Choose your carbs

Choose your carbs

You know that foods and especially carbs have a different profile and cause completely different spikes to our glucose levels. When choosing which carbs serve us best consider the points below.

  • Choose only carbs that are whole and un-refined
  • Choose only seasonal carbs
  • The glycemic load of the food
  • The nutrient profile and the anti-nutrients in the food

Consider also

  • The timing of eating carbs
  • Portion control
  • The macros of your meal

Glycemic Index

The GI has been around since 1981, when nutrition scientist David Jenkins, MD, PhD, set out to determine which carbs are best and which are worst. First, he had to come up with a way to measure a food’s effect on blood sugar.

In a study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Jenkins and a team of researchers enlisted a group of healthy volunteers and asked them to eat a variety of common foods, each of which contained 50 grams of carbohydrate. The researchers then measured the participants’ blood sugar over the two hours that followed.

The results were surprising. Almost everyone assumed that table sugar would be the worst offender, certainly worse than the complex carbohydrates found in starchy staples such as rice and bread. But this didn’t always prove true. Some starchy foods, like potatoes and cornflakes, ranked very high on the index, raising blood sugar nearly as much as pure glucose. Where the glycemic index fell short?

The results seemed to demonize healthy foods, such as carrots and strawberries. Watermelon was practically off the top of the GI chart. But no one ever gained weight from eating carrots. Nor do carrots, in the real world, raise blood sugar. What was the GI missing?

The GI measures the effects of a standard amount of carbohydrate: 50 grams But you’d have to eat seven or eight large carrots to get 50 grams of carbohydrate. The same holds true for most vegetables and fruits. They’re full of water, so there’s not much room in them for carbohydrates. Bread, on the other hand, is crammed with carbohydrates. One large slice has 48 grams of total carb.

That wasn’t the only problem. “The glycemic index rating applies only when the food is consumed on an empty stomach” without any other type of food, says Sheth. That isn’t exactly the way most people eat. And it explains why the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics considers the glycemic index an imperfect, though useful tool in identifying lower-glycemic foods.

The Glycemic Load

To solve the discrepancy, scientists came up with another measurement: glycemic load (GL). The GL takes into account not only the type of carbohydrate in a given food, but also the amount of carb you’d eat in a standard serving. To get the GL of a food, the carb content of the actual serving is multiplied by the food’s GI. That number is then divided by 100. For example: To get the GL for beets, you’d multiply 13 (the carb content) by 64 (the GI). You’d then divide 832 (the total) by 100 to get a GL of 8.3.

A GL above 20 is considered high, between 11 and 19 is moderate, and 10 or less is considered low.

This made more sense. By this criterion, carrots, strawberries, and other low-calorie foods—like beets—are clearly good to eat. They all have low GL values, since the amount of carbohydrate they contain is low.  The GL has turned out to be a powerful way to think about not just individual foods, but also whole meals and even entire diets.

The glycemic index

How do you measure progress

How do you measure progress

To achieve the transformation goals you are looking for you need to know what progress looks like. You need to be able to measure progress in small little steps and above all celebrate those little success stories. And this is important because sometimes we forget that the journey never ends and we need to have gratitude for every positive step we make.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can know that you are making progress!

No Cravings

Does it ever feel like you’re hungry all the time? Like, you know you need to “get control,” but you can’t seem to “find the willpower” to stay away from that sweet. But cravings have nothing to do with willpower. It is all about hormones.

Many are used to eating this way even in the context of a healthy diet, and they end-up messing-up their hormones.  As we digest our food, the gut sends signals to the brain about how much energy we’ve consumed to trigger satiation (the feeling of fullness), so we know when we’ve had enough. Additionally, when we eat refined carbs we create a roller-coaster effect to our blood sugars which makes us needing something sweet to stabilize them!

No cravings means progress

How does progress look like

With the ketOntrack Nutritional Series 1, this is the second habit we address. And we start slowly, step-by-step,  by establishing 3 meals a day routine, reducing processed foods while at the same time adding healthy whole foods, that will ensure we give a break to our hormones and helps us feel satisfied.

The right food, will signal to our gut and brain that all is okay. We are okay. We are safe and comfortable and fed. We can stop now. Imagine, for the first time, feeling “full.” Not stuffed. Just satisfied. Feeling like you’ve had enough. Your gut and brain are calm. No panic. Without any worry. Yep, this is all possible. In fact, this is what you’ll start to experience once your nutrition is on track. 



  • Cravings and snacking are a result of hormone imbalances. 
  • Eat healthy whole foods will help restoring all the right satiety signals in your body.

More Energy and better mood

Maybe you can’t remember a time when you didn’t feel exhausted. Your alarm is your enemy. You don’t hit snooze; you literally punch the clock to make it shut up. You need a coffee to really wake-up and sugar hit after lunch to keep your eyelids propped open. Maybe your brain and body are getting too much processed food and too much sugar. Maybe you’re not getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Even small deficiencies in certain nutrients, which are much more common than you think, can drain your energy and fog up your focus and consequently your mood.

How does progress look like

One day, you wake up before your alarm clock. Your eyes are actually open. You feel refreshed. You don’t need seven shots of espresso throughout the day just to cope with your work inbox. You pay attention to everything that happens during the day, you feel productive and that you can manage more things in a day. And above all, you feel good!

And having energy depends on getting all your nutrients on a daily basis. See below a couple of example of how single nutrients can affect so many areas of our life.

  • Magnesium: We need magnesium for metabolic reactions, especially those that convert food into energy. Having more magnesium seems to improve cognitive abilities, while not enough seems to make cognition worse. Without enough magnesium in our cells, insulin doesn’t work as well, which makes it hard for us to use glucose. Many enzymes that help us convert food into energy need magnesium.
  • Folate : MTHFR is a gene that initiates our ability to methylate, a key process that affects our stress response, inflammation, energy, detoxification, antioxidant production, cell repair and around 200 more critical body functions. In every one of this functions, folate is involved!


  • Energy is produced when your cells have the right building blocks.
  • Get all your nutrients on a daily basis to have better energy and mood.

Better looking skin and hair

Our skin, our hair, nails and our teeth are the mirror of our health. When our nails breaks or when we have rashes or bleeding gums these are all signs that something is not right with our nutrition and with our gut. Our body is constantly sending us signals and we need to listen to it, and feed it the right foods. We might have an over-active immune system, nutrient deficiencies or we may not tolerate some of the food we eat every day. Restoring our gut can be a long process which is individual for every person.

How does progress look like

You have fixed your diet. You are getting close to 100% of your nutrients on a daily basis. You are getting enough protein which is the building block of everything, you are getting all the essential fatty-acids and vitamins like Zinc.

Now your skin colour has changed, your hair is stronger and your rashes are mostly gone. You feel like a new man or woman, confident about your looks and more out-going.


  • Every part of our outer body is reflecting the state of our health. 
  • Having nutrient deficiencies or eating toxic food will show at our skin, nails or hair.

Better sleep

You know those nights when you just can’t seem to fall asleep? Or when you toss and turn in a weird, hallucinogenic, sleeping-but-not-sleeping state? Sometimes, our clients don’t even know how tired and sleep-deprived they are, because five hours of sleep is their normal. There can be many reasons for poor sleep: stress, aging, hormonal changes, getting too much blue-light late at night, and so on.

Tuning-in with your circadian rhythm is key for getting proper sleep. Proper sleeping is all about giving the right signals to our body that it is time to wind-down and relax. If for instance you over-eat heavy meals late at night or drink to much you will not sleep well. You may also have disrupted hormones (such as cortisol, thyroid hormone, and sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone) from stress and poor habits, all of which are important for good and restful sleep. 

How does progress look like

Following the Sleep Series, you’re now laid off the afternoon espresso. You are now having dinner earlier and giving your gut time to digest. Your sleeping environment now allows you to relax and sleep earlier and spent 25% of your time in deep sleep and 25% in REM. As it should be. You wake-up refreshed and full of energy!


  • Tune in with you cirdadian rythm.
  • Eat dinner 3-4 hours before sleep and allow your body and mind to relax in a proper environment.

It feels more like a lifestyle!

Establish the right habits for a lifetime. Every single step you take is only forward. One-step a time until every change is part of your life. You learn it, experience it, believe it and now it is part of your new you.

What to do next

  • Set and celebrate mini-goals. Don’t rush into changing. Enjoy your journey by setting mini weekly goals.  Measure your progress. And don’t forget to celebrate everything you achieve one of them. Gratitude is all.
  • Keep a journal. Keeping a daily journal is the ultimate tool to help you keep focused and accountable. This is the first good habit to establish.

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Check your iron status

Know your iron levels

Iron-deficiency can be a major health issue since iron is vital for transporting oxygen in the blood and muscle. It is also involved in in energy production and replication in cells. Iron deficiency has severe consequences, including anemia and impaired cognitive function!

But excess iron is also a problem. The body only requires a small amount of iron to function properly, and excess iron can build up and cause oxidative stress in organs. Iron overload has been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cancer, asthma, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, hypothyroidism, liver disease, gout, epilepsy, impotence, infertility, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.

Pretty big scary list, so in this post I wanted to discuss how to keep our iron levels healthy naturally.

Iron is everywhere!

Fortification is now days very common to avoid mass nutrient deficiencies. Some of the most commonly consumed cereals are fortified and the amount of iron they contain per cup can be pretty high depending on the product. For example in a cup (around 50grams) you can find

  • Special K: 8.7 mg/cup
  • Cheerios: 9.0 mg/cup
  • Fiber one Honey cluster: 16 mg/cup

If you are used to eat cereal every morning for breakfast you can be are dangerously close to the upper limit for iron intake. And you need to think that rice, bread, pasta are also fortified with iron so you most probably are getting more than you need! And this type of iron is unfortunately not absorbable as it is non-heme iron (plant based iron). 

Moreover, most foods fortified with iron, like cereal grains, are also rich in phytates, which further prevent iron absorption. Even low levels of phytate (about 5% of the amounts in cereal and grains) can reduce iron absorption by 50-65%. But non-absorption may be just as detrimental as absorption since unabsorbed iron causes many issues to our gut.


  • Iron fortification is many products such as cereals can lead to have excess iron.
  • Non-absorbed iron can causes many gut issues.

What should your levels be

The RDA for iron is about 8 milligrams of iron per day, while premenopausal women need 18 milligrams per day. Increasing the amount to  more than 40 milligrams per day is toxic, so you should always check your iron status when doing your blood test. A standard iron panel includes usually 3 markers:

  • Serum iron: the amount of iron circulating in the blood bound to transferrin, the transport protein
  • Ferritin: the long-term storage of iron. This is the most sensitive marker of iron deficiency.
  • TIBC: total iron binding capacity, an indirect measure of transferrin

How to keep your iron levels healthy

Let’s look at some practises of keeping your iron levels healthy in what we consider a prioritzed order

Prefer heme iron

Consume foods that are high in bioavailable heme iron, like clams, oysters, liver, mussels, and beef. Aim to eat with every meal t a good amount of animal protein (30+ grams) and try to make a habit of having some beef live on the side. It can make all the difference! Healthy  choices of non-heme iron, are thyme, parsley, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and tomatoes. 

Have an acid stomach

The acidic environment of the stomach is necessary so that iron can be absorbed in the small intestine. Avoid medications that inhibit stomach acid production, and drink daily Apple Cider Vinegar before each meal. You can also consider supplementing with Betaine HCl.

Eat Prebiotics foods

Eat prebiotic foods or take a prebiotic supplement, to enhance iron absorption and reduce the detrimental effects of unabsorbed iron on the gut microbiota.

Check your gut

Gut inflammation leads to iron deficiency. Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome are all associated with reduced iron absorption.To restore iron absorption, it is crucial to remove inflammatory foods from your diet, identify food intolerances, and treat the root cause. Start Nutrition Series 3 to learn how to balance your gut.


Change your cookware

Opt for stainless steel or ceramic cookware over cast iron and by tefal, as they have increased levels of iron


Give blood

Blood donation significantly reduces iron levels but is a healthy process to stimulate creation of new blood cells.



I believe that by following the above supplementation is not needed and you can turn around a deficient status naturally in a period of 3-6 months. If you must supplement, use heme iron along with Vitamin C to aid absorption. Heme iron can be found in supplements like desiccated grass-fed beef which will be free of artificial additives. See Heart&Soil.



  • There are many strategies to manage your iron level, before supplementing.
  • Eat a healthy diet will keep your iron levels in check.

Food combinations

If you want to increase or decrease your iron levels you should be aware of the below.

  • Vitamin C: just 100 mg has been shown to increase iron absorption by 4 fold. 
  • Althoug not recommended marinating your steak in a bit of honey or blackstrap molasses will increase iron absorption. Sugar should be avoided.. 
  • Egg yolks contain phosvitin, which inhibits iron absorption
  • Oxalates found commonly in spinach, beets, nuts, kale, chocolate, tea, berries, oregano, parsley, and basil which binds to iron and reduces its absorption. This is one of the reasons plant-based iron sources such as spinash are not really helpful in getting the iron we need.
  • Phytates are particularly high in cereals and whole grains, as well as soy, beans, lentils, peas, almonds, walnuts, and sesame. Even low levels of phytates will reduce iron absorption significantly.
  • Polyphenols found in cocoa, coffee, teas, walnuts, apples, berries, and some spices. Coffee and tea have been shown to inhibit iron absorption by up to 90 percent and should be consumed away from meals when it comes to iron absorption.
  • Calcium inhibits both heme and non-heme absorption, so avoid dairy consumption if you want to increase iron. 

Key Takeaways

  • Higher or lower level of iron can have significant impacts on health.
  • Test you iron levels so you can manage your diet accordingly.
  • Heme iron from animal sources is more bio-available fom non-heme iron coming from plant sources.
  • Eating a health keto diet, will keep your iron at the right level, by ensuring you are getting iron from animal sources and reducing anti-nutrients which block iron absorption.

Further reading

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