Fighting Obesity with Food

Fighting Obesity with Food

Health
Too much food makes us fat. By this logic, it makes sense to combat obesity with less food. While this simplistic energy in, energy out algorithm has driven weight loss diets for many years, perhaps there are more sophisticated ways to address weight loss. It’s not just the amount of food we eat, but the type. Research suggests some foods assist in weight loss, more so than others. Brown Adipose Tissue Thermogenesis refers to the energy our bodies expend, due to the food we eat. It can be broken down into two main categories; adaptive and obligatory. Obligatory energy losses are those used for gut movement, nutrient absorption and other activities necessary to digestion. These energy losses cannot be modified to any great extent. Adaptive energy losses are of more…
Read More
The Diabetes Epidemic

The Diabetes Epidemic

Health
  Diabetes is a chronic disease taking our world by storm. There is an estimated 1.2 million Australians diagnosed with diabetes. Of this 1.2 million, most are diagnosed with preventable type 2 diabetes. How much trouble are we really in? What can we do to change course, off this bleak path? Understanding Diabetes Diabetes comes in 3 varieties; type 2, type 1 and gestational. They all have one thing in common- high blood glucose levels (BGL). What is different between the 3 types, is how they progress, why they occur and how they are treated. Type 2 Diabetes Despite largely being preventable, type 2 diabetes dominates the diabetes scene. It is often the result of unhealthy eating and physical inactivity. This lifestyle results in high BGL, which puts pressure on…
Read More
Crazy About Curcumin

Crazy About Curcumin

Health
If you’ve ever seen bright orange turmeric lattes on Instagram and wondered what all the fuss I about, read on! Curcumin is a valuable phytonutrient within turmeric. While its food sources are limited, it can be found in a myriad of bottled forms. As a pill, or in the form of food, what are the benefits of consuming curcumin? The Benefits Curcumin is found to decrease systemic inflammation. This can help in the reduction of almost all obesity related co-morbidities including cancer, diabetes, hypertension and liver damage. It deactivates a signalling molecule known as Nf-Kappa-B (NfKB). NfKB modulates gene expression of inflammatory cytokines. By inhibiting this molecule, curcumin inhibits the production of cytokines. Hence, reducing inflammation. Curcumin is also an anti-oxidant. This means it helps naturalise the harmful reactive species…
Read More
Hungry for Health

Hungry for Health

Health
  I love my food. And I hate being hungry. In fact, I don’t get hungry, I get hangry (any one of my friends will tell you). The benefits of fasting have to be pretty darn spectacular for me to even consider giving it a go. After some research, I was pretty impressed with what I found and I’m shocked to say, that even I, a hunger hater, would consider going hungry for health. Helpful Hunger In the 1930’s the American Great Depression saw severe drought and food restriction. During this time, the average life expectancy (unexpectedly) increased by 6 years! Nowadays, westerners can go a lifetime without experiencing true hunger and life expectancy (for the first time in history) is going down. This pushes the question; are these two…
Read More
The GM Debate

The GM Debate

Health
With Blade Runner being re-hashed on the Hollywood scene, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about genetic manipulation lately. Although it doesn’t have quiet the same sci-fi flare, food genetic manipulation is still a pretty exciting area. Not too long ago, genetic manipulation was a thing of the future. Now, it’s here (or at least it will be soon)! The technology is astounding and pretty much the only thing standing in it’s way is a hugely complex ethical debate. This debate is so multi-faceted and filled with so much potential, that I couldn’t dream of summarising it in one piece of writing. Here, are just a few ideas being thrown around, that I think are important for everyone to understand and are especially relevant to my passion, food. The Possibilities…
Read More
Health in Flames

Health in Flames

Health
There are two types of inflammation; acute and systemic. Acute inflammation is what you experience with a headache, wound or back pain. Popping an anti-inflammatory will help you out with this. Systemic inflammation on the other hand, is going to need a hell of a lot more than a few Neurofen to rectify. What Is Systemic Inflammation? Systemic inflammation is described as elevated circulating cytokines, which are molecules secreted by cells that have a biological function. These nasty little molecules wreak havoc on the body by promoting oxidative stress, reducing insulin sensitivity and other negative functions. Systemic inflammation is a silent killer that parallels obesity and is a common denominator of its co-morbidities, of which include hypertension, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and liver disease. The Long Run You may…
Read More
Measuring up Your Genes

Measuring up Your Genes

Health
The term ‘genetics’ conjures images of double helix DNA, lab coats and the study of inheritance. Nutrition and genetics are two things we generally don’t associate. However, the field of nutritional genomics has boomed over the past half-decade. Here’s what you need to know! Nutritional genomics is a broad term that describes the relationship between many bioactive food constituents (those having an effect in the body through genes) and many physiological and biological processes. The study of nutritional genomics is so overwhelmingly complex, that to fully understand it, we must break it down into 3 smaller, easier to digest, subcategories. These are; nutritional epigenetics, nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics. Nutritional Epigenetics The most iconic example of nutritional epigenetics is the Dutch famine. The Dutch famine describes a cohort born in 1945-46 to…
Read More
Eat Food: It’s Really That Simple

Eat Food: It’s Really That Simple

Health
Nutritionism is a term used to describe the reductionist approach to nutrition. Nutritionism is when we forget we are eating food. How on earth could we be forgetting we are eating food?! As bizarre as it seems, nutritionism is very much so prevalent in the western culture and could be the root of a lot public health issues. Nutritionism defines food as the sum of its nutrients. When you eat an apple, you aren’t eating an apple. You are eating fibre, vitamin A, phytonutrients and fructose. This obsession with defining food solely by their nutrient content is the essence of nutritionism. It is the removal of the context in which nutrients are consumed and can lead to a rather unhealthy and entirely distorted relationship with food. Where Did It All…
Read More
Nutraceuticals

Nutraceuticals

Health
The field of nutrition is forever evolving and new findings are surfacing all the time. One interesting development of late is nutraceuticals. If you haven’t heard the term before, do not fear. This article will take you through everything you need to know. What are Nutraceuticals? We all know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, and most people can understand that this is due to their high vitamin and mineral content. What is less known, is that these foods are high in a third group of nutrients called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, or bioactive substances, are a diverse group of chemical compounds that have a role in maintaining our health. Each of the thousands of phytochemicals that exist, are unique and have an individual role in the body. They can participate in…
Read More
Just Add Water

Just Add Water

Health
Bland, boring old water. Taste like nothing, doesn’t look anything special, and doesn’t really do anything sitting in your cup. Once it’s in your body, however, there is nothing boring about it! The body is made up of about 55% water by weight and you better make sure you get enough of it. Here’s why… What does water do? Water has a myriad of functions in the body, one of the most important ones, is in the blood. A large fraction of blood is made up of water and without it, blood wouldn’t be able to do all the important things you want it to do. Such as, transport oxygen and nutrients around your body, so that you can run, jump, play, and breathe! Water is also heavily involved in…
Read More