!

Don’t be swayed by marketing gimmicks. Let’s get smart about our sugars!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

Do Calories Matter? – Part 4

We’re on to PART 4! This is the longest series of blog posts I’ve ever done. Evidently, there is a lot more to talk about! These are just the highlights of a much bigger picture.


Let’s do a quick recap379302_325658287555375_1376847731_n.21

The flaws of the calorie centric view:

  • Humans are not perfect machines (cannot apply the concept of calories in/calories out). Equations are pretty much useless. Just use it as a GUIDE. Your life does not depend on it!
  • It goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics
  • Calorie counting does not take into account the quality of foods and its metabolic effects on hunger, appetite, energy usage/storage, satiety etc
  • Many factors affect metabolism – environment, genetics etc
  • It is possible to increase fatness on a reduced calorie diet (on high GI foods) [1] SURPRISE SURPRISE!
  • Quality of diet can affect/induce anabolism (fat storage)
 Quick links to Part 1, 2 and 3!

QUALITY over QUANTITY

A calorie focussed mind would lookout for foods that are low/-er in calories. Since FAT is calorie dense, it immediately gets a bad rep. Low fat foods are usually high in refined carbs/starches. That’s because most times, when you take something out, you need to fill it with something else!
Even if they are not “empty calories” per se (containing vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants etc), these foods that are high in processed, artificial refined carbs/starches are DETRIMENTAL to health, causing harm to the body and metabolic dysfunction [2].
What to eat?
NUTRITION over CALORIES
 Tips-How-to-Pick-Good-Dog-Food-Ingredients-Dog-Food
Low refined sugar/carbs/starches
If you are going to eat carbs, go for WHOLE minimally processed ones. Starchy vege (sweet potatoes, potatoes, taro, pumpkin, squash etc) and fruits are great options. When going for rice/pasta/bread, think brown/red/wild/black. These are more nutrient dense. Refined options have been stripped of their vitamins, minerals and fibre. You’re basically just eating sugar.
Fats
The only bad fat here is highly processed trans fat. Go for fats found naturally in olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, dairy products, real butter, fat from meat and fish. These are all high in a good combination of mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

 

Protein
Meat, fish, eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt).2016-10-21-1477056674-8700239-homer
How much of each macronutrient (carbs, protein, fat) to eat is different for each individual. Get a dietitian to do the work. ;D

Gut Health

This is a growing area of research. The little bacteria in your gut is SO important!
Research has now shown that WHAT you eat affects the little bacteria world in your gut. You might need to rethink your zero-calorie artificial sweeteners! They have been shown to have the potential to alter your gut microbiome [3]. ANY disruption to this balance can possibly lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease and a decreased immune system [4].stomach-bacteria
The quality of food, prebiotics (food for healthy gut bacteria), probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) and antibiotics affect the overall balance of gut bacteria.
Sources of prebiotics: Prebiotics are the fibre foods that cannot be digested. Onions, garlic, asparagus, unripe bananas, artichokes are great sources. These are “eaten” and considered food for your gut bacteria.
Sources of probiotics: Fermented foods like yoghurts, kefir, tempeh, miso, kombucha, saukraut etc. Different brands use different strains of bacteria and the amount it contains varies.
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These are beneficial but there is very little research that shows how much pre/probiotics to consume, exactly which strain (is best), the quality and how much of it actually stays in our gut after consumption [5].
Probiotics can also be taken as a supplement. I personally do not take one but if you are interested, check out this detailed review to help you make an informed decision!

Physical Activity

I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
JUST GET UP AND GET MOVING!
Any form of physical activity is better than NOTHING. Pick something that you like and JUST DO IT!

Rest
Sleep has become a luxury and stress has now become commonplace in our lives.
How do these affect weight and metabolism?
Stress stimulates the body to release cortisol, which is the hormone involved in CRAVINGS. “Stress eating” is real.Processed with Snapseed.
When you don’t get enough sleep, the hunger hormone kicks in.

Together, they have an influence on food intake and fat storage.


When you focus on QUALITY and pay attention to your natural body cues, you wouldn’t need to be whipping out your calculator and counting everything.
hands-holding-phone-and-donut
 Key points to remember:

-Focus on the SOURCE of calories and not calorie counts

-Eat REAL, MINIMALLY processed, WHOLE, FRESH, NUTRIENT dense foods

The GOLDEN rule is: If it is packaged, highly processed with ingredients that you can barely pronounce with loud “health claims”, don’t buy it!

-Achieving optimum hormonal balance and metabolic function is KEY