Monthly Archives: September 2014

5 not so healthy”health”foods….

It’s often confusing when we learn that many so called “health foods” are actually not so healthy after all.  It may be because they’re high in sugar, lacking in nutrients or sabotaging all your hard work in the gym…often they simply don’t live up to the “healthy” label that the cleaver marketing people have led us to believe in.  Here’s a list of our top 5 not so healthy “health” foods….

Fruit juice – loads of sugars, whilst naturally occurring, they are often very high in sugar, if you’re trying to lose weight then stick to water!  Try and eat the fruit (in moderation) than drink the juice that way you’ll be more satiated and get the full fibre content too.

Granola – a healthy start to the day? Or so you’d think.  Once again, we’ve been a little bit tricked into thinking that all those organic whole grains, nuts and oats provide a wholesome guilt free breakfast.  However, they contains lots of sugar, fat and calories.  Nutritionally granola is not a diet disaster but it’s high in calories and is best eaten sparingly rather than as a breakfast cereal in its own right.  Try sprinkling a little on some natural yogurt with some fresh berries as a much more balanced brekkie.

Dried fruit – high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and pack a punch…but once again high in sugar and don’t fill you up anywhere near as the fresh fruit itself (they lack the water content that bulk out the fruit hence providing a more satisfying snack.)

Caesar salad – Not all salads are equal!!!  The Romain lettuce is more nutritionally rich than Iceberg lettuce but that’s about as good as this salad gets.  When you start adding croutons, Parmesan and dressing it becomes a very high calorie choice often coming in at 800 kcals!  There are so many delicious options with salad that don’t rack up anywhere near this number of calories – experiment and use your imagination!

Nuts – yep, as with most foods, nuts aren’t “unhealthy” or bad for you….in moderation and that’s the key!  If you’re trying to lose weight, just stay clear! There are other lower calorie options that will provide you with good nutrients for less calories. They’re high in fat and most of us choose either a salted variety or a mix of dried fruit and nuts…and the dried fruit adds even more calories in the form of sugar.

As with most food, it’s about portion control, moderation and making sensible choices most of the time.  Even the healthiest of food eaten in quantities that we aren’t burning will cause us to gain weight.  Don’t sabotage yourself!


Energy drinks and your heart….

Read this article today regarding energy drinks and thought you might find it interesting….we’ve always known they’re pretty bad for you and here’s why…..

Highly caffeinated energy drinks and energy shots may enhance sports performance or keep you alert and attentive. However, hidden in their promise is the risk of getting too much caffeine — and that can endanger your heart. Drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar, or shots like 5-Hour Energy, are not the same as sports drinks or coffee. Energy drinks and energy shots contain up to 500 milligrams (mgs) of caffeine per can or bottle compared with 100 mgs in a typical cup of coffee, or about 50 mgs in a 12 oz. caffeinated soda. As the number of energy drink-related emergency room visits is spiking — from about 1,500 in 2005 to over 20,000 cases in 2011. Though energy drinks are popular with young people, the largest increase in emergencies was for people over 40.

Energy Drinks Pump Up Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
The caffeine in energy drinks doesn’t just pump up your nervous system. It also gives your heart a kick by raising blood pressure and heart rate, which is risky for people with heart disease. People with heart conditions should absolutely avoid all energy drinks and energy shots. Also, the taurine in energy drinks may overload the heart with calcium, which can cause irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest, and sudden cardiac death.

Energy Drinks Plus Alcohol: Heart Failure Triggers
The trend of adding energy drinks or shots to alcohol increases the risks of both. The energy drinks raise blood pressure and heart rate but also intensify alcohol’s effects. Drinking alcohol causes your body to lose water and raises the risk for dehydration. Like caffeine, alcohol also works as a diuretic and can increase volume and electrolyte loss. Many deaths each year are as a result of excessive alcohol consumption – these deaths are most often from binge drinking, which for women is four or more drinks in one session and for men, five or more.

Sports Drinks: A Better Alternative
Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and Vitamin Water — which don’t contain caffeine — can replace the sodium, potassium and magnesium salts lost during a good workout. Because of this, sports drinks are essentially the opposite of the energy drinks and energy shots that contain high levels of caffeine. Bunch explained that, like sweating, caffeine works as a diuretic to increase urination and fluid loss, which lowers the levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium in the blood. Yet the normal heart needs these elements, because it creates electricity by moving sodium, potassium, and calcium in and out of cells. “When levels of these electrolytes fall, then the heart is more vulnerable to development of abnormal heart rhythms,” Bunch explained. One of the downsides to sports drinks is that they are packed with added sugar.

By Jennifer J. Brown, PhD, Everyday Health Staff Writer