• Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You Have a Cold or the Flu?

    You may consider the scale your friend after dealing with a cold or flu. Between your loss of appetite and fever, you may notice that you’ve lost a few pounds after your week of being sick. However, you may have a hard time keeping the weight off when you start to feel better. Consult your doctor to discuss your illness and diet.

    Sickness and Weight Loss

    Although the duration of your cold or flu may vary, it usually lasts a week or less. If you’ve lost a noticeable amount of weight during that time, it’s more than likely you haven’t lost much, if any, unwanted fat. FamilyDoctor.org says if you lose more than 2 pounds in a week, you’re losing more water and muscle than fat.

    Eating and Drinking When You’re Sick

    You may not feel like eating when you’re sick, but it’s important to try to eat, or at least drink, for nutrition and hydration. Good choices include clear juices, sport drinks, broth and water.

    Soup, such as chicken noodle soup, makes a good choice when you’re sick because the fluids and sodium help you stay hydrated, while the chicken provides protein. If you’re feeling nauseous, try to nibble on crackers, toast or plain pasta or rice.

    Eating During Recovery

    One sign you’re feeling better is the return of your appetite. However, after eating poorly for a few days, you may be ravenous, which may make it hard for you to control your eating to keep the weight off. While it might be difficult to prevent some of those pounds from returning, filling your diet with low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods during your recovery phase may help limit some of the weight gain and help reduce your risk of gaining more weight than you started with.

    Eating for Immune Health

    While you can’t fight off every cold or flu bug, making the right food choices may help keep your immune system healthy and strong, which may improve your body’s fight against these bugs. Immune-boosting foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

    Eating more of these filling, low-calorie foods may also make it easier for you to get to and maintain a healthy weight, which is also good for immune health.

  • How genes impact our appetites

    How much can we control our own weight?

    A faulty gene affecting our brain’s circuits can impact on appetite making us feel hungry when we shouldn’t be, researchers have found.

    Professor Sadaf Farooqi, Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, has looked at the impact genes have on the regulation of our appetite and body weight.


    How Do Genes Control Weight?

    Our body weight is determined by the amount of energy or calories that we eat and the number of calories we burn up doing whatever we do in our everyday lives. Rather like these scales, if we eat more calories than we burn, we tip the balance the wrong way and put on weight.

    In today’s world, we all have easy access to high fat and high calorie foods and many of us have a reduced need for physical exertion during our working and home lives. This can lead over a period of time to a gain in weight. So is it simply about eating too much food and taking too little exercise? And why do some people put on weight more easily than others?

    We know that not everyone in the same environment will put on weight, so there must be something else involved? There is a lot of evidence to show that genes play a major role in determining our weight in the same way as they control the colour of our hair and eyes. We also know that weight problems can run in families.

    Here in Cambridge, we have gone on to discover that sometimes being overweight from a very young age can be due to a faulty gene. This faulty gene may cause someone to always feel hungry, especially as a child. It may also affect the way calories are used up from the food we eat and cause excess calories to be stored as fat


    Learn About Genes

    I’m sure you have heard people say “it’s in your genes” as this is often how we explain the many different characteristics which make each and everyone one of us unique.

    In fact, we all inherit two copies of every gene, one from our mother and one from our father.  This means that members of the same family tend to be similar, as they are likely to have fewer differences in their genes.


    How do genes work?

    Our bodies are made up of many tiny units called cells each containing a complete copy of a person’s genes. We all have many thousands of genes and they contain the “genetic instructions” that we inherit from our parents. These “instructions” make us have blonde or dark hair, blue or brown eyes and even determine our body shape. They also control the way every cell in our body develops and grows and what it will do in our body, so they are very important!

     

    Genes are made from a “chemical” called “DNA” (deoxyribonucleic acid) and are arranged in a specific sequence along very long thread-like structures of DNA called chromosomes, rather like a string of beads.

    We all have approximately 30 to 40,000 genes stretched out along our DNA. Scientists have discovered what some of these genes do and how changes in these genes can cause particular disorders or diseases. There are however many genes which we still don’t know much about.

    The genetic information in the DNA of our genes is in the form of a code and this is known as the “genetic code”.


    How does the genetic code work?

    It is all rather complicated. You need to think of the DNA being made of 2 strands of a mix of 4 different chemicals called “bases” which face each other and connect as pairs rather like the rungs of a ladder.

    We use the first letter of each chemical as our code, so there is: Adenine, Thiamine, Cytosine and Guanine (ATCG). These 4 letters we will call “the DNA alphabet” and in the same way that letters of the alphabet combine to form words and sentences that mean something when we read them, the order of these chemicals are the “letters” which spell out the genetic code and the instructions to our bodies.

    A single gene may be many thousands of letters long rather like the MC4R gene shown here.

     


    What do these letters mean?

    This is where it gets even more complicated. To be able to understand the code it needs to be read as “3 letter words” called “codons” and each set of 3 letters correspond to another chemical called an “amino acid”.

    There are 20 different amino acids that can be made from the different word combinations and our bodies use them to make proteins, often referred to as the “building blocks” of our body. Many different proteins can be made such as keratin in our hair or haemoglobin in our blood to carry the oxygen that we breathe-in to all parts of our body.

    So, genes are pieces of DNA that give instructions using chemically coded “messages” that can make proteins for our bodies to use. There may be hundreds, or even thousands, of three letter words in each gene message and sometimes things can go wrong.


    What happens when there are changes in the genetic code?

    If a single letter (base) in the sequence is out of place, a “spelling mistake” can occur. This can result in different “messages” that our bodies can’t understand, or a protein that doesn’t work properly or at all.

    Individual letters or one or more whole words can be missing or even extra to what is required. In fact, even a whole gene can be missing!

    As DNA passes from one generation to another through our genes, changes can happen to the code and these changes are known as “mutations”.


    What is a mutation?

    A mutation or faulty gene is a permanent change in a gene which may cause a problem with the development and functioning of many different parts of our body. Not all mutations cause problems.

    A mutation can occur in several ways. Some faulty genes are inherited from our parents and may run in the family. Others can occur spontaneously and are called “de novo” mutations and may explain why a child can have a particular condition or disease even if there is no history of anyone else having the disease in the family.

    The DNA code can also be changed by errors in the chromosomes.


    What Genes Have We Found?

    The first gene we found was the leptin gene in 1997. Children with a problem in the leptin gene put on weight very quickly and at a very early age.

    The children are always hungry, never feel full and will seek out and ask for food even after they have just eaten. The reason for this continual drive to eat is because the children are lacking the hormone leptin which sends messages to the brain to tell us to stop eating because we are full.  For these children, it has been possible to treat them with daily injections of the hormone leptin. The children are now normal weight, and it has also reversed a number of other problems that can be caused by the lack of leptin.

    Leptin deficiency is very rare. We have now identified 11 other genes that can cause severe weight gain and we expect to find more with the new technologies that are now available to us.

    We would, however, like to tell you a little bit about one of these genes called Melanocortin-4-Receptor (MC4R) because it is the commonest cause of severe weight problems in children. Many families with MC4R gene problems have very kindly come to Cambridge to help us with our studies and with their help we have learnt a lot about this gene. We know that the MC4R gene is involved in the same pathway in the brain as leptin, so children often feel hungry all the time. Children (and adults) are often very tall, and tests of body composition show an increase in bone and muscle mass compared to patients without this gene problem. We have also found that patients with an MC4R problem do not burn up the calories from food efficiently.   One of the most important findings was that the MC4R gene is also involved in controlling blood pressure, something that will often be high in people that are overweight. We found that many of our MC4R patients had relatively normal blood pressures and we are looking into what this means for the heart.

    For many of the gene problems that we have identified, including MC4R, there is no obvious treatment available immediately. In fact, finding the gene is the first step to understanding why someone is gaining weight and therefore finding the right treatment.

    So do you guys think? how do you feel like genetics play a role in our appetite and obesity? Leave you interesting comments below and lets have a discussion.

  • Fit to FaT to Fit

    Hey guys its Danny from from Smart & Fit, as you guys know i’m a personal fitness trainer, and i spent most my life as an obese person. I have now spent several years as a fit person (abs, muscle and all).

    To help me remember what challenges the average person goes through to get to fit i’ll be undertake the an extreme weight-loss experiment: by forcing myself to gain weight, that’s right. I’ll be putting on 10 KG of pure fat and not exercising at all so that i can once again understand the struggles of my clients and the average person.During the weight gain process, i will document the radical effects of watching my healthy body deteriorate. Everything from my mental stability and physical energy to my personal relationships will be challenged. After four weeks of gaining weight under medical supervision, i’ll show you guys how to lose all the fat and get back to fit again!


    So let’s get this so on the road!!

    #fit2fat2fit
    #smartandfit
    #smartandfitclub
    #transformation

    Week 8

    Just finished week 7 training,  and we are down 1 kg of fat!! Finally broke though that fat loss plateau!! The changes we made work 🙂 So lets keep it going!!

    Week 7

    Just finished week 6 training,  and it seems like the body is still in a  fat loss plateau!! Ok lets not panic, remember it just means that the body has adapted to the demand placed on it.  Meaning its time to makes a few new changes to  shock the body back into growth and access the fat stores. Don’t give up !! we can do it 🙂

    Week 6

    Just finished week 5 training,  and we have hit a fat loss plateau!! Ok guys  lets not panic, all it means is that the body has adapted to the demand placed on it.  Meaning its time to makes a few changes to  shock the body back into growth and access the fat stores.

    Don’t give up !! we can do it 🙂

    Week 5

    Just finished week 4 training,  and we are down 1.7 kg of fat, thats a massive fat loss!! meaning the changes worked, but will the body adapt next week to compensate for this fat loss! well shall find out soon!

    Week 4

    Just finished week 3 training,  and we are down 0.7 kg of fat, so the fat loss has slowed down a bit. its time to make some changes! 🙂

    Week 3

    Just finished 2 week of Training! Just weighed in, and I’m down 1.2kg!!  Excellent!!! lets keep this momentum going and  beat week 3!

    Week 2

    Just finished 1 week of Training! Weigh went well, I’m down 3.6kg!! A Great start and already feeling the difference! so happy to be training again!

    Week 1 Start

    OK its time to begin our transformation. So we went from Fit to Fat, putting on 10 kg of Fat with out any exercise, so we gain a better understanding what alot of people go though, when life throws us a curve ball. SO IT’S TIME TO TRANSFORMATION!

    Now its time to transform, so lets get this show on the road!!!

  • ‘Significant’ levels of Poo bacteria found in ice at McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King

    More poo in your drinks!

    • Ice samples from KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s shown to be contaminated
    • The ice was sampled at 10 branches of each of the chains – 30 outlets in total
    • Caused by staff not washing their hands thoroughly after going to the toilet

    FFS again  I hear you say! Yes that’s right, after BBC exposed our coffee gains for having Faecal bacteria, now they have examined the 3 most popular fast food restaurant.

    Would you like poo-ice with that? Or some shitty water with that cheat meal?

    We’re sorry to inform you all that the BBC’s Watchdog show has found traces of faecal matter in the ice of randomly-selected branches of KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s.

    The show’s investigators checked for coliforms in the drinking water and ice at three branches of McDonald’s, six samples from Burger King, and seven branches of KFC.

    There should be zero levels of the bacteria in drinking water.

    But – disgustingly – four of the samples of ice from Burger King and five from KFC were found to have ‘significant’ levels of coliforms.

    An expert described the revelation as ‘extremely worrying’. Remember that the acceptable levels are ZERO!!!!

    As you can imagine, each of the fast food giants involved were quick to respond to Watchdog’s findings.

    KFC shut down the ice machines in question in order to conduct its own inspection, and said it had ‘reinforced the importance of adhering to our strict procedures to all employees’.

    A spokesman said: ‘We are awaiting the results of independent testing of the ice that will confirm they are back up to the standards we expect.’

    ‘To reassure customers we have also inspected and cleaned the ice machines in all other restaurants across the UK.’

    Similarly, Burger King promised to emphasise standards and training procedures for employees.

    And McDonald’s said they would be ‘happy to work with relevant industry bodies on ensuring a standard for ice contamination’.

    So guys, what do you think? Not only are theses places making our population fatter with food containing “shit” load of empty calories from fat to sugars and now people have to worry about drink Poo bacteria in their iced drink! So much for that cheat meal!!

  • Drinking coffee reduces risk of death from all causes and increase life span? New study findings

    People who drink around three cups of coffee a day may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, a landmark study has found.

    The findings come from the largest study of its kind, in which scientists analysed data from more than half a million people across 10 European countries, including the UK, to explore the effect of coffee consumption on risk of mortality.

    Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London found that higher levels of coffee consumption were associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes, particularly from circulatory diseases and diseases related to the digestive tract.

    Coffee is one of the world’s most commonly consumed beverages, with an estimated 2.25 billion cups drank around the world each day. It contains a number of compounds which can interact with the body, including caffeine, diterpenes and antioxidants, and the ratios of these compounds can be affected by the variety of methods used to prepare coffee.

    Previous studies looking for a link between coffee consumption and health outcomes have revealed conflicting results, however, large studies in both the US and Japan have since revealed a potential beneficial effect of drinking coffee on risk of death from all causes.

    In the latest study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers have carried out the largest analysis of the effects of coffee-drinking in a European population – where coffee consumption and preparation methods vary, from an espresso in Italy, to a cappuccino in the UK – finding a similar association between consumption and mortality.

    “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases,” said lead author Dr Marc Gunter of the IARC and formerly at Imperial’s School of Public Health. “Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.”

    Coffee consumption

    Using data from the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition), the group analysed data from 521,330 people from over the age of 35 from 10 EU countries, including the UK, France, Denmark and Italy. People’s diets were assessed using questionnaires and interviews, with the highest level of coffee consumption (by volume) reported in Denmark (900 mL per day) and lowest in Italy (approximately 92 mL per day). Those who drank more coffee were also more likely to be younger, to be smokers, drinkers, eat more meat and less fruit and veg.

    An estimated 2.25 billion cups of coffee are drank around the world each day

    After 16 years of follow up, almost 42,000 people in the study had died from a range of conditions including cancer, circulatory diseases, heart failure and stroke. Following careful statistical adjustments for lifestyle factors such as diet and smoking, the researchers found that the group with the highest consumption of coffee had a lower risk for all-causes of death, compared to those who did not drink coffee.

    They found that decaffeinated coffee had a similar effect. However, consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is not simple to separate, as they could not exclude that decaffeinated coffee drinkers may have been consuming caffeinated coffee as well in different periods of their life.

    In a subset of 14,000 people, they also analysed metabolic biomarkers, and found that coffee drinkers may have healthier livers overall and better glucose control than non-coffee drinkers.

    “We found that drinking more coffee was associated with a more favourable liver function profile and immune response,” explained Dr Gunter. “This, along with the consistency of the results with other studies in the U.S. and Japan gives us greater confidence that coffee may have beneficial health effects.”

    According to the group, more research is needed to find out which of the compounds in coffee may be giving a protective effect or potentially benefiting health. Other avenues of research to explore could include intervention studies, looking at the effect of coffee drinking on health outcomes.

    Professor Elio Riboli, head of the School of Public Health at Imperial, who established the EPIC study, said: “These findings add to a growing body of evidence which indicates that drinking coffee not only is safe, but it may actually have a protective health effect for people. While further research is needed, we can be confident that the results from a large European study confirm previous findings seen around the world.”

    Dr Gunter added: “Due to the limitations of observational research, we are not at the stage of recommending people to drink more or less coffee. That said, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking – up to around three cups per day – is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits.”

    The study was funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumers and the IARC.

    ‘Coffee drinking and mortality in 10 European countries’ by Gunter, M.J. et al, is published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

    http://annals.org/aim/article/2643435/coffee-drinking-mortality-10-european-countries-multinational-cohort-study


    So what do you guys think? Are you goner be taking up coffee drinking? or will you stick with tea? lets hear your interesting comments below and lets have a chat 🙂

  • Faecal bacteria found in ice from Costa, Caffè Nero and Starbucks

    We know that Iced coffee can be filled with empty calories and lots of sugar, but could there also be faecal bacteria (gut bacteria, meaning from poop!) in your drink?

    BBC Watchdog found that Ice from three major coffee chains in the UK contains faecal bacteria.

    An undercover investigation revealed that iced water obtained from high street outlets Caffè Nero, Starbucks and Costa Coffee all contained faecal coliform bacteria, with a positive test found for seven out of 10 samples from Costa and three out of 10 samples from the other two chains.

    All three chains have responded to the findings by the BBC’s Watchdog programme, saying that they are taking steps in the matter.

    Rob Kingsley, an expert in food-borne pathogens and a research leader at Quadram Institute Bioscience said the findings were extremely concerning.

    “Coliforms are an indicator of faecal contamination which means that essentially anything which is in faeces could be in that ice,” he said, meaning other, more dangerous bacteria could be present. “It is an indicator that somewhere there has been some kind of breakdown in hygiene or the source of the water used for this ice.”

    Asked whether the public should give iced drinks a wide berth, Kingsley demurred but added “I would certainly think twice about eating something which may contain faecal contamination at that level, where it is detectable.”

    It is not the first food outlet to be shown to have high levels of such bacteria in its ice: last year the BBC programme Rip Off Britain found high levels of faecal bacteria in ice from a KFC restaurant in Birmingham, prompting the chain to launch an investigation. However, ice from a handful of coffee shops tested at the same time, including Costa and Caffè Nero, was not found to be cause for concern.

    “This time we have tested 10 coffee shops of the three different chains, so we tested more places,” said Margarita Gomez Escalada, a microbiologist and senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University who carried out the analysis for both BBC programmes.

    Gomez Escalada said that it was most likely that ice was contaminated by being touched by unclean hands, but added that ice machines and ice buckets might have compounded the issue if they were not properly cleaned.

    “The levels allowed by law of bacteria in tap water are super low, so we would find say maybe 10 microorganisms per millilitre – we found hundreds per millilitre,” she added.

    The analysis, said Gomez Escalada, looked at both the total bacteria count, and the faecal bacteria count. While some samples showed high levels of total bacteria but not faecal bacteria, some showed high levels of both.

    “The fact that we have found so many bacteria, it just increases the risk [of getting sick],” she said. “Some of the bacteria we identified were actually what we call opportunistic pathogens, which are bacteria that to healthy people do not often cause disease, but they cause disease to people [whose] immunity is reduced.”

    Gomez Escalada admitted that other pathogens might also have been present in the samples, but would not have been picked up in the analysis.

    But Tony Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health who has seen the BBC’s findings urged caution, pointing out that the sample size for the investigation was small.

    “Given that there are tens of thousands of coffee shops around the UK, we have to put this into context,” he said. “The samples that the BBC have got indicate a problem, or problems, in respect to the Costa and the Caffè Nero and the Starbucks that they sampled – but at the end of the day the public should not panic about this. You can’t generalise from the small sample size that we have got here.”

    Lewis added that, of all the bacteria found in the samples, some would have been “good bacteria”, but he added that some species were associated with disease.

    “Yes, the overall levels [of bacteria] in some instances are high, the numbers of the pathogens – they shouldn’t be there at all,” he said. “We would not expect to see pathogens present –f we would not expect to see faecal coliforms present.”

    But Lewis said that the public should not give up their iced coffees. “It is not something to panic over,” he said, adding that the companies take hygiene seriously and have taken action, and environmental health had been notified. “The public should be reassured, this will have been dealt with.”

    Gomez Escalada said that the issue of ice needs to be tackled, pointing out that while microbial levels in water are carefully controlled, ice is often overlooked. “No one looks at the ice,” she said.

     

    Reference: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p057djpx

    So what do you guys think? Will this effect you and how much iced coffee you be drinking? leave your interesting comments below and lets have a discussion.

  • 8 Tips To Having A Healthier Easter!

    Its that time of year, spring is here and out comes the chocolates! Now when it comes to Easter, it’s way easy to go crazy with the chocolate eggs, bars and hot cross buns. An average chocolate egg weighs about 200 grams and have around 60 grams of sugar, 30 grams of fat averaging about 600 calories per egg. Taking a few seconds to eat but about an hour to burn it off!

    Let’s get a grip this Easter with 8 healthy tips, below are some tips that i found useful!

    1 Keep an eye on your Portions
    You will eat chocolate, that’s a given… but just remember portion control. Instead of eating large eggs at hourly intervals (which can be up to a third of your daily intake if you are trying to lose weight), buy individually wrapped mini eggs. The process of unwrapping each small egg is more time consuming and will make you more aware of the treats you are consuming.

    2 Choose Quality Over Quantity
    Step away from the cheap foil-wrapped bunny and exchange it for some dark, good quality chocolate. Ideally something with at least 70 per cent dark cocoa which has the added bonus of antioxidants (milk chocolate has none). The high levels of cocoa have also been shown to lower blood pressure due to the large amounts of flavonoids.
    If you want to take your health kick a step further over Easter, head to your local health food store and get yourself some raw organic cacao nibs; these cocoa beans are straight from the source and are the foundation for all chocolate and cocoa products.
    The nutritional benefits of raw cacao products include being a source of: beta-carotene, amino acids (protein), omega-3s, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulfur, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle-relaxing and stress-relieving magnesium. Other good news is that it is only 92 calories and 0.54gm of sugar per 15gm serve!

    Suggested uses: eat as raw nibs or add to your cooking (use instead of chocolate chips), add to your smoothies or grind with your coffee beans.
    Feeling creative? Why not make your own healthy chocolate?

    Raw Homemade Chocolates
    Recipe by Lee Sutherland – Director of Fitness In The City

    Ingredients
    ¾ cup coconut oil (it needs to be liquid so if solid put jar in hot water to melt)
    ¾ cup agave nectar (you can also combine honey/maple syrup/agave)
    1 cup of raw cacao powder (organic cocoa powder is another option)
    1 tbsp IsoWhey® Ivory Coast Chocolate protein powder
    1 tbsp of almond butter
    1/3 tsp vanilla extract

    Directions
    1. Place liquid coconut oil in a bowl – if hard, melt beforehand.
    2. Mix all ingredients together with a hand blender until smooth.
    3. Pour chocolate mixture into molds or pour into a baking dish lined with baking paper.
    4. Place moulds into freezer to be set (approximately 15 minutes).
    Options: add goji berries or peppermint oil for a flavour change.

    3 Start the day with High fibre and protein
    On breakfast that is. Make sure you start the day right with a protein-and-fibre-rich breakfast so you aren’t reaching for a chocolate an hour later. Never eat Easter eggs on an empty stomach (i.e. for breakfast!) as this will cause havoc to your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. Think veggie-and-protein-packed omelette or a protein shake with berries, chia seeds and a handful of spinach leaves to get your day started the right way.

    4 Don’t follow everyone, make your own Easter
    Sure it’s traditional to give chocolates at Easter but why not give a gift that lasts (and no, this doesn’t include cellulite or unwanted fat). Rethink the basket of eggs and swap it for a basket of beautiful local fruit. How about a pot of herbs for a gift that keeps giving? Get in the kitchen and whip up some homemade treats such as bliss balls – healthy and considerate!

    5 Snack regularly
    Snack on something small and healthy every 3-4 hours. This will help balance your blood sugar levels, which in turn will help avoid that nasty energy drop associated with eating chocolate for breakfast. Foods that cause a spike in blood sugar are generally refined sugar and carbohydrates (aka chocolate and hot cross buns). They cause the body to produce insulin, which makes you crave food constantly, leading to weight gain and a variety of health conditions including diabetes.
    The key to a balanced snack is to always included the three macro-nutrients: protein, carbohydrates and good fats.

    Snack options:
    • Natural yogurt with berries and walnuts. Add a scoop of protein powder for an extra power punch.
    • Hummus with vegetable sticks.
    • A homemade meat pattie with a small side salad.
    • An apple with a teaspoon of almond butter and a drizzle of honey.
    • Small bowl of vegetable and barley soup.
    •  Shaved turkey, sliver of avocado wrapped in lettuce.
    • Banana smoothie with milk/nut milk; linseed, sunflower and almond mix (LSA); scoop of protein powder (go for a natural option); cinnamon and ice.

    6 Plan ahead!!
    Make sure you stock the fridge so there are always healthy options on hand. When hunger calls and you have nothing but a giant chocolate bunny in the house to eat, your willpower will lose every time. Have pre-made delicious options ready to go, and don’t space meals too far apart. Got kids? Remind them that the Easter Bunny eats carrots as a great in-between snack option.

    7 Keep Hydrated
    Need another reason to drink water? Research has shown that by increasing water consumption by 1.5 litres a day, you can burn an extra 17,400 calories per year. Additionally, a study by Dr Brenda Davy, an associate professor at Virginia Tech, found that people who drank water before a meal consumed an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal. Another glass anyone?

    8 Burn off that egg
    To counterbalance the extra calorie intake over Easter it is important to exercise every day, whether it be a beach walk, sprint session, bike ride with the family, a game of cricket or a home workout – just move that body!
    You don’t have to waste hours of your day either; choose intense interval training which will burn more in a shorter time-frame!

    Calories Burned

    To burn off a 50g chocolate bunny (approximately 275 calories):
    • Power walk with the dog for 85 minutes
    • Dance up a storm for 56 minutes
    • Swim freestyle for 36 minutes
    • Jump on the cross-trainer for 33 minutes
    • Clean the house intensely for 70 minutes.

    To burn off a 25g chocolate egg:
    • Go for a brisk 30 minutes walk
    • Jog/skip/box for 15 minutes
    To burn off a 100g chocolate egg:
    • Go for a brisk 2 hour walk
    • Run/skip/box for 1 hour.

    Know your Eggs!

    Below is the nutritional values for the most popular eggs available!

    Rank (by sugar content) Egg Saturated fat per 100g Sugar per 100g
    1 Green & Black’s organic dark 70% chocolate egg 165g 25 28.5
    2 Green & Black’s organic milk chocolate egg 165g 21.5 45.5
    3 Green & Black’s organic butterscotch egg 165g 20.5 47.5
    4 Waitrose Woodland Friends Ollie the Owl 21.8 50.2
    5 Lindt Gold Bunny Egg Milk Chocolate 125g 22 51
    6 Thorntons Footy Fan Chocolate Egg 150g 19 54
    6 Thorntons Miss Flutterby 149g 20 54
    8 Thorntons Milk Chocolate Classics Collection Easter Egg 223g 19 55
    9 Celebrations Large Egg 248g 14.4 55.3
    10 Cadbury Creme Egg Medium Easter Egg 138g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Dairy Milk Egg Heads Easter Egg 77g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Dairy Milk Small Easter Egg 72g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Double Decker Large Easter Egg 307g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Heroes Large Easter Egg 274g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Mini Eggs Medium Easter Egg 130g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Roses Large Easter Egg 300g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Twirl Large Easter Egg 282g 18.5 56
    10 Cadbury Wispa Large Easter Egg 269g 18.5 56
    19 Nestlé Milkybar White Chocolate Egg 65g 19.1 56.8
    20 Sainsbury’s Milk Chocolate Easter Egg with Chocolate Caramels 155g 16.2 57.8
    20 Sainsbury’s Milk Chocolate Easter Egg with Mini Jelly Beans 175g 16.2 57.8
    20 Sainsbury’s Milk Chocolate Easter Egg with Rainbow Buttons 170g 16.2 57.8
    23 Galaxy Minstrels Large Chocolate Easter Egg 262g 17.3 58.3
    23 Maltesers Medium Chocolate Easter Egg 127g 17.3 58.3
    23 Maltesers Teasers Large Chocolate Easter Egg 248g 17.3 58.3
    23 Snickers Milk Chocolate Large Easter Egg And Chocolate 274g 17.3 58.3
    27 Nèstlè Quality Street Honeycomb Crunch Easter Egg 162g 17 60.1
    28 Nèstlè Kit Kat Bites Easter Egg And Chocolate 245g 17.5 61.2
    28 Nèstlè Kit Kat Chunky Egg 140g / 17.5 / 61.2 17.5 61.2
    30 Smarties Medium Egg 122g / 16.4 / 61.7 16.4 61.7

    So what do you guys think? How will you be spending your Easter and what tactic will you use to keep it healthy? leave your interesting comments below and lets have discussion.

  • Fact or Fiction?: Feed a Cold or should you Starve a Fever

    So for the last few days I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, and when it comes to how much we should be eating there are two camps:

    • The first being you need to eat less and starve the fever
    • The second being eat more calories and feed our body

    This saying has been traced to a 1574 dictionary by John Withals, which noted that “fasting is a great remedy of fever.” The belief is that eating food may help the body generate warmth during a “cold” and that avoiding food may help it cool down when overheated.
    But recent medical science says the old saw is wrong. It should be “feed a cold, feed a fever.”

    Let’s take colds first. When your body fights an illness it needs energy, so eating healthy food is helpful. Eating can also help the body generate heat—although wearing an extra layer of clothes or slipping into bed can keep you warm, too. There’s no need to overeat, however. The body is quick to turn recently digested food into energy, and it’s also efficient at converting stored energy in fat.

    The reasons to eat for fever are more interesting. Fever is part of the immune system’s attempt to beat the bugs. It raises body temperature, which increases metabolism and results in more calories burned; for each degree of temperature rise, the energy demand increases further. So taking in calories becomes important.

    Even more crucial is drinking. Fever dehydrates your system, in part through increased sweating from that elevated temperature. Replacing fluids is therefore critical to helping the body battle the infection. The same is true for combating colds. “You have to make yourself drink fluids, even though all you want to do is collapse,” says William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

    Dehydration also makes mucus in the nose, throat and lungs dry up, which can then clog sinuses and respiratory tubes. When mucus hardens it becomes more difficult to cough, Schaffner notes, which is our way of trying to expel mucus and the germs it contains. Staying hydrated helps keep the mucus running, which, even though it may be disgusting, is one of our natural defenses.

    The challenge, of course, is that when you’re sick you may not feel much like drinking and even less like eating. Loss of appetite is common, and might be part of the body’s attempt to focus its energy on pounding the pathogens. Given the wisdom noted above, Schaffner says, don’t force yourself to eat if you don’t feel like it. “But drink,” he adds. “It’s the liquids that are important.” Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine enhances dehydration. So does alcohol, and it is also a depressant, holding us down.

    Bowl of clear chicken soup with noodle and vegetables

    What about some other common conceptions for beating colds and fevers, such as eating chicken soup? Chicken soup doesn’t possess any magic ingredients, but it has calories as well as the all-important liquids again. The warm vapor rising from the bowl can also moisten and loosen dried mucus. The same goes for vapor from hot tea, with or without lemon or honey. Taking a hot shower can soften mucus, too—and if you dare, you can get rid of it by gently blowing your nose one nostril at a time while you’re in there.

    Supplements are dubious at best. The data from studies about taking vitamin C are inconclusive, as they are for zinc. Solid studies of echinacea show no benefit. If there’s any positive effect at all from any of these compounds, it is very small, Schaffner concludes. Over-the-counter remedies may or may not help, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. They can relieve symptoms but they do not kill off viruses or bacteria. Cold and fever germs usually run their course, and the immune system eventually gets the upper hand. In the meantime, drink drink drink. And sleep as much as you can, to give your body the rest it needs to fight the good fight.

     

    Below is a few examples of food that you should be eating to feel better:

    So the main thing to keep in mind, is that when your feeling ill is to give your body time to rest and recover. When it comes to food intake, keep is wholesome and try not to go over board. Personally I’ll rather make sure my body gets the calories it needs then stave my fever out, since it’ll lead to a faster recovery. so what do you guys think? when your feeling ill what do you do? Leave your interesting comments below and lets have a discussion.

  • Is lack of sleep making you sick and making you fat?

    Is lack of sleep making you sick and making you fat?

    Sleep is one of those thing that the more you chance it, the less likely you are to achieve it!! Which can be very stressful and many effects of a lack of sleep, such as feeling grumpy and not working at your best, are well known. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also have profound consequences on your physical health? One in three of us suffers from poor sleep, with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed.
    However, the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus.
    Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including;

    • Obesity
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Mental health issues
    • High blood pressure
    • Sex drive and fertility issues
    • Statistically speaking it shortens your life expectancy
      So it’s very clear that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.

    So how much sleep do we need to keep healthy?

    Studies so that most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. Personally i find i need a bit more with around 9-10 hr making me feel at my best. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it. Again just like all you guys, I can understand that in the real world it might not always be possible, but do try your best!  As a general rule, if you wake up tired and spend the day longing for a chance to have a nap, it’s likely that you’re not getting enough sleep. A variety of factors can cause poor sleep, including health conditions such as sleep apnoea. But in most cases, it’s due to bad sleeping habits.

    So what happens if I don’t sleep?

    The most common signs of lack of sleep is fatigue, short temper (#triggered) and lack of focus that often follow a poor night’s sleep. Now remember guys the occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it won’t harm your health.
    However after several sleepless nights, the mental effects become more serious. Your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate, make decisions lead to confusion. You’ll start to feel down, which can lead to symptoms similar to that of clinical depression and may fall asleep during the day. Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases.

    Driving while dealing with lack of sleep can be worse than drink driving!

    Okay guys, driving when tired is a very serious thing, studies have shown that it can be worse than drink driving, lack of sleep impairs cognitive ability. So please, if u don’t feel well enough to drive, take a cab or public transport!

    Here are seven ways in which a good night’s sleep can boost your health:

    1. Sleep boosts immunity
      If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs. So sleep is the time the body needs to undergo a lot of its immunes functions, similar to when you pc runs diagnostic in safe mode!
    2. Sleep can slim you
      Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours of slumber.
      It’s believed to be because sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone). These hormones are involved in the body signalling its full and when it’s hungry!
    3. Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
      Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety. When people with anxiety or depression were surveyed to calculate their sleeping habits, it turned out that most of them slept for less than six hours a night. So sleep is the time the brain needs to rest and undergo mental processing!
    4. Sleep prevents diabetes
      Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes.
      It seems that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose – the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel. This combined with the disruption of leptin and ghrelin levels can cause overeating, causing weight gain.
    5. Sleep increases sex drive
      Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in sex, research shows.
      Men who suffer from sleep apnoea – a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep – also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido. So to help your love life, by getting some nice sleep!
    6. Sleep wards off heart disease
      Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
    7. Sleep increases fertility
      Difficulty conceiving a baby has been claimed as one of the effects of sleep deprivation, in both men and women. Apparently, regular sleep disruptions can cause trouble conceiving by reducing the secretion of reproductive hormones.

    So we know it’s important but how do you catch up on lost sleep?

    If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – that’s right, by getting more sleep. It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks. Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or two of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you’re tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clocks allowed!). Expect to sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.

    Late night thinker?

    Like a lot of people i think A LOT! Especially when it comes time to sleep, so what i found can can really help is keeping a notebook near my bed, so i can write down anything that’s on my mind and save it for tomorrow, when i can tackle it fully refreshed!   

    Energy Drinks and caffeine

    Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.

    So hopefully this will help you get a nice night’s sleep and help you guys live a healthier life. So what do you guys think? How much sleep do you need? What helps you sleep? Post your interesting comments below and let’s have a discussion!   

  • Beginners Guide to Meal Preperation

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

    To ensure that you stay on track with your nutrition plan make sure that you always have plenty of healthy options on hand. Food preparation is not just for the athletes and fitness models, but it’s something that we should also get in the habit of since it help us manage our food intake, making sure that we don’t go overboard.

    Knowing exactly what extra ingredients are in that take away dish or how much fat/sugar there is, can go a long way toward helping keep your calories in check and your macros in line with your goals.

    In fact, scientific research from Johns Hopkins University found that subjects who cooked their own dinner six to seven times a week consumed fewer calories, fat, and sugar on an average day compared with those who only cooked dinner once a week or less.

    Having your food ready to eat when hunger hits will also keep you from going on a binge on snacks, takeaway or prepackaged convenience food. As both a scientist and an fitness specialist, I not only encourage my clients to organise their meal prep in advance—I also practice what I preach.

    Here are my top tips for keeping your menus on track and your body adequately fuelled.

    Tip 1: Organise your meals

    Plan on eating about every two to three hours, with or three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and snacks in between. Organise each meal around a quality protein (chicken, fish, or beef), a complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, or fresh steamed vegetables), and some healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc.).

    Tip 2: Go shopping prepared

    Making sure you have a shopping list in hand with all your necessities. Now a day you can use you mobile phone to make notes or even get an app like AnyList, which allows you to easily share your must- gets with your spouse or roommates so everyone knows what you need. Some basic to keep on hand: canned foods like tuna and beans, frozen veggies to use in a pinch, and brown-rice pasta.

    Tips 3: Experiment and get creative

    Experiment with low- salt, low-sugar seasonings (remember some mixed seasoning have a tonne of sugar so check the label), such as turmeric, sesame seeds, or spice blends. Try mixing different veggies together (onions and mushrooms, tomatoes and bell peppers) to add colour and variety. Use flavoured vinegar and hot sauces, but be careful of added sugars, and look for hidden sources such as high- fructose corn syrup and artificial additives.

    Tip 4: Measure out your portion for each meal

    Remember to weigh and measure your food to keep your serving sizes on point and to ensure your macro-nutrients meet your needs. Try aiming for three to five ounces of protein, 1⁄2 to 1 cup of complex carbohydrates, and 1⁄2 to 1 tbsp of healthy fats, like olive oil or coconut oil, per meal. Pack up fare in easy-to- transport containers and use food-cooler bags to keep your stash safe.

    Tip 5: Get yourself a good container

    Having a good container can make your life and eating so much better. Depending on what you have available you might need to get yourself a thomoflank, which will help keep your food nice a warm when it comes time to eat, or if you’re putting your food in the fridge (maybe at work) than make sure it has a good seal, so it won’t leak in transit. Don’t forget you might need to take a fork and spoon with you.

    Tip 6: Stay Prepared

    Remember that things might not go according to plan so keep some emergency healthy snacks on hand. These can include a shaker cup with some quality whey/casein protein powder in a plastic baggie (just add water or low-fat milk or almond milk when you’re ready to sip), some mixed nuts and fruit, or a few quality high-protein energy bars (remember to check the label since lots of protein bars are full of sugar and fat).

    Tip 7: Keep a Drink bottle With you

    Buying water from the shop cost more then buy fuel for your car!!! That’s right, we as a people spend a lot of money on buying bottled water when we can get it for free from a drink tap, so why not bring your won drink bottle that you can fill up at the work place kitchen. It’ll save you money, help you control your appetite and keep you hydrated!

    So what do you guys think? What tips would you give someone when it comes to food prep? Leave your interesting comments below and let’s have a discussion.