low carb

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.

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!

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B002SXIENW" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BsLAYwWJL._SL160_.jpg" width="102"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B001NLKW9Y" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BZBJsJfmL._SL160_.jpg" width="105"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0471454052" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IwpAnMmSL._SL160_.jpg" width="100"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="047145415X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XmCUDx7hL._SL160_.jpg" width="106"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0446678678" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5199Rqf3hWL._SL160_.jpg" width="98"]

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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2q9otbAMkE

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

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 [simpleazon-link asin="0307474259" locale="us"]Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It[/simpleazon-link] 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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3oI104STzs

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmfA9XFw-uU

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!

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0307474259" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ni96jsZzL._SL160_.jpg" width="104"] [simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0307949435" locale="uk" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tR7-zIiFL._SL160_.jpg" width="98"] [simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1400033462" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ikBliWK8L._SL160_.jpg" width="105"][simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0091924286" locale="uk" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41zvRZLsE4L._SL160_.jpg" width="97"]

“In my diet plan it says I can eat as much as I want.  How does that work?”

“I’m confused: should I count calories or not?”

“My doctor says that Gary Taubes is wrong: you can’t contradict physics.  I’m fat because I eat too much and don’t exercise enough”

We hear this all the time, and questions like this appear in Facebook groups and diet forums all the time.  Frequently with people saying something like “excuse me for being stupid“.

We will put that last one to bed straight away.  You are not stupid!

Let’s deal with “eat as much as you want“.  First, how much do you want?

Your body has sophisticated control mechanisms to tell you:

  1. You’re hungry: you need fuel (food)
  2. You are full: you’ve had enough

Click this picture: you may get a surprise!

However, unfortunately you have two completely different mechanisms in this control system:

  1. Biochemistry
  2. Psychology and emotions

Frequently our psychology and emotions around food get messed up.  It starts with parental messages to eat up all your dinner or children will starve in Africa and is then manipulated by the HUGE sums of money that advertisers spend to program our brains to make us eat.

Our biochemistry also gets messed up.  When I was a lad growing up in England, Chinese restaurants were  novelty.  There was a piece of “received wisdom” that said that you would feel hungry again half an hour after eating Chinese food. Cecil Adams in “The Straight Dope” even wrote an article about it. (Click those links: they are more fun than this blog post is likely to be!)

The point is that some food makes you feel full up, some food leaves you hungry and there is some food that actually makes you hungry (mostly manufactured food, manufactured by firms with no interest in you being healthy, just in you buying more of their products.

So, leaving on one side the psychology and emotions for a moment, if you STOP eating the stuff that doesn’t make you feel food, and replace it by eating the stuff that does make you feel full, then we can say “eat as much as you like”, reckoning that you will get to feel full quite quickly, that that will be “as much as you like” and you’ll eat less, and lose weight.

But notice what I said there: “you will eat less”.  Let’s move on.

(Oh, by the way, highly processed carbs and sugars are the things liable to make you want to eat more, and fatty and spicy food are likely to make you want to eat less.  ”Diet” versions don’t help.  To understand just a little of what’s going on here, first glance at “Is it true that drinking diet sodas like Diet Coke make you crave carbohydrates?” Ask.com.  You will notice that there is one “yes” vote and one “no” vote, the “no” coming from Snopes, which I usually trust.  But then just glance through this Mercola article: “Aspartame — History of Fraud and Deception“.  It’s down the bottom where he says:

Aspartame is the only biochemical warfare product on grocery shelves

that makes me think I need a lot more research before I’ll give it a try!).

Of course, we haven’t dealt with the psychology yet.

You have probably heard this old joke: “I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it!

There is even a Facebook page with that name, for food jokes :

Q: Why do bakers work so hard?
A: Because they need the dough.

But maybe the “see food” thing isn’t a joke.  Maybe it’s the truth.  Spend a couple of minutes watching this experiment carried out by stage hypnotist Paul McKenna:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbDFnI_fMd4

You might like to try it for yourself.

And how would it be if someone fed you, rather than you feeding yourself?  My guess is that each mouthful will be smaller and that your “eating speed” will be slower.

I think that we have learned to bypass or over-ride our “satiety” signals, and if we could fix that problem, then we would feel full sooner, and we would eat less.

But notice what I said there: “we would eat less”.

Losing weight is all about eating less.  It’s about doing something that will mean that we are happy to stop eating when we are full.  It is not about forcing ourselves to eat less.  That never, ever works.  And if you think it does, just look around you.  All over the western world for at least the last half century, doctors, nutritionists and diet pundits have been telling overweight people to, “eat less, exercise more”.

Does it look like this advice is working?  I don’t think so.

And then along comes Gary Taubes with his two books, [simpleazon-link asin="1400033462" locale="us"]Good Calories, Bad Calories[/simpleazon-link] ([simpleazon-link asin="0091924286" locale="uk"]The Diet Delusion[/simpleazon-link] in the UK) and [simpleazon-link asin="0307474259" locale="us"]Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It[/simpleazon-link].  The book (WWGF) changed my life.  Here’s why.

There is a subtle subtext behind “If you eat less and exercise more you will lose weight” which says “you are fat because you are greedy and lazy“.  Gee, thanks doc.

When Gary says that this isn’t the way to go with this all the conventional pundits cry “foul”.  They say it’s all a question of physics.  If you take in more energy than you put out, that excess energy has to go somewhere and it will be stored as fat.  Therefore, take in less energy and/or put out more energy, or both.  It’s all physics and Gary Taubes should be burned at the stake (steak?) for saying otherwise.

But Gary does NOT go against the laws of physics.  Read the above paragraph again, but stop at the word “Therefore”.  There should be a whole book, or maybe a whole library, between “stored as fat.” and “Therefore …”

Here’s an example that Gary uses quite a lot.  Think of  a teenage boy.  There comes a certain age where they seem to grow (tall) overnight.  And they seem to be always in the fridge, except when they are in bed.  But you don’t ever hear a parent say “My Tommy has grown six inches in the last three months, it must be because he’s eating too much and not exercising enough”.  He is eating because he is growing.  He lacks energy because all his energy is going into growing.  And why is he growing?  Well, we know, don’t we.  It’s his hormones.

And it’s our hormones that make us grow fatter, too.  It’s just different hormones.  With Tommy it’s testosterone and somatropin, with me it’s insulin.  With Tommy it’s supposed to happen: if his testosterone and somatropin get out of whack he’ll either not grow, or he’ll be a giant.  My insulin is out of whack: I’m only a giant width-wise.  And it was eating too many refined carbohydrates when I was young and foolish (and middle-aged and foolish) as opposed to now when I am old and foolish, that damaged my insulin system.

But I’m getting off subject, or at least on to a subject that I’ll come back to later.

So, Do I have to Count Calories? Yes or No?

Well, it depends (sorry!)  You will only lose weight if you correct that energy balance: eat less or exercise more (actually, exercising more probably won’t help: it’ll just make you hungry).

What we hope is that by eating less processed junk food, less refined carbs, by eating more “real food” (what your grandparents called “food”), by eating a balanced amount of protein and upping the amount of fats that you eat (etc etc: we’ll deal with precisely what elsewhere), you will naturally want to eat less.

The trick to losing weight while eating as much as you like is to change how much you like.

So if you are following your low-carb diet, or your paleo or primal regime or your ketogenic or auto-immune protocol, and you are not losing weight, then you are eating too much … BUT, the answer is not to just cut down, but to find out why.  If you are significantly obese then it is highly likely that switching to a paleo or ketogenic regime will cause you to lose weight, without having to count calories.  You will just naturally want to eat fewer calories.  You’ll feel full up sooner.

But as you get closer to your goal weight, where the margins for calculation are tighter, you may need to exercise more control.  You may need to count something … not necessarily calories: it may be grams of carbs, or it may be getting the macro-nutrient ratios right.  It may be paying better attention to micro-nutrients.  I have heard it said that if we are missing certain micro nutrients in our diet that we may crave certain foods.  I have also heard it said that modern food is only around half as nutrient dense as food that was commonly available 100 years ago.  So, presumably, we need to eat twice as much (and hence get twice as many calories) just to get the same level of micro nutrients.

Or it may be finding a way to re-wire your brain, so that you find more effective ways of supporting starving African children, other than by eating more than you need yourself.

As so many of my articles conclude, it is highly likely that no-one has an off-the-peg answer to your individual question.  Research is needed.  The question is, will you pay a Harley Street nutritionist £125 per hour to do the research, or will you learn about food, nutrition and your own body, and do your own research?

Go on, give me a hint!

Zoe Salmon

Zoe Salmon

Some while ago the BBC made a programme called “The Big Fat Truth About Low Fat Foods“.   I like this programme because they took an ordinary person (well, as ordinary a you can be, being an ex Blue-Peter presenter and an FHM model) and put her on a low-fat, packaged food diet for four weeks, to see what would happen.  She is “ordinary” in the sense that she doesn’t have any particular health problems, is not a diet and nutrition expert, but generally eats a reasonable diet.

(Having said that, I just discovered that she was a contestant in Celebrity Masterchef!!)

For four weeks, model and former Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon ditches the fine dining she’s used to and lives on nothing but pre-packaged, highly-processed foods that are labelled either low or lower in fat. She finds out what’s in these foods and how they affect her moods, nutritional levels and, crucially, her weight. She also meets the low calorie converts who say that eating this way isn’t just a diet, but a way of life.

The programme (I think) does for Weight Watchers what “Supersize Me” did for Macdonalds.  I think the programme is a must to show to anyone who thinks your high-fat diet will kill you, and a must for anyone considering Weight Watchers.  Here’s a trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlLTQHdGzK4

And here’s the who programme (it’s about 50 minutes):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jca9O4js2Og

Everyone is talking about ketogenic diets (including me):

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”

and a number of people want to know, in the simplest sense, what it is.

The human body is defined as “dual fuel”.  Just as my mate JP’s car can run on petrol or LPG (gasoline or Liquid Petroleum Gas), so the human body can run on glucose or fat.

When the body is burning fat to get energy it does it by converting the fat to ketones, and burns those.

Many of us in the west, eating a typical western 21st century diet have damaged our bodies so that they rarely burn fat, they just store it.  That’s because we eat too many carbohydrates.  Some get used for energy: the rest get stored as fat.

If we cut way down (and I do mean WAY down) on eating carbohydrates our bodies are forced to start using our stored fat as fuel, converting the fat to ketones.  A way of eating that achieves this is called a Ketogenic Diet.

Ketogenic Diets were first used therapeutically in the early part of the 20th century, to help people with epilepsy.  Those diets were not very pleasant.

In the 21st century we know much more and eating a keto diet is more delicious, and much more healthy.

By the way: “in a nutshell” is apposite: nuts are allowed on a ketogenic diet”!

[hr]

That’s the end of the quick answer.  Read on if you want to know a bit more.

To the casual observer a ketogenic diet looks like a paleo or primal diet looks like a low-carb diet.  They do all roughly live in the same box.

Firstly, what do we mean by paleo/primal?  The “rough” idea is that it turns out that paleolithic man (from roughly 2,0000,000 years ago up to roughly 10,000 years ag0) was pretty healthy: those folk weren’t obese, didn’t die of heart attacks, obesity, etc.  So we wonder what they ate.  Some folk get a bit “religious” about this, saying that those folks didn’t have (say) butter, so we shouldn’t eat butter.  Others say that butter fits right in (it certainly does in a keto diet).

Here’s Kurt Harris, MD, who describes himself as an “Archevore”

An Archevore is someone who eats based on essential principles, and also someone who hungers for essential principles. Take your pick.

I think Kurt’s blog post “The Only Reasonable Paleo Principle” makes a huge amount of sense, so I’ll leave you to read that.

There are a million other things that you can read, but I am working on a study guide, and I’ll put all those things in there, so hang on: they will appear soon!

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0983490708" locale="uk" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OSaAmDQJL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"][simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0983490708" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OSaAmDQJL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]If you can’t wait, this is probably the best book on the subject (UK version on the left, USA version on the right).

Joseph Arcita, Before and After

This post is a meta-guide!

(That means it’s a guide to a guide).

This is Joseph Arcita: on the left is a “before” picture and on the right is “after”.  Click the pictures to read Joseph’s story.

Part of his story is his use of the ketogenic diet (KD) as his nutritional plan.  KD is something that interests me greatly: I am a frequent contributor to Mark Maunder’s Basic Ketogenic Diet blog and to two Facebook groups: The Ketogenic Diet Group (it’s a closed group, but you can ask to join), and Ketogenic Dieters, an open group with close to 500 members.

And I have blogged about this stuff before: On Ketogenic Diets back in December 2012, particularly looking at the reports of the effects of ketosis on cancer, and I also summarised and commented on some (203!) of the comments on Mark’s blog “203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet” in February 2013.

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”

On the FB groups people are often asking how to get started, and there is food advice there.  But today someone pointed me to Joseph Arcita’s “A Guide to Ketosis“.  It has to be one of the most comprehensive guides I’ve seen.  I hope he turns it into a book.

It is so comprehensive that you might like to know what’s in it: here’s the Table of Contents (copied and pasted from his site, so all of these links are clickable).  I have one or two minor points of contention (like there is no “good” and “bad” cholesterol; it’s all good, and you need it … but what he probably means is small-particle Low-Density-Lipoprotein) and I’ll discuss those at the end of this post.  But if you never get that far, don’t worry: the man is a hero!  Joseph says:

Here is the guide to ketosis. The contents of this article can be located here. If you’re currently wondering what on earth ketosis even is, then you’re in luck for I plan not only to befuddle but also to enlighten. All you have to do is read on.

I’ve personally had fantastic results on keto, and I really believe in the validity of this diet – not only in terms of fat-loss, but also in terms of health-gain. There is a lot of understandable skepticism and tons of misconceptions about keto; I want to let newcomers know, however surprising it may be, that keto (or at least a diet low in grains/sugars and high in fats) is a very healthy diet with numerous benefits.

This guide is very long so I’ve partitioned this post into subsections. The links contained within the contents are ‘clickable’ and will transport you directly to that section. You can also right click and select “copy link address” of a particular section/section title, and you can either bookmark it so that you can return to a specific section easily or you can give the link to a friend if you want them to read a particular section. If you want to return to the contents of the page simply click on the ‘upwards’ arrows that are next to each of the section titles within the main article.

I. Why You Should Care About Ketosis: The Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
1A. Ketosis Increases Neuronal Stabilization and Mental Focus
1B. Ketosis Promotes the Loss of Body-Fat and LDL Cholesterol
1C. Ketosis Eliminates Various Ailments such as Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension
1D. Ketosis Treats Several Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Various Cancers
1E. Ketosis Promotes Cardiovascular Health
1F. Ketosis Preserves Lean-Body Mass
1G. One Will Lose Body-fat More Quickly on Keto Than Not
1H. Ketosis Blunts Appetite and Increases Meal Satiety

NOTE:  Unless you are of a VERY scientific frame of mind, SKIP SECTION TWO!!!

Summary: Metabolism is how your body gets energy.
Human bodies can do it a number of ways
You can “burn” glucose, or you can “burn” fat.
How this happens is pretty complicated: show it to you doctor; there’s probably an evens chance that he/she won’t understand it, either!
Quoting Joseph:

In other words, under a ketogenic metabolism, the body uses dietary and bodily fats as its primary energy source.

It is possible to induce the initiation of this metabolism thru a careful diet; this diet must contain limited amounts of carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins, and should be comprised primarily of fats.

II. Understanding Ketosis; An Overview of Metabolism 
2A. Metabolism Defined
2B. The Krebs Cycle
2C. Glycolysis
2D. Fat Lipolysis and Fatty Acid Beta-Oxidation
2E. Citrate Synthase Inhibition and Beta-ketothiolase Activation
2F. Ketogenesis and Ketosis

He refers to LBM=Lean Body Mass — what would be left if you lost all of your fat.  You never do want to lose all of your fat, but most of us could do with less fat and more lean.

He also refers to “energy deficit”.  In a nutshell: if you are big you won’t need to count calories at first, because a keto diet leaves you feeling full and you won’t eat so much.  But weight loss always does require consuming less calories than you use, so as you get close to your goal weight, or close to your goal for lean body mass, you may need to count calories.

III. The Basics of the Ketogenic Diet 
3A. Entering Ketosis: A Macro Ratio for Keto

PUFAs: summary: you will lose weight faster:

 if a majority of your fat percentage comes from things like seeds, nuts, oils, and fatty fish

It also says that there is NO science that says that butter is bad for you (you’ll see why if you get the science; otherwise skip to section 3C.)

3B. Saturated vs. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
3C. Sample Ketogenic Meal Plan
3D. The Wonders of Fiber
3E. How to Enter Ketosis Quickly, Easily, and Reliably
3F. How to Know You’re Under Ketosis
3G. The Gloom of Induction
3H. Losing Body-Fat
3I. Building Muscle-Mass

Summary: Don’t do intensive exercise once you’re in ketosis.  My own recommendation is Nordic Walking: http://www.WalkingForHappiness.co.uk

3J. Aerobic Exercise
3K. Glycogen Refeeding
3L. Reentering Glycolysis Correctly
3M. A list of Ketogenic Foods
3N. Step by Step Guide to the SKD, TKD, and CKD

IV. Keto Testimonials 
4A. ladysixstring
4B. Dominaterisk
4C. sepatown
4D. vgisverbose

V. Useful Resources and Websites for the Keto-Minded 
5A. The Cook’s Thesaurus
5B. Restaurant Nutrition Facts
5C. Keto Macro-Nutrient Calculator
5D. Keto Goods Online
5E. Keto Recipes Galore
5F. Further Information

VI. Keto FAQ 
6A. What is the ketogenic diet in simple terms?
6B. Is ketosis unhealthy?
6C. Is ketosis unnatural?
6D. How can you lose fat if you eat fat?
6E. Is it best to bulk on keto or on a normal diet?
6F. Are ketostix reliable?
6G. Please leave any questions in the comments.

Haas or Fuerte Avocado

REALLY dark Haas

REALLY dark Haas

This is the first of a series of post that I will be doing which are more about micro-nutrients than continuing to push the macro-nutrient wars (HFLC vs LFHC).

There doesn’t seem to be much warring going on in the area of micro-nutrients, and I think it’s vital that all of us who care about our health to understand the importance of nutrition, as opposed to just where do the calories come from. Anyway, much more of that in the future, but for now I am hunting down foods that are nutrient dense and which fit right in with eating well (whether you’re eating paleo or trying to stick to the “official” food pyramid).

And my food of choice today is the avocado, which is healthy in more ways than several!  In particular, you should be eating avocado with your salads and veggies! Why?  Because a lot vitamins and antioxidants in your veg are fat-soluble.  That means, if there’s no fat in your diet those vital nutrients go in your mouth and straight out the other end, without touching the sides!  But if you have some slices of avocado in the same meal, you not only get all the incredible nutrients in the avocado, but the heart-healthy fats in the avocado (similar to those in olive oil) will carry the nutrients from the salad or veggies into your system, where they can be used.

Florida Avocado

But there are two main types of avocado (well, actually there are loads … for a complete rundown check out this post from Food Republic: “Know Your Avocado Varieties And When They’re In Season“).  The two main types that people know about are the larger, smooth-skinned “Florida” (picture courtesy of The Witchy Kitchen) and the smaller, dark and bumpy-skinned Haas or “California” avocado (what we buy looks more like the picture up right).

But which is better?

Well, each has their fans, Floridians saying that the California is oily, Californians saying that the Florida is watery.  As I live part of every year in Florida I set out hopefully to show that the Florida avocado is more nutritious, but I’m afraid I bombed on my mission.  Using the USDA Nutritional database, the Haas scores higher on just about every nutrient:

 Units

Florida

California

Difference

Water

g

78.81

72.33

-8.22%

Energy

kcal

120

167

39.17%

Protein

g

2.23

1.96

-12.11%

Total lipid (fat)

g

10.06

15.41

53.18%

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

7.82

8.64

10.49%

Fiber, total dietary

g

5.6

6.8

21.43%

Sugars, total

g

2.42

0.3

-87.60%

Calcium, Ca

mg

10

13

30.00%

Iron, Fe

mg

0.17

0.61

258.82%

Magnesium, Mg

mg

24

29

20.83%

Phosphorus, P

mg

40

54

35.00%

Potassium, K

mg

351

507

44.44%

Sodium, Na

mg

2

8

300.00%

Zinc, Zn

mg

0.4

0.68

70.00%

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

17.4

8.8

-49.43%

Thiamin

mg

0.021

0.075

257.14%

Riboflavin

mg

0.053

0.143

169.81%

Niacin

mg

0.672

1.912

184.52%

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.078

0.287

267.95%

Folate, DFE

µg

35

89

154.29%

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

7

7

0.00%

Vitamin A, IU

IU

140

147

5.00%

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

2.66

1.97

-25.94%

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

21

100.00%

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

1.96

2.126

8.47%

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

5.513

9.799

77.74%

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

1.676

1.816

8.35%

You can see from the numbers that  those who describe Florida avocados as watery are right (their water content is higher) and those who describe Haas as “oily” are also right: their fat content is 50% higher!

So, if all you care about is low fat and low calorie, you will choose the Florida avocado (but, be aware these figures are “per 100 grams”.  A Florida avocado is much bigger than a Haas, so you will probably end up with more calories anyway).  And notice that the Florida might be lower in calories, but it is much higher in sugars, so if carbs are your concern, rather than calories, you will choose the Haas every time.

And if you want those good, heart-healthy fats to help carry all the vitamins and minerals to where they can be used, Haas scores again, as well as the significantly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.  So, sorry Florida!  I wish I could be promoting my home state.  Maybe some Florida farmers can start producing Haas; here’s someone whose granny has grown a Haas tree in Florida.

Personally, I turn most of my avocados into guacamole, add some of my special high-fat home-made mayo, and often add some other nutrient dense favourites.  My current batch of guac is a slightly strange colour because I added turmeric!  Tastes OK though, and turmeric is a master spice.  More on that later.

IFWe are not suggesting that as our ancestors ran across the plains of Africa they were nibbling on chunks of chocolate!

While the basic ingredients in good chocolate are real food, and really good for you, it is difficult to find commercial chocolate that doesn’t contain stuff that paleo people wouldn’t want to eat, like high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, various preservatives, etc.

So here’s a recipe that you can use to make your own, “real food” chocolate.  This is another “n=1″ piece of research (or n=x, where x is the number of people in your family!) in that the taste is very much down to personal preference.  It’s a case of “suck it and see” (sorry!)

It is also ketogenic chocolate (see the section on nutritional information at the bottom of the page).

In the equipment list and the ingredients lists below, if you click any of the pictures it will take you to Amazon where you can buy these things if you don’t have them.  We are making this chocolate while we are in Florida; availability of equipment and ingredients may vary in other countries.  When Susan talks in volumetric measurements, she’s talking American cups, spoons, etc.

You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).

In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart.  Right click the link and choose Save As to download.

There are six videos taking you through making paleo chocolate.  Here’s the first (the others are spaced down the page).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umbDYDjY6V0

Equipment

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B0014CZ594" locale="us" height="96" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51APSfuwBrL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Double boiler.

There are dozens on Amazon; this is one of the cheapest but has good customer reviews. You can spend up to $300 on a beautiful, traditional copper “bain marie”, but that isn’t necessary!

You can also pop a basin on top of a saucepan of hot water!

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B000PSB5VU" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21bmJVYBElL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Pouring Funnel

If you are going to put your chocolate into forms or moulds (molds) then this is essential.

If you are making “bark” by just tipping the chocolate into a baking try lined with parchment (greaseproof) paper, then it’s not necessary (but you get big, hard lumps of chocolate: I broke a tooth on a piece!)

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B0013IDHTO" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QpH2onrWL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Scales

There is no need to get this sophisticated: however it is a good idea to have some scales in your kitchen to measure ingredients.  Americans: this may be radical for you, as you are used to working in “cups and spoons”.  The rest of the world is used to working in weight: I’ll translate from ounces (oz) to grams as we go.

However, these are brilliant: they will analyse and weigh all your ingredients so that you can have the equivalent of a professional “nutrition label” for your chocolate.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B003VIIQJ0" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VUv8zJKgL._SL110_.jpg" width="110"]Moulds or Forms

… or “molds” if you’re in America!  There are lots of different ones on Amazon.

We used to make “bark”: Susan would line a baking tray with grease-proof (parchment) paper and just tip the molten chocolate in it, and put it in the freezer.  When it was solid we’d break it into lumps and put it in zip-lock bags, back in the freezer.  You do tend to get BIG lumps that way!

In addition to the above you will need some sort of mixer or beater, some measuring cups and spoons and a spatula.

And quite a lot of dish-washing liquid and cloths: it does have a tendency to get everywhere!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fiLq6-P0fw

Ingredients

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B009XEANGU" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4110hzoGSyL._SL110_.jpg" width="110"]Organic Cocoa Butter

Whether or not you use organic or inorganic is, of course, up to you.

But you are making high-quality chocolate here, so why not go for the best ingredients?!  The brand shown here is Kakosi, which is what you see Susan using in the video.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B000GAT6NG" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Iy4KB3ODL._SL160_.jpg" width="109"]Coconut Oil

We use Nutiva coconut oil.  It seems to be a reasonable price for the quality: again, we are looking for organic.

On Amazon there are all sorts of brands and all sorts of “qualities”: Certified Organic, Extra Virgin. etc., and they all seem to have pretty good customer ratings and comments.

Another “suck it and see” area, I think.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B007QR6A7C" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51x47kuvRcL._SL160_.jpg" width="157"]Organic Baking Cocoa

Equal Exchange seems to come with a version that says “vegan” in the title, and cost a lot more.  But ours says “vegan” on the tin, so I don’t understand the difference.  This is also fair-traded, so your chocolate is not only healthy, but also ethical!

Susan used to use a mixture of cocoa powder and carob powder, and it’s certainly true that the chocolate that had carob in it felt slightly gritty in the mouth.  Now we just use cocoa powder, and it tastes fine.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B003BHZ71G" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21%2B6N1PhpBL._SL110_.jpg" width="54"]Sunflower Lecithin

The brand that Susan is using in the video is currently (March 3 2013) out of stock at Amazon, so I searched for “Sunflower Lecithin Organic” and it came up with soy lecithin granules, not organic, so beware!

The brand here is liquid, is sunflower, has no GMOs, and no soy, so I think that Susan would approve.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B003IO20T4" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/11AKx5je5gL._SL110_.jpg" width="70"]Sweeteners and Flavourings

Susan uses a mixture of stevia powder (which she gets at our local whole food store, Hoovers Market) and Luo Han Guo (Chinese Monk Fruit!).  If we were back in the UK, we would probably use liquid stevia from our medical herbalist, Alan Hopking.  If you haven’t come across stevia before, check out what Alan says about it, here.

In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart.  Right click the link and choose Save As to download.

When looking for stevia, you can get the powdered leaves, and that powder is green.  I know that Alan would tell you that it’s one of the purest forms, and I’m sure that as a medication it’s the best.  But I tried it, and to me it tastes of grass (not “grass”, but that green stuff on your lawn!) and I don’t want my chocolate to taste like it’s just been mowed!

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B002LIGPR6" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FjhpuK7oL._SL110_.jpg" width="57"]Once upon a time stevia was hard to come by, because it hadn’t been approved by the FDA as a food stuff.  Now it has, and everyone is in on the game, and it’s harder to get good stevia.  We know that the major soda drinks manufacturers are starting to use stevia, and the suspicion is that, at least in the USA, they are producing GMO stevia, so we avoid Truvia and PureVia.  Vanessa Romero has a good article about it here.  The picture on that page, of  NuNaturals stevia is what I use in my coffee: but it’s not as sweet as the pure stevia that Susan is using in the video (it has bulking agents so that the contents of the little packet are about the same sweetness as in any other packeted sweetener).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng0t1nKTtR4

Process

  1. Melt 4oz (115 g) of cocoa butter and 4-5 ozs (115g – 140g) of coconut oil and 1 tsp (5ml) lecithin in the double boiler.  Stir until it is all melted.
  2. Add a cup (250ml) of cocoa powder and mix with your mixer until it is all mixed in.
  3. Add a quarter teaspoon (1.25ml) of stevia powder and a couple of teaspoons (10ml) of luo han guo powder.
  4. Stir, taste, and add more cocoa powder, stevia and luo han guo to taste.  This really is an experiment.  You won’t produce anything inedible, but it may take several goes to get the feel for what is your favourite.
  5. If adding orange flavouring (or vanilla, or any other) add that last, just a little at a time.
  6. Pour the mixture into your pouring funnel and fill the molds.
  7. MAKE SURE YOU ALREADY HAVE A FLAT AREA, BIG ENOUGH, IN YOUR FREEZER!  (I can’t tell you how long it takes to clean once runny, now frozen solid chocolate off of the inside of your fridge or freezer.  We went off chocolate for quite a while after that incident!)
  8. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, until it’s hard.
  9. Remove from the molds, pop into zip-lock bags, and continue to store in the freezer.

Are you old enough to remember “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”?  This melts in your mouth, your hands, on the plate you serve it on, on the rug, your mother’s pure white carpet, the sofa, your clothes … (’nuff said?)

You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXbcGj7xBM

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1591203198" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51w6FncNM7L._SL110_.jpg" width="74"]Alzheimer’s Syndrome

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B0019LRY8A" locale="us" height="150" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21royfiStHL._SL160_.jpg" width="85"]We don’t know that this chocolate will cure, prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s, but that’s what got us looking, as Susan says on the video. She was inspired by Dr Mary Newport and her website, www.coconutketones.com. Check out Dr Newport’s book and website: in particular, watch the latest video from CBN news.

Susan also talks about MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides).

We use it a lot, but haven’t tried it in the chocolate: it would probably make it even meltier at room temperature!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8-9XoQA4cw

Nutritional Information

I was so keen to get the videos made that we didn’t stop to use our fancy scales properly, so I will have to do these calculations by hand (well, spreadsheet!)  I am only going to consider the fats and the cocoa powder; everything else is present only in vanishingly small quantities.

Main Ingredients

 Cocoa Butter  Coconut Oil  Cocoa Powder
 IF  IF  IF
Fat 108g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g Fat 140g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g Fat 255g, Carbs 32g, Protein 16g

These figures are for all of the ingredients.  Note that the carbs in the cocoa powder are all dietary fibre, so most people would ignore them.

However, given that we got 45 chocolates out of this mixture, it shows that each chocolate is almost 6g of fat, 0.7 gm of carbs (of which 100% is dietary fibre), and 0.35 gm of protein.

I therefore declare that these chocolates are ketogenic chocolates!  If you restrict yourself to 20gm of carbs a day, and include fibre in that (which is being very strict), you could still eat 28 chocolates a day and stay within your limit.  That assumes you eat no other carbs, but I reckon if you eat 28 of these a day you wouldn’t want to eat anything else!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPqDXe0cvco

It’s been an age since I blogged.  Went through some tough and busy times this year, but am now back in Florida where it’s sunny and the sky is blue, and I decided to crack this obesity thing once and for all, even if I don’t (yet) have my Together We Can group.

So I started to “Lighten Up” the second we got back to Apopka and by the end of the first week I had lost 12lbs, but my body fat percentage had gone UP by over 10%. So whatever I was losing it wasn’t fat, and I was TIRED.  Went for a five-mile walk on the Thursday and tried to repeat it again on the Saturday and “ran into the brick wall” big time.  I couldn’t move.

And whenever I checked for ketones, there was barely a trace.

So a few days back I started Googling “ketogenic diets” and have come up with some very interesting stuff and have put myself on a ketogenic diet.  My weight loss seems to have plateaued, but the fat percentage is coming down, so presumably I am burning fat while I replace whatever it was that I lost last week.  One  of the best / simplest versions of the Ketogenic Diet I found on Mark Maunder’s blog (that’s him, looking all slim and fit over there on the right).  And it’s what inspired me, but with some changes, and those changes have been inspired by Elaine Cantin, who cured herself of aggressive breast cancer in two weeks flat, also using (her own) version of the ketogenic diet.  She has written a book describing how she used the ketogenic diet not only to cure her aggressive breast cancer, but also to cure her son’s type 1 (yes, really, type ONE) diabetes.  It’s an inspiring story.

Here’s how it works:  My friend, JP, has a car that is “dual fuel”. It runs on either LPG or petrol, and he can change between the two by the flip of a switch. LPG is cheaper, and greener, but isn’t that easily available, so he fills up on LPG when he can, but if he runs out of LPG he flips the switch and, hey presto, he’s running on petrol.

Well, the human body is the same. It is dual fuel. It can run on glucose, or it can run on “ketone bodies” – usually just called ketones. Glucose comes from carbohydrates and ketones come from fats. If you have glucose in your bloodstream then the body won’t bother to burn ketones. It is also fairly well known (well, it’s very well researched, but the news hasn’t got out to many doctors yet!) that the body runs more efficiently on ketones than it does on glucose (the brain is much sharper, for one), but it does take a little effort to get the body to switch.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1477567593" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Ntu24N%2BjL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]But here’s the thing that I didn’t know until a couple of nights ago, and it’s the thing that made me buy Elaine’s book (I got the Kindle version so I could start reading straight away). Every single cell in the human body runs just fine on ketones … except cancer cells. Cancer cells can’t use ketones: they must have glucose. So, if you put yourself on a “ketogenic diet” and clear the glucose out of our system, then your body will appreciate it – but the cancer cells will starve to death. There are all sorts of reports on the internet, but it looks like it takes around two weeks for them to die: maybe longer if it’s a truly massive cancer.

Elaine had an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy but refused chemo and radiation, and the lump came back. By the time she saw her oncologist the lump was 2cm big and the oncologist wanted to rush her to the surgeon. She had only just started her diet and wanted to give it a chance. Two weeks later the doctors could find no sign of any cancer and wondered if the oncologist had made a mistake!  And she’s not the only one to report this effect.  Check out this video from CBN News:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLClqy5CbTQ

Elaine introduced me to a simple method to know whether a food is going to work in a ketogenic diet.

Egg IngredientsCheck out this ingredient list for a fried egg.  It’s from a brilliant website called http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition.  This is for a fried egg.  You will notice that there are 7.04 grams of fat in your egg and 6.27 grams of protein.  Add these together (we don’t need several places of decimals — let’s just call it 13).  Now compare that with the figure for carbohydrate: 0.4 grams.  If you divide both sides by 0.4 (you may need a calculator, but here it is roughly) you get a ratio of 26:1.  That makes an egg (especially a fried one) an excellent food for a ketogenic diet. We are looking for a ratio of from 3:1 to 5:1 or above.  I had been existing on almost exclusively different forms of cabbage: sauerkraut (ratio of 0:3.  Bad!), raw cabbage (0.28:1), onions (0.1:1).  No wonder I wasn’t getting into ketosis.  I was having very low levels of calories, but all my calories, few as they were and healthy as they were, were carbohydrates (I only just looked up red onions, and I was shocked!)

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="145169914X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AHwQW%2BtCL._SL160_.jpg" width="106"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1477567593" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Ntu24N%2BjL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="193630323X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BWLjR7ryL._SL160_.jpg" width="134"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B008WTOVOC" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Sh96N1gCL._SL160_.jpg" width="100"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B009LNGZ74" locale="us" height="127" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DlUcuFYnL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Now I am using this formula all the time.  For breakfast I had sugar free Canadian bacon (24.25 : 1 Great!!!) and scrambled eggs (14.4 : 1) with some grated Gruyere cheese (176.2 : 1 !!!).  Instead of having black coffee, I now have coffee with cream (coffee 0.5 : 1, not good, but heavy cream is 14 : 1 so that more than evens things out).  And notice that it doesn’t work with milk (1.12 : 1).  If you want to use non-dairy creamer, check the labels carefully.  Some work well, others are a disaster.

I was also inspired by two articles by Mr and Mrs JaminetKetogenic Diets, I: Ways to Make a Diet Ketogenic and Ketogenic Diets 2: Preventing Muscle and Bone Loss on Ketogenic Diets.  This inspired me to order their book, The Perfect Health Diet, but it won’t be here until after Xmas (make a Kindle version, please, Mr and Mrs Jaminet!)

It’s going to be fun applying the formula to turkey and Brussels sprouts over the next few days.  Unfortunately it looks like one of my Xmas favourites, roasted potatoes is going to be a no-no (0.35 : 1).  No amount of cheese is going to correct that imbalance!

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”

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