The Ketogenic diet is a very high fat, high protein and low carb diet originally created to treat patients with epilepsy and severe diabetes. But is it suitable for everyone who wants to lose weight? Let's look at one of the biggest genetic factors.
Elevated ketone bodies are protective (some studies show they even protect against radiation), but not everyone who goes on a high fat diet measures for ketones. Further, some of us don't have "ketone genes" and can't achieve ketone levels sufficient to reach the state of "ketosis" no matter how much butter we eat.
Changes in the PPARa gene play a big role in whether we can achieve a state of nutritional ketosis. They are also part of a family of genes (which includes APOE) that are associated with an inflammatory reaction to saturated fat. Especially men with PPARa variants see elevated triglycerides, sd-LDL, LDL-C, and APOB when consuming diets high in saturated fats. These biomarkers look better when more polyunsaturated fats are added to the diet. sd-LDL in particular is one of the worst particles to see elevated because sd-LDL expresses a protein called Apoc3 at higher levels. Apoc3 increases the "residence time" of LDL particles which gives them a greater chance to oxidize and do damage as they stay in circulation for extended periods.
The bottom line is that ketogenic diets are not a one size fits all solution and DNA/ blood cholesterol testing is required to confirm safety for each individual.
When I first launched my nutrition business, I was doing regular nutrition plans, dietary assessments and generic nutrition advice. But in October 2015 my Biochemistry Professor Sally McCormick from Otago University, suggested that I go to a Smart DNA seminar in Auckland to hear more about DNA testing.
What I learned in the seminar blew my mind about how we can switch our genes on or off according to our diet and lifestyle choices. I was so intrigued that I decided to get my own DNA tested first. As I wanted to see how I could benefit from it before introducing it to my clients.
After getting my DNA results back nearly two years ago I found out so much incredible insights into why I am the way I am! Right down to my heart health, food sensitivities, liver health, cancer risk and even certain personality traits!
I fine-tuned my diet and supplements to better fit my genes, and after just one month I noticed improvements in my skin, as I had always suffered from eczema it was particularly bad on my hands (see photos of my hands before and after above) In fact I was so self-conscious of my skin that I would hide my hands!
But now after continuing to eat according to my genes and avoiding the foods that don’t suit me I have completely healed my eczema and now I get frequent compliments on my skin.
Since then I started using Smart DNA testing to help my clients understand their genes and what to do to optimize their good ones and minimize the damage caused by their bad ones! The results have been amazing, I have been able to help my clients get to the genetic root of their health concerns whether it be weight issues, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, anxiety, depression or low energy levels and then help them take gene targeted action steps to overcome these naturally.
The DNA testing has helped take the guess work out of nutrition, exercise and supplements which helps me have more confidence as a health practitioner that I am giving the best advice to my clients.
Which is why I have invested hours of my time studying all the 100 genes tested to become a certified Smart DNA practitioner. The level of insight from the DNA test is fascinating and helps us make the right diet and lifestyle choices based on the latest scientific research rather than just another opinion on the internet.
The key genes tested have such a huge impact on our health that I believe that everyone needs to get this done to make sure they are not only doing the right things but also avoiding foods and supplements that could in fact do them harm.
So if you or a loved one wants to get to the bottom of their health concerns and take the guess work out of nutrition. I would love to help! Book now to get your DNA tested!
Self-care is not just a new fad or the current trend being pushed by media. It’s an important part of all of our lives. Taking care of yourself should not be something you delegate when you think you have extra time, either. It’s an essential part of each and every day.
You would be surprised how often we shirk meeting our basic needs. We miss sleep either for work or to stay up and watch one more show. However, its importance cannot be overstated. Not only does sleep affect how you feel, it can alter your judgment, how productive you are, and your energy levels. The most important aspect of sleeping well is creating a sleep schedule and not deviating. Go to bed at the same time, and get up at the same time. The consistency will help you develop a healthy sleep cycle.
Eating healthily is another must. Healthy meals with mostly fresh vegetables and fruit can improve your focus, combat fatigue, improve your memory, and even help you sleep better. Developing an eating schedule can have similar benefits to a sleep schedule. You will be less hungry throughout the day, and will be prepared for when you know you will get peckish. Exercise is another way to care for yourself. It can help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Even just thirty minutes a day can have an impact on the quality of your life and help to balance your emotions.
When you get home from work, how do you feel? Has work stressed you? Are you tired, dreading the next work day? Having a healthy way to unwind at night is essential for mental wellness. Teaching yourself techniques to relax every day can help you when you undergo stressful situations. You can use those very techniques to help calm yourself in the moment. You may even see an improvement in your physical health if you take time every day to practice calming. Unwinding is not sitting on your phone for twenty minutes, scrolling through the news or social media. Such behavior is likely to add to your anxiety.
Learn to put technology away, to take time every single day and mindfully relax. Do whatever helps you personally. Do you enjoy soothing music? Spend a few minutes meditating to your favorite soundtrack. Do you like massage? Invest in equipment to give yourself a mini-massage daily. Sing loudly to release stress. Dance to your favorite mix. Read a novel for twenty minutes.
One way to really take care of your mental health is to reduce the amount of stress you feel, period. Identify what is currently causing you repeated stress, and decide how you can eliminate or deal with that particular anxiety. If you are in addiction recovery, stress is something you should reduce at all costs, as it can lead to relapse. By managing your environment to reduce stressors and triggers you can break the cycle of addiction. Avoid negative influences. These not only can cause you anxiety, but may lead you down a path you do not wish to go. One way to do so is to learn how to say “no.” Many of us struggle with the idea of disappointing others. Unfortunately, this can lead to some of us accepting more than we can handle, so we have to sacrifice our own happiness and well-being.
Your health and happiness are paramount to your emotional and mental wellness. Developing healthy coping skills and a good routine won’t happen overnight, but each day you can make progress towards your goals. After all, this is your life, and no one else’s. Make it the best and most fulfilling it can be.
Pizza, pies, sodas, fast foods, fish n chips and baked beans these were foods I used to eat a lot of growing up in the 90s when they were considered harmless treats for the children…unfortunately by the time I was 9 years old I was obese (see photos) and I was constantly bullied by my peers at school…who called me chunky, bulgy and fatso. This really affected my self-esteem, I felt ugly and worthless and so I became a depressed kid. Until one day I decided I had enough and was no longer going to be that fat girl!
When I was just 12 years old I decided to take my health into my own hands. I started reading nutrition books during play time and made huge changes to my diet, I stopped eating all the fatty foods and started exercising every day. The result; I lost 20kg in one year and I looked like a completely different person. In fact, many of my friends didn’t even recognize me!
I finally looked like a normal sized girl and I was no longer bullied but suddenly admired. More importantly, I became confident in who I am and what I can achieve if I put my mind to it. I realized the power of nutrition and lifestyle on not only our weight but also how we feel about ourselves.
This was the start of my strong passion for health and nutrition, which led me to continue studying Nutrition. Since then I have completed my Double Major in Nutrition and Biochemistry at Otago University, started up my own nutrition consulting business to do what I love, which is helping people feel great about themselves.
Since then I have kept off the weight through continuing to eat the right foods, getting my DNA tested to fine tune my diet and maintaining regular exercise. I can honestly say that I love my body and who I have become because of my struggles. This is why I am passionate about helping other people who are struggling with their self-esteem due to health, skin or weight issues.
It is my mission to empower people to take ownership of their health, so they can feel great, look at their best and prevent future disease through making the right diet and lifestyle choices.
Nutritionist & Biochemist
Director of DNA Nutrition