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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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The Facts about Fibre

The Facts about Fibre

Health
For a lot of us, fibre is thought of as that cardboard-tasting powder your nanna sprinkles on her cereal, or wholemeal bread your dad tried to make you eat as a kid. It is well known that fibre is good for you, but it is poorly understood why. Yes, it has something to do with the bowels, and yes, it comes from whole grains, fruit and veg. Let’s try to deepen our understanding of fibre, past the basics. What is Fibre? Fibre is a carbohydrate. It consists of long strands of glucose, arranged in a way that the body’s digestive enzymes are unable to break down. Fibres’ resistance to digestion is due to how to it is organised in the grain, or, the way glucose is chemically bonded to itself.…
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The Obesity Crisis: A Blame Game

The Obesity Crisis: A Blame Game

Health
Obesity and overweight prevalence is higher than ever. With this, an alarming increase in chronic diseases has been observed. While the obesity crisis is common knowledge, what is less obvious are the underlying factors. A popular belief about obesity is that the individual is solely responsible for their disease. It’s their own fault they’re fat. This belief stems from what public health professionals are calling weight stigma/bias; the social phenomenon where overweight and obese individuals are perceived as disgusting, gluttonous and with a dire lack of self control. No one forced them to eat that McValue meal, or to choose white bread over wholemeal at the supermarket. They’ve got no one to blame but themselves, right? Well, no. Not exactly. The obesogenic environment is emerging as a new model that…
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Train Hard, Smart or Specific

Train Hard, Smart or Specific

Sports
Calling all marathon runners, long distance swimmers and other endurance athletes! For a long time, high carbohydrate consumption and blanket recommendations have been part of endurance sports nutrition practice. However, recent research has shown we need to think more carefully about the way we prescribe carbohydrates to endurance athletes. Train Hard We’ve all heard of carb loading- filling up on pasta and bread before a big race or competition. Carb loading and other standard carbohydrate recommendations are centred around providing adequate fuel for training. The purpose of carbohydrate loading, before training or competition, is to increase muscle glycogen stores, which, fuel exercise. Glycogen, however, is a fleeting source and once it runs out, we ‘hit the wall’. This is when the body is forced to switch from primarily carbohydrate fuel…
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DASH-ing Towards Better Health

DASH-ing Towards Better Health

Health
It’s not uncommon to arrive at your late forties and have the doc tell you you’re hypertensive. For many, the pressure of kids and a mortgage, accompanied by a lack of time for exercise, and the convenience of maccas drive through, is enough to make blood pressure soar. When this lifestyle eventually culminates in hypertension, it’s time to have a long hard think about how to improve your health and bring that blood pressure back down. This is where the DASH diet comes in. It’s not easy and it’s not as fast as the name suggests, but hypertension is a huge risk factor for heart attack and stroke. So, if you want to live a long and happy life, read on! DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. The…
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