Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: sugar (Page 1 of 2)

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

Junk Food Shrinks your Brain

Junk food shrinks your brain – yes, really…

Eating junk food can diminish the size of the part of your brain that is linked to learning, memory and mental health.

The study which was published in BMC Medicine look at 255 people and used MRI scans to measure the size of the hippocampus region of the brain, alongside their regular diets. The researchers found that those who ate a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fish had a larger hippocampus than those who ate more sugar, salt and processed meat in their diets.

The findings are relevant to  mental health, depression and Alzheimer’s, which are a growing concern for the ageing population.

If you are reliant on processed foods and junk food take heed. Try and clean up your diet to include more fresh produce and keep sugar, salt and saturated fat to a minimum.

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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

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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

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

Why do Rice Crispies go Snap, Crackle and Pop?

I KNOW you’re all dying to know but were always too afraid to ask, so I’m going to tell you!

Rice Crispies contain lots of sugar and are cooked at  high temperatures. The sugar forms crystals and also creates air-filled pockets.

So, when Rice Crispies absorb milk, forces push the air which  then breaks the cavity walls and make the snap, crackle and pop noise. As far as I know, this is the only  food that does this.

And just in case you were wondering… no they are not a particularly healthy breakfast. Far too high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. You’d be much better off with a wholegrain cereal which will give you longer lasting energy along with some fresh fruit.

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Sugar Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Sugar increases risk of heart disease

Sugar increases risk of heart disease

Eating large amounts of sugar increases risk of heart disease according to research. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association published studies that found added sugars in processed foods were linked with lower levels of HDL cholesterol, or ‘good’ cholesterol.

The study followed 6,113 patients and found the higher their sugar levels, the more likely they were to have higher risk factors for heart disease. Eating a healthy high fibre diet can help lower cholesterol levels.

High triglyceride and high cholesterol levels have been linked with heart disease since the 1970s. Today we know how to lower cholesterol with foods high in fibre, and the benefits of diets such as the Mediterranean diet in lowering cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a sterol in the fat family and is found in food as well as in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is transported through the blood in two forms: LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol while HDL which transports cholesterol out of tissues, back to the liver and out of the body is often called “good” cholesterol.

Do you have a health challenge that you’d like to discuss with me? I offer online Naturopathic and Nutrition Consultations. Fill out my forms here to book your personal consultation with me.

Or if you don’t have any particular health issues, perhaps you’d prefer one of my off-the-shelf  Health Programmes? Choose from Colon Cleanse, Detox Programme, Ultimate Cleanse or my comprehensive Supplement Programme. All packages include a full consultation.

Thank you for reading!


Diabetes epidemic: soft drinks risk


Just one can increases your diabetes risk

JUST in case you were in any doubt about the extent of the diabetes epidemic, the number of people in the UK with the disease rose to a new all time high of three million this year. That’s almost one in 20 of the population. The risk of diabetes rose by as much as an incredible 22 per cent for every can of soft drink consumed per day.

The study followed almost 30,000 people living in eight European countries, including Britain and found the risk rose by as much as 22 per cent for every 12oz serving of sugar-sweetened drink – a typical can – consumed per day. While soft drinks have previously been linked with weight gain and obesity researchers say the effect goes beyond body weight and may be caused by an increase in insulin resistance.

The research, published in Diabetologia, used data on the consumption of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks. It involved 12,403 people with type-2 diabetes and 16,154 without diabetes. Researchers advised that people should be cautious about the amount of sugary soft drink they consumed.

The scientists, led by Dr Dora Romaguera, from Imperial College London, wrote in the journal Diabetologia: “This study corroborates the association between increased incidence of type-2 diabetes and high consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in European adults.
“Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on its deleterious effect on health should be given to the population.”

An increased risk of diabetes was also linked to consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks, but the association disappeared when BMI was taken into account. In this case, it looks as if body weight is responsible for the trend rather than the drink itself. Fruit juice consumption was not associated with diabetes incidence.

Diabetes occurs when the body stops responding properly to the hormone insulin, leading to rising blood sugar levels. Unlike type-1 diabetes it is lifestyle-related and not an auto-immune condition.

Source: Consumption of sweet beverages and type 2 diabetes incidence in European adults: results from EPIC-InterAct’ by The InterAct Consortium, published in Diabetologia on Wednesday 24th April.

Related articles

Soft drinks raise diabetes risk

FizzyRESEARCHERS from Stanford University, the University of California-Berkley and the University of California-San Francisco have found evidence that even one can of a sugary drink a day is one too many.

According to a recent report published in the journal PLoS One, scientists have found sugar-based calories, such as those found in fizzy drinks, are much more likely to cause Type 2 diabetes than the same number of calories from any other source. The incidences of diabetes in trial candidates rose by one per cent for each additional 150 calories of sugar per person per day.

On the other hand, an additional 150 calories from other source caused only a 0.1 per cent increase in the population’s diabetes rate. Yet again, sugar has been identified as a major culprit in Type 2 diabetes and that sugar-based calories, such as those found in fizzy drinks, are much more likely to cause diabetes than calories from other sources. Diabetes rates dropped over time when sugar availability dropped, independent of changes to consumption of other calories and physical activity or obesity rates.

The findings support those from previous trials that suggest sugar affects the liver and pancreas in ways that other types of foods or obesity doesn’t.

So what should you drink? Well, green tea is a great option. It’s a wonderful source of catechins, the healthy antioxidants that can inhibit cancer cell activity and help boost the immune system. Replace your morning coffee with a cup of green tea for an immune boosting wake-up.

Cranberry juice is another great choice. Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C but also contain a substance that helps prevent the build up of bacteria on bladder walls. This can help prevent urinary tract infections. Go for unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate and dilute with water or sparkling water. Diluted blueberry juice is a great choice too.

The antioxidants found in red wine have been linked to heart benefits, reduced stress and may even help preserve your memory – as long as you don’t drink too much of it! Try and limit your intake to one to two glasses a day. But, if you don’t drink, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to get lots of antioxidants in your diet, including fresh whole fruits and vegetables.

Pure, filtered water is a great option during the day. Staying well hydrated is essential for optimal health and general body functioning. Just sip water throughout the day, and as the weather gets warmer, make sure you drink enough before and after exercising to avoid dehydration.


Fizzy soft drinks linked to prostate cancer

English: idealized curves of human blood gluco...

English: idealized curves of human blood glucose and insulin concentrations during the course of a day containing three meals; in addition, effect of sugar-rich meal is highlighted; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RESEARCH suggests that just one fizzy soft drink per day could increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 40%.

A 15-year study at Lund University in Sweden and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tracked the health of 8,000 men aged between 45-73 and found that men who drink at least 300ml of a sugary soft drink per day were at greater risk of prostate cancer. Those who ate large amounts of cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals were linked with a less serious form of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common men’s cancer with about 36,000 cases diagnosed in the UK each year (most aged 70 or over). Fizzy drinks are also linked to teenage aggression, as well as stroke, liver damage and premature aging.

The sugar in fizzy drinks and other sweet things is believed to release insulin, which may feed tumours. Excess sugar promotes extreme swings in your blood sugar levels that often feel like an energy ‘boost’ followed by a ‘crash’. To even out your blood sugar levels, it’s best to eat little and often, and to eat high fibre, unrefined, ‘slow release’ foods such as whole grains and vegetables.

It’s far healthier to snack on carrot and celery sticks (which taste surprisingly sweet), a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds, and to drink pure water, fruit and vegetable juices and herbal teas. And don’t switch to diet fizzy drinks to avoid the added sugar, as the artificial sweeteners are just as unhealthy as the sugar.

That way, you won’t crave unhealthy stimulants to give you an energy boost.

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Soft drinks, aspartame, and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease Am J Clin Nutr 2012 96: 6 1249-1251; First published online November 7, 2012.

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