Category Archives: sugar

Backlash after report claims saturated fats do not increase heart risk?

butterI remember the very first course I ran in 2003: a lady being openly criticised by her work colleagues for following my advice to snack on nuts instead of a 2-finger KitKat (as advocated by WW) and losing 11 lbs in 3 weeks – she showed them!!

But the serious point is we’ve been bucking the trend for 14 years because we bother to do our research, and then implement the findings of the best quality trials and studies without delay – to the benefit of our clients. Nothing that we teach or advise is anything odd, or made up for commercial purposes. We advised good fats and nuts in 2003. We talked about inflammation way before it was a trendy thing to do. We have said sugar and excessive carbs are a big problem for over 14 years. I’ve watched the mainstream advice slowly coming round to our way of nutritional thinking in recent years. While it’s great that they are finally catching up – because that means people are generally getting better advice – I can’t help but think of all the people who have been given the wrong advice for decades, and the effects that wrong advice will inevitably have had on the health of so many.

It’s with a level of sadness, therefore, that I read about this “backlash” today. Here in this article we can see the “establishment” putting up their barriers, and spinning their defence of old views.

When doctors and scientists speak out against the mainstream they surely know there will be a backlash. The precedence is there! In the 1970s John Rudkin published “Pure White and Deadly”. His message was clear. Sugar is the problem. The establishment denied this for 40 odd years, first having discredited Rudkin! We now know we’ve been let down by that same establishment. Doctor James Le Fanu pointed this out in no uncertain terms in his column in the Telegraph just a few days ago.

Putting their heads above the parapet invites castigation. Therefore, when highly qualified professionals speak out regardless, it’s time to listen.

The words that have sparked the controversy are innocent enough:

“[key previous research] showed no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, CHD mortality, ischaemic stroke or type-2 diabetes in healthy adults”.

This message does not suggest we can eat saturated fats with impugnity. It does not suggest we advise people to eat a “high fat” diet. Yet the tone of its critics alludes to this.

So, the Rebalance advice on fats? NO trans or hydrogenated fats under any circumstances; saturated fats are nothing to worry about in moderation (we’re not advocating a “high fat” diet); watch your balance between anti-inflammatory omega-3 and pro-inflammatory omega-6 (many vegetable oils have the wrong balance – sunflower, rapeseed contain more omega 6 than 3); olive oil is good!

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Designer sugar? Why my heart sinks.

In a bid to make foods taste just as sweet, but using less sugar, the food industry proudly presents…”designer sugar”!

What exactly makes sugar “designer” is being kept a secret – alarm bells should already be ringing right there!! – but in broad terms it means “tinkering with the shape of sugar molecules to deliver the same sweetness but with a lower amount of actual sugar“, reports The Guardian.

Nestle are spearheading the “tinkering”. Where other cheap-chocolate manufacturers have mooted making bars smaller, Nestle are looking to use a new Frankenstein sugar. We are told we can expect to be consuming the stuff as soon as 2018. Oh joy!!

I have to tell you – if you haven’t already spotted the obvious – I’m not treating this as good news.

We are emerging from a decades-long experiment with trans fats, otherwise known as “hydrogenated” fats. Creating a hydrogenated fat means binding hydrogen molecules into an oil, liquid at room temperature, to make it saturated, solid, spreadable. Hydrogen is a natural molecule. It exists as the most abundant element in our universe. So it’s surely safe? Scientists might have thought so at the time they began developing the technology, but in just a few short decades we’ve come to know it as one of the most dangerous things to have happened in food technology. So dangerous, in fact, that the American government under President Obama ordered trans/hydrogenated fats to be removed from all processed foods in just 3 years. We are now eating into that 3 year time period, and already we can see the difference. Reports published just this week, in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology, show that removing trans/hydrogenated fats from the human diet is already leading to lower rates of heart disease and strokes. Yes, trans/hydrogenated fats have been causing heart disease, strokes and more – collectively termed “cardiovascular events”. They’ve been a major contributor to the epic levels of heart disease in the developed world!

The idea that we are lurching from “tinkered with” fats to “tinkered with” sugars makes my heart sink. What have we not learned from the trans fats debacle? Do we think somehow this will be different? Apparently so! At least the technicians working on designer sugar declare it to be safe: John Coupland, professor of food science at Pennsylvania State University and president of the nonprofit Institute of Food Technologists, says: “It’s not dangerous, just not common.”  (Quote taken from the Guardian article linked above.)

Until Mr. Coupland and his colleagues shown me a plethora of long-term studies showing the health effects of human consumption of their designer sugar I will remain unconvinced by their claims of safety. The moment Nestle start selling products containing their tinkered-with-sugar-molecule will be the moment they lose my custom I’m afraid – and, as they are one of the biggest employers in my home city of York, I say that with true regret.

Let’s wind forward, and assume designer sugar does prove to be safe – having no detrimental effect on our health…

…are there other reasons to be cautious? Sadly so. We already know that other artificial sweeteners have had a detrimental effect on our health. Designer sugar is, despite its name, just another artificial sweetener. Once the tinkering scientists have changed the molecule it is no longer as nature intended, and by definition no longer a natural foodstuff.

Artificial sweeteners are now known to cause weight gain, and are increasingly linked with obesity and all its concomitant diseases. Medical research has been telling us this for several years already. Whilst they can’t actually raise blood sugar levels, chemical sweeteners have been shown in research to cause our bodies to produce insulin nonetheless, just as though we have consumed actual sugar. The problem is there is no sugar for that insulin to act upon, and we are left with excess circulating in our blood. Ask a diabetic if excess insulin is a good idea – they’ll give you an emphatic “no”.

Is designer sugar a good idea? Time may tell. But, in this rush to maintain a market share in the profit-driven food industry, time is not being allowed! Right now, my answer simply has to be, likewise, an emphatic NO!

Smoke, mirrors, statistics, damned lies?

Benjamin Disraeli said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Then we have “smoke and mirrors”, leading us implicitly to believe something is true when in fact it isn’t. This morning, you decide…

I’ve just seen a TV advert for a new breakfast drink product. Always one to know what goes into these things I put the sniffer dog to work. What I found was a great lesson in why we should treat food labels with a dose of healthy scepticism!

Apparently this product contains 8.1 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product – that’s just 9% of your daily advised amount according to the manufacturer’s information panel.

The problem here is the product is sold in 250ml bottles. Well done Sainsbury for therefore pointing out that really means you get 20 grams of sugar in an individual sized bottle equating to 22% of your daily advised amount in their product information panel.

The BIG problem with both sets of information? If 8.1 grams sugar equates to 9% of our recommended intake, or even if 20 grams equates to 22%, it means the actual daily recommended intake is somewhere between 90 and 91 grams sugar. Hmmm – in who’s world?

Well certainly not in WHO’s world! The World Health Organisation recommends limiting free sugars to just 25 grams per. day. The NHS have yet to catch up, and still recommend limiting free sugars to 30 grams per. day. So in my world that means one individual-sized bottle of this new product actually delivers 88% of our sugar intake as recommended by the World Health Organisation, or 73.33% as recommended by the NHS.

weetabix

Obesity – who deserves the blame?

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After Susan Jebb, the Government’s former diet tsar, said obesity is mainly caused by a person’s genes and the prevalence of junk food, other experts have hit out saying fat people should be told their size is their own fault. So just who SHOULD carry the blame for your obesity, asks a news article this weekend?

It comes down to the difference between ignorance and insanity.

It’s true that the food industry, Public Health, and the NHS in the UK have all mislead the public for years. Sadly knowingly for some time too. They ALL sold us the “low-fat myth” for decades. They ALL overlooked the fact that there was no real evidence against saturated fat. They ALL overlooked the weight of evidence against sugar for 40 years.

We became a fat nation! And I say obesity was encouraged because the organisations who should have protected us kept us in IGNORANCE. Ignorance about why we were really gaining weight. Ignorance about why  a whole host of chronic diseases have been burgeoning. Ignorance about the “unrelenting march” of diabetes reported last week.

But we know now! We know sugar is deadly. We know it has raised our levels of inflammatory disease to crisis point: diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, some cancers and more. And we can no longer claim ignorance. We can no longer claim to being kept in the dark.

The food industry is showing very little sign of change. In the many months now since we lifted the lid on the nonsense that is “low-fat”, I’ve watched in near despair as more and more fat-free and low-fat products have been unleashed into the market-place – still claiming health-benefits. It sucks, it really does. But we are no longer ignorant to the truth. We can shake our heads in disbelief that they care so little. But we no longer have to fall for their dishonest hype!

I started speaking out against low fat as long ago as 2003 – and I have never knowingly put a low-fat-sugar-laden version of food into my body since. But I still do occasionally eat something with added sugar: a bite of chocolate, a slice of birthday cake, the occasional dessert maybe. And every time I do I know, and accept, that my behaviour is INSANE. Insane because there is enough information to enable me to make a better choice. Insane because I have enough knowledge to enable me to make a better choice. Sometimes I make insane choices, but I have to face the fact they are MINE!

I am at the point of awareness that any weight gain is certainly now my own fault, and I carry 100% responsibility.

Historically Susan Jebb is right – the past 40 years have largely been not our fault. But from here on in we are all responsible for our own food choices – as these experts suggest! And only when we accept our own responsibility, embrace our own dietary and behavioural change, take control over our own choices will things improve.

RebalanceDiabetes is ready and waiting to help anyone willing to help themselves. Give me a shout!

 

 

 

12 Healthy Days of Christmas

12-Days-of-Christmas-Cropped

If you’re up for a sing-song this just about works to the normal tune for the 12 Days Of Christmas, [don’t sing the bits in between brackets!]:

On the first day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me a healthy dose of Omega 3 [to find out why – click here]

On the second day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [research for benefits of green tea – click here]

On the third day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [why 3 mins standing every hour could be beneficial – click here]

On the fourth day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [The RebalanceDiabetes Programme is based on a unique combination of 4 crucial dietary principles – and you can find out about them all for free – click here]

On the 5th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! [100% cocoa of course!] 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3.

On the 6th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [the 6 diet is available worldwide on Amazon – link to .co.uk here or to .com here]

On the 7th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 7 hours of information, the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [The RebalanceDiabetes Programme online provides a full 7 hours of video-based information to help you get the results you will love! – click here]

On the 8th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours of information, the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [how sleep affect diabetes – click here]

On the 9th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 9 happy months, 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours of information, the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [there has been a lot of research for gestational diabetes in 2015 – click here for a summary of findings]

On the 10th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 10 minutes walking, 9 happy months, 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours of information, the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [5 mins walking twice per. hour benefits blood sugar balance – read here]

On the 11th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 11 whole walnuts, 10 minutes walking, 9 happy months, 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours of information, the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3  [benefits of walnuts explained here]

On the 12th day of Christmas Rebalance gives to me 12 weeks of support, 11 whole walnuts, 10 minutes walking, 9 happy months, 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours of information, the 6 diet book, 5 CHOCOLATE BARS! 4 dietary principles, 3 minutes standing, 2 cups of green tea, and a healthy dose of Omega 3 [follow The RebalanceDiabetes Programme for just 12 weeks to achieve amazing results!! – click here]

Lyrics by Elaine Wilson, in a moment of festive madness! Research, products and services also by Elaine Wilson, especially for you at all times.

I wish you a very happy and healthy festive season!

Elaine xx

But aren’t they natural sugars?

Mince pies? Christmas cake? Christmas pudding? Tis the season to be jolly – and of dried fruits!

And fruit is healthy, right?

So if you find some of these lovely seasonal foods with no added sugar, it necessarily follows they are, if not actually good for you, OK at least doesn’t it?

Sadly it doesn’t necessarily follow.

There is ongoing debate about fructose – the sugar naturally occurring in fruit.  We know now that fructose is processed differently in the body compared with other sugars. Almost ALL the fructose we eat ends up being stored directly as body fat. Belly fat. The kind that settles in and around the internal organs. Visceral fat. Linked with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, strokes etc.

If you want the scientific explanation – here it is.

The issue with these Christmas delicacies, is that, even without added sugars, they contain whopping amounts of fructose because it’s so concentrated in dried fruits compared to fresh fruits. One small portion of Christmas pudding might deliver 50 or more grams of sugar. Add to that the sugar in a mince pie or two, a piece of Christmas cake at tea time, nibbling on the occasional seasonal date, and you might be racking up a considerable amount of sugar – just from naturally occurring fructose found in dried fruits.

All things in moderation, so they say. When it comes to Christmas fayre the crux is knowing how little actually constitutes moderation.

I wish you the happiest festive season, but most of all good health!

Elaine x

 

 

 

Whatever is next – RebalanceDiabetes is right here for you!

shelovesyork2December 1st 2015 and – with International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015 closed – I’m reflecting on what we’ve achieved and, crucially, what’s next.

I started the month calling for everyone affected by diabetes to #standtogether. And I ended the month repeating that call because, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter whether you have Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes, take insulin, or not, are prediabetic, care for someone living with diabetes, or are just interested, there is an awareness mountain to be climbed.

Throughout November I’ve shared my awareness film The Silent Killer, shown on Times Square on World Diabetes Day; a fabulous offer to enable you to join The RebalanceDiabetes Programme (the first comprehensive diet and lifestyle programme for diabetes available online) at a massively discounted rate; brand new RebalanceDiabetes success stories to motivate and encourage; breaking news stories; and I shared a preview of the latest stats around diabetes. These latest stats are available for download today – get your copy of the Exec Summary of IDF’s latest Diabetes Atlas – click here.

The new diabetes years starts here. RebalanceDiabetes is ahead of the game, has always been ahead of the game, and I plan to stay there. You can be assured I’ll be doing everything I can to help YOU get the best from your health, feel great about yourself, enjoy life.

I genuinely don’t believe that diabetes has to win, I don’t believe the gloomy predictions have to come true, I do believe RebalanceDiabetes is the best solution. I’m with you every step of the way!

Here’s to a great year – starting NOW!

Elaine x

 

 

 

To tax or not to tax?

sugar writingToday marks the final day of International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015.

Today the sugar tax debate is hitting the media again in a big way.

Whether you are for or against a sugar tax it seems a fitting time to give more attention to this debate, and to turn the spotlight again on sugar: the dangers of sugar, the role of sugar on public health, the economics of sugar.

Is this the first time in living history that a Government has resisted such public calls for a tax? Resisted an opportunity to boost the chancellor’s coffers, with strong public support? The political stance is curious to say the least.

Here is a selection of the articles I’ve come across this morning:

MPs back sugar tax and ban on junkfood ads during X-factor

Jamie Oliver’s right! MPs say it’s time for a 20% tax on sugary drinks to tackle childhood obesity

Ban Junk Food Ads And Tax Sugary Drinks – MPs

UK MPs seek tighter measures on sugary drinks to tackle childhood obesity 

MPs back sugar tax endorsed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver

Breakfast Briefing: Pressure grows on Gov for sugar tax

Tax sugary drinks and restrict TV adverts for sweets, MPs urge

MPs to call for ‘sugar tax’ and tighter controls on junk food ads

Introduce tax on sugary drinks, say MPs

MPs call for sugar tax to combat obesity

Radical Overhaul Needed To Beat Obesity – MPs

MPs demand 20% levy for fizzy drinks and blitz on junk food deals

Sugar tax: MPs join call to cut £5bn a year cost of obesity

Commons health committee puts weight behind UK sugar tax

Commons chiefs to demand ‘sugar tax‘ and tighter controls on junk food ads

Despite all those calls for the sugar tax, there is an “against” view point also reported this morning. It’s a minority of the British people who believe such a tax would be effective in combating obesity and disease – including diabetes:

British public unconvinced by soft drinks tax

I am throwing my hat onto the side that says there probably is a better way – regulate the food industry, restrict the amount of sugar permitted in processed foods, education, more transparent food labelling…

I am grateful this topic is working its way up political agendas. Let this debate rage!!

 

Surviving Easter with diabetes?

CAdae0sWUAAm2C-In 3 days it’s finally time to rip the jewel-like tin foil off those Easter eggs to reveal the real treasure hidden inside – chocolate!

Just holding that thought evokes strong memories for me. Easter Sunday was one of my favourite days of the year: chocolate for breakfast, chocolate for lunch and chocolate for tea. With chocolate snacks in between! OK – so this is the most embarrassing admission I will probably ever make to you – one Easter Sunday my breakfast was 12, yes a whole dozen, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Yes I did feel gross and sick afterwards, and yes I did learn a kind of lesson – temporarily until the nausea wore off of course.

So I get it. I get the urge to give in to crazy temptation. And I get the joy that too many kids will experience this weekend when they dive into their own chocolate eggs. According to one report, the average child in the UK will gobble down 8000 calories in chocolate eggs this bank holiday weekend, at an average cost of £56.00. If that is truly an annual one-off then hey – it’s Easter after all. But there is every reason to think that an obsessively unhealthy relationship with sugar is at the root of the increasing rise in health problems for our kids: tooth decay, obesity, earlier and earlier onset of Type 2 diabetes.

As an adult my attitude and behaviour this Easter Sunday will be tempered by knowing exactly what that kind of indulgence might eventually lead to – obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes are the one’s relevant to my blog of course. And I will indulge…

…I will indulge in my favourite 100% cocoa drink – no sugar. I will indulge in a small amount (because a small amount is enough!) in one of my favourite 100% – no sugar – chocolate bars.

Hmmm. Can I guess what you are thinking here? Perhaps. You see there was definitely a time when I would have been very sniffy about anyone claiming to be so virtuous where chocolate is concerned. And it’s a real turn around from the person who ate the 12 chocolate eggs for breakfast one year.

But it’s a turn around I’ve had to work at. It’s my way of combining a desire for great health with my big, BIG love of chocolate. The first time I tried olives, I didn’t like them. But I wanted to like olives. So I worked at it, kept trying them, kept spitting them out, and eventually came to tolerate them. Came to like them. And came to love them!. I did the same with alcohol in my early adulthood too. The wine that tasted like vinegar gradually began to taste like nectar. Can anyone relate to this train of thought yet?

It wasn’t love at first taste with 100% chocolate either. But I persevered. Now, it’s pretty much the only chocolate that packs enough taste to satisfy my adapted taste buds! And I love discovering new brands, as you can see in my VIDEO below:

I’d love to tempt you to try it – and if you need an added motivation to acquire the taste let me share one of my favourite research findings in ages: high cocoa content dark chocolate, eaten in the right circumstances, could help you to lose weight!

Have a very happy & healthy Easter everyone!

The Truth About Sugar – was it useful for people living with diabetes?

fiona phillipsSo, did you see The Truth About Sugar on BBC 1 last night at 9pm?

If you did watch, and you’ve been following RebalanceDiabetes closely, you’ll have recognised a lot of the messages! So much of what I have shared with you via FaceBook, Twitter, in newsletters and in this blog over the past 2 years was covered in the programme. It was great to see those messages finally being addressed on TV. There was one huge message, however, that I whole-heartedly disagree with – but I’ll come on to that!

The way in which the messages were covered was simple, straightforward, and graphic. Some of the experiments they used to illustrate the points brought them home powerfully, I thought.

Here are some of the useful facts to keep reminding yourself of:

  • Sugar leads to body fat – quickly AND easily!
  • Sugar leads to disease!
  • There are huge quantities of sugar hidden in processed foods – even savory dishes.
  • The food industry go to great lengths to work out exactly how much sugar will make you eat more of their products – regardless of it’s effect on your health!
  • More onus should be put on the food industry to make it clear how much sugar is hidden in their products! Never mind the food industry representative saying everyone knows that a gram means – actually I don’t believe they do! I think everyone understands what a teaspoon of sugar looks like though!
  • The ONLY way to know what’s in your food is to cook it yourself and from scratch.
  • The sugars we drink cause us to eat more because they interfere with your hunger mechanism, and your body can’t tell you to stop taking in calories.
  • Drinking fruit juices means you take in massively more sugar than eating whole fruits. What I would add here though is that fruit contains the same type of sugar, and it’s just as harmful, as in juices, so fruit consumption shouldn’t be unlimited! 

So here’s the point I absolutely disagree with: Sadly The Truth About Sugar promoted the idea of artificial sweeteners. NO! There is enough research to show that artificial sweeteners still cause problems. Some of the articles I’ve shared with you over the months show that people are actually MORE likely to be obese using artificially-sweetened drinks compared with the full-sugar varieties. And research has shown that artificial sweeteners disrupt insulin – making them just as dangerous for people living with diabetes. Switching to artificial sweeteners is the one message I would love you to ignore from last night’s programme.

Otherwise, The Truth About Sugar gets my thumbs up, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode!