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Sunday, 28 December 2014

So that's why we bicker at Christmas! Low blood sugar could be to blame for irritability

Fraying temper and strained relationships over Christmas? Don't blame your in-laws for the heated arguments - you could be suffering from a genuine health problem: low blood sugar.
For years, people have blamed low blood sugar for their irritability or lack of energy (often referring to themselves as 'hypoglycaemic'). But after long dismissing the idea, some experts now believe there may be something in such claims after all.

Furthermore, it's not simply lack of food that causes the problem, as people often assume. It seems that eating the wrong combination of foods - such as a glass of wine and a pudding at lunch, a common indulgence over the festive season - could also lead to low blood sugar.

Whatever the cause, the result is aggressive behaviour, a U.S. study published this year suggests.
A psychologist asked 107 married couples to stick pins into voodoo dolls of their spouses at the end of each day for three weeks. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the lower the person's blood glucose levels (measured using an electronic blood glucose meter), the more pins they pushed into their spouse's doll.

In fact, the people with the lowest glucose scores pushed in twice as many pins as those with the highest levels.

Why low blood sugar seems to make people aggressive is still unclear. But it may be because the brain needs 'massive amounts of glucose to run it properly', says Jeremy Nicholson, a professor of biological chemistry at Imperial College London.

Temper? You could be suffering from a genuine health problem; low blood sugar

How sensitive you are to blood sugar levels depends on individual physiology, adds Professor David Benton, a psychologist at Swansea University who has studied the phenomenon.

'Our work showed that there was a broad continuum among people, from those whose blood sugar levels stayed stable for hours after the standardised meals we gave them, to a minority whose blood sugar levels dropped rapidly soon afterwards,' he says.
'The latter group were the people who reported that they had a tendency to be irritable. It seems they may be physiologically different from the others in some way in how their bodies process glucose.'

The tendency for blood sugar levels to crash also depends on what we eat and drink.
Professor Benton says we are particularly at risk of plunging blood glucose levels if we indulge in the combination of a glass of wine or beer with a sweet dessert or chocolate - this is because, on top of the alcohol's effect, the high sugar content of the sweet treat causes the body to produce a spike of the hormone insulin to mop up the sugar in the blood. Shortly after this, your blood sugar levels may come crashing down - and that's when you get tetchy.
'There is quite a lot of research to show that low levels of blood sugar predispose people to irritability,' he says.

However, Professor Benton is critical of the quality of the voodoo doll-stabbing study because it failed to record the volunteers' consumption of alcohol each day.
'Alcohol makes a big difference. It can lead to aggressive behaviour in itself, and can lower blood glucose levels,' he says. 'The worst thing you can do to send your blood glucose levels crashing down is to have an alcoholic drink and something sweet along with it, such as a dessert or a chocolate bar.'

Unless you are a diabetic, such sugar crashes are almost never medically dangerous, according to the NHS.

The health service defines clinical hypoglycaemia - seriously low blood sugar - as a blood glucose level of less than 3 millimoles per litre. The healthy level is about 5.
By far the most common cause of hypoglycaemia is when those with diabetes - usually type 1 - take too much insulin. Some diabetics can also become hypoglycaemic by missing a meal or having fewer starches and carbohydrates than they would normally consume.

The lower the person's blood glucose levels, the more pins they pushed into their spouse's voodoo doll

According to Diabetes UK, the symptoms of diabetic hypoglycaemic attacks include sweating, fatigue, blurred vision, confusion, convulsions, temporary loss of consciousness and, in extreme cases, coma. Irritability is also a recognised sign of mild hypoglycaemia among people with diabetes.

But almost all non-diabetic people who claim to be 'hypoglycaemic' actually just have low blood sugar - and staving it off is simple.

According to Professor Nicholson, a biological chemist, anyone who goes for more than eight hours without eating will have low blood sugar.
'The healthy answer is to eat small meals regularly, as this maintains relatively constant levels,' he says. 'If you do that with a balanced diet and avoid alcohol binges, your blood glucose levels should stay fine.

'The voodoo-doll researchers suggested that eating a chocolate bar might be a good idea if spouses are about to discuss something touchy.

'Fruit and vegetables are a better long-term strategy for keeping blood-sugar levels up, though, purely because they are better for you.'
But even sticking to this advice may not help couples who find themselves at war over the festive season.

As Professor Benton explains: 'If you think you can change a bad relationship into a good one just by giving your partner a biscuit or a piece of fruit to raise their blood sugar, then plainly you are delusional.'


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Ten Signs You're Drinking A Little Too Much!

Here's how to know when enjoying the odd glass of wine slips into something harmful

  • A 'healthy tan' could be a mild sign of jaundice - signalling liver disease
  • Waking up with dry eyes is another sign, as alcohol dehydrates the body
  • Darker than usual urine means the liver is not working properly
  • If your teeth are yellow and sensitive, it could be erosion from alcohol  

Chances are that you consider yourself a moderate drinker. 
Perhaps you enjoy the odd glass of wine after work, or have a few pints on Saturdays only and abstain for the rest of the week.
And if you've been drinking a bit more than usual recently - well, 'tis the season, after all.
But with warnings this month that moderate middle-class drinking habits have become a 'silent killer' - contributing to soaring numbers of deaths from liver disease - how do you know when your drinking has slipped into something more harmful? We ask the experts…

Waking up a few times in the night to go to the loo could be a sign you're drinking more alcohol than your body can handle, according to Rizwan Hamid, a consultant urological surgeon at London Urology Associates.
We make something called anti- diuretic hormone to regulate the amount of urine in our bodies, he says. 

This hormone tells the kidneys to make the urine more concentrated, so there is less volume produced.

'At night we produce more of the hormone, which is why we don't need to go to the loo as much. But while alcohol is in your system, the production of this hormone is decreased, causing you to produce more urine.
'If people drink regularly, they may accept waking up to go to the loo as normal, but if you are under 65 you shouldn't be getting up in the night at all,' says Mr Hamid. 'Even people over 65 shouldn't get up more than once.'

Drinking can make your eyes feel noticeably drier, says Rob Scott, a consultant ophthalmologist at BMI Priory Hospital Birmingham.

Alcohol not only dehydrates the entire body, it can also end up in your tears, interfering with lubrication.

'Your eyes become more sticky when you drink alcohol,' says Professor Scott.
A 2012 study published in the journal Ophthalmology found people given a dose of pure alcohol based on their weight (around six units for a 10st person - roughly the equivalent of two pints of strong beer) had more dry patches on their eyes at 8 am the next day than those who didn't drink.
So if you regularly wake up with dry eyes, check that your alcohol intake isn't to blame.

If the thought of a glass of wine is what gets you through a difficult day, it could be the first sign of a more serious problem, says Claudia Bernat, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital in London.

She says people may think they don't have a problem because they don't have to drink there and then - 'but if you're spending time in the day thinking "When I get home I can have a drink" rather than "I can see my family", it could be a warning sign'.
People use alcohol to self-medicate, particularly if they're depressed or anxious, says Dr Bernat. 

'But alcohol is a depressant, so it can end up making things worse.
'If you're self-medicating, it's too late. We need to try to recognise the point just before that happens. If you're thinking about what you will have to drink later, that could be a clue.'

Stomach problems such as diarrhoea could be a sign you're drinking more than you should, says David Sanders, professor of gastroenterology at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.
'This may be because you don't absorb all the excess fluid you're drinking, and the result is watery stools,'  he says.
And stools that don't flush away easily could be a sign your liver is struggling to cope, according to Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust charity.
'If this happens on a regular basis, it could be an early warning sign that the liver is not breaking down fat properly because of the pressure of processing excess alcohol, he says. 
'Likewise, if your urine is darker than normal and you know you're not dehydrated, it could be an early warning sign that your liver is not filtering out dead blood cells and other waste effectively.'
'This can happen before serious liver disease sets in - but it could be a sign you're at risk.'

While a couple of drinks before bed may help you drop off to sleep, it causes fragmented sleep cycles that leave you more tired, according to Guy Meadows, clinical director of The Sleep School in London.
'Alcohol becomes a stimulant when your body breaks it down,' he explains. 'It releases sugars and other substances that mean you wake up more. 
'It also stops you getting into Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the most active part of sleep, where we do most of our dreaming and which is really important for helping our brain process mood and for memory.
'Not getting enough REM means you wake up feeling not only more tired but grumpy and forgetful.'

Moderate drinking may also cause your brain to 'forget' how to sleep efficiently, to the extent that you miss out on the most restorative parts of sleep even on nights when you haven't had a drink.

'We know that nearly 60 per cent of alcoholics suffer from insomnia - that's almost twice the national average,' says Dr Meadows. 'They get very little slow-wave sleep - the deepest part of sleep - as well as very little REM sleep.
'Interestingly, this disturbed sleep pattern can remain a few years after they give up drinking altogether.' 
Long-term heavy drinking and withdrawal both interfere with neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain that relay messages), including GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which calms brain activity.
This could explain why moderate drinkers who give up alcohol for a few days find it makes no immediate difference to their sleep.
'The brain has to learn how to sleep properly again,' says Dr Meadows. 'You should try giving up alcohol for a few months to really see the difference to your sleep.'

Being able to have a couple of drinks and not feel tipsy is often a sign that someone is drinking very regularly, says Sarah Jarvis, a GP and medical adviser to the Drink-Aware charity. 
'This is because they've built up a tolerance to the short-term effects of alcohol.'
We feel drunk because ethanol - the pure alcohol part of the drink - gets into the bloodstream rapidly and affects the central nervous system and brain, which is why our balance is impaired and we slur words.

The body has to produce enzymes that break down the alcohol and remove it. But if you drink regularly, your body will produce larger amounts of these enzymes as your body 'learns' to work harder, so you will deal with the alcohol quicker, explains Dr Jarvis.
'People believe if they tolerate the short-term effects, they're not at risk from the longer-term effects - but if anything they're at increased risk of liver damage.' 
This is because it's not alcohol itself that damages liver cells, it's the toxins that alcohol is broken down into.

Just because your teeth look fine when you smile in the mirror doesn't mean alcohol isn't leaving its mark. 
'Red wine stains tend to appear on the inside of your teeth, closest to your tongue, and on the surfaces between teeth,' explains Dr Sameer Patel, clinical director of Elleven Dental in London.

White wine and beer drinkers tend to suffer more with tooth-enamel erosion, he says. 
Key signs of enamel loss are teeth that are yellowing and becoming more sensitive.
If your son or daughter comes back from university needing fillings, it could be a sign they've been hitting the bar rather than the library.
'I see a lot of young people, whose teeth have always been fine when they were living at home, who go away to university and suddenly get lots of problem with decay and erosion,' says Dr Patel.
'I suspect it's because they end up drinking a lot of sugary, acidic mixers such as cola and energy drinks.'

'If someone says: "Oh you look well, have you been on holiday?" and you haven't, it could be that you've got a very mild form of jaundice - and this could be a sign of liver disease,' says Andrew Langford.

Jaundice is caused by anything that leads to a build-up of the yellow waste product bilirubin.
Over time, alcohol damages liver cells, and scar tissue forms as the liver tries to repair itself. This scar tissue means the liver stops being able to do its job of filtering toxins and waste products - including bilirubin - from the blood.

'You should also check the whites of your eyes to see if they are yellowing,' says Mr Langford. This is where jaundice is often most noticeable in its early stages.

'Alcohol is like any drug - your body becomes dependent on it,' says Dr Sarah Jarvis. 'As your tolerance builds up, you'll need more and more to get the same hit.'
Tell-tale signs your dependence on alcohol is creeping up include taking two bottles of wine to a party in case you run out, using bigger glasses and drinking more than the recommended maximum (3-4 units for men, 2-3 for women) most nights.

If the thought of a glass of wine is what gets you through a difficult day, it could be the first sign


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Yoga is as healthy for your heart as cycling

Studies find it helps weight loss and cuts blood pressure 

  • Researchers analysed 37 studies into the health benefits of yoga
  • They found improvements on par with people who cycled or took walks
  • In some cases taking up yoga worked better than prescription pills
  • Combination of exercise and stress relief may be key to yoga benefits
  • Those prescribed yoga lost 5lb more than those who did no extra exercise

If you’re not too keen about building up a sweat in the cold and damp in order to get fit, there’s some good news.
It turns out that the peaceful and gentle activity of yoga is as good for the heart as cycling.
An analysis of dozens of studies into the impact of the ancient Eastern art concluded it has numerous health benefits.

An analysis of dozens of studies into the impact of the ancient Eastern art concluded that Yoga has numerous health benefits, including weight loss and lowering bad cholesterol
An analysis of dozens of studies into the impact of the ancient Eastern art concluded that Yoga has numerous health benefits, including weight loss and lowering bad cholesterol

Yoga, it found, leads to weight loss, lowers bad cholesterol and cuts blood pressure. In fact, the improvements were on a par with those seen in people who did conventional exercise such as cycling and brisk walking. In some cases, it worked even better than prescription pills.
If that wasn’t enough, regular yoga sessions may even make it easier to quit smoking.

The researchers aren’t sure why yoga is so effective but say the combination of exercise and stress relief may be key.
The finding is important because it suggests that those who are too old or unwell to do conventional exercise could practise yoga to keep their heart healthy.
Coronary heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer, with more than 70,000 lives lost a year to heart attacks and other cardiac problems. Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight and not exercising are some of the main risk factors.

The researchers analysed 37 studies into the health benefits of yoga, which involved more than 2,700 people. They found yoga clearly improved health.
Men and women prescribed yoga as part of a study lost 5lb more than those who did no extra exercise. Those doing yoga for an average of three months also saw their blood pressure fall and levels of bad cholesterol drop, the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reports.
Some of the studies even showed yoga to be more effective than prescription medicines.
In one trial involving those at risk of heart problems, blood pressure dropped almost three times as much when doing yoga compared to when taking pills.
Yoga also helped patients who already had heart disease and were being treated for it. But the most exciting findings revolve around exercise.
The analysis concluded yoga was as good as conventional physical activity in improving heart health. Researcher Myriam Hunink, of Erasmus University in the Netherlands and Harvard University in the US, said: ‘Yoga may provide the same benefits in risk factor reduction as traditional physical activity such as cycling or brisk walking.

‘This finding is significant as individuals who cannot or prefer not to perform traditional aerobic exercise may still achieve similar benefits in cardiovascular disease risk reduction.’ She added that yoga may improve quality of life more than other forms of exercise, by easing stress and anxiety.
Further research is needed to determine just how yoga helps the heart but Professor Hunink thinks that the combination of stress relief and exercise is key.
The NHS says people are never too old to take up yoga, with classes available for every age group. Those who can’t easily sit down on the floor can do chair-based yoga.
Maureen Talbot, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Any physical activity that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease developing should be encouraged, and the benefits of yoga on emotional health are well established.
‘This study’s findings are promising, showing some improvement in blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
‘The benefits could be due to working the muscles and breathing, which can bring more oxygen into the body, leading to lower blood pressure.’


Friday, 19 December 2014

Why a hug this Christmas is good for your health

Cuddles relieve stress and protect against infections, study finds 

  • Just a cuddle or squeeze is enough to reduce illness symptoms
  • The more often we hug, the greater the health benefit, researchers found
  • Protective effect of hugs may be due to the physical contact or because hugging provoking feelings of support and intimacy

If you're struggling to get your beloved under the mistletoe this year, then help is at hand.
Scientists have revealed that hugging is good for our health, helping to prevent infection and relieve stress.  
They say just a cuddle or squeeze is enough to reduce illness symptoms and the more you do it, the greater the effect.

People who feel supported - and receive more hugs - experience less severe illness symptoms regardless of the amount of stress they are under, researchers found
People who feel supported - and receive more hugs - experience less severe illness symptoms regardless of the amount of stress they are under, researchers found

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. quizzed 400 people about their personal conflicts and the sort of support they received.
They then exposed them to a common cold virus and put them in quarantine.
The results showed that people who felt well-supported by family and friends were less likely to fall victim to infection due to stressful situations. 
And hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support.

hose who felt supported - and received more hugs - experienced less severe illness symptoms regardless of the amount of stress they were under. 
Sheldon Cohen, Professor of Psychology, said: 'This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support.
'[It also suggests that] increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress.'
She added the apparent protective effect of hugs may be due to the physical contact or because hugging provoking feelings of support and intimacy.
'Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection,' she said. 

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be due to the physical contact itself or because hugging provoking feelings of support and intimacy
The apparent protective effect of hugs may be due to the physical contact itself or because hugging provoking feelings of support and intimacy

Professor Cohen said: 'We chose to study hugging as an example of social support because hugs are typically a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person.
'We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses.
'We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety.
'We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection.
'And also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection.' 

The results were published in Psychological Science.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Could you BREATHE away those excess pounds?

80% of fat leaves the body via the lungs, say experts (so the more you exercise the better)

  • More than 80% of body fat leaves the body through breathing out
  • Human fat cells store triglyceride, made up of three atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen 
  • To shed fat, you have to break down the atoms in triglyceride via oxidation
  • When 10kg of fat is oxidised, 8.4kg leaves the body as CO2 via the lungs 

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It will be a huge sigh of relief for anyone who gorges on one too many mince pies this Christmas - scientists have discovered you can shed pounds simply by breathing.
More than 80 per cent of body fat leaves the body through exhaling, making the lungs the primary organ through which we lose weight.
Humans have a type of fat in the blood called triglyceride, which consists of three kinds of atoms - carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Shedding unwanted fat requires unlocking the atoms in triglyceride molecules by a process known as oxidation. 

More than 80 per cent of body fat leaves the body through exhaling, making the lungs the primary organ for weight loss, scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia have discovered
More than 80 per cent of body fat leaves the body through exhaling, making the lungs the primary organ for weight loss, scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia have discovered

By tracing every atom's pathway out of the body, the team of scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia discovered that when 10kg of fat is oxidised, 8.4kg departs the body via the lungs as carbon dioxide (CO2).
The remaining 1.6kg becomes water (H2O).
The analysis shows the inhaled oxygen required for this metabolic process weighs nearly three times more than the fat being 'lost'.
To completely oxidise 10kg of human fat, 29kg of oxygen must be inhaled, producing a total of 28kg of carbon dioxide and 11kg of water. 
The authors, Ruben Meerman and Andrew Brown, said: 'None of this biochemistry is new, but for unknown reasons it seems nobody has thought of performing these calculations before.

'The quantities make perfect sense but we were surprised by the numbers that popped out.
These results show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for weight loss. 
'The water formed may be excreted in the urine, faeces, sweat, breath, tears or other bodily fluids and is readily replenished.
'The exhaled carbon can only be replaced by eating food or consuming beverages such as milk, fruit juices or sugar-sweetened drinks.'
At rest, a person who weighs 11 stone (70kg) exhales around 200ml of CO2 by taking 12 breaths a minute, they claim. 
So by breathing out 17,280 times a day they will lose at least 200g of carbon, with around a third of that weight loss achieved during eight hours of sleep.

Going for a run for an hour would help remove an additional 40g of carbon from the body, the researchers say, raising the total loss by around 20 per cent, to 240g
Going for a run for an hour would help remove an additional 40g of carbon from the body, the researchers say, raising the total loss by around 20 per cent, to 240g

But to keep the weight off requires putting less back in through eating than is exhaled by breathing - which might be tricky come that second turkey sandwich on Boxing Day.
Going for a run for an hour would help remove an additional 40g of carbon from the body, the researchers say, raising the total loss by around 20 per cent, to 240g.
But that can be wiped out by a single 100g muffin, which represents around 20 per cent of an average person's total daily energy requirement.
Professor Brown and Mr Meerman said: 'Physical activity as a weight loss strategy is, therefore, easily foiled by relatively small quantities of excess food.
'Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat. 
'Losing weight requires unlocking the carbon stored in fat cells, thus reinforcing that often heard refrain of "eat less, move more".'
The research was published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.


Monday, 15 December 2014

3 Easy tips For Finding The Willpower To Lose Weight

Losing weight can be a hard thing to do which is why so many people struggle with it every day. If you were to ask most people who are trying to lose weight why it's so hard for them, chances are they'd say they just don't have the willpower to keep trying. If you're one of those people, you're in luck, because listed below are 3 easy tips for finding the willpower to lose weight.

1. Do it publicly.
What that means is, make it known to others that you are trying to lose weight. You can do this by posting status updates on Facebook, or you can start a blog, or you can start a video diary and post it on YouTube or Facebook or your website. By letting other people know that you are starting your weight loss journey and keeping them updated on your progress, you will have the motivation to keep going. Think about it, if you make it public so others know what you are doing they're going to be interested in how well it's going for you, so if you give up and stop trying you'll have to let all those people know that you stopped, and that will be an embarrassing situation you won't want to find yourself in. Not to mention that you will have people to cheer you on and congratulate you each time you lose a few pounds, which will encourage you to keep going.

2. Set small weight loss goals.
Instead of telling yourself that need to lose 100 pounds, start off with a smaller number like 15 pounds. The reason for doing this is, if you start off with a big number like 100, it's going to take a while to reach that goal and there will probably be times when you get discouraged because of how long it's taking, which will make you want to give up. If you start with a smaller number like 15, you will be able to reach that goal much sooner which will give you the motivation to lose the next 15 pounds, and the next 15, and so on until you reach your total big goal of 100 pounds.

3. Reward yourself.
When you've reached a weight loss goal reward yourself with something you normally wouldn't ever do or buy. For instance, if you've wanted to go get your nails professionally done but you never have, use that as a reward for yourself for meeting a weight loss goal. This way you have something to work towards besides just the weight loss. You'll know if you hit that weight loss goal you'll get that reward. Another way to do this would be to buy some new clothes in a smaller size that you hope to be able to fit into once you've lost a little bit of weight. Then, hang those clothes where you can see them every day to remind you that if you keep on going with your weight loss, you will be able to wear those clothes.

Final Thought:
Losing weight can be very tough but it will not only change the way people will look at you, it will change the way you look at yourself. You will have more energy and more confidence in yourself, isn't it time you put yourself as a priority. Take these tips and use them to get you started on the road to a better you.

Don't Wait - Get Started Now!
There is no better time to get started than now, and to help supercharge your efforts I would suggest two simple tricks to get started. First be sure you drink LOTS of water. cut out as much soda and sugary drinks as possible and this will help give you a quick win and you will see results.

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Those celebrity diets can be dangerous, say experts......

Eating clay and like a caveman among those in annual list of the worse plans to follow.

  • British Dietetic Association says fad diets are not best way to lose weight
  • Its annual list of worst celebrity diets includes the popular Paleo diet
  • BDA says caveman diet could leave people dangerously low in calcium
  • Also warns against 'Vegan Before Six' diet Beyonce is rumoured to use

In the run up to Christmas, it can be tempting to try anything to shift a few pounds.
But wacky diets endorsed by celebrities don’t live up to the hype – and can be downright dangerous, experts have warned.

The British Dietetic Association says that despite endorsements by the rich and famous, fad diets are not the best way to lose weight. 

Its annual list of the worst celebrity diets includes the popular Paleo or Caveman diet. 
Said to be followed by stars Matthew McConaughey and Megan Fox, it advises eating like our stone age ancestors and avoiding ‘modern foods’ such as bread, pasta, cereal and dairy products.

But The BDA says this is little more than a ‘Jurassic fad’.
It warns that refusing to eat any dairy products could leave people dangerously low in calcium and weaken their bones.

The BDA also says that eating like a caveman is time-consuming and socially isolating.
Perhaps the strangest-sounding trend on the list is people swallowing a spoonful of clay a day in the hope of detoxing the body and staying in shape.
But the practice not only doesn’t help you slim, the BDA warns, but can cause serious problems, from constipation to arsenic poisoning. 

But the British Dietetic Association says ‘a vegan diet doesn't automatically translate into a healthy diet’.

'He's just started the Oliver Reed diet'
'He's just started the Oliver Reed diet'
It warns: ‘The danger is that post-6pm becomes a window of opportunity to hoover up a myriad of foods high in calories, saturated fat and packed with added salt and sugar, undoing your healthier choices.
‘The reality is, eating different food groups at different times of the day doesn’t matter.
‘In terms of your health, it’s the nutritional balance that’s important.'

The association, which counts more than 7,500 dieticians as members, also advises against trying to cut out all sugar.

Although some celebrities claim to have done this, it is almost impossible to do.
Plus, it would mean avoiding vegetables, fruit and nuts.

BDA spokesman and consultant dietician Sian Porter said: ‘It seems that as a nation we are constantly on the search for the magic bullet approach to losing weight, wanting a quick fix to give us the bodies we see so often on TV, in glossy magazines and adorning billboards up and down the UK.
‘The truth is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’

Experts are warning diets endorsed by celebrities don’t live up to the hype and can be dangerous


Monday, 8 December 2014

10 Common Weight Loss Myths

When it comes to dieting and weight loss, there is an overload of information to be found and sometimes it's hard to separate fact from myth. I wrote down a few common myths with the explanation why they are myths, hoping it will make your journey to weight loss a bit less confusing.
1. "You have heavy bones"

The average bone mass is between 4.3 and 6.5 lb ( 1.95 - 2.95 kg) for women and between 5.9 and 8.1 lb ( 2.66 - 3.69 kg) for men, showing that there's not a huge difference in bone mass depending on weight or sex. Research has shown that exercise and the development of muscle tissue are related to stronger, healthier bones, meaning that you can actually increase your bone density with strength training.

2. "It's in your genes so you'll probably never lose the weight"

While there is indication that there's a genetic component to overweight and obesity, it is not necessarily the only factor influencing the weight. Remember that while you may inherit the "fat gene", you probably also inherit the eating habits you see at home. By eating sensibly and exercising regularly you can raise your metabolism and beat the "fat gene".

3. "It's all about the calories you consume and burn"

This statement is actually partially true, because to lose weight you do have to burn more calories than you consume. But the source of the calories is just as important. Your body will react differently to 200 calories of ice cream than it will to 200 calories of fresh fruit. First of all the sugar in the ice cream will be absorbed quicker, leaving you craving more food soon after. The fruit will also keep you full longer. So try adding more natural food and reducing the processed foods for more effective weight loss.

4. "If you were overweight as a child you'll always be overweight"

Here too, we have a statement that is partially true, especially if one or both parents are obese. Once again, the child adopts the eating habits of the parents so that is a big factor in the child's weight. By having the parents adopt a healthier lifestyle, the child will follow suit making the chances of obesity as an adult slimmer (pun intended).

5. "Fad diets work for rapid weight loss"

Define "work"... Yes fad diets can make you lose weight quickly, but this weight loss rarely lasts and usually the weight you gain back is more than you initially lost. The problem with most fad diets is that they're not nutritionally adequate, meaning that many times they exclude important nutrients which are necessary for functioning of all the organs. Also the weight lost is usually water weight and muscle mass, not fat. Muscle mass is necessary to burn fat. Less muscle, less fat burning, more weight gain, etc.

6. "Natural or herbal weight loss products are safe and effective"

Just because it says natural or herbal doesn't mean it's safe. Coca and tobacco leaves are also natural... catch my drift? The problem is that these products are not regulated so it is not clear how much is safe and what the possible side effects and or interactions with other medications are. Just to be safe, always consult your physician before using any OTC weight loss product.

7. "Certain foods can help burn fat (like grapefruit, cabbage soup)"

Doesn't that sound wonderful? It's just not true. While certain foods can boost your metabolism like protein, chilli peppers or green tea, there are no foods which will actually burn fat. Your body burns fat to use for energy like when exercising and may continue up to 24 hours after exercise depending on the type of exercise you've done.

8. "Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight"

This should actually be number 1. This is the most common mistake made by dieters. Our bodies are built to store fat in case there's a famine, so we can use the reserve for energy. In the modern world we don't know what famine is. We say we're starving after a few hours of having had a complete meal, but that's just hunger we're feeling. So this fat that gets stored never gets used. When you skip meals, your body gets alarmed and starts storing more fat. It doesn't know when the next meal comes, so the fat is added to the fat that's already there. Rather than skipping meals its wiser to eat small meals throughout the day; about 5 or 6. That way your body doesn't feel deprived and doesn't prepare for the famine that never comes.

9. "Lifting weights while trying to lose weight will make you bulk up"

This is a concern especially for women. They don't want to end up looking like the incredible Hulk. Well rest assured, it would take hours of very heavy lifting each day with a specially designed meal plan to become even half that big. Strength training is actually encouraged because by increasing the muscle mass, you increase the fat loss which ultimately is your goal right?

10. "Eating after 8pm will make you gain weight"

This would mean that everyone working the night shift should have weight problems. It's actually not the time of day which will cause the weight gain. Eating a heavy meal right before bedtime (whatever time that is) could disrupt your sleeping pattern though, and lack of sleep can eventually cause weight gain.

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