Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Tuesday Tip: Always hungry?

Tuesday Tip: Always hungry? 🍖

Appetite is complicated! It’s controlled by the hypothalamus, in the brain, which processes neural, metabolic and endocrine signals that indicate whether we need to eat more or less to maintain our energy balance. Physical activity, dietary composition and eating behaviours all affect these signals and are important factors we can use to regulate appetite.

Short term appetite regulation relates to hormone levels – orexigenic (appetite stimulating) and anorectic (appetite inhibiting) hormones from the gut influence satiation (i.e. the signal to stop eating) and post meal suppression or generation of hunger (satiety). There are also long-term

impacts on appetite regulation. Both leptin (related to bodyfat levels) and insulin act directly to reduce appetite and energy intake. However, increased bodyfat is linked to disruption of the action of leptin and insulin on appetite making over eating easier.

Non-homeostatic mechanisms that control appetite include food hedonics (desires), activity and behaviour. The availability of highly palatable energy-dense foods impacts the control of food intake. The signals we get when eating these foods can override our hormone-related satiety signals leading to over-consumption. Alcohol consumption and social pressure can alter decision making and an increased desire for energy dense foods. Physical activity helps enhance appetite control and improves insulin and leptin sensitivity, metabolism, and body composition, which help appetite regulation.

So whilst some things are out of your control, what can you do to help manage appetite?

⁃ Get active – exercise (even if only walking).

⁃ Aim for structure to eating, and having a more regular meal schedule

⁃ Be present when eating! Avoid technology and chew your food very well. Take your time.

⁃ Protein helps to keep you full so can help – especially with snacks.

⁃ Don’t restrict carbs

⁃ Limit alcohol consumption

⁃ Increase fibre content (lots of veggies – broccoli, peppers, mushrooms etc. This will also increase food volume.

⁃ If you like them include foods that rank high on the satiety index such as poultry, meats, eggs, potatoes, fruits and legumes.

⁃ Whilst there’s nothing wrong with including high sugar/fat ‘junk’ food in your diet as they’re not inherently bad, they are easy to overeat so be mindful.

⁃ Be careful not to over restrict cals in the week as this can lead to overeating at the weekend.

Remember , if trying to lose weight, a little hunger is good (and needed at times) but you don’t want to be starving!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’m being good and having a weight watchers cake bar….’

‘I’m being good and having a weight watchers cake bar….’ 🍰

Most people would assume that the weight watchers cake bars (or other weight loss brand foods) are automatically a more virtuous choice of snack. Whilst the Mr Kipling chocolate cake slice would be considered the less healthy choice.

In reality they’re almost the same in terms of overall calories and fat. And in fact the My Kipling slices are actually lower in calories per 100g. So in reality you could have either and it would make little difference to your overall calories. The weight watchers slices are also over double the price per gram too!

So don’t automatically assume these weight loss branded foods are always the better option. Sometimes they’re the same or worse than other brands. And usually pricier! If you enjoy them then definitely have them, but if you’re only having them because you think they’re ‘good’ then think again.

Read the labels and look at the calories and then make sure choice. If you’re trying to lose weight then go for the lowest calorie option, that you actually want to eat!


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy vs unhealthy option?

Healthy vs unhealthy option? 🥗

Restaurant dining can be a bit of a minefield if you’re trying to watch your calories or lose weight. As I’ve said before, we often have a number of preconceived ideas about which the ‘healthier’ option is and equate that with lower calorie. In reality sometimes things aren’t quite as you’d expect.

Another great example of this is pizza express option. The Nicoise Salad with dough sticks is certainly a healthy option – full of fibre, lean protein and micronutrients.

You may order it assuming it’s one of the best options to go for – and it is a great choice! But you may also assume it was a lower calorie option, and therefore probably not think twice about having the dough sticks with it etc. You may even avoid what you really wanted, a lasagne or pizza, because you assume the salad is lower.

However that’s not actually the case. In reality the lasagne is actually lower calorie and fat than the full salad with dough sticks. The difference isn’t that large but it is there nonetheless. Now if you want the salad because you like it then definitely go for it, but if you’re choosing it when you’d prefer the lasagna maybe stick to what you like! If you do want to reduce the calories then the Nicoise without the dough sticks or dressing is the best option.

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Protein smoothie for protein….. erm… or not?

Protein smoothie for protein….. erm… or not? 🥛

I’ve talked before about the marketing power of “protein” and how snacks (and other products) are often promoted as “healthy” or better because they contain X amount of protein. The reasoning behind this is the fact that increased protein can help with improved satiety (feelings of fullness) so CAN help to prevent overeating. Also those working out may want to focus on protein to help with muscle building.

Unless you’re a bodybuilder or athlete you probably don’t need to go out of your way to take in extra protein as most balanced diets contain far more protein than the average person needs. However you may still wish to focus on higher protein foods and snacks to help keep you feeling full.

So you may well see this protein smoothie and think it would be a good option as a post workout drink or snack. However for 350ml it’s around 207 cals (which is fine for a snack) and contains 7.7 G protein which is pretty good I guess for a fruit drink.

Oh but this is awkward… you could instead have a 350ml of skimmed milk for a mere 123 cals, and it will actually provide you with MORE protein – 12.6g in fact! And aside from the fact it’s lower calorie, and has more protein, it’s also far cheaper – costing around £0.24 for that amount (vs £1.86 for the same quantity of smoothie). The lacto-free skimmed milk also has similar calories and protein (though it is a bit pricier at £0.48) but also a great option – and there are flavoured options out there too if you want a fruity drink that also have similar protein and calorie levels! So plenty of options!




Nutrition and Calorie Tips

“I’ve put on 3kg overnight.. it must be fat!…..”

“I’ve put on 3kg overnight.. it must be fat!…..” 😳

You hop on the scales in the morning and to your horror you’ve put on several kg seemingly overnight! Like most of us the first reaction is probably to feel demoralised and demotivated, think all your weight loss efforts have been wasted and assume you’ve put however many kg of fat on overnight.

I do say this a lot, but that’s because it’s true – the scales are not a very accurate measure when it comes to changes in bodyfat levels. Short term, significant, fluctuations in scale weight are normal and natural – especially large ones that seem to happen overnight. These do not mean changes in body composition – so you haven’t suddenly put on 3 kg of fat or muscle. Rather they tend to be related to water levels – intra and extracellular hydration.

Even if you did manage to eat an extra 20000 calories in one day (an impressive feat anyway!) then you STILL couldn’t store that all as 3kg of fat. Some would be expended in physical activity and metabolic processes, including the cost of digestion itself etc. The extra weight you see on the scales in short term fluctuations is water retention and food volume.

The reasons for it may include – a really big meal the night before, especially one that might be high in fibre, or red meat (which takes longer to digest). It could be due to your workout routine recently which can lead to short term fluid retention in the muscles. General hydration levels and salt levels will also impact it – especially if you had high levels of salt in your diet the day before. Hormones play a massive role – particularly for women and can cause fluctuations of up to 5kg doe to water retention. Lack of sleep or high levels of stress will also cause you to retain fluids. Carb heavy meals and alcohol do exactly the same thing too – you retain fluid – short term. Now that is NOT to say you need to avoid any of these things – you should be working out, you should be eating carbs etc but it may help to explain any fluctuations you see.

So if your scale weight is up today, then before you let it get you down, just stop and think about all the reasons it is probably fluctuating. Focus on being consistent with your calories instead, and use things like the way your clothes fit, or longer term trends in weight gauge progress (i.e. if you want to weigh yourself daily then take an average each week and use the trend of that average to gauge if you’re making progress).

Enjoy 🤗