Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Category: Nutrition Research (Page 2 of 22)

good nutrition advice

Tomatoes and Gout

good nutrition adviceTomatoes and gout.

If you suffer from gout you may want to avoid tomatoes. Scientists from the University of Otago in New Zealand investigated the connection between the fruit and gout, which is an excruciating form of arthritis.

The study, published in journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders looked at 2051 people with gout to assess which foods trigger the disease. Tomatoes were confirmed as a problem for 20% of the participants.

The scientists then analysed data from a long-standing study of 12,720 men and women. The data showed that eating tomatoes is linked to an increase in uric acid in the blood and uric acid is the root cause of gout.

The study authors believe that tomato is similar to seafood, red meat, alcohol and sugar-sweetened drinks in its ability to raise uric acid levels and cause gout flare-ups.

If you suspect a particular food of causing flare-ups it is worth keeping a food diary (along with any symptoms) for a few weeks. Often the association between the food and the symptoms becomes clear.

References: Positive association of tomato consumption with serum urate: support for tomato consumption as an anecdotal trigger of gout flares

good nutrition advice

Inflammation Link to Chronic Disease

good nutrition adviceInflammation is linked to chronic disease.

If you are able to control inflammation you could reduce your risk of chronic diseases. A recent article published in the British Journal of Nutrition looks at the importance of managing inflammation. Inflammation is a very necessary process that can help your body to heal but, if this process gets out of control, it can cause damage to cells and result in disease.

The article authors from the International Life Sciences Institute believe that certain micronutrients could be linked to the control and escalation of the inflammatory response. These include folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin E and zinc. This research highlights that a typical Western diet is rich in fat, sugar and lacking in these micronutrients, which will encourage inflammation.

In fact, after eating unhealthy meals there can be an immediate spike in inflammation, linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Inflammation is also thought to be responsible for conditions like food allergies, atopic dermatitis and obesity.

You can lower your risk of inflammation-driven diseases with an anti-inflammatory diet: Include plenty of antioxidants from fruit and vegetables, lots of fibre from wholegrains, omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds.

References: Controlling inflammation to reduce chronic disease risk

nutrition advice

Boredom Link to Food Cravings

nutrition adviceBoredom can make you more likely to crave fatty and sugary foods.

Research presented at this year’s Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society explored the connection between boredom and food consumption. The research was based on two studies involving up to 52 people; the first observed a group’s food intake before and after carrying out a monotonous task and the second study involved observing both food choices (healthy or unhealthy) and amount during both a funny and a boring film.

The results showed that you are more likely to eat unhealthy food when you are carrying out repetitive tasks and you’re more likely to opt for unhealthy food when you’re watching a boring film.

Make sure that you keep plenty of healthy food with you at all times so that if you are doing something repetitive or boring, you always have something healthy to hand.

References: Bored people reach for the crisps

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good nutrition advice

The Danger of Diet Drinks

good nutrition adviceAre you addicted to diet drinks? 

Well, even though they are sugar–free, they are linked to increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 66,118 women over 14 years monitoring the drinks they consumed. The researchers found that both sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially sweetened drinks were associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

If you’re trying to cut down on sugar you might think that artificially sweetened drinks (i.e. diet drinks) are a good alternative but they are not. Opt for fizzy water with a dash of juice instead. It won’t taste nearly as sweet but your taste buds will quickly adapt.

ReferencesConsumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes

wean off sugar

Other Ways to Wean Yourself off Sugar

wean off sugarAdd protein.

You can change an unrefined carbohydrate into an even slower releasing one by adding protein as you eat it.

So, if you’re having porridge you could add ground nuts and seeds (vegetable protein) and if you are having a jacket potato then you could add tuna (animal protein). You could also sprinkle cinnamon on your porridge along with the ground nuts and seeds. Cinnamon is helpful in balancing blood sugar, as it improves the transport of glucose into your cells.

Protein slows down the rate at which your stomach empties the food into the next part of the digestive tract and so it slows down the emptying of the carbohydrate too.

21 day sugar detox

How to Wean Yourself off Sugar

wean yourself off sugarCut caffeine.

Think about the amount of caffeine you are drinking in coffee, tea, colas and energy drinks. They will cause a similar roller coaster effect to sugar and cause the release of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.

They are classed as stimulants. Because they can cause a drop in blood sugar, they can also trigger either sugar cravings or an increase in appetite in general. Also, when you are changing habits there may be some that are natural stable-mates, such as tea and biscuits, or coffee and a chocolate bar.

So it can be easier to break a habit by breaking the association. If you are not having the cup of coffee, you might not think about having the chocolate bar.

21 day sugar detox

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

sugar addictionThe American Psychiatric Association has a manual entitled the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and it suggests that the following list indicates the type of behaviours that could indicate an addiction.

Run through this list and look at your behaviour over the last year, when it comes to eating sugar and sugary foods.

• Tolerance.

• Withdrawal.

• The substance is often taken in larger amounts than intended.

• A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down substance use.

• A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance.

• Important activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

• Substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.

21 day sugar detox

Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

keep your blood sugar levels balancedEat little and often.

To keep your blood sugar balanced and to avoid the dips (low blood sugar, hypoglycaemia) that will send you racing off to get a quick fix with a chocolate bar or a packet of biscuits, make sure that you are eating little and often.

My recommendation is have a good breakfast, lunch and dinner and also to include a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack. Don’t go longer than three hours without eating (this is especially vital for women) or your blood sugar levels will drop too low and your body will give you a craving for something sweet to rectify the drop quickly.

21 day sugar detox

Diabetes: Type I and Type II

diabetes-sugarType 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood (although some people can be diagnosed later in life). It is classed as an auto-immune problem because the person’s own immune system kills the cells (beta-cells) in the pancreas that produce insulin.

This means that a type 1 diabetic needs to have insulin injections (or an insulin pump) for the rest of his or her life in order to survive.

Type 2 diabetes is often called middle-aged onset diabetes, because it develops later in life and is often associated with being overweight. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin but the body stops responding to it and the person becomes insulin resistant. So the pancreas will try to produce more insulin to overcome this resistance. The first line of treatment in type 2 diabetes is insulin sensitising medication. But if the pancreas keeps having to overwork then the beta cells in the pancreas may fail and insulin injections or a pump will be required.

Having too much sugar in your diet can cause you to become insulin resistant.  Your insulin receptors do not open in response to insulin and the glucose from your blood is not moved into your cells.  This means you are not getting the energy you need from your food and also that you end up with high blood glucose (sugar).

21 day sugar detox

Sugar increases risk of heart disease

The Link Between Sugar and Heart Disease

21-day sugar detoxWe now know that fat does not cause heart disease. So where does the sugar connection come in?

It all comes down to insulin, the hormone released when your blood sugar rises. When you have a meal, insulin normally sends a signal to your liver not to release fats into your bloodstream because your body is dealing with fat from the meal.

However, if you are living on that roller coaster of blood sugar swings, too much insulin is being released too often and your liver then ignores the message about not releasing fats and releases triglycerides (stored fats) into your bloodstream.  These triglycerides are contained in VLDLs (very low density lipoproteins), which are usually rendered harmless by enzymes in your blood. But the enzymes at that moment are dealing with the fat from your food so the VLDLs can end up forming plaque on your artery walls.

In 2009, the American Heart Association published a scientific statement in their journal Circulation entitled ‘Dietary sugar intake and cardiovascular health’ in which they expressed concern that sugar and refined carbohydrates can increase triglycerides (a known risk factor for heart disease) while lowering levels of HDL (‘good’ cholesterol’).

21 day sugar detox

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