Sunday 29 May 2022

Weight Loss Strategies

Sustainable weight loss is not a quick fix. And no single food plan is magical, nor a specific food is included or avoided in a weight-management program. You must be open to small changes, moderate losses, and reasonable goals. Adopting a radical fad diet that involves one or two food groups restriction is not sustainable but consistently choosing a nutrient-dense food and engaging in regular physical activity that enables you to lose 1 to 3 kg per month or a 10% reduction in six months are much more likely to maintain the loss and reap health benefits.

A modest weight loss involves a slow, steady reduction in calorie intake while maintaining an adequate nutrient intake and increasing physical activity. A modest weight loss not only makes you keep that extra kg off but also can reduce the risks of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol and improving your control of diabetes.

In designing your plan, consider foods that you like or can learn to like, that are available, and that are within their means. The major characteristic of a weight-loss diet is that it provides less energy than your need to maintain your present body weight. If food energy is severely restricted, sufficient nutrients may not be received which leads to losing lean tissue and fluid, and which effect is rapid weight gain afterwards.

Behaviour and attitude play important roles in supporting efforts to achieve and maintain appropriate body weight and composition. Focus on how to change your behaviours to increase energy expenditure and decrease your energy intake. To this effect, you must first identify all the behaviours that created the problem. Identify stressors that trigger the urge to overeat this will help you begin to respond appropriately to internal cues of hunger rather than inappropriately to external cues of stress. Keeping a record will help to identify eating and exercise behaviours that may need changing.

Tips to a slow and steady eating plan

  • Eat small portions: pay less attention to external cues of using large or big plates to eat and more attention to internal cues of hunger and satiety. Eating with larger plates subconsciously makes you consume larger quantities than you should. Go for smaller plates and try to chew your food slowly before swallowing. This would leave you feeling satisfied—not stuffed to feed your hunger cues.  A sweet treat of  1 to 2 pieces of low-fat cookie or 2  to 3 slices can be included in a weight-loss plan.
  • Aim for nutritional adequacy: following a restrictive diet plan of 1200kcal or less per day does not provide an adequate intake that supports a healthier and more successful weight loss but rather,  creates feelings of starvation and deprivation, which can lead to an irresistible urge to binge. A careful nutrient-dense food selection that emphasizes vegetables,  fruits,  whole grains, lean meats or meat alternates, and low-fat milk products diet plan of 1300 to 1700kcal depending on your age and gender would allow you to lose weight and still meet your nutrient needs.
  • Go for low-energy-dense foods: weight loss depends on a low energy intake—not the proportion of energy nutrients. Foods rich in fibre, low in fat and high-water content increase fullness, reduce hunger and consequently reduce energy intake. Pay close attention also to sugar and alcohol as they provide additional calories which can sabotage weight-loss efforts.
  • Take water liberally: water is the only thing consumed without calories and drinking water fills the stomach between meals and satisfies thirst without adding calories. Replacing nutrient-poor, energy-dense beverages with water could save you several kgs in a year. Water also helps the GI tract adapt to a high-fibre diet.
  • Regular physical activity: to support your weight loss journey, a moderately intense physical activity of 60 minutes per day is recommended in addition to activities of daily life. Regular physical activity not only increases the loss of more body fat and retain more muscle, but it also reduces abdominal obesity and improves blood pressure, insulin resistance, and cardiorespiratory fitness.


Adopt a lifelong “eating plan for good health” rather than a “diet for weight loss” to permanently keep the lost weight off.

Consult our dietitian or any dietitian for an adequate weight loss diet plan.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Dietary supplements-how much do you need them?


Dietary supplements have become astoundingly popular. Most people take a multivitamin and mineral pill for mistaken reasons, such as to make up for the dietary shortfalls, boost energy or build up a muscular physique. Other invalid reasons include the belief that extra vitamins and minerals will help cope with stress, the belief that supplements can build lean body tissue without physical work or enhance athletic performance and lastly, the desire to prevent, treat, or cure symptoms or diseases ranging from the common cold to cancer. On a fair note, supplementing is a costly but harmless practice and sometimes, it is both costly and harmful to the health.

As a healthy person, why take a supplement when you can get the nutrients you need from food? Supplements cannot substitute for a healthy diet; however, certain nutritional supplements may be desirable in certain situations.

The effects of these supplements when taken depend on several factors such as the level of nutrients already being absorbed from the diet, as well as factors that influence nutrient absorption and metabolism.

Reasons why nutrients should be consumed from foods rather than supplements

  • Foods rarely cause nutrient imbalances or toxicities, but supplements can. The higher the dose, the greater the risk of harm. People’s tolerances for high doses of nutrients vary, just as their risks of deficiencies do. The amounts tolerable to some may be harmful to others, and no one knows who falls where along the spectrum.

  • People who use, are more likely to have excessive intakes of certain nutrients—notably iron, vitamin A, niacin, and zinc. The toxicity level is often not recognized as the effects develop subtly and progress slowly.

  • Some dietary supplements are contaminated with pharmaceutical drugs, such as steroid hormones and stimulants. Other substances that have also shown up in a wide variety of dietary supplements include toxic heavy metals, bacteria, and toxic plant material.

  • Lastly, supplements are likely to interfere with one another’s absorption or with the absorption of other nutrients from foods eaten at the same time. For example, zinc hinders copper and calcium absorption, iron hinders zinc absorption, and calcium hinders magnesium and iron absorption. Among vitamins, vitamin C supplements enhance iron absorption, making iron overload likely in susceptible people.

Are there people who need supplements?

Yes, some people need supplements as some conditions such as illness, drug and/or alcohol addiction may limit food intake making them suffer from marginal nutrient deficiencies.  People who may benefit from nutrient supplements in amounts consistent with the RDA include:

  • Pregnant women and women of childbearing years require extra folic acid to help prevent birth defects.
  • Older adults, especially postmenopausal women, may take calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium and in boosting bone health.

  • People over 50 may benefit from vitamin B12 supplements.

  • Young women with anaemia may benefit from iron supplements.

  • People on very restricted diets or with many allergies.
  • People who have diseases, infections, or injuries or who have undergone surgery that interferes with the intake, absorption, metabolism, or excretion of nutrients may need specific nutrient supplements.

  • Those at risk for age-related macular degeneration such as an eye problem may benefit from antioxidant and zinc supplements.

  • If you fall into any of these categories, ask your doctor about appropriate doses. In general, though, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from food rather than pills.

The kind of vitamin and mineral supplement to use when in need

  • If you are selecting a supplement yourself, a single, balanced vitamin-mineral supplement with no added extras such as herbs should serve. Choose the kind that provides all the nutrients in amounts less than, equal to, or very close to the Recommended Daily Allowance(RDA).
  • For women of childbearing age who need supplemental folate choose a supplement with just the needed nutrient or in combination with a reasonable dose of others.
  • Lastly, take your health care professional’s advice if it is offered.



Friday 6 May 2022

Vitamin E


Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and/or lipid-soluble antioxidant and plays a fundamental role in protecting the body against the damaging effects of oxidative stress formed in the environment. Like the other fat-soluble vitamins, its use depends on the presence of dietary fat. When deficient in this important vitamin, one is prone to impaired eyesight, infections, and some forms of skin diseases. Be it as it may, vitamin E is found in most of our food sources and one only becomes deficient except in cases of impaired absorption.

Benefits of vitamin E

  • Vitamin E inhibits processes related to the development of atherosclerosis and protects the body against free radicals and conditions related to oxidative stress such as ageing, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infection, and some cases of Alzheimer's disease.
  • It has antiproliferative effects in the eye that are seemingly protective against conditions

such as glaucoma. 

  • It protects red blood cell membranes from destruction, especially in the last 2 months of gestation.
  • It helps lessens the appearance of scars and deal with dry skin.

Rich sources

The richest sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, safflower etc. Other food sources of vitamin E include nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts etc), seeds (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds), and fortified cereals. It can also be found in fruits such as avocado, mango, blackberries, raspberries, and other types of berries.

PS: Because vitamin E is readily destroyed by heat processing and oxidation, fresh or

lightly processed foods are the best sources of this vitamin