Monthly Archives: January 2015

Beating the Holiday Blues

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Beating the holiday blues

How to keep your vacation glow until your next trip.

You gaze with disgust at the mountains of dirty laundry, tossed casually next to the half-unpacked suitcase.  You feel fidgety — unable to settle into your normal routines – life seems grey, and you are dreading work.  Chances are you have a condition that hits most eager travellers:  the post-holiday blues.  Today is about how to move past them to get back into the swing of regular life.

1. Recognize that feeling flat is normal part of returning 
My mother often said that “re-entry is difficult”.  No matter how much fun (or not) the holiday was, no matter how well-adjusted you are, and no matter how wonderful your life is, it’s still hard to come off that rhythm of glorious freedom; exciting new sights, sounds, and scents; and invigorating activities.  Or put another way, it’s hard to again subject yourself to the constraints of mundane have-to-do tasks and “normal” reality.  There is a sense of loss.  You may feel sad about the good things that have come to an end, but know that these blues won’t last too long (or if they do, it’s regular depression, and you should see your GP or counsellor).

2. Plan for a smooth return
Thinking you can land at 6:00am and be at work at 8:00am is not good planning.  Rather than feeling delighted that you squeezed every minute out of your holiday, you are likely to feel overwhelmed at work with the thousands of emails, your now-cluttered inbox, and looming project deadlines.  Much better to come back a day or two early, concentrate on getting over jet lag, and arrive at your desk refreshed and ready.  Also, is there anything you can set up before you go – some project or task which is more fun or easier than your other work — which you can do first, to “get your feet wet” and ease back into the work thing? In terms of family, it helps if the kids can meld back into the comfortable familiarity of daily life before facing school.

3. Invite yourself back into your normal home life
How welcome do you feel with all that laundry and your still-full suitcase gleaming malevolently at you?  For weeks, you found out how little you needed by living out of your suitcase.  Now is the chance to implement a similarly de-cluttered, simpler life at home.  So do the laundry, unpack the luggage, de-clutter your house and clean out your fridge.  In other words, make your home more spacious and thus more welcoming; then it will be clear where to hang those oh-so-special items you bought to help keep the holiday memories alive.

4. Start thinking in terms of “the holiday cycle”
The holiday doesn’t have to end just because your plane has safely gotten you back home.  Take a broader view:  you are merely in a different part of an ongoing vacation cycle, and now is the time to explore how the holiday can come home with you.  What new foods might you learn to cook that you tasted while away?  What new activities might you take up after trying them while away:  stand-up paddling anyone?  This part of the cycle also calls for sharing what you did while away, so program in time to set up your Facebook photo album – or for those of you who like the feel of the real deal – print out some of your favorite snaps and get them into a physical album or photo frames.  Your friends and family might not find your photos as exciting as you found your holiday, but chances are they will enjoy seeing some of the shots, and it is healing for you to organize and share them.  Taking this step also helps prepare you to take the next step in the holiday cycle:  planning your next trip!

5. Take care of yourself
Hopefully your holiday afforded you the luxury of time to be physically active and the bandwidth to notice how you are eating.  For many, though, holidays are a time of splurging on rich foods and drinks, lying around on beaches, and disrupting sleep routines through alcohol, travel, and burning the candle at both ends.  The remedy?  Not as hard as it seems.  Think about it like this:

  • All the eating out of the holidays may have increased the yearning of you and your family for simple, wholesome, home-cooked meals; make the most of this to get back into a healthy food regimen
  • If you have been eating or overeating with little physical movement, your body may be screaming at you to do something:  anything!  Again, this is innate wisdom from your body telling you that it will be a pleasure to get back on track (pick activities you like in order to ease back into regular exercise); following this tip will also help re-establish healthy sleep habits
  • Keep enthusiasm high by finding/creating some fun things to look forward to (note Point 4); it keeps you more in the holiday mindset of “What fun thing shall we do today?” and avoids re-entering ruts you were in pre-holiday.  So, when are they offering that dance class you always wanted to take?

The post-holiday blues “go with the territory” of holidaying, but through good planning and deliberately importing into regular life some of the things which make holidays magical you can stay pumped until the next “All aboard” call!

WEIGHT LOSS REPORT

The industry around weight loss is well aware of the fact that low-calorie
diets cause fast loss of muscle and fat.
For this reason, the market is saturated with fiber bars, liquid meals and
light weight cereals.
We live in a society of instant coffee,….. while-you-wait, etc.
Fast results are essential for continuous sales results.
The average consumer is not aware of the fact, that when they are
losing fat, they lose muscle also.

Nutrition scientists have known for many years that reducing calories to
800 – 1200 per day, which is below the essential energy requirement of the
body to maintain vital functions, causes you to cannibalize your own muscles
for fuel. On these diets, muscle provides up to 45% of the energy deficit.
If the deficit in essential energy requirement is 500 calories per day,
then up to 225 calories will come from muscle breakdown.
On only four weeks on such a diet, you can lose 1.5 kg of vital muscle.
In your muscles is all your energy created by burning of fats,
carbohydrates and proteins in the mitochondria of each and every cell.
Even an ounce of muscle lost, lowers basic metabolic rate of fuel
consumption and reduces your ability to burn body fat.

So all diets that are below the essential energy requirement of your
body are a guaranteed recipe for failure.
Besides the fact of losing muscle,which is your body’s engine,
the weight loss industry also know that fast fat loss guaranties regain of fat.
The physiology behind it has been known for decades.
Fast fat loss alerts the potent defences of the body of its energy reserve.
The quantity and activity of the lipo protein lipase enzyme increases
immediately, which is the body’s main mechanism that collect digested
fat from the bloodstream and stuff it into fat cells.
Lipo protein lipase get hold of every fat molecule and even disable your
body to use it for energy.

In order to make up the deficit, you have to burn more muscle.
However, as muscle is your basic structure, it is harder for your body to
burn it than fat. As a result, your metabolism slows down,which reduces
your ability to burn fat.
Toxic wastes build-up as a result of burning proteins. This can make you
sick and cranky. This activity does not help you to control your appetite,
which becomes more ravenous.
It gets even worse. If you can’t resist the inconvenience any longer and
succumb to real food, the lipo protein lipase has become so efficient,
that you regain seven weeks painful fat loss in almost seven days.
But the biggest problem is that you don’t get any of the lost muscle back.

So the final result of the diet is that there is no change in body fat but
a big loss in muscle.
This loss of part of your engine causes further fat gain as it reduces
your ability to burn the fat you have.
Overweight people using low-calorie diets lose so much muscle that they
set their bodies up for permanent obesity, when they use them repeatedly.
The food industry is constantly creating new ‘functional foods’ that will
help you lose weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and help you
keep your blood sugar and insulin levels in check and so on and so on.
When did eating become so complicated, and since when could food do all
of these magical things?
Foods designed to help you lose weight are a multi billion dollar industry.
And think of how ironic of an industry that is, how could you possibly eat
something to lose weight? That doesn’t make any sense at all. The act of
eating always adds mass to your body, it couldn’t possibly take it away.

The only way you can lose weight ever, is to eat less calories than you
burn off. Bottom line, there is no arguing this.
This rule existed 1000 years ago, and will exist a 1000 years from now.
There is no possible way you could gain weight if you ate less calories
than you burned off.
No matter how easy you seem to put on weight, and how little food you think
you eat, there is always a lesser amount that will cause you to lose weight.
The actual matter that makes up your fat cells has to come from somewhere,
and that somewhere is your diet. If you eat more food than you burn off
then you will store fat and gain weight. If you eat less food than you
burn off you will lose fat and lose weight. That’s it.
So the list of 7 foods you can eat to lose weight consists of any foods
you would like to see on that list!
You could lose weight eating cheesecake everyday. As long as you ate less
total calories that day than you burned off.

The only weight loss diets that have ever worked or proven to have any effect
always make people eat less total calories. That’s it. Carbohydrate, fat, protein and
sugar don’t make any difference, as long as you eat less. If anyone tells you
otherwise they just haven’t done their research. And I encourage you to challenge
anyone who thinks that any ‘special’ food can actually help you lose weight.
It’s baloney, eating less is the only way.
Think of it this way. If any of the popular diets like low carbohydrate, low fat, high
protein actually worked, would you or anyone else still be looking for another
way to lose weight?

There are three main keys to losing fat and gaining muscle.
If you’re missing any of these you will most likely fail in your attempts
to build a lean muscular body.
So what are they?
1) Eat Less Calories than you burn off
2) Resistance Training
3) Eating enough protein to maintain muscle mass
That’s as short and sweet as I can put it.

Any diet can work as long as it gets you to eat less calories than you burn off.
The key is to find a diet that suits your personality and your lifestyle.
If you’re like me you don’t have time to spend on diet rules and focusing on
good foods and bad foods and what to eat and what not to eat, and meal timing
and all of that.
The diet that will work for you will most likely be the one with the least amount
of rules,or in fact no rules at all but rather just provide a guideline or two.

For me that diet is Eat Stop Eat.
It is the simplest nutrition program I have ever come across.
There is only one guideline, and that is to take a 24 hour break from eating
once or twice per week. That’s it, simple and effective.
This type of eating program might work for you, or it might not.
You just have to try it first. As long as you can find a diet you can stick with for
the long term you’ll be able to lose weight,
the next key it making sure all of that weight comes from fat.

This is where resistance training comes in.
You have to do some form of resistance training in order to maintain and build
muscle mass while you’re losing fat. If you are following an effective diet
without doing resistance training you could end up losing muscle mass along the way.
If this happens you could lose body weight without actually improving the look
or shape of your body.
Your actual body weight doesn’t matter as much as your percentage of fat.
If you can lose 5 pounds of fat, but gain 3 pounds of muscle you will only lose
2 pounds of body weight on the scale, but you’ll look 8 pounds different.
Even though 2 pounds doesn’t sound like much,the difference on your body fat
percentage is the key.

This is why weight training is so important while dieting. Weight training is
the best way to make sure you don’t lose muscle while you diet, this helps with
overall health as well as improving the overall look and shape of your body.
After all when you diet the goal is to show off the lean muscle that is under the fat.
The third key to building muscle while losing fat is protein. You have to eat
just enough protein to make sure your muscles can grow. This is a controversial
topic that many nutrition ‘experts’  still don’t agree on.
But the bottom line is protein is your friend when it comes to building muscle
and especially when you’re dieting.
Mix these three key ingredients together and you’ll have a potent fat loss and
muscle building program that can transform your body in no time.

Seven Tips to Lose Belly Fat Fast

Fat stored around the waist can be a risk of developing diseases like stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The easiest way to determine if you’re at risk of developing any of the above mentioned diseases, simple measure your waist.
A measurement greater than 100 cm for men and 85 cm for women is considered to be
‘high risk’. But don’t despair, even if you are at risk there are some simple steps you can take in order to lose belly fat fast.

#1. REDUCE YOUR FOOD INTAKE.
The best way to reduce your food intake is to simply decrease your portion seizes slightly so your appetite isn’t affected.
You may also want to substitute certain foods that you’re currently consuming regularly with healthier alternatives.
By reducing your overall food intake you make it easier for your body to create a mild
calorie deficit that will assist your weight-loss efforts.

#2. CHOOSE A LOW GLYCEMIC DIET
The Glycemic Index is a way to rank foods according to the effect they have on our blood glucose levels. This is especially true in regards to carbohydrates.

Specifically, the glycemic index measures how much a 50-gram portion of carbohydrates raises your blood sugar levels compared with a control.
The control is either white bread or pure glucose.

All carbohydrates cause some temporary rise in your blood glucose level.
This is called the glycemic response. And this response is affected by a variety of factors, including the amount of food eaten, the type of carbohydrates, the method used to prepare the food, as well as the degree of processing, to name just a few.

The slower your body processes the food, the slower the insulin is released, and the healthier the overall effect is on your body.

And it’s the foods that raise your blood sugar level slowly, that you, as a person desiring to loose weight, want to eat. And there are several reasons for this.
First, these foods – many of which you’ll discover are high in fiber – will just keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. And any of you who have been on a diet can be thankful for this.

#3. REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF CARBOHYDRATES
There is no doubt that low-carb diets are effective for weight loss.
They have also been shown to significantly reduce abdominal fat stores.
The easiest way to reduce your overall intake of carbohydrates is to eat mainly fibrous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, capsicum, tomatoes, etc., eat a moderate amount of fruits and starchy vegetables, and consume a small amount of high-density carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, rice, cereals, etc.

Carbohydrate is stored in your body as glycogen and for every gram of glycogen stored, 2-3 grams of water is stored with it. Therefore, reducing your glycogen stores will result in immediately weight loss.

#4. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN CONSUMPTION
Out of the three macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat ), protein is the most effective at helping you lose belly fat. There are several reasons for this.
Protein is the most satiating food component, which means it helps you feel satisfied for longer following a meal. It also requires the most energy to be burned through the processes of digestion, absorption, and utilization compared to either fat or carbohydrate.
Research has shown that a higher protein intake is related to having less belly fat!

#5. CONSUME MORE FIBER
Fiber is the indigestible component of food matter. It is primarily found in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and cereals. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both of which are beneficial from a health perspective.
Soluble fiber in particular is useful for reducing belly fat. In fact, in one study it was demonstrated that consuming 10 grams per day significantly reduced belly fat.
Since soluble fiber slows the passage of food through the intestinal tract it can prolong the feeling of fullness and therefore, reduce appetite.

#6. LIFT WEIGHTS
Weight training, also known as resistance training, is well known to be beneficial from a health and weight-loss perspective. In fact it is probably the most underestimated way to lose belly fat fast! Since weight training forces your body to build, or at least maintain your muscle mass; you can keep your metabolism elevated for longer simply because muscle is a metabolically-
active tissue, especially when it is recovering from an exercise session.
It is best to perform at least 3 weight training sessions per week and if you are inexperienced, always employ the service of a personal trainer.

#7. PERFORM AEROBIC EXERCISE
Aerobic exercise is very effective at helping you lose belly fat. Aerobic ( with oxygen ) exercise includes walking, running, bicycling, swimming, boxing, aerobic classes etc.
It simply means exercise that involves movement for an extended period of time, i.e. greater than a few minutes, and results in you puffing, panting and sweating.
Gardening, housework or lawn bowls are not considered to be aerobic exercise.
While they may help to burn up a few extra calories, they certainly don’t increase your
heart rate and/or breathing rate.
It is best to perform at least 15 minutes of aerobic exercise every day in order to achieve
the best results.

 

Health & Nutrition 1 by Nutrobalance

 

??NUTROBALANCE????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????  1st Edition

An avocado a day may help keep bad cholesterol at bay
Individuals on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower bad cholesterol than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or on a lower-fat diet, researchers report.
Read it all

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   More Health & Nutrition from Nutrobalance.

* The Truth about Gluton
* Vitamin D Deficiency
* The #1 Worst Food that Ages you Fast!

The #1 Worst Food that Ages You Faster

Wheat based foods (yes, even “whole wheat”)

Before I tell you why wheat can actually speed up the aging process in your body, let’s clarify some simple biochemistry in your body…

This deals with “glycation” in your body, and substances called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).  These nasty little compounds called AGEs speed up the aging process in your body including damage over time to your organs, your joints, and of course, wrinkled skin.

So with that said, what is one of the biggest factors that increase production of AGEs inside your body?  This may surprise you, but high blood sugar levels over time dramatically increase age-accelerating AGEs in your body.  This is why type 2 diabetics many times appear that they have not aged well and look older than their real age.  But this age-increasing effect is not just limited to diabetics.

So, let’s get back to how “whole wheat” relates to this…

Here is a little-known fact that’s often covered up by the massive marketing campaigns by giant food companies that want you to believe that “whole wheat” is healthy for you… but the fact is that wheat contains a very unusual type of carbohydrate (not found in other foods) called Amylopectin-A, which has been found in some tests to spike your blood sugar HIGHER than even pure table sugar.

In fact, amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar MORE than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing that’s documented in studies.

This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, and other baked goods often cause MUCH higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Are We Getting Enough Vitamin D In Our Day?
As we all know, too much sun can cause skin cancer and we in Australia and also in
New Zealand already have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

But the sun is also the main source of vitamin D and a significant part of our population
is deficient in this vital nutrient.

UNIQUE VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (which means it can be stored in the body) and
it is unique because unlike most vitamins which we get from foods and drinks,
most of our vitamin D is produced when a fatty substance in our skin reacts
with the sun rays.
The body then convert this into vitamin D and stores it for when we need it.
Circa 90% of our vitamin D is produced in this way and circa 10% comes from our food.

Are we getting enough?
It is important to get enough vitamin D for several reasons.

Healthy Bones
Vitamin D is essential for bone health because it helps to absorb calcium and other
minerals we need to build strong bones and teeth.
Over time, low vitamin D levels can lead to conditions like rickets in children and
osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults. Low levels in the adult years also increases the risk
of osteoporosis, a condition that’s characterized by porous bones which in turn
increases the risk of fractures and falls.

Healthy immune system
Low blood levels of vitamin D have been linked with a wide range of health problems
including polycystic ovary disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness, memory loss and some cancers.

Skin health
Although it is well known that too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer, vitamin D
and related compounds in our skin may actually protect against damage from UV radiation, according to a current research by Professor Rebecca Mason from the University of Sydney.
This is because vitamin D compounds in skin reduce DNA damage after UV exposure.

Low Levels in Australia
Low vitamin D levels are a proven problem, even in the sun-drenched southern hemisphere.
Generally there are few symptoms of deficiency except general aches, pain and tiredness.
When the deficiency is severe, extreme symptoms like bone deformities and intense
pain can be observed.

A large Australian Study (AusDiab) indicated that 40% of females and 27% of males have low levels of vitamin D in summer-autumn and these figures increase to 58% of females and 35% of men in winter-spring time.

Reasons for deficiency
Professor Mason explains: we use a target value for vitamin D based on a concentration of
vitamin D where most bone and muscle function are close to normal.
This is a little higher than the figure we used to use.

There are other reasons as well. There are more people in higher risk groups like older people (who are not going out in the sun much and may not be able to make vitamin D
quite so effectively. More people with naturally dark skin, as melanin absorbs the UVB
that converts a compound in the skin to vitamin D and/or who cover up with closing.
More obese people (vitamin D gets into fat, but doesn’t get out again until you break down
the fat). More people working indoors and entertain themselves indoors (Computers,
video games,etc.)

People with osteoporosis and babies of mothers who are low in vitamin D, especially
if they are being breast-fed, also fall into the high risk group for vitamin D deficiency.

The USA recently increased the recommended daily intake of vitamin D in order to reach
optimum blood levels of the vitamin. Our last NHMRC recommendations were made
about a decade ago and are currently being reviewed and it looks like the daily levels
are set to rise.

According to Professor Mason,’Most people agree that the minimum acceptable level
is 50 nmol/L’. At this level, bone and muscle function is close to normal and also the
handling of calcium by the body.

‘This is also the minimum level recommended by the AusNZ Bone and Mineral Society,
the Endocrine Society of Australia and USA, and the Institute of Medicine of USA.
Some groups recommend even higher levels, with some, though not conclusive evidence’.

Combination of safe sun and food.
As we know, our major source of vitamin D is the sun. We can also get it from food,
like oily fish (salmon, sardines) abd cod liver oil, eggs, butter and meat.

A combination of safe sun and vitamin D containing foods is wise.
The energetic UVB-rays that make vitamin D are there for most of the day in summer,
but only around noon in winter, particularly in southern parts of Australia.

When we expose the skin of our arms and hands during the peak UV periods, which is between 10 am and 3 pm in summer for 6 – 10 minutes should be enough for our body
to produce the required vitamin D. In winter we need to extend this for seven minutes
in Cairns to 40 minutes in Hobart and it has to be at noon.

Vitamin D Supplements.
Vitamin D supplements are suitable for people who are advised not to go outside,
people with sun-sensitive skin and those who are immune suppressed,
says Professor Mason.
People with naturally very dark skin may need three to six times this amount, so it may
not be possible to maintain vitamin D levels and supplementation may be needed.

Commenting on USANA’s Vitamin D supplement, Professor Mason said:
“Vitamin D3 supplements as cholecalciferol provide the same form of vitamin D
as we make in the skin and supplements are a reasonable way to improve vitamin D
status if more sun exposure is not practical.
For those with a higher degree of deficiency, more than 1000 IU per day might be required.

 

 

 

The Truth about Gluten

The popularity of gluten-free diets is exploding and we have seen many diet books published about the effects of gluten on the heart, digestive health and cancers. While there isn’t yet enough scientific evidence to support these claims, it is still worth looking into whether gluten-free is a passing fad or whether more people should be cutting gluten out as part of a healthy diet.

The low-down on gluten

Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Flours made from these grains form the basis of many common carbohydrates including pasta and bread. Gluten isn’t a nutrient, it’s the stickiness of the grain that binds it together.

There are a small percentage of people who need to cut out gluten for medical reasons. These include people with a food intolerances or coeliac disease, but this is by no means a blanket recommendation for everyone. For most people, avoiding gluten provides no real benefits.

At the same time, it is true that more people are being diagnosed with food intolerances and coeliac disease. However, this is mainly due to more awareness rather than increased intolerance among the population.

If you suspect you have a food intolerance or coeliac disease, you should contact your local dietitian or doctor for professional help on treating the issue.

Gluten-free doesn’t make it calorie-free

A common mistake that is made when cutting out gluten is to give all other food free rein. Often when cutting out gluten, dieters will substitute old comfort foods with more pre-packaged, highly processed cakes, biscuits and pastries – albeit gluten-free!

Gluten-free products can often have more calories, preservatives, sugar and fat than their gluten-laden counterparts. Different ingredients are used to replicate the binding action that occurs naturally in gluten to make gluten-free products stick together. These products are usually lower in fiber because they are made from high fat alternatives like almond meal, coconut flour and rice flour.

Cutting out gluten is by no means a magic pill.

The verdict on going gluten-free

The problem is that when you cut out gluten you are excluding a large majority of healthy grains available to you. Whole grains that include gluten contain a fantastic array of vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins, fiber and iron. Wholewheat, oats, rye, and barley are all high fiber grains that are slow releasing.

Gluten-free carbohydrates like potato, rice and corn are all fast releasing, and lower fiber options. If you need to go gluten-free for medical reasons, try to include low GI whole food alternatives where possible like amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, sweet potato or wild rice. Tap into legumes like lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and broad beans for sources of high fiber low GI carbohydrates.

More importantly, following a gluten-free diet pushes an unnecessary preoccupation on the food you are eating. Food is meant to be a source of enjoyment and fuel for the body. A normal healthy diet consisting of mainly plants, whole grains, lean meat and fish proteins will give you all the health benefits you need. You could even say a balanced, wholesome diet is the best thing before sliced bread!

Gabrielle Maston

– See more at: http://www.asteronlife.com.au/balance/nutrition/truth-about-gluten#sthash.WAma155i.dpuf

An avocado a day may help keep bad cholesterol at bay

 

Individuals on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower bad cholesterol than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or on a lower-fat diet, researchers report.

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Eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers evaluated the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.

Forty-five healthy, overweight or obese patients between the ages of 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets. Participants consumed an average American diet (consisting of 34 percent of calories from fat, 51 percent carbohydrates, and 16 percent protein) for two weeks prior to starting one of the following cholesterol lowering diets: lower fat diet without avocado, moderate-fat diet without avocado, and moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day. The two moderate fat diets both provided 34 percent of calories as fat (17 percent of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids/MUFAs), whereas the lower fat diet provided 24 percent of calories as fat (11 percent from MUFAs). Each participant consumed each of the three test diet for five weeks. Participants were randomly sequenced through each of the three diets.

Researchers found:

  • Compared to the baseline average American diet, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — the so called ‘bad cholesterol’ — was 13.5 mg/dL lower after consuming the moderate fat diet that included an avocado. LDL was also lower on the moderate fat diet without the avocado (8.3 mg/dL lower) and the lower fat diet (7.4 mg/dL lower), though the results were not as striking as the avocado diet.
  • Several additional blood measurements were also more favorable after the avocado diet versus the other two cholesterol-lowering diets as well: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, and others.

These measurements are all considered to be cardio-metabolic risk factors in ways that are independent of the heart-healthy fatty acid effects, said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., senior study author and Chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park, Pennsylvania.

“This was a controlled feeding study, but that is not the real-world — so it is a proof-of-concept investigation. We need to focus on getting people to eat a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados and other nutrient-rich food sources of better fats,” Kris-Etherton said.

“In the United States avocados are not a mainstream food yet, and they can be expensive, especially at certain times of the year. Also, most people do not really know how to incorporate them in their diet except for making guacamole. But guacamole is typically eaten with corn chips, which are high in calories and sodium. Avocados, however, can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole.”

For the study researchers used Hass avocados, the ones with bumpy green skin. In addition to MUFAs, avocados also provided other bio active components that could have contributed to the findings such as fiber, phytosterols, and other compounds.

According to researchers, many heart-healthy diets recommend replacing saturated fatty acids with MUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Mediterranean diet, includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids–like extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. Like avocados, some research indicates that these not only contain better fats but also certain micro nutrients and bio active components that may play an important role in reducing
risk of heart disease.

 

Focus on Poverty

The second Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) has just been launched, providing detailed evidence on efforts to reduce hunger (ten indicators) and under nutrition (12 indicators) in 45 developing countries. [1]

The data show that the richer among these countries often do better — more resources should, after all, mean better outcomes. They also show that some poorer countries have been improving their performance despite difficult circumstances. Brazil, Guatemala, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania came out as highly committed to taking action, with Burundi and Liberia making progress on reducing chronic hunger and under nutrition. [2]

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 842 million people were suffering from chronic hunger between 2011 and 2013 — about 12 per cent of the global population. Under nutrition contributed to 45 per cent of the deaths of children under the age of five. And, in the first 1,000 days of life, it has long-term and irreversible effects, including on cognitive skills that can reduce an individual’s potential for learning and earning.

To address such a comprehensive problem, effective, joined-up healthcare systems and hunger and nutrition interventions are necessary. These need a proper scientific basis — so evidence-based policies are crucial. But so is the delivery of interventions, and political commitment to improve delivery.

Another new study, which looked at effective leaders in nutrition, emphasized “the importance of locally collected and commissioned research, knowledge and data”, as well as nationally relevant research. [3]

The second Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) has just been launched, providing detailed evidence on efforts to reduce hunger (ten indicators) and under nutrition (12 indicators) in 45 developing countries. [1]

The data show that the richer among these countries often do better — more resources should, after all, mean better outcomes. They also show that some poorer countries have been improving their performance despite difficult circumstances. Brazil, Guatemala, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania came out as highly committed to taking action, with Burundi and Liberia making progress on reducing chronic hunger and under nutrition. [2]

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 842 million people were suffering from chronic hunger between 2011 and 2013 — about 12 per cent of the global population. Under nutrition contributed to 45 per cent of the deaths of children under the age of five. And, in the first 1,000 days of life, it has long-term and irreversible effects, including on cognitive skills that can reduce an individual’s potential for learning and earning.

To address such a comprehensive problem, effective, joined-up healthcare systems and hunger and nutrition interventions are necessary. These need a proper scientific basis — so evidence-based policies are crucial. But so is the delivery of interventions, and political commitment to improve delivery.

Another new study, which looked at effective leaders in nutrition, emphasized “the importance of locally collected and commissioned research, knowledge and data”, as well as nationally relevant research. [3]