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Ketogenic diet: The ultimate low-carb diet

What Is It?

The ketogenic diet, better known as the keto diet, is often promoted for its fat-burning, health-boosting powers. By lowering your carbohydrate intake, consuming moderate amounts of protein and increasing the amount of fat you eat, you can force your body into a metabolic state of ketosis, ultimately making your body burn a different source of fuel: it will chip away at the fat from your diet or from existing fat stores.

When in ketosis, your body is really good at burning fat quickly and effectively, so you can lose weight without having to feel hungry. More than this, it helps turn fat into ketones inside the liver. Ketones aid in supplying energy to the brain. Other benefits include: lowering your blood sugar, reducing insulin levels, increasing your ketones and weight loss. A keto diet may even help conditions such as diabetes

Tell Me More

Ketones are small molecules of fuel that our bodies produce naturally. They’re an alternative source of energy that our bodies rely on when glucose (sugar) is in short supply. When your body is lacking in carbs/calories, your liver will make ketones from fat instead. These ketones will then become a primary source of fuel to efficiently food our energy-hungry brains, as they can’t run on fat alone. It is effective as a diet because your body will rely on fat as its main source of energy, which means that fat is burnt constantly whilst you’re in a keto state. A keto diet is also arguably easier to maintain because you can cut out the hunger pangs and reduced functionality that often occur as a result of general low-cal diets.
It’s really important to monitor your intake levels, however the ratio is really dependent on an individual’s needs. You’ll need to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day- ideally less than 20. The fewer carbs, the quicker you can reach a state of ketosis. Reaching a state of ketosis can take up to a week, and you won’t reap the benefits unless you maintain it. You should also avoid eating too much protein, because this can inhibit your results and ketosis maintenance.

What Should I Consume?

Typical foods you should eat during a keto diet are as follows:
– Natural fats such as butters and mct oils
– Meats that are high in saturated fat, e.g red meat and bacon
– Fish and seafood
– Cheese and other dairy products
– Eggs
– Some vegetables such as avocados, broccoli, tomatoes (particularly vegetables that grow above ground)
– Nuts
– Tofu
– Water
– Coffee
– Tea

What Shouldn’t I Consume?

During a keto diet, your main no-gos are high-carb foods. High-carb foods contain lots of sugar and/or lots of starch. Here are some examples:

– Fruit (particularly high-energy fruits such as bananas)
– Potatoes and other vegetables that grow below ground
– Beer and sweet wine
– Pasta
– Highly-processed foods
– Bread
– Rice
– Juice and fizzy drinks

Staying Safe

In most cases and with most individuals, keto diets are safe and can even be medically advised. However, like with everything, they can come with risks. By limiting the fruit and vegetables you eat, you can deprive your body of a lot of vitamins and nutrients. It also means that you’re consuming small amounts of fibre, which can lead to constipation. For reasons such as these, keto diets are not ideal for breast-feeding or pregnant women, whilst large amounts of saturated fats are not ideal for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. A keto diet can also put a strain on your kidney and liver, which is something you should consider if you have underlying health issues that are associated with your vital organs.

What Is Keto Flu?

As with most diets and sizable lifestyle changes, the keto diet can induce some side effects whilst your body adjusts and adapts. This is often referred to as the keto flu, and in most cases you will make a full recovery in just a few days. Some effects of keto flu are as follows: reduced mental and bodily function, digestive discomfort, decreased exercise performance, nausea and sleep issues. To minimize the effects of keto flu, try easing your body into the diet by trying a regular low-carb diet first. It is also advisable to take mineral supplements and/or vitamins such as electrolytes, magnesium and MCT oil

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What Is CBD?

What Is CBD?

Many people hear ‘CBD’ and are instantly reminded of high school stoners and the strong, unmistakable smell of marijuana. It’s understandable: after all, Cannabidiol (CBD) is a derivative of the cannabis/hemp plant, but there’s a catch- it isn’t psychoactive. In other words, it can’t and won’t give you a high, unlike its less innocent cousin, THC, the main active compound in marijuana. Still not sure? I’ll go on…

The Cannabis plant makes over one hundred types of chemicals called cannabinoids. Two major cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant are THC and CBD. As mentioned, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that CBD cannot affect you in the ways we may typically associate with THC, e.g feelings of euphoria, intoxication or sedation. In short, you won’t get ‘stoned’ if you consume it.

Why Use CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has many of the same benefits as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so you can reap the health benefits without the unlawful side effects associated with the marijuana-esque ‘high’. For this reason, CBD has taken the wellness world by storm, and it’s only getting more popular. It’s a naturally-occurring alternative to more mind-altering remedies, pharmaceutical and not, with a broad range of health benefits. Here’s some of them:

Studies have shown that CBD may ease the symptoms of some mental health conditions, such as: anxiety disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Conditions and disorders such as these are usually treated with pharmaceutical/prescription drugs, and they often come with unfavorable side effects like addiction, agitation and a lowered sex drive. Lots of people have touted CBD as a preferable, all-natural ‘calmer’, with many claiming that their anxiety/depression etc. feels reduced or relieved after consuming it. More than this, CBD has been included in research that has found links between CBD and neuroprotective properties, signaling potential to benefit neurological disorders.

CBD may also help to soothe and relieve physical ailments, too. For thousands of years, marijuana has been used as a natural remedy for pain. Studies have shown that certain cannabinoids, such as CBD, are the reason for marijuana’s pain-relieving effects. Whilst there is definitely room for more research to be done, a study on rats has shown that CBD may help with pain associated with arthritis. Similarly, studies on human cells have indicated that CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties.

How Does It Work?

The human body contains something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s responsible for numerous essential functions, such as sleeping, appetite and responding to pain or the immune system. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind with cannabinoid receptors in the human nervous system. It is believed that CBD can help to relieve pain through affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity,  and consequently reducing inflammation and/or having an impact on neurotransmitters.

In a similar way, it is suspected that CBD’s potential powers as a tool for depression/anxiety is due to its ability to act on serotonin receptors in the human brain Like endocannabinoids, serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It is important because it regulates mood and social behaviours.

How Do I Take It?

CBD infused products and supplements come in all different shapes and sizes. This means that it’s easy to tailor your CBD consumption to your needs. Here are some of the most common:

  • Oils– Oils are usually consumed using a dropper. You simply apply one or two drops below the tongue. Your saliva helps to absorb the CBD quickly. You can also add drops of CBD oil to food and beverages.
  • Tablets– Whilst consuming CBD in this form often results in delayed absorption, CBD tablets/pills/capsules can be a quick and easy way to target digestive issues and/or disorders.
  • Lotions and creams– CBD infused lotions and creams are most popular for the treatment of aches and pains, just rub them into the affected area. CBD creams and lotions can also be applied to skin affected by conditions such as eczema.
  • Vape liquids– Inhaling CBD through an electric cigarette or ‘vape’ allows for the fastest absorption and quickest effects. Of course, smoking cannot be advised but CBD vaping liquids can be a convenient form of CBD consumption.
  • Edibles– Edibles are big on accuracy- you know exactly what dosage you’re taking. They usually come in the forms of gummies, so they’re tasty too.

Keeping Safe

There are lots of different brands of CBD products- when you’re choosing, you should look out for one that’s  MHRA complient, which basically means that it is deemed safe to use by The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Be mindful of purity, too: some products can contain other cannabinoids- these are full spectrum CBD products. Multiple cannabinoids in one product can make its effects stronger, and cannabinoids like THC are psychoactive, so more likely to produce unwanted side effects. A CBD isolate is 100% CBD.

When it comes to dosage, guidelines can be vague. You should start low to gauge how the CBD product affects you personally, and adjust accordingly. Make sure to always read the label and check with your doctor if you’re uncertain.