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Why are we getting fat and sick?

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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

Is meat good or bad for you?

meat good or bad?

There are so many conflicting reports about if meat is good or bad for you. Some say it can be part of a healthy diet. Others declare it is the root cause of disease – including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. I have friends who completely avoid it and other friends who embrace meat as an everyday staple.

Whether meat is good or bad depends on with whom you are talking. Paleo enthusiasts say meat is essential to longevity. Vegans will tell you to avoid it at all costs. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated processed meat and bacon are carcinogenic and red meat is most likely, as well.

There are very real concerns involving meat, including the ethical treatment of animals and their impact on the environment, as well as medical and health issues. For some, there are very real ethical concerns about eating meat. For example, if you are a Buddhist and believe that any creature could be your mother from your past life or in your next life, then we can fully support being a vegetarian.

It’s not hard to see why the average person, or even doctor or nutritionist is confused. However, at the end of the day, the whole carnivore-vegan debate misses the real point – the root of chronic disease and obesity is actually sugar and refined carbs.

Studies that take a pro- or anti-meat stance often miss the bigger picture. They overlook the fact that most meat eaters who participate in the studies that show harm from eating meat are also eating a lot of sugar and refined carbs alongside a highly processed, inflammatory diet. They certainly aren’t eating small to moderate amounts of grass-fed or organic meat along with a pile of colourful fruits and veggies.

Admittedly, it would be almost impossible to perform an accurate study about meat. You would have to randomize people into a whole foods, low-glycemic, plant-rich diet with grass-fed or organic animal protein and compare them to those on a high-quality vegan diet. That study has never been done.

Many of the studies demonizing meat use subjects who are smokers, drink too much, eat way too much sugar and processed foods, eat very little fruits and veggies, and do not exercise. It’s no wonder that these meat eaters with bad habits and horrible diets are sicker and fatter…

What if Meat Eaters Only Ate Health Food and Grass-Fed Meat?

Some groups rally against the saturated fat and cholesterol found in meat, or say that meat is inflammatory, or that it contributes to cancer or type 2 diabetes.

The story is not as simple as meat is bad, veggies are good, however. The real question to ask is: do grass-fed meat eaters, who also eat lots of healthy food, don’t smoke, exercise, and take vitamins have heart disease?

Thankfully, some researchers have asked this question. In one cohort study, scientists studied 11,000 people, 57% of whom were omnivores (meat eaters) and the other 43% were vegetarians. Both groups were health conscious.

Interestingly enough, researchers found the overall death rates were cut in half for both health-conscious meat eaters and for vegetarians, as compared to the average person eating a western-style, processed food diet. The study concluded that for the vegetarians, there was no benefit found; and for the meat eaters, there was no increased risk for heart disease, cancer or death.

Does the Type of Meat You Eat Matter?

Another problem with most meat eater vs. non meat eater studies is that the type of meat consumed is industrially raised, factory farmed meat. This industrial grain-fed meat is often full of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, with more inflammatory omega–6 fats from corn and fewer anti-inflammatory omega–3 fats. These population studies don’t include people who eat only grass-fed meat without hormones, pesticides or antibiotics.

What About Saturated Fat?

Another concern that is raised is that saturated fat in meat causes heart disease. Yet interestingly, the types of saturated fats that cause heart disease – stearic and palmitic acid – don’t come from meat. Your liver produces these two fatty acids when you eat sugar and carbs. In other words, your liver produces saturated fat from sugar and carbs and that causes heart disease.

In one interventional trial, researchers showed even on a low-carb diet that is higher in saturated fats, blood levels of saturated fats remained lower because of the carb effect.

Simply put: In the absence of sugar and refined carbs and adequate amounts of omega–3 fats in your diet, saturated fat is really not a problem. Again, quality matters: The saturated fat in a fast food cheeseburger is completely different than what you get in coconut butter or a grass-fed steak.

These same limitations apply for studies that show meat causes diabetes and cancer: Most focused on generally unhealthy people eating a highly processed diet.

4 Rules If You Eat Meat

I hope you can see how eating meat can become healthy or unhealthy when you consider the many factors. If you opt to eat meat, follow these 5 rules to help you make the best choices.

  1. Choose grass-fed, pasture-raised organic meats. They’re more expensive but ideally you will eat less of the meat and more plant-based foods. Think of meat as a condiment, not a main dish. 50–75% of your plate should be vegetables!
  2. Avoid all processed meats. Stay away from processed meats such as deli meats. These are the meats that the World Health Organization points to that have been proven to cause disease, illness and cancer.
  3. Prepare your meat the right way. The way we prepare meats is the key. High-temperature cooking like grilling, frying, smoking or charring causes toxic by-products. This also happens when you cook fish or chicken at high temperatures. All of this leads to the production of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which studies have shown, cause cancer in animals. Change your cooking methods to reduce your exposure of these toxic compounds. The same rule applies to grains and veggies. Cooking these foods at a too-high temperature can cause the same problems. Focus on lower-temperature, slow cooking for meat and veggies – such as baking, roasting, poaching, and stewing.
  4. Pile on the vegetables. Fill your plate with phytonutrient-rich, colourful, non-starchy veggies and use meat as a “condi-meat.”

At the end of the day, the message on meat is pretty simple. About half the studies show it’s a problem; half of them don’t. For those studies that show meat eaters, as a whole, aren’t a healthy bunch, the reason is most likely not the meat, but rather the smoking, sugar-filled, and sedentary lifestyle that creates heart disease and other problems.

A diet filled with lots of high-fiber fruits and veggies that rejects sugar and refined carbs, welcomes grass-fed meat as a health food, lowering inflammation and improving all of the cardiovascular risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Still unsure of how to eat well for optimal health? Let us feed you! Daily Dietitian uses on the highest quality ingredients when freshly preparing your daily meals which are tailored to your unique needs.

For more info go to our website.

xx 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

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

Daily Dietitian Gift Vouchers

We all know that shopping during the festive season is a nightmare, so to make things easier for you we are offering the perfect solution… Daily Dietitian gift vouchers.

daily dietitian gift vouchers

The Daily Dietitian gift vouchers allows you to prepay a specified amount for your friend or family’s meal plan so that they can put it towards their personalised deliciously health meal plans.

Who doesn’t want to get their health on track before the holidays or kick off 2016 with deliciously healthy meals delivered to their door? It will certainly make sticking to a healthy New Year’s resolution easier!

Should you wish to purchase a gift voucher for your loved one, pop us an email on hello@dailydietitian.co.za

x DD

Dietitian Leigh-Ann joins the Joburg Daily Dietitian team

Hey Joburg,

We’ve got some great news…Leigh-Ann Silber has joined the Daily Dietitian team!

Yes she’s experienced, yes she’s smart and yes she’s gorgeous. Wow, what a combo!

To give you a little more background, Leigh-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutritional consultant, with over 16 years’ experience. She is passionate about nutrition and wellness (obviously), AND, for all those moms out there, has a special focus on children’s health and functional nutrition.

Leigh-Ann received her Bachelor of Dietetics from the University of Pretoria in 1999, while also completing her undergraduate degree in psychology. She has a diploma in Training and Skills Development and has completed courses in Food Science & Technology and courses in Functional Nutrition, Translational Genetics and Culinary Nutrition. She is one of the first dietitians in South Africa to attend the Field to Plate culinary Nutrition workshop! Yup, she’s a keeper :)

An active figure within South Africa’s nutrition industry, Leigh-Ann has worked in a variety of roles ranging from private practice, nutritional education and training, sales, research and development, as well as nutritional communications and marketing.

Leigh-Ann is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and is also a member of the Association for Dietetics of Southern Africa (ADSA), having served as an executive board member from 2006 to 2009. She represents ADSA at the Health Products Association and Infant Feeding Association.

In addition to consulting to and representing Daily Dietitian, Leigh-Ann runs a children’s practice from Talk Sense, Bryanston and an adults practice at the Integrated Medical Centre in Bryanston.

Welcome Leigh-Ann, we are so excited to have you on board!

Leigh-Ann Silber Daily Dietitian

x DD

6 Important Truths About Carbs & Which Ones You Should Eat

truths about carbs

It’s a common scenario: You’re out to lunch with co-workers, and you say no to the bread basket that’s passed around. Then an annoying co-worker across the table from you pipes up with, “Are you not eating carbs anymore? Are you on a diet?”

Au contraire, mon frère. You’re actually still eating carbs (carbohydrates, that is).

While you have an inquisitive co-worker, it’s easy to understand if their comments are guided under a common misunderstanding: “All carbs are bad!”

With so much information flying around from many emphatic sources, carbs are often relegated to doomed, definitive statements like:

  • “Carbs are bread and pasta!”
  • “Carbs make you fat!!!”
  • “Carbs aren’t healthy!!!”

First of all, there’s no need to use so many exclamation points. Second of all, this is only half the story… and a good opportunity to help you keep making healthy choices .

6 Important Truths About Carbs

  1. They are a nutrient: They’re one of three major nutrients your body needs to function, with the other two being fat and protein.
  2. They are found in food: Not just bread and pasta, like our restaurateur thinks. They’re also found in unprocessed whole foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables (more on that coming up).
  3. They are an energy source: There are several forms of carbohydrates, with the primary form your body uses called glucose. There are other less common types such as dextrose and fructose, with fructose becoming an increasing part of our diet over the last few decades, with a strong correlation to the worldwide increase in obesity.
  4. They increase insulin: Insulin is the body’s primary regulator of fat metabolism, so perhaps this is the piece of the puzzle as to why most associate carbs with gaining weight. When insulin levels go up, we store fat. When it falls, we use fat for fuels. It’s important to know that over time, due to many different factors – eating an excess of carbohydrates is one of them – the body can become more resistant to insulin, causing an increase in insulin production.
  5. They impact blood sugar: Insulin, as mentioned above, primarily works to lower blood sugar to healthier levels. When it comes to Insulin resistance, it leads to higher blood sugar. Persistently high blood sugar, otherwise known as diabetes, affects your metabolic health and can result in such diseases as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness, or ulcers.
  6. Different carbs do different things: Not all carbs are created equal. When it comes to optimal and total health – metabolic, cardiovascular, liver, kidney, bone, and blood – there are health benefits from some, and little from others.

Slow digesting carbs = Causes blood sugar/insulin to rise

Fast to digest carbs = Causes blood sugar/insulin to spike

In general, slower blood sugar/insulin rises are healthier than frequent blood sugar/insulin spikes.

Fast Digesting vs. Slow Digesting

Fast digesting carbs are typically processed carbs, such as starches, liquid carbohydrates, and foods made of refined flours. Think breads, pastas, muffins, cereals, cake, chips, cookies, beer, wine, fruit juice, soda, corn, potatoes, and rice.

These refined, processed foods are not as nutrient dense and are known to increase inflammation, diabetes, and insulin resistance because of the insulin and blood sugar impact we talked about above. Less fiber in your food means you might not feel as full or satiated when you eat, causing you to overeat which can lead to weight gain.

When your body has fiber to digest, you benefit in multiple ways, such as gut protection, through your body’s creation of its own butyric acid. Fiber lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels and improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals. Increased fiber intake also benefits a number of gastrointestinal disorders including the following: gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids.

Slower digesting carbs are called complex carbs and, when consumed in healthy moderation, have the fiber to keep your gut healthy and you satiated. Think sweet potatoes, veggies (such as kale, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli), fruits in their whole form (berries and citrus fruits) and beans.

The micronutrients found in these foods also give you necessary vitamins and minerals that play an important role in keeping your body healthy and functioning.

Tying it all together:

If we revisit our lunch salad from earlier: A salad of mixed greens, some bell peppers, cucumber slices, kidney beans, and avocado, would contain carbs that give the necessary glucose and energy you need, but won’t make your blood sugar fly off the charts as it would if you ate the influx of carbs that processed foods bring.

Being mindful to have a daily diet comprised mainly of the beneficial kinds of carbs will help move you toward optimal health, maintain a healthy weight, and control your blood sugar.

For those of you who don’t want to think about carbs, which ones you should be eating and how much of them, let us help you.

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x DD

How to manage your energy levels and decrease your sugar intake

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A steady, even blood sugar level is key to a healthy body. Unfortunately, many people ride the blood sugar rollercoaster. They have toast with jam for breakfast, need something sweet after lunch, and are gagging for a coffee when 3pm rolls around. These constant energy lifts and crashes are signs of imbalance. Here are some tips decreasesugar and still maintain your energy.

How blood sugar works

When we ingest high-GI foods (like processed and refined foods), we release glucose, causing a rapid spike in our blood sugar levels. Some of that glucose is used for energy; however, our body only needs a limited amount to function so the excess is stored as – yep, you guessed it – fat. After that glucose has been distributed (and after it spikes our blood sugar), we crash quickly, experiencing fatigue, hunger and irritation. It’s a fast rise, and an even faster come down. When our energy is low, we crave carbohydrates and sugar to pick us up. And the cycle starts over.

What about insulin?

Insulin is secreted by the pancreas, and is in charge of moving glucose into cells. The problem is, it’s a fat storage hormone. So when you regularly have excessive glucose, you’re left with insulin resistance, which is the precursor to diabetes. Insulin also blocks the effects of the leptin hormone, the one that signals to our brain that we’re full. That’s why people with a high-sugar diet tend to overeat – they literally don’t know when to stop. Thanks to the rise of processed foods (and very clever marketing!), there are record numbers of people with high insulin levels.

Here are the benefits of having a stable blood sugar levels:

  • Increased energy
  • Stable mood
  • Improved concentration
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced cravings
  • Hormonal balance
  • Minimised risk of disease

The balancing act to decrease sugar

Want to get off the rollercoaster for good?

  • Enjoy low-GI foods (like veggies, lean protein, wholegrains, and good fats) to allow for the slow release of energy.
  • Eat protein with each meal.
  • Switch to 5-6 small meals a day.
  • Add good fats to your meal, particularly at lunch. This should reduce sugar cravings.
  • Include a healthy, protein-rich snack in between meals.
  • Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up,and make sure it includes protein and a healthy fat.
  • Avoid sugar and refined carbs (e.g. white bread, pasta, lollies) – these are the worst offenders!
  • Limit yourself to 2 portions of fruit a day. Berries are the best choice.
  • Avoid soda, fruit juice and artificial sweeteners like the plague.
  • Manage your stress. Our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are directly linked to blood sugar. Stress does not do your body any favours.
  • Reduce stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
  • Have a teaspoon of cinnamon a day.

TOP TIP:

BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTER DINNER TO STOP YOURSELF FROM EATING DESSERT :)

Supplements that help regulate blood sugar

Support yourself with chromium, magnesium, B complex and vitamin C. Chat to your nutritionist or naturopath for more information.

Curbing your sweet tooth

When your blood sugar is stable, you automatically crave less sugar. Then, start adding more dark, leafy greens to your plate. Think kale, spinach, broccoli, and rocket. This will trick your tastebuds into appreciating bitter foods over sweet ones. Greens are also loaded with magnesium, the nutrient that regulates blood sugar. Step it up a notch by squeezing lemon juice over rocket before your meals, and adding vanilla extract to smoothies and yoghurt.

Then, try to get to the root of your cravings. What are you really hungry for? Since sweet treats are associated with joy (like birthdays), many people crave sugar when they are unhappy about something. We think that cookie is going to make us feel better, when in fact it just makes us feel worse. Whenever I crave something sweet, I either make myself a delicious and wholesome alternative (like sweet potato brownies), or I do something else that makes me happy, such as reading a magazine, going for a walk with my dog, chatting to my friends, or having a bath.

If you need help getting on the right track, email us on hello@dailydietitian.co.za and we’ll be happy to help!

x DD

7 sugar rules we follow

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The FDA recently proposed putting added sugars on a product’s nutrient label, a move that did not please the food industry. As consumers become savvier, manufacturers seem determined to make understanding sugar even more confusing.

Sticking with a whole food, unprocessed diet is the easiest way to avoid sugar confusion. When you eat broccoli or quinoa, you don’t need to worry about added sugar or sneaky sweeteners. But we live in the real world, which means sometimes you’re going to eat processed foods or add a little sweetener to your green tea. When you do, keep these seven rules in mind to make the best decisions:

1. Remember: added sugar is worse than total sugar.

All sugars ultimately have the same effect on your body, breaking down to glucose and fructose. That said, sugar in fruit and other whole foods comes wrapped with nutrients, phytonutrients, fiber and other good stuff that buffers its effects. Added sugars, on the other hand, often come in nutrient-empty, heavily-processed foods, which automatically deems them worse for your waistline and your health.

2. Sugar hides under innocuous-sounding names.

Manufacturers hide sugar under seemingly healthy names like fruit juice concentrate. Your pancreas and liver don’t care whether sugar comes in an organic package or carries a pretty name. It all breaks down the exact same way.

3. Sneaky sugars lurk in “healthy” foods.

Visit your health food store and you’ll likely discover numerous products sweetened with agave nectar, honey and other so-called healthy sweeteners. Don’t be fooled. A health bar could have as much sugar as a chocolate bar. Look at the nutrient label for sugar amounts, being aware this is for one serving and you’re likely to eat several portions.

4. Artificial sweeteners aren’t better for you.

For far too long, artificial sweeteners got a free pass. Then a few troubling studies surfaced that found, among other things, aspartame and other sweeteners created glucose intolerance (paving the way for Type 2 diabetes) and gut-flora imbalances. Steer clear of those pretty pink, yellow, and blue packages.

5. Green juices can have as much sugar as a coke.

One popular commercial green juice, which actually contains more fruit than veggies, packs almost 55 grams — that’s 11 teaspoons — of sugar in a bottle. If you juice, make your own or ask your juicer to only add veggies with maybe a little lemon/ one small green apple for flavor.

6. Be judicious when buying natural alternative sweeteners.

If you have to sweeten your coffee or tea, erythritol, xylitol or stevia provide better options. Just be aware many commercial varieties come loaded with nebulous “natural flavors,” dextrose (sugar) and maltodextrin (corn). Instead, look for a 100 percent xylitol, stevia or a stevia/ erythritol blend with no bulking agents or other added ingredients.

7. Fructose is especially metabolically damaging.

Unlike glucose, which nearly every cell can utilize, fructose heads directly to your liver, the only organ that can metabolize high levels of it. Studies show that fructose induces less insulin production and triggers hunger signals in the brain. Rather than utilize this sugar for energy, our body often turns fructose into liver fat. This increase in visceral fat has been shown to increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If you want us to take the stress away from hidden-sugar searching, label-reading we will create your meals for you! All our food is sugar free, artificial sweetener free and preservative free so you don’t have to worry about a thing! Email us on hello@dailydietitian.co.za or go to our website.

x DD