Does snacking make us fat?

Today there is an article on the BBC website suggesting that snacking should be banned on public transport in order to address the obesity crisis in this country. (1)

This suggestion has come from one of the chief Doctors in charge of public health in the country who, you would assume, can see the figures for obesity rising along with the costs of trying to manage the issue but is this the way to stop obesity and how could you possibly police it?

Let’s look at what a recent study says about snacking:

Snack Food, Satiety, and Weight (2016) suggests that the data is (predictably) very mixed as to whether eating snacks will increase your risk of obesity as (again predictably) it very much depends on the snack and the overall lifestyle of the person / family. (2)

The study suggests that snacks that are higher in fibre, protein and whole foods actually enhance satiety (feeling of fullness) when consumed and may actually delay the need for the next meal, whereas snacks higher in processed carbohydrates can increase the need to eat sooner after their consumption. (2)

My thoughts –

Calories v Blood sugar

This study indicates that children gain 27% of their daily caloric intake from snacks, however Nutrition is more than just calories. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins all have differing effects on your blood sugar levels and, as the study suggests, will affect your ‘feelings of hunger’ in very different ways.

Snacking on nuts, olives, vegetables, animal protein will not push your blood sugar levels up as high as having bread, potato snacks, rice snacks or sweet snacks will and therefore will address your ‘ ‘feelings of fullness’ for longer whilst maintaining your blood sugar levels.

Children and Snacking

My observation is that children will largely copy what their parents do and that will include, eating what they eat and moving as they move. (This observation is also reflected in the research) So it starts with the parents, let’s get them active and eating REAL food and that will reflect down to their children, who are the masters of imitation.(3)

Children’s brains are growing and learning more and more every day and therefore they require a really varied, nutritious diet, full of a good balance in carbohydrates, proteins and fats, not chicken nuggets and chips. Snacks can complement a child’s diet really well particularly if they are learning and active at school because they will need the calories but those snacks need to be balanced with fat and protein, not just blood sugar spiking carbohydrates.

This is a great snack or breakfast idea for kids to have in their lunch boxes which contains a great balance of nutrients –

Egg Mac Muffin’s -

Serves 2-3

Ingredients – All organic if possible:

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2x Spring onions chopped

100g Raw cheese cubed

50g Pancetta / Bacon

1-2 Vine tomatoes cubed

25g of Fresh spinach

25g Red/green peppers

6 Free range Eggs, beaten. (If you like you can add a bit of raw milk or coconut milk)

Himalayan Sea salt and pepper to taste

You can try using chicken, beef, mince, sausage, ricotta and more. Whatever takes your fancy.

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180/200c

2. Grease your muffin tin with Butter or coconut oil.

3. If you are using meat, gently fry it off in a frying pan in little bit of coconut oil or until cooked through.

4. Add the veg/ meat and cheese to the muffin tins. Mix and match as much as you like.

5. Pour the beaten eggs into each muffin tin, ensuring the contents are covered.

6. Place the muffin pan into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 mins or until the muffins are light brown, puffy and the eggs are set.

7. Let the muffins cool before eating immediately. Alternatively you can refrigerate them to eat cold during the week.

References:

  1. BBC News. (2019). 'Ban snacking on public transport'. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49975720 [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].

  2. Njike, V., Smith, T., Shuval, O., Shuval, K., Edshteyn, I., Kalantari, V. and Yaroch, A. (2016). Snack Food, Satiety, and Weight. Advances in Nutrition, 7(5), pp.866-878.

  3. Savage, J., Fisher, J. and Birch, L. (2007). Parental Influence on Eating Behavior: Conception to Adolescence. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 35(1), pp.22-34.

What's the deal with Bone Broth?

Bone broth has been a ‘trend’ for a while now and many would argue that its been ‘trending’ in many cultures for hundreds of years but whats so good about it?

Winter is round the corner and one of the best additions to your diet to ward off the dreaded cold is…….. Bone Broth.

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Bone Broth contains many precious minerals found in bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Many of which are essential for keeping us healthy over the long British winter.

Collagen

Collagen type 1 is the most abundant protein found in humans. It not only provides structure to body but also is essential for tissue development and regulation. (1)

Glycine

Glycine makes up about 1/3 of collagen and has many roles including acting as a neurotransmitter. However the gut is where glycine does some of its best work to support the immune system. Glycine has shown to down-regulate pro-inflammatory immune cells, know as cytokines, therefore having a anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effect. (2)

Glutamine

Hopefully you have heard of' ‘leaky gut’ or ‘intestinal permeability’? This is where the cells within the intestinal wall become porous, allowing molecules through into the blood stream that normally wouldn’t be allowed through. This happens for multiple reasons but inflammation is heavily involved. Intestinal permeability has been linked to multiple disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFD), liver cirrhosis, acute pancreatitis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, depression and more. Glutamine improves intestinal barrier function and is protective against intestinal permeability. Intestinal epithelial cells and activated immune cells also consume glutamine for energy. (2,3)

If there was one thing you did this winter to try to stay healthy and full of energy, let it be making a pot of bone broth every week.

Chicken Bone Broth recipe -

Serves 7-8

Ingredients – All organic (if possible)

As required –

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2-3 Organic Chicken Carcasses

2-3 Carrots

2-3 Onions

2-3 Sticks of Celery

2 Bay leaves

Sprigs of Thyme

Salt and pepper

Clean water to cover

1. Add all the ingredients to a large stock pot

2. Simmer for 3-4 hours

3. KEEP the fat on the top of the stock

4. Strain the broth through a sieve to remove solids.

5. Keep in the fridge for the week, heating each morning. You can also freeze if you make a lot and use it for soups and stews.

6. Reheat each morning and take in a flask to work. The perfect start to the day.

  1. Lullo, G. A. D., Sweeney, S. M., Körkkö, J., Ala-Kokko, L., & Antonio, J. D. S. (2001). Mapping the Ligand-binding Sites and Disease-associated Mutations on the Most Abundant Protein in the Human, Type I Collagen. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 277(6), 4223–4231. doi: 10.1074/jbc.m110709200

  2. Liu, Y., Wang, X., & Hu, C.-A. (2017). Therapeutic Potential of Amino Acids in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Nutrients, 9(9), 920. doi: 10.3390/nu9090920

  3. Fukui, H. (2016). Increased Intestinal Permeability and Decreased Barrier Function: Does It Really Influence the Risk of Inflammation? Inflammatory Intestinal Diseases, 1(3), 135–145. doi: 10.1159/000447252

Winter is coming!!


Winter is coming!!!!! (In the voice of Jon snow)

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As we all know this is the time of year that a few sniffles start to develop and with the long nights and short days, the thought of training may bring even more shivers?!?!

Always remember - A SUMMER BODY IS BUILT IN WINTER!!!

So here are my TOP 5 measures for staying well over the winter months - 

1. Bed time - This is a nice easy one. The nights are drawing in and lets face it, its dark by 6pm. A nice early night is what you need to keep your immune system healthy and energy high. 10 or 10.30 pm will do nicely.

2. Zinc and Vitamin C - Zinc is used for over 300 metabolic functions in the body and many of them immune related. Its also hugely beneficial for sleep. Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that the body cannot create itself. Ask me for best sources if you are not sure. (Not Holland and Barrett please)

3. Soup - This weekend, get a few chicken carcasses, bung them in a pot with some celery, carrots and onions, season and simmer away until you have one of the most healing broths you will have ever tasted. This can be used as a base for any soup you like. Hands down one the the best ways to avoid a cold and keep that gut healthy.

4. Keep Moving - The immune system is intertwined with the lymphatic system which is reliant on the muscular system for its transport. Keep moving and you will detox a lot quicker and therefore be less likely to stagnate and get the dreaded sickness.

5. Vitamin D - Unless you have been forward thinking enough to book some winter sun this year, we wont be seeing the sun properly until next year. Vitamin D is essential for immune system health. Please ask for best sources if you'd like to know.

I look forward to seeing you all, healthy and happy, very soon.

Nutrition making waves in migraine research

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As human beings, we have a tendency to research something and think ‘ah ha, we’ve got it’, only to look deeper into the subject and realise we haven’t quite got the whole picture. Migraine research is a prime example of this. The mechanisms behind migraines remain poorly understood but it has long been thought that their development was related to the vascular system and specifically vasodilatation (widening of blood vessels) around the brain. New research has identified that complex neurovascular mechanisms are more likely to be behind their occurrence and that nutrition could play a vital role in their reduction. 

There is now increasing research to demonstrate that nutrition could help in the reduction of migraines by reducing levels of substances which appear to have a massive impact on the onset of migraines.

Top Foods for migraine sufferers - 

  • Garlic . Garlic oil has shown in animal models that it may be a viable approach in suppressing processes leading to migraines. (1)
  • Grapes. Although wine is often viewed as a trigger for migraines, grapes in the form of pomace (dried grapes, stem and pulp) has shown to ‘dramatically’, in the words of the study’s author; inhibit the secretion of substances leading to migraines by up to 87 per cent. (1)
  • Ginger also showed promise in the reduction of migraines. Ginger reduced cellular uptake of calcium (calcium uptake has been seen to stimulate the release of migraine causing substances) in turn reducing chances of migraines.(1)
  • Cocoa. Chocolate has long been associated as a trigger of migraines, however this appears to lack a real scientific basis and in fact, cocoa has been shown in recent research to not only reduce the secretion of substances leading to migraines but also prevent inflammation in the nerves associated with headache pain in migraines. (2, 3)

Top Nutrients for Migraine sufferers - 

  • Magnesium – A deficiency in magnesium may contribute towards migraines through alteration of mitochondrial metabolism having an effect on the sensitivity of tissue surrounding the brain. (4)
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of magnesium and also could help migraines through aiding serotonin production, which has been seen to reduce migraines.(4)
  • Riboflavin (B2) – Supplementation with Riboflavin helps with mitochondrial energy metabolism and therefore may help to support normal mitochondrial function, which could help reduce migraines.(4)
  • Co Q10 – Co Q10 is vital in mitochondrial function and could aid in both reducing the severity and the frequency of migraines.(4)
  • Cobalamin (B12) – Deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause increased levels of homocysteine, which is linked to neurogenic inflammation and migraine.(4)
  • L-Carnitine – Often described as the ‘ferry’ nutrient due to its role as a transporter of substances such as long chain fatty acids into mitochondria. It Is also noted to regulate nitric oxide , which is implicated in migraine development. (4)

References - 

  1. Slavin M, Bourguignon J, Jackson K, Orciga M. Impact of Food Components on in vitro Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Secretion—A Potential Mechanism for Dietary Influence on Migraine. Nutrients. 2016;8(7):406.
  2. Cady R, Durham P. Cocoa-enriched diets enhance expression of phosphatases and decrease expression of inflammatory molecules in trigeminal ganglion neurons. Brain Research. 2010;1323:18-32.
  3. Lippi G, Mattiuzzi C, Cervellin G. Chocolate and migraine: the history of an ambiguous association. Acta Biomedica. 2014;85(3):216-21.
  4. Nattagh-Eshtivani E, Sani M, Dahri M, Ghalichi F, Ghavami A, Arjang P et al. The role of nutrients in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine headaches: Review. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2018;102:317-325.