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Nutrition – Micros vs. Marcos

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Nutrition – Micros vs. Marcos

I am a big fan of a low-carb lifestyle and it has brought me and many of our clients great health benefits. However in ketOntrack we try not be dogmatic.

People have very strong beliefs, and many cultivate their entire lifes around those beliefs and are very religious about them. There are some very serious pitfalls in this way of thinking. This inhibits us from learning, adapting and makes us very resistance to new experiences. And when it comes to health and nutrition this can be dangerous. 

We are very far from unlocking the mysteries for human health, and although qe have discussed many times why a low-carb diet is probably the most beneficial for humans but we have also discussed why getting all our nutrients on a daily basis is equally important.

The basics of a right diet

It is very simple:

  1. Get all your nutrients every single day
  2. Get your nutrients from quality sources to avoid toxins and inflammation.

Achieving the above is a lot easier with keto (and with no side-effects) than other diets, but you will often find in the keto community people talking about the golden rule of 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs. This guideline can be so misleading when it comes to health without addressing the actually sources of foods.Imagine someone telling you to drink eight glasses of liquid every day. Beer is also liquid! Same stands for macros.

Macro-nutrients

The three types of macro nutrients

We all know there are three types of macro-nutrients. Fat, protein and carbs.

Fats
Fats are essential for health and we need fats for brain function, temperature regulation, vitamin absorption, creation of hormones and many more. But all fats are not created equal.

Saturated fat from animal sources like grass-fed butter will not oxidize in your cells, but the same amount of O6 from sources like sunflower oil, peanut butter, nuts and seeds contain a huge amount of a compound known as linoleic acid, which will create an inflammatory response throughout your body when you eat very much of it and inhibit the satiety signals in your body and make you overeat!

Similarly consider that many “good” fat sources contain high about anti-nutrients such as oxalates, phytic acid which can cause digestive disorders.

Fats aren’t the same, even though they are all fats.

Protein
Proteins contain all essential amino-acids which are the building blocks of every living tissue and organ in our body. But again not everything is created equal.

Plant proteins and animal protein are very different as plants don’t have all the essential amino-acids our body needs. On the other hand if you eat meat but grill it until it is black you are probably at an increased risk of cancer due to the toxins that are produced (HCA). Also if you get your from supplements (e.g whey protein) where will you get your folate and the other B-Complex vitamins? 

Carbs

Carb consumption can be a very big discussion topic, and I don’t generally recommend consuming carbs especially if you are not metabolically flexible, but for a healthy individual eating carbs in moderation should not be an issue. But there are many different types of carbs. What if you eat your 5% of carbs purely from white sugar? Would that be ok?

Apples, table sugar, pasta, bread, squash will also mostly turn into glucose in your body but have a completely different effect in the body. Sugar and bread will spike your insuling sky-high while giving you only a short term energy with non of the nutrition.

On the other hand starches like squash have plenty of fiber and vitamins while having a moderate insulin spike. Butternut squash has a glycemic index ranking of 51 and a very low glycemic load of 3. Our recommendation is that even if your are healthy and able to handle carbs try to stick mostly to green vegetables and some starches, like pumpkin, potato, celeryroot, rice.

It’s our job to know what each food does to your body, regardless of whether it is a carb, protein, or fat if we are interested in leading a healthy life.

Micro-nutrients

There are 60 minerals ,16 Vitamins ,12 Amino Acids and 2 Fatty Acids which are considered essential. This means that our body can’t make these so we need to get them from food.Not eating a properly designed diet and ending-up with one or more defiencies can have very bad concenquences for your health.

You don’t want to become deficient

Lat’s take for example magnesium (see last week, and also here).

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is a co-factor in 700-800 different enzymatic reactions in the body. It plays a role in regulating many biochemical processes including protein synthesis, nerve and muscle function, blood sugar control and blood pressure regulation.  Do you serioulsy want to be deficient in magnesium?

An another example is folate. Folate supports a system known as methylation, a biochemical process that takes place within our body. By methylating certain genes, we can turn off your genetic tendency to many disease. This process of turning genes on and off is known as epigenetics. Methylation is crucial for more than 200 of our body’s functions!

  • Methylation makes our mind more flexible.
  • Methylation of histamine reduces the severity of skin allergies and allergy-like symptoms.
  • Methylation is needed to make creatine. Athletes take this as a supplement to support bigger and stronger muscles. But creatine also reduces depression, and it supports digestion, eyesight and skin health.
  • Methylation protects against fatty liver, supports the digestion of fats in our diet, helps contract your muscles, and supports sustained, focused attention.

These are all functions where folate is involved and required!

Folate deficiency is usually associated with anemia, where we have fewer red blood cells than you should, and where they are bigger than they should be. This can result in feeling tired, weak, or cause our heart to skip beats or beat irregularly. You don’t want to be deficient in folate trust me!!

Similar examples can be given with most vitamins and unfortunately deficiencies are one the main reasons people have so many issues, low energy, lossing hair, breaking nails and more.

Some simple starting tips

  1. Try tracking what you eat. Doing this for a month with give you a very good indication where you are with your diet. We use with all our client Cronometer.
  2. Eat plenty of good salt to get the minerals you need.
  3. Include once a week some organs meat . I know some of you don’t like them having 200gr of liver once a week will give you most of the B-Vitamins you need.
  4. Include whole foods and avoid empty, low quality calories such as fast food and check out our ketOntrack pyramid.
  5. If you have any questions or want some advice just drop us an email

Key Takeaways

  • Macros are not the indication of health.
  • Focus on getting all the nutrients you need every day from whole, seasonal food.

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Storing nutrients and deficiencies

Storing nutrients and deficiencies

It is key to supporting your body to get all the nutrients your need for optimal function. All nutrients are critical as they usually take part in many processes.  Maintaining normal vitamin levels in your body is crucial for all-over wellbeing, both mentally and physically. If you’re not getting enough vitamins from food, then it’s essential to take daily vitamin supplements, in order to avoid vitamin deficiencies that cause fatigue, disorientation, and pain symptoms.

However we need to pay attention to some nutrients for than others, for the simple reason that we need bigger amounts of it or we can’t store it for long periods of time. On the other spectrum we want to avoid an overload of certain vitamins which are stored in the body as this can be very toxic.

 Let’s have a look at the duration of storing Vitamins and minerals.

Avoid keto flue

Vitamins and Minerals

All vitamins and minerals are essential for proper development and function of the body. 

Vitamins

Vitamins fall into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The length of time a vitamin remains in the body depends on which category it falls into. Vitamins are a group of organic compounds that act as catalysts in various chemical reactions. The vitamins trigger these reactions and speed them up. A compound becomes classified as a vitamin when a lack of it causes disease. In other words, vitamins do not directly provide energy but are required for the release of energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates. They are essential for normal growth and development and particularly important for the healthy functioning of red blood cells, hormones, genetic materials and the nervous system. 

 Fat-Soluble Vitamins

The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. These are stored in the body for various amounts of time in the body fat (adipose tissue) or liver. Many people who are properly nourished have a three-month supply of vitamin D stored in the body. 

 Water-Soluble Vitamins

The water-soluble vitamins are all B-Vitamins, and C. Excess vitamins that are water soluble are excreted through urine, 

Minerals

Minerals are also stored in the body. Minerals are substances required by the body in small amounts for a variety of functions. These include the formation of bones and teeth; as essential constituents of body fluids and tissues; as components of enzyme systems and for normal nerve function. Some minerals are needed in larger amounts than others, e.g. calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride. Others are required in smaller quantities and are sometimes called trace minerals, e.g. iron, zinc, iodine, fluoride, selenium and copper. Despite being required in smaller amounts, trace minerals are no less important than other minerals. Minerals are often absorbed more efficiently by the body if supplied in foods rather than as supplements. The difference between vitamin and mineral storage is that minerals are stored mainly for metabolism and structure, not nutrient reserves. The body adjusts mineral absorption according to its needs and naturally excretes the excess.

 

Overview

VitaminWhere is it storedFor how long is it stored
All B-Vitamins (B1-B9) expect B12Small amounts are stored in Liver and the rest is excreted.Replenish daily
Vitamin-ALiverYears
Vitamin-CLiver and in the adrenal glandMonths
Vitamin-DLiver and Adipose tissueMonths
Vitamin-ELiver and Adipose tissueMonths
Vitamin-KLiver and Bone MarrowMonths
Vitamin-B12LiverYears
MineralsAmounts neededWhere is it storedFor how long is it stored
Calcium1,000 mg/dayBones and teethConcentration is tightly regulated along with other minerals. Replenish daily
Copper 900 mcg/dayStored mainly in Bones but also liver, brain and hairMonths
Iodine 150 mcg/dayThyroid glandReplenish daily
Iron10-20mg/dayhaemoglobin and remainder stored in liver, spleen, bone marrow and musclesReplenish daily
Magnesium400mg/dayBones and muscleConcentration is tightly regulated along with other minerals. Replenish daily
Manganese 2mg/dayBones and remainder in other tissues as a component of enzymesReplenish daily
Potassium4 gr/dayIn all cellsReplenish daily
Phosphorus700mg/dayBonesReplenish daily
Sodium1500mg/dayBones and in all the cellsReplenish daily
Selenium 55mcg/dayFound in all tissues, bound to amino acids and proteins.Replenish daily
Zinc 10mg/dayNot stores/ easily mobilzedReplenish daily

Relevant info

  • The liver acts as a storage site for some vitamins, minerals (and glucose). The liver stores vitamins and minerals for the times when they may be lacking in the diet. An example is  vitamin D which helps get you through the shorter days of winter, for example, when your skin isn’t able to manufacture enough vitamin D. It is very important to keep our liver healthy. Any impairment of the liver such as fatty-liver needs to be addressed immediately.
  • Fats are insoluble in blood and water and so the liver produces special, fat-carrying proteins called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins circulate in the blood, carrying essential fatty acids between the liver and body tissues. The lipoproteins also transport cholesterol. Although cholesterol has a certain ‘unhealthy’ reputation, it is still essential for the correct functioning of the body. It is used to make bile salts, to synthesise vitamin D, to make sex hormones, to make other hormones for the immune system and in dealing with stress. 
  • The B complex vitamins and vitamin C make up the water-soluble vitamins. Since they dissolve in water in your body, they are not stored — with the exception of vitamin B12, which is stored in your liver. When your intake is more than your body needs for immediate use, the rest is excreted in the urine. This means that your diet must supply a continuous source of vitamins so your body has the amount you need available when it ‘s needed. The exception is vitamin C, which can be stored in the adrenal gland for three to four months.
  • Vitamin K, although supplied by some foods, can be made by the bacteria in your intestines, so your body should have a continuous supply of vitamin K in storage. Your body will continue to store fat-soluble vitamins until they are used. Hence, it could be dangerous to take large doses of these vitamins.
  • Supplementing with calcium can lead to magnesium deficiency due to competitive inhibition for absorption and over supplementing with vitamin D may lead to magnesium deficiency via excessive calcium absorption and hence increase the risk of arterial calcifications.
  • Copper is essential as a vital link in many of the body’s different chemical reactions and in the formation of protein within the liver. It also plays a role in using up the body’s iron stores, whenever they are needed. 
  • Zinc is a mineral used by the body to facilitate a large number of metabolic reactions, and you need a daily supply as the body does not store zinc.
  • Selenium and iodine have a synergistic relationship that is especially important for a healthy thyroid. Iodine is a component of thyroid hormone, and selenium as a selenoprotein helps to convert the thyroid hormone into its active form. Both minerals are needed by the thyroid in adequate amounts; too much of one can contribute to a deficiency of the other.
  • Iron is best taken with vitamin-C and best not with Calcium (ie dairy products) 
  • When taking multivitamins it is important to make sure the recommended doses of fat soluble vitamins are not exceeded. If this occurs, it might result in liver damage.

Common Deficiency signs

This section is mostly to demonstrate that many of the common issues people have can be attributed to low nutritional status especially with Vitamins or minerals that need to be replenished daily.

Brittle hair and nails

Usually a sign of Biotin (B7) deficiency

Mouth cracks

Usually a sign of iron or one of the B-complex deficiency

Poor night vision

Vitamin-A deficiency

Scaly patches and dandruff

Low blood levels of zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) may each play a role.

Hair Loss

Most likely due to low iron, zinc, B3 or B7. It is also essential to have plenty of healthy fats and proteins in your diet.


Vitamin Guide

Key Takeaways

  • You will need to replenish on a daily basis all water-soluble Vitamins and most minerals for optimal health.
  • High amounts for fat-soluble vitamins and certain minerals like iron can be toxic
  • Take care of your liver as it acts as a nutrient reserve for most Vitamins

Further Reading




2 Benefits of exercise and why you should care

2 Benefits of exercise and why you should care

There are two benefits of exercise that are mind blowing and you simply can’t ignore. Exercise for your health and longevity independent of your age.

We all know exercise is healthy and there is a ton of benefits.  However there are still a lot of people that find it diffiuclt if not impossible to make exercise a habit. I get it. Exercise is an uphill battle. Exercises can be difficult, even stretching can seem like an impossible task. Always trying to lift more, run faster, push your limits in each session. Why care about exercise you ask?

1. Exercise is the best way to increase Bone Density

exercise for your health and bones

Why is this important

Healthy bones and bone density is currently considered to be one of the key longevity markers. Bone density helps

  • Keep mineral balance
  • Avoid ostepenia and osteporosis
  • Avoid weakening of muscles referred to as sarcopenia 
  • Protect against memory and cognitive problems
We lose bone density as we age

Bones are critcial for health but unfortunately we are fighting against time. Already from our 30s the bone density starts declining. The decline is even more rapid for female. 

exercise for your health and bones
Exercise for your health and bones

This is bad news. Imagine, as calcium leaves the bones in the process of osteoporosis, it builds up instead in blood vessel walls, leading to dangerous calcified plaque deposits. Those deposits can rupture, causing an immediate arterial blockage and producing a sudden heart attack or catastrophic stroke. It is this close interrelationship between bone health and total body health that is ground breaking!

Exercise to the rescue

But is it not all bad news. Exercise is the best way to stimulate your bones.

Performing weight-bearing and resistance training exercises can increase bone formation during bone growth and protect bone health in older adults, including those with low bone density

Athletes, that engage in high-impact sports, have significantly higher total Bone Density and there is a close correlation on the type of sport activity in achieving a high peak bone mass and reducing osteoporosis risk. Physical activity, particularly weight-bearing exercise, is thought to provide the mechanical stimuli for the maintenance and improvement of bone health, whereas physical inactivity has been implicated in bone loss and its associated health costs. 

Take for example jumping. 

  • A study found that jumping 10 to 20 times a day significantly improved hip bone mass density (BMD) in women age 25-50 after 16 weeks. Bone density increases directly coincided with the amount of exercise performed. Jumping 20 times twice daily resulted in 75 percent greater BMD than doing 10 jumps twice daily. 
  • While running also offered significant improvement in BMD, it was far less than that seen with jumping. 
  • In fact, elite-level cyclists appear to have less bone mass compared to their running counterparts. 
  • Exercises that will promote bone health and bone density include weightlifting and gymnastics because the amount of force placed on muscles and bones.

Strength training and putting stress on your bones is the number one thing you can do to promote bone health and bone density.

2. Exercise creates new brain cells

exercise for your health and brain
Exercise for your health and brain
Why this is important
  • New cells are the result of the brain making new connections, adapting and learning.
  • Learning is the driving force of life. A healthy brain is a learning brain
One purpose of the brain is to coordinate movement

The brain has many different functions, but most of us connect the brain mostly with the act of thinking.

Most of us take many of our bodies functions for granted. Let’s take coordination for example. We think that walking or balancing on one leg is an act of muscle recruitment.  However we don’t often think that every action in our body works in coordinated manner. 90% of the body’s coordination activities is around movement. The whole body works together to make you walk and every movement is ultimetely controlled by our brain. We tend to forget that since certain simple movements are habits, which we perform on a daily basis, are engraved in our brain and are considered low-impact.

The brain will atrophy without enough stimulus

We all know that a muscle injury can lead to that muscle to atrophy when it is immobilized. What you might not know is that the same muscle injury will cause your brain to atrophy as well. The lack of signalling, due to lack of movement, will cause certain areas in your brain to start de-generating.

Any time you move there are signals that communicate back to the brain to help it know what is going-on. There are so many signals back and forth all the time. Touch, Pressuse, skin stretching, joint motion, tension, change in muscle length.

Muscle-brain connection is all! So either Use it or Lose it!

Creating new brain cells

You now know that signalling is keeping our brain healthy. But did you know that with enough stimulus we can create new brain cells?!

There are certain hormones like BDNF and HGH that help to create new cells, create new synapses, make new brain cell connections and learn new things. There is a whole science behind how hormones like BDNF help with neuroplasticity. 

And the key here, is that you make these hormones, in proportion of the intensity of the exercise.  Doing weight lifting, HIIT, sprinting are the type of activities which carry such an internsity that require from your mind to be also focused, create new connection and help your body to get better. 

Strength training and movement promote brain health.

Key Takeaways

It should be clear by now how important exercise is for health and longevity. Exercise it the most potent activity to keep your bones and brain healthy.

Another important takeaway is that the journey of health starts before one begins having issues and even in our 20s. Building the right foundation when we are still young is critical. As we age it gets more difficult to increase bone density, and if we don’t take care of ourselves we will find it very difficult to keep up.

Start exercising today even if you don’t have issues, even if you are in your 20s. Build the right foundation for your health and longevity!

  • Incoporate high impact training in your routine such as weight-lifting, HIIT or sprinting.
  • Bone density is key for health and longevity.
  • The brain with enough stimilus keeps learning and can create new cells.


Next Steps

  • Subscribe to ketOntrack to gain access to an extensive set of articles made available to all our subscribers.
  • Book your free discovery call to discuss how ketOntrack can help you start your fitness journey.

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Keep moving for life

Keep moving!

Human bodies aren’t meant to sit all day. They are meant to walk, run, lift, carry, even swim.

These days most of us are not moving enough, and I pretty sure you are aware of the difference being locked down has made.

And even if there was no lockdown there are those of you who don’t like going to the gym, lifting weights or doing other group classes. But I would not put movement and exercise in the same category. Moving around is a very low key activity which we can and should be keep doing throughout the day whereas cardio or strength training should be reserved for short period of time (30-60 minutes) where we train from 60-100% of our VO2max

Movement is life and you directly feel the difference right away. When you sit, your muscles relax and your blood doesn’t pump as efficiently. That means less blood to your heart, higher blood pressure, and less efficient elimination of fat and waste products. Prolonged sitting has been linked to insulin resistance; a higher risk of cancers, including colon and breast cancer; muscle atrophy; circulation problems; neck and back strain.

And of-course you burn 30 percent more calories standing than sitting, so if you sit less, you will probably drop some weight, even without changing anything else. 

So what can you do?

My experience the last months

Take every opprortunity to wake-up early and connect with nature, breathe freash air and move. I had the luck to be able to work at my garden every day for a few weeks in November and December and it was a life changing experience.

January on the other hand was not such a good month. The lockdown, the weather, work and the daily cycle all contirbuted to having 5.6K steps on avg/day.  And I really felt i was sitting all day. 

So I get you and all the tips below will be in my daily routine already from today! 


Some tips

  • Set a reminder. When you are sitting for a long time, whether at a desk, in a car, or in front of the television, set a reminder on your watch, phone, or computer to get up and walk around for five to ten minutes every hour. Don’t think you will get less work done—the stimulation will help you work more efficiently, which should more than make up for the time not sitting. Stand up.
  • Track your steps. Make an effort to walk around 6K steps per day. If you move a bit every hour, walking 6Ka day should be not an issue.
  • Invest in a standing desk (or make one with things you already have), so that you spend some of your day on your feet. Some companies will pay for these desks for their employees. 
  • Don’t be a couch potato. If you are watching television at home, find things to do that keep you moving, like folding laundry, doing sit-ups and leg lifts or basic yoga poses. I find myslef most of the time doing some simple stretching. 
  • Never sit when you can stand. Never stand when you can walk. The more activity you incorporate into your day, the less time you will have for sitting. Sometimes you have to sit, of course, but when it’s not essential, challenge yourself to stand up and/or move around. 
  • Squatting or even sitting on the ground is better for your body than sitting in a chair. Obviously you have to sit some of the time, but let’s cut that time way down, starting now.  The more you move in natural ways throughout your day, the better your body and mind will work. 
  • A daily walk can make a big difference. Walking is one of the best things you can do for your body. You are built to walk. Take a walk around the block or through the park, or go on a hike. If the weather is cold or wet, you could walk indoors, through a mall, the grocery store, or a museum. Meet a friend for a walk instead of coffee or lunch (or bring your coffee along). You don’t have to walk fast. Move your body and encourage circulation at a level that feels doable for you. Pets offer a good opportunity for walking. Walk your dog, or if you’re a cat person, try walking your cat. Go on a bike ride or take a spin class. Play an active game with kids. Join a sports team or take lessons in tennis, or another sport you’ve always wanted to learn. Train for a charity walk, a 5K, or any other competitive activity. You don’t have to be an athlete—there are events like these for most fitness levels.

Start with squatting

When we wake-up we are always stiff. How about bringing some length to our entire body with only one posture?

One of the essential life postures which humans especially in Western cultures seem to have forgotten is the deep squat. It has so many benefits, you should read about it.

 

Try starting your day by sitting in a deep squat for 10 minutes. Every joint in our body has synovial fluid in it. This is the oil in our body that provides nutrition to the cartilage. Two things are required to produce that fluid: movement and compression. If a joint doesn’t go through its full range—if the hips and knees never go past 90 degrees—the body says ‘I’m not being used’ and starts to degenerate and stops the production of synovial fluid. 

Move while working

A very good example of moving while working from the @naturallifestyleist. Keep it simple and at your level of comfort.

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A post shared by Tony Riddle (@thenaturallifestylist)