Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous

Body Composition, Health
Nothing beats winding down from a long work day with a few cold ones. Or enjoying a glass of wine with friends. Or two. Or three. For most of us, alcohol is a relaxing and fun habit. For many, however, alcohol is an out of control problem which is unhealthier than you may realise. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks per day to reduce the risk of alcohol related disease and injury. For some, meeting these guidelines is a struggle as they fight the temptation to order ‘just one more round’. Considerable over-indulging on a regular basis leads to a variety of health issues including malnutrition and liver failure. Drunken hazy nights suddenly don’t seem so fun. I know vodka is made from potato, and…
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The Price We Pay for Supplements

The Price We Pay for Supplements

Health
Vitamin and mineral supplements are marketed as an investment in your health, but, dig a little deeper and you might find they are actually a waste of your hard earned money. Companies such as Blackmore’s, Nature’s Way, Centrum and Swisse use celebrity endorsements to make millions each year selling vitamin and mineral supplements that claim to improve everything from hair, skin and nails to memory and focus. However, rarely do you see a dietitian’s tick of approval on these products. Turns out, there is a good reason for this. Research shows, that unless an individual is deficient in a particular nutrient, supplementation is unnecessary and, in some cases, can be harmful to health. Nutrient deficiency can come about in a variety of ways. For example, in the case of restrictive…
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An Inconvenient Truth Hard to Swallow

An Inconvenient Truth Hard to Swallow

Health
There is no doubt our food environment has a huge influence on our health and wellbeing. While the issue of overconsuming our favourite junk or discretionary foods and beverages (like sugary drinks, deep-fried fatty foods and pastries) has literally become a taxing debate in the public health world, fixing the food environment around us is not something we as everyday consumers often give much food for thought. In an ideal world, we would all be frequently enjoying an abundance of fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce, and less highly-processed foods which we know has lost most of its nutritional integrity – in a nutshell we’d be following what is sensibly suggested in The Australian Dietary Guidelines [1]. However, we as a nation are unfortunately not even close to making this a…
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Three Mind Hacks that will help you stick to your diet goals

Three Mind Hacks that will help you stick to your diet goals

Health
Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to stick to healthy eating despite having the motivation and knowledge? You may have read countless nutrition articles, stocked your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables and follow every food blog under the sun. Yet, for some reason, you can’t quite align your actions with your diet goals. Why is this and what can we do about it? This article explores the impact that willpower has on our ability to overcome temptation and outlines three simple, yet effective strategies we can use to increase our willpower. What is willpower and what causes it to fail? Willpower is the ability to delay gratification by exerting control over our behaviour. Anyone who has tried to stick to a diet will be familiar with the…
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What you need to know about going vegan

What you need to know about going vegan

Health
  There is a plethora of reasons why people might choose veganism – for the environment, for their health or just because it’s the latest trend. In any case, it is important to understand the pro’s and con’s of going vegan. So, if you are vegan, or have ever thought about going vegan, read on! What is Veganism? For those of you who don’t know, veganism is the complete avoidance of animal products such as dairy, eggs and meat. A less obvious example of an animal product is jelly beans, which are sometimes coloured with insect blood! While not all are strict enough to avoid traces of insect blood in their candy, all vegans do run the risk of serious malnutrition if diet is not properly managed. The Cons Cobalamin…
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Thinking of going organic?

Thinking of going organic?

Health
  When we enter any shopping isle, we are confronted with many many different choices. One important decision to weigh up is whether to spend your hard earned cash on the organic range. The price difference between organic and conventional produce can be huge. For example, at Woolworths, Macro Organic Chicken Breast is $29.99 per kilo whereas the conventional range is less than half that at only $9 per kilo. Likewise, a dozen Elderbrook Farms Caged Eggs are $2.80 whereas Southern Highland Organic Eggs are almost triple that at $7.99 per dozen.   The organic options don’t stop there. Today you can purchase a range of organic produce from organic fruits, vegetables, bread, cereals…even makeup and body wash! How do you decide whether going organic is really worth the extra…
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Coconut Oil: Healthy or Hype?

Coconut Oil: Healthy or Hype?

Health
I recently walked into one of my favourite little boutiques on the Gold Coast, a destination notorious for it’s health-conscious, Lorna Jane-clad specimens, and came across a new product that, as a dietitian, made me roll my eyes… Coconut oil capsules. I must admit I picked the item up out of interest, as it was packaged in a trendy white shampoo container, with stylish typography slathered across the front (marketing that I’m sure a lot of people succumb to). “We all know the health benefits of coconut oil for healthy hair, skin and nails. Its good for the outside of your body as well as inside…” stated the label. Is it? Lets have a look at these claims and see if there’s any truth behind them… What is coconut oil…
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Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics and Prebiotics

GI Disorders, Health
  Did you know that we have 100 trillion bacteria living in our gut?! While that may leave you feeling a little squeamish, don’t fear! These little guys are on our side, they play important roles in many metabolic, nutritional, physiological and immunological processes which keep us healthy. This includes acting as a barrier to prevent “bad” bacteria from invading and causing illness, and producing nutrients that we can’t make ourselves (vitamin K, B12, folic acid, short chain fatty acids). There is continual evidence which suggests incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into our diet is beneficial for keeping a healthy balance of “good” gut bacteria. So what are probiotics and prebiotics?   Probiotics Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria or yeast) found in certain foods, which when consumed in adequate amounts are…
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Dietary changes for optimising fertility

Dietary changes for optimising fertility

Health
We all know preconception nutrition is vital for a healthy baby and your nutrition, right? Melanie McGrice, Accredited Practising Dietitian and author of ‘The Pregnancy Weight Plan’ outlines 3 key nutrients needed in your diet before you get the good news. So you’ve made the momentous decision to try for a baby! Be it your first, or fifth, it’s a good idea to get yourself prepared as early on as possible. Optimal nutrition is vital to ensuring that you and your partner have the best chance of getting pregnant and also setting up a foundation for a strong and healthy new addition. Food, nutrition and lifestyle choices are crucial for optimising your fertility. Let’s look at 3 key changes you may need to consider before you grow your family.  …
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Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements to Reduce Your Risk of Fractures?

Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements to Reduce Your Risk of Fractures?

Health
  To follow up on my previous post on calcium supplementation, this post will be on the effect that vitamin D supplementation has on fractures risk. The majority of our vitamin D comes from the sun and a small amount comes from our diet. Surprisingly, even though Australia is known for its sunny weather, approximately one third of Australians are deficient in vitamin D [1].   With the knowledge that vitamin D increases the effect of calcium, it is common sense to assume that it would reduce the risk of fractures. To make the assumption even stronger, vitamin D supplementation also leads to an increase in bone mineral density [2-3].   Although in theory vitamin D supplementation should reduce fractures risk, after going through every study in the past 20…
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