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Unscrambling the Myths Around Eggs & Cholesterol

September 28, 2012

Many people are still of the belief that eggs are bad for their cholesterol & should be avoided at all costs if they want to keep their heart healthy. This theory is a few decades out of date now as research has since repositioned the egg as a healthy food that is not only good for heart health but also can help with weight loss. These benefits are now well established in the scientific community. Bruce Griffin, of the University of Surrey, a professor of nutritional metabolism, has recently analysed 30 egg studies carried out over 30 years & has found that eggs ‘have no clinically significant impact’ on cholesterol levels1.

At the beginning of August a Canadian study2 was published that attempted to smash eggs reputation as a health giving food. The unfortunate thing is that alarmistic news makes the front page & sells regardless of the quality of the research. This was the case for this study leading to confusion once again amongst the health conscious.

The study involved 1,200 subjects with an average age of 61. Researchers conclude that a build-up of arterial plaque (linked to cardiovascular disease) was greater in people who ate at least 2 eggs per week. The researchers then went on to blame egg yolks for this effect.

On closer inspection what we see is that this study is flawed in a number of ways. Although it is a nutritional exploration, the researchers did not take the diet or lifestyle of subjects into account at all. The other key point is that arterial plaque will rise in anyone over the age of 40.

The Department of Health still says that we can eat as many eggs as we like, as long as they form part of a balanced, healthy diet. The only exception to this rule would be in a person with inherited high cholesterol.

 

There are plenty of other studies that demonstrate that adults can enjoy one or two eggs a day and that there are benefits to be had…

…decrease in blood pressure

A 2007 study showed that eating one or two eggs a day may actually be associated with a decrease in blood pressure3.

…no impact on blood cholesterol

A 2005 study showed that adding two eggs a day to a healthful diet did not significantly increase blood cholesterol levels in those with normal or even moderately elevated blood cholesterol levels4.

…no impact on heart disease risk

A 1999 Harvard University study on 100,000 men and women found no significant difference in heart disease risk between healthy adults who ate less than one egg a week and those who ate more than one egg a day5.

…full of potent antioxidants

In 2011 scientists noted that 2 raw egg yolks have almost twice as many antioxidants as an apple. Frying or boiling reduced antioxidant levels by about half6.

…assists with weight loss

In one study, overweight women had eggs or a bagel for breakfast. Those that consumed eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories in the following 24 hours. Researchers put the positive effects down to the satiating effects of egg protein on appetite7.

 

The main message to take from all this is that some foods do contain a component called ‘dietary cholesterol’ including liver, kidneys, eggs & prawns. For this reason these foods have got a bad rap over the last few decades with the assumption being that these ‘dietary cholesterol’ molecules must directly go into the blood stream. What research shows is that this ‘dietary cholesterol’ has NO EFFECT on the level of cholesterol in our blood. This cholesterol is completely unrelated. What we really want to watch out for is SATURATED & TRANS FATS (from margarine, fatty meat, hard cheese, cakes & biscuits) as this is what will lead to high blood cholesterol levels indicating that our cardiovascular system is in a state of stress.

Let’s change the old adage to ‘an egg a day keeps the doctor away’.

 

References:

  1. Gray J and Griffin B. Eggs and dietary cholesterol – dispelling the myth. Nutrition Bulletin. 2009; 34: 66-70.
  2. Spence D et al. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atheroslerosis. 2012; 224 (2): 469-473.
  3. Qureshi A, et al. Regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke or cardiovascular diseases. Medical Science Monitor. 2007; 13(1): CR1-8.
  4. Katz DL, et al. Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Int J Cardiol. 2005; 99: 65-70.
  5. Hu FB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999; 281: 1387-94.
  6. Nimalaratne C et al. Free aromatic amino acids in egg yolk show antioxidant properties. Food Chemistry. 2011; 129 (1): 155–161.
  7. Vander Wall JS et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008; 32(10): 1545-51.

 

If you are concerned about your cholesterol & would like a consultation to put together a personalised nutrition programme to meet your needs, please call us now on 0845 0502442

 

Lifestyle Tips for an ‘Apple’ Shaped Waist-line

July 6, 2012

Exercise

One mistake that people make when their adrenals are stressed is doing far too much cardiovascular exercise thinking that this is what is needed to melt away that fat around the middle. Working the heart is good but it does not necessarily need to be high intensity. Working in a fat burning mode by monitoring the pulse rate can be much more effective that pushing yourself excessively on the treadmill or cross-trainer. Interval style training is a great idea as your body does not get a chance to become efficient & use less energy in response to repetitive exercise.

Resistance training is also very important with fat around the middle as the more metabolically active tissue we create in the body the better as more muscle equals more calorie & therefore fat burning.

 
Stress management

With ‘apple’ shaped weight gain, nothing is more important in your weight loss than stress management. The more things you can do to reduce the release of adrenaline & cortisol in your body the better. This means adopting ultimate self care & starting to put yourself first – you might consider:

- Earlier bed times

- Reducing the hours you work

- Delegating tasks

- Learning some relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, yoga

- Taking time out to eat your food instead of doing so in a stressed state at your desk

- Don’t forget to have fun, laugh & spend time with your friends – the best stress buster available to you.

 

If you’re wondering if your weight is being affected by the stress hormone cortisol & adrenal stress give us a call on 0845 0502 442 for further investigation & solutions.

 

 

7 Diet Tips for an ‘Apple’ Shaped Waist-line

July 2, 2012

1. Don’t diet – just eat healthily - Calorie & fat restricted diet can cause unnecessary stress to the body by giving it signals that there is a famine. This stress can slow the metabolism & lead to fat storage. Unbalanced blood sugar levels common with restrictive diets can also lead to fat storage due to the effects of insulin.

2. Regular eating habits (food about every 3 hours) will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. This will prevent cravings for sweet & caffeinated foods both of which can lead to instabilities in blood sugar levels & increased fat storage. I recommend 3 main meals & 2 healthy snacks daily.

3. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day – skipping it can confuse the body into famine / fat storage mode.

4. Avoid refined carbohydrates & sugar rich foods as they are very stimulating to your blood sugar levels. What goes up quickly, comes down very quickly & the body often has to release adrenaline & cortisol to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal again. Either this or you get the urge to eat more sweet refined food soon afterwards.

5. Avoid big carbohydrates after 6pm (e.g. pasta, rice & bread) – it is unlikely that you will burn the energy off from these foods in the evening & this excess energy can be redeposited as fat.

6. Have protein with each meal & snack. It slows down the rate at which food is digested therefore it controls insulin levels & increases glucagon which encourages the body to burn fat for energy.

7. Essential fatty acids such as omega 3, 6, & 9 can also slow the release of energy from carbohydrates as well as boosting your metabolism & making you less insulin resistant.

 

For advice tailored to you & your individual needs, call for a free 15 minute, no commitment, health check today to see how we can assist you with your health goals. Call now on 0845 0502 442.

 

 

‘Apple’ shaped waist line – an adrenal issue

June 29, 2012

An ‘apple’ shaped waist is a sign of an imbalanced, sluggish metabolism. This is not therefore as simple as just a dietary issue & going on a diet is not going to be the solution to shifting this type of weight gain. This type of weight gain requires a much more technical approach as it is necessary to change the biochemistry of the body, this way the body gets the signal that it is ok to let go of the fat around the midriff.

The main reason why people aquire an ‘apple’ waist line is thanks to the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released along with adrenaline by the adrenal glands (stress glands found close to the kidneys) when the brain thinks there is a threat / stressful situation. For prehistoric man the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism was invaluable in saving them from danger & attack by wild animals. During ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline increases alertness meaning man was ready to stand & fight, or run away as fast as they could. At the same time cortisol increases fat & glucose levels in the blood to provide the energy to deal with this dangerous situation.

These days this ‘fight or flight’ mechanism is exactly the same however now the problem lies in the fact that our brain has not evolved to differentiate between a life threatening situation where a lot of energy is needed & day to day stresses such as late trains, work deadlines, worrying about debt, & a never ending email inbox. Feeling stressed these days can be pretty constant which means we can have a regular flow of cortisol releasing extra fat & glucose into our blood stream. Because our day to day stress is often not physical & we do not use up this extra energy it can get redeposited as fat particularly around the midriff (close to the liver so that it can be reconverted back into energy when there is another stressful situation).

Also high cortisol levels lead to an increased appetite particularly for refined carbohydrates & fat rich foods. The aim of this mechanism is to be able to replenish the energy stores following running away or fighting for your life. Our stress mostly not being physical but mental these days means that if you give in to these urges this extra food intake will get redeposited in the same place as the fat deposits from cortisol – around the midriff.

 

If you’re wondering if your weight is being affected by the stress hormone cortisol & adrenal stress give us a call on 0845 0502 442 for further investigation & solutions.

 

 

Weight Loss Celebration Recipe: Heartache (Aubergine) Chocolate Cake

June 27, 2012

Taken from ‘Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache’ by Harry Eastwook a book full of gorgeous cakes with hidden vegetables

Be warned this cake is very rich!

 

Ingredients

2 small aubergines (weighing roughly 400g)

300g best dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids essential), broken into squares

50g good-quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting

60g ground almonds

3 medium free-range eggs

200g clear honey

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp brandy

 

You will need

A 23cm diameter x 7cm deep loose bottomed tin

A skewer

A microwave

A blender

 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade/350 F/gas mark 4. Line the tin with baking parchment and lightly brush the base and sides with a little oil

2. Cook the aubergines by puncturing the skins erratically here and there with a skewer, then placing them in a bowl covered with cling film. Microwave on high for 8 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and limp. Discard any water at the bottom. Leave the aubergines to stand in the bowl until they are cool enough to handle.

3. Skin aubergines and puree in a blender. Once smooth and warm add the chocolate and let it melt in slowly. Cover again with cling film and set aside until all chocolate has melted (not lumps).

4. Whisk all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the aubergine mixture. (this mix will be thick, don’t worry)

5.  Pour the mixture into the tin, place in the bottom of the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven. Let it cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack and peeling off the parchment. Quickly turn it the right way up and sit on a plate to avoid scars from the rack.

7. Sieve a little cocoa powder over the top of the cake before cutting.

 

Tips

If you don’t have a microwave peel and cube the aubergines and cook them with a tiny splash of water on the hob. Discard water before whizzing.

Make sure the aubergine has definitely melted the chocolate. This may require putting the aubergines back into the microwave for 30 seconds to make sure they are warm enough.

Be careful to unmould the cake when cool not warm as it is very delicate

 

Celebration Tips

June 25, 2012

1. Don’t try out a brand new recipe if you have loads of people round for a celebration – practice first or you can put yourself under a lot of pressure

 
2. Don’t see a celebration meal as the thin end of the wedge and then use it as an excuse to keep eating more than you normally do!

 
3. Don’t let drinking get out of hand at a celebration or you could just eat more than you planned

 
4. You can still make good choices at a celebration – you don’t have to eat everything

 
5. Enjoy yourself – never feel guilty about food!

 

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