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Smart Swap for health - But is it?

Posted on January 08, 2014 by Bart Fischer | 0 comments

Everyone knows this, and so do health agencies who are keen to get into the population’s mindset of a starting a new healthy year. There are new non-smoking TV adverts and plenty of newspaper adverts and stories all advocating some new way of losing weight and regaining your health back after the excess of the festive period.

Public Health England has launched their yearly Smart Swap campaign. Unfortunately however, a closer look at the items they are suggesting to swap will not contribute to an increase in health, but rather the opposite and here’s why:

Change4Life Smart Swap Suggestion

Why it’s wrong

Natural Ketosis Suggestion

Substitute sugary drinks for sugar-free drinks

Whilst reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is always good, it’s important to stress that not all sweeteners are the same.

Sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose still trigger an insulin response resulting in a blood sugar dip, which will in turn cause cravings for sweet foods to normalise blood levels again.

Moving away from sugar and re-addressing your palate’s sweet sensitivity is crucial for long term weight sustainability.

Cutting sugar out completely at once may not be an option for some. By using sweeteners such as sucralose and stevia, you are still getting the sweetness without the insulin spike. Studies [1,2] have shown that such sweeteners do not trigger an insulin response thereby ensuring blood sugar levels remain stable.

Change from sugary cereal to plain cereal

Once again steps taken to reduce sugar are always beneficial. However there is not much choice when it comes to the amount of sugar found in cereals. Here’s two well-known cereals and their corresponding carbohydrate per 100g:

Weetabix ®  = 68.6g

Weetabix Chocolate Chip ®  = 70.9g

As you can see switching to less sugary option only reduces your total carb intake 2.3g.

Carbohydrates, both simple and complex, contribute to a rise in blood sugar levels as they are easily absorbed through the gut. Dividing them between total carbohydrates and sugar content of a food item has no scientific basis behind it. Both are digested in exactly the same way as complex carbohydrates are simple carbohydrates linked together [3].

Our alternative suggestion is to either swap cereal for eggs in the morning or use the Natural Ketosis granola which contains only 14.6g of carbohydrates per 100g - a whopping 54g of sugar less than Weetabix ®

Substitute whole milk for semi-skimmed milk or semi-skimmed to skimmed milk.

Semi-skimmed milk has had some of its fat content removed, this thereby decreases the amount of vitamins A, D, E & K made available to your body.

Skimmed milk has the majority of the fat reduced thereby drastically reducing the amount of these vitamins available for absorption.


When you decrease fat you increase sugar – so less fat is equal to more sugar. That cannot be right.

Here at Natural Ketosis we promote the use of full fat dairy. Not only because they are richer in vitamins but also because fat promotes satiety and ensures optimum absorption of fat-soluble vitamins [4].

Substitute butter for low-fat butter and spreads.

Once again it’s about the beneficial qualities of fat. Not to mention that low-fat butter products are made using vegetable oils which an increasing number of studies is linking to heart disease [5]

At Natural Ketosis we ask that people consume only butter. Not only will this provide beneficial vitamins and nutrients but also will reduce the amount of artificial fats consumed.

Substitute cheese to reduced-fat cheese.

The reason behind advocating low-fat cheese is the fear of increased cholesterol intake.

However, studies continue to show that dietary cholesterol is not linked to blood serum cholesterol. The UK Government also acknowledges this in the 1991 COMA report page 46. (This is the most updated version of the UK’s Department of Health report on food and nutrition).

The Natural Ketosis counter-suggestion to this is to swap to real cheese. Avoid overly-processed cheese as this will have the majority of its vitamins and nutrients removed.

So what will your new year’s resolution for 2014 be? Will you follow Smart Swap’s advice or will you be different and start following a low-carb approach to health?


1. Jing Ma, Max Bellon, Judith M. Wishart, Richard Young, L. Ashley Blackshaw,Karen L. Jones, Michael Horowitz, Christopher K. Rayner. Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose, on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects. American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver PhysiologyApr 2009,296(4)G735-G739;


2. Stephen D. Anton, Corby K. Martin, Hongmei Han, Sandra Coulon, William T. Cefalu, Paula Geiselman, Donald A. Williamson, Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels, Appetite, Volume 55, Issue 1, August 2010, Pages 37-43.


3. Monireh Dashty, A quick look at biochemistry: Carbohydrate metabolism, Clinical Biochemistry, Volume 46, Issue 15, October 2013, Pages 1339-1352,

4. Jahangir Iqbal , M. Mahmood Hussain. Intestinal lipid absorption. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism. Published 1 June 2009. Vol. 296, no. E1183-E1194

5. Lands, William E.M. Dietary Fat and Health: The Evidence and the Politics of Prevention: Careful Use of Dietary Fats Can Improve Life and Prevent Disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2005. Vol. 1055 p 179-192.

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