Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Gut Issues? Have you seen the Love Your Tummy website?

For those with gut issues, we may have found a new slice of online heaven for you!

The Love Your Tummy information platform, edited by the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO), aims to help you learn more about your digestive health via tips, educational content infographics and topics under the spotlights.

There's a fun tool to determine your "tummy type". Take the test here.

Some great tips that can help with your tummy issues are;
  • Eat smaller and more frequent meals without increasing overall calorie intake.
  • Include foods rich in fibre: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, including whole grains and legumes.
  • Eat fish 3 to 5 times per week.
  • Reduce intake of foods high in animal fat, greasy and fried foods.
  • Consume fermented dairy products containing probiotics with proven benefits on digestive health.
  • Select lean meats such as chicken, turkey, rabbit or lean cuts of beef, pork, or lamb
  • Drink 2 litres of drinking water a day while decreasing intake of caffeinated, alcoholic and sugar rich beverages.
  • Do not rush eating and chew food slowly and well.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle: exercise regularly and abstain from smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy body mass index: aim to achieve your ideal body weight.
If you're finding you have gut issues, it's always best to see a dietitian! It can be a very difficult area to navigate on your own.

Our dietitian, Amanda Moon, specialises in gut health - so if you think you need some more information, email us at info@newtownnutrition.com

Information from http://loveyourtummy.org/

Blue Zones - How You Can Live Longer!

Have you heard of Blue Zones?

Blue Zones are, in simple terms, hot spots in the world where people live the longest and healthiest lives. It is common for people in these areas to live to 100 with the number of centenarians almost 5-times higher than in Australia.
So why are people in Blue Zones living so much longer than us?
There are 9 key elements they have in common.
  • Incorporating movement naturally as part of their daily routine – Blue Zone residents move every 10- 15 minutes
  • Have a sense of purpose each day
  • Down shift and maintain a routine that helps keep them relaxed. Stress can lead to chronic inflammation in the body.
  • Stop eating when they are 80% full
  • They eat a more plant based diet and minimal red meat
  • They enjoy a glass of wine with friends and family
  • They live as part of a community – whether it be faith based of meeting up once a week for a knitting class
  • Engagement with family is key to a Blue Zone way of life
  • Enjoy an active social life

"For Australians wanting to adopt a more ‘Blue Zone’ lifestyle, the first place to start is to embrace the variety of wonderful plant foods available to us and turning your ears off to the loud noise of those wanting you to cut, exclude and ban foods. Enjoy a wide variety of wholegrains, legumes, vegetables and fruits and eat according to your tastes and preferences. The typical Australian diet is too high in highly processed discretionary foods so here is where to make food swaps to get more of the Blue Zone foods in your diet".
"Less than half of Australians meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity, but this doesn’t mean you need to join a gym or running club. Being active throughout your day be it walking with friends drinking your coffee rather than sitting in the café, spending more time in the garden, using the car less and even giving the dog more exercise all will give you great health benefits. And finally social media has its place, but nothing beats human connection as that’s inscribed in our DNA - follow your interests and join a local community group and do some volunteering".
Image from http://www.exploreshelbycounty.com/

Blog post adapted from a post from Tim Crowe, Dietitian at Thinking Nutrition

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Our Top Facebook Posts In November

Are you following Newtown Nutrition  on Facebook? We've started posting more regularly and we're loving it. 

For our posts to come up on your news feed, make sure you engage with our posts by liking, commenting or sharing with your friends! 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

A Non Traditional Approach to Diabetes Prevention

November 14 was World Diabetes Day, an international day to raise awareness of diabetes. 

Worldwide, it is estimated that 415 million adults are living with diabetes.  That means that if diabetes were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world.  In Australia, 1.7 million people have diabetes and 280 new cases are diagnosed every day[1]. Although new cases are diagnosed every day, worldwide, one in  every two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed[2].  Diagnosis is so important for early detection to improve management and prevent complications of diabetes.
Are you concerned about developing type 2 diabetes?  By screening for diabetes, you can ensure you catch rising blood glucose levels before a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is made.  Up to 70% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making diet and lifestyle changes[3]

Tried and true approaches to the prevention of diabetes include losing weight if you are overweight, increasing physical activity, eating a healthy, balanced diet and quit smoking if you are a smoker.  
But what are some additional, non-traditional things that you can do to help prevent diabetes or better manage your diabetes?

Go nuts for nuts
Great news if you’re a nut lover.  Eating 30g of nuts on most days of the week can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30%[4].  The healthy fats found in nuts may help improve insulin sensitivity (insulin is the hormone which helps lower blood glucose levels).   If you have type 2 diabetes, eating nuts with a meal may help slow digestion which prevents spikes in blood glucose after a meal.
So which type of nuts should you eat?  All nuts are packed full of nutrition, including fibre, healthy fats, protein, vitamin E and selenium, but choosing unsalted, plain or dry roasted nuts is best.   A 30g serve is roughly a handful.  You can top your morning multigrain toast with chunky nut butter (like peanut or cashew butter), throw walnuts into your salad at lunch, nibble on a handful of raw almonds as an afternoon snack, or make a homemade pesto using walnuts or cashews and fresh herbs and top your veggie pasta with pesto for dinner. For other exciting ideas for how to add nuts to your diet, book in with one of our dietitians.

Get mindful
Mindfulness, or the practice of bringing awareness to the present moment, has been used as an effective strategy for weight management and may now also be beneficial for the prevention of diabetes. A 2016 study in the journal Obesity found that obese participants who were taught mindfulness had lower fasting glucose levels than those not taught mindfulness.  That means that mindfulness may be a useful strategy in the prevention of type 2 diabetes[5].
How can you practice mindfulness? Start by bringing awareness to your thoughts and feelings as you are eating.  Rather than eating mindlessly while in front of the computer or television, tune into your own experience of eating.  Take note of the taste, textures, sight and smells of your food.  Measure your feelings of hunger at the start of eating and be aware of how every bite brings you closer to feeling satisfied or full. Mindfulness takes practice, and meeting with a dietitian can be quite helpful in learning how to use mindfulness strategies with your eating. 

Take a walking break
There is a strong link between sedentary behaviour and type 2 diabetes.  But before you begin celebrating because you go to the gym five days a week, make sure you don’t fall into the ‘Active Couch Potato’ category. Even physically active people, or those meeting the recommended 150 minutes per week of physical activity, can be classed as participating in sedentary behaviour.  The active couch potato meets the activity guidelines but otherwise spends long stretches of time sitting, for example an office worker who sits for eight hours each work day but exercises after work five days a week.  It is those long stretches of sitting that raise your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Why is sitting so bad?  After long periods of sitting, muscles begin to burn fewer calories, blood flow is decreased throughout the body and to the brain, blood pressure begins to rise, ultimately increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, blood glucose and insulin levels spike, which taxes the pancreas and may over the long term, damage cells, tissues and organs[6]
If you’re an office worker who sits all day, what can you do? It is the long stretches of sitting that are particularly damaging.  So take a short, five minute break from sitting every thirty minutes.  This five minute walking break has been shown to improve glycemic control, blood glucose levels after a meal and insulin response, particularly in those at risk of type 2 diabetes[7].  Set a reminder on your computer to stand up every 30 minutes.  Walk to a colleague’s desk rather than send an email.  When you begin to feel fatigued or peckish, take that as a good sign that you may need to stand up and move. 

For other, out of the box ideas on how to prevent or better manage your diabetes, book in with one of our dietitians or our diabetes educator, Kate. 

And in ode to World Diabetes Day remember to get screened by making an appointment with your GP.

[1] Diabetes Australia, 2015, accessed 1/11/2016 https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/diabetes-in-australia

[2] International Diabetes Federation, accessed 7/11/2016 from http://www.idf.org/wdd-index/index.php
[3] International Diabetes Federation, accessed 7/11/2016 from http://www.idf.org/wdd-index/toolkit/EN/IDF_WDD_interactive_toolkit_static_EN.pdf
[4] Jiang R, et al. Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002.
[5] Can mindful eating help lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Obesity Society, 2016, access 7/11/2016 from http://www.obesity.org/news/press-releases/can-mindful-eating-help-lower-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-and-cardiovascular-disease
[6],7 Dempsey, P.C., 2016. Standing up to type 2 diabetes in a sitting-centric world, Australian Diabetes Educator, volume 19(3)pp 34-38.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Beware Of The Diet Saboteurs

Have you set a goal to lose weight but find you are struggling to shift the kilos?  Does it seem that no matter what you do your weight remains unchanged?  If this situation describes you, perhaps you are falling victim to the diet saboteurs.   
Diet saboteurs are the sneaky ways that excess calories creep into your diet.  Even the most well informed and well-meaning dieters can fall victim to the diet saboteurs.  There are many ways that extra calories can enter your diet and being aware of the ways can help you continue towards your weight loss goals.

Who or what are the diet saboteurs?

Diet saboteurs may be situations, things, or sometimes people that encourage over eating or eating the wrong types of foods.  Examples of diet saboteurs include:
  • Large, extra large or super size serves
  • Economy sized packages
  • Buying in bulk
  • Large plates, large bowls and large utensils
  • Buffets
  • Food in plain sight
  • Friends, family or partners who encourage you to eat

As you can see, diet saboteurs come in a variety of forms.  But how do these saboteurs negatively influence your weight loss?

How do diet saboteurs sabotage your diet? 

In order to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than you burn in a day. While that may sound easy in theory, it means that you need to eat less of most foods and certainly less junk foods.  But the diet saboteurs have a way of encouraging you to eat more, not less.

Beware of the supersize

Serving sizes at restaurants, take-away shops and in fast food outlets have increased over the past forty years, with some fast food restaurants now offering serving sizes up to five times larger than what was first available (Clemons, R, 2012).  Sizes today range from small to super-size, with larger servings offering deeper discounts in price. While larger servings may be easy on your pocketbook they are not so good for your waistline.  The extra calories provided in larger servings make it very easy to over indulge.  
Studies show that you consume more food when provided with a larger serving size.  A double portion of food leads to consuming nearly 35% more calories (Zlatevska, N. et al 2014).  The reason you eat more when given more?  Rather than using internal cues such as your level of hunger or fullness to determine when you have eaten enough, many use visual cues, like the quantity of food remaining, to signal when to stop eating.  The larger the serving, the more food on the plate and the more food that you are likely to consume.
What can you do?  Choose the smallest size available.  Remember, your eyes are bigger than your stomach.  Even if the small size appears too small to match your appetite, you can always purchase more food later if you are not satisfied.  

Why packaging matters

Are you buying the extra large box of cereal or the economy bag of crisps because it appears to be better value?  While often times the larger packages are better value, they encourage over consumption.  
Package size determines your ‘consumption norm’ or the quantity of food that you consider to be an appropriate serving size (Wansink, B, 2007).  For example, people eat 20-25% more from a larger bag of crisps than from a small bag.  People pour more cereal from a larger box than from a smaller box.  The larger the packaging, the greater the consumption norm and the more food you consider a reasonable serving size.
What can you do?  Purchase food in smaller packaging sizes when possible.  If this is not economical for you, purchase food in large sizes or in bulk but separate smaller serves into containers or plastic baggies.  This will help prevent you from dishing up an extra-large serve from your next value package. 

Why plate size matters

Your choice in dinner plates could be sabotaging your diet.  Dinner plate sizes have increased 36% since 1960 which means that you can reasonably fit 36% more food onto your dinner plate (Clemons, R., 2012).  Research backs this up, showing that people serve 30-50% more food when using larger dinner plates than when using smaller plates (Wansink, B., 2007).  The plate acts as a visual cue to help you determine an appropriate serving size, so a larger plate leads to dishing up larger servings.
What can you do?  Eat your meals from a side plate or a bread and butter plate. This limits the amount of food you, or your loved ones, serve up.

Buffet effect

At a meal, would you prefer to choose from a large selection of foods or have just a few choices?  Would you prefer 32 flavours of ice cream or three?  If you enjoy having a variety of food choices at your meals, this may be secretly sabotaging your diet.  The buffet effect, as it is aptly named, demonstrates that the greater selection of foods available, the more calories you are likely to consume (Wansink, B., 2007).  
What can you do?  Avoid buffets when you can.  When dining at home, offer a few healthy options at meals rather than providing a large spread.  Be aware that more choice leads to more calories so choose your foods wisely.  Provide more choices of vegetables and salads and less choices of other foods. 

The biscuit jar

Do you find yourself craving a biscuit every time you see the biscuit jar?  The more often you see food, the more likely you are to want that food.  Studies show that food in your direct line of sight, such as biscuits in a glass biscuit jar, lead to consuming more of that food (Wansink, B., 2007).
What can you do?  Place the biscuit jar out of sight if you.  If you can’t hide the biscuit jar, instead choose an opaque biscuit jar.  Store unhealthy foods out of sight, on the highest shelf in your cupboard.  Instead, make healthy foods convenient by placing a fruit baskets on the kitchen bench and chopped up veggies on the top shelf in the fridge. 

Peer pressure

Do you have friends that seem to sabotage your best efforts to lose weight?  Do you have mates that like to catch up over beers? Does your family insist on serving you double portions of meat and potato at the Sunday roast?  These relationships, whether intentional or not, may be sabotaging your best efforts to lose weight.  
What can you do?  Try to exert control when you can.  Recommend a restaurant where you know healthy options are on the menu.  Encourage catch ups over a walk outdoors, at a sporting event, or at a local park.  At family functions, insist on smaller portions or feel confident that it is ok to leave food on your plate.  At parties, offer to bring a healthy dish. Share your weight loss goals with friends and family and ask that they help support you.  
When you can’t exert control, be mindful.  Be aware of how much food and how many alcoholic drinks you consume.  Use a plate rather than nibbling food direct from a platter.  This makes it easier to track much food you have eaten.  Fill your plate with salads or vegetables, if available.  Try to use a fresh wine glass every time you fill up so you can track your drinks.  Or alternate water with alcoholic drinks. 
Remember, it is not rude to leave unwanted food on your plate or to say no to seconds.  


Clemons, R., 2012, Increasing Portion Sizes, Choice Magazine, accessed 27 January 2015 from http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/diet-and-exercise/weight-loss/increasing-portion-sizes.aspx.
Wansink, B., 2007, Mindless Eating: Why we Eat More Than we Think, Bantom Dell, New York. 
Zlatevska, N., Dubelaar, C., Holden, S., 2014, Sizing Up the Effect of Portion Size on Consumption: A Meta-Analytic Review, Journal of Marketing: 78(3) pp. 140-154.