I am not a happy bunny today:I just found the Keto Diet App.

It had been my plan to build an app like this and make a fortune.  But unfortunately for me, the gorgeous Martina and her handsome bloke, Nikos, have beaten me to it.  There are a few features that I was going to put in my app that aren’t in theirs, so maybe I’ll beat them yet.

But probably not, because their app does pretty much everything you would want a Keto Diet app to do.

I do have a few niggles, so let’s get them out of the way first.

It’s not the cheapest app you ever bought, and it has in-app purchases.  However, I decided to go all out, bought the app, and all of the in-app options and my total outlay was £9.75, and for what I got, that really is pretty good value.

However, here’s my first serious niggle.  I bought the app for my iPad (it’s a much better app on the iPad: for the iPhone it’s simpler and only £2.49).  But I have an iPad and an iPhone.  I’m used to buying for one and being able to run on either.  Having lashed out the best part of ten quid, I really don’t want to spend another £2.50 for the iPhone version.

And my wife has an iPhone, too.  It would be really useful if we could share meal plans and shopping lists between the three devices.  (Damn!  I’m giving away my ideas.)

Well, those are my current major niggles.  Here’s what the app will do for you.

Keto Calculator

Keto App Calc

I have written about

One of the questions that is asked over and over on low carb websites and forums of all persuasions is “what sweeteners can I use”?

Well, I was going to write this blog post all by myself, but I have come across three incredibly useful resources recently, so I will bow to them.

Top 10 Natural Low-carb Sweeteners

First comes a handy list of low-carb sweeteners from the Keto Diet App (I have just bought this and will review it soon).

The list isn’t nearly as comprehensive as the Sugar and Sweetener Guide, below, but covers most of the sweeteners that we get asked about:

  1. Stevia
  2. Erythritol
  3. Xylitol
  4. Mannitol
  5. Chicory root inulin
  6. Raw honey
  7. Coconut palm sugar
  8. Maple syrup
  9. Date syrup
  10. Blackstrap molasses

There are some there that anyone into low-carb would bristle at, never mind if you’re on a ketogenic diet.  However, their “get out of jail free card” as far as I am concerned is this, from that blog post:

Sugar is sugar – no matter how healthy it is, it will impair your weight loss.

Hear, hear!  And probably kick you out of ketosis, and wreck your blood glucose numbers if you’re a diabetic.  The article describes each one, with pros and cons, and lists them in terms of sweetness, net carbs, glycemic index and do on.

Shame it doesn’t mention Luo Han Guo, which should be in there as sweetness index 300, 0 carbs, 0 GI, and a pro of not having the bitter aftertaste that some find stevia has.

Sugar and Sweetener GuideThe Sugar and Sweetener Guide

Next is an amazing website: The Sugar and Sweetener Guide.  It is a positive encyclopedia of all things sweet, both natural and artificial.

Probably the place to start is the “Comprehensive All Sweetener List” and then look at the “Sweetener Values including Calories and Glycemic Index“.  It list sweeteners by “Sweetness Index”.  Given that sucrose has a sweetness index of 1 (and fructose of 1.7, which explains why sucrose tastes less sweet than ordinary table sugar, which is a mixture of sucrose and fructose, and powdered glucose, sweetness index 0.75, tastes even less sweet), I was amazed to discover that there is a natural sweetener, Thaumatin, with a sweetness index of 2000, and an artificial sweetener, Neotame, with a sweetness index of 8000!  The mind boggles.

The Sweetener Book

Lastly there is The Sweetener Book by D. Eric Walters, Ph.D.  If the other two resources haven’t answered all your questions, then this might do it!  You can buy a paperback: The Sweetener Book (US Edition), or The Sweetener Book (UK Edition) or the US Kindle Edition, or the UK Kindle Edition.

Again, it covers an encyclopaedic amount of information about sweeteners that everyone is discussing, and many you’ll only have heard of if you’re a food scientist.

You can review the contents of the book on the website: http://www.sweetenerbook.com/

Food Babe Investigates Stevia: Good or Bad?

At the head of this post I said I had three important links.  SInce then, I have discovered this article by the Food Babe in which she looks critically at the way some (most?) commercial brands of stevia re made.  In particular, some of the (“Stevia in the Raw”, for instance) has more erythritol than stevia, and the erythritol is made from GMO corn).

I don’t agree with 100% of what she says.  At the bottom of the post she says

And when all else fails, choose a suitable alternative and forget stevia altogether. Lisa uses honey and pure maple syrup, and I personally prefer coconut palm sugar, since it is low glycemic (making it more diabetic friendly)

Well, if you’ve followed some of the links above, especially the “Sweetener Values including Calories and Glycemic Index“, you will have formed your own opinion about honey, maple syrup and coconut palm sugar.  All depends whether you are T2 diabetic and/or if you’re trying to stay in ketosis.

There is always much talk of which butter is best and which is grass-fed.

Since I was a little lad by favourite butter has always been Danish Lurpack, unsalted.  It’s almost sinful how delicious its creamy taste is!

So I figured I better find out if it’s grass-fed, and e-mailed them.  Today I got this reply:

Good Morning ,
Thank you for contacting Lurpak .
Lurpak is produced in Denmark.
I can assure you that all our cows are grass
fed in summer, however when the weather
conditions are not suitable, they are kept
in shed where they are allowed to roam
freely and fed supplements.
Lurpak also produces the organic range,
where the milk used comes from cows that
are only grass fed.

Hope this answers your question .
Warm Regards
Tasneem Fadal

I know this post looks like an advert, but I have no commercial link with Lurpack.

Healthy Diets and ScienceI have just discovered a really good resource for those interested in the science behind healthy nutrition, Healthy Diets and Science, by David Evans.

I’ll leave you to explore the over 1000 articles in there yourself, but I thought that people interested in the Ketogenic Diet might find these articles interesting:

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

Amazon ImageFolk on the ketogenic diet usually test their ketogenic status using Ketostix.  You wee on them and (hopefully) they go pink to purple.

However, they are significantly less than accurate!

Firstly, as you head towards “nutritional ketosis” two substances are produced that are found in the urine: acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate.  It is the latter, beta-hydroxybutyrate that we are interested in, but, as Phinney and Volek say:

the strips that test for ketones in the urine detect the presence of acetoacetate, not beta-hydroxybutyrate

They go on:

In the kidney, this process of keto-adaptation is also complex. Over time, urine ketone excretion drops off … This decline in urine ketones happens over the same time-course that renal uric acid clearance returns to normal  and thus may represent an adaptation in kidney organic acid metabolism in response to sustained carbohydrate restriction.

Amazon ImageSo we are not only measuring the wrong thing (acetoacetate vs beta-hydroxybutyrate), but over time acetoacetate excretion drops off (which is why so many people in ketogenic forums and Facebook groups keep asking why they are “no longer in ketosis” (as measured by the Ketostix) when they are being good and sticking to the diet.  Phinney and Volek conclude:

These temporal changes in how the kidneys handle ketones make urine ketone testing a rather uncertain if not undependable way of monitoring dietary response/adherence. Testing serum for beta-hydroxybutyrate is much more accurate but requires drawing blood, and it is expensive because it is not a routine test that doctors normally order.

From The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

Well, there’s something they didn’t know when they wrote that: you can now do serum testing (testing the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your blood) at home with a simple meter that is similar to a blood glucose meter.

I have recently found a brand-new meter, an upgrade from the Precision Xtra, which is called the Freestyle Optium.  I got mine for free!  Further down this post, I will tell you how (although it may only be possible in the UK).  So what follows between the rules is how it was until recently, and how it may still be outside the UK.


There are a couple of meters you can use, and they have been tested and compared by Jimmy Moore in his n=1 reports on his own progress with nutritional ketosis.  One of the meters comes out badly in his review: you have to remember that these meters were not intended for the likes of us, who are trying to achieve nutritional ketosis, as defined by Phinney and Volek.

They are designed for Type 1 diabetics who are trying to avoid keto-acidosis (more of this further down this blog post).  Which is why one of the meters just says “LO” for low measurements: that’s good enough (and good news) for someone who is Type 1.

Jimmy comes out in favour of Precision Xtra Meter, because it is capable of the levels of accuracy that we need.

However, especially if you live outside the USA (like, in the UK, as I do for a significant part of the year) the cost of the test strips for  the Precision Xtra is a serious expense.  In Amazon UK this pack is £66 plus £2 delivery for 10 (yes, that’s right, TEN!) strips. Amazon Image

That comes to £6.80 every time you do a test.  I suspect you won’t test all that often!  The meter from Amazon.co.uk is £25.48, including delivery.

If you are in the USA, the cheapest place I have found to get a Precision Xtra is MedExSupply.com, where, at the time of writing (August 10, 2013), it was $18.00.  The best source of test strips is Universal Drugstore in Canada, where they come out at $2.00 a strip (plus $7.00 shipping).  UDS need a prescription from your physician:here’s the e-mail they sent me describing what they need: Universal Drugstore e-mail.


However, that’s the bad news.  Here’s the good news: I just got a brand-new, latest model meter for free, and 10 β-ketone test strips for £16.99.  (Actually, I bought three boxes and paid extra for express delivery.)  That comes out to $2.55 a test.

Optium in hand

Abbott Freestyle Optium

I had got so frustrated with my research that I Googled Abbott (the makers of the Precision Xtra) and discovered that they have a company in the UK, Abbott Diabetes Care.  I called them and asked them about the Precision Xtra and they said that there’s a new model, the Freestyle Optium, and would I like them to send me one for free.  I said yes, and two days later it arrived.  It is a very cool little machine!

It measures both blood glucose and blood ketones (FreeStyle Optium β Ketone test strips for self-testing your blood ketones).

After quite a bit of Googling I found by far the cheapest source of these test strip on eBay: Freestyle Optium Beta B-Ketone Test Strips Pack Size 10.

If you want one too, call Abbott Diabetes Care in the UK on 0500 467 466 (it’s even a free phone number).

If you find information about this for other countries, let me know and I’ll add it here.  And when my test strips arrive next Tuesday, I’ll let you know how I get on.


See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

The blog of Dr Michael Eades contains some tips about ketosis that:

  1. I have often found helpful,
  2. I frequently have trouble finding
  3. Make Hootsuite fall over

So I thought I’d usefully put them all in one place:

  1. Low-carbers beware the breathalyzer: On ketones, where they come from, where they go to. “The heart, for example, operates about 28 percent more efficiently on ketones than it does on glucose.”
  2. Metabolism and ketosis: More on ketones and how the body uses them
  3. Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt I: Low-carb adaptation and on eating more fat.
  4. Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II: Electrolytes, supplements and hydration
  5. Resolving to diet in 2012 (What happens if you keep stopping and starting)
  6. Why We Get Fat: Filling out some gaps in Gary Taubes’ story.

Dr Eades’ blog, plus his and his wife’s books, are a complete education.

Get them; read them!

Amazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon Image

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

 

When you’re following the ketogenic diet one of the most often asked questions is, “How can I increase my fat intake?”  Well, if you have a good-quality mayonnaise, made from keto-friendly ingredients, that’s a very tasty and healthy way.

But the rumour has it that making mayo is difficult.

No it’s not!

This is the easiest recipe we have ever come across, and here’s my first attempt at a new way of presenting recipes, to make them as easy as possible, even for people for whom cooking is a challenge.

Nutrition Information

Grams /100 mls Grams / Tablespoon Serving Hellmann’s Grams / 100 mls
Fat 84.84 12.73 79.0
Carbohydrate 0.92 0.14 1.5
Protein 3.77 0.57 1.0

This recipe has 7% more fat than Hellmann’s, only 61% of the carbs of Hellmann’s, and 377% more protein!

Printer Friendly Version

You can download a printer-friendly version of the recipe, complete with nutrition information, by clicking here: Keto Mayo Recipe

Back in 2009 I had this whole weight-loss, getting healthy, curing disease thing licked.  All except for one little thing.  What happens between my ears and in my heart, both literally and metaphorically.

I have written about this stuff before, and I’ll make a little “mind and emotions” index at the bottom of this post, but a recent BBC Program, “The Truth About Personality” re-ignited my interest, that and some posts in other people’s blogs, and some thoughts of my own … but let’s start with the BBC.  The programme is presented by Michael Mosely, of whom the BBC says:

Michael Mosley is a science presenter, writer and executive producer.  After training as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in London, Michael switched course and joined the BBC. He has produced a wide range of science-based programmes … and he was named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association.

and of the programme, the BBC says:

Michael Mosley explores the latest science about how our personalities are created – and whether they can be changed.  Despite appearances, Mosley is a pessimist who constantly frets about the future. He wants to worry less and become more of an optimist.

He tries out two techniques to change this aspect of his personality – with surprising results.  And he travels to the frontiers of genetics and neuroscience to find out about the forces that shape all our personalities.

I found the programme fascinating, and I believe there’s a lot here that can help those of us for whom getting lean and healthy is more than “just” a problem of metabolic disorder.  It’s easiest if you take some time, get comfortable, grab a coffee or a gin and tonic, and watch the programme (it takes an hour).


You can see the actual “smiley faces” exercise used in the programme, online (the Cognitive Bias Modification), right here (just click the link).


There are a number of apps for the iPhone and Windows–I haven’t yet checked out for other platforms.

  • PsychMeUp, is from Mindhabits (the link goes to the app store).  Mindhabits also have a number of games on the web, some demo, some for purchase.

PsychMeUpMindHabits also has a Windows-Based app, with a free demo version, and a downloadable Windows Version.  Here’s the demo version.  The free, downloadable version only lasts for an hour, but that’s long enough to get a sense of it.  You can play PsychMeUp on your iPad or iPhone, forever, for free, so that should help you decide if it works.  The full MindHabits Windows app costs $19.95.  I haven’t tried any of them long enough to report personal experience over the long term.

AnxietyMint have a paid-for app (£1.69 in the UK).  Click for AnxietyMint on the App Store.

Jason Pegg, the author of the app uses the same basic structure for two other apps: (they are all £1.69).

These apps are fully editable: I am already working on editing Diet Mint to be more of an aid for the Ketogenic Diet.

I have all of these (except SmokingMint) and will review them as soon as I have got used to them.


Still To Come

  • Pzizz to aid mindfulness,
  • Other Mindfulness aids
  • Further thoughts if your mother didn’t lick you enough (if that’s a mystery, you haven’t watched the video!)
  • Index to blogs already touching this subject.
  • etc

Gary Taubes

Peter Attia

Most people with an interest in overcoming obesity will have heard of Gary Taubes, especially if you’re a regular reader of Live Free From Obesity: I mentioned him originally in Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and Vegetarian or Carnivore? You choose!, amongst other blogs.

In fact when I first read Gary’s Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It he immediately became a hero of mine.

Gary is a science journalist, rather than a practising scientist (although, I happen to believe, with a sharper scientific mind than many who are practising scientists).  For a significant part of his career he has majored in writing about bad science–which is what first got him interested in nutrition.  But whereas when he was writing about the bad science of cold fusion he was content to just tell the story, he has become much more deeply involved with nutrition and, last September (2012), with Peter Attia, he set up the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI).

I have always found both Gary and Peter quite scary: they have brains much sharper than mine (and I’m no fool), and they also have a level of personal discipline and persistence that I can only envy.  So I was pretty much moved to tears when I watched Peter’s recent TEDMED talk, when he, too was almost moved to tears.  See what you think.

For a less emotional, more factual introduction to NuSI and its work, spend three minutes with this video:

Peter is also running a blog covering some of the most burning questions that individuals have: what should I eat, should I be concerned about cholesterol, how can I protect myself from the major “diseases of civilisation” on his own website, The Eating Academy.  To begin to study what Peter has to say, start on the Eating Academy’s “Start Here” page.

Peter is at pains to explain scientific concepts in everyday language, but I have to say, his blogs sometimes make me work hard, and I suspect they may leave some of the readers of Live Free From Obesity gasping for air!

Don’t worry, I will make it my task to translate the more difficult posts into still simpler language, so that people with little of no scientific training, but who are eager to understand Why We Get Fat, And What To Do About It, can take the news on board!

Amazon Image Amazon Image Amazon ImageAmazon Image

The mainstay of our Keto life are the amazing keto rolls.  When people ask “what is keto?”, rather than tell them what we don’t eat, we give them some crispy bacon in a keto roll, and tell them that this is what we do eat (plenty of butter on the roll, too).

Then we tell them that there’s no flour or sugar in the roll.  It tends to go easily after that!Keto Rolls 01 Keto Rolls 02 Keto Rolls 03

To get our version of the recipe, right click here: Keto Rolls, and select “Save As” (or whatever your browser says).  There are many other versions!


Update!

It turns out that Susan has a new preferred keto roll recipe from nutritional blogger Maria Emmerich.  Susan says that the recipe above is good, but not reliable.  Sometimes the rolls are fine (just look at them in those pictures!) and sometimes they come out looking like … well, sort of flattened pancakes.  And solid!

Here’s Maria, making keto bread:

And you can find more details of Maria’s recipe on her blog page “Toasted Sub Sandwich and Panini” (Scroll down until you get to: “HEALTHIFIED” SUB (June 2013 update!)).

Here’s a PDF of our version of Maria’s recipe (right click and “save as” here).

… and my ultimate in gastro-gasmic gustatory heaven is to slice a keto roll and put the two pieces, cut side down in the frying pan while cooking the bacon!

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