Set clear goals. Slow and steady is the best way to approach weight loss. Burn more calories via sex and breastfeeding is the best way to protect against obesity later in life. These are just some of the health based recommendations frequently given by weight loss experts as many seek the elusive goal of weight loss.
A controversial response to some of these commonly held beliefs was recently published in one of the most powerful medical journals in the world, The New England Journal of Medicine which for the first time has scientifically questioned some of these commonly preached weight loss rules, finding that some may not hold much truth at all.
In real life terms, the good news is that this means certain limitations to weight loss as so often preached by weight loss experts may not be a barrier to success at all.
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The humble egg has again found itself in the nutrition firing line. Another research paper was released last week arguing that eating too many eggs can be as bad for heart health as smoking.
But before you start throwing away your egg yolks and swapping to processed breakfast cereals to ensure that your breakfast is “healthy”, there are a few other factors that need to be considered.
A high saturated fat intake is known to increase blood cholesterol, and high blood cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, Australia’s biggest killer.
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Child goes to athletics carnival. Said child does not react well to soft drink. Soft drink provided at athletics carnival.
Parent outraged when child has soft drink and enters dangerously irritating and unhealthy sugar high. All compounded by child’s accompanying grandkid giving child whatever he wants.
Should kids be allowed the occasional Coke? Is the parents’ fury all fizz and no calories? Or should parents have the right to dictate their children’s diets? This your Friday dilemma.
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If you are anything like me, the ever-growing vitamin and mineral section of the pharmacy or supermarket is nothing short of confusing.
It seems that every second celebrity in Australia currently has an endorsement deal for a multivitamin, but it’s not as if you can turn to your favourite hot celebrity to ask for their personal recommendation on the best vitamin to take.
This is not surprising as the vitamin industry is worth an estimated billion dollars in Australia alone. Despite this, the big question that still remains is whether vitamin and mineral supplements actually work.
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Long term disease states including diabetes, cancer and heart disease do not develop overnight. Each and every day we are making health-based decisions which ultimately impact on the risk of developing such conditions.
In addition to this, daily health related complaints including fatigue, constipation, bloating, lack of energy, poor libido, painful menstrual cycles and insomnia are all relating directly or indirectly in some capacity to poor lifestyle habits and weight issues.
So, rather than waiting until you need to lose weight, or until you are so tired and stressed that you are forced to reevaluate your lifestyle, here are the top few daily health and nutrition habits that will go a long way in helping you to be at your best, every day, not just tomorrow.
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The temperature has dropped, the days are noticeably shorter and suddenly salad does not seem like such an appealing lunch option – bring on the soups, I say.
It may surprise you to hear that not only are soups a great option nutritionally but certain types of soup have also been proven to help support weight loss, so let’s get that soup pot out and get chopping!
Soup, particularly vegetable based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine a high nutrient density with a low energy density and this means that we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories.
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No other food has received the recent caning (pardon the pun) that sugar has over the past few months. Headlines of ‘toxic’, ‘poison’ and ‘addiction’ have been constantly bantered around with sugar free devotes claiming that banning the simple molecule has changed their life and their weight forever.
Since high amounts of sugar is found in generally non-nutritive foods including soft drinks, sweet desserts, yoghurts, confectionery and processed cereal products, is not surprising that people drop weight when they ‘ban’ sugar form their diets.
When you take a closer look at what is actually happening physiologically, is that the total carbohydrate load of the diet is significantly reduced when foods that contain sugar are eliminated, which simply means that insulin levels in the body are reduced and weight is lost.
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If you walk down the streets of Paris on any weekday morning, you will see sleek, perfectly coiffed Parisians clutching a briefcase or designer handbag and perhaps the newspaper.
If you walk down any Sydney street, you will see a very different picture. You will see hundreds of people clutching a takeaway coffee cup. Now inside those containers there could be a skim capp, a chai latte or even a soy mocha, but what I see is calories. A lot of liquid calories that few of us really need.
Now, before your morning coffee fuelled brain goes into a fury at the thought of the dietitian ruining your Monday morning by taking away the one indulgence of the day that gets you through the office doors each day, yes, it is true that there are some health benefits associated with drinking coffee.
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If there is one topic that is guaranteed to cause much debate and controversy it is about the “right” way to deal with, and discuss overweight children. Many still believe that even though one in four Australian children has a significant weight issue that it is simply “puppy fat” and that children will grow out of it.
Based on this belief, it is inferred that we should basically ignore the fact that a child is overweight or obese - we should leave them be.
If only this were true. After working in the area of child and adolescent obesity for more than 10 years I can tell you that childhood obesity is a massive issue here in Australia. When you see a child who appears to have a little “puppy fat” or “muffin top”, you are actually looking at a serious weight issue.
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We have all been there. Watching a favourite show on TV and suddenly feeling as if we could die if we do not get our hands on a tub of ice cream. Like now.
In fact, some of us may be so taken by this urge to eat something sweet that we find ourselves leaving our warm, cozy home to get our sweet fix. Or sometimes threatening or convincing our partners to go and get it for us.
The interesting thing about food cravings is that they give us much valuable information about what’s happening in our bodies, and what things are missing from our baseline diet.
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You have to hand it to the big multinationals. They know how to get us to eat more fatty food and drink more sugar, even when they claim to be committed to our health and well-being and no one has done it better recently than Coca Cola.
Their latest campaign, which encourages people to seek out a can of regular, full strength, eight teaspoons of sugar per 375ml of soft drink that has their name written on the label, is nothing short of brilliant.
And then, once you have your own can, you can also seek out cans that feature your best mate’s name, or your kids can find one with their name… the list goes on.
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The National Health and Medical Research Council might know a fair bit about health, but they don’t know anything about cooking.
The NHMRC last week released the innocuous sounding Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Prevention report. The document is the result of five years of research by people who take carrots, nuts and celery into work in plastic lunch boxes, and think the rest of us should do the same.
The report has at its centre some fairly predictable calls for smokers to be taxed out of existence with an immediate 5 per cent increase in tobacco taxes (on top of the 25 per cent increase in April this year), a 10 per cent increase in the tax on spirits, and an increase in the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.
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It’s a scary thought, knowing that you have no idea where your food has come from. It may look and taste like you would expect, but it may not have been created the conventional way.
Genetically modified foods are weaselling their way into the diets of unsuspecting Australians. That is, any food product that includes genetically modified organisms.
While there are some labelling laws in place to help consumers identify genetically modified (GM) food products, there are still many instances where the public remain oblivious.
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David Penberthy’s health sandwich is laden with a generous helping of cynicism and a pinch of exaggeration.
By calling for a reduction of the harmful fats in our food, Bob Carr is not seeking to ban fast food outlets. Instead, he is highlighting how easy it would be to make our takeaway foods substantially healthier.
Australians love to eat out - nearly one in three of us do so almost every day, which adds up to a massive 3.8 billion meals eaten out every year.
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Our supposedly classless society is showing signs of being divided into two camps where people’s private choices as individuals and their behaviour as families are regulated on the basis of their affluence.
And it’s in the area of nutrition, preventative health and exercise where the working class, for want of a better term, is increasingly being treated like a bunch of babies, while the more affluent members of society continue to live as they please.
It’s only a small thing but it’s a signifier for the times, a demonstration of a mindset which holds that working class people are unable to modify their behaviour, while the gentry can be trusted to keep its conduct in check. But get along to the SCG, that great people’s arena, where our knockabout, egalitarian society lets the members drink as much full-strength beer as they want and limits the great unwashed to light beer.
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I have always had a fair deal of respect for nutritionist Rosemary Stanton but realised yesterday that this is only because I haven’t been paying attention.
Not sure if the rest of you caught it, but Mrs Stanton has launched a pretty out-there tirade against Bindy Irwin’s new commercial deal as the public face of a particularly sinister company.
Not Union Carbide or Exxon or British Aerospace but the baking products conglomerate Greens General Foods, one of the shadiest players in the evil cake trade.
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