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Tag Archives: Obesity

ARE YOU AWARE OF THE DANGERS OF SUGAR?

We are increasingly aware that we are living in an age where sugar consumption is spiralling out of control -outlets selling a wide variety of fizzy drinks, fashionable cupcakes and coffee shops selling cakes to eat at all times of day are al to prominent on the high street. Notwithstanding, the numerous foods on the shelves that contain hidden sugar.

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As a child cakes  were considered a treat and kept for birthdays and weekends and fizzy drinks or ‘pop’ as it was known was not bought by every household. I remember the ‘pop’ man delivered the pop on a Friday, but I was told by my parents that it was unhealthy and a waste of money!  In those days if parents said that,  it was accepted and adhered to even if offered out of the home. The only fizzy drink I ever drank at home was ‘Andrews Liver salts’ tempted after watching my father flick off the lid with the handle of the teaspoon and mixing the white  powder in a glass of water.

 

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I remember being fascinated as the water fizzed  and bubbled to the top of the glass and it wasn’t long before I sneaked into the cupboard where it was kept alongside the condiments to try it for myself when my parents were not around  – I was thrilled to have experienced drinking a fizzy drink. For those who don’t  know this medicine it was often taken as an antacid and mild laxative and my father took it regularly.

My first fizzy drink outside the home was ‘ Perrier water’ when I went on a french exchange visit at the age of 13 yrs and believe or not I was too shy to say no and drank it feeling very guilty. I certainly didn’t tell  my parents!

It is not surprising that alarm bells are ringing and people are speaking out about the association of sugar  consumption with obesity and mental health. It was in 2009 childhood obesity expert Prof Robert H. Lustig at the University of California, stated just this and following this the youtube lecture went viral. Similarly, Paul Van  der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health service, said that sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’ and that it is the main cause of the obesity epidemic. He believes this is because sugar is addictive and is ‘as hard to give up as smoking’. He supported research which suggested that when people are eating fats and proteins they stop when they are full, but that when they are eating sugars they will keep eating until their stomachs hurt.

As a grandmother I do feel concerned about what I see young children eat and  drink.  I am staggered by children around me who are apathic  and sluggish and so reluctant to exercise in an enthusiastic manner.

Could  there be an obvious answer in front of our eyes?

When my daughter cajoled  me to watch a film, recently released by Soda pictures a UK distributor

      THAT SUGAR FILM 

I have to say it seemed to answer many of these  questions.

 

 

Moreover,  when a very obese gentleman, who worked as a health care professional came in on Monday morning following my viewing this film and proceeded to tell me how he was putting on weight, feeling lethargic, apathetic and couldn’t stop snacking all day and needed medication to stop him. Infact, he had actually installed a fridge in his office to store his snacks, including his healthy cereal bars, yogurts and fruit juices! Could I help, preferably could I prescribe something?

‘Yes’ I retorted, watch this film, it’s all there!  ‘No’  you don’t need medication!

THAT  SUGAR  FILM is one man’s journey into the effect of eating the sugar that is hidden in food marketed as healthy.     Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves.

THAT SUGAR FILM will forever change the way you think about ‘healthy’ food.  It is easy family viewing, good catchy music, great graphics and even stars Stephen Fry! The message  is loud and clear and has had a significant  impact on what I eat and I will not be the doting grandmother who tempts  my grandson with hidden or overt sugar and remain slim and enjoy the numerous active sports and games that I enjoyed as a child.

WARNING

NB DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM MUNCHING SWEET POPCORN WHICH CONTAINS 30 tsp OF SUGAR 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Training and Advice

 

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Video

CHEERS! GIVE ME A BREAK

2014

Many people will have had an enjoyable festive break but others it will have been a stressful time. For many a festive drink of alcohol and eating rich food will have made the occasion more enjoyable for others it will have caused an aftermath of misery.

The great thing about the start of a New Year it’s a chance to reflect of the what’s good and what’s bad about your life and stick with what’s good and try to change what’s bad.
A chance to improve our lifestyle, our living conditions, our friendships and our relationships as well as our sense of purpose.

Banksy put up four new pieces in London two years ago. One on the side of National Gallery, one in Bell Lane near Liverpool St. Station, one on Wapping High Street – all which were buffed/removed very quickly indeed, but give the message….

Banksy lifestyle

Perhaps one answer to many of your problems could be to
LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER

What does the liver do?
Your liver is the biggest organ inside your body and does hundreds of essential jobs.

  • Fighting infection and disease
  • Destroying poisons and drugs (including alcohol)
  • Cleaning the blood
  • Controlling the amount of cholesterol
  • Processing food once it has been digested

watch this video found on the website
http://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/liver-information/looking-after-your-liver/
Liver factory

Liver Health from TCM Perspective
Liver Chinese Since I have studied Traditional Chinese Medicine I have been fascinated how this completes the effects of disease and how the major organs effect the rest of the body and the mind.

The Liver(Chinese: 肝; pinyin: gān)
The Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a very important organ. The Liver in TCM has very different functions than the liver in western medicine. In western medicine, some of the functions are to produce certain proteins for blood plasma, regulate blood clotting and resist infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the blood stream. In Chinese medicine, the liver has 6 main functions and they are as follows:
• Regulate Qi (energy)
• Open in eyes
• Stores blood
• Controls tendons and sinews
• Manifests in nails
• Houses ethereal soul
This prime aspect of the liver can have great affect on three aspects of the body: the emotions, digestion, and the free flow of blood.
1) Strongly effects emotions
If Liver function is normal, people will have smooth flowing emotional states favoring happiness. If the flow of Qi is stagnated or stuck, they will experience frustration, depression, irritability or anger. Various pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms will also arise such as irregular or painful periods, mood swings and breast tenderness.
The Liver is the organ system most affected by suppressed emotions. Therefore not dealing with your triggers and emotions for a long time can lead to “Liver Qi Stagnation” and eventually pathologies of other body organs.
2) Affects the digestion of food
If the Qi is not flowing smoothly (i.e. from emotions), the digestion system will have trouble performing their functions. If the Liver Qi is stagnated it can affect the Stomach causing nausea, vomiting and belching. It can also affect the Spleen and cause diarrhea.
3) Blood Flow
The relationship between blood and qi (energy) is very close and they always move together. The blood cannot go where the qi does not. If the free flow of the qi is stagnated by the liver, the blood will stagnate as well. The stagnation of liver qi will still cause stagnation of blood, which will lead to the gynecological symptoms.
I remember a patient coming to the surgery with very sore eyes which she was causing her great distress. On examination there was no obvious problem and as a Western doctor I could offer no treatment. I decided to take a TCM history and as her eyes were the problem I focused on symptoms and examination accordingly. When I asked her about her menstruation she claimed she was late but definitely not pregnant, she had no appetite and had a dull ache in her upper abdomen and chest. Then I asked her about her emotions and she changed from a softly spoken, refined young women and started to cry and become very angry. Eventually she related the story of how she worked in a small boutique and there had been a robbery and she had been held a gunpoint and although she was not hurt she was extremely angry that her boss was not installing a panic alarm and safety catch on the door.

TongueI examined her tongue and pulse (important features of a TCM examination) and diagnosed Liver Qi stagnation with fire due to the symptoms she presented and her red tip and sides of tongue as well as a wiry pulse.
The treatment for her eyes was to deal with her anger by getting her work situation sorted out as this from a TCM perspective was causing her medical problems.

If you imagine someone having over indulged alcohol with their red eyes, emotionally labile, irritability, altered appetite and aching joints, staggering gait and poor sexual function – TCM will account for these features.

Liver disease is the fifth biggest – and fastest-growing – killer in the UK but a lack of obvious symptoms means it can be diagnosed at a late stage.
It works hard and can take a lot of abuse, but it is like an elastic band – it can only stretch so far before it breaks.


There are 3 main threats to the Liver

    • Alcohol
    • Fatty diet
    • viral Hepatitis

ALCOHOL

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: “Overindulging in fatty food too frequently, having an alcoholic drink every night and not making time for regular exercise are major contributing factors for liver disease.

“To repair the liver and keep it healthy, people need to take at least two to three imageconsecutive days off alcohol every week, and drink within the recommended limits at other times, affecting a permanent lifestyle change.”
Only you know yourself if you can limit your drinking and it well established that some people are unable to do and need to abstain completely.

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A long established organisation who can help called Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions.
More information can be obtained on their website including the helpline and email address:-
http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

If you are effected by someone else, a friend or relative who are drinking and need to share this with others in a similar situation the following website may be helpful:-
http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk

The daily papers have been focussing on alcohol and the fact that it has become as great a problem amongst women as men and all of its terrible effects and there is even an App to track your drinking and give you feedback. The NHS choices website will give you all this information as well as how to cope with a hangover and how many units are safe to drink each week.

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx

There are two Charities that are promoting a dry January in an attempt to encourage those people, who feel that their drinking has got out of hand, to stop and think about the effects of their drinking and by taking on the challenge, lose a few pounds while saving money. Moreover, with no hangovers you can find time and energy you never knew you had, and discover how your skin will look nicer too. Get some support and encouragement from the following websites:-

Dryjanhttp://www.dryjanuary.org.uk
By giving it a get thinking about your drinking and prove to yourself that you can say no to a tipple or two. Thousands of people took up the challenge last year and most decided to cut down for good as a result. Take a look at the website it gives recipes for mocktails and what to do when you fancy a drink!

Cancer researchhttp://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-anevent/charity-challenges/dryathlon
DRYATHLON

Become a Dryathlete™ and give up alcohol for January. Clear your head, feel fitter, save money and raise funds to help beat cancer sooner.

BUT WATCH OUT!
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Many people don’t appreciate that unhealthy eating leading to Obesity and diabetes which leads to fatty liver disease.
Figures from the charity show that a third of people in the UK with liver disease have obesity-related non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The condition is behind a growing number of liver transplants and the problem is expected to get worse as obesity continues to rise.
Every time doctors get together to discuss Type 2 Diabetic who not well controlled and needing to start insulin the same advise from the diabetologists a is always:-
LOOSE WEIGHT
Diet lifestyle

AND EXERCISE
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I have seen first hand on many occasions how a diabetic that follows this advise can come off ALL medical treatment……

Finally
VIRAL HEPATITIS
I blogged about this several months ago
http://wp.me/p3wyoO-aQ
Hepatitis

There are several viruses that cause hepatitis. The common ones are hepatitis A, B and C. Most people recover from hepatitis A with no lasting liver damage, but hepatitis B and C can cause long term liver disease and even liver cancer.

Hepatitis A is passed out in the bowel motions of an infected person, and is passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the virus due to poor hygiene standards . Most people feel better within a few weeks. The illness can be more severe in those who are old or who have other underlying conditions.
How to look after your liver.
There are vaccines available to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccination is recommended if you are travelling abroad outside Europe and the US, but you should also speak to your GP if you think you might be at risk because of your job or your lifestyle.

Both hepatitis B and C are easy to catch through blood to blood contact and very hard to get rid of. Even a tiny amount of dried blood – too small to be visible to the naked eye – is enough to pass on the infection if it gets into your blood stream.

This could be from sharing contaminated:

  • equipment for injecting drugs (including steroids)
  • tattoo, accupuncture or body piercing equipment
  • medical or dental equipment
  • razors, clippers, or toothbrushes
  • through an open cut or wound.

Sex and passing the virus from mother to baby at birth, are also high risk factors for hepatitis B.

There are few symptoms of hepatitis B and C and people can be infected for many years without knowing, during which time liver damage can occur. An estimated five out of every six people with chronic hepatitis C are unaware of their infection.

imageYou only have one liver, it’s important to know how to look after it!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Training and Advice

 

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A TREASURE OF RICHES

What better way of eating tomatoes but by picking them straight from the vine and immediately devouring them especially when they are grown without any chemical intervention. The next best is slicing them and topping them with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil, light seasoning and eating them as a starter or snack. image Anyone can grow tomatoes on a windowsill, on a balcony or in a garden and after careful nurturing you also can have that pleasure. When I bought my plants I was advised by an elderly couple who were buying a plant each to put on their windowsill. I was surprised when I ended up with a red variety and a yellow variety. But research showed me that the yellow variety is richer in antioxidants than the red. image Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that has long been associated with the deep red colour of many tomatoes. A small preliminary study on healthy men and women has shown that the lycopene from orange- and tangerine-colored tomatoes may actually be better absorbed than the lycopene from red tomatoes. This is because the lycopene in deep red tomatoes is mostly trans-lycopene, and the lycopene in orange/tangerine tomatoes is mostly tetra-cis-lycopene. In a recent study, this tetra-cis form of lycopene turned out to be more efficiently absorbed by the study participants. image

I didn’t realise the antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but according to a study carried out whereby Lycopene was withdrawn from postmenopausal women’s diet for 4 weeks and after this short period of time there were increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue implying that tomato lycopene (and other tomato antioxidants) may have a special role to play in preventing osteoporosis.

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Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood – a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. Dietary intake of tomatoes, consumption of tomato extracts, and supplementation with tomato phytonutrients (like lycopene) have all been shown to improve the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been shown to result in decreased total cholesterol, decreased LDL cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels. It’s also been shown to decrease accumulation of cholesterol molecules inside of macrophage cells. (Macrophage cells are a type of white blood cell that gets called into action when oxidative stress in the bloodstream gets too high, and the activity of macrophages—including their accumulation of cholesterol—is a prerequisite for development of atherosclerosis.)

imageAnti-Cancer Benefits

Tomatoes have repeatedly been show to provide us with anti-cancer benefits. The track record for tomatoes as a cancer-protective food should not be surprising, since there is a very large amount of research on tomato antioxidants and a more limited but still important amount of research on tomato anti-inflammatory nutrients. Risk for many cancer types starts out with chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. For this reason, foods that provide us with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support are often foods that show cancer prevention properties.

image Prostate cancer is by far the best-researched type of cancer in relationship to tomato intake. The jury verdict here is clear: tomatoes can definitely help lower risk of prostate cancer in men. One key tomato nutrient that has received special focus in prostate cancer prevention is alpha-tomatine. Alpha-tomatine is a saponin phytonutrient and it’s shown the ability to alter metabolic activity in developing prostate cancer cells. It’s also been shown to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in prostate cancer cells that have already been fully formed. Research on alpha-tomatine has also been conducted for non-small cell lung cancer, with similar findings. Along with prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer are the two best-studied areas involving tomatoes and cancer risk. Research on tomatoes and breast cancer risk has largely focused on the carotenoid lycopene, and there is fairly well documented risk reduction for breast cancer in association with lycopene intake.

In multiple studies other health benefits associated when tomatoes included in the diet include reduced risk of some neurological diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease). Tomato-containing diets have also been linked in a few studies with reduced risk of obesity and age-related macular degeneration.
And it could boost the skins ability to protect itself against UV rays.

I think that covers many of the dreaded diseases we all fear so tomatoes eaten raw or cooked in many different ways are a must in our diet.
That’s why before leaving my garden to return to London I harvested the ripe tomatoes and those I didn’t dry in the sun I roasted in the oven with garlic, fresh basil, seasoning then whizzed the mixture in a food mixer, stored in the freezer to make a sauce ready for soups and sauces to welcome me on my return.
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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Training and Advice

 

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Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating
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A healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve general health. It is thought to be important for lowering health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. A healthy diet involves consuming primarily fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to satisfy caloric requirements, provide the body with essential nutrients, phytochemicals, and fibre, and provide adequate water intake. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts.
I think it is a good idea that we all stop and think about what we are eating. Many of us make numerous excuses not to eat properly – we haven’t time, we can’t afford to, we don’t like healthy foods, they don’t agree with me……….but at the end of the day.
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!
If we take time to plan our eating perhaps 30-40 minutes each week all these excuses would disappear. It is so important that we stock our kitchen carefully. I know if there are only biscuits in the surgery then that is what I eat but if I organise myself I can snack and can eat very healthily with not much effort. Reading the news today I was saddened to read of children’s food ignorance. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-Cheese comes from plants and fish fingers are made of chicken, according to a significant number of children questioned on their knowledge of where food comes from.
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) included more than 27,500 children in the research and found that nearly a third (29%) of primary school children think that cheese comes from plants, and nearly one in five (18%) primary school children said that fish fingers comes from chicken.The survey also found that one in 10 secondary school children believe that tomatoes grow under the ground. The largest of its kind, the study was conducted as part of the BNF’s Healthy Eating Week, which is launched on Monday by The Princess Royal.More than 3,000 schools are participating in the week-long event, during which more than 1.2 million children will learn about healthy eating, cooking and where food come from. Roy Ballam, education programme manager at the BNF, said the high numbers of schools taking part shows there is an understanding of how important it is to encourage healthy eating. And so it goes on…….Most of us are aware what we should be eating and most supermarket produce relevant literature and children in school are taught formally about healthy food but despite that they remain ignorant. To find out more about healthy eating  refer to the section in nhs choices http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-eating/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx.
Meals should be a social time to sit together to discuss the day, share each others concerns and as well as enjoy each others company. All members of the household whatever their age can help to prepare a meal and young teenagers ( before they want to opt out) can prepare a meal perhaps in the style of ‘come dine with me’ adding points for healthy eating. It is all great practice if they leave  home to go to University and learning to budget and cook healthily. Growing your own vegetables and herbs whether in a planter on a balcony or windowsill or finding a patch in the garden is very pleasing.  The supermarkets all seem to sell packets of seeds very cheaply and it so rewarding to eat your own. We are lucky to have a ‘Farmers Market’ in West Ealing on Saturday morning and look out for another one in Green Lanes, Hanwell.Healthy eating is an investment for future health and well being.

Written by Dr Jacqueline Bayer

 
 

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