So what’s the skinny with FATs?

So what’s the skinny on FAT?

So now the experts are telling us that the national guidelines issued back in 77 and 83 warning us to reduce our fat consumption in order to avoid heart disease should not have been issued due to lack of actual supporting evidence.

There are still those out there who argue that fat is bad and leads to obesity but statistics show that despite the fact that we have cut the proportion of fat in our diets by 6% over the last 30 years obesity rates have trebled over the same period. The fact is that we have replaced the healthy fats with not so healthy carbohydrates and this is what has led to increased waistlines …but that is another story. Let’s get back to fat.

So some FAT related questions and answers that some of my clients have asked and that you may be wondering about…
So why should I eat fat?

Fat is an essential part of your diet. It is a structurally integral part of every single ell membrane in our bodies, every single cell for every single function. lt provides our bodies with insulation and our organs with protection. It also provides us with energy, boosts our immune system and it makes our food more tasty.
What’s the difference between SATURATED, UNSATURATED and TRANS fats?

Saturated fats are commonly known as hard fats that usually come from animal source, dairy and eggs. These are the fats that were regarded as bad, with dietary guidelines recommending that they take up no more than 10% of your of your diet. One of the key reasons was because it raises LDL (bad) cholesterol. But it turns out that it also raises HDL (good) cholesterol so the effects on HDL and LDL cancel each other out. Experts are now challenging this “bad fat” label and the dietary guidelines. Note, saturated fats are still high in calories so overindulging in cheese, eggs and butter will increase your weight.

Unsaturated fats are commonly found in the form of oils. More often than not they come from plants such as seeds but they also come from fish. These fats can be further divided into polyunsaturated (fish, nuts, oils) and monounsaturated (olive oil)

Trans fats that have been manufactured. Basically healthy unsaturated fats are hydrogenated to change the chemical structure and produce more “desirable” properties such as longer life shelf. Among other negative things, trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. Recent studies show a definite link between trans fat and accelerated risk of heart disease. Trans fats should be avoided.
Are low fat foods the best option low fat foods?

The fats are simply removed and replaced with SUGAR and SWEETENERS. Sugar and sweeteners cause INSULIN levels to rise and this leads to storage. So low fat foods are not a good option.
But doesn’t fat have double the calories of Carbs or Protein?

This is true but nature generally packages good fat with protein such as meat, fish and eggs. This combination makes us feel fuller for longer as protein provides high satiety or a feeling of fullness. When food has been manufactured, then fat is more likely to be combined with refined carbs and processed sugars such as french fries or doughnuts. Those combination leads to low satiety or appetite satisfaction which of course leads to snacking and craving, and this in tandem with high calories.
But surely fat intake leads to fat storage

No, carbs lead to fat storage. Very simply, when we eat carbs, our blood sugar levels rise, insulin is then released to remove the excess sugar from our blood. Insulin will store that extra sugar first as glycogen (to be used later) or fat, once glycogen stores are full. Carbs or sugar mobilise insulin, not fat !
So in summary

FAT does not make you FAT, SUGAR makes you FAT!

I hope I’ve answered some questions but don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or would like to know more about the importance and effects of fat, carbohydrates or protein in your diet.shutterstock_213656857

So another New Year , and this time I WILL achieve all of my dreams…honest!

I wonder if I am the only one who woke up on the first of January, with lots of great ideas, good intentions and an absolute foolproof plan for my work and personal life, a plan that will this time completely deliver all of my dreams.

Well, it’s only the 10th January and I’m already behind schedule  grrrr!!!…so much for new beginnings and well laid plans…however I am now on it and I still have more than 11 months to complete my list so I am going to beat myself up ….well not yet anyway ….

One of the things that I had planned was a much bigger push on my own training as well as working with my clients but if I am completely honest it took me a while to get back in the gym even though I knew that when I finally got there it would make me feel great. It took me several days to find my mojo but I finally found it and now there is not stopping me. Isn’t it funny how we stop ourselves from doing the things that we know are good for us, even when we enjoy those things.

Anyway I’m now completely absorbed in the fitness industry and I am absolutely loving it but I do find some of the things I see quite contradictory.
Some things are quiet amusing, for example right now of course so many people are embarking on new fitness journeys and motivations are so varied. Of course, many people go to the gym because they feel unfit and they want to get healthy or they want to lose weight. For a few people though its more about aesthetics. There is nothing wrong with that but it is quite interesting to see some of the methods people take to achieve the healthy body beautiful. For example, people will take steroids or lots of supplements…for every person who chugs down protein drinks and supplements there will be another who swears blind that you can get all the nourishment you need from REAL FOOD and that actually ingesting anything that is processed is unhealthy. If you have ever competed in a body building competition you will know all about reducing your water intake to trace amounts in your last week of preparation and the benefits of drinking red wine before you actually compete! Then of course you have the muscle heads who can lift all day long but cannot run up a flight of stairs without doubling over or the cardio enthusiasts who struggle to bench a fifth of their bodyweight .

Other things are more concerning though. I have a client with a BMI of over 40 and her GP referred her, not to an exercise specialist or a nutritionist but to a weight loss group who’s focus is counting calories, excluding food groups and buying “special” foods… mmhhh. Now I am not dissing those kind of groups as I do think that they do some good work and there are lots of benefits to attending such groups but I think that we all know that in order to lose weight and keep it off, we need to change our lifestyles and learn new habits that we can sustain, rather than embark on a “diet” which at some point we will come off and then of course put the weight back on.
Also there is so much in the news and on the TV at the moment about the growing obesity crisis, obese people claiming disability, obese people not working. On the TV in one week you can watch Fat Surgeons, Fat Families, Shut Ins- Britains Fattest People , Embarrassing Fat Bodies, Weighing Up The Enemy. I Used To Be Fat, My 600b life, Benefits – Too Fat To Work…and I know that the list goes on…but where are the programmes about nutrition, healthy eating, healthy lifestyles. Lots of adverts about fast food, ready meals and alcohol but what about real healthy economical, easily accessible and practical food?
There is so much scaremongering but not enough real help or advice. I know that some will start muttering about a nanny state but I think that it is surprising how little people do know about real food and also there is a lot of misleading information out there.
Anyway I had better get off my soap box as this was only supposed to be a short, happy new year blog. Next time I will actually talk about some of the misleading dietary information out there especially when you look at the national strategies for obesity and diabetes but now will shut up, wish you all a great new year and speak soon.

Take care

Fat or carbs, cardio or strength: an enigmatic riddle wrapped in mystery!

Over the last few days I have had several conversations with people who are thinking about embarking on a weight loss journey and are confused about lots of things. Subjects that keep coming up are whether one should reduce carbs or fat for weight loss, the impact of slimming clubs and “special” low fat food,   whether one should do cardio or strength training, which is  better for weight loss…

There are so many myths, misleading instructions, conflicting advice. It’s a minefield out there. I would say that unless you have a specific goal like body building, power lifting or entering physique comps you should keep it simple and this is especially true if you are a beginner to exercise or embarking on a new healthy regime.

So fat or carbs? Well the simple answer is that a reduction of carbs is more effective than reducing fat but only a small reduction is required and one should concentrate more on the  source or the carbohydrate rather than the quantity, lentils, beans etc rather than cake, biscuits, white bread. Carbs are essential though as they are your main source of energy so don’t cut them out PLEASE.  For more on food and weight loss

So Cardio or Strength training?  Cardio will get your heart racing, will make you sweat and will improve your health and fitness. Strength training will help your muscles become stronger and more powerful and ultimately is a more efficient way to lose weight as this type of training will increase your muscle mass and the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn.

If you are new to exercise then I would always recommend cardio as an introduction. It gets you fit, your heart will be stronger and ultimately cardio will prepare you to work at a higher intensity but I would introduce strength training as soon as whether this is with weights or your own body weight. If you need to lose weight then you need to do strength training. For more on the benefits of exercise click

Oh, and just to reiterate if you are female and wanting to get “toned”,  you will not get bulky by lifting dumbbells, I promise you that…dumbbells alone will not make you big so get lifting!