Taking the decision to actively lose weight is a big one. The trigger for this decision may have come either from not being able to fit into a favourite pair of jeans or dress, or looking at a recent picture of yourself and being shocked. We are all human and living in a food environment that seems intent on making us heavier does not help the situation in cases where for one reason or another we have been a bit complacent about our food choices.
Right, so you have taken the decision to lose weight, the next thing is researching the best method that will not only help you with your goal but also to keep the weight off long-term. There are various options out there available whether it be shake diets, meal replacement diets, calorie counting, etc. Yes following these will give you a result - but how long will this last?
Studies continue to show that the hormonal chaos that our bodies are placed under when we go on a ‘diet’ and lose weight is a big contributing reason to individuals experiencing ‘yo-yo’ dieting throughout their life. Here are a few reason why keeping the weight off long term can be challenging.
The Importance of Hormones
Following a typical ‘Western’ diet i.e. consuming bread, pasta, rice and confectionary will lead to insulin spikes throughout the day. Insulin is the hormone responsible to maintaining stable blood sugar levels but also ensuring that any extra sugar in the blood is disposed of. Our bodies are extremely well formulated to store any extra energy. Hence, any excess sugar in the blood that has not been used to provide energy to the body will be stored as glycogen and subsequently as fat through the action of insulin.
Ensuring that we have an overall hormonal balance, from metabolic hormones, to sex and stress hormones is an important factor that contributes not only to weight loss, but also to overall health. Unfortunately, this aspect of human physiology is often left out from many weight loss programmes available on the market.
Is fear of fat ruining your health?
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 - fat and protein. Proof of this can be found in any biochemistry textbook.
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 - it is inflammation that should be used instead as a marker.
Change your habits and you’ll start seeing the benefits
Start by looking at the items in your shopping basket. The way an individual’s metabolism makes use of the calorific energy found in food varies from person to person and is dependent on a number of things such as type of food eaten as well as type of bacteria present in the gut. Processed foods are very easily digested and do not require a lot of effort whilst green vegetables, nuts and meat require a lot more energy to be properly digested and generally provide much better amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, both for your body but also for your gut bacteria.
Hence, base your meal choices around dietary fibre options such as lovely green vegetables and berries for those mighty antioxidants. Choose full fat dairy options as these contain fat-soluble vitamins that our body needs for optimal function.
Stay away from items that say low in sugar and low in fat, these will have artificial additives added to them and have little to no nutrient content. Base your food choices on quality rather than quantity.
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 and minimal hormonal disruption.
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.
1. 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
2. Foster GD, et al. A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity.NEJM, 2003, 348:2082-2090.
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.
6. Samaha FF, et al. A low-carbohydrate as compared with a low-fat diet in severe obesity. NEJM, 2003, 348:2074-2081
7. Sumithran P & Proietto J (2013) The defence of body weight: a physiological basis for weight regain after weight loss. Clinical Science, 124, pp231-241
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.
The debate around what we should eat in order to maintain a healthy life and ward off disease is a constant topic of conversation both in the media but also within your social group. Even if you have not officially followed a ‘diet’, you may have certainly adapted your eating habits and choices slightly over the years to mirror the common public health messages. At the moment, there is a lot of debate over the potential uses of dietary ketogenic diets, yet there is still a lot of myths surrounding what it actually is and how it works.
There are two types of diets, those that trigger ketosis: (i) by calorie restriction (VLCD) and those that trigger ketosis (ii) by carbohydrate restriction. This latter approach is a low carbohydrate (40-60g total carbohydrate daily), adequate/high protein, moderate/high fat diet which biochemically re-creates a fasting state but without the need for fasting. What this means is that you can eat real food and still recreate a sense of fasting in your body on a biochemical level.
In fact, this way of eating has been used to treat and manage childhood epilepsy since the early 1900s. Since then its uses have expanded to various other neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, etc. It has also gained notice as a potential adjunctive dietary treatment for certain cancers - cancer cells have a different way of fuelling themselves and in theory, this way of eating could be used to starve them of their preferred energy source: sugar.
Scientific Evidence for weight loss & overall health
Research published by Gardner et al. (2007) looked at four popular different weight-loss programmes which varied in their macronutrient composition. The results showed that subjects assigned to follow the Atkins diet were more successful at weight loss and had a better overall metabolic effect at 12 months when compared to the other programmes.
A systematic review by Hession et al. (2008) looked at all low-carb/high-protein (LC/HP) vs. low-fat/high-carb (LF/HC) studies carried out between 2000-2007. The result was that overall there was a higher attrition rate for participants following the LF/HC. The importance of this is that such a factor would reduce the statistical power of such studies, raising queries on the conclusions derived. The study went on to state that LC/HP diets were “as effective at 6 months, if not more, as LF diets in reducing weight and cardiovascular disease risk up to 1 year”.
Another study published by Halton et al. (2006) looked at the data from women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study found that participants who followed a low carbohydrate diet were not associated with having an increased risk of coronary heart disease in these women (P=0.19). Participants who had a high glycaemic load had a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease (P=0.003).
A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies looking at saturated fat (SFA) with cardiovascular disease (CVD) by Siri-Tarino et al. (2010) found that there is no significant evidence, as amassed by the studies looked at, to conclude that dietary SFA is associated with an increased risk of Coronary Heart Disease and/or Cardiovascular Disease. The authors also go on to mention the requirement to assess if Cardiovascular Disease risks may be influenced by the nutrients that have replaced them in the diet i.e. refined sugars.
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.
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 lipid 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.
Fine, E., Segal-Isaacson, C., Feinman, R., Herszkopf, S., Romano, M., Tomuta, N., Bontempo, A., Negassa, A. and Sparano, J. (2012). Targeting insulin inhibition as a metabolic therapy in advanced cancer: a pilot safety and feasibility dietary trial in 10 patients. Nutrition, 28(10), pp.1028--1035.
Gardner C.D., Kiazand A., Alhassan S., Kim S., Stafford R.S., Balise R.R., Kraemer H.C. & King A.C. 2007. 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. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 297 (7): 969-977.
Gonzalez-Lima, F., Barksdale, B. and Rojas, J. (2014). Mitochondrial respiration as a target for neuroprotection and cognitive enhancement. Biochemical pharmacology, 88(4), pp.584--593.
Halton T.L. & Hu F.B. 2004. The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 23 (5): 373-385.
Halton T.L, Walter Sc.D., Willett C., Simin Liu P.H., Manson J.E., Albert C.M, Rexrode K., Hu F.B. 2006. Low-Carbohydrate-Diet Score and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women. The New England Medical Journal. 355: 1991-2002.
Hession M., Rolland C., Kulkarni U., Wise A. & Broom J. 2008. 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. 10 (1): 36-50
Lutas, A. and Yellen, G. (2013). The ketogenic diet: metabolic influences on brain excitability and epilepsy.Trends in neurosciences, 36(1), pp.32--40.
Rossi M., Turati F., Lagiou P., Thrichopoulos D., Augustin L.S., La Vecchia C. & Trichopoupou A. 2013. Mediterranean diet and glycaemic load in relation to incidence of type 2 diabetes: results from the Greek cohort of the population-based European Perspective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Diabetologia. [online] Available at:http://link.springer.com. [Accessed 25 Sept 2013].
Siri-Tarino, P., Sun, Q., Hu, F. and Krauss, R. (2010). Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(3), pp.502--509.
Weigle D.S., Breen P.A., Matthys C.C., Callahan H.S., Meeuws K.E., Burden V.R. & Purnell J.Q. 2005. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 82: 41-8.
Westerterp-Plantenga M.S., Lemmens S.G. & Westerterp K.R. 2012. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. British Journal of Nutrition. 108: S105-S112.
Yancy Jr WS, Olsen MK, Guyton JR, Bakst RP, Westman EC. 2004. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 140: 769–777.
Last week a paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology in Manchester. The conclusion from this piece of research stated that the most effective weight loss dietary approach was one that was high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
This piece of research investigated baboon nutrition behaviour. The researchers, led by Professor Raubenheimer, noticed that 20% of the baboon’s energy needs were derived from protein sources. The rest was a combination of beneficial fats and dietary fibre sources. The conclusion that the team came to is that the absence of high carbohydrate items such as biscuits, cakes, sugary drinks, etc are the reason why chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes within the baboon community are absent. In other words, avoiding highly processed food is key to health as this complements our evolutionary heritage.
Protein and Weight Loss
Current UK guidelines advise that adult males consume 55g per day of protein whereas adult women consume 45g per day. These amounts are based on only one aspect of protein - nitrogen balance. Nitrogen is an important molecule that is required for optimal health, so this amount is based on the key requirement of this molecule to ensure that we don’t wither away. However this approach to protein is unfortunately ignoring the other important roles that protein performs in our body.
Protein and Health
Protein is made up of various amino acids. A steady stream of amino acids helps to boost our metabolism thus resulting in weight loss but also other health benefits such as stabilising blood sugar metabolism and cholesterol levels ensuring high HDL (good cholesterol) vs LDL (bad cholesterol) ratios.
A meal containing high amounts of good quality protein, is needed not only for weight loss but also to ensure optimum health. This is why here at Natural Ketosis we only use the highest quality animal protein in our meals as this ensures not only a wholesome nutritious meal, but also ensuring that weight loss and overall health is achieved.
Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R., Wolfe, R., Astrup, A. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein, weight management, and satiety. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(5), pp.1558--1561.
Leidy, H., Carnell, N., Mattes, R. and Campbell, W. (2007). Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. Obesity, 15(2), pp.421--429.
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!