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Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance

I bet most of the population is insulin resistant and they don’t even know it. And unfortunately insulin resistance is probably at the core of every single decease. Understanding the effects of insulin is key in order to understand the effects that the standard diets have on us, not only now but especially in the long term. 

Metabolism and Insulin

Insulin resistance is a metabolic disease. This mean your metabolism is not efficient or even broken. 

Metabolism is the process of (a) breaking down food (but not only) to obtain energy and (b) the use of these compounds to rebuild tissues and cells. By saying that your metabolism is broken this means your cells don’t have the right building blocks to create energy, rebuild and heal. This is everything we need to thrive and be healthy basically. 

Insulin is at the heart of regulating your metabolism and everything around it. As all hormones, insulin can be thought of as a messenger. From the blood stream, insulin is the messenger that communicates with the cells.

Think of insulin like the key to every cell. It signals to the cells that there are nutrients and energy floating in the blood and they should open the door and collect them. When you eat carbs (and to a lesser extend protein) blood sugar levels raise so the pancreas secretes insulin to distribute to the cells the sugar and bring the blood sugar levels down. 

SUMMARY

  • Insulin is a hormone which acts as the key to every single cell and moves glucose (from carbs and protein) into the cells.
  • Insulin controls the levels of the blood sugars and tries to keep them stable.

Breaking your metabolism

As with everything in life balance is very important. And your body always tries to keep the balance. 

In this discussion our body always tries to keep the blood sugars stable throughout the day, which is crucial for having energy, focus and in the long-term to avoid diabetes, heart attacks and more. 

However you overeat carbs, especially refined sugar, and/or eat 5-6 times a day you are sending continious signals that there is energy. And the body must deal with it. Every time you eat it must raise insulin to distribute what you eat. The problem begins when your cells get tired of this constant demand. Here is what happens next

  1. Your cells can’t use this much energy so they reject it. Excess energy is stored as in your fat cells (adipose tissue). You have now broken your metabolism and put on weight
  2. Pancreas insists that the cells need to take-up the energy and it must keep the blood sugar level stable so it secretes more insulin. You now have high insulin levels in your blood.
  3. Over time, your cells will become increasingly more resistance to the insulin, resulting also in high blood sugar levels.⁠ 
  4. Eventually, your pancreas becomes damaged, leading to decreased insulin production. At this point you are diabetic (Type2)

SUMMARY

  • Insulin resistance happens when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver do not respond to insulin and can’t take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells.⠀⁠
  • Insulin resistance (IR) is a problem of excess energy which overtime leads to imbalances and evetually diabetes.

Implications and symptoms

Insulin resistance is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, hyperglycaemia, PCOS,  metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease just to name a few. The main reasons are

  • Every cell needs energy and nutrients to function and if they are insulin resistant they deprive themselves from these. This is the first in a mal-functioning body.
  • Increase in inflammation : Fat cells also become insulin resistance when they cant grow any more and they start spilling fat back to blood stream and release cytokines which are inflammatory 

The different stages of insulin resistance will also manifest with various symptoms like the below

  1. At the start you have cravings: When insulin cannot bring glucose into the cell, the cells become starved. Starving cells will crave sugar and carbohydrates as it’s your body’s preferred energy source (in a high carb diet). ⁠
  2. Weight gain: Insulin promotes fat storage, so the more insulin hanging around the more fat storage.⁠ At the same token it will be impossible to lose weight.
  3. Slow metabolism: Insulin resistance creates an inability of your body to properly convert the food that you eat into energy to fuel your cells.⁠⠀
  4. Mood disturbances such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression & insomnia ⁠⠀⁠
  5. Messed-up lipid profile: Insulin lowers HDL and raises triglycerides. Low HDL and high Triglycerides are an indication. 

  6. Hormonal issues: Insulin causes hormonal issues that can lead to infertility, acne, decreased testosterone, & facial hair ⁠⠀

  7. And the end you have premature aging and decease : High insulin resistance means higher levels of insulin, and this predisposes for diabetes, heart disease cancer and many aging dis-functions.

What can you do

Insulin resistance is essentially a symptom of the moder way of living. Too much food and too less movement. But is can be fixed. We have seen that over and over again and it is well researched.

But of all check if you are insulin resistant and create a baseline. These are my recommendations but please consult with your doctor.

  1. Fasting Insulin should be around 5mIU/L 
  2. After 2-hours of doing a glucose tolerance test  your blood sugar should be below 120 mg/dL. This test can be done at home.
  3. The HLD to Triglycerides ratio is >1
  4. HOMA-IR should be below 2.6
  5. BMI is within range for your gender and age.

If any of the above is a negative you have some sort of insulin resistance. What can you do you ask? Let’s see

  1. Start a low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle : Reduce refined carbs like white sugar, cookies, cakes, white breads and anything that is is not whole food. Consume plenty of vegetables.
  2. If you are insulin resistant, your body won’t be able to handle any amounts of carbs, so at the start you will need to reduce also fruits (sweet and non-sweet). You can re-introduce them later though! Check out the Nutrition Series 2 for more information.
  3. Reduce all vegatable oils. The topic here is quite complicated but processed oils (Linoleic Acid) contribute to insulin resistance but sending the wrong singals to our fat cells. 
  4. Start intermittent fasting: Restricting your eating window (e.g in a 10-hour window) is quite easy and has great benefits to give your body a rest.
  5. Start moving around: Move or exercise on a daily basis. Find something you like and stick to it. Walking, swimming, zumba are all great options and will give the right signals to our cells. Personally I prefer resistance training, strength training and yoga as a healthy muscle mass helps with insulin sensitivity.
  6. Sleep: Sleeping 7-9 hours a night. Good quality sleep is essential to keep hunger hormones in check and thus insulin.⁠
  7. Stress: Reducing stress is a must. Stress hormones such as cortisol increase blood sugar, amplify appetite and cause weight gain all which promote insulin resistance.⁠

     

Preventing insulin resistance may be one of the most powerful ways to live a longer, healthier life.⁠⠀⁠⠀

⁠⠀⁠⠀⁠⠀

Key Takeaways

  • Insulin resistance is a metabolic disease of too much insulin driven by excess carbs, overeating or eating too frequently.
  • Insulin resistance is in the background of gaining weight, cravings, mood issues and many more.
  • Starting keto and intermittent fasting will greatly help, but you need to take a holistic view at your life. Prioritise yourself and your well-being.

Further Reading




Κουνουπίδι σούπα

Κουνουπίδι με κρέμα σε μια τέλεια βελουτέ σούπα. Ο τέλειος κετογονικός συνδιασμός σε μια πολύ εύκολη συνταγή

Κουνουπίδι σούπα

Μια κλασσική κετογονική συνταγή

  • Μπλέντερ χειρός
  • 1 Κουνουπίδι
  • 2 Φρέσκα κρεμμυδάκια
  • 200ml Κρέμα γάλακτος
  • 3 σκελίδες Σκόρδο (Ανάλογα πως σας αρέσει)
  • 1 Χυμό από φρέσκο λεμόνι (Ανάλογα πως σας αρέσει)
  • Ελαιόλαδο
  • Αλάτι, πιπέρι
  • 1 κ.σούπας Βούτυρο (προαιρετικά)
  1. Βάζουμε σε μια κατσαρόλα αρκετό νερό να βράσει

  2. Κόβουμε το κουνουπίδι και το αφήνουμε να βράσει σε μέτρια φωτιά

  3. Με το που μαλακώσει το κουνουπίδι, βάζουμε την κρέμα γάλακτος, το σκόρδο, το μισό από το φρέσκο κρεμμίδι και αλάτι. Το αφήνουμε μόνο για 1-2 λεπτά μέχρι να πάρει μια βράση.

  4. Προσθέτουμε το βούτυρο, λεμόνι και με ένα μπλέντερ κάνουμε την σούπα βελουτέ.

  5. Σερβίρουμε βάζοντας το υπόλοιπο ψιλοκομμένο κρεμμύδι, πιπέρι και λάδι

  • Σερβίρουμε την σούπα σαν ένα ελαφρύ γέυμα ή σαν πρώτο πιάτο. 
  • Το σκόρδο το ψιλο κόβουμε και το αφήνουμε στην άκρη για 10 λεπτά και το βάζουμε στο τέλος της συνταγής. Με αυτό τον τρόπο διατηρούμε την αλλισίνη που έχει πολλά θετικά για τον οργανισμό μας.

 

Soups
keto




Lamb chops with broccoli

Chicken with broccoli, cheese and bacon. The perfect combination with cream to take the dish to the next level. Try it out!

Lamb chops with broccoli

The most ketolicious meal with zero preparation!

  • 300 gr Lamb chops
  • 150 gr Broccoli
  • Rosemary
  • Mustard
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 tbsps Olive oil
  • Parsley (finely cut)
  • garlic (optional)
  • butter (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven

  2. Place the lamb chops in a tray. Add salt and rosemary

  3. Add to the oven until well cooked.

  4. Boil a broccoli head until tender ( 5-10 minutes max)

  5. When broccoli is ready, drain and add salt, olive oil and plenty of lemon.

  6. Take the chops of the oven and serve with lemon juice and mustard.

  • Adding a paper foil is a good idea to help with clean. No grease, no mess!
  • No need to add oil to marinate the lamb. It has plenty of fat on it already!
  • If you want add some veggies to the foods for colour.
  • Another option is to add some garlic and butter right in the end!
Main Course
keto




Πρέπει να μετράμε θερμίδες?

Πρέπει να μετράμε τελικά θερμίδες για να χάσουμε κιλά? Και τι είναι πραγματικά μια θερμίδα; 

Η πληθώρα των διαταιτολόγων κάνουν αυτό που λέει η λέξη. Δίνουν προγράματα δίαιτας τα οποία είναι βασισμένα σε χαμηλές θερμίδες και συνήθως σε 5 γεύματα μέσα στην ημέρα. 

Το πρόβλημα με τις δίαιτες

Το ερώτημα για το αν είναι επιτυχημένες ή όχι αυτές οι δίατες έγκειτε σε δυο ερωτήσεις.

  1. Καταφέρατε να χάσετε τα κιλά που θέλατε?
  2. Καταφέρατε να μείνετε στο ιδανικό σας βάρος μετά το τέλος τις δίαιτας?

Εγώ ακόμα δεν έχω βρει κάποιον που να έχει απαντήσει και στα δυο θετικά

Και το πρόβλημα ξεκινάει όταν αρχίζουμε να μετράμε τις θερμίδες μας. Γιατί ότι κάνετε, θέλετε να το κάνετε αυτό μέχρι την ημέρα που θα πεθάνετε.

Εάν περιορίσετε τις θερμίδες, θα χάσετε κάποιο βάρος και θα βελτιώσετε τις παραμέτρους της υγείας σας. Αυτό είναι για λίγο, αλλά μακροπρόθεσμα θα αποτύχεις. Το σώμα δεν ξέρει τι είναι οι θερμίδες.

It is not about calories-in vs. calories-out

"In order to lose weight our energy expenditure needs to be higher than our calorie intake."

You have heard the model of course that states that losing weight is just simple maths right? If only it was so simple. If this was true I really wonder why we have an obesity epidemic and so many people yo-yo dieting or are unable to lose those unwanted kilos.

When it comes to our metabolism there are many variables at play. Let’s have a closer look.

Hormones

Hormones are very important. If your hormones are messed up then it will be very difficult to keep a healthy metabolism.

The most important one is insulin. If you are insulin resistant and have an insulin level greater than 5 mIU/L you are pre-disposing yourself to store fat. This is because in a state of insulin resistance the cells reject using the sugar that is floating in the blood and since high blood sugar can be lethal it will be stored as fat. You can read more about IR in my recent blog here.

The second hormone is cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone that ensures we are alert in the face of danger. Unfortunately too many people are in a chronic state of stress which only leads to overeating, being tired, angry and eventually to disease. Pulling your hair so to speak means we are in a constant fight-or-flight mode which messes up with our metabolism. Consider not sleeping for example. When we don’t sleep properly we not only wake up grumpy, moody but also with high levels of cortisol. In this state it has been proven that it is very difficult to control your metabolism and lose weight!

Nutrients

So you fixed your hormonal issue and still struggling to keep your energy levels or lose kilos? This would require burning the food you eat in order to produce energy and keep your BMR up and running, right? What do you require for this to happen? Nutrients!!

You see the body does not know anything about calories. This is a human derived concept. The body only knows about energy and nutrients. If there is demand for energy (simplified statement) it will try to break down the food and produce energy (also called ATP). However in order to efficiently do it, there MUST be enough nutrients available. There are so many vitamins and minerals involved in every single metabolic process in the body that a deficiency in just one vitamin can cause a serious side-effect to your metabolism!

It is not the same to eat 1000 Kcal of pasta and 1000 Kcal of steak and a salad simply because of the difference in the nutrient content. And being deficient for example in magnesium will lead to a less effective energy production line. It will lead to a broken metabolism.

Busted!

  • The calories-in vs. calories-out theory is busted.
  • Hormones such as insulin and cortisol have a strong influence on our metabolism.
  • Nutrient deficiencies playing a big role to our BMR.

It is all about adaptation

You need to be healthy to lose kilos, and even more importantly you need to have a healthy metabolism. Are you eating too little calories? Your body will adapt. Are you eating too many calories? Your body will also adapt.

The reason we are unable to lose kilos is that our body adapts. It adapts to the state we are in, and tries to address the issue in the best way it can. We have high sugar? Then it stores it. Are we stressed-out? The elevated cortisol levels will cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. This means, forget your perfect meal plan for the week.

Too few calories

Eating too few calories can cause a major decrease in metabolism. Although it is true that a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss, it can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low and/or for too long. When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories. Controlled studies in lean and overweight people confirm that consuming fewer than 1,000 calories per day can have a significant impact on your metabolic rate.

It is quite amazing to observe how increasing calories by have more healthy nutritious meals can actually lead to sustainable weight loss. 

Too much cardio

In the same way the body adapts to less of something it also adapts to too much of something else. And in this case it is important to mention too much cardio. You cannot unfortunately out-run a bad diet. 

Although I am a supporter of running 1-2 times a week, cardio will not result to weight loss. It will help at the start but once your body gets used to the demand, it adapts, so there will be less energy required for the same outcome. You will then either need to start running faster or longer which is not the best approach (in my perspective) since there are much better ways to keep the stimulus high and keep burning fat (even after you have finished your workout). This is called HIIT.

Final Thoughts

When trying to lose kilos don’t start reducing your calorie intake. Instead try the following steps :

  1. Fix your insulin levels by following a low-carb diet. Ensure you get all the nutrients you need everyday.
  2. Sleep better and control your stress levels.
  3. Incorporate intermittent fasting into your day.
  4. Do strength training 2-4 days a week.
  5. Eat until satisfied but not full.
  6. If you are doing all the above you will reach your ideal weight with no problem.

You might still need to be in a slight calorie deficit to lose the last few kilos, but since it is difficult to be exact with your calories I would suggest that you just listen to your hunger. That should be more than enough.

I hope it is now clear why you never want to restrict your calories as a strategy to lose weight. Focus on your lifestyle and your overall health!

Further Reading




Don’t ignore Vitamin C

People in the low-carb community tend to ignore vitamin-C. I think this is incorrect and I am now of the opinion that we all need to supplement with higher doses of Vitamin-C. That includes people that eat fruit and vegetables on a regular basis.

Here’s why.
Vitamin-C is a key evolutionary mechanism to keep our heart healthy and safe from heart attacks. So please don’t ignore Vitamin-C.

Let’s deep dive into the world of vitamin-C, shall we? It is indeed a fascinating story.

The low-carb basics

Low-carbers argue that eating less carbohydrate results in needing less vitamin C. This is because glucose competes with Vitamin C for access to the same metabolic pathways in the body, which is true.

So if your carbohydrate intake is high, you will have to increase your intake of vitamin C containing foods or natural supplements to get enough vitamin C to overcome the high blood sugar. It’s only when eating the so called standard American diet which is high in carbohydrates and grain consumption that vitamin C needs are higher. Lowering your carb intake lowers the need to supplement with Vitamin C.

On the other side people doing keto can get enough vitamin-c by eating many fresh, low carb vegetables such as peppers and dark leafy greens like kale and broccoli that have loads of vitamin C. This type of eating will probably help you meet your RDA of 80mg and avoid scurvy which is a typical symptom of low vitamin-C and will result into bleeding gums. As we will see further down, this is hardly enough when we are talking about how we approach longevity today and living into our 90s. 

The history

Where history comes into play is that animals are able to make vitamin C. In fact, we’re one of the only mammals that can’t. Unfortunately, we lost that ability a few million years ago.  This means that we need to get 100% of the Vitamin C our bodies need from our diets. 

Most animals are able to synthesize a significant amount of the vitamin on their own, while humans are deprived of this capability due to a series of mutations of the key gene in the vitamin C biosynthesis.  Probably from one of natures few mistakes. This actually led to issues as we will see further down as lack of vitamin-c leads to issues of the artery wall integrity. As a result of lack of vitamin-c during certain periods of the year there was a mutation created which led to apo(a) and lp(a) to protect us from excess bleeding by forming clots.

Animals synthesize it from glucose, in four steps. Humans have retained the first three steps but lack the fourth. We lost this fourth step about forty million years ago. Perhaps because we learned to re-cycle vitamin C within our red blood cells, so we need far less of it. This is called ‘electron transfer hypothesis.’ If making Vitamin C uses up resources that we need for other thing, just eat it, there is plenty about.

Summary

  • Humans lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C, millions of years ago. As an evolutionary step a genetic mutation gave birth to another mechanism to protect us from bleeding. Welcome lipoprotein(a) and Lp(a). These molecules are protective but also very sticky and difficult to dissolve and are contributing to thrombosis.

Benefits of vitamin-C

Although Vitamin C is a widely recognized, powerful antioxidant it also plays an important role in the many functions in the body.

  • Vitamin-C helps the gut absorb iron (increases absorption up to 4 times).
  • Vitamin-C has been recognized as a valuable factor in skin health, especially given its role in collagen synthesis. Vitamin-C has great potential when it comes to photoprotection, skin dryness, protection against environmental pollutants, as well as wrinkling and other signs of aging.
  • Since vitamin-c is competing with glucose it makes sense that supplementation of Vitamin C can help lower fasting and after-meals (post-prandial) blood sugars.
  • Vitamin-c is also key for our immune system. And because our body requires dietary vitamin C for the immediate defensive response that occurs as soon as we are exposed to germs, as well as the long-lasting, highly-specific response that allows us to develop immunity to certain infections over time. And vitamin C deficiency impairs immunity and increases infection risk.
  • Vitamin-C is also required for the production of L-carnitine and certain neurotransmitters, and it is also an important factor in protein metabolism. 
  • Furthermore, vitamin C is known for its protective role in the body as a physiological antioxidant which has been found to aid in the regeneration of other antioxidants, including vitamin E. What’s more, given its role as a potent antioxidant, vitamin C also appears to combat the free radicals produced by normal metabolic respiration. Moreover, vitamin C has been associated with the proliferation of white blood cells, crucial in the body’s defence against infections, therefore greatly benefiting the immune system.
  • Vitamin C promotes wound healing and shorten healing time. In addition, low levels of vitamin C have been linked to signs of cognitive impairment affecting memory and thinking.
  • Vitamin-C is used to produce collagen. This is key for the health of our heart. One of the primary roles of vitamin C concerns collagen synthesis, as without it the natural production of collagen in the body would not be possible, and we would be lacking this main structural protein. 

Vitamin-C and heart health

It is now well established tha Lp(a) is a sticky type of LDL which helps when there are vascular damage by slowing down bleeding. Lp(a) is genetically coded and does not change much with diet. This process however contributes to arthrosclerosis, but it is an evolutionary protective method in the absense of vitamin-c. 

Here comes collagen into play. Think of collagen as being like the steel bars in concrete, providing support and strength for tissues around the body. Without collagen, things can start to break apart quite dramatically. Blood vessels, for example, need a lot of collagen, as they have to withstand a lot of pressure, and squeezing and bending.  So, one of the first clinical signs of scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) is often bleeding gums. This is the same in our blood vessels.

  • Vitamin-C comes into play because as we have seen it is essential for collagen production which help keep the arteries strong but also flexible. The body then does not have a need to utililse Lp(a) for patching injuries. Vitamin-C has long been known to participate in several  important functions in the vascular bed in support of endothelial cells. These functions include increasing the synthesis and deposition of type IV collagen, stimulating endothelial proliferation, inhibiting apoptosis (endothelial cell death), scavenging radical species, and sparing endothelial cell-derived nitric oxide to help modulate blood flow. 
  • Vitamin-C also hides Lysine and proline from Lp(a) hydroxylation which are molecules that Lp(a) detects vessels damage and attaches to.

This theory is slowly taking some notice. You can read more about it by Dr Malcolm Kendrick in his recent book The Clot thickens but the notion is now new. Linus Pauling, a Nobel price winner has been talking about the importance of Vitamin-C as the cause of heart disease since 1930s.

A note of caution

  • Without vessel injury, Lp(a) is not deposited, arthrosclerosis is not initiated, there is no abnormal surface upon which thrombosis can occur and coronary artery disease will not happen.
  • Although vitamin-c may not be able to reverse inflammatory vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, it may well play a role in preventing the endothelial dysfunction that is the earliest sign of many heart diseases.

A different way to look it

The heart disease story has been developing in two different directions. One side side of the coin is the intent to reduce the levels of cholesterol as much as possible which has not led to much success in my opinion. In 1976 the dietary guidelines limited cholesterol to <300 mg/dL and has the limit has been reduced since then with the 2018 guides suggesting that our total cholesterol level should be 200mg/dL or less. The result is still an increase on deaths from heart attacks and an explosion in the use of statins.

The other side of the coin is that slowly a changing trends when it comes to solutions regarding addressing CVD.

  1. Initially, it was only suggested that people need to lower their cholesterol.
  2. Later on, it was suggested to Lower LDL.
  3. Afterwards we gained an understanding that what is more impactful is to lower our oxidised LDL.
  4. Now, many are looking into addressing Lp(a) and getting appropriate vitamin-C doses (but not only of-course).

Summary

  • Both preclinical and clinical data available in the literature show that Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in a number of processes involved in the pathogenesis of CVD

Vitamin-C bioavailability

A bit of definition first. Ascorbic acid is usually referred to a vitamin-c and most vitamin-c supplements contain only ascorbic acid. However ascorbic acid is not the entirety of vitamin C, rather it can be described as the “antioxidant wrapper” that co-occurs with the other parts of vitamin C:  flavonoids, the enzyme tyrosinase, and several other factors that benefit blood vessel strength and the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells.  

When it comes to availability, it is important to note that the stability of the vitamin in vegetables and fruits is compromised by numerous factors – including metallic ions, heat, pH, and oxygen – which may lead to oxidation of vitamin C.

Pro Tip

  • When cooking, add lemon or other vitamin-C sources at the end of cooking to avoid destroying the vitamin-C. Same stands for tea. Let your tea cool down before adding lemon juice.

Approximately 70%–90% of vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30–180 mg/day. However, at doses above 1 g/day, absorption falls to less than 50% and absorbed, unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine. This is is because normal ascorbic acid is water soluble, meaning it’s absorbed in water. Although our bodies contain a lot of water, the structure of our cells is made of lipids—fat. As we know, oil (fat) and water do not mix; they repel each other. This means that water soluble vitamin C is not absorbed very well into our cells where it is most needed. 

Liposomal vitamin C on the other hand, is encased in a liposomal form—surrounded by a lipid bilayer that allows for easier access into the cell. This means that it is far more absorbable and bioavailable in the body, ready to be used as needed. 

Final thoughts

There are many conclusions one can draw from this post. Here are my thoughts based on everything discussed in this post.

First of all, I generally argue that supplements should be used only as the word is intended to. Supplementing. Vitamin-C for example helps us absorb iron but also is critical for collagen production. So taking supplements in isolation is proven not to be useful in many cases. So we should include lemons and fruit in our daily life even if following a keto lifestyle. Berries and peppers are quite high in vitamin-C and low in sugar.

I also think that evolution does not make mistakes. The Lp(a) mutation was a protective mechanism to keep human race alive. Let’s not forget that the priority of the body is reproduction not longevity. So going back in time, this must have been a life saver. 

However, the way most of us lead our lives is full of stress, lack of connecting with nature and full of toxins. We may want to live until we 100 years old but we are not giving ourselves a chance to do so. So we need to consider tools, biohacks, that help us optimise certain processes in our body. Optimising Vitamin-C levels is one of the most powerful biohacks.

I have been recently been including more fruit and in my diet and have been supplementing with 1gr of a liposome vitamin-c from Altrient and I believe all of us can benefit from more vitamin-C.

Of-course, when it comes to keeping our heart healthy there are many more things to do, but these are for separate posts.

Further reading

  1. Check your iron status | ketOntrack
  2. Ascorbic Acid and the Immune System
  3. New Developments and Novel Therapeutic Perspectives for Vitamin C | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
  4. Glut-1 explains the evolutionary advantage of the loss of endogenous vitamin C-synthesis | Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
  5. Supplementation of Vitamin C Reduces Blood Glucose and Improves Glycosylated Hemoglobin in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized, Double-Blind Study – PMC (nih.gov)
  6. Vitamin C and Immune Function – PubMed (nih.gov)
  7. Vitamin C and Skin Health | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
  8. Let’s talk about C – just you and me | Dr. Malcolm Kendrick (drmalcolmkendrick.org)
  9. Role of Vitamin C in the Function of the Vascular Endothelium – PMC (nih.gov)
  10. The Epidemiology of Coronary Heart Disease | Revista Española de Cardiología (revespcardiol.org)
  11. AHA Dietary Guidelines | Circulation (ahajournals.org)
  12. History of the Dietary Guidelines | Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  13. Dietary goals for the United States – NALDC (usda.gov)
  14. Vitamin C supplementation lowers serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides: a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials – PMC (nih.gov)
  15. How Your Lipoprotein(a) Level Affects Your Risk of Heart Disease | RHR (chriskresser.com)
  16. Changes in lipoprotein(a), oxidized phospholipids, and LDL subclasses with a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet – PMC (nih.gov)
  17. Increased plasma concentrations of lipoprotein(a) during a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet are associated with increased plasma concentrations of apolipoprotein C-III bound to apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins – PubMed (nih.gov)
  18. Modification of lipoproteins by very low-carbohydrate diets – PubMed (nih.gov)
  19. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review – PMC (nih.gov)
  20. Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: An Update – PMC (nih.gov)
  21. Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies – PMC (nih.gov)
  22. Antioxidant Vitamins and the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease (aafp.org)
  23. Can Vitamins Help with Heart Disease? (aafp.org)
  24. Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid Are Not the Same Thing — Arthur Haines
  25. Vitamin C – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
  26. Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury – PMC (nih.gov
  27. Vitamin C and Lipoprotein – YouTube
  28. Linus Pauling lectures on Vitamin C and Heart Disease (lbl.gov)
  29. Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C Therapy: A Personal Experience | OptimaEarth Labs



Η εξέλιξη μας καθορίζει πως να είμαστε υγιείς

Αν παρακολουθείτε τον χώρο της διατροφής θα ξέρετε ήδη ότι υπάρχουν πολλά στρατόπεδα. Στο ένα άκρο έχουμε τους κρεατοφάγους, στο άλλο τους vegans και στο ενδιάμεσο άπειρες παραλλαγές. Αυτό σε έμενα δείχνει πόσα ακόμα έχουμε να μάθουμε και πως πολλές από τις έρευνες που βγαίνουν κάθε μέρα δεν προσφέρουν αυτά που ίσως περιμένουμε γιατί δεν έχουμε ακόμα τους τρόπους να καταλάβουμε πως λειτουργεί ένας τόσο πολύπλοκος οργανισμός όπως ο άνθρωπος.

Για αυτό βρίσκω πολύ συχνά τον εαυτό μου να σκέφτεται το παρέλθον. Ισως πολλές από τις απαντήσεις για τα ερωτήματα που έχουμε να βρίσκονται κρυμμένες στις συνήθειες των προγόνων μας. Πλέον πιστεύω πως η εξέλιξη μας καθορίζει πως να είμαστε υγιείς και μας δείχνει τον δρόμο για ποιές είναι οι καλύτερες επιλογές που έχουμε να κάνουμε.

Η βελτιστοποίηση της υγείας

Πρόσφατα το ketOntrack και εγώ είχαμε την τιμή να πάρουμε μέρος στο Health Optimisation Summit στο Λονδίνο, και οφείλω να ομολογήσω πως ήταν μια μοναδίκη εμπειρία. Ενας τεράστιος εκθεσιακός χώρος με πολλές εταιρίες όλες έχοντας σκοπό να κάνουν την διαφορά στην υγεία μας.  Γνώρισα πολλούς από τους εκπρόσωπους και όλοι ήταν άνθρωποι ανοιχτόμυαλοι με θέληση να μάθουν και να βάλει ο καθένας το δικό του λιθαράκι στο να δημιουργηθεί μια καινούργια συνείδηση στο τι πραγματικά σημαίνει η λέξη υγεία. 

Και εδώ θα ήθελα να σας παραθέσω λίγα μόνο από τα εκθέματα για να πάρετε μια ιδέα τι ακριβώς εννοώ

Ξέρουμε πλεόν εδώ και χρόνια ότι το κόκκινο φως που εκπεμπέται στο ίδιο μήκος κύματος  όπως ο ήλιος προσφέρει αμέτρητα οφέλη. Υπάρχουν πλέον πολλές έρευνες που δείχνουν οτι αντισταθμίζει τα σημάδια γήρανσης, τις ουλές αλλά και τις ρυτίδες, ενώ θεωρείται πλέον θεραπευτική μέθοδος. 

Ξέρουμε όλοι πόσο βλαβερά είναι τα ηλεκτρομαγνηιτκά κύματα γύρω μας. Και πλεόν υπάρχουν συσκευές που μας προστατεύουν από τις αρνητικες επιπτώσεις. Συσκευές όπως η Somavedic κάνουν ακριβώς αυτό. Μπλοκάρουν ακτινοβολία EMF (4G/5G, WiFi, τηλέφωνα) και όχι μόνο.


Οι άνθρωποι είναι ηλεκτρομαγνητικά όντα και εξελιχθήκαμε όντας σε άμεση επαφή με τη γη. Ωστόσο, με την άνοδο των συνθετικών υλικών και τη συνεχή χρήση της τεχνολογίας, ερχόμαστε όλο και πιο λίγο σε επαφή με το έδαφος. Αυτό ξέρουμε πλέον ότι έχει αρνητικό αντίκτυπο στην υγεία μας. Πλέον όμως υπάρχουν παπούτσια που μας επιτρέπου να είμαστε συνεχώς σε επαφή με το έδαφος.

Εδώ θα ήθελα να κάνω και μια μικρή αναφορά στην συμμετοχή μας. Υπήρχε πάρα πολύ μεγάλη ενημέρωση για την κετογονική και θα έλεγα πως ένα πολύ μεγάλο ποσοστό ήξερε τα οφέλη της και πόσο η σωστή διατροφή μπορεί και πρέπει να είναι η βάση της υγείας. Μιλήσαμε με πάρα πολλούς επισκέπτες που ήθελαν να πάνε την διατροφή τους στο επόμενο επίπεδο και φυσικά είμαστε πολύ χαρούμενοι να θεωρούμαστε από τους ειδικούς στο χώρο της κετογονικής.



Τι κοινό υπάρχει

Θα αναρωτιέστε ίσως ποιό είναι το κοινό μεταξύ των προιόντων που ανέφερα. Ισως το βρήκατε ήδη. Είναι η προσπάθεια να δημιούργησουν ένα περιβάλλον που προσομοιάζει το πως ζούσαν οι πρόγονοι μας. Ένας τρόπος ζωής κοντά στην φύση, τον ήλιο, το καθαρό νερό και χωρίς βλαβερές ουσίες και συνήθειες. Και δυστυχώς πλέον έχουμε χάσει εντελώς επαφή με την φύση. Φοβόμαστε να αφήσουμε τα παιδιά μας να τρέξουν έλευθερα ή ξυπόλυτα, καθόμαστε όλη μέρα μπροστά σε οθόνες χωρίς να παίρνουμε καθόλου από την ενέργεια του ήλιου. Και όλα αυτά τα θεωρούμε πλέον φυσιολογικά!

Και με τον ίδιο τρόπο θεωρούμε φυσιολογικό να τρώμε φαγητά που παιρνάνε από δεκάδες στάδια παρασκευής, που έχουν καρκινογόνες ουσίες και άπειρη ζάχαρη στο βωμό του γρήγορου , του γλυκολυ και φτηνού φαγητού.

 Ίσως ο τρόπος που πλεον ζούμε να μην είναι φυσιολογικός και ίσως οι προγονοι μας να έχουν κάτι να μας πουν στο τι κάνουμε λάθος. Η γνώμη μου είναι πως αυτή αποξένωση από την φύση έρχεται ως αποτέλεσμα της δύναμης που έχουμε αποκτήσει. Η τεχνολογική και όχι μόνο ανάπτυξη μας έχει κάνει να πιστέυουμε πως δεν χρειαζόμαστε πλέον την φύση. Οτι η φύση είνα κάτι ωραίο για να πηγαίνουμε που και που εκδρομές αλλά δεν έχει κάτι άλλο να προσφέρει. Δεν εξηγείται αλλιώς με πόση ευκολία καταστρέφουμε ολόκληρα δάση, το όζων και τους ωκεανούς μας.

Πίσω στους προγόνους μας

Αν επιστρέψουμε στους προγόνους μας. Οι άνθρωποι εξελίχτηκαμε μέχρι εδώ κυρίως λόγω του εγκέφαλου μας. Έχουμε τον μεγαλύτερο εγκέφαλο αναλογικά με το μεγεθός μας ο οποίος έχει μεγάλες ενεργειακές απαιτήσεις. Ως αποτέλεσμα εξελελιχτήκαμε να έχουμε υψηλότερο μεταβολισμό για να μπορούμε να καλύψουμε αυτές τις ανάγκες. Σε ένα όμως τόσο ασταθές και δύσκολο περιβάλλον έπρεπε να μπορούμε να έχουμε πρόσβαση άμεσα σε ενέργεια. 

Και έτσι μέσα στο πέρασμα των χρόνων αναπτύξαμε την δυνατότητα να μπορούμε να αποθηκέυουμε λίπος πάνω μας! 

Αυτός είναι ένας εξελικτηκός μηχανισμός που οι πίθηκοι ΔΕΝ έχουν. Οι πίθηκοι είναι όλοι λεπτοί με λίπος κάτω του 10%. Ακόμα και αν έχουμε ένα πίθηκο που μεγαλώσει με άφθονο φαγητό, αυτός θα μεγαλώσει πιο πολύ σε μέγεθος αλλά δεν θα βάλει λίπος. Αυτό το βρίσκω εντυπωσιακό και δείχνει πως οι λειτουργείες μας έχουν διαμορφωθεί με τέτοιο τρόπο να μας βοήθήσουν σε ένα περιβάλλον όπως αυτό που ζούσαν οι πρόγονοι μάς. Στη προκειμένη ένα περιβάλλον χωρίς άπλετο φαγητό.

Η στροφή προς το κρέας

Ενας άλλος παράγοντας που ήταν απαραίτητος στην εξέλιξη μας ήταν το κρέας. Για να μπορούμε να συντηρήσουμε τον εγλέφαλο μας έπρεπε να τρώμε τροφές που ειχαν υψηλότερη ενέργεια. Ετσι πρίν από 1 εκατομύρια χρόνια στραφήκαμε στο να τρώμε κρέας πιο συχνά. Αυτό είχε ως αποτέλεσμα ο γαστροεντερικό μας να αλλάξει. Πρώτα-πρώτα μίκρυνε και δεύτερο αρχίσαμε να στηριζόμαστε σε μια ενζυματική χώνεψη από ότι σε μια χώνεψη ζύμωσης όπως αυτη που έχουν οι πίθηκοι οι όποιοι στηρίζονται κυρίως σε φρούτα, καρπούς και φύλλα για την διατροφή τους.

 

Το περπάτημα

Το άλλο που κάνανε οι πρόγονοι μας, κάτι που εμείς έχουμε ξεχάσει, ήταν ότι περπατούσαν. Περπατούσαν χιλιόμετρα κάθε μέρα. Οι θερμιδιακές μας ανάγκες ήταν τέτοιες που έπρεπε να κυνηγάμε κάθε μέρα. Αυτο το ξέρουμε και από έρευνες που έχουν γίνει σε φυλές, σαν τους Χάτζα, που ζούν ακόμα όπως οι προγονοι μας

Οι Χάτζα περπατάνε 15-20 χιλιόμετρα κάθε μέρα. Μια απόσταση που οι περισσότεροι δεν κάνουν σε μια εβδομάδα!

Είμαστε φτιαγμένοι να περπατάμε αφού είναι μέρος της φυσιολογίας μας. Αντίθετα οι πίθηκοι κινούνται ελάχιστα μέσα στην μέρα αφού οι τροφές τους δεν μπορούν να τρέξουν και βρίσκονται συνεχώς γύρω τους. Ενα πιθήκος θα κάνει 1-2 χιλιόμετρα μέσα στην ημέρα. 

Αν αυτό δεν είναι δείγμα τι πρέπει να κάνουμε στην ζωή μας δεν ξέρω τι είναι. Αλλά σύγουρα ξέρω ότι η υγεία μας εξαρτάται από αυτό!

Ας συνοψήσουμε

Οι πρόγονοι μας ήταν κυρίως κυνηγοί. Και η εξέλιξη του ανθρώπινου σώματος έγινε για έτσι ώστε να στηρίξει την εξέλιξη του εγκεφάλου μας. Οι καθημερινότητα των προγόνων μας θα ήταν όντως πολύ δύσκολη. Ένας αγώνας επιβίωσης. Όμως πρέπει να καταλάβουμε το σώμα μας λειτουργεί ακόμα με τον ίδιο τρόπο όπως πριν από 500 χιλιάδες χρόνια. Το σώμα μας δεν ξέρει ότι υπάρχουν σουπερ μαρκετ σε κάθε γωνιά. Το σώμα μας έχει φτιαχτεί για ενα περιβάλλον όπου υπάρχουν αστάθειες, ελλείψεις και δυσκολείες. Περιμένει ότι θα έχουμε έλλειψη σε φαγητό και έτσι κάνει τα πάντα να αποθηκεύσει λίπος και να μας κρατήσει στο ίδιο βάρος.

Ποιές είναι λοιπόν οι βασικές αρχές της εξέλιξης μας

  • Δεν τρώμε συνεχώς. Οταν ξυπνάμε έχουμε λίπος αποθυκεύμένο πάνω μας που χρησιμοποιούμε. Η νηστεία είναι το καλύτερο εργαλείο που έχουμε στην διάθεση μας
  • Κινούμαστε. Όχι για να κάψουμε θερμίδες (αυτό είναι για άλλο άρθρο) αλλά γιατί η κίνηση και η επαφή με το έδαφος είναι βασικό μέρος της φυσιολογίας μας.
  • Μοιραζόμαστε. Οι πρόγονοι μας ζούσαν σε πολύ μικρές κοινότητες οι όποιες μοιραζόντουσαν όλες τις δουλειές και φυσικά όλο το φαγητό. Κανείς δεν έτρωγε παραπάνω αφού όλο το φαγητό μοιράζεται. Είμαστε κοινωνικά ζώα (αντίθετα με τους πιθήκους) ιδιαίτερα σε σχέση με το φαητό.
  • Τρώμε κυρίως κρέας. Τρώμε τις τρόφες που μας δίνουν την ενέργεια που το σώμα μας θέλει.  Η εξέλιξη μας το δείχνει αυτό. 

Τελευταίες σκέψεις

Η εξέλιξη του ανθρώπινου είδους μπορεί να μας δείξει τι πραγματικά χρειαζόμαστε για να είμαστε υγιείς. Το σώμα έχει ως κύριο στόχο την αναπαραγωγή και θα κάνει το πάντα να τρέχει μέχρι να γίνει αυτό. Απο εκεί και πέρα είναι στο χέρι μας το τι θα κάνουμε και τι επιλογές θα κάνουμε στην ζωή μας. Εγώ θα πρότεινα να ακούσουμε με σεβασμό τους προγόνους και να κάνουμε κάθε μέρα αυτά που έχουμε φτιαχτεί να κάνουμε.

Περισσότερο διάβασμα

Αν θέλετε να μάθετε περισσότερα για τον μεταβολισμό μας και τους προγόνους μας σα προτείνω ανεπιφύλακτα το βιβλιο Burn, του Herman Pontzer.




Filter your water please

As we are reaching summer, we all know we need to drink more water. Sweating makes us thirsty which is a sign of the body telling us it needs to be hydrated. But not any water will do.

As you probably know water is H2O, so hydrogen and oxygen. But when we drink water we also drink everything contained in it. Some elements are essential for our health, but unfortunately there numerous toxins in the normal tap water and some of them are very dangerous. So filter your water please!

The basics

You’re probably familiar with the fact that the human body is made up of roughly 60% water. What’s less apparent is the impact proper hydration has on our bodies. From head to toe, water influences the optimal functioning of all of our organs. Here are a few big ways hydration keeps us healthy:

  • It supports healthy energy levels and optimal brain function. The brain is one organ that relies heavily on good hydration. Even being mildly dehydrated—feeling thirsty, having darker urine—has been associated with impaired brain function. Conversely, keeping ourselves hydrated can contribute to more energy, better mood, and improved memory and brain performance. 
  • It’s one of the best cures for headaches. If you have a headache, it’s one of the best indicators of mild dehydration. If you experience them frequently, or are a common sufferer of migraine symptoms, consuming more water may help to improve headache symptoms and decrease their frequency.   
  • It optimizes our physical performance. The perfect companion to new year’s goals of more time spent at the gym, regular walks, or longer runs, staying hydrated can ensure that we’re at our peak physical performance. This is particularly important as exercise can mean a loss of up to 10% of our water weight via sweat! By having water throughout the day, we can ensure better temperature control and even reduce fatigue and boost feelings of motivation.
  • It can support weight loss efforts. As another common new year’s resolution, drinking plenty of water can also aid in weight loss. Drinking water 30 minutes before meals can increase feelings of fullness, often translating to eating less. Beyond that, increased water intake has been associated with slight increases in metabolism. 
  • Now we also know, through the work of Dr.Hussey, how important water is for keeping our heart healthy and our arteries clean.  

Water benefits

  • Water has a range of benefits and in many cases the only thing we need to improve our health is to listen to our thirst!

Elements in water

Good water should come with minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc

That is why many people prefer bottled water since, unlike tap water, mineral water is bottled at the source and is considered better quality.

What we drink from the normal tap water does not only contain minerals. It also contains numerous toxins, which unfortunately not legally forbidden yet and no standards exist for them. Reports state tap water can contain even up to 250 toxins! Some of them are : 

  • Arsenic: The problem is contaminated soil. The arsenic used in industrial manufacturing leeks into the soil, the ground water, and eventually, the drinking water. Along with being a well-known poison, small amounts can cause several types of cancers in adults, and developmental delays in children.
  • Chlorine: While chlorine kills pathogens in water, itself is so dangerous. It’s been linked to higher levels of cancer, birth defects, and heart attacks. Chlorine bonds with microscopic particles called trihalomethanes in the water, which produces the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and cell damage. Chlorine is dangerous, contributing to respiratory illness, memory loss, and balance issues.
  • Chloroform: Chloroform isn’t added directly to the water, but chlorine is-and chloroform is a by-product of chlorine combining with water. In spite of the fact that it increases the risk of cancer and can damage the nervous system.
  • Chromium-6: A known carcinogen, chromium-6 can also cause burns, pneumonia, and difficulties during childbirth.
  • Fluoride: While adding fluoride to the water supply in the 1940s may have made sense, the use of fluoride now days has been linked to the rise of ADHA in children and adolescents.
  • Lead: Along with the developmental delays, brain damage, and physical disabilities children face, lead exposure can also result in organ damage, prostate cancer, and reproductive issues in adults. 
  • Plastics: Recent research has found that more than 80% of the global water supply contains microscopic plastic particles which can damage our internal organs. Just as dangerous, the plastic has been shown to have absorbed chemicals before entering the water. These chemicals are then released into the body, causing their own damage.

Summary

  • Every region world wide will have different quality water, but since water quality is not regulated according to the standards we believe it should the only way you can ensure your safety is by creating your own filtered water, so you know for sure that the water you’re drinking is safe, pure and contaminant-free.

What can you do

  • Avoid tap water: This is a first important step in the right direction since I consider tap water dangerous. You should at least get your water tested so you can make up your mind.
  • Drink bottled glass water: Drinking from glass bottles is a good option. There are brands that provide high quality mineral water. You need to avoid plastic bottles as much as possible since plastics contain and hazardous chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals that threaten human health.
  • Buy a filter system: Get a filtering system that removes as much toxins as possible and that are certified. The systems we recommend and are the state of the art are the reverse-osmosis filters. Other options are pitcher filters, bottle filters, gravity filters all of which don’t have the same effectiveness.

When I stopped drinking tap water I first used Brita, which is a popular option. However Brita and similar filters won’t cut it. It is certified standards 42 and 53 & 401 and will reduce 97% of chlorine and 60 other contaminants.

I finally decided I had to upgrade to a better system which can filter 99% of the toxins and this a reverse-osmosis filter.  A Reverse-Osmosis System for the home has been found to be the best option, but a built-in, under-the-counter installation is expensive to install and a huge hassle to maintain.  That’s why I am using AquaTru, a countertop Water Filtration system.  It works without any plumbing or installation and makes great tasting water that I know is safe and pure. AquaTru (as other similar systems) comply to NSF standards to remove 83 contaminants by IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials ). 

AquaTru - Water Purifier

Next steps

  • Biohack your health by drinking the best possible water. This is something we do every day and we need to avoid putting chemicals into our body.
  • Whatever option you choose avoid drinking tap water as much as possible. If you decide to go with AquaTru you can order it here and get a discount.

Further Reading




Keto Fruit Salad

When you want to have some carbs go for a fruit salad! 

Fruit salads are refreshing and light on the stomach. They make even for a perfect meal if prepared properly. Even if, a lot of fruit is high sugar, we don’t need to be afraid of whole fruit in the context of a healthy diet. This fruit salad is mostly based on low carb fruit and can be enjoyed on a keto diet. It is made with berries, particularly, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. Berries are a popular choice amongst those looking to lower their carb intake. All berries have various health benefits and they don’t all provide the same vitamins and minerals. So, by throwing all of these different berries together in a fruit salad, you end up with a colourful, delicious, hearty bowl packed with goodness and a lot of nutrients. The berries will give you a boost of energy, especially on a hot Summer day, due to the vitamins and antioxidants they contain.

Fruit Salad

  • 5 Strawberries
  • 5 Blackberries
  • 1 Kiwi
  • 100 gr Heavy Cream
  • Mint
  • Lemon Zest
  • Lemon Juice
  1. Cut all the fruit in small pieces

  2. Whip the heavy cream with the Zest and Lemon

  3. Mix in all the ingredients

  • You can choose any fruit that you have available. Prefer local, seasonal, fresh and organic fruit when possible.
  • Add some protein powder if you want to make it a full meal.
  • You can change the consistency by adding some yogurt.
  • My personal favourite yogurt these days is kefir, so I would definitely try this!
  • You can also add some nuts or coconut, the options are endless.
Breakfast

My favourite fruits

  • Raspberries – 7g fiber, 5g net carbs
  • Blackberries – 5g fiber, 5g net carbs
  • Strawberries – 2g fiber, 6g net carbs
  • Blueberries – 2.4g fiber ,11.6g net carbs
  • Kiwi – 3g fiber, 12g net carbs
  • Apples – 4,4g fiber, 20g net carbs
  • Banana – 3g fiber, 23g net carbs



Why we need to remove wheat from our diet

Foods based on wheat and its grains are all around us. We all love buns, pasta, bread and breakfast cereals. For many, the thought of removing these from their diet seems completely irrational, if not ridiculous. But a growing number of people are now removing wheat from their diet – and for a very good reason. As science is increasingly showing, eating wheat increases the likelihood of a very large number of health problems.

For example, some people, such as those with celiac disease, need to stay away from wheat. The problem is that their small intestine is not able to properly digest gluten, a protein found in grain. 

What’s the problem

Wheat is increasingly blamed for the appearance of various ailments, such as obesity, heart disease and a number of digestive problems, including the dramatic increase in celiac-like disorders.

So what’s going on? And why do everyone suddenly blame the wheat?

The answer, it seems, has to do with a whole malignancy that exists in foods based on grains of wheat. Wheat increases blood sugar levels, causes immune problems, inhibits the absorption of important minerals and worsens the functioning of our intestines.

And many of these problems come from the fact that wheat is simply not what it was a few hundred years ago when production habits were different.

 In earlier times cereals were harvested. The ear stayed in the fields for several weeks. During this period of weather in the field, the grain seeds were exposed to rain and dew. The grain could get this moisture and, with the heat from the sun, the conditions were ideal to favour a degree of germination and multiplication of enzymes in the granule. Germination and fermentation of granules leads to many beneficial effects.  It increases lysine, reduces antinutrients (such as phytic acid and lectins), enzyme inhibitors and makes nutrients more accessible.

Later the production of flour was made using all parts of the grain. The germ and bran remained so with the endosperm and this meant that the flour had a shelf life of six months to a year before it broke down.

But in the industrial age there was a need for mass production and a long service life.

It was discovered that the removal of the microbe (which is full of fatty acids) extended the lifespan of the flour indefinitely. This led to an obvious decrease in nutrient density and gave refined wheat the ability to increase blood sugar very quickly.

By the 1930s, nutrients were artificially added back to flour to replace those lost from the dehumidification and removal of bran. It was called flour enrichment (with iron, folic acids, B vitamins, and so on).

Then things evolved, as the bleaching process began to achieve different goals (e.g. crust or soft bread). Bleaching or ripening flour is achieved by adding chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, calcium peroxide (E930 on the label), etc. Each of these factors either increases or decreases protein and, therefore, gluten.

This is how you can find cake flour, plain flour, all-purpose flour, and bread flour on your grocery shelf. Each flour has a different percentage of protein with cake flour being the lowest with about 7 percent and bread flour the highest with about 13 percent. This means that modern wheat may contain new “foreign” gluten proteins that the human digestive system has not adapted to digest them easily.

Today the grain milling means threshing (removal of the bark) and then removal of the bran (outer layer of the berry) and the germ (reproductive seed) that leaves the endosperm (protective tissue around the seed). The endosperm is ground into the usable flour that we all know.

 

Summary

  • Today wheat is difficult to digest since the way it is prepared is completely different from the older times.  
  • Now wheat is harmful and has no nutritional value. This means that we eat “empty food”, that is, food from which the body cannot really absorb some nutrients, and this is the main cause behind nutritional deficiency.

 

Gluten

Flour contains a protein called gluten, which no one can digest properly. Because the human body does not have the appropriate enzymes to break it down. It all depends on how well our intestinal walls close after consuming gluten and how our immune system reacts to it. The protein of gluten, which is abundant in the endosperm of the barley, rye and wheat, triggers a reaction in our intestine.

In particular, gluten, unlike fruits, which are intended to be eaten, creates an immune response that increases intestinal permeability, thereby causing systemic inflammation in the immune system, which can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and so on. And this applies to people who do not already suffer from celiac disease (celiac)!

The difference is that in a normal and healthy person, the intestinal walls are closed back, the small intestine becomes normal again, and the peptides remain in the intestinal tract and are simply excreted before the immune system notices them. In a person who reacts to gluten, the walls remain open as long as there is a consumption of gluten.

The effects of gluten clearly differ from person to person. But unfortunately many have celiac disease and may not even know it.

Summary

  • Gluten is a protein that many people do not have the necessary enzymes to digest. 

Lectins and phytic acid

Lectins, which are a type of molecules, can be found in beans, cereal seeds, nuts and potatoes. And when they are consumed excessively or when they are not cooked properly, they can be harmful. Now, most lectins are actually quite benign, and in some cases can even be therapeutic. But the problem with some lectins, such as those found in whole grains, is that they increase inflammation and contribute to autoimmune disease and insulin resistance. They also facilitate the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Phytic acid is also a problem, a compound found within nuts, grains and grains of wheat. Phytic acid can not be digested by humans. And worst of all, it is negatively associated with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron, because these minerals can not be properly absorbed after eating.

Consequently, any metals that could be absorbed by eating food are not metabolized well. Thus, phytic acid, in combination with gluten, make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, and this can lead to anaemia and osteoporosis.

 

Summary

  • Flour contains other ingredients that are harmful to the body.

The myth of fibers

Finally, a common argument in favour of eating whole grains is that they provide the necessary fiber. Unfortunately, due to the processing of wheat, flour has very few fibers. We can get sufficient amounts of fiber simply by eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.

What to look out for

Many people are surprised to see how their whole body benefits from the simple avoidance of the following, especially inflammatory, grains:

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Rye

Also pay attention to the labels, “Gluten-free” in the following products, because behind them are hidden many ingredients that cause diseases and / or weight gain. 

  • Corn flour
  • Potato starch
  • Rice starch
  • Soy

Key takeaways

  • Processed grain grains do not necessarily contain nutrients.
  • Processed grains can have many side effects as production has changed significantly in the last two hundred years and are no longer sufficient sources of energy, but cause inflammation and high insulin levels.

After all this, I hope it is an easy decision that flour can have no place in our daily lives.




Fasting and metabolism

Intermittent fasting is a way of life according to which we eat all the calories we need, in a short, specific period of time.

The goal is not to eat less, but to reduce the window of food during the day.

We have already talked about some of the benefits of fasting but many people assume it will low our metabolism. But it is actually the opposite! Let’s have a look why.

The benefits

  • Fasting helps to keep a healthy metabolism. This means we will maintain our metabolism and we should not be afraid. 
  • Fasting helps to balance our hormones. We will not feel hunger and still have plenty of energy. Long-term problems like insulin-resistance will start to resolve themselves.

The basics

Each time we eat our body will only take two steps.

It will use some of the food immediately for energy and save the rest for later availability. And this happens every time we eat because hormones, such as insulin, whose purpose is to store energy are secreted.

But the problem, according to research, is that the average person eats during the day for 14.45 hours. This means that half of us eat from 8 in the morning until 10.45 in the evening. And if we think that digestion lasts a few hours after the last meal, then close to 20 hours a day we store energy and never burn it. And this is not normal. Our body is made so that when we do not give it food, it can use the energy it has stored in a previous time. If it were not so then with the first meal we would lose we would die!

And in English the word breakfast describes it very well. Breakfast is a very important meal but it can be at any point in the day. I break the fast. So simple and intertwined with our physiology and our prehistory.

It is essential to understand that when we eat we store energy and when we do not eat we burn the stored energy (if we are healthy). There is no other situation we can be in and we want to find the golden section between the two, to be healthy and not to put on weight.

So what can we expect when we find the golden section of fasting?

When we eat is key to health

About metabolism

Our metabolism is defined by the energy to do all the body needs during the day. Around 70% of our energy is used for breathing, our heart beating and all other mandatory processes.

  •  It has been proven that diets low in calories have no effect. We may lose some weight in the beginning but then we gain it again. This is because fewer calories destroy our metabolism. When we reduce our calories, our metabolism also decreases. If we reduce calories by 30% the metabolism will decrease at the same rate. One can understand this because he will often feel cold, because his body temperature will drop. 
  • It is a basic rule that when we eat less, we burn less and this stops fat burning and weight loss.
  • Another important side effect of low calorie diets is that we are always hungry. If we can’t satisfy our hunger we are playing a lost game!

The problem is relatively simple. 

As we said when we eat there are two metabolic processes. The first is to burn the energy we just ate and the second is to store it. If we eat less one would expect to burn the same energy and use the stored, and thus lose weight. This is the well-known theory called calories-in calories-out. 

Unfortunately the body does not work that way. Due to a large number of hormones involved, if we reduce calories and eat 5 meals a day what is reduced is our metabolism and not the stored fat. Central to this process is once again insulin. High levels of insulin disrupt energy usage.

How does fasting help?

Intermittent fasting deals exactly with the issue of the downregulating its metabolism because it does not have the energy it needs. This happens when

  • we are on low calorie diets but also

     

  • when our body does not have access (!!) to what we eat due to metabolic syndrome.

     

When we are not eating we activate the processes to access a tank with “infinite” energy, our own fat! So even when we do not eat our metabolism remains stable and we can lose weight without getting stuck or afraid of gaining weight again. All this should not surprise us because it is simply part of our physiology and how we have been designed to function for thousands of years.

What else will you gain when you do intermittent fasting?

  • Time. Fasting will free your hands. How tedious it must be to have to cook 5 times a day, from morning to night. Less shopping, less cooking!
  • It is economical. Fasting is the easiest and cheapest solution for your health. And it is inexpensive. It is free actually!
  • It’s a way of life. Fasting is a way of life and can be included in any diet.

Summary

  • Fasting is a way of life that is an integral part of our physiology and therefore keeps our metabolism healthy, allowing our body to burn its own fat for energy.

Next steps

We don’t need to start with any strict protocols. Here are just some simple starting points which you should consider incorporating into your life.

  • Avoid snacking. This will help you to adjust faster. Having 3 meals a day is doable for everyone.
  • Avoid calories during your fasting window. Black coffee, tea, water and salt are allowed. It is better to reduce the fasting window but keep this simple guidelines.

Summary

  • If we want to have healthy metabolism we need to avoid low calorie diets.
  • By abstaining from food for a few hours we are able to activate the machinery to burn fat in order to produce energy. This is the only way to safely lose weight!
  • Try it out!

Further reading




Keto and metabolic flexibility

We have already discussed why we consider keto the foundation of health. The reasons are insulin sensitivity, satiety, nutrients and much more.

But it all drills down to this key concept of metabolic flexibility. Whatever you do with your diet if you want to optimise your health you need to be able to utilise fuel efficiently and effectively.

Let’s dive into the magic world of keto metabolic flexibility, shall we?

The basics

Metabolic flexibility is the state where the body can use either carbs or fat fuel efficiently to avoid energy crashes, to maintain a lean body mass, be insulin sensitive and have a healthy body. 

This is unfortunately not where most people are. To be metabolically flexible this requires that you are able to use your own fat fuel. Yes you heard it right! Our fat is there to be used as a constant source of energy. To fuel us and keep us energetic so we don’t have to eat every 3 hours or have cravings and energy crashes!

If we eat a high-carb diet and 5 meals a day we will block the access to our fat stores. This is when the hormone insulin comes to play. Every time we eat we secrete insulin which is an energy storing hormone. If we constantly eat carbs we will constantly have high insulin and never go into fat burning mode. And we are not talking about weight loss here. 

The mechanism of burning fat is a fuelling mechanism. It is an energy system that we want to always be able to access. Imagine driving a hybrid car which never uses electricity. That doesn’t sound right does it?

Getting into this state is a lot easier through a ketogenic lifestyle. This is how our ancestors lived for many thousands of years.

Summary

  • Metabolic flexibility allows us to burn both carbs and fat for fuel.
  • If we eat constantly carbs we are never able to efficiently burn fat for fuel.
  • Keto (and fasting) will help you reach metabolic flexibility which is the foundation to health.

About metabolic flexibility

Of course there were times in history when people had access to foods high in carbohydrates. Especially in the spring and fall there was plenty of fruit that was definitely part of their diet.

And this exactly is the point of metabolic flexibility!

Our physiology is such that we can efficiently metabolise fatty foods and carbohydrates. The goal of ketogenesis is not to be exclusively in ketosis forever. On the contrary, if we understand our physiology, and our history, we will see that we want to be metabolically flexible. To do intermittent fasting, while when we eat to be mainly with a ketogenic diet, with periods when we will eat carbohydrates, mainly fruits, seasonally, locally and without treatment.

 

But in order to get such a diet and be full of energy we need to get rid of sugar (especially refined) and enable our body to function by using fat as a form of energy. This is the true metabolic flexibility that helps us stay healthy, at our ideal weight and away from disease and inflammation.

In this way we will 

  • Have normal insulin levels.
  • Not overload our liver with sugar (glucose).
  • Eat foods that fill us up.
  • Eat foods that have high nutritional value.
  • Have balanced hormones and we will not be hungry all the time.

The result of all the above will be the loss of unnecessary weight.

Of course this process takes time to become part of our lives. I have worked with people who took them even a year to be truly independent of the drug called sugar, and even more so to reach their ideal weight.

But the reward is unique. Energy all day! This is the most important criterion of metabolic flexibility and the reason to start ketogenic!

Summary

  • Keto will allow you to become metabolically flexible since burning fat for fuel is the first prerequisite.
  • Once you are adapted and can use efficiently fat our insulin levels will be normalised and you can use carbs again efficiently.
  • At this point (and depending on your age) you will be able to switch between fuel sources and have constant energy throughout the day! 

Why Keto is the way to go

Keto does not restrict carbs per say. It restricts high glycemic carbs. These are carbs that will spike our blood glucose levels a lot. When we eat potatoes, cookies or cakes the liver suddenly gets all this energy that it has to deal with. This is an emergency situation that the body deals with, with the help of insulin.

As Jason Fung has very nicely explained, we have two energy stores. The first one is a really small one and can only store glucose. That is our liver. The second one is a huge one and is our body fat. The body creates this energy repository for a purpose. To use it later on for difficult times when food is not available. But this process is regulated by insulin. Insulin is the gate keeper, when we have high levels of insulin circulating, even we haven’t eaten for hours, the body thinks we are still in a fat storage mode and we can never access our body fat.

This is a very common issue. A huge percentage of the population has high insulin. This is called insulin resistance. When we eat insulin should go up and come back down in 3-4 hours. Imagine now waking-up after 8 hours of sleep and still have high insulin! This is a disease state!

Keto is the easiest way to fix the issue and I have seen it with everyone I work with. Literature is also demonstrating that when we stop putting all this load on the body to deal with sugar we have many favourable outcomes. 

Keto –> Low insulin –> Metabolic Flexibility

This is the path for health!

Summary

  • Insulin is a fat storing hormone that manages distribution of carbs we eat.
  • When we eat too much carbs insulin does not work effectively which will lead to insulin resistance.
  • Keto addresses this issue and helps bring insulin down to normal levels.

Key Takeaway

  • Metabolic Flexibility is what we should be all looking for. 
  • Aim to be mostly a fat burner which will give you all the energy your body needs.