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Porridge that helps. Porridge that harms?

We’re into autumn and winter is looming, and once again many will be turning to porridge as a breakfast of choice (funny how so many think a hot breakfast is only for winter!)

Today I’m reading an article that suggests porridge will help lower your cholesterol…but is that true?

“Eating a simple bowl of porridge every day could transform the health of the nation, in one single step”, says Chris Seal, professor of food and human nutrition at Newcastle University.

Certainly oats contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibre, which HAS been shown to help lower cholesterol…as long as you eat 3 grams beta-glucans per. day… and that equates to a 70 gram bowl, according to this article. Actually most porridge portion sizes are way less than 70 grams! A typical portion size is between 30 and 40 grams only – so 70 grams is 2 bowls per. day. And that’s the first problem I see in this advice.

HOW we eat oats is crucial. The article states that oats are “virtually sugar free”. And that’s true – a bag of simple oats is about 1% naturally occurring sugar. But is that how we typically eat porridge? I suspect in most cases it isn’t.

IMG_20170928_102252The modern way of eating oats means a handy tub, just add water, eat on the go – or at least in a hurry. What’s in the tub, in most cases, bears no resemblance to a bag of simple oats. Full of sugar and additives, porridge in this way can simply no longer be claimed to be healthy!

We might sensibly expect the flavoured varieties to contain a few additives. Take Quaker’s Oat So Simple Caramel flavour as an example… we all know caramel means sugar, so it comes as no surprise that this product is more than 23% added sugar! Say goodbye to any health benefits in this product!

So, what about Quaker’s Oat So Simple Original? Just original porridge oats right? Wrong! It still contains a whopping 22%+ added sugar! Very little in it between the one we understand will have sugar and the one we might reasonably expect to be better – if we trust the appearance of the food label that is.

Ah, but, there are brands that proudly declare “no added sugar”! Take Moma – certainly less sugar than Quaker pots but which still contains over 15% sugar. No added sugar? No resemblance to mere oats!

By now you’re probably thinking I’ve got it in for porridge? No, in the right way oats are great! They are great cooked from scratch, preferably with water or full fat milk, and “sweetened” if necessary with a good quality cinnamon. Or the traditional Scottish way with water and a pinch of salt.

Prepare for winter. Prepare for a HEALTHY winter!

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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!

Losing weight on 3300 calories per. day – yes really!

Let me tell you a little about my new client’s weight loss. After just 2 weeks on a Rebalance programme, he’s lost 5lbs, has literally had to tighten his belt, and feels great. Here’s the best bit…he’s eating 3300 calories per. day!

It’s not – and never has been – about calories. It’s about what those calories are made of – and always has been.

Fad diets come and go. I read this morning that the 5:2 Fasting Diet is trying to re-enthuse dieters by offering 200 calories per. day more. All those poor folks who have restricted themselves to just 600 calories for 2 days per. week, are now being told they could have achieved the same benefits on 800 calories, according to this report. Dr. Mosley, the chap advocating this joyless approach for some 5 years now, admits it makes people feel cranky and irritable, and that, actually, he’s been wrong about just how restrictive a diet needs to be.

The problem with fasting, and long term calorie restriction is that it puts your body into a “starvation mode” that makes it hang on to fat. Have you tried to diet and found by week 3 or 4 it gets harder and harder to shift just a little weight? The fallacy of fasting is made clear in a new study at the University of Sydney in Australia. The research team confirms:

“Having a few ‘days off’ from a diet can help stop your body from going into starvation mode, where the body slows down its natural burning of kilojoules, desperate to survive what it believes to be a famine.”

So if 600, or even 800, calories are too restrictive to enable someone to lose weight without finding themselves entering into starvation mode, how many calories are right? There is no single answer to that. MemeThe number of calories right for an individual is the number of calories right for that person! There is no-one-size-fits-all where nutrition is concerned. This is where Rebalance excels. We help you identify your own unique needs, and develop your own unique eating plan to meet those needs. Every time someone does this properly it works – that’s 100%. My client’s body requires 3300 calories per. day: this avoids starvation mode; delivers all his nutritional needs; encourages his body to release 2 lbs of fat per. week consistently. How many calories are right for YOU?

Click here, and start working it out. Our programmes work, are easy to follow, and are free to you.

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

Keeping Pandora in her box

If Pandora’s Box is a proverbial phrase meaning a source of endless trouble arising from a single miscalculation it begs the question “what miscalculation”? From the point of view of our health I guess that’s about pushing our luck too far. We might live that unhealthy lifestyle just a day too long and then…?

Then we get tImage result for those who don't have time to eat healthily will have to find time for illness memeo find out just what Pandora has in store. And as the story goes, once we’ve allowed her out of the box, getting her back in there is a whole heap of trouble, even if it’s possible at all! All too often there’s a point of no return.
All very gloomy huh? So let’s turn Pandora into our positive!

Whether we like it or not, it’s highly unlikely that any of us can ride our luck indefinitely and that we will at some point have to deal with the consequences of our unhealthy diet
and lifestyle choices. So ask yourself, how far will you push your luck? What will be your own personal wake up call?

Will you take notice when the bathroom scales hit a certain number? Will it be when you get breathless? When you can’t do the things you could before?

Will you take
notice when you are told you are at risk of developing a lifestyle disease? When you are diagnosed with a lifestyle disease? When you develop the first complications associated with that disease?

The longer you ride your luck the more devastating Pandora could be. We already know that 12 million adults in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. We already know that women Image result for those who don't have time to eat healthily will have to find time for illness memeare facing a tide of cancer diagnoses due to obesity. With diet and lifestyle linked to
diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, and more, we are gambling, literally, with life and limb.

Let’s leave Pandora in her box. Don’t give her the chance to get out to play. Enjoy our lives without looking over our shoulders for fear of her.

Good food actually tastes great. Feeling well makes life great. I can’t begin to tell you how great you’ll feel. But I really hope you decide to find out for yourself!

 

Ready to change? (It’s OK to say no!)

Image result for who wants change memeI don’t do new year resolutions. I used to. But like most people I have never stuck to one. Even when I told myself things would be different this year I fell off the straight and narrow all too quickly.

So you won’t have seen The Rebalance Foundation jumping onto the bandwagon of promising a “new year, new you”. No new year promotions. No wanting to make the most of your “membership” for just a few weeks. No setting you up to quickly fail.

That’s because I understand that the best time to make meaningful change isn’t in the immediate guilt-ridden aftermath of festive over-indulgence. Rather, the best time to make meaningful change is when you are ready. Simple as that. Change will only happen when you are ready to make change.

I’m sure you’ve probably already seen the popular little cartoon I’ve shared above? Whoever penned that – good job! We all want change. We’re not all prepared to make change…yet.

At The Rebalance Foundation we’re on a mission to make sure that the best information is at your fingertips, ready and waiting for the moment the switch trips in your mind and you’re off on your own mission too! Take our information with pleasure. Take our advice when you’re ready. Take our support when you need it.

If you are one of the people reading this all ready to get started – fantastic! Let’s get going!!

If you’re not quite there yet I hope you’ll stay with us and just keep collecting all the great information we share. We’ll be here, ready and waiting. When you’re ready we’ll be here, ready and raring to go!

Why Remembrance Sunday Matters to The Rebalance Foundation

slide7-2I first became aware of diabetes in the 1960s, when my Gran was diagnosed with Type 2. In those days it was simply “late onset diabetes”. It was an older persons disease.

She was kind of lucky to be diagnosed at all because she first realised she might have a problem by accident. Her friend had been diagnosed and given Uristix to monitor her condition. For those who might not know what that is – you can still get them – it’s a bit like a litmus test. You pee on the stick and if the little coloured square changes colour it indicates you are passing glucose in your pee. That’s not a good thing!

So one day, my Gran and her friend May were peeing on sticks and having a girly laugh, when surprise surprise my Gran’s little stick turned brown – the most severe level on the test. My Gran was diabetic. It became a source of fun! Any visit to my Gran’s house involved playing at peeing on sticks (yes we were poor!). My Gran always won because her stick was the only one that ever changed – blue to green to khaki to brown. My stick was so boring!

Skip several years to 1974. I was leaving school when I was met by a neighbour with a message from my mum. Could I go to the local library and do my homework, she would pick me up later, she was at the hospital with my Gran.

I never saw my Gran alive again. She slipped into a diabetic coma, never regained consciousness, and died 4 days later. She’d never had any of the classic complications. True she had a dicky ticker – but she always had it seemed. She had no dodgy limb pain, no threat of amputations, no patchy blurred vision. She bypassed all of that and moved straight to coma and death. It was Remembrance Sunday: 10th November 1974.

Diabetes stopped being fun. It suddenly became what it actually is for everyone who develops it – it’s a game changer. It threatens lives, limbs and the happiness of adolescent granddaughters! I have never stopped missing my Gran, and 42 years later it still hurts. Especially on Remembrance Sunday!

November, every year, is International Diabetes Awareness Month. November 14th is always World Diabetes Day. The international symbol for WDD is the blue circle you see on this booklet. At The Rebalance Foundation, we’ve  named our “Blue Ball” to mark it every November.

It’s also the time I get to remember, and talk about, and honour, Ivy Moore, my beloved Gran.

Elaine x

Obesity – who deserves the blame?

einstein

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!

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Reflections on Paris for #WDD

14th November 2015 – World Diabetes Day, as it is every year to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who discovered insulin and in doing so has saved many many lives.

Today, however, all anyone is talking about is the awfulness of the terrorist atrocities in Paris yesterday.

I’m in New York for #WDD, and I’ve picked up the Paris story on every one of about 20 news channels available on the TV in my hotel room. The international shock, fear and outrage is palpable!

I’m reflecting on the parallels I’ll be drawing today when my film “The Silent Killer” is being aired on the big screen in Times Square – and feeling how much weight Paris brings to my message today. Every one of those lives lost in Paris yesterday is being mourned across the world. Quite rightly so! Well over 100 people killed by terrorist guns is too appalling to contemplate, but today we are still stunned that it has happened! Here in NYC, Americans are bracing themselves, and I suspect people all around the world are feeling equally vulnerable.

Diabetes kills someone every 6 seconds. Every 6 seconds a life is lost – 24/7! That’s not tens of lives. It’s not hundreds of lives. It’s millions of lives every year. What puzzles me is where’s the outrage?
1 in 1 outWhen I posted on Facebook recently  that in the time taken to watch my film 10 lives could have been lost some bright spark wrote “and 10 could have been born 1 in 1 out”.

Why are lives lost to diabetes considered to be so cheap and worthless? Why are governments not mounting a crusade against one of the biggest killers in the world today?

If you have diabetes, at least until we generate enough outrage against this killer to get it stopped, it’s largely down to you.

Today I am asking every person living with diabetes to value your own life. Your life is not a statistic. Your death might not be globally mourned but it would nonetheless be a tragedy. Possibly a perfectly avoidable tragedy.

I created The RebalanceDiabetes Programme because I care. No bullshit!

https://www.udemy.com/the-rebalancediabetes-programme/

Elaine x