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Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting - all the knowhow

Intermittent fasting is a method of time-limited eating (usually 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating) that has gained popularity in recent years. The method shows promise as a potential new approach to weight loss as well as reducing inflammation and has many potential long-term health benefits. In this blog we will summarise as much complicated – but relevant – literature as possible to create more clarity surrounding fasting.

What is intermittent fasting?

The term intermittent fasting refers to reduced calorie intake on an intermittent basis. This can vary from a few hours to a full 24-hour period. It can be done for religious reasons, such as the Ramadan or Yom Kippur, or for health reasons such as weight loss. Intermittent fasting is used in many ways to describe different types of calorie restriction.
  • Some authors use it when a patient withholds calorie intake for several consecutive hours during the day (often 16 hours with all energy intake during the other 8 hours of the day).
  • Others a full day once or twice a week and others three or four days a week.
  • Some protocols allow protein but not carbohydrates and still call it intermittent fasting.
  • Others allow carbohydrates or macro/micronutrients to a limit that still promotes ketosis and while it is simply a low-calorie diet, it has been labeled a fasting diet due to the popularity of fasting.
  • In all cases, no caloric fluid intake is allowed (which is one of the main differences compared to religious fasting) and therefore significantly reduces the risk of dehydration and hypotension.

How to approach intermittent fasting

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably considering fasting. As mentioned before, there is not one guideline for intermittent fasting, but there are different ideas about it. The two most practical are listed below.

Daily approach

You can take a daily approach, limiting daily eating to a period of six to eight hours a day. For example, you can choose to fast for 16/8: eat eight hours and fast for 16 hours. Research shows that most people find it easy to maintain this pattern over the long term.

Alternative fasting day

Another well-known approach is the alternate fasting day, which can consist of a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour eating period that can be done several times a week, such as a 5:2 strategy when 2 fast days are mixed in 5 non-fasting days. fasting days. The 5:2 strategy is also sometimes used for the strategy of eating normally for 5 days and eating only 1 meal of 500-600 calories two days a week.

Side note to fasting

  • Longer periods without food, such as fasting 24, 36, 48 and 72 hours, are not necessarily better for you and can even be dangerous. Going without food for too long can encourage your body to store more fat in response to starvation.
  • Research shows that it can take two to four weeks for the body to get used to intermittent fasting. You may feel hungry or cranky as you get used to the new routine. But it is noted, subjects who get through the habituation periods tend to stick to the plan because they notice that they feel better.

Health Benefits intermittent fasting

Between 2013 and 2017, many studies have been conducted into the health benefits of intermittent fasting. The main reason for this is the rapidly growing number of obese patients, who are often subjected to a calorie-restricted diet. This diet does not always appear to be effective because of the chance that the patient can sustain it for a longer period is relatively small. In addition, bariatric surgery has a 0.25% risk of death and a 13% risk of serious postoperative complications, according to the Swedish Obese Subjects study. This functions as a compelling example of intermittent fasting its rising popularity. But not just for obese subjects, also for people without obesity as later shown in this blog. 

It helps in weight loss

Many studies on intermittent fasting have been done on rodents. Losing weight is an exception and therefore the most relevant. Besides the fact that when you fast, you often take in fewer calories than when you eat a large meal 3 times a day, there are also other factors that ensure that you will eventually lose weight.

A 2019 study involving healthy young people (mean age 29 and mean BMI 20) analysed various metabolic markers via fasting blood draw. These metabolic markers are substances that ultimately influence the metabolism. Results from this study were that short-term fasting (58 hours) induces a metabolically active state much more than previously realised. This means that fasting turned out to have a much greater effect on speeding up the metabolism than initially thought, and a more active metabolism ultimately results in faster calorie and fat burning.

More concrete evidence came from a review of several scientific articles from 2014. It had been concluded that intermittent fasting could cause a weight loss of 3-8%, these results were achieved in a time frame of 3-24 weeks. In the same study, the participants’ waist circumference was measured. The participants lost 4-7% of their waist circumference in a period between 6-24 weeks. That the waist circumference is reduced indicates the loss of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity and around the organs, fat in this place can cause a lot of damage to the organs in the long term.

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

Clinically, lowering LDL is the common and effective method of preventing cardiovascular disease. Statins can powerfully lower total and LDL cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Although statins have been recommended as first-line therapy for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, their effect is very limited. In addition, an adverse effects on cognition, liver and muscle by statins have been observed.

Ultimately, the chronic inflammation that develops in cardiovascular disease is the most important risk factor. Therefore, an anti-inflammatory method may improve the outcome of patients on LDL-lowering therapy. A study was published in September 2021 that looked at this inflammation, in mice. The control group received a meal 3 times a day, the other group received a meal 3 times a day for 3 days and a full fast for 1 day. The study lasted 7 or 14 weeks after which the following conclusions could be drawn:

  1. Intermittent fasting inhibits the progression of cardiovascular disease. It was found that aortic injury was significantly reduced by 24-35% after 7-14 weeks in the mice on an intermittent fasting diet.
  2. Intermittent fasting lowers cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the liver. When substances such as Serum TC and LDL-C with high levels are present in the body, they give a very increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In this study, it was found that both TC and LDL-C levels were significantly reduced in the intermittent fasting diet groups. In addition, a pale liver color was found in the control group of mice, which indicates an accumulation of fat particles in the liver.

Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, the body no longer responds well to insulin. That is the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The insulin is invisible, as it were, and cannot do its job. As a result, too much sugar remains in your blood. At first the body makes extra insulin, but over time this is less and less successful.

In 2014, a first human study was conducted to see whether intermittent fasting works the same or better in type 2 diabetes patients, compared to the current standard calorie-restricted diet. They summarised the results as follows: “Overall, these preliminary findings show promise for the use of intermittent fasting as an alternative to calorie restriction for weight loss and type 2 diabetes risk reduction in overweight and obese populations, but more research is needed before solid conclusions can be drawn”.

In addition, there were two small studies in 2017 and 2018 that looked at whether intermittent fasting can reduce insulin injections for people with type 2 diabetes. In both studies, waist circumference and weight decreased. All patients who participated were able to discontinue insulin treatment. Which means that intermittent fasting can provide a better decrease of blood glucose in comparison to drugs or extra insulin.

Intermittent fasting can help prevent cancer

Cancer, being one of the leading causes of death worldwide, is striking more and more families. Although anticancer therapy has been greatly improved, it still has limited efficacy for tumor eradication and is highly toxic to healthy cells. New therapeutic strategies to improve chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapy are thus an important target in cancer research. Macroautophagy is a conserved lysosomal degradation pathway for the intracellular recycling of macromolecules and the clearance of damaged organelles and misfiled proteins to ensure cellular homeostasis. Dysfunctional macroautophagy is a contributor to plentiful diseases, including cancer. Macroautophagy can suppress or promote tumors depending on the stage of development and tumor type and modulating macroautophagy for cancer treatment is an interesting therapeutic approach that is currently under intense investigation. In this study, researchers explain that dietary restriction is a promising protocol to modulate macroautophagy and enhance the efficacy of anticancer therapies while protecting normal cells.

A 2020 review article reviewed 307 reports regarding the effect of intermittent fasting on cancer development. Most studies concluded that intermittent fasting had a positive effect on tumorigenesis, either by slowing cancer incidence by reducing tissue damage and inflammation, or by reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Despite the large number of studies included, more clinical experiments are desperately needed.

What it comes down to

Intermittent fasting is a very popular weight loss method, but the benefits extend beyond that. It can also help you live healthier and longer lives, according to animal and human studies.

There are many ways to practice intermittent fasting. Some methods include fasting for certain hours each day. Other methods require you fasting only on certain days of the week. If you’re interested in starting intermittent fasting, consider talking to a doctor or nutritionist. They know how to help you determine if it is safe for you.

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Keto diet – 5 must knows before starting a keto diet

Keto shake by Jake next to a plant and coffee cups

5 must knows before starting a keto diet

A keto diet (ketogenic diet), you’ve probably seen it a few times or perhaps even tried one yourself. This extreme carbohydrate diet is rising in popularity rapidly. And not for bad reason, the diet is a very effective one. However… it is not an easy diet to stick to and we’ve noticed that the keto diet raises a lot of questions. It seems about time to set things straight and list the 5 must knows about the keto diet.

What is a keto diet?

But before we do so, we will quickly run by the definition of a ketogenic diet. During a keto diet your goal is to digest as few carbohydrates as possible, to a maximum extent of 50 grams per day – so almost none. Your energy intake during this diet mainly consists of protein and fats. When you stop giving your body carbohydrates, you will eventually stop producing glucose: glucose would normally be ‘the’ energy source. So when your body stops using glucose as its fuel, it will automatically switch to burning fats instead. Your body will create ketones from the process of burning fats, that can very well substitute as fuel. This is what we call ketosis, a bodily state you can reach by not digesting carbohydrates and switching to fats as a fuel source. Now that we’re all up to date on ketogenic terms and diets, we will dive deeper in to the 5 must knows before starting a keto diet.

1. A keto diet goes beyond losing weight

Despite a lot of people utilising the diet for weight-loss purposes (which it’s really good for), it is not the only application. You can use the diet for a better balance of energy in your body. Scientific research has proven that a keto diet stimulates a more equal distribution of energy throughout the day. As a result you will experience less energy drops and feel less fatigue. The keto diet also has medical benefit, for example people with epilepsy can use the diet and its energy distribution to suffer less from the diseases’ attacks.

2. Know (exactly) what you digest

When starting a keto diet you immediately stumble upon the fact that carbohydrates are in everything. At least a lot of products that we consume from day to day. What a lot of people tend to forget is the amount of carbs in vegetables: potatoes, corn, carrots, onions and pumpkins are alle examples of veggies you’re better off skipping during your keto diet. Most meat products are safe to eat, but we recommend checking the packaging for any added substances that carry carbohydrates.

Want to make sure your meal is ketogenic, without too much struggle? At Jake we’ve developed a keto meal shake with less than 6 grams carbohydrates per meal, combined with all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Try the Keto shake.

3. Cheat days are banned

Most diets won’t stress too much about cheat days, but this one hits different. We can be rather short about this: don’t cheat. In order to reach full ketosis and to start burning fats fulltime, your body needs 4 to 7 days of extreme carb cut offs. As soon as you eat carbs in between, your body will exit its ketosis state and you get to start all over again – not great.

4. Be prepared for your body's reaction

Because of your body transitioning to a completely new ‘combustion system’, expect a kick back. You might even have to deal with the so called ‘keto-flu’ with phenomena like headaches and weariness. Fortunately these phenomena only make their appearance in the start of your diet, with some people not experiencing any at all. Make sure you drink enough water during your diet, at least 2 to 3 liters per day. This will reduce your chance of keto-flu and also reduces any symptoms if you have any.

5. Get your percentages right

A lot of people think they’re following a keto diet, but still digest way too many carbohydrates, which prevents their body from activating the ketosis state. It is therefore crucial to know the exact nutrients you serve your body. The right ratio to reach ketosis is: 75% of your nutrition should be fats, 20% should be protein and 5% should be carbs. You will only go in to ketosis when you stick to these ratios for a longer amount of time. To make sure your body is in ketosis you can do a check using a blood test, but also with the help of a urine sample. The last option can be done at home with the use of special urine strips.

Do you want to try a keto diet or do you have any remaining questions? Let us know! Are you looking for an easier way to make sure your meal is keto? Our keto meal shakes contain less than 6 gram of carbs per meal, combined with all the essential vitamins & minerals – and they’re pretty tasty too! Want to have a go? Click here!

Keto shake in hand
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Why switch to a plant-based diet?

A woman drinking a Jake shake after her run

Why switch to a plant-based diet?

As vegetarian diets have become increasingly popular, a vegan diet has also gained much more recognition as a healthy and potentially therapeutic food choice. The number of people who eat vegan every day has been set at 1.5%. With a population size of 17.4 million, there are 261,000 people. This figure is more than 110,000 higher than previous estimates.

What is a plant-based diet?

A vegan diet means that you only eat foods that come from plants. Those who diet avoid all animal products, including meat, dairy products and eggs. Some people also don’t eat honey. For some, being vegan is a food choice, while for others it is a lifestyle choice.
Vegan diets usually contain a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. Eating a variety of these foods provides a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins.

However, people following this diet must ensure that they are getting important nutrients that humans usually consume in animal products. These nutrients include iron, protein, calcium, vitamin b12 and vitamin D.

Vegan diets usually contain more dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron and phytochemicals, and often these diets are lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Vegans generally have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. A vegan diet appears to be more useful for increasing the intake of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and for minimizing the nutritional factors involved in various chronic diseases.

Health benefits

Vegan diets can provide all the nutrients you need. In addition, they can eliminate some of the potential risks that several studies have associated with negative effects of animal fats. Research has linked the vegan diet to a range of health benefits.

Better heart health

Vegan diets can improve heart health in several ways. In 2019 a large-scale study has linked a higher intake of plant foods and a lower intake of animal foods with a reduced risk of heart disease and death in adults. Animal products, including meat, cheese and butter, are the main dietary sources of saturated fats. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods containing these fats increases cholesterol levels. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. Plant foods also contain much more fiber, which the AHA has linked to better heart health. Animal products contain little or no fiber. The main sources of fiber are vegetables and grains. In addition, people on a vegan diet often consume fewer calories than people on a standard Western diet. Moderate calorie intake can lead to a lower body mass index (BMI) and a reduced risk of obesity, a major factor in heart disease.

Lower risk of cancer

According to a 2017 review article, eating a vegan diet can reduce the risk of cancer by 15%. This health benefit may be due to the fact that plant foods are rich in fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals (more biologically active compounds in plants that can protect against cancer). Research on the effects of diet on the risk of specific cancers has produced mixed results. The International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that red meat is “likely to be carcinogenic,” but notes that the research has linked this mainly to colon cancer, but also prostate and pancreatic cancer.

Weight loss

People who follow a vegan diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who follow other diets. The researchers behind a 2015 study reported that vegan diets were more effective for weight loss than omnivores, and semi-vegan diets. In addition, they turned out to be better at delivering the macronutrients. Many animal foods are high in fat and calories, so replacing these with low-calorie plant foods can help people manage their weight. However, it is important to note that eating a lot of processed or high-fat plant foods, which some people call a vegan junk food diet, can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

According to a large review article from 2019, following a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The research linked this effect to eating healthy plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.

Environmental benefits

A global shift to diets less dependent on meat and more on fruits and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, cut greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds and lead to health care savings, Oxford researchers write. Imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden worldwide and are also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental impacts were assessed by the researchers using four different nutritional scenarios conceived for the year 2050: a ‘business as usual’ scenario based on predictions of future diets, a scenario based on global dietary guidelines with minimal amounts of fruits and vegetables, and limits for the amount of red meat, sugar and total calories, and vegetarian and vegan scenarios that both meet the dietary guidelines.

They found that adopting diets in accordance with global dietary guidelines could prevent 5.1 million deaths per year by 2050. Even greater benefits would come from vegetarian diets (avoiding 7.3 million deaths) and vegan diets (avoiding 8.1 million deaths). About half of the deaths avoided were due to a reduction in red meat consumption, the other half to a combination of increased fruit and vegetable intake and a reduction in calories, resulting in fewer overweight or obese people.
The study predicts that by 2050, the food-related exclusion of greenhouse gases could make up half of the emissions the world can afford if global warming is limited to less than 2 ° C. Adopting the global dietary guidelines would reduce food-related emissions by 29%, vegetarian diets by 63% and vegan diets by 70%.

Why switch to a plant-based diet?

Several studies show a variety of health benefits for our body. In addition, it can also help a lot in maintaining your current weight or losing weight if you want to. In addition to health effects, a vegan diet also has a very positive effect on the environment. Read more about how meal replacements can help in your diet

Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be difficult, many essential nutrients can be found in vegetables, whole grains and vegetable oils. Do you find it very difficult to prepare nutritious vegan meals? Or you just don’t want to put a lot of effort into it? All Jake products are completely plant-based and can therefore be consumed without feeling guilty about the current status of the climate. In addition, you can be sure that you will always receive a complete meal.