Category: Diet

Top tips for getting into Ketosis

Keto seems to be a buzzword at the moment, with so many people in the fitness industry talking about this revolutionary way of achieving results. We want you to be as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to your diet and fitness, so here we will explain what exactly ketosis is, and some tips to get started if you think it will work for you.

What is ketosis?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens within the body. When a person has reached ketosis, their body converts fat into compounds called ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy instead of glucose (sugars).

These ketones then leave the body and the presence of ketones in the blood and urine indicates that you have entered a state of ketosis. This can help you lose unwanted fat, as the body starts to break down fat stores for energy, instead of relying on carbohydrates.

 

5 tips for getting started. 

1. Minimize carbohydrate consumption

Changing to a very low carb diet is the main key to achieving ketosis. Whether you are turning to the keto diet for weight loss, to decrease the risk of heart disease, or to control your blood sugar levels, you should aim to reduce your carb intake to 20 grams per day or less. This may be different for each person to reach ketosis, some people will need less, some will need more. When carbohydrate intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body and to be burnt off for energy.

 

2. Increase your physical activity

The more physical energy that you use during the day, the more fuel you will need, usually this fuel comes from glucose. Exercise helps you to deplete glycogen stores in the body. In most cases, when you eat carbohydrates, they will replenish your glycogen stores. If you are on a low-carb diet, you will not be replenished, so during exercise, the body will turn to fat stores to burn for energy. It can take up to four weeks for the body to learn to use ketones (fat stores) as primary fuel and you may experience fatigue and low physical performance temporarily as the body adjusts.

running

3. Try fasting

There are two types of fasting that can help you to enter ketosis. Intermittent Fasting, or going without food for a period of time, often 12-24 hours, once per week, or significantly reducing calorie intake two days a week eg to 500 calories one day, can help a person achieve a state of ketosis. With some people actually entering mild ketosis between meals. 

Another form of fasting is ‘fat fasting’ which can vastly increase the effects of ketosis. This means eating around 1000 calories per day, with 90% of that food being fat. Please be aware that a fat fast is often so low in protein and calories, that it should only be followed for a maximum of three to five days in order to prevent an excessive loss of muscle mass.

4. Increase healthy fat intake

As carbohydrate intake decreases, most people replace the loss of carbohydrates with an increase in fats. Ketogenic diets usually provide between 60–80% of calories from fat. Because fat makes up such a huge percentage of the diet, it is important to choose high-quality sources. Some fats that you should incorporate

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • avocados and avocado oil
  • flaxseed oil

However, for people looking to lose weight, it is important to keep the total calorie count in mind as well. Eating too many calories in a day can make it harder to lose weight.

oil

5. Test your ketone levels

Like many things in nutrition, achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis is highly personal. It can be helpful to test your ketone levels to ensure you’re achieving your goals and this can be done through breath, blood or urine.

Studies have found that testing acetone breath levels, is a reliable way to monitor ketosis in people following ketogenic diets. A Ketonix meter is available to buy and measures acetone levels in the breath. 

Ketone levels can also be measured with a blood ketone meter. Similar to the way a glucose meter works, a small drop of blood is placed on a strip that’s inserted into the meter. The disadvantage of measuring blood ketones is that the strips can be expensive.

Lastly, Ketone urine strips can be bought at a reasonable prince. These turn various shades of pink or purple depending on the level of ketones present. A darker color reflects higher ketone levels.

Using these methods to test ketones levels can help you determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your diet in order to get into ketosis.

 

 

Improve your gut health

Gut health is the current buzzword in the diet world. Without the gut, your body wouldn’t be able to extract nutrients from food and absorb energy.

Diet and gut health are very closely linked and good gut health means having a healthy microbiome, as these promote good bacteria and destroy growth of damaging bacteria. 

With such an important role to play in the functioning of your body, ensuring your gut functions normally should be of top priority. Not only can it help with your diet, but it can help with your overall wellbeing and health. 

Here are 5 proven ways to improve your gut health. 

1. Lower stress

Having high levels of stress is hard on your whole body, including your gut. It is a catch 22 situation, the more you are stressed, the less you can sleep, and you guessed it, lack of sleep can cause bad gut health. One of the results of bad gut health, inability to sleep.

Some ways to lower stress may include meditation, yoga, and making 7-8 hours sleep a priority.

2. Eat slowly

Chewing your food slowly and thoroughly is a simple and easy way to improve gut health. Eating slowly can help promote full digestion and better absorption of nutrients. This may help you reduce digestive discomfort and maintain a healthy gut.

3. Hydration

Water helps all bodily functions to work properly, including your gut as it helps to remove waste from the body, which is an important part of the digestive process. Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines, as well as on the balance of good bacteria in the gut.

4. Supplements

Adding a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to your diet is a great way to improve your gut health. Prebiotics provide “food” to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria. There are a lot of products on the market and not all probiotic supplements are high quality or will actually provide benefit as the good bacteria just gets killed off by stomach acid. It’s best to consult an expert when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic supplement to ensure you get the most benefit.

5 . Fermented foods

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics. While the quality of these foods may vary, their benefits on the gut microbiome are proven and well studied to increase gut-friendly bacteria.

FULFIL in the spotlight

About Fulfil

The mission of the FULFIL team is to have it all. Why can’t we have an utterly delicious bar, that’s also good for us?

FULFIL bars are designed and created in Ireland.

 

Products

FULFIL bars are packed with high protein, 30% RDA of 9 essential vitamins, and low sugar and come in a range of twelve delicious flavours. There is no added sugar in the bars, with the only sugar coming naturally from the milk, and there is less than ½ to 1 teaspoon of sugar per bar. To make the bars more accessible to a wider range of audience, all the collagen used in the bars is Halal approved.

When to eat them – FULFIL bars are to designed fuel your activities, whether it’s a gym session, a long walk, or a hefty day at work. They are also great after training for some extra protein when you need it.  FULFIL bars are also a great alternative to empty-calorie snacks if you get hungry in between meals, you can even enjoy them with your cup of tea on the sofa.

FULFIL bars are available in 12 different flavours, so no matter your preference there will be one to suit you. 

 

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER VITAMIN AND PROTEIN BAR

A deliciously smooth peanut butter centre with a soft creamy layer, surrounded in an indulgent milk chocolate coating and topped with a crunchy layer of peanuts.

This bar only contains 212 kcal and 20g protein per 55g serving 

See more reviews of this flavour on our website 

CHOCOLATE SALTED CARAMEL VITAMIN AND PROTEIN BAR

An indulgent milk chocolate coating surrounds a soft, silky salted caramel centre topped with a layer of crunchy crispies, with all the added benefits of 20g protein, low sugar and 9 multivitamins.

This bar only contains 204 kcal per serving.

See more reviews of this flavour on our website

 

PEANUT AND CARAMEL VITAMIN AND PROTEIN BAR

Milk chocolate encases a layer of caramel mixed with crunchy crispies surrounding a rich peanut centre all with only 2.1gs of sugar, 20gs of protein and 9 multivitamins.

This bar only contains 205kcal per serving.

See more reviews of this flavour on our website 

 

WHITE CHOCOLATE AND COOKIE DOUGH VITAMIN AND PROTEIN BAR

A creamy outer coating of white chocolate gives way to a delicious centre of cookie dough goodness with a crispy layer on top plus 20g of protein and 9 vitamins.

This bar only contains 198kcal per serving

See more reviews of this flavour on our website 

 

We have unbiased reviews on all 12 flavours of FULFIL Vitamin and protein bars. To read them all, head over to our website here.

 

 

 

 

Tips to start eating a vegan diet

Whatever your reason for starting a vegan diet, it can be a huge lifestyle change and it’s often difficult to know where to start. Here are some tried and tested tips to help this exciting process go smoothly.

Take your time

Keep your end goal in mind, but go at your own pace. Some people are able to go vegan overnight and if that’s the right approach for you, great. But don’t be disappointed if you feel you need more time. Making small changes such as trying veganism for only one day a week, going vegetarian first, or even swapping one animal product at a time such as cows milk for oat milk. There is no right or wrong way to transition, so do what works best for your lifestyle.

Cook what you know

A really good tip when starting to eat a vegan diet, is to start with foods that you already eat regularly. If you have some staple meals that you easily know how to cook, it’s often a good place to start by changing up the ingredients to make them vegan friendly. With things like curries or pasta dishes it can be as simple as removing the cheese or swapping meat with some of the readily available meat substitutes that you can pick up in the supermarket, this way you don’t feel too overwhelmed getting to grips with a new way of cooking.

Use available resources

From apps to help you find vegan restaurants, to documentaries and cookbooks, there are endless amounts of resources out there to help keep you on track with your journey.  It’s always easier going vegan with someone else, but if you are going it alone, there are tonnes of vegan groups to join online to discuss and share ideas.

Take Vitamin B- 12

Vitamin B-12 is the only vitamin you can’t reliably obtain from a fully plant-based diet.  Many vegan foods are fortified with B-12, but if you don’t want to keep track of that all the time, it’s recommended to take a daily supplement.

Choose Wholegrains

Swapping out processed grains like white pasta and white bread, for whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, adds iron and B vitamins to a vegan diet. The extra fiber from whole grains will help keep you fuller for longer too.

Choose vegan Protein

Even though many people think it’s difficult for vegans to eat enough protein without animal products, it typically isn’t an issue for someone eating a varied diet including sources of plant-based protein. Most people often centre their meals around meat as their source of protein, and going vegan you may be focussing on what you can’t eat anymore, but there are plenty of vegan options so you don’t miss out on this vital muscle-building nutrient.  From soya, tofu,  lentils, chickpeas and beans, nuts, and seeds, vegan sources of protein are really easily accessible and can be added to all meals.

If you have gone vegan and have any suggestions to help those who are just starting out, please let us know and we will add it to our blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Protein What is it all about?

In the quest to meet your fitness goals, protein may be a very familiar thing to you, as one of the three major macronutrients that make up your diet (the other two being fat and carbohydrates). But what is protein all about and how does it benefit the body?

What is protein?

Protein is made up of a chain of 20 different amino acids that link together in different combinations. They are an important building block of bone, muscle, and skin and are found in every cell of our body.

Our body uses protein to build and repair tissues and promote proper growth. It also plays a role in protecting the body from viruses and transporting molecules.

How much do we need? 

Just because protein provides us with so many benefits, it’s important to know that you can’t just eat only protein all day long. The Recommended Dietary Allowance of most healthy people is 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight. This calculation should get you within the recommendation to source 10 to 35% of your daily total calories from protein. Of course, this may vary depending on age and health, and athletes are advised to up their intake to between 1.1 and 1.7 g per kg of body weight daily. 

peanut protein

What sources to we get it from?

Protein is so popular because it has been shown to help weight loss and management. High protein food increases the feeling of fullness for fewer calories, and it can also have a positive impact on resting metabolism, so you will burn off more calories throughout your day. 

An easy and popular way to meet your daily protein goals is to eat an energy bar. There are many varieties so whether you are on a whole foods diet, vegan, or low sugar, there will be an option for you. These filling snacks are great for on the go.

Similarly, protein powders are an easy way to intake protein and are great to help repair muscle after a workout. It has been shown that a large single dose of 25 g of protein within the hour of exercise, can increase muscle protein synthesis.

If you are wanting to incorporate protein into your staple diet, you can easily add it to your plate. When most people think of protein they will think of lean meats, but there are plenty of sources for all dietary requirements. Eggs, greek yogurt, peanut butter, lean poultry and fish, chickpeas, oats, and quinoa all provide high-quality protein sources. 

When you’re choosing your protein source, be sure to pay attention to the food’s fat content as things such as red meat and nut butter, whilst high in protein may also be high in saturated fats.

 

How to eat healthily in lockdown

At WriteUp Fitness Reviews, we are passionate about keeping you informed, to ensure your fitness journey is a success. We are going through a strange period of time, where our usual fitness priorities have changed, and our routine isn’t so easy. So here we provide you with some tips on how to eat healthily when you are at home in lockdown, so you can maintain your healthy habits.

Pre- Planning your meals for the week

When access to the shops isn’t so easy, and you can’t just pop out to buy the ingredients for a meal that takes your fancy. To make sure you still reach your health goals, planning ahead is crucial.

Planning out a weekly food schedule means you can precisely count your calories, macros, and nutrients so you don’t have the dilemma of what to eat and end up raiding the cupboards. When you do your big weekly shop you can buy the correct ingredients needed for your chosen healthy meals and you won’t have any waste.

Get a wide range of nutrients

During the lockdown, unless you have an allergy, of course, its important to avoid missing out particular food groups. Getting a wide variety of nutrients is key to a healthy diet, especially when you need to keep your immune systems strong. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and Zinc are 3 of the most important nutrients and are all needed to boost your immune system and they are found in carbs, vegetables, fruits, and dairy.

Snack healthy

Being bored in the house, it can be easy to find yourself snacking all day for something to do, whether you are hungry or not. Keeping the right snacks in the house, prevent you from reaching for crisps and biscuits every time.

These again can be planned into your weekly big food shop so you know you have staple snacks in at all occasions. A good rule of thumb when it comes to snacking is pairing ‘protein and produce’ to make sure they aren’t just empty calories and are nutritious and filling. This can be things such as nut-butter and apple, yogurt and berries, hummus, and carrots. 

Use your freezer

When you think of healthy meals, freezer food isn’t exactly what comes to mind. During the lockdown, it’s a great idea to stock up your freezer. Frozen vegetables, meats, and fruits are just as nutritious as fresh, and they won’t go out of date as quickly. As we mentioned earlier, planning meals is really useful, and dishes such as curries, chillis, and stews can all be made in batch and frozen so you have on-demand, home-cooked meals, packed full of vegetables.

4 Feel good ways to help you reach your healthy goal weight

The dieting world can be a minefield. In the 90s, Kate Moss popularised “heroin-chic”, a reaction against healthy looking models at the time, which championed a low-weight skinny, angular body – and the media’s perception of a desirable figure shifted irrevocably. Gone was the perception that curves were desirable, replaced with a lust for skin and bones. Thankfully though, this idea recently has begun to undo itself. Body positivity models are springing up to advocate having a healthy and comfortable relationship with your own body.

Thing is, if you’re looking to lose some weight, it can be hard to separate the healthy tips from the unhealthy ones.

At Write Up, we support healthy and harmonious weight loss, for no reason other than being satisfied in your skin. We thought we’d bring you some tip-top manoeuvres for your mindset, to boost a healthy mind for your new healthy goal weight.

Healthy lifestyle

1. Don’t think of your changes as a temporary solution

The number one tip we have for to reach a healthy goal weight is to think of your changes as a permanent, not a temporary solution. We all know that it’s hard to lose weight, and that it’s even harder to keep it off. When you start your weight-loss journey, it helps to educate yourself about nutrition. A good place to start is the British Nutrition Foundation, who have an encyclopedic resource of nutrition information on their website. It’s certainly true that knowledge is power, and once you know exactly what different foods provide you, you’ll be able to have a think about exactly which ones you need.

This paradigm shift towards a healthier, happier lifestyle is something that again is reflected in our modern sphere of influence. Supermarkets have begun to cater for healthy diets, and the popularity of January’s Veganuary has spiked the number of people learning what they put in their bodies, where it comes from, and making decisions about if they need to eat it.

Healthy food

2. If you choose to do exercise, make sure it’s something you love

Any good personal trainer will tell you that the key to losing weight with exercise is to find something you love.

Sure, your resolve to hit the gym at the start of the year is strong, but life has an annoying habit of getting in the way. If you find something that you love, you’ll remove the idea of exercise as a chore, and instead, it’ll become the highlight of your day. If you enjoy having time to think, then why not take up running?

The Couchto5k App is a good place to start. It’ll build up your stamina and pace slowly and allow you to go from sedentary to running for a full half hour. If that doesn’t float your boat, how about Zumba? The Latin-inspired dance class helps you keep fit whilst busting some killer moves. If you find a way to exercise that you love, then it’ll never seem like a chore. The weight will melt off, you’ll meet new people, and you’ll develop a new hobby that’s utterly and completely you.

exercising

3. Don’t think about how many calories the food has in it

This one is kind of related to nutrition, but we need to talk about it separately. Truth is, many of the foods we love to indulge in are addictive. In fact, in a recent study, it was found that cheese actually triggers the same part of your brain as opiates do. When you stop eating foods that aren’t good for you, there’ll be a period of a week or so when you’ll feel like you have the flu. Fight through it though, as after this point, you’ll be way more in tune with your body. And this is where our third point comes in.

A top tip trick to reach your healthy goal weight is to think about how the food you’re eating makes you feel. The “Carb Coma” is a well-documented phenomenon, as is the effect of diary, if you have stomach trouble. Did you know that most of Asia is intolerant to diary? If you find your body copes better with sushi, miso, ramen and tempura – then this might be the same for you. Food takes about six hours to start passing through your stomach, so make note in the evening of how your lunch choice affects your chill time. We’re going to ruin your surprise here, and let you know that healthy food will be your champion.

Healthy attitude

4. Remember, Photoshop exists.

Lastly, remember Photoshop exists. Every professional image you’re bombarded with from every angle, all hours of the day, is enhanced in some way. We live our lives behind filters, airbrushes, and FaceTune – and it’s easy to spend hours comparing ourselves to the doctored images of our favourite celebs.

Again, Plus Size models are leading the way to the destruction of this unhealthy obsession with airbrushing; but when trying to reach a healthy goal weight – don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, take a picture a week to track your own progress to your healthy goal weight. You’ll keep your motivation and focus way longer.

Convinced? Why not tell us what you’re about to take up? When you’re leaning more toward playing, rather than watching, your new passion; why not download Write Up – the app that lets you read, rate and review everything fitness related.

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

CICO Diets

What is CICO?

The CICO Model

After the success of the ‘keto diet’, along came the ‘CICO (Calories in, Calories out)’ diet. It is as controversial and popular as its predecessor, although they have little to do with each other. While the keto diet focuses on the consumption of proteins so that the glycemic index is not high, therefore improving the ketosis of the body, the new goal of CICO is to not exceed a certain number of calories each day. It is all about consuming less than you burn and ensuring that the balance at the end of the day is negative.

This regimen is based on the caloric balance; a form of weight loss that can sometimes be slow but can also be fairly easy to keep a track of. Remember, to lose a kilo of fat you must have a deficit of approximately 7,000 calories. This means, that if you are habitually consuming 2,000 and you begin to cut 500 calories per day, you will lose one kilo of weight in two weeks.

If you want to succeed on this diet you will have to count calories and gain a mild form of obsession over the numbers. For a great calorie counting tool, we recommend MyFitnessPal. You can read a review on MyFitnessPal here: https://writeupreviews.com/product/93/myfitnesspal/review/178

When we talk about weighing a kilo less on the scale, this can be both muscle and fat. In fact, it is most likely that the first case occurs. According to renowned dietician and nutritionist, Lyndi Cohen, she staes: “With calorie counting you can make many mistakes, because people often stop counting nutrients and just look at the numbers, which can lead to them taking junk food, as long as the numbers fit,”

“It’s ironic, because a diet like the CICO aims to encourage balance, but it really does not. It causes us to be obsessed about numbers, both with the number of calories and with the scale and we run the risk of feeling guilty if we ingest something inappropriate”.

Beware of the rebound effect

With the CICO diet you will lose weight, but for it to be sustainable over time, you must expect the odd blip. Cohen says that those who reduce calories and lose weight sometimes fall into the trap of believing that they can return to eating as they did before once they have hit their weight loss goal and, most likely, they will have the rebound effect.

Scientific evidence typically shows us that not all calories are the same. Different foods, even with the same type of nutrients, act differently in our body and small variations in the diet can (but not will) make us put on weight.

New research shows that counting calories may not be the most effective strategy to maintain an adequate weight over time. This is confirmed by numerous investigations, such as that of Tufts University, directed by Dr. Jessica Smith, who after analyzing the results of three long-term studies on the diet of 120,000 men and women, concluded that it is only necessary to change certain types of food to lose weight or gain weight significantly, because it is the combination of these that determines how much weight we gain and not so much how caloric, fatty or carbohydrate-rich they are.

This study is added to new research that shows that counting calories is not the most effective strategy to maintain an adequate weight over time. “Some foods help prevent weight gain, others make it worse, but the most interesting thing is that the combinations of certain foods seem to make a big difference,” says one of her co-authors, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian.

“Our findings suggest that in order to prevent weight gain, we should not only emphasize the intake of some protein-rich foods such as fish, nuts or yogurt,” continues Mozaffarian. “We must also avoid refined grains, starches and sugars to maximize the benefits of healthy, protein-rich meals, taking advantage of the additional benefits of other foods such as eggs and cheese and reducing the weight gain associated with meats.”

CICO Diet, yes or no?

So, what should we do to lose weight and not fall into the obsession of calorie counting? Lyndi Cohen recommends consuming “fruits and vegetables and balancing your meals so that they have carbohydrates, proteins and fats.”

Every time we go to the fridge or the vending machine we are eating calories that we could save if we ate these healthy snacks.

“Plan in advance what you are going to eat, so you will ensure you do not have to eat unhealthy foods” adds the expert, who also recommends “take care of your hunger and always having healthy and nutritious snacks by hand, such as fruits, chopped vegetables or nuts.”

The CICO diet, in itself, works, but its biggest problem is that you may struggle to be sustainable in the long term and that it has a high probability of producing a rebound effect.

Only you know what is best for your body and realistically you need to try more than one diet to find out what works best for you.

 

CICO can work – but is it viable long term?