Hormones, Weight Gain And Aging

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I love studying physiology. When I reflect on the body and it’s abilities, I’m routinely in awe at what it does. Without you even thinking about it, these highly complex and intricate processes are happening everyday. The female reproductive system is one such area. The multiple hormones, organs and systems involved are truly astonishing. And as I currently watch my pregnant fiancé growing bigger everyday, it’s a constant reminder. A number of the “reproductive” hormones have roles outside of reproduction. Oestrogen and progesterone are obviously crucial to the menstrual cycle and for … [Read more...]

Demonising Macronutrients

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For a long time we’ve been fighting “macro-nutrient wars.” Macronutrients refer to carbohydrates, protein and fats, and for the last 50 plus years we’ve been demonising at least one of them. In the late 70s through to the 90s it was fat that was the bad guy. We were told that if we just kept our fat low, everything would work out fine.* From the 2000s to present, the blame starts to move to carbohydrates. They became the villain that we all need to look out for. But this constant focus on macronutrients really misses the point. Because the biggest change to our eating over the last … [Read more...]

Fat Stigma and Obesity

One of the biggest “issues” that we constantly hear about today is the “obesity epidemic”. The notion that we as a society are becoming fatter and that this fatness is leading to poorer health. In talking about this issue the term “obesogenic environment” has started to be used. This is defined as “the sum of influences that the surroundings, opportunities, or conditions of life have on promoting obesity in individuals or populations”. What I find when people refer to the “obesogenic environment” is that the focus normally revolves around ideas to do with exercise and food. Things … [Read more...]

Does Fat Makes Us Fat?

A common question that I’m asked is “does fat makes us fat?” Dietary fat has been one of the most maligned foods, both by the medical establishment and in the media. While the idea of a low fat diet was nothing new, it was around the mid 1970s that it got more of a governmental stamp of approval and was encouraged for the wider public. The 80s and 90s were then awash with the idea of “low-fat” and “fat-free”. New developments in food technology meant more foods were being created in a laboratory and the amount of processed foods increased. Rather than missing out on your favourite … [Read more...]

5 Reasons Diets Don’t Work

As the end of February approaches, the dieting train shows no sign of stopping. Despite people’s insistence on following diets, they rarely give the results ‘as listed’. Here are 5 reasons why diets don’t work. They aren’t individualised. Everyone is different and what works for one person, won’t work for the next. Nearly every diet will work for some people, but blindly trying diet after diet in an attempt to find the right one by luck isn’t the best strategy. They are static. Not only are you an individual, but your needs change with time. The diet that works for you today, might … [Read more...]

Why Most People Shouldn’t Stand On A Set Of Scales

Losing weight doesn’t necessarily lead to better looks. Likewise, gaining weight doesn’t necessarily make you look worse. The look of your body is more about changes in the relative proportions of muscle and fat. The number on the scale is almost completely irrelevant in most cases, and many people are making their body composition worse by trying to lose weight. On this basis, the scale is already a poor tool at best. But before we dig our heels into this topic, let’s first talk about what is an even bigger reason to stop hopping on a scale… We are emotional creatures. Most of our choices … [Read more...]

Traffic Lights, Guilt and Healthy Cake

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I recently wrote an article for a cake magazine called Beaten and Creamed, which came out this week. Along with including a recipe from my healthy cake book, I also wrote a longer piece. The brief I was given was an article addressing the government’s traffic light labelling system and if it really works as well as touching on psychological effect/guilt response of consumers who buy products covered in red lights. The piece was meant to be 800 words but I ended up at around the 1,500 mark. To read the shorter, punchier and edited version, I would recommend buying the magazine. For those who … [Read more...]