• What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

    what is the ketogenic diet?

    Chances are you have a rough idea what the Atkins diet is, and now you're hearing people talk about being on a 'keto' diet. But what does it mean? Is it an effective way of losing weight or just another fad diet?

    What can you eat on a ketogenic diet?

    The ketogenic diet is an extreme low carb diet plan which aims to aid weight loss through achieving a state called 'ketosis'. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it burns fat as fuel instead of carbohydrate and the theory is that this is a good way to drop body fat. However, it is an extremely complicated and scientific process and must be followed very strictly for it to work. 

    With regards to what you can eat, the keto diet is strictly high fat, low carb. To be more specific, nearly no carbs at all. As soon as you slip and eat a small amount of carbohydrates, your body will snap out of ketosis and you will pile on weight due to your body storing the carbs. Ketosis is a state our body adapts to naturally when food supplies are low; it is a form of starvation mode. Whenever the body is in starvation mode, it naturally wants to hold on to as much energy as possible because it thinks there's a low food supply. So if you slip up or eat a snack, you'll hold on to it more so than if you were not following a keto diet.

    A typical keto meal plan will consist of eggs, bacon and other fatty meats, double cream and other high fat dairy, and vegetables. You strictly cannot eat any sugar so that means no fruit or junk food, no starch so no potatoes, beans, or legumes, and no grains so no bread or cereals. It is a ridiculously tough 'diet' to stick to and it is advised that you should employ the help of a trained physician or medical professional as it is so complicated. This is not a diet to be taken lightly and it is strongly recommended not to follow it if you have not done proper research first.

    weight loss low carb diet

    Is the ketogenic diet safe?

    The ketogenic diet was actually originally created as a way of controlling and treating epilepsy, and diet regimens like this have been used for hundreds of years. When modern treatments and anti-epileptic drugs became more widely available in the early 20th century, the use of extreme fasting diets declined. However, people began adopting this regimen for weight loss and interest has spiked in recent years, especially following the fame of the notorious Atkins diet. 

    There are a lot of negative side effects to being in a state of ketosis. Most infamously is the bad breath you will suffer. You will also suffer from increased urination as ketosis is a natural diuretic and this will also lead to suffering from an extremely dry mouth. It is also highly likely that you'll suffer from the 'keto flu' which has symptoms including headaches, nausea, fatigue, and cramping. As the ketogenic diet employs a lot of fasting, be prepared to be very hungry a lot of the time too!

    In answer to the question, "is it safe?" the answer is only if it is followed properly. Any type of fasting or extreme change in diet should be monitored by a healthcare professional otherwise it could be potentially dangerous. If you still want to try this diet after reading the above, make sure you do your research first and are fully prepared. 

    black and white image of measuring tape belly

    How many carbs can you eat and still be in ketosis?

    If you limit your carbohydrate intake severely by eating less than 15g per day, you will enter ketosis more quickly. You can eat up to 25g of carbs per day and still be in ketosis. Any more than this and you risk snapping back and storing fat. Your total carbohydrate intake should be no more than 5% of your total daily calories. You should have 75% fat and 25% protein. This is really not a recommendable ratio of macros and you should proceed with extreme caution. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Can Lemon Water Really Help You Lose Weight?

    Lemon water for weight loss Sundried

    Tom Daley claims that drinking lemon water in the morning is his secret to keeping a lean physique. But what does it actually do? Is there any science behind it? Can lemon water really help you lose weight?

    Can lemon juice reduce belly fat?

    Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can reduce bloating which will in turn reduce the appearance of belly fat. However, it is not actually burning your fat, and a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and a balanced diet is, and always will be, the best way to reduce belly fat.

    If you suffer from acid re-flux or indigestion, lemon juice might actually exacerbate your symptoms as it is highly acidic, so drink in moderation.

    fat burning lemon water weight loss diet detox

    What does drinking lemon water in the morning do?

    If you think you need to detox, think again. There is no need to detox as our livers and kidneys do that for us naturally, so drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning won't detox you any more than any other drink. However, drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do to be healthy, so drinking water in the morning, whether it has lemon in it or not, is definitely good for your health and should be something you try to create as a habit. If you don't like the taste of water or struggle to drink enough, adding lemon can make it more palatable and therefore encourage you to stay more hydrated. It has also been claimed that drinking lemon water in the morning can aid digestion and prevent heartburn and bloating, but this has not been scientifically proven.

    What are the health benefits of lemon water?

    There are actually no scientific health benefits of drinking lemon water. Citrus fruits like lemons contain high levels of Vitamin C which is good for maintaining healthy skin and appearing well, however the amount you would get from a glass of lemon water is questionable. 

    The main health benefit of drinking lemon water is actually from drinking the water itself. Whether is had lemon in it or not doesn't really make a difference. Staying well hydrated is paramount to being healthy, especially as up to 75% of your body is made from water. The health risks associated with dehydration range from bad skin and bad breath to serious complications such as fevers, fainting, and even death. An easy way to remind yourself to stay hydrated is by keeping a water bottle with you at all times. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Everything You Need To Know About Protein Bars

    protein bars healthy diet

    Protein bars are a popular way to supplement your diet. Whether you use them as a healthy snack alternative or you swear by them post-workout, they're becoming a big part of the fitness world. We answer everything you've ever wanted to know about protein bars.

    Why eat protein bars?

    Protein bars are often designed to be delicious, moreish, and packed with healthy ingredients. They are expertly crafted to deliver the correct nutrients and a powerful punch of protein while still tasting great. Most protein bars will contain between 10g-20g of protein but can also contain a lot of sugar and calories.

    Read more: These 5 'Healthy' Protein Bars Contain More Sugar Than A Donut

    A protein bar is designed to be eaten post-workout, when your body is low on glucose and is in need of a protein hit to aid recovery. In addition, they are meant to be used as a healthy snack alternative when on-the-go, instead of eating conventional chocolate bars or snacks. 

    A protein bar can be a great way of increasing your daily protein intake, however it's important to beware of the calories and sugar. Sometimes, it's better to get your protein from natural food such as lean meat, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans.

    eggs high protein

    Do protein bars make you put on weight?

    When it comes to weight loss and weight gain myths, it can be difficult to split fact from fiction. You will only really gain weight if you are eating more calories than you are burning in a day. Therefore, protein bars will only make you gain weight if they are taking your daily caloric intake over the limit.

    However, it is certainly possible that eating protein bars could make you gain weight because you don't realise just how many calories they contain. Always check the label when buying a new protein bar to check not only how many calories it contains, but also how much sugar. What you thought was just an innocent, healthy snack could easily contain over 300 calories.

    weight loss diet calories sugar  

    What is the best protein bar?

    In order to find the best protein bar for you, you need to know your goals. When going on a fitness or weight loss journey, it's very important to set fitness goals so that you can track your progress and have something to focus on. Once you know your goal, you will be able to decide what is the best protein bar for you.

    Some protein bars are designed to increase mass for those looking to build a lot of muscle. These bars will contain a high amount of carbs as well as protein and a high number of calories for those who are 'bulking' on a high calorie diet. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 'lean' or 'diet' protein bars which contain very few carbs and a low amount of calories while still packing a lot of protein, and these are better for people trying to lose weight while building lean muscle and strength.

    Finally, one of the most important things to consider when deciding if a protein bar is right for you is the taste and texture. Some protein bars are very dense with a chewy texture, while some are designed to mimic conventional chocolate bars with their decadent taste and chocolate coating. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren