More Info On Low Carb Diets From Dr. Mercola

I ran across this article from Dr. Mercola website while searching what doctors think of low carb diets and had to share it with you.  See below to see his opinion on a low carb diet and I will say that I totally respect his opinions!  Please know that this entire article below is taken from his website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/31/high-fat-low-carb-diet-benefits.aspx

If you want to read more, click the link above…

“Your body can burn both carbs and fat, but your body will burn carbs first. As long as you’re eating carbs, your body will try to burn those first. They’re like the bully cutting in line. You may just think of them as kind of a throw-away nutrient too, because your body cannot store high levels of carb.

You have to try to oxidize them and burn them first. But if you’re carb intolerant, which is highly prevalent in this country, you can’t burn carbs, by definition, very well.

Your body then only has one alternative, and that’s to convert the carbs you eat into fat. That happens to a greater extent to folks who are insulin resistant or carb intolerant. That really sets the stage for a lot of metabolic problems. Again coming back to how do you train the body to burn more fat; it all starts with removing the availability of carbohydrate because, as long as it’s there, it’s going to take precedence, and will simultaneously inhibit burning of fat.

These are very sensitive and exquisite mechanisms in place for this to work. You eat just a single meal of carbs and your fat-burning shuts down right away.

This is why a low- nonfiber carb diet works so well to shift fuel use over to fat. You restrict the amount of glucose and starches that you’re consuming, and your body naturally shifts over to preferring fat for fuel. It does take some time to adapt to that. Your cells have to shift over their machinery to handle the increased levels of fat and lipid-based fuels. It takes a matter of weeks to get that adaptation.

But once it’s there, they’re fairly robust adaptations that don’t just go away. This is why there is an adaptation period to a low-carb diet. It can be disrupted though if you reintroduce carbs. But a lot of the adaptations do remain.”

Finding Your Ideal Carb Level

According to Volek, a level of non-fiber carbs that allows you to enter into nutritional ketosis (a metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; it’s the biological reflection of being able to burn fat) is on average about 50 grams per day or less of digestible or absorbable carbohydrates. However, we all vary how we respond to the same food, so this is not an exact recommendation.

Some people can be in a full fat-burning state with full ketosis at a level of non-fiber carbs that’s higher than 50 grams; maybe 70 or 80 grams. Others, especially if you’re insulin resistant or have type 2 diabetes, may require less than 40 grams or even 30 grams per day.

Again, it bears repeating that when we say carbohydrates, we’re referring to non-fiber carbs only. If you look at the nutrition facts on a processed food package, it will list total carbs, and that’s not what we’re talking about. Don’t get confused about this or you’ll get really nervous. You do need carbs, but you need most all of them from vegetables.

By volume, vegetables are not very calorie-dense. You could have an 85 percent fat diet, and the volume of the fat would be one-tenth the volume of the vegetables you’re eating.

To find your personal carb limit, it’s important to actually measure your ketones, which can be done either through urine, breath, or blood. This will give you an objective measure of whether or not you’re truly in ketosis, rather than just counting the grams of carbohydrates you consume.

“That even varies within a person over time,” Volek says. “You may be able to tolerate more carbs when you’re in your 20s, but suddenly now you’re in middle age and the same level of carbs is resulting in a few extra inches on your waist, your blood sugars are creeping up, you now have prediabetes, or worse.

The appropriate level of carb for an individual is bit of a moving target, but it is a very important element to personalizing a diet, which I think is fundamental to this idea of personalized nutrition. It’s finding the appropriate level of carb for you at any given point in your lifespan that allows you to maintain health.”

Research has shown that ketosis is a very safe and a therapeutic metabolic state to be in, especially if you’re diabetic or suffering from carb intolerance. But there are people who are naturally very insulin sensitive and carb tolerant that don’t need to be in ketosis to thrive. So there’s certainly room for flexibility, depending on your individual situation.”

Dr. Mercola

What is Syndrome X?

What is Syndrome X?

Well it USED to be called Syndrome X but now it is called Metabolic Syndrome.  According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have it. That’s almost a staggering one out of every six people. This syndrome runs in families and is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The risks of developing metabolic syndrome increases as you age.  So what is it?

Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a group of risk factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels (of good and bad), and abdominal fat.  Obviously, having any one of these risk factors isn’t good. But when they’re combined, they set the stage for serious problems. These risk factors double your risk of blood vessel and heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes and they increase your risk of diabetes by five times!

The complications that may result from metabolic syndrome are frequently serious and long-term (chronic). They include: hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), diabetes, heart attack, kidney disease, stroke, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular disease.

If diabetes develops, you may be at risk for additional health complications, including: eye damage (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney disease and amputation of limbs.

The good news is that metabolic syndrome can be controlled, largely with changes to your lifestyle!  I know you know what lifestyle I am talking about.  There are so many scientific studies now regarding the low carb diet that you cannot dispute the positive health effects by following this lifestyle including fast weight loss, reduced hunger, insulin and blood sugar control, lower risk of heart disease, reduced risk for certain types of cancer and the list goes on.  So, if you have been told that you have metabolic syndrome, why not try it?  It is so easy if you just keep an open mind and be creative.  My blog is to make the transition easier with all of the amazing low carb (and gluten free) recipes as well as all of the tips available.  Scroll down to one of my original posts where I give you the rules of following a low carb diet.  It’s one thing to cut your carbs but if you really need to lose weight or have any health issues mentioned above, you need to stick to the rules closely.  Let me know your thoughts!

Remedies for Blood Sugar Issues

Top Remedies for Blood Sugar Issues

Do you have blood sugar issues?  Hypoglycemia, Pre-diabetes or diabetes?  As you know by now I am a big advocate of the low carb lifestyle.  Why?  If we eat too much sugar or high-glycemic carbohydrates (white rice, cakes, crackers, bread, potatoes and cookies), we experience a rapid influx of blood sugar. Our body must rush in to compensate with a spike of insulin to take care of the sudden overabundance of glucose, leaving us tired and irritable from the yo-yo effect.   Keeping your blood sugars balanced is one of the most important steps you can take for overall health and vitality as well as weight control. Besides eating a wholesome diet rich in low-glycemic whole fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates, you can optimize your blood sugar levels by including supplements that promote glucose balance.

Check out the top remedies to help you control your blood sugar levels.

  1. Chromium: The best form of this trace mineral is chromium picolinate. Chromium can normalize blood sugar levels, improve blood sugar utilization and decrease insulin requirements in people with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.
  2. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): Not only is ALA a very potent anti-oxidant, it enhances insulin sensitivity
  3. Banaba Leaf Extract: Banaba leaf contains corosolic acid that helps transport glucose from the blood into cells for use as energy
  4. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and works to improve blood glucose by slowing stomach emptying after meals and enhancing insulin sensitivity
  5. Fenugreek: Fenugreek supports balanced blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and carbohydrate absorption. Fenugreek may also stimulate insulin production due to an abundance of amino acids
  6. Gymnema Sylvestre: Gymnema Sylvestre normalizes blood sugar by increasing insulin levels, reducing glucose absorption, and improving sugar uptake
  7. Magnesium: Magnesium increases insulin sensitivity and supports healthy glucose levels

Low carb, low carb, low carb.  Sugar is clearly the culprit to blood sugar issues.  By following a low carb diet you will not have the blood sugar spikes that carbohydrates cause.  It’s really not hard.  It’s simply a matter of being a little creative with your diet and opting not to eat potatoes, pasta, rice and bread.  These are the biggest culprits to name a few.  As much as fruit is healthy for you, it is not good for blood sugars to limit fruit to no more than 1-2 per day and stick with the low glycemic choices like berries.

What Can I Eat on a Low Carb Diet and What Should I Avoid?

The one thing I quickly realized when following a low carb diet is to BE PREPARED!  A lot of us (including me) are lazy cooks.  If my husband isn’t cooking for me I would tend to open a can of tuna and have a tuna sandwich.  It’s simple, easy and fast and quite filling for me.  So, now my husband and I will cook a turkey on the weekend and then I will clean it up and boil the bones to make turkey soup.  So now I have cold turkey for my salads and soup which I just have to re-heat all week.  My soups are just meat and veggies and sometimes black beans.  I never add potatoes or rice to keep the carbs lower.  We will cook chicken and do the same thing as turkey.

The other things we prepare for the week are boiled eggs, cut up veggies and lettuce.  So, when I am hungry (and lazy or busy) I can simply put a salad together, eat soup or have some boiled eggs with cold veggies.  I use MCT oil and balsamic vinegar for my salad dressings and veggie dips with some spices.  So, what exactly should I be eating when following a low carb diet?

  • Meat – all types of beef, pork, chicken, lamb etc.
  • Fish – all types especially those high in Omega 3 such as salmon, mussels, tuna, and sardines
  • Chicken – skin on, free range
  • Vegetables – all types that grown above the ground. Leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, avocados, mushrooms, lettuce.  Stay away from root veggies, the ones that grow in the dirt
  • Cheese – choose the full fat varieties.
  • Cream – full fat, double, whipping.
  • Full fat milk – avoid all flavored milks and avoid any milk in large quantities because even though it may only contain 5% carbs, it is easy to drink a 250ml serving which equates to 12.5g carbs.
  • Nuts and seeds – a great snack but just watch not to overindulge as they still have a fair amount of carbs
  • Eggs – choose free range if you can
  • Fats – use butter, olive oil, coconut oil (high in oleic acid), lard, MCT oil

Foods to Avoid:

  • All processed sugar drinks – pop, juice, energy drinks, anything with sugar and carbs
  • All cakes, biscuits, jams, sweets.
  • All cereals – most cereal contains anywhere from 50%-80% carbs. No wonder they are known as CEREAL KILLERS!!!
  • Bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar etc. There is little nutritional value in these foods and they are loaded in carbs
  • Fruit is something that should be limited because of the high fructose content. It is natures candy. Yes fruit has vitamins and healthy nutrients, but you will be getting far more nutrients from your increase veggie intake. Choose nutrient dense, low carb fruits such as berries. Fruit such as pineapple, mango, and especially dried fruits, should be avoided. Also avoid ALL fruit juices. They have an incredibly high glycemic index, which will make your insulin spike (and start storing fat again). “If you are overweight, fruit is not your friend”.
  • All wheat products have a high glycemic index, raise your blood sugar and increase appetite
  • Grains avoid all grains including wheat, oats, barley, spelt etc.
  • Pasta  is extremely high in carbohydrates and has almost no nutritional value
  • Starchy vegetables if you can tolerate some carbs, choose highly coloured starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, beetroot or sweet potato for their wonderful phytonutrients and vitamins.
  • Rice very little nutritional value. Generally used to bulk out a meal. Try substituting rice for more vegetables or check out cauliflower rice recipes
  • Rice crackers these are almost 80% carbs and incredibly processed, especially the flavored ones. Avoid.
  • Diet or low fat products check the labels and you will see how processed they are and how much higher in carbs they are compared to their regular version e.g, low fat cream cheese can be up to 15% carbs, whereas the regular is only4%

Sugar is Everywhere! What Do I Do?

Eliminating Added Sugar

Sugar is hidden in many foods that we consume on a daily basis, such as sodas, fruit juices, candies, and ice cream. In fact, one can of soda has over 10 teaspoons of sugar in it!  It also lurks in almost all processed foods, including breads, meats, and even your favorite condiments like Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.  You add it to your morning cup of coffee or tea, bake it into pastries, cakes and cookies and even sprinkle it all over your breakfast cereal or on your oatmeal.  It seems impossible to avoid it altogether.

Sugar is one of the most damaging substances that you can eat and we are addicted to it. But how exactly does sugar work in our body, and what are the side effects of eating too much sugar on people’s health?  An average person consumes about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day, however newest studies show that the average person consumes close to 126 grams of sugar!  What’s even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. This highly processed form of sugar is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar, which is why many food and beverage manufacturers decided to use it for their products, as it would allow them to save money in the long run.

The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. In fact, your body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar.  It is actually metabolized directly into fat which can cause a whole host of problems that can have many negative effects on your health, including insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, liver damage (similar to the effects of alcohol), decreased HDL and increase LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and high blood pressure, to name a few!

Excess sugar also increases your risk of other diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  Your liver metabolizes alcohol the same way as sugar.  Some studies found that fructose is readily used by cancer cells to increase their growth which allows the cancer to spread faster.  Also, there is also a growing body of research that shows a strong connection a high fructose diet and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease through the same pathway that causes type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders may be caused by the constant burning of glucose for fuel by your brain.

Remember too that ALL food with the exception of meat and fat, are carbohydrates and ALL carbohydrates break down into sugar in your body, which increases your insulin levels and causes insulin resistance. Remember that artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are also a no-no, as they actually come with a whole new set of health problems that are much worse than what sugar or corn syrup can bring.

Step 1 of eliminating added sugars is understanding why excess sugar is bad for your health and will sabotage you in your weight loss efforts.  Learn to read labels so you can identify hidden sugars.