Useful information

See the links below for lots more useful information. These will continue to be updated regularly

Artificial sweeteners

There is some debate about the role of artificial sweeteners. On the face of it, artificial sweeteners contain no calories, so they appear to be an ideal substitute for those with a sweet tooth.

The first problem is that the pancreas may start to produce insulin to reduce blood glucose BEFORE the levels are elevated, simply as a reaction to a sweet stimulus. As no glucose enters the blood stream, glucose that is already there is removed for storage as fat. Blood glucose levels are driven down, and the result is hunger and increased food intake.

Secondly, it is true that eating foods containing any kind of sweetener maintains the taste for over sweetened foods. It is much better to eliminate the use of sweeteners until the natural sweetness of food tastes right for you.

Experiments show that our bodies are very sensitive to fat and as soon as they have had enough, they switch off the appetite. Try to eat loads of fat- at some point you will feel completely sated. Carry on and you will feel nauseous and will stop. There is a proviso – If you disguise the fat with a sweetener or starch, this dulls your body’s ability to recognise the fat. This means that you can eat a sweetened fatty food and still gain weight.

Why not Soy?

Myths and Truths About Soy

Here we dispel the myths and reveal the truth about soy products.

Myth: Use of soy as a food dates back many thousands of years.

Truth: Soy was first used as a food during the late Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC), only after the Chinese learned to ferment soybeans to make foods like tempeh, natto, and tamari.

Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.

Truth: Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.

Myth: Modern soy foods confer the same health benefits as traditionally fermented soy foods.

Truth: Most modern soy foods are not fermented to neutralize toxins in soybeans, and are processed in a way that denatures proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.

Myth: Soy foods provide complete protein.

Truth: Like all legumes, soybeans are deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine. In addition, modern processing denatures fragile lysine.

Myth: Fermented soy foods can provide vitamin B12 in vegetarian diets.

Truth: The compound that resembles vitamin B12 in soy cannot be used by the human body. In fact, soy foods cause the body to require more B12.

Myth: Soy formula is safe for infants.

Truth: Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors led to stunted growth and pancreatic disorders. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D, needed for strong bones and normal growth.

Phytic acid in soy foods results in reduced bioavailabilty of iron and zinc, which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. Soy also lacks cholesterol, likewise essential for the development of the brain and nervous system.

Megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.

Myth: Soy foods can prevent osteoporosis.

Truth: Soy foods can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin Dboth needed for healthy bones. Calcium from bone broths and vitamin D from seafood, lard and organ meats prevent osteoporosis in Asian countries—not soy foods.

Myth: Modern soy foods protect against many types of cancer.

Truth: A British government report concluded that there is little evidence that soy foods protect against breast cancer or any other forms of cancer. In fact, soy foods may result in an increased risk of cancer.

Myth: Soy foods protect against heart disease.

Truth: In some people, consumption of soy foods will lower cholesterol, but there is no evidence that lowering cholesterol with soy protein improves one’s risk of having heart disease.

Myth: Soy oestrogens (isoflavones) are good for you.

Truth: Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

Myth: Soy foods are safe and beneficial for women to use in their postmenopausal years.

Truth: Soy foods can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems. Low thyroid function is associated with difficulties in menopause.

Myth: Phytoestrogens in soy foods can enhance mental ability.

Truth: A recent study found that women with the highest levels of oestrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function; In Japanese–Americans, tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

Myth: Soy isoflavones and soy protein isolate have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status.

Truth: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently withdrew its application to the FDA for GRAS status for soy isoflavones following an outpouring of protest from the scientific community. The FDA never approved GRAS status for soy protein isolate because of concern regarding the presence of toxins and carcinogens in processed soy.

Myth: Soy foods are good for your sex life.

Truth: Numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Soy consumption enhances hair growth in middle-aged men, indicating lowered testosterone levels.

Myth: Soybeans are good for the environment.

Truth: Most soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered to allow farmers to use large amounts of herbicides.

Myth: Soybeans are good for developing nations.

Truth: In third-world countries, soybeans replace traditional crops and transfer the value-added of processing from the local population to multinational corporations.

Soy Dangers Summarized

  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting, and long, slow cooking, but only with long fermentation. High-phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals, soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for Vitamin D. Toxic synthetic Vitamin D2 is added to soy milk.
  • Fragile proteins are over-denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods to mask soy’s unpleasant taste.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

Let’s talk about “That time of the month”…

Whatever euphemism you use for it, women inevitably have periods to deal with.

One thing to keep in mind: Your period is still your period.

Remember that keto is not magic! It isn’t the cause of everything that will happen to you after you start eating this way. For the most part, your period is going to be your normal period while you’re keto. You might have cravings, you might cramp, you might be light or heavy, or early or late. All the same stuff you dealt with during menstruation pre-keto you will probably continue to deal with now that you’ve changed your food lifestyle.That being said, there are a few issues we do see pop up from time to time and we will address them, in no particular order:

  1. If you are hungry, eat!          “Hormone hunger is still hunger.” 

Right after ovulation the body ramps up production of oestrogen and progesterone, both of which can cause your body to feel hunger. The bottom line is that, as we all should know, our menstrual time is a stretch of a few days where hormones are screwy. We might be tired, we might be cranky, and we will probably be hungry. All of that is perfectly normal and you are not expected to sit and starve on top of it all.

Now that’s not permission to cheat, nor should you gorge yourself on “friendly” treats. But look, if you’re there and you really want some chocolate then it’s not going to be the end of the world if you make a keto mug cake or have a few squares of 90 or 100% chocolate either. Some ladies crave protein during that time, so don’t worry too much about a few extra slices of bacon. Just eat to hunger and you will be fine.

  1. Yes, you will probably still bloat

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but keto doesn’t cure period bloating. It’s just a part of the hormonal process and is due to massive surges in oestrogen during the pre-menstrual part of your cycle. Oestrogen can cause quite a bit of extra water to be retained, so if you tend to bloat or experience puffiness and inflammation during menstruation this just is what it is and keto isn’t going to stop it.

  1. Yes, you will probably still gain weight right before and during menstruation

See point two above for the physical reasons why. Also, stay off the scale. There is no reason to make yourself extra miserable during your period by seeing the number on that torture mechanism go up. Don’t worry about your weight and any added from bloat will go away again once you’re done.

  1. Don’t start an experiment right before or during your period

Again, there is no reason on earth why you should make things extra difficult for yourself during your time. If you’re thinking about giving up dairy or sweeteners, etc., just do yourself a favour and wait until the period is done, ok?

  1. Your blood sugar may go up (or down) during your period

Having unusual highs and lows for blood glucose readings during menstruation is a thing that happens. Once again, the reason for it is the massive fluctuation in your hormones during this time of the month.

Are you sensing the pattern yet?

Yes, those  period hormones can actually cause your insulin sensitivity to go a little off  during menstruation, so if you’ve noticed a surge or drop in blood glucose during that time you should know it’s not uncommon in general, is natural, and it should subside as soon as your hormones drop back off to normal levels.

  1. Period Weirdness

Here’s where we get to the out-of-the-ordinary stuff. Some women will initially experience some odd stuff when it comes to their period after they go keto. It might be lighter or heavier, it may be oddly spaced or more/less frequent than normal.

Yes, it’s hormones. This time, however, it’s not just attributable to the normal fluctuations around menstruation. Oestrogen, the main culprit for many period problems is actually both stored and produced by your body fat.

The more fat you have on your body, the more oestrogen is being produced which, in turn, encourages the body to store more fat, which produce more oestrogen, and around and around we go! To top that excitement off, all those fat cells then store excess oestrogen and other sex hormones.

Once you start burning body fat you will simultaneously decrease the body’s oestrogen production and release the stored sex hormones back into the blood stream. Hence, all kinds of hormone disruption can occur and it might take a little time before balance is achieved.

This is also why some people experience some initial moodiness along with elevated or decreased libido when they go keto. However, you should know it is completely normal and once your body compensates, things will return to normal.

I do have to add the disclaimer that if you’re very concerned about your irregular menstruation or are experiencing serious pain, clotting, etc, you should go see your doctor in order to rule out any major problems or illnesses.

  1. Yes, if you’re menopausal or pre-menopausal, you might still have some of these problems

Because of the hormonal irregularities fat loss can cause (see point immediately above this one) you might experience some bloating, cramping, hormone hunger, even up to and including spotting or a full-on period after going keto.

Again, if you’re concerned or are having any serious symptoms, go see your doctor. Otherwise, due to the hormonal fluctuations that can occur when you burn off body fat you might have some symptoms you thought you were over and done with. And that’s ok. As with the issues above, once the body figures out how to compensate, things will go back to normal.

Why not milk?

On a ketogenic diet, you should limit your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams of net carbs or below per day. To achieve this, it is best to avoid carb laden foods like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta.

One cup of milk contains around 13 grams of net carbohydrates, and this is why it doesn’t fit the low carb, keto approved bill. 

Some people recommend lacto free milk thinking it has had the lactose removed – in fact Lactase has been added to neutralise the effect of lactose for those who are lactose intolerant, meaning it has the same carb content as normal milk.

Other milk substitutes are available, just read the nutritional information carefully as they may contain undesirable additives


Peanuts and why you should avoid them

Peanuts are not true nuts at all, but a legume (like peas, beans, lentils etc.) and they actually grow under the ground. This makes them susceptible to developing toxins from microscopic moulds. Think about a nutshell and how hard they can be to crack – peanuts grow underground as part of the root system in a soft, permeable pod. This means they are at the mercy of moist, warm conditions ideal for mould growth. They can also show mould growth during storage, shipping or in supermarkets if the conditions are right.

One of the most concerning toxins associated with peanuts is a mould that produces alflatoxin. Alflatoxin is a known carcinogen and has been shown to stunt growth in children. Any food that is creating congestion in the liver can potentially impede its function, including detoxification and fat burning.

The above holds true for organic peanuts and peanut butter too – What the manufacturers don’t tell you is that they take the good looking peanuts with less mould and use them for cocktail peanuts and take the ones with more nasty mould on for your peanut butter. They get mashed up so the mould is even less likely to be noticed.


No app? Use this simple guide...

Choose a protein:

(a small fist size is roughly 20 grams).

Choose your vegetables:

(1 teacup full is roughly 5 grams of carbs).

Choose fats:

(1 heaped tablespoon is roughly 20 grams).

Chicken Cauliflower Cucumber Butter
Beef Broccoli Radish Coconut oil
Pork Courgette Fennel Extra virgin olive oil
Fish Brussels sprouts Swiss chard Lard
Lamb Cabbage Spring onions Ghee
Mince Spring greens Salad Cheese
Venison Kale Shallots Avocado
Seafood Cavolo Nero Leek Beef/Pork dripping
Eggs Spinach *Swede Double cream
Plant based protein Mushrooms *Celeriac Avocado/Walnut oil
Offal Celery *Turnip Cocoa butter

Some are vegetables are higher carb than others so mix and match as often as possible. Variety is key.

Benefits of a keto lifestyle

Weight loss – If you are trying to lose weight, then a ketogenic lifestyle is one of the most effective ways as it helps to access your body fat so that can be used to give you energy.

Anti – inflammatory – Fat is preferred as a fuel source because it is a cleaner, healthier way of running your metabolism. It releases fewer reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals. By eliminating sugar you are decreasing the risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout your body.

Reducing appetite – A constant hunger can cause you to eat more calories than you can burn. This can cause you to gain weight. Reducing carbohydrate intake can reduce hunger symptoms. Studies have shown that participants given a low carb diet had reduced appetites, helping them lose weight more easily. Fat in the diet also gives a richness to the food and contributes to a feeling of fullness.

Lowering Insulin – Eating carbohydrates causes a rise in your blood sugar, which leads to a spike in your insulin;this can lead over time to insulin resistance and ultimately type 2 diabetes. In a study published in Nutrition and Metabolism researchers found that diabetics who followed a ketogenic way of eating significantly reduced their requirements for diabetic medication even reversing it in some cases as a direct result of lowering their blood sugar.

Other benefits can include:

  • Lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Improving memory
  • Stabilising mood swings and improves overall emotional state
  • Helping IBS and digestive problems
  • Resetting a sick or damaged metabolism
  • Reducing the need to snack
  • Assists in the management of epilepsy (under medical supervision)


Switching fuel

When you maintain a minimum carbohydrate intake, your body adapts from burning glucose for energy and readily releases fat from fat cells. The fat (triglyceride) is broken down into 3 fatty acid molecules and one glycerol molecule.

 Most of the cells in your body can, and do, burn the fatty acids for fuel. Through further metabolism, the liver creates ketones, which your cells use for metabolism. This process is known as nutritional ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is fine — it just means that your body is burning fat. (Ketosis is commonly confused with ‘ketoacidosis’- a serious condition that can occur in individuals with diabetes.)

 Ketosis is a completely normal mode of metabolism when carbs are restricted. Your body flushes the excess ketones from your system via respiration and urination. Your hunger will go away, and if you have extra weight on your body, you will eat less and lose weight.

 If you are curious, you can measure your urine or blood ketones at home with urinary or blood ketone test strips. Not everyone has measurable ketones in the urine even when they are successfully fat-burning and losing weight. So if there are no ketones in the urine, it does not necessarily mean that you are not burning fat. The most efficient way to test is with a breath monitor but none of this is necessary, although a very lucrative market for them has become available with the success of ketogenic living.


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