Powerful Protein

  
Protein is the building blocks of our muscles and no bodily function can happen without it. It keeps your cartilage, blood and bones healthy, while nourishing your hair, nails and skin. It enables our bodies to heal more efficiently – which is always a good thing when working out because as we workout we tear muscle fibres, thus protein helps repair these. A recommendation of taking protein within the hour after you workout is quite common and a lot of people get a quick hit with protein or whey shakes. I personally have never tried these, but I have come to find that they are very popular in the fitness world. 
Personally I prefer to try and source my protein through food. I’ve never tried protein products like shakes or bars, but there is still time yet 😉. Foods that are good sources of protein are as follows: 

Meat

Fish

Cheese 

Beans 

Lentils

Seeds

Yoghurt 

 Higher intake of protein can help aid in weight and fat loss if it is combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime. Here are a couple of snack ideas that are low in calories, but high in protein;

Hard boiled egg

Almonds 

Pistachios 

Sunflower seeds 

Thin slices of cheese 

Protein is said to keep you fuller for longer, so if you have a diet that is high in protein, you should snack less.  

 I personally think that like with all other diet advice, for me balance is key. I do think protein has its place in fitness, but for a regular person like myself trying to lose weight and feel better, I think I need to find the right balance incorporating everything, before I trial a high protein diet, which I actually have done, so now that I am looking to tone up more, I may embark on this fairly soon. I will keep you up to date on my progress and how I find trying a higher protein intake including bars (I don’t think I’ll try the shakes as I’m not a fan of milkshakes etc anyway, so don’t think I would like it.. I know I’m weird! Who doesn’t like milkshakes you’re probably wondering?! Haha me that’s who!) 

Whatever regime and plan works for you is what’s best to do 👍  
 
Healthfoodtips ☺️

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Uk Sugar Tax Debate

Sugar Tax

 

This is one of the hottest topics in the news in the Uk right now and if like me you have an interest in health and well being, you have been listening intently to the debate for the past week or so. I thought I would give my opinion on this topic, as it is one of the items in the news where I actually have a strong opinion towards it.  
Jamie Oliver has urged the Uk government to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, to help tackle the growing problem in this country of childhood obesity and, quite surprisingly, was met with resistance to this move by ministers. David Cameron has also been reported as saying that there are more effective ways to tackle the obesity problem in the UK… I am sure there are Mr Cameron, but surely making something so unhealthy with hidden calories and sugar would be a step in the right direction? Is it just me who thinks that is not a valid argument to stop this tax from being introduced? 

The fact that sugary drinks are being targeted has been made clear by Jamie Oliver, in that unlike a chocolate bar or a sugary sweet, fizzy drinks have more sugar in them than people realise and, in my opinion, so much sugar in a drink is just empty calories, considering it is being drunk alongside whatever you are taking in through food. 

A few of the problems with sugar are set out below;

• There has been growing concern about the damaging impact of sugar on health – from the state of people’s teeth to type-2 diabetes and obesity

• Like I mentioned above, sugar has been branded “empty calories” because it has no nutritional benefit

• Government advisers recommend no more than 5% of daily calories should come from sugar. That is about 1oz (25g; six or seven teaspoons) for an adult of normal weight every day. For children, it is slightly less

• The limits apply to all sugars added to food, as well as sugar naturally present in syrups and honey

• To put all of this into context, a typical can of fizzy, sugary drink contains about nine teaspoons of sugar – 9?!!!! This is the amount that a grown man should not go over, so I definitely would not want kids taking in that amount or (most likely) more per day! Bearing in mind that is in just one can… ONE!… add in sugar from diet along with that and you can see how making this less accessible would be a good start! 

Below is a rough guide as to what the content of sugar in a can of fizzy drink compares to other items 

  
The government claim they have a strategy to tackle childhood obesity and will publish this in the new year. I think it will be fairly interesting to see how they plan to tackle this issue, after practically shooting down a good idea for a step in the right direction. In my opinion they need to be more forward with their methods and not to be scared of these huge companies. 

Jamie Oliver is quoted as saying that the government need to be “big and bold” and I completely agree with him here. The companies that, in Mr Oliver’s words, “are causing us ill health” have too much of a hold on the government and its time that they were put in their place! They don’t run this country!

Jamie Oliver is actually leading by example and has introduced, in his own restaurants, a levy of 10p on soft drinks with added sugar and is putting the extra money made from these drinks into a charity that directly funds food education for children and similar health initiatives. This Children’s Health Fund, as Jamie and his team have named it, will be supported and administered by the charity Sustain (Formed in 1999, Sustain is the alliance for better food and farming). 

If you want to learn more about Jamie’s approach and project, then follow the link below. 

http://www.jamieoliver.com/sugar-rush/#lQZfmrVTHBPo158T.99

I personally admire Jamie Oliver for taking a stand against something that is so big and will undoubtedly make him a target for people who are against it etc, because without someone publically presenting the facts like this, then nothing would continue to be done and this health report could have remained hidden. By turning this into a nationwide debate he has single handedly got everyone talking about this issue and taking a look at what they are putting into their bodies. 

I am definitely for this sugar tax and think it would be a welcome change in the laws surrounding our food and health, and pointing us in the right direction towards becoming a healthier nation. 

  

Carbohydrates – Good or Bad? 

Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients everyone keeps a track of when undertaking a health and fitness regime of lifestyle. They normally have a bad reputation related to weight gain, but they aren’t always bad and are actually important to your health and because of their benefits to our health, have a rightful place in our diets. 

  
There are three main types of carbohydrates:

  • Sugar – including fruit sugars, milk sugars and table sugar
  • Starch – this is a specific type of carbohydrate called “complex carbohydrate”
  • Fibre – this is also a complex carbohydrate 
  •   

Carbohydrates have numerous benefits and here are some listed below: 

  • They are our main source of energy. The sugars and starch are broken down and then absorbed into your blood stream, forming glucose, which is used as your body for energy. 
  • They help control our weight. Evidence shows that eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help control your weight.  Their bulk and fiber content aids weight control by helping you feel full on fewer calories and despite what low-carb diets claim, very few studies show that a diet rich in healthy carbohydrates actually leads to weight gain or obesity.

Eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, 3 hours before exercise may help burn more fat, according to a study from the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: in the study, eating “slow-release” carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat.http://mobile.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_exercise_tips/6_reasons_you_should_be_eating_carbs?page=7

If you eat the right type of carbohydrates, they can be a crucial element in keeping you full and providing you with enough energy to perform at your highest level in your fitness regime. Both of these combined will undoubtedly help you lose weight and improve your fitness. 

  
However if you eat the wrong types of carbohydrates and don’t do enough to burn off the energy produced by them, the sugars that are not used or burnt off can accelerate weight gain and have the opposite effect of eating the right types of carbs. 

You are best researching carbs before attempting to change your diet, because some foods which we may think are ok, may not be and considering they are such a big part of our diets, it’s essential to get it right. A little bit of reading up will ensure you are on the right track 👍 

  
So overall, if chosen correctly, carbs can be very good tools in our weight loss regimes, but used incorrectly, they can be just as bad as people make them out to be. 

    Diet 

      
    The most important element of any weight loss regime is diet. You can do all the exercise in the world, but you cannot rule out a bad diet with exercise.. Even if it works at first, it is not sustainable and will eventually catch up with you, resulting in a plateau in your efforts, which then can lead to a drop in motivation and effort. 

    For some people, joining a weight loss program like weight watchers or slimming world are the best way to help them stay on track with their diet, having guidelines to follow and advice on the right tips of foods etc. These programs, are successful and I have experienced first hand that they are. They enable you to be healthy and eat better, without cutting out absolutely everything, preventing you craving “bad” foods and indulging in it. 
    However for some calorie counting is more effective: knowing how many calories you have eaten and how many you burn off. Again this is one of the options I have tried, but personally I find it difficult to keep up with after a few days, feeling guilty if I eat over my select amount of calories or not burning enough off, so this option is not one I personally use often, maybe a day or two a week I will count calories, but no more than that. 
    Eating little and eating often is a common tip in the weight loss world. Eat small healthy meals throughout the day to stop you from craving and over indulging, but enough to provide you with energy for the day. Making sure an eating occasion has carbs, protein, and fat instead of just counting calories. This delivers better energy and fat loss results.
    Eating breakfast is another key element to any diet, even if you are trying to lose weight, you must ensure you do not skip any meals, but most importantly do not skip breakfast. Studies show that people who eat more fat, carbs and protein for breakfast stay fuller for longer and ate less over the course of the day than those who ate bigger meals later in the day. 
    Getting the right balance in your meals takes time and effort, you need to plan and prepare them. Here are a couple of tips on how to ensure you can adequately prepare to have balanced meals; 
    1. Plan out your meals for the week ahead, this way when you go the supermarket for your shopping, you know exactly what to buy, hopefully resulting in buying less “bad” foods.
    2. Food prep – some people find it very useful to prepare their meals for the week all at once, ensuring they have enough food, the right food and it won’t take long to prepare after coming in from work or the gym. This also removes the decision making after a long day (when you’re hungry) and can help you stay on plan. 

    I genuinely find diet a thing to deal with day to day. Everyone will have different things that work for them, so there is no precise regimen that will work for all, but what does work is hard work, effort, discipline and persistence. If you work hard and persist with focusing on what you eat and being careful with what you put in your body combine this with exercise, you will see results. However not only will you see results, but you will feel results.

    Discipline – doing what you know needs to be done, even though you don’t want to.