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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.

The girls at Wellness in the City review Daily Dietitian

Source: Wellness in the City for Body Fuel – February 29th

wellness in the city review daily dietitian

Your Personal Dietitian

The easiest way to have fresh, nutrient dense, delicious meals, delivered to your door. Daily Dietician takes away the stress of planning, shopping and cooking, making it easy for you to stick to eating well and achieving your personal goals – hassle free!

Our Experience:

When I found myself in my third week of skipping lunch and filling up on bowls of seeds, nuts, date bars and coffees due to workload and time constraints, I was eager for help. A personal chef would have been ideal, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible (damn), so when I came across Daily Dietitian, I was sold! Affordable meals containing fresh seasonal ingredients that are prepped to your personal requirements and literally dropped on your desk without lifting a finger… ok, some meals require a walk to the microwave.

As a result of going through a stressful time at work whilst increasing my running training, I had no energy to focus on my daily food intake and lake of nutrients causing me to be very lethargic, slow and demotivated. After my first week receiving Daily Dietitian lunches and snacks, I instantly felt a shift in energy and was a much nicer person to be around!

Overall I was very impressed with the service and the meals. I have a hefty apetite and on days that I was raviness I was worried that some of the meals wouldn’t touch sides, but the tasty dishes definetly satisfied the hunger and the snacks came in handy when the daily 4pm cravings kicked in. Not only did it save me time, improve my productivity and mood, it motivated me to get back to meal prepping and get creative in the kitchen again!

Examples of snacks, lunches and dinners:

  • Meal: Frittata topped with chicken, feta and beetroot
  • Meal: Roasted lamb on creamy carrot mash with gravy and side salad
  • Meal: Cauliflower pizza topped with smoked chicken, rocket, mushrooms, mozzarella and avocado and waldorf side salad
  • Meal: Thai fishcakes with ginger chilli sauce, sweet potato mash and vegetables
  • Meal: Zucchini noodles with smoked salmon, ricotta and basil pesto
  • Snack: Butterbean and spinach smash with crudités
  • Snack: Toasted coconut, pecan, seed and cranberry paleo granola
  • Snack: Shaved ham rolls filled with sundried tomato and cucumber

BONUS:

Great value for money and all meals include ethically sourced organic, free-range and hormone-free ingredients. All packages include the following options: weight maintenance, weight loss, vegetarian, allergy specific and halaal.

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

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

7 sugar rules we follow

sugaronwoodentable-1400x450
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

What to eat when you have flu

Sick Woman. Flu. Woman Caught Cold. Sneezing into Tissue
If you’re suffering with the flu, you may be wondering if there’s a flu diet…
Well there is, kind of :)

Today, more than ever, we’re aware of the healing power of food to enhance immunity and aid in recovering from illness. Proper nutrition is necessary for maintaining good health. But when your body battles flu symptoms for days or even weeks, your diet becomes even more essential in helping you achieve a speedy recovery. It’s critical that necessary vitamins and minerals be included in your daily diet to help you build your strength.

What Are the Benefits of Nutrients in Healing?

Nutrients are special compounds in foods that are essential to the body’s repair, growth, and wellness. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and water, as well as the sources of calories — carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.

Some nutrients (called nonessential nutrients) are made by your body. Other nutrients (essential nutrients) must come from your diet. Any deficiency in nutrients can lead to illness if not corrected.

What Foods Help Fight Infection With Flu?

Whether you are sick with the flu or not, protein is always necessary to keep your body strong. Proteins are essential to help your body maintain and build strength. Lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.

The FDA recommends that adults eat 50 grams of protein per day. By eating foods high in protein, we also get the benefit of other healing nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.

Vitamin B6 is widely available in foods, including protein foods such as beans, potatoes, spinach. Proteins such as meats, milk, and fish also contain Vitamin B12, a powerful immune booster.

Omega 3 in fatty fish is a powerful agent in reducing inflammation so opt for something like salmon which is rich in omega 3 and protein.

Minerals such as Selenium (you can get your dose from just one Brazil nut a day) and zinc (oysters baby!) work to keep the immune system strong. These minerals are also found in protein rich foods such as beans, nuts, meat, and poultry.

Flavonoids (or bioflavonoids) include about 4,000 compounds that are responsible for the colours of fruits and flowers. Findings show that flavonoids found in the soft white skin of citrus fruits increase immune system activation. Flavonoids are found in grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes.

Lastly, beta carotene found in sweet potatoes and carrots is covered into Vitamin A through your metabolic processes. Vitamin A is important for the mucous membranes in your nose and throat (which we all know need a little TLC when we’re flu-ey).

What Other Nutrients Help Fight Infection?

One nutrient that’s found to strengthen the immune system so it can fight other infections is glutathione. This powerful antioxidant is most plentiful in the red, pulpy area of the watermelon near the rind. Glutathione is also found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cabbage.

Orange juice, especially with the pulp, is packed with vitamin C and folic acid, which help to boost immunity and speed recovery from illness. Some researchers suggest that vitamin C may even decrease the time you are sick with colds and flu.

The most important point to remember about food choices is that a healthy well-balanced diet should contain a variety of foods. Relying on a single food or food group to provide adequate nutrition can be dangerous.

Also, replacing fresh fruits and vegetables with supplements has in many cases not been shown to provide the benefit of food and may even be harmful.

Once you recover from flu

Make sure your diet is filled with a variety of food, colourful fruits and vegetables, and legumes that are high in phytochemicals, which are natural food components that have health-boosting properties. In addition, get in bed early and aim for seven to nine hours of sleep to get your body back on the road to wellness.

If you have any questions, or would like us to feed you to save you some effort in your busy life, contact us on hello@dailydietitian.co.za or go to our website.

x DD

How to Grocery Shop Like a Dietitian

While grocery shopping is one of our personal favorite hobbies, we know some people can’t relate… After all, the average grocery store contains more than 35,000 different products! Since you are probably not planning to spend your spare time wandering aisles and comparing crackers, here are a few of our favorite market tips for healthy eating and cooking.

Bring a recipe or two. We’ve all felt the “a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear,” and on the same page, who hasn’t gone on a big market trip and come back with a fridge full of food with nothing to make for dinner? Bring a recipe with you so you have all the ingredients and know what’s on the menu.

Stick to the perimeter 90% of the time. The perimeter is where the healthier foods like fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat, fish, poultry and their frozen versions are stored. In general, the center aisles are filled with the processed items we want to avoid. Do pop into the aisles for beans (canned are fine), nuts, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.

Ingredients first, nutritional facts second. Most people go directly to the nutritional facts panel, but it is more important to us that you read the ingredient list and know exactly what you are eating. Skip anything you don’t recognize (or tweet it at us and we will give you a “Yay! or “Step away!”).

Love that freezer. Always get a few frozen goodies. We are freezer junkies with fruit and a few veggies; we

Woman grocery shopping
Woman grocery shopping

can always make a smoothie or a veggie loaded dinner in a jiffy. Of course steer clear of most of the salt-laden and weird-ingredient-filled frozen dinners.

Your basket should look like you came from a farm, not a factory. When you’re checking out take a look at your cart contents, are most of your groceries fresh and unpackaged? Great, happy eating!!

For any questions, email us on hello@dailydietitian.co.za or if you don’t want to shop and cook, let us feed you!