All Posts Tagged: sugar

Man with vice

Vices: what will you give up this February?

We’ve all got our vices.

Some of us consume too much sugar, some of us drink too much alcohol, while others don’t exercise enough. The good news is there is help.

Febfast is an initiative where you can call time-out on alcohol, sugar or another vice of your choice, to support disadvantaged young people in Australia.

It’s the perfect excuse to kick-start the year with some good health and good will!

So, what vices will you focus on this February?

1. I’m giving up sugar!

Too many pavlovas, ice creams and sweet treats over the festive season? Is it time for a sugar holiday?

The issue

A lot of our energy intake now comes from processed and packaged food and drinks, like cereal and soft drinks. They often contain lots of added sugar, which isn’t great for our diet.

While eating sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes – a chronic condition affecting over 1.7 million Australians.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to cut out the chocolate and cakes, and curb those cravings!

Some ideas to get you started: keep a food diary, check food labels before eating, swap soft drink for water, and up your intake of fresh fruit.

It’s also a good idea to chat to your doctor in Pascoe Vale before starting a diet. You could even make an appointment with Jessica Fuller, our accredited practising dietitian.

2. I’m giving up alcohol!

Are you ready for a break from the alcohol-drenched summer months and the over-indulgence of the silly season?

The issue

Alcohol is a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and the body. There is no safe level of drug use – it always carries some risk.

Some long-term effects of alcohol use include high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and sexual health problems.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to banish beer and bubbles!

Some ideas to get you started: catch up over a coffee instead of at the pub, be the designated driver when you go out with your friends, and keep track of the money you’re saving by not drinking.

If you’re a regular or heavy drinker, it can be dangerous to reduce or quit alcohol on your own.

Your GP can refer you to treatment such as detox, medication and even counselling to help manage withdrawal symptoms. You can also have a chat with one of our non-judgmental psychologists in Pascoe Vale, Julie Paschke and Jenny Ricketts

3. I’m giving up Netflix!

Do you find that the only exercise you do is reaching for the remote control? Is it time to give Netflix the flick?

The issue

When you have an inactive lifestyle, your health is affected in many ways. For example, you burn fewer calories (meaning you’re more likely to gain weight), you may lose muscle strength and endurance, your bones may get weaker, and your immune system may not work as well.

By not getting regular exercise, you raise your risk of things like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke – the list goes on.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to turn off the TV and get off the couch!

Some ideas to get you started: keep a diary of how many hours you’ve ‘saved’ by doing other activities, take the stairs instead of the lift, park your car a bit further away (forcing you to walk a little further), and give your dog two walks a day rather than one.

One of the best things you can do to get active – especially if you’re just starting out – is to have a chat with our exercise physiologist in Pascoe Vale, Mike Fitzsimon. Mike’s helpful approach will ensure you get that extra spring into your step.

Got any questions about your vices or don’t know where to start? Chat to your healthcare professional today.

 

Source: Febfast, MedlinePlus

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Dietitian Melbourne

Is sugar really that bad?

Sugar appears to be in all our food products nowadays.

It’s in obvious sources such as biscuits, soft drinks, chocolate and cakes to less obvious foods like tomato sauce, breakfast cereals and pasta sauce.

Sugar is continuing to build a bad reputation as a contributing factor to many health conditions, and rightly so.

We’re eating lots of processed food

Most of our energy intake is now coming from processed and packaged food and drinks, such as cereal and soft drinks, which may contain added sugar. More than half of Australians are eating more sugar than recommended.

You might be surprised at how many of our food products contain added sugar – even the ones that don’t necessarily taste sweet! And food that is marketed as health food is often packed full of sugar.

Moderate your sugar intake (especially if you have diabetes)

While everyone should be moderating their sugar intake, it’s particularly true for those who are managing diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels as a result of an issue with the hormone insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin, while Type 2 diabetes is where the body is resistant to insulin.

If diabetes is not controlled, blood sugar levels rise. This can cause numerous long-term complications including nerve and blood vessel damage, vision impairment, kidney disease and heart disease.

While eating sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it can lead to gaining weight if eaten in excess, and obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

Pay attention to carbohydrates

Sugar, and carbohydrates in general, are particularly important when managing diabetes.

One of the biggest impacts on our blood sugar levels is what we eat, especially carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, noodles, potato, biscuits, legumes, fruit, cakes etc).

All carbohydrate foods will be broken down into sugar (the simplest form of carbohydrate) in the body once it is consumed, no matter the type of carbohydrate.

Dietitian Pascoe Vale

Once the food is broken down into sugar, it’s absorbed into our blood stream. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on how much sugar and carbohydrates you are eating overall.

Stick to small portions (½-1 cup cooked) of carbohydrate foods at each meal and watch for any extra treats in between meals.

High GI vs low GI

Carbohydrate foods that are higher in simple sugars and low in fibre (white bread, biscuits, soft drink) will have a larger, negative impact on blood sugar levels.

These types of foods are usually referred to as high GI (glycaemic index) and lead to large spikes in blood sugar levels and poorer blood sugar control.

Carbohydrates that contain more fibre and less simple sugars (wholegrain bread, quinoa, legumes) are referred to as low GI, and will not result in large spikes of blood sugar levels.

These are much better choices for blood sugar control. It’s best to eat mainly low GI carbohydrates whenever possible.

Aim for a healthy diet

A healthy diet will lower your diabetes risk or help you to manage the condition better.

Watch portion sizes, opt for plenty of vegetables, include moderate amounts of low GI wholegrains, fruits, healthy fats and lean proteins.

You can still include treats but try to limit portion size and frequency to special occasions!

Got any questions about diabetes? Need help with your diet? Book an appointment with our in-house dietitian in Pascoe Vale today.

 

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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