Friday, May 19, 2017

Fat and healthy?

Many of us, myself included, have heard people say “I’m fat, but that doesn’t mean I’m not healthy; I am healthy”, or words to that effect. This argument has been disputed by a University of Birmingham study (presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto Portugal) that concluded that it is not possible to be overweight and healthy.

The electronic GP health records of 3.5 million adults between 1995 and 2015 were analysed. All participants were initially free from the metabolic abnormalities: diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal blood fats [hyperlipidemia]. Metabolically healthy obese individuals were then defined as those participants that did not have any of the aforementioned abnormalities.

Researchers then investigated whether the risk of developing either coronary heart disease, a stroke, heart failure or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) was different for normal weight people versus people in the metabolically healthy obesity group. The results showed that “metabolically healthy” obese people are still at a higher risk of heart disease or a stroke than those within the normal weight range.

When compared with individuals of normal weight, overweight participants had increased risk of coronary heart disease (50%), increased risk of a stroke (7%) and double the risk of heart failure.

Lead researcher Dr Rishi Caleyachetty said:

“Metabolically healthy obese individuals are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals.

“The priority of health professionals should be to promote and facilitate weight loss among obese persons, regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities.”

He also argued that the term “metabolically healthy obesity, was misleading and should be changed, because it is not a harmless condition.



Friday, March 10, 2017

Reason why Barbra Streisand is gaining weight

I have heard many reasons to explain why people again weight:

Slow metabolism: “I eat very little, yet I have put on weight”.

Genetics: ‘Being overweight runs in the family”.

Finance: “I can’t afford healthy food”.

Lifestyle: “I don’t have time to exercise”.

Temptation: “I don’t have the will power to say no”.

Mind set: “I am stressed/bored/depressed/sad; food helps”.

However this week I learned of another factor to add to the above list - the US president.

Barbra Streisand has tweeted that President Donald Trump is causing her to gain weight.

Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!
12:56 AM - 5 Mar 2017

5 minutes later she added:

Trump just accused Obama of tapping his phones. Seriously crazy times. Time for more pancakes.
1:01 AM - 5 Mar 2017



Monday, June 06, 2016

Obesity - Parents and midwives

This week we were sent a picture (above) of a winning star letter that earned the author a £50 prize. I should also add, for reasons that will become clear, that the person who sent the image is a nurse.

The star letter* read:

I watch Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute (right) transfixed, but I’ve noticed that most of the mothers are overweight and their unhealthy diets shows in the choice of labour snacks. The cameras also show the biscuits and chocolates that some of midwives eat during breaks, with no mention of nutrition. To me this offers a shocking insight into the nation’s obesity problem. And the babies may follow in their parent’s footsteps; perpetuating the problem.

There is clearly lot a truth in the letter; snacks that are high in refined sugar and saturated fats are calories dense, with limited nutritional benefits and can lead to weight gain. The nurse that contacted us was not disputing this fact. Her comment that accompanied the photo was not focused on the letter’s statements about snacks, obesity or the parents, but on the opinion it expressed about the midwives. She wrote:

“Hope you can read the star letter. What this lady doesn't realize is that it's probably the only thing that the midwives have managed to bloody eat quickly in 12 hrs!”

There are always at least two sides to every story. Most situations are not black or white, but reside somewhere in-between along the grey spectrum. An easy example of this is the fact that many people (myself included) give midwives large boxes of chocolates, biscuits, sweets etc as a thank you gift.


* Daily Mail TV guide



Tuesday, May 03, 2016

When you really take a look at yourself

They say you cannot change something until you can no longer live with the current situation. Vanessa (30 years old) weighed 235 lb when she decided that enough was enough and that it was time to take control of her weight and live the life she wanted to live.

"My weight definitely holds me back”, said Vanessa*. “I feel like a second-class citizen. I feel like, no matter how great I am, no matter how respectful I am, no matter how kind I am; I will always be judged because of the way I look. e.g. ‘She is lazy’ and ‘she doesn't care’. I feel like I'm beautiful on the inside and I want my outside to match.

"I just hate having this stomach. When everyone is wearing gorgeous dresses I have to put on some kind of cardigan to hide these (indicating her to upper arms). When you really take a look at yourself and you don't know that person and you feel sorry for that person it just makes me angry.

“I have these moments where I just feel empty, like I have nothing and I turn to food for comfort. I won't answer my phone, I won't get up from the couch all day and I order food and I eat. I exit my consciousness and it happens when I'm unconscious. By the time I am done eating and started getting rid of the evidence and kind of realise, I just did that. I don't want to feel disgust towards myself I just want to feel love.

“I am a professional singer; when I perform I am a completely different person. In my mind my visual is [I am a] ‘bad ass’ on stage. My weight has held me back from opportunities where you have to be a specific weight and fit into specific outfits. I come off the stage feeling so high and I will have a moment where my fans and friends have taken pictures and they are posting them and there're tagging me and I see them and I think it's not her (stage persona). And then all of a sudden no matter how great my performance was I just go from the highest of highs to just crashing”.

Vanessa’s determination to lose weight and get her life on track resulted in the loss of 80lbs in 12 weeks. Her success (after countless failed attempts) was achieved by a diet and exercise regime and the help of a personal trainer. Commenting on her success and how it has impacted her emotionally and physically Vanessa said:

"I saved my life, but I also realise what it takes; I actually worked on not just the weight. This time around I worked on actually being healthy. It's a different way of doing this and I feel like it will continue for the rest of my life”.


* Fat Chance  - TLC



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Food for thought

How much exercise does it take (on average) to burn off high calorie food and drinks?

Click on image to view enlargement.


Image Source: Buddy Loans



Friday, September 25, 2015

Adapt or die

The mammoth food and drinks industry is confronting a challenging future, one in which they must adapt or die.

On Tuesday, Coca Cola announced that over the past 5 years, it has spent $118.6 million on health research. Earlier this year the company was accused of financing a project whose objective was to deflect criticism and deliberately downplay the contributing role of sugar in obesity cases.

The controversy centred on Global Energy Balance Network, an organisation that promotes the idea that everyone is too focused on the amounts they are consuming, rather than how much they're exercising. In a network video, one of the group's leader’s states: "eating too much, eating too much, eating too much — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks, and so on."

It is now clear that Coca Cola is taking a two pronged approach: i) opposing the focus on the amounts consumed, while at the same time (contraditory)  ii) attempting to reduce the amounts consumed.

Following March discussions with fitness and nutrition experts, Coca Cola has embraced one of their suggestions and introduced smaller cans.

“The challenge we have with investors is to keep reinforcing the metric that [what] matters most is sales. Volume is no longer appropriate in a world where consumers want smaller packages,” said Sandy Douglas (Health & Wellness Coca Cola).

Adapt or die — Coca Cola has chosen to adapt (with a little resistance).



Friday, January 16, 2015

Food for thought

This display greeted me and other members of the gym this week. It detailed ‘typical servings of commonly perceived healthy foods.’

The sugar in each bowl represents the amount of sugar that is released into a person’s body, after the associated food item is broken down during the digestive process.

I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about calories,sugar and fat. Despite this the information in this display came as a surprise. On first observation, the amount of sugar involved was far from intuitive; it gave me much food for thought.

Teaspoons of sugar:

3 Shredded Wheat           11
2 Crispbread                   5.4
Glass of orange juice       8.4
Pasta (portion)                 11
Breakfast cereal bar           5
2 slices of brown bread       7



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sugars in fruit based juices, drinks and smoothies


An investigation* of 203 UK fruit based juices, drinks and smoothies has discovered that 25% or more contained an equal or greater quantity of sugar than Coca Cola, which has five teaspoons of sugar per 200ml.

E.g Tesco Goodness Slurper Apple & Banana Fruit Smoothie Snack for kids is sold in 90g portions; its 200ml equivalent would contain eight teaspoons of sugar.
Despite the fact that fruit is naturally sweet, 29% (59) of the fruit juices tested contained added (and unnecessary) sugar or glucose-fructose syrup.

Such high concentrations of refined sugar, the researchers argue, will increase the risks of individuals, particularly children, developing tooth decay.
"It is highly concerning that many parents are still buying fruit juices and juice drinks for their children thinking they are choosing healthy products, ” said nutritionist Kawther Hashem (a member of the survey team). “Children should be given as little juice as possible.

“We call on all manufacturers to stop adding more sugars to already sweet juices, particularly in children's products.”

Commenting on the findings, cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said “"It is not just tooth decay but there is increasing scientific evidence that regular sugary drink consumption is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, independent of body weight, suggesting we are all vulnerable. Fruit juice and smoothies should not be part of a healthy balanced diet.

The overall recommendation is that individuals should drink water and eat whole fruits, rather than consuming juices and smoothies.

*Action on Sugar, an international group of healthcare specialists



Wednesday, June 04, 2014

UK's increasing obesity levels

Click here or on the infographic to view enlargement



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Adult obesity survey

The latest local authority adult obesity survey's findings are detailed below.

The authorities with the lowest levels of overweight or obese people:

1. Kensington and Chelsea - 45.9%
2. Tower Hamlets - 47.2%
3. Richmond upon Thames - 47.6%
4. Hackney - 48.7%
5. Brighton and Hove - 49.2%
6. Hammersmith and Fulham - 49.7%
7. Camden - 50.1%
8. Lambeth - 51.8%
9. Wandsworth - 52.2%
10. Westminster - 52.6% 

The authorities with the highest levels of overweight or obese people:

 1.  Copeland - 75.9%
 2.  Doncaster - 74.4%
 3.  East Lindsey - 73.8%
 4.  Ryedale - 73.7%
 5.  Sedgemoor - 73.4
 6.  Gosport - 72.9
 7.  Castle Point - 72.8
 8.  Bolsover - 72.5
 9.  County Durham - 72.5
10. Milton Keynes - 72.5

Source: PHE release local authority adult obesity data


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