Join Our Newsletter

...and like us on Facebook

* indicates required

4 Reasons Why You Don’t Need to Fear Carbs, According to Experts

This article was written by Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with adolescents, survivors of trauma, eating disorders, body-image issues, and mood disorders. She is a blogger on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. She is a junior board member for The National Eating Disorder Association. http://www.jenniferrollin.com

“These days, carbohydrates are frequently demonized by popular media and diet culture. People often proclaim the “benefits” of low-carb diets with an almost religious zeal. Many individuals have developed a sense of anxiety and guilt surrounding foods containing carbohydrates.

As a psychotherapist who specializes in treating individuals with eating disorders, I know the danger of labeling specific nutrients and food groups as “good” and “bad.” This mindset can contribute to disordered eating, eating disorders, and may lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes.

I reached out to some nutrition experts to help debunk the myth that carbohydrates should invoke a sense of fear. The following are four reasons why you don’t need to fear carbs.

1. Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source.

Carbohydrates are an important energy source for your body. Carbohydrates are actually the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. Additionally, it is recommended that carbohydrates supply 45-65% of our total daily energy needs.

Julie Seale, RD, of Seasoned Nutrition, explains, “Why avoid carbs? They are the primary source of energy for the body, plus they are in most foods…and they taste great! Avoiding carbs would limit many other nutrients.”

Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian/Owner of Goodness Gracious Living Nutrition says, “Carbohydrates contain essential nutrients that our bodies need to function each day. In fact, our brain’s nutrient of choice is glucose which comes from carbohydrate intake.”

“The body’s main and preferred source of energy is carbohydrate. So, “cutting carbs” will come at a serious energy loss. People are often scared of carbohydrate-rich food because of past experience with it – they’re afraid of overeating it because they’ve done it in the past. This is not about the food itself, though. This is a behavior that can be addressed by looking at the underlying issues that contribute to someone overeating/binging,” Lauren Anton, MS, RD, Co-Chair of the Health at Every Size Special Interest Group of the Academy of Eating Disorders, explains.

Anton says, “Also, I’ve found in working with my clients that the more someone doesn’t give him or herself full permission to have a particular food, the more they will disinhibit (read: overeat) when they encounter that food.”

2. Carbohydrates can help to boost your mood.

“Carbs are needed to make serotonin, our hormone that helps us feel calm and relaxed, like our own natural “chill pill”. If you like being in a good mood, make sure carbs are on your menu,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, and author of the upcoming book Body Kindness.

Additionally, going on a “low carb diet” or “cutting carbs” can have negative implications in terms of one’s physical and mental health.

Michelle Kuster, RD, LD, certified intuitive eating counselor, explains, “There’s always a nutritional demon; carbs are currently the culprit. With a $60 billion diet industry, marketers think of creative ways to make people fear food. But carbohydrates are your bodies and brain’s preferred source of fuel, and even a short time without them will lead to fatigue, headaches and irritability.”

3. Carbohydrates add satisfaction and pleasure to the eating experience.

Food provides important fuel for the body, but it is also supposed to be a source of pleasure and enjoyment.

“Without carbs, meals tend to be less satisfying. Having a source of carbs with meals helps you stay full and happy for longer. Who doesn’t want that?” says, Josée Sovinsky, a Non-Diet Dietitian.

Ultimately, you deserve to be able to nourish yourself with food and movement that you enjoy.

4. Restricting carbs can create a disordered relationship with food.

Cutting out carbs or going on a “low-carb diet” can trigger disordered eating or an eating disorder in individuals who are genetically predisposed.

Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN, registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and host of Food Psych podcast, explains,

“Cutting out carbs is a great way to make yourself start bingeing on them. Because carbs are your body’s primary fuel source, your brain is wired to seek them out if there’s a shortage. Carbs are essential for keeping your blood sugar from dropping too low. If that happens (as it often does in a low-carb diet), your brain will actually send out neurotransmitters that drive you toward whatever high-carb foods are available. So people who attempt to cut carbs end up feeling out-of-control around those very foods, without realizing that this is actually their body’s way of protecting them. To avoid this vicious cycle of restricting and bingeing on carbs, don’t cut them out—instead, learn to trust your body around all foods.”

Michelle Kuster, RD, LD, certified intuitive eating counselor, says, “Any time we over-emphasize one aspect of nutrition, we lose the big picture, which is that all foods can be enjoyed in a balanced diet, and avoiding foods typically leads to unintended consequences such as intrusive or obsessive thoughts about food.”

The Bottom Line

Having a “black and white” mentality surrounding food sets people up for disordered eating habits. Further, mental health is an important part of one’s overall health. I think we can all agree that feeling guilt and shame about eating a bagel is not mentally healthy.

Instead of thinking in extremes, aim for balance, variety, and moderation in your eating experience. Work to let go of judgments of certain foods as being “good” or “bad,” and instead choose to mindfully nourish yourself with food that you enjoy.

If you are struggling with this, it can be helpful to reach out to a registered dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating, the non-diet approach, and disordered eating.

After all, life is just too short for food rules, chronic dieting, and self-hate.”

Carbs

Why are we getting fat and sick?

images-19

10 reasons we are getting fat and sick

1. Sugar consumption has skyrocketed.
Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. Numerous studies show that eating excess amounts of added sugar can have harmful effects on metabolism, leading to insulin resistance, belly fat gain and high triglycerides…to name a few.
There are also a load of studies showing that the people who eat the most sugar are at a much greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
Sugar is also fattening, partly because it doesn’t get registered in the same way as other calories by the brain, making us eat more; and it has adverse effects on hormones related to obesity.

2. People gain lots of weight during the holidays which they never get rid of.
Most people don’t gain weight overnight… it happens slowly, over years and decades.
But the rate is uneven throughout the year and spikes dramatically during the holidays, a time when people tend to binge on all sorts of delicious holiday foods and eat much more than their bodies need.
The problem is that sometimes people don’t lose all the weight after the holidays are over. They might gain 3 kilos, but only lose 2kgs, leading to slow and steady weight gain over time.
In fact, a large percentage of people’s lifetime weight gain can be explained just by the 6 week holiday period.

3. The obesity epidemic started when the low-fat guidelines were published.
There was an epidemic of heart disease running rampant in the U.S. in the 20th century.
A lot of scientists believed fat, especially saturated fat, to be the main dietary cause of heart disease (although this has since been disproven).
This led to the birth of the low-fat diet, which aims to restrict saturated fat.
Interestingly, the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the low-fat guidelines first came out.
Of course, this doesn’t prove anything, because correlation doesn’t equal causation.
But it does seem likely that putting the emphasis on saturated fat, while giving processed low-fat foods high in sugar a free pass, may have contributed to negative changes in the population’s diet.
There are also massive long-term studies showing that the low-fat diet does NOT cause weight loss, and does not prevent heart disease or cancer.
Have you seen “that sugar movie”? In it the actor eats only s0-called “healthy foods” for 60 days like fruit juice, fruit yoghurt, and low fat meals. He eats the same amount of calories as he did before, does the same amount of exercise, yet by the end of the study he is fat, has full blown metabolic syndrome and feels terrible. Isn’t that scary?

4. Food is cheaper than ever before and we’re eating more fast food than before.
This seems like a good thing, but it’s important to keep in mind that real food isn’t cheap… it’s processed food.
In fact, real foods are so expensive that a lot of people can’t even afford them. In many poor neighborhoods, they don’t even offer anything but junk food.
How are poor people supposed to stand a chance if the only food they can afford (and access) is highly processed junk high in sugar, refined grains and added oils?
The consumption of simple home cooked meals has also decreased drastically over the last few decades with people going out to feed themselves and their families cheap, processed fast foods. The result is disastrous to our health and our waistlines.

5. People are drinking more sugary drinks and fruit juices
The brain is the main organ in charge of regulating our energy balance… making sure that we don’t starve and don’t accumulate excess fat.
Well, it turns out that the brain doesn’t “register” liquid sugar calories in the same way as it does solid calories.
So if you consume a certain number of calories from a sugary drink, then your brain doesn’t automatically make you eat fewer calories of something else instead.
Unfortunately, most fruit juices are no better and have similar amounts of sugar as soft drinks.
Studies have shown that a single daily serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage is linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children.
Sugar is bad… but sugar in liquid form is even worse.

6. Increased food variety contibutes to overeating and weight gain.
Many tests have been done on rats and there is some evidence that this is true in humans as well. When we have more types of foods available, we eat more… and sometimes more than our bodies need. Think of a buffet- our eyes are almost always bigger than our stomachs.

7. People don’t burn as many calories when working
A lot of people blame obesity on decreases in physical activity, that we’re just burning fewer calories than we used to.
Although exercise has increased, it is also true that people now have jobs that are less physically demanding.
In fact people are now burning around 100 fewer calories per day in their jobs, which may contribute to weight gain over time.

8. People are eating more vegetable oils mostly from processed foods.
The fats we are eating have changed dramatically in the past 100 years or so.
At the beginning of the 20th century, we were eating mostly natural fats like butter and lard… but then they were replaced with margarine and vegetable oils.
Most people aren’t frying real food in vegetable oil, they are getting it from processed food. Adding these oils to the foods increases the reward and caloric value, contributing to overconsumption and obesity.

9. The social environment can strongly affect calorie intake
The social environment is another factor that determines calorie intake. For example, eating in a group can dramatically increase the number of calories consumed.
According to one paper, eating a meal with several people can increase calorie intake by up to 72%, or 310 calories in a single meal. At home we don’t likely eat starters, mains and desserts but when out for dinner with friends we do. This is a simple example.
There are also studies showing that people tend to eat more during weekends.

10. People are sleeping less
Sleep is often overlooked when it comes to weight gain and obesity.
It is known that poor sleep has negative effects on various hormones that are related to weight gain, and can contribute to increased hunger and cravings.
In recent decades, average sleep duration has decreased by 1-2 hours per night. The reasons for this are numerous, but increased artificial lighting and electronics are likely contributors.
As it turns out, short sleep duration is one of the strongest individual risk factors for obesity. It is linked to an 89% increased risk in children, and a 55% increased risk in adults

All of this said, the path society is on is a scary one . Many countries are taking note by placing taxes on sugary foods and changing their dietary guidelines.

Health gurus, professors, bloggers and fitness fundies are jumping on the band wagon and creating their own food trends like paleo, raw till 4, banting and intermittent fasting. It all becomes very confusing though, especiaslly when you read one day that fruit is good for you and the next that it is high in sugar and should be avoided.

At the end of the day we are all different. Our genes and hormones dictate the way we metabolise and respond to different foods and thus there is no one-size fits all diet.

There are some general guidelines that I feel everyone can benefit from though. Here they are:

Firstly, avoid sugar like the plague. It ages you, makes you fat, makes you sick and is addictive. Yes it’s delicious, but the funny thing is that the tastebuds become used to sweetness so try cutting it out for a month and then having some carrots and you’ll be amazed by how naturally sweet they taste! Also that teaspoon of sugar you used to take in your tea will now make it undrinkable for your new palate. It’s all about weaning yourself off of it. Give it a go!
Eat whole, real foods. Not too much, mostly plants. I like to look at my food and be able to see exactly where it came from. If I can’t I won’t eat it. Think apples from a tree, fish from the ocean, sweet potatoes from the earth. If it’s in a package with an expiry date longer than a week. Be warned, it’s likely highly processed and ladden with sugar and preservatives.
Eat mindfully. Chew your food, taste it and enjoy all the flavours and textures. Don’t shovel it down your throat in front of the fridge. Not only will you consume more than you intended but you wont get the same satisfaction as you would if you sat down with a plate and took some time out to eat.
Watch your portions: In a resturant you generally get way too much food. A portion of protein is the size of your palm, fat the size of your thumb. Be mindful of this and take a doggie bag home with leftovers. The Japanese believe in eating until you are 80% full. It’s a great mantra, albeit difficult to adhere to.
Make time for fun, exercise and sleep: all of these contribute to a healthy mind which means a healthy body. They help to balance your hormones, and in turn regulate your mood and weight.
Seek professional advice: Please don’t listen to fad diets, they arent sustainable and often do more harm than good. Start by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle and take note of how your body reacts. If you have tried and tested everything, seek professional advice, they are called professionals for a reason.

x DD

Considering Gluten-Free? Why It’s Probably Not Necessary (and May Even Be Bad for You)

 

gluten-free_LARGE

 

The Gluten-free craze is one of the most popular dieting and weight loss trends since the turn of the century.

But, in reality, it’s probably not necessary for most of us and may even be harmful.

A little background on Gluten before we explain why you may not really need to worry about it.

 

What is Gluten? And why do we love it?

Gluten is a protein composite that gives wheat products like bread and cereal their chewy, flexible texture. It is found in most modern-day carbs and humans have been consuming it, in some form, for thousands of years.
So why did we break-up with bread?

In the early 2000s, cardiologist Dr. William Davis began advocating against gluten and wheat, a concept that quickly caught on with celebrities and others in the health space.

Dr. Davis’ 2011 book, “The Wheat Belly” quickly became a New York Times bestseller, and the gluten-free diet has inserted itself into pop culture ever since.

The Expert Truth About the Gluten-Free Diet

Here’s the thing: most people eating a gluten-free diet don’t need to be, and may actually be harming themselves.

A gluten-free diet should only be used by people who have celiac disease — an autoimmune disease where the body mounts an immune response to gluten, causing stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, gas and even osteoporosis. And, in reality, just 1 percent of the population actually has celiac disease.

“There is no harm with whole wheat unless you have the disease,” says Dr. Gabe Mirkin, fitness guru, long-time radio host and sports medicine doctor with more than 50 years of practice.

Mirkin is one of thousands of health experts who have come out against the idea of leveraging a gluten-free diet for health and weight loss.

In fact, he says people who eat whole wheat are actually better off.

“Virtually everybody agrees that people who eat a lot of wheat, these people live longer, have less cancer, fewer heart attacks, diabetes, etc.,” Mirkin says. “Whole grains prevent disease. That’s what all the literature supports.”

For example, on his website, Mirkin points to two studies published this year showing that gluten-free diets cause nutritional deficiencies:

The study in Clinical Nutrition (May 7, 2016) reviewed scientific studies published between 1990 and 2015 and found that most gluten-free diets:

  • Lacked fiber because low-fiber foods made from sugars, starches and refined flours were substituted for fiber-rich foods made from whole grains;
  • Lacked vitamins B12 and folate, and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium; and
  • Contained more high glycemic load foods and larger amounts of saturated and hydrogenated fats.

The study in The Journal of Pediatrics (May 13, 2016), from researchers at Dalhouse University in Canada, found that when given to children, gluten-free processed foods could cause:

  • Delayed growth and development because they often lack essential nutrients (the B vitamins, fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron); and
  • Weight gain because they are usually low in fiber and higher in sugar, other refined carbohydrates and fats.
Whoa, hold up a second.

Does that second study show that gluten-free diets can actually cause weight GAIN? Then why have so many of us been led to believe that gluten-free diets are a way to lose weight?

That’s a common misconception, Mirkin says.

“Yes, people who avoid flour and refined carbs can lose weight,” Mirkin says. “But the difference is between a whole grain and a ground grain, like flour.”

Processed flour, he says, can cause weight gain because it’s the result of wheat being ground up and refined into an ingredient that has little to no nutritional value (mostly to retain shelf life). That’s different than whole grains, which retain their fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium.

People do lose weight when they intentionally cut out gluten but it’s not because of the gluten, per se but rather that they have cut out things like cupcakes, chips, crackers, high-sugar cereals and the like. They lose weight because they’ve eliminated the refined flour — not the gluten.

So, wait, can I eat wheat or not?

According to the Whole Grains Council, when looking for a whole grain product, you should look at the list of ingredients to make sure it says; whole grain, whole wheat, whole wheat flour, and stone-ground whole wheat.

Processed wheat such as; wheat flour, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour and enriched flour (anything that doesn’t include the word “whole”), should only be consumed in moderation. If you find yourself at a bakery or restaurant where you don’t have access to an ingredients list, try to be conscious of the calorie content and portion so that your waistline doesn’t suffer.

Is a gluten-free diet right for you?

The best thing to do is to ask your doctor to give you an immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA TTG) test.

“If the test comes back negative, then it is extremely unlikely you have celiac disease and need a gluten-free diet,” Mirkin says.

 

If you feel like you react to gluten and may have an intolerance to it, cut it out for 3 months and then slowly feed it back into your diet. Make sure you take a good probiotic during the elimination and re-introduction phase so that your gut bacteria can assist with proper digestion and perhaps heal any damage you may have to your gut lining.

If you’re interested in cutting out refined flour and breads from your diet as a way to lose weight, take a look at Daily Dietitian’s Low Carb Diet instead, we will make things easy and delicious for you.

 

x DD

The less sweet side of artificial sweeteners

artificial sweeteners advice

I recently found a fantastic article outlining the effect of artificial sweeteners on our bodies and minds from the Food Junkie at Psychology Today.

I hope you enjoy reading it whilst sipping your unsweetened tea :)

“Excessive sugar intake has been linked to a range of maladies including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, accelerated aging, metabolic syndrome and obesity. It’s no wonder people are often looking for a “healthier” option to satisfy his or her sweet tooth. Currently there are 6 approved artificial sweeteners by the FDA; some of which are thousands of times sweeter than table sugar. Many are readily available, placed right next to the sugar packets on restaurant tables waiting to be sprinkled into coffee or tea, while others are incorporated into the processed “reduced sugar” and “diet” snacks foods that line the supermarket shelves.

Even though some people are hesitant to make the switch from sugar to artificial sweeteners due to other health concerns such as cancer and seizures, many people happily consume them on a daily basis. Artificial sweeteners sound great in theory- drinking diet soda, or eating “diet” snacks allows people to experience the sweet taste that he or she craves without the excess calories that come along with typical sugar laden foods. Even though they provide no calories or nutrients when ingested, there is mounting evidence linking artificial sweeteners to list of adverse effects when consuming them- including alterations in gut microflora, cognitive changes, as well as metabolic and endocrine disturbances- making them a less healthy alternative than originally thought.

While some studies have shown that they are helpful as a weight loss tool, the research is still mixed. In one study, people lost more weight and reported feeling less hungry when consuming artificial sweeteners compared to participants that did not. (1) Conversely, observational research shows that people who consume artificial sweeteners are more likely to be overweight or obese. (2) Making many question the utility of them as a diet aid in the first place (however, it is important to note that cause and effect cannot be determined in this type of study).

Logically, a food or beverage that provides no calories or nutrition should not have a physiological impact, however that does not seem to be the case. For one, the quantity needed to provide the perception of sweet taste is at a lower concentration than sugar. Therefore, repeated use may alter perception of sweet taste in some individuals, and the amount needed of dessert, like apple pie or a chocolate brownie is increased in order to get the same satisfaction. In addition, artificial sweeteners have been shown to alter levels of hormones that impact blood sugar control, similar to the effects observed after sugar ingestion.

Newer evidence also shows that artificial sweeteners can cross the blood brain barrier and may trick parts of the brain that control feelings of hunger and satiety. In one study, artificial sweeteners negatively impacted cognition and were associated with a poor future snack choice. This can sabotage weight loss goals and make dieting seem impossible when high calorie snacks are in sight. (3) (4)

Another area of interest is the affects it exerts over the microbiome. Although still in the early stages of research, the microbiome is emerging as a significant component of health. The bacterial stains that populate our intestine can be altered by a variety of factors, including comorbidities, weight status (some strains are more common in obese individuals versus lean) and what we eat- including artificial sweeteners. In one study, it took only 7 days for people consuming the upper acceptable limit of saccharin (set by the FDA) to show significant changes in gut flora. The bacterial strains found in their gut were strains that are associated with type 2-diabetes. Moreover, there was a decrease in glucose control (5)- having the opposite effect of what artificial sweeteners are intended to have.

Although more substantial research is needed and a “one size fits all” recommendation cannot be made, it’s becoming more apparent that artificial sweeteners may be contributing to the same problems that they were originally intended to alleviate, and more thought should be given to their use.”

References:

1. Peters JC, Wyatt HR, Foster GD, Pan Z, Wojtanowski AC, Vander Veur SS, Herring SJ, Brill C, Hill JO. The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss during a 12-week weight loss treatment program. Obesity. 2014 Jun;22:1415-21.

2. Bleich SN, Wolfson JA, Vine S, Wang YC. Diet-beverage consumption and caloric intake among US adults, overall and by body weight. Am J Public Health. 2014 Mar;104:e72-8.

3. Burke MV, Small DM. Physiological mechanisms by which non-nutritive sweeteners may impact body weight and metabolism. Physiol Behav. 2015 Jun 3

4. Hill SE, Prokosch ML, Morin A, Rodeheffer CD. The effect of non-caloric sweeteners on cognition, choice, and post-consumption satisfaction. Appetite. 2014 12/1/;83:82-8.

5. Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, Zilberman-Schapira G, Thaiss CA, Maza O, Israeli D, Zmora N, Gilad S, et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014 Oct 9;514:181-6.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/food-junkie/201508/the-less-sweet-side-artificial-sweeteners

x DD

7 Easy Steps To A Happier, Healthier Gut

Healthier Gut

A properly functioning digestive system (a healthier gut) is critical to good health.

In fact, 60 -80% of our immune system is located in our gut, and 90% of our neurotransmitters (chemicals responsible for regulating mood) such as serotonin are made in our gut.

Problems in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating or diarrhea; they can be the root cause of many chronic health problems.

Gut imbalances have been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid issues, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema and rosacea… just to name a few.

Still, the most common way people notice a problem in their gut is when they start regularly experiencing digestive issue like bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea.

While taking probiotics and drinking more water are helpful to your gut health, they’re not a cure for digestive issues.

Rather, the biggest factors in digestive health are your diet and lifestyle.

Here are nine easy steps we recommend for a healthier, happier gut:

1. Eat the right kind of fiber.

You may have heard that fiber helps with symptoms of constipation, but there are actually two types of fiber we should all be aware of: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fibers actually slow digestion, which prevents quick spikes in your blood sugar, whereas insoluble fibers help move food through your intestines, which can help prevent constipation.

Insoluble fibers are found in nuts, whole wheat, whole grains, seeds, and rice, while soluble fibers can naturally be found in oats, beans, peas, flaxseed, berries, and apples.

Make sure to avoid soluble fibers added to processed foods that add sugar substitutes made from dextrose, sorbitol, and citric acid, which can cause gas and bloating.

2. Buy veggies with flavonoids.

Certain fruits and vegetables have more molecules known as flavonoids, which make up their bright pigments.
Flavonoids are very beneficial for your digestion due to their anti-inflammatory properties and they assist in digestion of starch. A powerful antioxidant, flavonoids are found in romaine lettuce, onions, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and bell peppers. Incorporating more flavonoid-filled veggies can help you maintain healthier gut.

3. Find a method of stress management.

Stress not only affects your mental state but can also take a toll on your physical well-being. Stress negatively affects every part of your digestive system, causing your colon to spasm or even increases the acid in your stomach, causing indigestion.

If you’re not exercising regularly, we recommend finding a workout or active activity you can do at least three times per week for a healthier gut. It can relieve tension and release endorphins that improve your mood. Eating a healthy diet and deep breathing can also drastically relieve stress.

4. Sleep eight hours a night.

Many people who have GI problems also have issues falling asleep. Multiple studies have found a relationship between sleep disorders and GERD, IBS, IBD, and ulcers.

A solid eight hours of sleep is imperative to keep your digestive track healthy—and coincidentally keeps your mind and body healthy. So if you already suffer from a digestive issue, it’s important to work on your sleep schedule.

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners can be extremely detrimental to your digestive health because they don’t get digested properly meaning bacteria will break them down and cause problems.

6. Make smart alcohol choices for a healthier gut.

Occasional alcohol intake is fine for your digestive system. However, excessively drinking alcohol can lead to digestive issues such as heartburn and inflammation of the stomach, and it can even increase the risk of small intestine cancers and leaky gut.

Not only does alcohol create problems, it can also increase symptoms of IBS and can cause both diarrhea and constipation.

7. Prevent “leaky gut.”

Bloating, gas, cramps, digestive irregularities, aches and pains are all symptoms of a leaky gut.

Leaky gut is just a term to describe the increased intestinal permeability that can happen if there’s inflammation in the intestines.

The gut is naturally permeable to very small molecules in order to absorb these vital nutrients.

In sensitive people, factors like gluten, toxins, stress and age can cause the gut cells to release a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Once these tight junctions get broken apart, you have a leaky gut.

When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them. The immune response to these invaders can appear in the form of any of the nine signs you have a leaky gut, which are listed below.

9 signs you may have a leaky gut:

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  2. Seasonal allergies or asthma.
  3. Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
  5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
  6. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
  7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
  8. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
  9. Food allergies or food intolerances.

*NOTE: If you’re constantly experiencing digestive irregularities and diet changes are not making a difference, go to a medical professional, such as a gastroenterologist, who will help you diagnose your symptoms correctly and effectively.

x DD


If you’d like advice on getting a healthier gut, book a consultation with a Dietitian.

Low Carb Lamington Recipe

Lamington Recipe

These delicious looking and enticing coconut dusted cakes are an Australian tradition but have steadily gained popularity in South Africa. Unfortunately, whether bought or made, they are high in processed sugar and flour without beneficial nutrients.

Daily Dietitian’s Lamington recipe uses xylitol for sweeteness and almond flour instead of refined white flour. The xylitol-sugar swop ensure stable blood sugar levels and the almonds add healthy fats and decrease carbohydrate content.

DD SUGAR-FREE, LOW-CARB LAMINGTONS

Serves: 24 squares

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter (or coconut oil), at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp xylitol
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 ½ cups almond flour Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut

Method for the Lamington Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and xylitol together in a bowl. Whisk the eggs into the mix. Add milk and vanilla slowly and whisk until you have a creamy texture.
  3. Next, place almond flour, baking powder and salt into a separate mixing bowl, and add the coconut. Add the wet ingredients gradually, mixing well.
  4. Pour this into a brownie pan. Bake for 18–20 mins. They are cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. Place on a wire rack and let cool, then cut into squares.

TYPICAL NUTRITION INFORMATION (per 1 serving)

Each serving is 1 square

Per serving

  • Energy (kJ): 594kJ
  • Protein (g): 4g
  • Total Carbohydrates (g): 5g

    — of which are sugars (g): 0g

  • Total fat (g): 12g

    — of which is trans fat: 0g

  • Total Sodium (mg): 54g

TYPICAL NUTRITION INFORMATION (per store-bought Lamington cake slice)

Each serving is 1 square

Per serving

  • Energy (kJ): 782kJ
  • Protein (g): 2.3g
  • Total Carbohydrates (g): 23.0g

    — of which are sugars (g): 17.6g

  • Total fat (g): 9.1g

    — of which is trans fat: 0g

  • Total Sodium (mg): 127g

(Information taken from www.woolworths.co.za (Lamington Cake Slices 5pk))

Enjoy baking (or let us do it for you)

x DD

8 of the “healthiest” cocktails to drink this Summer

"healthiest" cocktails recipes

We’ve got the grocery store nailed, with a pretty good handle on what to load up on (hello, organic produce) and avoid (bye-bye, processed snacks). Local markets are a total no-brainer. Even going out for dinner or having a meal at a friend’s house, where it’s usually easy to load up on salad and skimp on sugar-filled desserts, is comfortable ground. The exception? Ordering a drink at a bar.

Now, we realize nutrition experts would probably say something along the lines of “mixed drinks are some of the most inherently un-clean foods you can put in your body, with their sky-high sugar and calorie counts, not to mention the toxic load they put on the liver”. However, if it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to make it through the weekend a teetotaler, here’s your new guide to the cleanest drinks you can order or DIY.

1. Bitters and soda

In terms of being both low-calorie and clean, this might be your best option. Bitters are herbal mixtures of alcohol and other interesting ingredients, with about 30 to 45% alcohol. Combining that with a no-calorie soda water makes this a tasty treat that won’t wreck your diet.

2. Champagne

Don’t save the bubbly for New Year’s Eve: A 100ml glass of champagne is only 90 calories, which is about 10 calories less than a 330ml bottle of light beer or a 100ml glass of wine (and, let’s be honest, who pours a 100ml glass of wine?!). Between the antioxidant polyphenolic content, the typically small serving size, and low calorie count, champagne would be our second choice for ‘clean’ drink options

3. Coconut water + berry-flavored vodka

Coconut water is super-hydrating, which helps counteract some of the dehydrating properties of the vodka. So if it’s dehydration you’re worried about, this is your drink!

4. Mojito, minus the simple syrup

Mint, lime, and soda water are all naturally low-cal, and adding a shot of rum is only going to be about 100 calories. Just be careful of the added sugar. If you keep it to no more than a tablespoon or better yet, go without the sweet stuff, you’ll have an even healthier option.

5. Tequila and soda

While margaritas are typically loaded with sugar and super sweet liqueurs, like Grand Marnier, ordering tequila on the rocks with soda water and a squeeze of lime is a 100-calorie drink. Plus, adding lime or any other citrus fruit will give you a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Hosting a party or simply like to play mixologist at home?

Here are some tips for drinking clean:

  • Add bubbles and fruits for flavour: Adding sparkling water or infusing drinks with fruits and herbs can add layers of flavours without extra calories
  • Ditch the dairy: Skip the heavy cream and use coconut milk or almond milk instead. While you’re at it, replace sugar and simple syrup with stevia or xylitol, which is lower on the glycemic index.
  • Avoid sugary liqueurs: While they may taste good, they can be loaded with calories. If you must, use them sparingly. Or, go for liqueurs with spices like chillis and ginger, which will have a positive impact on your metabolism.

Daily Dietitian’s favourite “healthiest” cocktails recipes:

6. Cucumber Green Tea Cooler (Serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 cups brewed green tea
  • 3 tbsp peeled, seeded, pureed cucumber
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 packet stevia powder
  • 150ml vodka
  • Cucumber slices, thinly sliced
  • Rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except vodka and sliced cucumber to jug and stir. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours. When well chilled, double strain mint and cucumber. Add vodka and stir. Add ice to each glass, and float thinly sliced cucumbers. Garnish with rosemary sprig.

Calories: 92 per serving

7. Sparkling Hibiscus Martini (Serves 1)

  • 30ml vodka
  • 15ml hibiscus tea, brewed and cooled
  • 30ml white grape juice
  • 30ml sparkling wine
  • Lemon peel
  • Mint

Add vodka, tea, and juice to shaker. Shake with ice and strain into martini glass. Top with sparkling wine. Squeeze lemon peel over glass to release oils, garnish with mint.

Calories: 100 calories

8. Sparkling Ginger Appletini (Serves 2)

  • 4 slices apple
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp stevia ginger syrup*
  • 45ml vodka
  • 30ml hard cider

Muddle apple, lemon juice, and ginger syrup. Add vodka. Shake over ice, and double strain into ice-filled highball glass. Top with hard cider.

Calories: 120

*To make stevia ginger syrup, heat 3 packets of stevia stirred into 1/2 cup of water, along with 2 slices of fresh ginger. Simmer over medium to low heat 10 minutes, then cool. Will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.

Now that you’ve got the drinks down, let us take away the hassle of making your own healthy food. Contact us or go to our website for more information.

x DD

Healthy “No-tella” spread

No-tella

After seeing this picture, I am sure you are as shocked as we were when seeing exactly what makes up our beloved chocolate spread.

Although we dislike all of these ingredients (except for hazelnuts), the ingredient we dislike most and which makes up almost half of the jar is sugar!

Nevertheless, our love of this chocolatey, hazelnutty blend of deliciousness meant that we had to explore a new healthier version. Try this healthy “No-tella” on hot rye toast, drizzled across a bowl of sliced banana or as a treat eaten straight out of the jar with a spoon!

Hazelnuts, which are the main ingredient, are filled with numerous vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and heart-healthy fats, all of which are vital for supporting your body and digestion. Even better, they’re particularly rich in vitamin E which is the most important vitamin for maintaining beautifully clean and shiny skin, hair and nails. Cacao, the bean which all chocolate is made from, also has numerous beneficial nutrients in this raw, unprocessed state as it is packed with iron, fibre, calcium, zinc, potassium and antioxidants, unfortunately these benefits disappear when it is processed and refined to make conventional chocolate though, which is why this “No-tella” trumps the original version any day.

No-tella Recipe (Makes 1 jar)

  • 2 cups of hazelnuts
  • 1/2 a cup of water
  • 1/2 a cup of xylitol syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Bake the hazelnuts at 180C for about ten minutes, then take them out of the oven and allow them to cool.

Once cool place them in a food processor and blend for about ten minutes, until they totally break down. Then add the xylitol syrup, vanilla essence and cacao and blend again, before gradually pouring in the water – it’s important that the first four are properly mixed before you add the water though as you may not need it all.

Enjoy x DD

10 Disturbing Reasons Why Sugar is Bad For You

 

why sugar is bad for you

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It can have harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to all sorts of diseases. Here are 10 disturbing reasons why sugar is bad for you and you should avoid it like the plague.

1. Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients and is Bad For Your Teeth

You’ve probably heard this a million times before… but it’s worth repeating. Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. For this reason, they are called “empty” calories. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar… just pure energy.

When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar (or more), this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

Sugar is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth (1).

Bottom Line: Sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. It also causes tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in the mouth.

2. Added Sugar is High in Fructose, Which Can Overload Your Liver

In order to understand what is so bad about sugar, then you need to understand what it is made of. Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars… glucose and fructose.

Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies produce it.

Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it.

The thing with fructose is that it can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts. This is not a problem if we eat a little bit (such as from fruit) or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it (3).

However, if the liver is full of glycogen (much more common), eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat (4). When repeatedly eating large amounts of sugar, this process can lead to fatty liver and all sorts of serious problems (5). Keep in mind that all of this does NOT apply to fruit. It is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.

There is also massive individual variability here. People who are healthy and active can tolerate more sugar than people who are inactive and eat a Western, high-carb, high-calorie diet.

Bottom Line: For people who are inactive and eat a Western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver. Another reason why sugar is bad for you.

3. Overloading The Liver With Fructose Can Cause Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

When fructose get turned into fat in the liver, it is shipped out as VLDL cholesterol particles. However, not all of the fat gets out, some of it can lodge in the liver.

This can lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a growing problem in Western countries that is strongly associated with metabolic diseases (6).

Studies show that individuals with fatty liver consume up to 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person (7, 8).

Bottom Line: Excess fructose gets turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Another reason why sugar is bad for you.

4. Sugar Can Cause Insulin Resistance, a Stepping Stone Towards Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood is highly toxic and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes, like blindness.

One feature of the metabolic dysfunction that is caused by the Western diet, is that insulin stops working as it should. The cells become “resistant” to it. This is also known as insulin resistance, which is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases… including metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease and especially type II diabetes (9).

Many studies show that sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance, especially when it is consumed in large amounts (10, 11).

Bottom Line: When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to many diseases.

5. The Insulin Resistance Can Progress to Type II Diabetes

When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in our pancreas make more of it.

This is crucial, because chronically elevated blood sugars can cause severe harm.
Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket and a diagnosis of type II diabetes is made.

Given that sugar can cause insulin resistance, it is not surprising to see that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages have up to an 83% higher risk of Type II diabetes (12, 13).

Bottom Line: Because of the harmful effects of sugar on the function of insulin, it is a leading driver of type II diabetes.

6. Sugar Can Give You Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterised by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells.

Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer (14).

In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer (15).

Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer (16, 17, 18).

Bottom Line: There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.

7. Due to its Effects on Hormones and the Brain, Sugar has Unique Fat-Promoting Effects

Not all calories are created equal. Different foods can have different effects on our brains and the hormones that control food intake (19). Studies show that fructose doesn’t have the same kind of effect on satiety as glucose.

In one study, people drank either a fructose-sweetened drink or a glucose-sweetened drink. Afterwards, the fructose drinkers had much less activity in the satiety centres of the brain and felt hungrier (20). There is also a study where fructose didn’t lower the hunger hormone gherkin nearly as much as glucose did (21). Over time, because the calories from sugar aren’t as fulfilling, this can translate into an increased calorie intake.

Bottom Line: Fructose doesn’t cause satiety in the brain or lower the hunger hormone gherkin nearly as much as glucose.

8. Because it Causes Massive Dopamine Release in The Brain, Sugar is Highly Addictive

Sugar can be addictive for a lot of people. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain (22). The problem with sugar and many junk foods is that they can cause massive dopamine release… much more than we were ever exposed to from foods found in nature (23).

For this reason, people who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods (24). The “everything in moderation” message may be a bad idea for people who are addicted to junk food… because the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence.

Bottom Line: Because sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.

9. Sugar is a Leading Contributor to Obesity in Both Children and Adults

The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. It leads to decreased satiety… and can get people addicted so that they lose control over their consumption. Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are by far the most likely to become overweight or obese. This applies to all age groups.

Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and found a strong statistical association (25). The link is especially strong in children, where each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a whopping 60% increased risk of obesity (26). One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on sugar consumption.

Bottom Line: Because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.

10. It Ain’t The Fat… It’s SUGAR That Raises Your Cholesterol and Gives You Heart Disease

The last reason on why sugar is bad for you, is that for for many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for heart disease… which is the #1 killer in the world. However… new studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless (27, 28).

The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism (29). Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidised LDL (very, very bad), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity… in as little as 10 weeks (30).

These are all major risk factors for heart disease. Not surprisingly, many observational studies find a strong statistical association between sugar consumption and the risk of heart disease (31, 32, 33).

Take Home Message on Why Sugar is Bad for You

For people who can’t tolerate it, added sugar is incredibly harmful. Empty calories are just the tip of the iceberg.

For help in staying sugar free, contact us or go to the Daily Dietitian website and sign up to get your own personalised healthy meal plan and meal delivery.

x DD

11 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Healthy Holiday Eating

Can someone enjoy healthy holiday eating? There are healthy, balanced ways to maintain your weight during the holidays, and none of the ones below include crash dieting. Daily Dietitian gives you 11 different ways you can maintain a balanced regimen during a time of year when eating and drinking is paramount…

Tips For Staying Balanced During with Healthy Holiday Eating this Season:

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar: Everyday! When? In the morning or after your first meal. Why? It helps alkalinize your body especially after nights out drinking. It’s rich in acetic acid, which can help to lower the rise in glucose that occurs after eating which helps moderate our blood sugar and energy levels. Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to suppress fat storage in the body and aids in digestion by promoting the production of digestive enzymes!
  2. Eat a handful of greens before each meal. Committing to a small plate of greens before each meal helps to add fiber and more raw enzymes into your diet – and will control how much you eat next because you begin to feel full more quickly! Eating fiber also helps to control blood glucose levels, so it does not yoyo if you are eating lots of simple carbohydrates and sugars. Top the greens with a squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil and sea salt.
  3. Eat cultured vegetables with meals. They help with digestion, especially when eating rich foods and heavy proteins. Add some chopped raw sauerkraut or kimchi to small green salads through out the day. These fermented foods help keep the flora of the gut healthy.
  4. Pack your smoothies with lots of nutrients! If you opt for a smoothie make one that is loaded with greens and has no added sugars. When picking fruit, go for dark berries like blueberries. Adding avocado or coconut oil slows the release of energy and helps to moderate blood sugar levels, along with the added fiber from the flax or chia. Try different green leaves such as kale, dandelion, and collard greens. Add fruits that are high in antioxidants and add peeled and whole lemons, grapefruits, and limes for liver detox.
  5. Lemon juice aids in digestions, helps create enzymes, and helps control blood sugar levels. When eaten on greens, it helps our bodies absorb iron from these green vegetables, and ensures that we avoid processed salad dressings full of chemicals and sugars.
  6. Snack on nuts, seeds, and healthy fats instead of sugary treats throughout the day to offset some of the indulgence in sweet desserts later. You can also snack on sugar-free vegetable based snacks high in fiber, protein, and rich with antioxidants.
  7. Drink water all day. Drinking water is especially important with all the holiday coffees and social drinking. It is easy to get dehydrated. Sipping on warm non-caffeinated tea all day or water with lemon is always good. Once you are out in the evening try to make a 1:1 rule by drinking a big glass of water in between drinks. Your waiter may not like you but your body will.
  8. Schedule festive lunches or plan for earlier dinners if you can. Eating late at night is hard on the body. If you have to go out for late big dinners choose to eat a meal that is more veggie dense and salad based rather than the giant meat option. Try to be a vegetarian if you are eating after 7pm.
  9. Chew well. This will help everything! If you slow down to eat the food you will eat less and digest better.
  10. Exercise. Wake up and spend ten minutes stretching, followed by five minutes of deep breathing. Complete 30 minutes of exercise, either in the morning or whenever this fits into your schedule.
  11. Eat the majority of the calories in the beginning and middle of the day. Focus on high protein and fat for the morning. Avoiding cereals and instant oatmeal will help the body control blood sugar more efficiently for the rest of the day. When we start off with a blood sugar blast, we crash and get hungry again.

If you fall off the wagon of healthy holiday eating, don’t be too hard on yourself. We will be open from the 4th January 2016 to feed you and help you get you health back on track! Place your orders now to ensure you kick your year off to a good start!

x DD