Friday, October 6, 2017

Ketosis: What Is It?


Simply put: Ketosis is when your body uses fat as its primary fuel source.

In a standard diet, where carbohydrates make up 60% or more of the total daily intake, your body is using glucose for fuel. Carbohydrates can become problematic when your goal is weight loss or when you are trying to shed fat. This is due to the body continuing to use glucose via carbs as fuel and only sparingly using stored body fat.

In a ketonic state, on the other hand, your body is getting most of its energy from stored body fat. There are several benefits to being in a ketonic state, which I’ll expand on below. First, let’s explore the science of ketosis.

When your body is running low on glucose, it will begin to breakdown stored body fat. Through a process called Beta-Oxidation, your liver will covert body fat into ketones. Don’t worry! In this case, ketones are a great thing to have. Your body will utilize those ketones as an energy source. Your brain, in particular, prefers the use of ketones as fuel.

So now that you know what ketosis is, it’s time to highlight the benefits for the athletic population as well as the average, everyday population.

Benefits of Ketosis for Athletes

Achieve Your Competition Weight

  • If you are in a competitive weight-based sport such as wrestling, martial arts, or boxing, then entering ketogenic state is going to put your weight loss into overdrive. Instead of putting your body through the ringer weeks before a weigh-in, following a consistent ketonic diet will promote a steady weight loss of fat, not lean tissue. Studies show that a ketogenic diet is safe and effective for long term fat burning. (1)
  • If you’re an endurance athlete, you know all too well how carb-loading can put a lot of stress on your stomach resulting in what is known as gastric distress. This can quickly decrease performance and may even cost you a competition. With ketosis, there’s no need to carb-load and as a result, no worries of gastric distress intra-competition.
  • By entering a state of ketosis, you are effectively protecting lean muscle tissue. Since your body is relying on body fat as a fuel source, it will not have a need to breakdown muscle protein. This means that when you get on a ketogenic diet, you don’t have to worry about losing that hard-earned muscle mass. (2)
  • The most famous benefit of ketosis is the rate at which you lose body fat. A ketogenic diet has been shown time and time again to be an effective method for obese diabetic patients. Not only did the subjects in these studies lose weight and keep it off but their insulin sensitivity increased. (1, 3)
  • Normally, after you consume a meal that is packed with carbohydrates, your body releases the hormone insulin to help muscle tissue and cells absorb the glucose via the carbohydrates. One of the major health problems in the United States is insulin resistance due to excessive carbohydrate intake. Entering a ketonic state will dramatically improve insulin sensitivity, helping to support healthy hormone levels as well as an ideal weight. (1)
  • As it turns out, your brain prefers ketones as an energy source. Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, is far more energy efficient when compared to glucose. What’s more, entering a ketogenic state may help your body to fight back against free radicals that are precursors for aging and disease. (4, 5)


Prevents Stomach Issues

Preserve Muscle Glycogen

How the Average Joe Can Benefit from Ketosis

Incredible Rate of Fat Burning

Combats Insulin Resistance

Boost Your Brain

What is the most accurate way to know if I'm in Ketosis?

This is one of the most asked questions for newcomers to the Ketogenic Diet; it’s also one of the most important.

To get the full benefits of a Ketogenic Diet, you MUST be in a ketogenic state. How do you know if you’re in a ketogenic state? There are a few ways to measure your progress and the current state of ketosis. Let’s review them from least reliable to most reliable.

Breath Test

Hands down, the easiest way to determine whether you’ve reached a state of ketosis would be how your breath smells. While in ketosis, many advocates claim that they have a sweeter, almost fruit-like, breath. Yes, this may be a sign that you’ve reached a ketogenic state but simply smelling your own breath isn’t accurate or reliable. You need an actual way to measure your progress. That brings us to our first way to truly measure your ketogenic progress: urine.

Urine Test

A simple way to determine whether you are in a state of ketosis, a urine test is straight forward. You simply pass the ketosis strip under your urine stream and wait for the colors to change. Typically, the darker the color on the strip, the more ketones are present; however, there is a big problem with the urine test method. The level of ketones in your urine doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual level in your blood, which is where it counts.

Blood Test

If you want the most accurate readout for your state of ketosis, there’s no getting around an at-home blood ketone monitor. Your ketone blood level is the ideal way to measure your ketogenic state. It involves taking a direct sample of the blood and placing it within a portable reader. Don’t worry! The device causes just a tiny prick of the finger, which is far less noticeable and less aggravating than a paper cut. If you’re serious about getting into ketosis, this is the best way to go. 

Blood Ketone Monitor

Obviously, some blood ketone readers will be better than others. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Keto Mojo device. It’s extremely easy to use, incredibly affordable, and most importantly, it’s dead-on accurate.

The set-up of Keto Mojo device takes a few seconds as you’ll see this live demonstration. Once you get past the worst part of the process, which is pricking the side of your finger, you simply apply the blood to the provided strips and you’ll get to see two things: ketones and glucose.


First, you’ll see your blood ketone level, which should be between 1.5 and 3.0 millimolar. Next, you’ll see your blood glucose level. Both of these readouts are critical as they provide you with the information you need to get back on track if you have fallen out of a ketogenic state. If you’re within this range, keep doing what you’re doing.

No Stress Learning Curve

One of the things that I really like with the Keto Mojo is how quickly you can learn about ketosis, an ideal ketogenic state, and how to use the device. If you’re going to go with any at-home keto reader, this is the one.

References

1. Hussein M Dashti, MD PhD FICS FACS, Thazhumpal C Mathew, MSc PhD FRCPath, Talib Hussein, MB ChB, Sami K Asfar, MB ChB MD FRCSEd FACS, Abdulla Behbahani, MB ChB FRCS FACSI PhD FICS FACS, Mousa A Khoursheed, MB ChB FRCS FICS, Hilal M Al-Sayer, MD PhD FICS FACS, Yousef Y Bo-Abbas, MD FRCPC, and Naji S Al-Zaid, BSc PhD. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004 Fall; 9(3): 200–205. PMCID: PMC2716748.

2. Adams, J. H., Koeslag, J. H., (1989), Glycogen Metabolism And Post-Exercise Ketosis In Carbohydrate-Restricted Trained And Untrained Rats. Experimental Physiology, 74 doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.1989.sp003236.

3. Antonio Paoli. Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Feb; 11(2): 2092–2107. PMCID: PMC3945587

4. Noh HS, Lee HP, Kim DW, Kang SS, Cho GJ, Rho JM, Choi WS. A cDNA microarray analysis of gene expression profiles in rat hippocampus following a ketogenic diet. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2004 Oct 22;129(1-2):80-7.


5. Lee J, Bruce-Keller AJ, Kruman Y, Chan SL, Mattson MP. 2-Deoxy-D-glucose protects hippocampal neurons against excitotoxic and oxidative injury: evidence for the involvement of stress proteins. J Neurosci Res. 1999 Jul 1;57(1):48-61.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Testosterone Naturally


Did you know that once you hit the age of 30, your testosterone level peaks and starts a gradual decline? This rate of decline will vary from man to man based on lifestyle and genetics but one thing is for sure: testosterone starts to drop.

Low testosterone levels are a growing problem in the States and beyond. When a man has low testosterone levels, a number of symptoms may occur including depression, mood swings, fatigue, and gyno-based side effects such as excess fat.

If you want to support your natural testosterone levels without paying an arm and a leg for expensive medical treatments or an illegal supplement, keep reading. Let’s take a look at the top 5 ways you can boost your testosterone levels naturally.

5. T-Boosting Exercises

First, if you aren’t already exercising, then this is the first change you’ll want to make in your lifestyle to help increase your testosterone levels.

If you are exercising, did you know that there are some exercises that are better than others for promoting higher testosterone levels?

If you want to promote the greatest release of testosterone, then you need to activate several large muscle groups at once. These exercises are commonly called compound movements and they do more than boost your testosterone production. They also promote weight loss and muscle building.

Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, make sure that you are using the following exercises:

  • Back Squat
  • Weighted Lunges
  • Hexbar Deadlift
  • Incline Press

Need expert advice on how to perform these exercises? Click on each video to see a breakdown of the correct form and technique.

4. Eat These Superfoods

Next up is diet. Depending on what you’re eating, you may be responsible for promoting the decrease of testosterone in your body. Diet plays a huge role in testosterone levels and while it’s recommended to eat a well-balanced diet of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, if you aren’t quite there yet, it’s okay.

As you make the changes you need to get to a healthy diet, there are some foods that you can add in your diet in the meantime to promote healthy testosterone levels.

Try drinking more natural green tea with no sugar. You can also increase your consumption of natural citrus fruits in the form of homemade juice to get a spike in testosterone.

Do you like to spice up your food? Try using natural turmeric and raw garlic. Both have been suggested to promote healthy levels of testosterone.

Want to eat a testosterone boosting breakfast? Eat eggs with natural oatmeal, preferably steel cut oats. (2)
3. Supplement Your Diet

As you add in some super foods to your diet, you may also want to consider using supplements.

Supplementation has never been easier to make a part of your life. Supplements, especially in the States, are inexpensive, readily available, and high quality.

While many brands claim they have the perfect combination of ingredients for boosting testosterone, there are only a handful of scientifically proven compounds to support healthy testosterone levels. Here are four excellent supplements for testosterone that I would recommend:

Tongkat Ali
  • Also called Eurycoma Longifolia Jack, this Malaysian herbal remedy has been shown to boost libido and sex drive. One other thing it was found to support is healthy testosterone levels in men. (3)

Ashwagandha
  • This herbal remedy is a favorite within the alternative medicine crowd and it was once considered an all-around ideal health remedy. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha combats cortisol, which is a catabolic hormone and it also improves testosterone levels. (4)

ZMA 
  • ZMA is a blend supplement that contains Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. Even when you take these ingredients separately, they effectively support testosterone. Put them together and studies show that ZMA promotes sleep and a healthy level of testosterone. (5)

2. Step Outside

One of the easiest things you can do to support healthy testosterone levels is to get outside and step into the sunlight.

Sunlight is critical for our bodies to naturally produce Vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in several ways including boosting our immune systems and improving the absorption and utilization of other key nutrients.

One other fantastic benefit of Vitamin D is that it also supports healthy testosterone production in the body. As long as you aren’t taking anti-biotics, which make you sensitive to sunlight, try get outside for several minutes each day.

If it’s winter and the sun is on vacation, try supplementing with Vitamin D. (8)

1. Perfect Your Posture

The final way that you can boost your testosterone levels is even easier than stepping outside. Your posture says a lot about you but it can also dictate how much testosterone your body produces.

A study and subsequent TEDTalk demonstrated that people who use what are known as power postures throughout the day had higher levels of testosterone.

The basic changes you can make in your posture include not slouching and standing up straight but for a full list, click here to check out the study. (9)

Conclusion

No man wants to experience the side effects of low testosterone levels, which can range from loss of muscle mass to dramatic changes in mood.

Testosterone is essential for optimal health in men and although we cannot prevent the gradual decline, we can certainly halt it or, at the very least, slow it down. Trying following the tips and tricks above to ensure your testosterone levels stay within a healthy range.

References

1. Craig BW, Brown R, Everhart J. Effects of progressive resistance training on growth hormone and testosterone levels in young and elderly subjects. Mech Ageing Dev. 1989 Aug;49(2):159-69.

2. Oi Y, Imafuku M, Shishido C, Kominato Y, Nishimura S, Iwai K. Garlic supplementation increases testicular testosterone and decreases plasma corticosterone in rats fed a high protein diet. J Nutr. 2001 Aug;131(8):2150-6.

3. Shawn M Talbott, Julie A Talbott, Annie George, and Mike Pugh. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 28. Published online 2013 May 26. doi:  10.1186/1550-2783-10-28. PMCID: PMC3669033

4. Vijay R. Ambiye, Deepak Langade, Swati Dongre, Pradnya Aptikar, Madhura Kulkarni, Atul Dongre. Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 571420.

5. Netter A, Hartoma R, Nahoul K. Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count. Arch Androl. 1981 Aug;7(1):69-73.

6. Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R.Biol. Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8676-3. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

7. Symes EK, Bender DA, Bowden JF, Coulson WF. Increased target tissue uptake of, and sensitivity to, testosterone in the vitamin B6 deficient rat. J Steroid Biochem. 1984 May;20(5):1089-93.

8. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854. Epub 2010 Dec 10.


9. Carney DR, Cuddy AJ, Yap AJ. Power posing: brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychol Sci. 2010 Oct;21(10):1363-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797610383437. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Perfect Your Ketosis with this Futuristic Measuring Device


Thanks to science and countless user testimonials, the Ketogenic Diet has proven itself to be one of the most effective diets in the last 20 years. Unlike dietary trends that come and go, the Ketogenic Diet is here to stay and the technology to measure your ketogenic progress is advancing at an amazing pace.

To achieve a perfect state of ketosis, you need feedback from your body. There are several methods of measuring the state of your ketosis but only the blood test is extremely reliable. That is, it was the most reliable method until now.

Let’s take a look at the importance of measuring your ketogenic state and the futuristic measuring device that will change how you live a ketogenic lifestyle.

Measuring Your Ketosis

Eating more fat doesn’t mean you’re in a ketogenic state. 

In order to ensure that your body has reached ketosis, you have to get biofeedback. The best way to do this, as mentioned above, is an at-home blood ketone meter. It’s not the most pleasant way to do it but it’s certainly the most accurate.

Other ways to measure your ketogenic state are through breath tests and urine tests. These methods are more comfortable but not always as reliable.

With the ketogenic diet changing the way experts look at what is considered a normal diet, technology is catching up to make it easier to achieve a ketogenic state.

Future of Ketone Technology

For the keto-curious or the veterans of the diet, you have a need to ensure that you have reached a perfect state of ketosis but you can do without the guesswork or finger pricking. Thankfully, those days are coming to an end.

In the very near future, you’ll be introduced to the Keto Reader.

Keto Reader is the most comfortable and effective ketogenic measuring device in the industry. As light as a band-aid, Keto Reader is put on your arm where it can provide instantaneous biofeedback for glucose, beta hydroxybutyrate, lactate, and much more. Best of all, no finger pricking or blood is required!

Once Keto Reader reads your stats, it shares them with you on your smart phone, laptop, or portable electronic device. What can you do with this information?

Hack Your Body with Keto Reader

Providing you with the same information as a blood test without the bruised finger, Keto Reader can help you maximize your personal health and fitness goals.

It’s simple. You tell the Keto Reader app what your goal is. For example, let’s say you want to maximize your athletic performance. Using your personalized data from the readouts, Keto Reader will make recommendations to your diet and exercise program to help you achieve success.

How You Can Get Your Own Keto Reader

Right now, Keto Reader is currently in production stages but be on the look-out as it will be coming in the very near future!

Subscribe to my newsletter so you can stay up-to-date with the latest news about Keto Reader. You’ll get exclusive inside access to updates and you’ll be the first to know when Keto Reader is released. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Keto Grocery List: What You Need to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

Have you made the decision to commit to the Ketogenic Diet?
Are you feeling overwhelmed trying to decide what to buy when you go shopping?
Ready to go to the grocery store prepared?

For those just starting the Ketogenic Diet, it is completely understandable to feel intimidated with you step into the market. Maybe you’re not sure what counts as keto and you want this diet to be successful.

Stop driving yourself crazy. Below, I’ll share with you exactly what you need to buy when you walk into a grocery store. I’ll also explain the difference between the Ketogenic Diet and other trendy diets. No more guesswork, get ready for only great results on the Ketogenic Diet.

Breaking Sugar Addiction with Ketosis

When people first begin the Ketogenic Diet, many have thoughts of never being able to give up those sugar-based carbohydrates. The cookies, the pies, and the snacks that you put in your cart while shopping may seem like they can never be parted with but the truth is that you’ll quickly forget about them on the Ketogenic Diet. Here’s why:

Believe it or not, once you have fully entered a state of ketosis, your body will no longer crave those sugar-based carbohydrates. It may seem crazy but science has revealed that sugar is addictive. This is why those sugar-based carbs are your go-to foods when you’re having a bad day or when you want to celebrate. They make you feel good because they fulfill that addiction high. (1)

Studies have confirmed time and time again that sugar is addictive. It should come as no surprise that once sugar gets the boot, your body can break its addiction to sweetness. Outside of studies, you can chat with any number of successful people on the Ketogenic Diet and they will tell you the same thing: sugar loses its hold once you are in a ketogenic state.

Ketogenic Diet vs. Atkins Diet

One other hesitation that people have about diving into the Ketogenic Diet is that it may sound like other diets they tried and were not successful with.

The Atkins Diet is also a low carbohydrate diet; however, it also promotes two things that are problematic. First, the Atkins Diet allows for more carbohydrates than a Ketogenic Diet would. This means that weight gain via carbohydrate intake is still possible. 

Second, Atkins focuses on protein as the primary macronutrient, not fat. Glucose can be manufactured from excess protein. This means that you may still be encouraging weight gain.

Many people who tried the Atkins Diet often had no roadmap to follow outside of “eat more meat, less carbohydrates.” In response, these same people began loading up on meats that were high in cooked saturated fats. It’s no surprise then that their cardiovascular risk numbers like cholesterol increased. 

The Ketogenic Diet may be fat-focused but it focuses on healthy fats. In fact, studies show that the Ketogenic Diet can help to improve cardiovascular risk factors, not increase them. (2)

Ketogenic Diet vs. Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is another trendy way of eating that is often compared to the Ketogenic Diet. The Paleo Diet is a great diet, especially because it helps to teach people how to eat whole foods, not processed junk.

The Paleo Diet, while a great teaching tool for first time dieters, doesn’t capture nearly the same scientifically studied benefits as the Ketogenic Diet. This is because being Paleo doesn’t mean you’re low-carb. The focus with being Paleo is on foods that were available to ancient peoples. That includes carbohydrate-loaded vegetables such as sweet potatoes and fruits such as apples.

What’s more, the Paleo Diet doesn’t have a focus on fat-intake. It’s more of an idea of being focused on healthy fats, not concentrating 80% of your daily intake on fat. Someone on a Paleo Diet could never achieve a state of ketosis for the reasons that their carbohydrate intake is too high and their fat intake is too low.

Again, Paleo isn’t bad but if you want to experience all of the benefits associated with ketosis, you need to be on the Ketogenic Diet. 

The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Grocery List

Let’s jump into your new best friend when you go shopping for your Ketogenic Diet success: your easy-to-understand ketogenic grocery list.

All of the foods that I’ve listed below are considered “Ketone-Friendly Foods.” This means that they will help you enter a state of ketosis, not drive you away from it. Buy the following foods based on your preferences and personalized portions.

Oils
Your focus on a Ketogenic Diet is healthy fat. You will be getting some of that fat from animal sources but you need to focus first on getting fat from low protein options. Remember that too much protein can be converted into glucose.
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil

Nuts / Seeds
Another fat-focused whole food, nuts and seeds can supply a great amount of fatty acids in small portions. Focus on raw and organic, when possible.
  • Macadamia 
  • Brazil
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Meats
The focus here is on organic and grass-fed meat options that also provide you with healthy fatty acids. Protein is important but you don’t want to overdo it.
  • Chicken breast
  • Steak
  • Ground beef
  • Salmon
  • Bacon
  • Pork chop

Dairy
It can be hit or miss with carbohydrate content and dairy products. Try to focus on a moderate consumption of dairy, instead focusing on oils, nuts, seeds, and meats as the bulk of your diet.
  • Greek yogurt (sugar free)
  • Aged cheeses
  • Heavy cream
  • Cottage cheese 
  • Cream cheese
  • Mozzarella 

Vegetables
While some vegetables do contain high carbohydrate profiles, we’ll be focusing on dark, leafy greens while avoiding high-starch options to keep you in ketosis.
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce 
  • Bell peppers

Fruits
Famously packed with carbs, very selective fruits are allowed and only in small quantities.
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries

Desserts
You can find plenty of recipes on homemade ketogenic desserts. Here are a few easy to snack-on items that you may want to pick up while you’re at the store.
  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Kale chips

Conclusion

Stay up to date with the latest information on the ketogenic diet including updated grocery lists and recipes. Subscribe to my newsletter and don’t forget to find me on YouTube Channel

Are you currently on the ketogenic diet?
Have you mastered shopping for ketosis?
Let’s hear about your tips and tricks for when you go shopping below!

References

1. Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews. 2008;32(1):20-39. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019.


2. Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T, et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology. 2004;9(3):200-205.