We are constantly being told that in order to be healthier and fitter we need to eat less and move more. Whilst in theory this seems to make sound scientific sense, the way our body works is unfortunately more complicated than this. We are constantly being bombarded by theories, opinions and methods in the media, all of which claim to be informing us of the latest information available that will help make us healthier and live longer. But is this information actually backed by science?
Back to our initial dilemma - eating less and moving more. The UK is currently in the midst of an obesity epidemic with recent data placing the UK as the third most obese nation in Europe. The current “eat less, move more” public health message has been around for quite some time, yet, why is it that obesity levels keep rising? Is it that people are lazy or are simply eating too much?
De-bunking the “eat less, move more” mantra
A comprehensive review of studies looking at the effect of physical activity on overall weight and health found, to the astonishment of the authors, that exercise by itself is not a factor strong enough to bring about weight change . Statistics show that as a nation, the UK population is more active than ever before , so why is it that the number of obese individuals continues to rise? The conclusions drawn by the study  showed that the greatest weight loss, through exercise, was achieved in conjunction with adequate nutrition.
How do you achieve adequate nutrition?
Adequate nutrition can seem daunting, however by knowing what to look for and what to avoid, will help to lose the weight but also to keep it off long term.
It is important to fuel your body correctly. 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.
1. Shaw KA, Gennat HC, O'Rourke P, Del Mar C. Exercise for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003817.pub3.
2. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet. Data available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/
2014 so far has been a rocky road for carbohydrates. The media has come out voicing concerns against the consumption of carbohydrates, especially sugar, in the diet. However, there is still much opposition to the issue of reducing carbohydrates in the diet, the latest being an article published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society by Ian Macdonald, a member of the European Scientific Advisory Council for Coca Cola Europe, The Nutrition Advisory Board for Mars Europe and the Mars Scientific Advisory Council for Mars, Inc.
This blog has been written in response this article:
Ian A. Macdonald. (2014) Dietary strategies for the management of cardiovascular risk: role of dietary carbohydrates . Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. Published online.
In this article, the author begins by stating that carbohydrates are necessary as a fuel due to the body’s dependence on glucose to supply the brain, red blood cells and other tissues with energy. By making such a statement, 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.
The author also goes into the endocrine mechanism that controls carbohydrate intake in the human body. Unfortunately, the author deliberately neglects discussing the beneficial effects that carbohydrate restriction has on the human metabolism.
Mr Macdonald mentions the work and recommendations of the German Nutrition Society, which unsurprisingly, are similar to the British stance that carbohydrates are essential. There is no mention about other European nutrition societies and Government bodies, such as the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU) that has recommended a restriction in dietary carbohydrates. This stance has subsequently been adopted by the Swedish Government to form part of their public health advice on nutrition (Please see here). Why has this counter position, by a learned society, not mentioned in an article whose purpose is to shed light on the effect of dietary carbohydrates in relation to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) from a public health perspective?
The author speaks at length about the confusion that can arise from studies that look at the relationship between dietary carbohydrates and CVD. What is interesting however is that not once was a study that looked at the effect of reducing dietary carbohydrate mentioned or discussed. In fact, it may seem that the author is intentionally avoiding discussing the myriad of studies that look at the metabolic and endocrine aspects of following a carbohydrate restrictive dietary regimen.
The validity of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) are emphasised throughout the article as being the gold standard for research to help shed light on such issues. There have been RCTs and meta-analysis of RCTs, which have looked at the effects of restricting carbohydrate intake not only for weight loss, but also on the effects this approach has on CVD markers – the main focus of this article. Unfortunately the author fails to address the results obtained, using this scientific gold standard, of studies that have looked at carbohydrate restriction interventions. Please see Brehm et al 2003(2), Bueno et al 2013(3), Foster et al 2003(4), Gardner et al 2007(5), Hession et al 2006(6), Liu et al 2013(7), Yancy et al 2004(8).
An increasing amount of evidence, obtained predominantly via RCTs, are showing a beneficial effects that following a low carbohydrate dietary regimen has on blood serum cholesterol, markers which the author himself identifies as important markers for CVD prevention. Please see Aude et al 2004 (9), Brehm et al 2003(2), Dyson et al 2007(10), Forsythe et al 2008(11), Halton et al 2006(12), Keogh et al 2008(13), Liu et al 2013(7), Meckling et al 2004(14), Perez-Guisado et al 2008(15), Samaha et al 2007(16), Volek et al 2008(17), Volek et al 2009(18), Wood et al 2006(19).
3.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
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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
8. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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): 384-38
With the nation’s poor heart health a regular fixture in the media and endless stories about fruit and/or vegetable options will be best to decrease the risk, can you be sure that what you are reading is backed by science? Or is it simply a question of snappy headlines?
The UK’s heart health is definitely not the best it can be. With an estimate of 7,000 deaths a year due to strokes or heart attacks, not to mention thousands more who have to live with the aftermath of such attacks. Under proposed NICE guidelines, in order to prevent and better the nation’s heart health, the majority of adults will be put on statin drugs as a precautionary measure. Is this necessary?
Since the 1960s, the accepted theory has been that dietary fat consumption is the enemy and by removing it from our diet we are doing the right thing to protect our heart health. Unfortunately the science that backed this statement was flawed and even Professor Ancel Keys, the man responsible for this prevention tactic later admitted that he was wrong. So if dietary fat has been wrongly accused, what is it in our diet that is contributing to an unhealthy heart?
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 [1-7].
Who is to blame?
If fat is not enemy in our diet, then what is?
Ever since the low-fat message was introduced, there has been an increase in carbohydrate consumption. In fact, current health guidelines insist that 50% of our meals consist of carbohydrate based foods. The rationale behind this message is that our bodies require carbohydrates for energy. This is a myth as our bodies can run on other fuel sources. Proof of this can be found in any biochemistry textbook.
Studies show that individuals who consume a high-carbohydrate based diet are at a higher risk of developing heart disease [1-7]. What is more worrying is that their blood results reflect this, but unfortunately the mainstream solution to improve these blood results is not to address the individual’s diet, but rather to give drugs.
Here at Natural Ketosis we believe that the way to healthy life is to decrease the amount of carbohydrate in your diet. 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. It is also about making the right food choices and being able to navigate the confusing food environment we live in.
3. 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.
4. 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
5. 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.
7. 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.
With the new year over and spring sneaking up around the corner, many of us will be looking at actually putting into practice our New Year resolution of either changing our diets or getting down to the gym. No doubt you have been reading all the current nutrition stories as to what foods will accelerate weight loss and why. But how can you be sure that what you are reading fully reflects the current state of nutrition science?
Nutrition science can be confusing. One minute a certain food item is considered excellent for health and before you know it the same food is deemed extremely bad for you. So who is right?
With the obesity and diabetes epidemic reaching greater proportions year on year, it is no wonder that we want to make the best decision to not only prevent these conditions but also maintain health all round. A piece published by health and science writer Gary Taubes, helps to further explain the conundrum that nutrition science is.
We here at Natural Ketosis believe that to lose weight and maintain it long term, you need to alter the way you eat by choosing low sugar and low starch items and choosing the right types of carbohydrates, ones that are higher in fibre and more nutrient dense. Therefore, by re-addressing the components of your plate, you are ensuring that your body gets all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain a healthy metabolism as well as maintaining a healthy weight.
Over the past few weeks, sugar has been a main focus of media outlets. There have been a couple of TV programmes dedicated to debating the positives and negatives of sugar. However rather than shedding some light on the topic, these have all added to the confusion. So, how does sugar impact our overall health?
Unfortunately, the term sugar and carbohydrates are often used interchangeably and thus create more confusion than needs be. To clarify, in food science, sugars can be either simple (examples such as glucose and fructose) or complex (such as lactose, starch & dietary fibre) carbohydrates. Granulated sugar on the other hand, is made up of sucrose - a complex carbohydrate molecule consisting of glucose and fructose in a 1:1 ratio).
Carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth through salivary action, however the majority of digestion happens in the intestine through the action of a series of enzymes. This degradation is required as it allows for carbohydrates to be absorbed easily through the intestinal lining.
The main digestive difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is that simple carbohydrates do not need further digestion and thus are absorbed in their entirety. Complex carbohydrates however, require digestion into their simple carbohydrate components in order to be absorbed through the intestinal lining. Hence, whether the carbohydrate consumed was simple or complex, the end result is that it is the simple sugars that get absorbed. It is these simple sugars which in turn affect blood glucose levels as well as hormone stability.
So which sugar is which?
To make things worse, it is often portrayed that sugar coming from natural sources, such as fruits and vegetables, is better as for some mysterious reason it will not be digested or picked up by the body the same way that granulated white sugar is. This is completely misleading and shows a misunderstanding of human physiology. Sugar, whether it be from granulated white sugar or from other sources, will be dealt with in the same manner by the human metabolism.
Sugar & Disease
Studies continue to show the adverse health implications associated with consuming too much sugar - whether it be granulated or from other sources. Consuming too much sugar, in any shape or form, is toxic and this puts extra pressure on the liver to process it and minimise the damage it can cause.
Too much sugar in the blood stream will cause damage to organ tissues and effectively stop the liver’s ability to burn fat for energy. In turn, too much sugar in the diet will be stored as body fat which if a high sugar diet continues will cause this stored body fat never to be used. Our bodies have an unlimited storage capacity for body fat.
Hence, stored fat, which is brought about from consuming sugars will cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation is an unwanted state as studies continually show that inflammation is a factor contributing to a variety of conditions such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, type 2 diabetes as well as certain autoimmune conditions. Studies are also shedding light on the issue that certain neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease may be caused by excessive sugars in the diet.
The bottom line is that evidence keeps mounting about the detrimental health impact of consuming too much sugar. The Natural Ketosis way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low sugar low starch, high-protein, moderate-fat approach to diet. We embrace those sugars that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. By choosing vegetables and fruits low in sugar and starch, the essential micronutrient requirements are still met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress, maintaining hormone levels stable and therefore help bringing inflammation under control.
Welcome to The Natural Ketosis Company’s blog. We are fed up with the abundance of weight loss myths and miracle solutions that constantly appear in the press. Therefore, we have decided to expose the ridiculous claims that are prevalent in the diet industry and, hopefully in a humorous way, give you our honest opinion about them. We love to hear your opinions so please do not be afraid to comment!