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The Misrepresented Miracle Maker, Coconut Oil

Uncategorized Dec 02, 2020

Coconut oil is used in just about everything - curries, coffee, smoothies, skin creams…

That must mean it has many health benefits, right? Wrong. Coconut oil would have to be one of the most misrepresented “health foods” on the market. Sure, it’s got beneficial properties, but they don’t generally extend to food. Today we will separate fact from fiction when it comes to coconut oil.

 

Let’s jump right in and address the myth we’re all thinking about.

 
Coconut oil is healthy because it contains multiple chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are good for weight loss, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

 

In reality, only 10-13% of coconut oil is made up of MCTs, with the remainder being saturated fat. These two fats DO NOT have the same effects. Saturated fat is responsible for elevating the LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Now let’s put this into perspective. 1...

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Hunger Vs. Appetite. What's the difference?

hungervsappetite Dec 02, 2020

Hunger and appetite. Two very complex processes, fighting for our attention and driving what we eat and drink. But what is the difference, and why do we need them?

 

The feeling of ‘hunger’ drives us to eat. Our brains require energy, which is derived from the foods and fluids we consume. Without enough energy, our brains cannot run effectively, and our bodies begin to shut down.  

 

Appetite is based on pleasure, and is influenced by what we see, smell, taste and even think! You may be familiar with the concept ‘Pavlov’s dog’ which describes a process of conditioning dogs to salivate when exposed to the idea of food. This same concept applies to humans, as when we’re tempted with something tasty, our bodies react and prepare by increasing saliva and excitement levels.

 


Challenges relating to appetite

  1. Sugar accessibility. We have CONSTANT access to high-density, sugar-type foods. Whether it’s at the chemist,...
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A Christmas Day Food Guide (That Would Keep Santa Happy)

christmasdiet Dec 02, 2020

Most of us would agree that 2020 has been a bit of a crazy year. What’s even crazier is that Christmas is around the corner.  


And what does that mean? Well, It’s time to purchase an advent calendar and get ready for the Christmas pudding! Christmas is a time of celebration. Once a year, we get together with our families, sing a Christmas tune and indulge in some Aussie delights. This could include honey-glazed turkey, nana’s homemade rumballs and a bevvy (or two).  

 

So today we will explore some common questions us dietitians receive as we head into the silly season!

 

As a dietitian, are you worried about Chrissy weight gain?

Christmas weight gain is always a consideration of mine, due to the fact that it can be a month of over-indulgence (well, for me it is). Nutrition Australia has released new research stating that the average weight gain around the X'mas period is 0.8-1.5kg.  What's even scarier, is that the evidence...

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The Science Behind Stress and Eating

stresseating Oct 29, 2020

Life can be stressful. And how do we deal with stress? We eat….well, many of us do. Food can be a comforting tool, to momentarily slide that stress away and make us feel better. But why do we do this? And what impact does this have on our long-term health? Today, we’ll explore these questions by firstly explaining the stress response.

 

The stress response

When we feel stressed out, our body produces a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol interacts with the appetite-regulating hormone, leptin. Leptin is responsible for suppressing our appetite after we’ve had a feed.

 

Chronic stress can elevate cortisol and block the effects of leptin. This means that a person is more likely to overeat and feel hungry all the time. Other implications include an increased risk of chronic disease development, like cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

 

So why do we stress eat?

Eating food can dampen our stress response by eliciting positive psychological...

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Understanding the Set Point Theory

setpointheory Oct 23, 2020

What is the Set Point Theory?

In the world of weight loss, the set point theory is a common discussion point. The set point theory describes a specific weight that our body wants to be. Our body weight can fluctuate up or down slightly, but it generally returns to its regular set point. This set point weight is usually determined at the end of puberty, hence why it’s so important to pursue a healthy weight pre-adulthood.

 

Where did the set point theory come from? 

As humans, we have been designed to maintain our weight. In centuries gone by, our bodies were required to store fat to get us through the winter. Maintaining weight has been ingrained into our genetics as a protective mechanism. The problem is, we don’t need this mechanism anymore. We’ve got heaters and blankets now.

 

If we lose too much weight, our body starts to put up a fight. Our metabolism slows down, hunger hormones increase, and our appetite-suppressing hormones become less...

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Managing Gout Before It Manages You

gout Oct 20, 2020

Gout is a complex form of arthritis, which can make it painful to walk or engage in everyday activities. The condition is generally associated with severe attacks of swelling, pain and tenderness, generally centralised around the base of the big toe. However, gout can occur in other joints of the body, like the knee and ankle joints.

Gout is a condition of affluence (having too much of something) and is triggered by the body breaking down purine into uric acid. Uric acid crystals form when excessive amounts of purine break down. Purine is found naturally in our body and our food.

 

So what food sources cause gout?

  1. Meat, poultry and fish. These food sources are high in purine, which can contribute to a build-up of uric acid crystals.
  2. Alcohol.
  3. Drinks sweetened with fructose (the sugar found in fruit). 

 

Are there other causes of gout? 

Yes, there are. The following factors can also trigger gout:

  1. Being overweight. Carrying extra weight causes the body to...
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10 Tips for Mindful Eating

mindfuleating Oct 14, 2020

It’s no secret we live in a fast-paced world. Most of us feel short on time, rushing to and from work, whilst trying to balance a social life. All of this chaos can leave little time for eating. But what effect is this having on our health? Unfortunately, not a good one.


Fast eating is associated with:

  1. Being overweight.
  2. Hypertension.
  3. Fat abnormalities.
  4. Elevated blood glucose levels.

 

How fast is too fast?

Ideally, we want our meals to last for twenty minutes, and there are good reasons for this.


Firstly, when we eat, a digestive hormone (leptin) sends a signal to our brain telling us we’re full. However, this process is not instantaneous and requires time for the brain to receive the message. The hormone, leptin, is also thought to interact with the happy neurotransmitter, dopamine. The theory has it, that If we eat too quickly this happy hormonal process does not occur.


Secondly, when we eat, stretch receptors in the stomach send signals to our brain. So again,...

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The Rise of Food Technology

foodtechnology Oct 13, 2020

We all know that technology is booming. And with this, comes new and exciting opportunities, especially with food development and nutritional advancement. Every year there are more food-focused apps and innovative technologies, designed to enhance and improve our health. Today, we’ll delve into funky food-focused technology and nutrition-related innovations that are guaranteed to blow your mind. 

 

Apps

Food tracking apps are becoming more and more popular. They serve as a FANTASTIC short-term educational tool, as they provide a great insight into your eating habits and routine. The apps allow you to track your energy intake (kilojoule or calorie), as well as how many carbohydrates, fats and proteins you’re consuming. By recording your food and fluid intake, you can determine places to improve nutrition and optimise health. This exercise allows people to identify energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods that they initially thought were healthy. A typical example...

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Top 10 Tips For Your Next Grocery Shop

healthyshopping Oct 09, 2020

Let’s be real here. Selecting healthy food products can be damn right overwhelming. There are so many products, all with varying health claims – gluten-free, low-fat, wholegrain, lactose-free, high in fibre, added antioxidants… it’s no surprise that people feel a little bamboozled. 


But there’s no need to stress. Today, I’ll outline 10 dietitian-approved products to chuck (/lightly place) in your trolly. These food products are low in kilojoules (meaning they support weight loss) and are JAM PACKED full of vitamins and minerals (AKA the good stuff).

 

1. Strawberries

Strawberries are the perfect snack, as they’re low in kilojoules, low in carbohydrate, absolutely delicious and help with hunger suppression. Strawberries trigger the stretch receptors in the stomach, which send satiety signals to the brain. Additionally, 1 gram of strawberries equates to about 1 kilojoule. This means that a punnet of strawberries has approximately...

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Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. What's the difference?

vitamink Sep 10, 2020

What is vitamin K?

Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins, with the two primary forms being vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K is responsible for blood clotting. This may sound like a bad thing, but without vitamin K we would bleed out excessively, even from a small cut. Vitamin K also plays a role in bone and heart health.

 

In terms of bone health, vitamin K helps to activate the protein required for bone growth and development. This can be beneficial for young children or for those with osteoporosis. Studies have shown a decrease in fracture rates, specifically of hip fractures.

 

Vitamin K also has a positive effect on heart health, as it can prevent calcium from depositing plaque in the arteries. Reducing the build-up of plaque is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. 

 

Vitamin K1

Vitamin K1 is generally found in green leafy vegetables, like kale, spinach, broccoli and brussels sprouts. It makes up approximately...

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