Long Car Journeys Do Not Need To Be Tough: Here’s How To Get Through Them

Many people are using their weekends now to travel and see different places. It could be to see family that live in different parts of the country, it may be to take weekend breaks or to go on holiday. But spending more time on the roads, can mean that the journeys are becoming harder to handle. So if you have a long car journey ahead, then here are some of the tips to help you get through them.

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Check traffic updates regularly

No one wants to be stuck in a traffic jam of some sort, do they? The type where you don’t move for what feels like hours, adding to your car journey making it even longer than it already needs to be. It is frustrating to say the least, not just for the driver, but for anyone else sat in the car. Checking traffic cams and also looking at reports can help you identify fin there is an issue on your route, and even enable you to plan a new one to avoid it in the first place. Satellite navigation systems are also good at redirecting you away from potential hold ups.

Pack snacks for the journey

A long journey will mean that at some stage you are going to get hungry, so having a good supply of snacks is essential. This is also important if you are travelling with other people in the car, especially children. Getting hungry can make you angry and upset, so having food on hand can help you avoid these emotions.

Have a decent supply of water

It is also essential to have a decent supply of water. It can be tempting to avoid drinking so that you don’t need to stop off for bathroom breaks, but getting dehydrated can affect you in many ways, especially with your concentration. Which is essential when driving. Having water on hand will help you stay on track.

Plan plenty of rest spots

You need to make sure that during a long car journey you plan regular rest stops to ensure that you take a walk around and get some fresh air. Being sat, especially in a driver position for too long, isn’t any good for you at all. This can also help you avoid getting too tired on the road. A rest stop gives you chance to stretch your legs and also go the bathroom. Even getting some food and drink in a service station can break up the journey for all involved.

Don’t drive when tired

Finally, the best advice would be to never drive when you are tired. You need to have full concentration on the road, not just for your safety and the passenger sin your car, but also for the people involved on the road. It is extremely important that you take the rest stops and drive during the day for the best light and energy levels. It can make all of the difference.

Let’s hope these tips help you if you have any long car journeys planned for the future.

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What Is That Sweet Music? Oh! It’s A Tuned-Up Car

If you’re a car enthusiast, you’re continually looking for new ways to tune your vehicle. You love how it came stock, but tuning it makes it even more exciting, allowing you to get the best value for money possible from your initial purchase.

Tuning a car though can be fraught with difficulties. Here are some tips to make sure that you get the most out of your investment.

Focus On The Tyres First

If you want to get extra performance from your car, then the first place to look is the tires. Not only are tires easy to change, but because they are the only part of the vehicle in contact with the road beneath, upgrading them can make a big difference overall to performance.

Pixabay

Generally, the softer the tire, the more grip you will have. Accelerating on a softer tire decreases the likelihood of the tire spinning while under heavy torque, meaning that you can pull away from the lights quicker or get an edge on your competitors when out on the track. Softer, lower profile compounds also benefit you as you take corners. The extra grip provides more lateral acceleration.

So, if you’re thinking about tuning your car, consider the tires first. They’re easy to change (usually in a matter of minutes at the right tire fitting garage) and can make a significant difference to how the car handles.

Engine Tuning

 

PxHere

Car manufacturers usually tune their cars for general, everyday use on the roads. Factory tunes are often conservative, meaning that vehicles do not always live up to their full performance potential. If you’re more interested in performance than you are comfort or fuel economy, then an SCT tuner might be what you need. These tuners help to increase the horsepower of your vehicle by changing the computer-management settings. Pre-loaded with instructions, it’s often as easy as plugging the USB into a port on your car and uploading the data – no complicated programming required.

Once your engine management software has been updated, you can expect vast improvements in things like horsepower and acceleration.

Chassis Upgrades

Downforce

If you’re looking for a bit of extra stability in the corners, then you may benefit from additional downforce. Spoilers and other aerodynamic accessories work like wings in reverse, using the air passing over them to push the car down into the ground. Engineers realized a long time ago that this phenomenon could be used to help give cars more grip during fast corners, improving lap times.

Weight Balance

The other way that you can upgrade the chassis is to provide weight balance. Weight balance works by helping you to control the way the frame moves as it turns through corners. Car bodies tend to bob and squat down through corners, changing the handling and reducing performance. If you’re racing on a particular course, you can change the weight bias of the chassis to privilege turns in one specific direction, that is, left or right.

Will be you upgrading or tuning your car any time soon?

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Diagnosed With A Sort-Of-Serious Medical Problem? Here’s What To Do Next!

Let’s be honest here, no one wants to be diagnosed with a serious – or sort-of-serious (AKA not life-threatening but still pretty serious) – health condition. However, the fact is that when it comes to health it’s sadly ‘luck of the draw’ most of the time. So although you might live with the motto that bad things happen to other people and not you, the fact is that isn’t true – bad things can happen to anyone at any time.

So if you happen to find yourself being diagnosed with a serious health problem, it’s important to stay calm and not panic. Although being diagnosed with a health problem is always daunting, it’s important to stay calm and not lose your head over what’s happened. Of course, that’s far easier said than done, isn’t it? However, it’s important to remain level-headed and realise that panicking won’t change anything.

The question is: if you’re diagnosed with a medical problem what should your next steps be? Read on for everything that you need to know.

Photo source: Pixabay

Ask questions

One of the most important steps that you can take is to ask your doctor questions. Of course, you may feel too overwhelmed to ask questions right away – that’s okay, you can always call up or schedule another appointment to ask questions once you’ve had time to take everything in.

Don’t be afraid to ask complex questions. It’s best to take the time to write down what you want to ask before your appointment or phone call so that nothing gets forgotten, you can then tick each question off as you ask it. Once you have the answers to some of your questions, you should then start to feel better about the situation.

Look at your options

So you’ve been diagnosed with a health condition – whether it’s polycystic ovary syndrome, a food allergy, diabetes, or something else – it’s essential that you take the time to look at your options. Take diabetes, for instance, there are lots of diabetes management options, it’s just a case of taking the time to consider what your options are, that’s all.

Your first port of call is, of course, your doctor. However, don’t be afraid to take some time doing your own research. The internet is an amazing resource for this – you will be amazed by the information that you can find online. You could also opt to look for Facebook support groups, for instance, there are many polycystic ovary syndrome support groups online that you could take advantage of, and it’s the same for every health condition.

Make changes

If you’ve been told that by making changes you can improve your health, it’s essential that you take this advice on board and actually make changes to your lifestyle. The fact is that with certain medical conditions, making lifestyle changes can help to reduce the symptoms and flare-ups of the condition, which makes it worthwhile to make these changes. Of course, not every health condition is affected by lifestyle changes, but if you are informed that the condition you’ve been diagnosed with can be altered via making certain changes, such as eating better, exercising more, and quitting smoking, then it’s something that’s worthwhile doing.

There you have it, everything that you should know about coping with the diagnosis of a medical condition.

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Keto Diet Fundamentals

Keto Diet Fundamentals

Authored by Dr. Brianna Stubbs and Nate Martins •
December 14, 2018
keto-dietresearchnutritionketosis
This article was originally published at HVMN.

You’ve heard of the keto diet. Everyone from Lebron James to the Kardashians has used the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for reasons like performance and weight loss.

The goal of the keto diet is to get the body producing ketones– a fundamentally different energy source than the carbohydrates and fats your cells typically use for energy. It can take several days of ketogenic eating before the body starts to produce ketones. And the time it takes to get into ketosis varies between individuals.

“Keto” comes from the word “ketogenic.” This is a nuanced term meaning that the body is producing ketones from fat.1 When blood ketone levels exceed 0.5mM, the body has achieved “ketosis.” So ketosis can be achieved either through diet or fasting (meaning the body is producing its own ketones to be ketogenic), or also by consuming products that raise blood ketone levels (like HVMN Ketone or ketone salts or MCT oils).

Limiting carb intake and protein intake encourages the body to burn fat–and thus produce ketones. Importantly, restricting proteins as well as carbohydrates limits the amount of substrate available for gluconeogenesis. This is the process of making glucose from non-glucose molecules such as lactate, glycerol, or protein.

Because the ketogenic diet is low-carbohydrate, it often gets confused with other low-carb diets out there. Just because a diet is low carb doesn’t mean it’s keto. It’s subtle differences in the macronutrients provided in the diet determine if the diet is ‘ketogenic.’

A macronutrient is something humans consume in large quantities to provide the bulk of energy to the body. The primary macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. For a diet to be ketogenic, it must be high in fat, low-moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates.

A breakdown of the different types of diets similar to keto: keto, low-carb, atkins and paleo

Here are some helpful definitions of diets with an element of reduced carbohydrate intake:

Ketogenic Diet

  • The aim is to trigger the production of ketones in the body
  • High fat, low/moderate protein, and low carbohydrate

Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet

  • The aim is to severely restrict calories to a level below the basic metabolic needs (i.e., <800 kCal)
  • Even if this diet is relatively high in carbohydrates, the calorie deficit created can still lead to a state of ketosis
  • Not sustainable long-term

Low-Carbohydrate Diet

  • Defined in medical literature as a diet with < 30% energy from carbohydrates2
  • May not lead to ketosis as the carbohydrate and protein intake could be too high

Atkins Diet

  • This diet has several phases
  • Initially, the aim is to restrict the carbohydrate intake to less than 20g per day. This degree of restriction is likely to lead to ketosis, although this is not an explicit aim
  • Subsequently, the diet reintroduces carbohydrates to a level “the body can tolerate”3
  • Less restriction on protein compared to a ‘true ketogenic diet–high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate.

Paleo Diet

  • The aim is to limit the diet to foods that would have been available to Paleolithic man4
  • Wide variability in interpretations
  • Foods allowed include vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat
  • Foods excluded include dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, alcohol, and coffee
  • No structured macronutrient target; however, following a Paleo diet results in higher protein and fat consumption than an average diet

Now you have a grasp of what makes the ketogenic diet unique–but where’d it start?

The History of the Ketogenic Diet

Fasting and Early Pioneers of the Ketogenic Diet

The concept of fasting (taking in zero calories) predates the ketogenic diet as we now understand it. Many of the benefits of fasting are likely due to the presence of ketones in the body.

Since the earliest days of man, fasting has been used as a tool to physically and spiritually cleansing.

The Bible describes fasting as a treatment for convulsions. The ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates said, “To eat when you are sick is to fuel your sickness.”

Early advocates of fasting were obviously unaware of ketosis as a crucial factor in the anticonvulsant effect of fasting. In the early 1900s, physicians at the Mayo Clinic observed a link between a low-carb diet and fasting. They discovered that severely restricting dietary carbohydrates and increasing fat intake could decrease seizures in the same way as fasting.5 It was not until the mid-1900s, when scientists could measure ketones, that we understood fasting led to the presence of ketones in the body.

Epilepsy was not the only disease historically treated with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Low-carbohydrate diets were also advocated for patients with diabetes and obesity. Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, diabetes was managed through carbohydrate restriction. William Banting, an obese British mortician, popularized the weight loss benefits of a diet “stripped of starchy foods” in a pamphlet called “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.”

The Dark Ages for the Ketogenic Diet

To many, a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet is a counter-intuitive approach to support health. There is a widespread fear dietary fat is linked to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and other associated health complications.

In 1953 Ancel Keys, an American biochemist published an epidemiological study that introduced the “diet-heart” hypothesis. The study claimed dietary fat was a key risk factor in developing heart disease. The “diet-heart” hypothesis proposed blood LDL and cholesterol derived from dietary fat accelerates the development of atherosclerotic plaques.6

His work came at the time that US President Dwight Eisenhower, suffered a heart attack.

Following the advice of his physician, Eisenhower publicly cut back his fat intake. Nutrition was in the spotlight and Keys was able to further his hypothesis.

This led to radical changes in global food policy and public practice.

In 1977, the USDA Dietary Goals for Americans recommended a decrease in dietary fat intake, and a diet based on grains and cereals.7

At the time, there was still no clinical evidence supporting Keys’ “diet-heart” hypothesis. Subsequent large trials, including the Framingham Study and Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial, failed to illustrate decreasing dietary fat lowered the risk of heart disease.8,9

Obesity rose following the adoption of the USDA guidelines. Some investigators hypothesized that increased dietary carbohydrates were responsible for the developing health crisis. John Yudkin, a British physiologist and nutritionist, described this phenomenon in his book “Pure, White and Deadly”10–the widespread fear of dietary fats caused scientists and nutritionists to overlook the role of sugar and starch.

Resurgence of ‘Low-Carbohydrate’ Diets

‘Low-fat’ dieting was widespread in the late 1900s. During this time, Dr. Robert Atkins became an infamous spokesperson for the keto diet. Dr. Atkins brought his version of the ketogenic diet to the masses in his 1972 book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.” In his 40 years of practice, Dr. Atkins treated an estimated 60,000 patients for obesity and related conditions. At that time, there were no clinical studies to validate the benefits of the diet. Many patients reported side effects while starting the diet, including fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, and nausea. This uncomfortable induction phase was labeled the ‘Atkins Flu.’

After Atkins’ death in 2003, others started to promote the ketogenic diet for health. The Atkins Foundation recently funded a group of scientists to study the effects of the Atkins diet formally. This group of scientists includes Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney, and Dr. Eric Westman. They discovered that the Atkins diet outperformed a diet based on the 1977 USDA guidelines with respect to measured coronary risk factors, including decreased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and total blood saturated FFA alongside increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.11 This outcome may be due to the decrease in carbohydrate and concomitant changes in the hormonal milieu, or due to effects of ketone bodies on substrate metabolism.

The pendulum of public perception begun to swing in favor of diets higher in fat, thanks to the emergence of influential writers and speakers such as Gary Taubes, Robert Lustig, and Nina Teicholtz, and clinicians and scientists such as Professor Tim Noakes, Dr. Jason Fung, and Professor Thomas Seyfried. The work of these individuals exposed flaws in the ‘diet-heart hypothesis.’

These influencers helped expose corruption in the political decisions that resulted in the last decades of vilification of dietary fat. Evidence illustrating the role of high dietary carbohydrate intake in the development of obesity and diabetes has started to grow. Much of the recent research suggests that low-fat diets may be harmful to health. This culminated with a recent meta-analysis of data from 18 countries, which linked increases in carbohydrate intake with increases in mortality.12

The fear of fat has continued to reverse. Over the last few years, the ketogenic diet has grown in popularity. Popular culture is starting to recognize and adopt the keto diet, and online searches have grown. More and more doctors now encourage and prescribe the ketogenic diet to treat metabolic disorders and obesity. Large online commmunities bring thousands of people together to discuss research, share keto diet before and after photos, and encourage each other.

Keto Diet for Weight Loss

The ketogenic diet can be used to help with weight loss and also to treat some diseases (discussed in detail elsewhere). Recently, the number of positive keto diet reviews has increased. The rising popularity of the diet has led to a demand for further randomized control trials to study its long-term efficacy. A key reason why the ketogenic diet helps weight loss is that it decreases hunger. This makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit. It is important to stress that the overconsumption of calories will prevent weight loss, regardless of the macronutrient composition.

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Macronutrient Composition of a Keto Diet

Macronutrients are food groups that humans consume in large quantities. They provide the bulk of the energy to the body. The primary macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The macronutrient composition of a diet can be described using the mass of each macronutrient, the ratio of macronutrients in the diet, or the percentage of each macronutrient in the diet. The variety of descriptions can make things a little confusing!

For example:

  • A ketogenic diet contains about 5% of energy as carbohydrates.
  • A ketogenic diet has a ratio of 2-4g of fat to every 1g of carbohydrates plus proteins.
  • A classical ketogenic diet contains 20-30g of carbohydrate per day

When starting off on the ketogenic diet, these are good target macronutrient ratios:

Oil, steak and pasta illustrating the different macronutrient breakdowns for a keto diet

Examples of food rich in:

  1. Carbohydrates: bread, pasta, potatoes, cereals, sugary food (sweets).
  2. Fat: oils (olive oil, coconut oil), butter, fatty cuts of meat, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, avocado.
  3. Protein: beef, chicken, pork, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs.

Carbohydrates

The main function of dietary carbohydrates (‘carbs’) is to be a source of energy. Some say that dietary carbohydrates are not ‘essential’ as they can be made from dietary protein and fat.13

A sliced loaf of bread, showing carbohydrate's role on the keto diet

Carbohydrates are biological molecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, usually with a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen:oxygen. Carbohydrates occur as a collection of single units (monosaccharides, e.g. glucose), two molecules joined (disaccharides, e.g. sucrose), and chains of molecules (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides).

When following a ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate intake should be very low.

This contrasts with the modern western diet, where most dietary calories come from carbohydrates. Consuming carbohydrates causes insulin release, which inhibits ketone production in the liver and thus ketosis. Therefore, monitoring and modulating your carbohydrate intake is an important part of following the ketogenic diet.

Dietary carbohydrates replenish the stores in muscle and liver (glycogen). It also maintains blood glucose concentrations to provide fuel for the whole body, but most importantly for the brain.

Blood glucose is easy to measure using a handheld blood glucose monitor. Normal blood glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day and vary between individuals. Therefore, it is useful to track over the long term and in response to different ‘challenges,’ such as a meal or exercise.

Ranges of Blood Glucose levels for clinical diagnosis are as follows:14

  • Fasting: healthy = 4-6 mM / 70-110 mgDl
  • Fasting: diabetic = ~ 7 mM / 125 mgDl
  • 90 minutes post-meal: healthy = < 8 mM / 140 mgDl
  • 90 minutes post-meal: diabetics =  > 11 mM/ 200 mgDl

When you’re following the ketogenic diet, key concepts are the total amount of carbohydrates, the ‘net’ amount of carbohydrates (accounting for the accompanying fiber), and the speed with which carbohydrates raise blood glucose (glycemic index).

With a standard ketogenic diet, it’s recommended to keep the total amount of carbohydrates limited to less than 5% of energy intake.15 See the table above for a calculation of the advised carbohydrate intake grams for a 2000 kCal per day 4:1 ketogenic diet.

Dietary fiber is carbohydrate-based material from plants that is not entirely broken down by the small intestine. Instead, it passes to the large intestine, and either undergoes fermentation (which supports the growth of beneficial bacteria),16 or excretion.

Fiber is a significant part of a well-formulated ketogenic diet. It helps to maintain gut health, and also increases food bulk and helps with the feeling of ‘fullness.’ Green and cruciferous vegetables are rich in fiber and are helpful to include in a ketogenic diet.

Depending on how ‘complex’ the source of fiber is, it has different assumed caloric values. One approach is to treat fiber as having the same amount of calories per gram as carbohydrates: 4 kCal/gram. However, as a proportion of fiber is not digested, other approaches use a lower value of 2 kCal/g. Digestion-resistant fiber does not contribute to calorie intake, as it is not broken down.

Net carbs refer to the mass of total carbohydrates, minus the total fiber, which could be a better metric to judge carbohydrate intake because:

  • Fiber is mostly digestion-resistant and so should not increase blood glucose.16
  • Studies have shown an increase in fiber does not affect blood ketone levels.17

The ‘glycemic index’ is a scale that ranges between 1 and 100, and it indicates how quickly food raises blood glucose after consumption. Pure glucose is the reference and is set at 100 (i.e. raises blood glucose quickly). Other foods have a comparatively lower value as they raise blood glucose more slowly. Example values for the glycemic index of food are white potato: ~80, white bread: ~75, apple: ~35, peanuts: ~15.

‘Glycemic load’ accounts for both the speed of carbohydrate release and the TOTAL amount of carbohydrates in food.

Glycemic load = (total carbohydrates (g) x glycemic index) / 1000.

Food can have a relatively high glycemic index (i.e. carrot = 47) but because the total carbohydrate amount is low (carrot = 5g per serving), the glycemic load of one serving is very low.

The “glycemic index” is a 1 – 100 scale indicating how quickly food raises blood glucose after consumption. Pure glucose is the reference and is set at 100 (i.e. raises blood glucose quickly). Other foods have a comparatively lower value as they raise blood glucose more slowly.

Example values for the glycemic index of food are white potato: ~80, white bread: ~75, apple: ~35, peanuts: ~15.

“Glycemic load” accounts for both the speed of carbohydrate release and the total amount of carbohydrates in food.

Glycemic load = (total carbohydrates [g] x glycemic index) / 1000.

Food can have a relatively high glycemic index (i.e. carrot = 47) but because the total carbohydrate amount is low (carrot = 5g per serving), the glycemic load of one serving is very low.

Proteins

Proteins are large molecules composed of chains of amino acids. The functions of dietary protein are:

  • Building structural and functional components of cells
  • Conversion to glucose via gluconeogenesis
  • Top up intermediates in other metabolic pathways, such as the Krebs Cycle
A chicken breast showing protein's role on a keto diet

While it is possible for a protein to be used as a fuel, this isn’t its primary function.

When following a ketogenic diet, there must be a balance of sufficient protein to maintain muscle mass. If dietary protein exceeds 20-25% of calories, gluconeogenesis from protein can stop the ketone production. Initially, target a protein intake of 0.8-1.2g per kilogram of body weight. This target balances the need for protein against the chance of excess gluconeogenesis.18

Some individuals (such as strength or endurance athletes) may have higher protein requirements. They might require a modified ketogenic macronutrient ratio of 2:1 fat:non-fat (where 65% of energy is fat, 30% is protein, and 5% carbohydrate) and can still be effective for therapeutic ketosis.

Fats

Fat gets a bad rap. In nutrition, fat is the dietary macronutrient made up of triglyceride molecules. The main functions of fats in the diet are to provide increased energy levels and makeup key functional and structural parts of the human system.

Cashews showing role of fat on keto

But we often misuse the word “fat.” There’s a difference between fat in cells and different types of fat molecules:

  • Adipose tissue: the tissue that stores energy as fats/lipid droplets inside adipocytes (fat cells). This is body fat
  • Adipocytes: individual cells that store fats/lipids
  • Lipids: the most general term for insoluble and polar biological fat molecules. The lipid class of molecules includes mono-, di- and triglycerols, cholesterols, and phospholipids
  • Triglycerides: a lipid molecule made up of glycerol (that acts as a backbone) joined to three fatty acid molecules
  • Fatty acids: a molecule composed of a chain of carbon atoms bonded to one another with a carboxylic acid at one end

To be specific, our diet includes many sources of lipids.

Lipids are digested and travel in the blood as triglycerides and fatty acids before being used as a fuel, or stored by adipocytes in adipose tissue. Dietary lipids undergo many tightly regulated metabolic steps before storage in adipose tissue. Dietary fat does not equal stored body fat.

Triglycerides are the most important source of energy in a ketogenic diet. They account for > 70% of dietary calories. For those following a ketogenic diet, it’s helpful to understand how the lipid source in the diet is processed in the body.

Fatty acids can be saturated (no double bonds between carbons), or unsaturated (one or more double bonds between carbons).

Saturated fats are relatively stable and tend to be solid at room temperature (i.e. lard, butter, coconut oil). Historical guidelines recommended limited the intake of dietary saturated fats because fat consumption was thought to be associated with heart disease and high blood pressure. However, emerging research has shown saturated fat can have beneficial effects on blood biomarkers (i.e. increase ‘healthy’ HDL levels).12

Unsaturated fatty acids can be further divided into monounsaturated fats (only one double bond between carbons) and polyunsaturated fats (multiple double bonds between carbons). The number of double bonds is important as it determines how the fatty acid behaves both inside and outside of the body.

They tend to be liquid at room temperature (i.e. vegetable-based fats such as olive oil). Unsaturated fats are thought of as healthier than saturated fats (also known as “healthy fats”). Increased consumption of mono- and polyunsaturated fats have been linked to improved blood biomarkers (i.e. lower blood triglycerides).19 Eating enough unsaturated fats is important when following a ketogenic diet.

Increased fat consumption is not associated with cardiovascular disease.20

Eating a moderate amount of saturated fat is unlikely to be as harmful as previously believed, and saturated fat consumption as part of a ketogenic diet is unlikely to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Trans-fats are produced artificially when hydrogen is added to unsaturated fatty acids in order to solidify it and make it last longer. Because of associations with poor health outcomes, these artificial fats had their generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status removed in 2015 by the FDA. 21 Avoid high levels of trans-fat consumption by eating a diet based around whole foods.

Essential fatty acids are important to include in the diet because the body cannot naturally produce them. This group includes poly-unsaturated omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9 fatty acids.

It’s believed the anti-inflammatory effects of essential fatty acids may have broad benefits for health and performance. Oily fish, such as sardines and mackerel, and seeds (i.e. flax) are good dietary sources of essential fatty acids.

The number of carbons in the fatty acid chain also has an important effect on its metabolism. The carbon chain of fatty acids can be up to 28 carbons atoms long. If there are > 13 carbons in the fatty acid, it is called a long-chain fatty acid, between 8-12 is a medium-chain fatty acid, and under 5 carbons is a short-chain fatty acid.

The body metabolizes fats differently according to chain length. Long-chain fatty acids are absorbed and go from the gut into the lymphatic drainage system and from there are released directly into the blood.

By comparison, medium- and short-chain fatty acids do not go into the lymphatic system. They travel in the blood from the gut directly to the liver.22 If a large amount of these short- and medium-chain fats are delivered to the liver at once, this can trigger the liver to convert them into ketones, even without dietary carbohydrate restriction.

Medium-chain fatty acids are highly ketogenic. They can be found in natural sources such as coconut oil or in an artificially purified form. However, for many people, consuming a high amount of medium-chain fatty acids can cause an upset stomach. This limits their use to raise ketones artificially.

When integrating these concepts into a ketogenic diet: target the majority of dietary calories as fat.

Aim to include a variety of fats from different animal and plant sources (i.e. red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and avocados).

Conversely, micronutrients must be obtained in the diet in small quantities, but are essential to health. Vitamins and minerals are examples of micronutrients.

Micronutrients in a Ketogenic Diet

When following a ketogenic diet, it is important to be mindful of micronutrient intake because:

  • Reducing carbohydrate intake can lower consumption of micronutrient-rich foods (i.e. fruits and vegetables)
  • In the initial 28 days of following a ketogenic diet, the balance of some micronutrients (such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) can become disturbed due to an increase in their excretion.23 The body resolves this issue naturally after adapting to the diet

Sodium is the principal cation in extracellular fluid. Its functions are related to blood volume maintenance, water balance, and cell membrane potential. Sodium is also essential for acid-base balance and nerve conduction.

The level of sodium can fall at the start of a ketogenic diet. Adding extra sodium to meals (like adding salt or consuming bouillon/ bone broth) can reduce the chances of feeling the common side effects associated with low sodium (like cramps).

Potassium is the principal cation in the intracellular fluid. Its primary functions are related to maintaining cell membrane potential and electrical activity in cells such as neurons and cardiomyocytes.

As with sodium, levels of potassium fall at the initiation of a ketogenic diet due to increased excretion. When starting a ketogenic diet, include sources of potassium like nuts, dark green vegetables, and avocados.

Magnesium is an essential element in biological systems, especially for nerve, muscle, and immune function. Levels of magnesium also fall at the initiation of a ketogenic diet due to increased excretion. When starting a ketogenic diet, include sources of magnesium like oily fish, dark green vegetables, and seeds.

Calcium has a role in muscle contraction and is important for cardiovascular and bone health. Calcium deficiency is less common during a ketogenic diet, as staples of the diet such as fish, cheese, and leafy greens are rich sources of the mineral.

Now that an understanding of the biology of the ketogenic diet has been reached, we’ve arrived at the fun part: how to start the keto diet.

Keto Diet for Weight Loss

There’s a growing consensus that the keto diet can help with weight loss.

The rising popularity of the diet has led to a demand for further randomized control trials to study its long-term efficacy. The ketogenic diet helps weight loss because it decreases hunger. This makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit. It is important to stress that the overconsumption of calories will prevent weight loss, regardless of the macronutrient composition.

How to Start a Ketogenic Diet

Don’t try to start the diet gradually. If carbohydrate intake is moderately-low, blood sugar levels may not be enough to fuel the brain, and the presence of carbohydrate in the diet might still be enough to stop the body from making ketones.

The main objectives when starting the ketogenic diet are to:

  • Restrict carbohydrates to 20 digestible grams per day or less – a strict low-carb diet
  • Consume plenty of fiber
  • Restrict protein to moderate levels. If possible, stay at or below 0.45 grams of protein per day, per lb of body weight (1g/kg). So about 70 grams of protein per day if you weigh ~155 lbs (~70kg). If your goal is to lose weight, aim for 1 gram of protein per kg of your target weight
  • Consume fat until you are satiated

Tips for Starting the Ketogenic Diet

  • Make a keto diet menu. It’s a good idea to keto meal plan before starting the diet. Make a shopping trip to stock up on a range of foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat
  • Use an app to track macronutrient intake. Apps such as MyFitnessPal are great to get an idea of the macronutrients in common foods. There is also a range of special online keto diet calculators
  • Search for a few keto recipes to adapt cooking methods. Due to the high-fat consumption required to get into ketosis, it may be beneficial to change daily staples or cooking methods. Keep an eye out for coconut oil, heavy cream, and lots of cheese
  • Make an approved list of keto foods and eliminate carbohydrate-rich foods. It will be easier to follow the diet by throwing out any foods to avoid. It’s recommended to check the labels for hidden added sugars
  • Consider starting the ketogenic diet within a short period (16-36 hours) of fasting (consuming zero calories). Fasting depletes carbohydrate stores and can accelerate ketone production. Click here to read more about fasting protocols
  • Gentle cardio exercise (~30 minutes) or some short high-intensity intervals (10-second sprints) can deplete carbohydrate stores and speed up ketone production
A plate of broccoli, smoked salmon, avocado and fried egg with a list of tips for how to start the keto diet

Cyclical Ketogenic Dieting and ‘Cheating’

At the moment, there is not a clear answer as to whether the benefits of the ketogenic diet can be achieved by cycling on and off the diet. It’s best to stick to the diet for 1-2 months minimum to see benefits. It can take several days to get into ketosis1 and 3-6 weeks to become “fat adapted.”18

Some research indicates ~40 days on the ketogenic diet interspersed with periods of healthy eating with more carbohydrates (Mediterranean diet) could maintain weight loss.24

“Cheating,” and consuming high-carbohydrate food, quickly stops ketone production by the liver. It can then take a considerable amount of time for the body to get back into ketosis. Time taken to get back into ketosis will depend on many factors. These include the amount of carbohydrates consumed, how adapted the body is to produce ketones, activity level, etc.

However, cyclical ketogenic diets are a promising area of scientific investigation. Recently, scientists studied the effect of long-term cycling of the ketogenic diet (one week on, one week off the diet) compared to a normal diet in mice. Cyclical keto dieting reduced mid-life mortality and increased healthspan.25

Optimal Range of Ketosis

As with all processes in metabolism, the state of ketosis is a spectrum. Past a threshold (which varies from person to person), even a small increase in dietary carbohydrate intake can trigger enough insulin release to take the body out of ketosis.

Guidelines for target levels for blood ketones are:

  • No ketosis: under 0.5 mM BHB in blood
  • Low ketosis: 0.5 – 1.5 mM BHB in blood
  • Moderate ketosis: 1.5 – 3 mM BHB in blood
  • High ketosis: over 3 mM BHB in blood

Pathological ketosis: over 15 mM BHB in blood

The level of ketosis required for different physiological benefits is unknown. For endurance sports, a higher level of ketosis (~4 mM) appears to be superior to lower levels.26,27 This is possible because ketones fuel athletes.

However, some other benefits of ketosis, such as reduced appetite may be seen at much lower levels (0.5 mM).28

The best way to know if you are in ketosis is to measure the levels of ketones (BHB) in your blood. You can also estimate blood levels by measuring ketones in your breath or urine.

Physiological Ketosis

The typical methods used to generate physiological levels of ketosis are fasting, the ketogenic diet, and consuming exogenous ketones like HVMN Ketone.

After an overnight fast, a low amount of ketones (0.1-0.2 mM) can often be detected in the blood. As the time spent fasting increases, blood ketone levels slowly rise until a plateau at 8-10 mM of BHB has been reached after many days. Scientist Hans Krebs described this plateau as “physiological ketosis.”29

Fasting long-term is unsustainable, so following a strict ketogenic diet can be used to maintain a low level of continuous ketosis. Research suggests blood BHB levels between 0.4-1mM can be achieved while following a ketogenic diet.18 Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s sometimes possible to reach higher levels.

Using exogenous ketones can raise blood ketones to a physiological level without the ketogenic diet or fasting. The level of ketosis reached depends on the exogenous ketone supplement used. Reported levels range from 0.6 mM with a ketone salt or a medium-chain triglyceride supplement26,30 and up to 6 mM with HVMN Ketone.27

Pathological Ketosis

Sometimes, the body starts producing ketones as a result of a disease (pathology). This can lead to dangerous levels of ketones in the body, though these high levels are very uncommon in healthy people following the ketogenic diet.

Alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA) is a result of chronic alcohol consumption usually accompanied by malnutrition. AKA is characterized by increased ketone production (levels > 15 mM) via liver alcohol metabolism, in conjunction with a mild elevation in blood glucose levels. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, fatigue, altered breathing, and abdominal pain.31

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) occurs most frequently in patients with type 1 diabetes. DKA is the simultaneous occurrence of high blood ketones (> 20 mM), high blood glucose, and acidification of the blood.31 It develops when insulin is absent, or insulin signaling is no longer functional.

This means the physiological state of starvation is triggered, even in the presence of high blood glucose. As during starvation, lipolysis (fat release) increases. This causes the liver to produce a high amount of ketones and blood pH to fall (as ketones are an organic acid).

As glucose levels are very high, the excess is excreted in the urine. This draws water and electrolytes out of the body, causing dangerous dehydration. Symptoms of DKA include nausea, vomiting, altered breathing, abdominal pain, and unconsciousness. The rapid onset and alarming nature of DKA is a reason why ketosis has a bad stigma in the medical community.

Who Should Avoid a Ketogenic Diet?

Following a ketogenic diet may not be suggested for people with the following medical considerations:

  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney failure
  • Impaired liver function
  • Impaired fat digestion (gallbladder disease, gastric bypass, pancreatitis)

Genetic defects in metabolism (CPTI/II deficiency, beta-oxidation defects, fatty acyl dehydrogenase deficiency)

Potential Side Effects of the Ketogenic Diet

When starting a ketogenic diet there can be a period of 2-3 days where blood glucose levels are low, but ketone production has not reached a sufficient rate to provide enough fuel for the brain.

This can result in a series of symptomsknown as the keto flu, which include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Exogenous ketone supplements, such as HVMN Ketone, and medium-chain triglycerides can be used to reduce symptoms of keto flu. They provide the brain with a source of energy without carbohydrate consumption. These supplements increase the levels of ketones in the blood artificially. Exogenous ketones do not increase the body’s ketone production (called endogenous ketones) and can inhibit32 the release of fatty acids from adipocytes.

It can be initially tricky to adjust food intake to ensure adequate nutrition when following a ketogenic diet. Also, some people find the diet isn’t sustainable due to individual differences in metabolic state or lifestyle. If the diet does not provide the correct balance of macro and micronutrients, some individuals develop other symptoms beyond the keto flu after the adaptation period. These include:

  • Constipation
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty in maintaining physical performance
  • Hair loss
  • Gallstones
  • Elevated blood triglycerides or cholesterol

To treat these symptoms, ensure the diet provides enough calories and micronutrients. Many people reduce fruit and vegetable consumption on a ketogenic diet (due to carbohydrate content). This means it is easy to become deficient in vitamins and to under-consume fiber.

The ketogenic diet can alter the way that the kidneys excrete electrolytes (such as sodium), so electrolyte supplementation can reduce the side effects of an electrolyte imbalance.

Possible Clinical Applications of the Ketogenic Diet and Ketosis

Some of the earliest reports of the ketogenic diet describe its use in a clinical setting.

In the early 20th century, ketogenic diets helped treat drug-resistant epilepsy. Doctors also prescribed ketogenic diets to treat type 1 diabetes before the invention of insulin.

As analytical techniques progressed, scientists learned that ketones themselves might be a crucial part of the success of the ketogenic diet to treat disease. From this finding stemmed a field of research to examine the potential benefits of ketosis in a range of disease states:

  • Weight loss
  • Diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Neurological disease: epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, migraine, concussive disease, and traumatic brain injury
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory diseases

While the ketogenic diet is not yet a first-line treatment recommended by doctors for any of these diseases, it’s a relatively easy and tolerable step that patients with these conditions can take to improve their health. Emerging research suggests there may be beneficial effects of ketosis for some people, and further studies are required to confirm how best to use the diet in these clinical settings.

Not seeing results from the keto diet?

You’re not alone. Many think they’re in ketosis but aren’t–the newness of the diet leads to misinformation online. HVMN provides the latest science around meal-timing, supplements and macronutrient composition.

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The Unexpected Costs Of Running A Business

The decision to start a business is not a simple one. Although it can seem like it in the moment, there is a lot that needs to be considered, from the workload to the thoughts of your family. You also need to plan for the cost. Despite what some people say, launching and running a company is never cheap. What’s worse, it’s often much more expensive than you first imagine. In addition to the obvious expenses, there are a number of unexpected ones that can sneak up on you and ruin your finances. To prevent this disaster, here are ten costs you may not have considered.

Source

Research Expenses

Before you can even start your business, you need to decide exactly what it is that you want to sell. Although some people already have an idea at this point, others may not. To give yourself some inspiration, you will need to conduct research, identifying gaps in the market. If you have a business idea already, you will still need this research to validate it and find customers. Whether you do this research yourself or hire an agency, you should prepare to pay hundreds to do it well.

Business Insurance

Considering most businesses begin at home, many entrepreneurs assume that they don’t need insurance. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case. Even without any customers or employees yet, you’ll still need to protect any equipment or products for your company. Unbeknownst to many, this won’t be covered by your home insurance. As your company starts to take off, you’ll need other additional policies, like general liability and worker’s compensation.

Association Fees

In the very beginning of your business, it helps to be connected. This is why so many entrepreneurs spend time at networking events and engaging with other business people online. Another great way to put yourself out there is by linking up with a trade association. Unfortunately, this method isn’t free. The memberships for these industry associations can easily cost hundreds, so it’s important that you choose the right one for you and your company.

Employee Recruitment

There comes a time for every business owner when they can no longer do everything themselves. It’s at this point when you’ll need to start looking into bringing on additional help. However, with job promoting, interviews, tests, training, and more, the hiring process is far from free. Even if you don’t spend money on certain stages, you’ll still need to consider the cost of your time. This is why so many entrepreneurs outsource work before they build a team.

Legal Fees

No one goes into business planning or expecting to face a lawsuit, but there’s no use in ignoring the possibility. Even if you’re not to blame for anything, bogus lawsuits can still waste your time, as well as increase insurance rates and lead to settlement costs. To limit the negative impact of these issues, you should hire professional legal advice from the moment you begin your business. In addition to assistance with legal troubles, they can also help you to avoid them.

High Turnover

After spending so much time and money recruiting new talent, the last thing that you want this for them to move on to another company. This means you’ll have to face the costs of the hiring process all over again, as well as pay for someone to cover their workload in the meantime. High employee turnover is a problem for companies far and wide, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be for you. If you create a positive and rewarding work environment, new hires won’t want to leave.

Staff Rewards

Keeping your employees happy doesn’t always have to cost money, but no one can deny that it sometimes does. To show your appreciation for their work and keep turnover down, you’re going to need to find ways to reward your team. While a simple “thank you” will suffice in some circumstances, in others you may choose to offer a cash bonus, paid days off, or a small gift. You will also need to provide a competitive and comprehensive benefits package.

Product Shrinkage

When a business handles products, regardless of its size, there’s going to be a risk of product shrinkage. This occurs when products are stolen, damaged, or otherwise lost before they can be sold to customers. This is a major issue in the retail industry, costing millions every single year. While there are ways to reduce shrinkage, such as by installing better security equipment and improving product management, there is no way to eliminate this issue as a whole.

Equipment Maintenance

All businesses need some sort of equipment to keep them up and running. Computers, tablets, and other office technology are fairly common, but there are also more expensive tools required in different industries. Everyone starting any type of business understands that they’ll have to pay for this equipment, but very few entrepreneurs consider the cost of maintaining it. While this is cheaper than replacing your gear, it’s still an expense that will need to be budgeted for.

Source

Company Time

As one of your most valuable resources, no one can deny that, in the world of business, time truly is money. This means that when you waste the few hours and minutes you have each day, you essentially take money out of the wallet of your company. With that in mind, many businesses invest in finding ways to make processes and the company as a whole more efficient. This might mean investing in better equipment, bringing on more staff, or even moving.

Launching a new business is an exciting prospect, but you should not allow that to overshadow the finer details. Companies need money to survive, which means that, if you manage yours poorly, your business may not be long for this world. You simply can’t afford to ignore or forget about the small and unexpected costs. Hopefully, with the information above, you can plan for your surprise expenses, protecting your company finances and business as a whole.

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Car Care Tips For Winter

Image

Now that the winter is in full swing, get ready to feel freezing cold mornings, dark and stormy nights and slippery roads. In the winter the weather can cause a lot of issues for drivers on the road and the conditions are much more dangerous than they are during the summer. This is why it is super important to keep the car up and running and make sure that you look after it throughout these harsh months. Here’s what you can do to keep your car healthy during the winter.

Fill up the antifreeze

As you will know, the weather is much colder during the winter and this can cause us to end up struggling against harsh conditions and low temperatures on the road. One of the risks which can be run is the inside of the car freezing and preventing it from starting, and this is why antifreeze is so important. Before setting off for any journeys during the winter, take the time to check up on your antifreeze levels. This will make a big difference to the car and will allow you to enjoy a smoother drive on the road.

Check your oil

The oil in your car is like the blood in our veins, it is an integral part of the car and it is something which we use every day to stop car parts from rubbing against each other and causing friction. Making sure that your oil level are ok is important for a safe drive and you can do this easily by checking the level on the dipstick. If the level is near to maximum, you’re good to go!

Replace windshield wipers

One of the parts of the car which a lot of people forget about is the windshield wipers. After a long while and some wear, windshield wipers can become cracked and damaged and this will of course have an impact on how well they are able to wipe away water and debris as you drive. This is even more important at this time of the year because of snow, hail, sleet and rain which can all make it hard for you to see while driving. You can pick up windshield wipers from Costco and these will make a great big difference to your safety on the road.

Check the tyres

Whenever you are looking to travel on a long journey or you are thinking about driving in wet conditions, you will want to make sure that the tyre pressure and tread are both in good order. This applies whether you are in a car, bike, or truck and it will stop you from having an accident on the road and having to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer for help. Tyre pressure can affect your control on the road, and tyre tread is important for maintaining grip on the road. This is why it is always super important to check the tyres, inflate them and replace them if they aren’t up to scratch.

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Stop Wasting Money On Making Your Home Cozy

Home buyers fall in love with their property.

Homeowners, on the other hand, need to work hard to continue to love and cherish their home. Making it cozy and appealing is an effort of every day. From the choice of decor to the addition of new units and appliances, it’s crucial to let your home evolve with you.

But in an era where economists forecast the next financial crisis for 2020, you can’t afford to let your home investments cast a shadow on your financial stability. Keeping the household together doesn’t come for free. But, there’s a significant difference between spending the necessary amount to keep the property functional and pleasant, and wasting your savings in a lost and pointless cause. Indeed, because homeownership doesn’t have to break the bank, you need to keep an eye on your expenses toward coziness.

Replace baths by showers for affordable coziness

#1. Simple is better

You ’ll be surprised to know that on average, 25% of US homeowners spend over $5,000 on their interior style only. As a result, they create an abundant and crowded decor, that can not only feel overwhelming, but that also leads to unnecessary stress at home. Coziness is all about creating a style that can stand the test of time. When it comes to your decor, you need to focus your attention on establishing an elegant but minimalist ensemble that ensures the house is balanced with its surroundings.

#2. You shouldn’t agree to any work without an estimate

Too many homeowners pay more than they should for repair and improvement works. Indeed, while it might be tempting to look for a contractor and stick to their prices, you should always search the market for the best options for you. For instance, most contractors provide a quoting system, from a free estimate AC repair to a ballpark cost overview for plumbing changes. The key is to collect a couple of quotes for comparison and to go with what feels right – which isn’t always the cheapest depending on the services you need.

#3. You don’t need all the gadgets

As a rule of the thumb, everyone owns on average over 10 devices they don’t need. While this might sound impossible, you might want to consider your possession or recent purchases carefully. An iPod, for instance, used to be a popular gadget. However, it’s now an old-fashioned tool that has been entirely replaced by smartphone technology. Similarly, your digital camera is just as useless. When was the last time you used it? Your smartphone can do everything a camera does, and it can share images in a click. In short, think twice before buying your next gadget.

#4. You consume more than you need

Who doesn’t love a nice bath? Everyone loves the sensation of sitting in the warm water. However, running a bath will use up to 80 liters of water, which can become a costly habit in the long term. Ultimately, utilities such as electricity and water come at a cost. But while bills are increasing, households increase waste too, with up to 15% of waste by leaving the water running or appliances plugged in.

The bottom line is that running your household is expensive. However, it doesn’t have to cost as much as you think. You can cut down your costs and still have a cozy and pleasant home.

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