Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Don’t Avoid Carbs

Tuesday tip: Don’t Avoid Carbs 🍞

Many people believe that cutting carbs is the answer to weight loss. Whilst cutting out carbs can work for some people, it’s the reduction in calories that may accompany it that provides the benefit, not the avoidance of carbs per se. This is usually because avoiding carbs has resulting in avoiding highly palatable, calorie dense foods which are often high fat too e.g. pizza, chips, pasta dishes etc. So rather than focusing on carbs as a food group, you’re better off focusing on the high calorie, low nutrient quality, easy to over eat, aspects of your diet and work on reducing them rather than focusing on carbs.

But don’t low carb diets and keto diets result in better fat loss? No actually they don’t. A recent review of studies looked at studies where food was controlled – so participants were given specific foods to eat (ie a tightly controlled study). Comparing diets with the same calories, same amount of protein but different proportions of carb, and fats found that there was NO difference in fat loss, weight loss or energy expenditure. These were lab conditions so any confounding factors were reduced. There was a small difference between the low fat diet and low carb diet – showing that low fat was marginally better for fat loss but the difference was so small that it isn’t enough to make a real difference to overall weight loss.

So what does this mean? It means you shouldn’t avoid carbs – they’re good – we need them for energy and brain function. However there are certain types of food we tend to associate with ‘carbs’ that it is worth reducing or having in moderation if you’re trying to lose fat. These include restaurant meals/takeaways, fancy coffees, alcohol, ‘junk’ food snacks etc. These can all be included in your diet but you may wish to reduce the frequency or quantity to help with fat loss.

Keeping carbs in your diet will keep you happy and if you’re happy you’re far more likely to stick to it. If you stick to it it will be sustainable and that’s what we want!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Artificial Sweeteners

Are artificial sweeteners bad? There is a lot of concern out there over artificial sweeteners/sugar substitutes. The 4 most common sweeteners are saccharine, sucralose, aspartame and stevia (this is a natural sweetener but is used in the same way and subject to similar claims).

Proponents of the “sweeteners are bad” message often claim that they cause are toxic, cause cancer, and cause insulin spikes and weight gain. In fact there is no scientific evidence that any of them cause cancer (or any disease). The studies used to support this view are on rats, and with excessively high doses. In one study rats were given up to 5,000 mg/kg bodyweight of asparatame. A Diet Coke has 187 mg (which equates to approx 2-3 mg/ kg bodyweight for a human adult). If you scale that up to humans (irrespective of the fact there’s no evidence humans respond the same way) then that’s the equivalent of over 2000 cans a day of Diet Coke. Only one study showed a possible link to blood cancer in rats (not humans) and even then it was a correlation (not the same as causation).

The most recent claim is that the sweeteners “trick” your brain into thinking you’ve had sugar and cause an insulin response (which then causes you to eat more sugar). This simply isn’t true – insulin isn’t released unless sugar is present, no calories, no sugar = no insulin response. Others claim that diet drinks cause obesity. Obesity is caused by consuming excess calories, but sweeteners contain no calories so they can’t possibly cause obesity. They can’t work against the laws of thermodynamics!

Some argue that it negatively affects gut health but as the gut doesn’t have much involvement (there is nothing to be absorbed) this isn’t the case. Studies have only shown an impact with extreme consumption (we’re talking over 8 litres of diet drinks per day every day).

Some people are sensitive to some sweeteners (just as some people are sensitive to a range of foods) and obviously if it doesn’t agree with you then clearly don’t have them . But sweeteners can be a really helpful way to replace a calorie dense sugar with something of similar taste but no calories, so can really help aid fat loss.

So consuming them in moderation is perfectly ok!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Feel Fuller

Tuesday Tip: Feel Fuller 🥗

When you’re trying to lose fat/weight and therefore eating at a calorie deficit it can be hard to feel satisfied. You will naturally be eating less food and whilst it’s normal, and ok to be a little hungry it makes it very hard to stick to the calories if you’re starving all the time.

Now whilst I’m very much a fan of people eating whatever they want within their calories, there are also some smart ways to help you feel more satisfied with the calories you’re on.

One good way to do this is to increase the volume of food you consume. How can you do this when you’re trying to reduce calories? By increasing the amount of things like vegetable and some fruits (berries particularly) primarily. These high fibre, high volume but low calorie foods are brilliant at helping to keep you fuller for longer, without impacting your calories to any great extent. Swapping a proportion of the more calorie dense foods for veggies and fruits will help to do this. You can also use other low calorie foods that are high in protein to help as well – things like 0% greek yoghurt, lean meat/meat substitutes. In addition reducing liquid calories in for form of high calorie coffees, juices, sugary drinks and alcohol will also help.

Swapping snacks for those that are low cal and high volume is also another handy option – so swapping crisps for skinny popcorn or pop chips, or swapping a sweet treat for something like meringue or marshmallow. If you combine these latter options with some berries and a little greek yoghurt you have the perfect hunger busting snack!

Physiologically eating greater food volume will have a positive affect on your digestive system and associated hormones – you will feel fuller and more satisfied. The extra time it takes to both eat and digest the meal will help with this. Psychologically it feels much better to see a large plate of food in front of you so you don’t feel deprived.

And the other added bonus is you will be probably increasing your intake of other micronutrients in the process which can only be a good thing for general health and well being.

So remember eating fewer calories doesn’t mean you have to eat less food per se – the goal is to eat as much as you can volume-wise within those calories.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Evening snacking

Tuesday Tip: Evening snacking 🍪

A really common issue lots of us face is being ‘good’ all day but then falling off the wagon in the evenings and over eating. There are a number of reasons for this.

# Skipping meals/ v small meals – it’s tempting to skip brekkie or lunch, or make it v small. During the day you’re busy and it’s easier to get by on less cals as you have less time to think about it. The problem then is you’re so hungry by the evening that you lose control and overeat. Aim for balanced meals – including protein, fats and carbs. If brekkie doesn’t work for you that’s fine, but make sure your lunch is sufficient.

# Avoiding carbs – you avoid carbs in your main meals, but then what is it you end up snacking /overeating with in the evenings… carbs or those foods you’ve eliminated during the day. So stop cutting them out – include them in your day.

# Avoiding snacks – maybe you need to eat in between meals. If you’re up from 6am and not going to bed until 10 then the gaps between meals are probably going to be too long. Factor in snacks!

# Not enough protein or fibre. Both these nutrients help to keep you feeling satisfied.

# Erratic eating schedule – if your meal times vary a lot day to day you will find it harder to manage hunger and cravings. Aim for as consistent eating schedule as you can.

# Eating too fast / while distracted – pay attention to the food in front of you and to your own hunger/satiation signals. Slow it down!

# No plan – if you’re prone to evening snacking (I am!) then plan it in! Plan in a post dinner sofa snack!

# Habit – sometimes it just becomes a habit. Whilst hard to break it’s not importable. Try to introduce a different evening habit to help – eg a bath, reading, adult colouring books, knitting etc

# Boredom / emotional eating – this is obvs a much bigger topic but the first step is identifying it. Plan in some alternatives so if you recognise the boredom/emotional eating kicking in you already have a plan in place – distraction techniques (using your hands for other things – like knitting etc), go for a walk etc

So if evening snacking is something that tends to derail you just have a think if any of these reasons may be contributing towards it and then see if you can address them and ask me if you need any help!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Targeted Fat Loss Myth

Tuesday Tip: Targeted Fat Loss Myth 🔍

A common thing I hear from people is that they want to lose fat from one particular area, usually stomach, thighs, butt or arms. Often they’re trying to achieve this by focusing exercise on that area; so if it’s belly fat then lots of ab exercises, arms – loads of bicep and tricep work etc. You also see people advertising fat loss diets that will supposedly target the belly etc.

There’s just one problem: it’s impossible to target fat loss! Spot reduction (i.e. losing fat from specific areas) is a myth. You can’t magically lose fat from a specific body part just by doing exercises on that area. Our bodies can only lose fat from the entire body as a whole and where it comes off first is down to genetics and can’t be changed. Some people lose fat first from their thighs, others from their belly etc. No workout or exercise, or magic slimming drink can change this.

What does happen is that the muscles underneath get worked and get stronger, so when you do lose fat from that area you will look muscular/toned/ shapely etc. So ab exercises will target your abdominal muscles, but not the fat that sits above them. Recent studies confirm this and found that doing ab exercises had no effect on abdominal fat. Another study on professional tennis players looked at the impact on fat of the extra use of one arm and found no difference between the playing and non-playing arm.

So if you can’t spot reduce fat what do you do? You lose fat from your whole body! At some point the fat will also come off from the body part you wanted to lose fat from in the first place. Sadly you can’t influence when that happens. How do you lose body fat? By eating fewer calories or burning more calories (or a combo of the two) – all you need is a calorie deficit and you will lose fat. So you can stop those hundreds of sit-ups and focus on the food side of the equation instead!

Happy Tuesday 🤗