Focus on low carbohydrate ‘keto’ diet and Intermittent fasting by Dr. Sarah Schenker

Diet trends come and go but without doubt the two that have prevailed over the past years and continue to grow in popularity are the low carbohydrate ‘keto’ diet and Intermittent fasting. While faddy diet over promise and then fail to deliver, these two approaches enjoy an impressive success rate, hence their enduring popularity.

So what do these dietary approaches involve and how can Liiv products assist with the ultimate goal of sustained healthy weight loss?

Intermittent is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are no rules on what foods can and cannot be eaten, and quantities of foods are not specified, instead the emphasis is on when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern.

Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. Research has shown that fasting for periods of time is more natural than grazing and eating meals and snacks throughout the day.

There are a number of methods for intermittent fasting which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.

These are the most popular methods:

  • The 16/8 method: this approach involves restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours a day, such as 10am-6pm or 1pm-9pm. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: his involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 diet: this involves consuming only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eating normally the other 5 days.

Scientific research has shown that all of these methods cause weight loss as long as you eat fairly normally when you are allowed to eat and don’t over-compensate by eating much more or heavily indulge.

A 2014 review study found that intermittent fasting lead to 5-8% weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significant amount, compared to most weight loss studies, In addition, the study showed that participants also lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, indicating a significant loss of harmful visceral (tummy) fat that can build up around organs and causes disease.

Another study showed that intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss than the more standard method of continuous calorie restriction.

In addition to weight loss, there are some important health benefits associated with fasting, including:

  • increased levels of human growth hormone
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • cellular repair, including autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells
  • improved function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease.

As such fasting has been associated with a reduced risk of inflammatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

In addition to lowering insulin and increasing growth hormone levels, it increases the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by up to14%

One of the biggest advantages of fasting is that it takes all the choice away of what to eat, this is especially attractive to those who feel overwhelmed by trying to understand the difference between healthy eating and eating to lose weight. There is no preparation, no meal planning, recipes to cook or special foods to include.

The main disadvantage of course, is hunger. You may also feel weak and lack concentration and find that on a fast day you may not perform as well as usually do. This should only be temporary and your body will adapt to the new routine. However, for this reason it may be best to plan carefully when you fast and avoid busy or pressure days or days when you plan to exercise.

Lastly, if you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

How Liiv can help

Following the 5:2 method, allows you 400-500 calories on the 2 fast days. This calorie allowance could easily be divided between two Liiv Nutritionally Balanced Shakes. At 220 kcal per serving, when mixed with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk, not only do the shakes provide you with all the essential daily nutrients you need at, they will also fill you up and keep any hunger pangs at bay.

Maintaining good hydration is also important, particularly on fast days, Liiv’s Aloe Vera, Green Tea & Ginger Drink Concentrate is a great aid for hydration. It has a pleasant taste so is more tempting that plain water and as it’s sugar-free, it won’t pile on calories.

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet that involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with more protein and healthy fats. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

Your body then becomes very efficient at burning fat for energy. Fatty acids are mobilised from fat stores and converted into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause big reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketone production, has been shown to have numerous health benefits.

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:

  • Standard ketogenic diet: This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet: This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
  • Targeted ketogenic diet): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
  • High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

Research has shown that a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease and is superior to conventional low fat or calorie restricted diets. In addition, participants report experiencing significantly less hunger compared with other diets which helps motivation to stick with it.

One study found that participants lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet and both blood levels of triglycerides and HDL (good) cholesterol improved.

Increased ketone production results in lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity which plays a key role in weight loss. One study found that following a ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by as much as 75%. While another study in people with type 2 diabetes found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop using all diabetes medications.

Although ketogenic diets appear to be effective for weight loss, a major disadvantage is summing the willpower to give up carbs, they are a dominant part of any typical Western diet. It does require huge effort to make the changes to traditional meals as breads, rice, pasta, cereals and root veg all have to be avoided, not to mention fruit and beans and legumes. The usual easy, convenient choices for breakfast and lunch such as toast, cereal and sandwiches are off the table as is popping into the local deli/coffee shop. This diet requires a huge change in planning, shopping and meals prep.

How Liiv can help

The Liiv Nutritionally Balanced Shakes make a delicious and convenient option for a quick breakfast or a handy lunch. Afterall, not everyone has time to start poaching eggs and smashing avocados in the morning. The shakes provide plenty of protein and at least 50 percent of your daily requirement of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay nourished.

Liiv’s Collagen Beauty Booster is also a valuable addition to your keto diet, as well as part of your skincare routine. Each sachet provides 20g of collagen peptides to encourage your body to produce more of its own collagen. You can mix with water for a high protein drink between meals.

 

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