Sunday 5 June 2022

Eating right to maintain weight or lose weight


Losing weight is tricky but maintaining it is trickier. Weight loss by giving up on foods is never a sustainable weight loss journey. Following a restrictive dietary regime in the bid to shade some pounds is not the major challenge but maintaining the achieved weight is. This is the reason it is essential to adopt a holistic behavioural change modification that involves both healthy eating and lifestyle changes are important before embarking on any weight loss journey. Eating a restricted or limited diet of 2 to 3 food groups can result in an inadequate diet and chronic fatigue. Instead, diversify your diet to include at least 5 classes of fruits comprising.

There are many reasons why lost weight is regained. This often related to feelings of deprivation and unrealistic expectations.

i.               Lack of sustainable mindset: focus on lifestyle rather than rules and base your diets on healthy habits rather than willpower.

ii.              Restrictive diets extreme calorie restriction of 800-1200kcal per day may slow metabolism and shift appetite-regulating hormones.

iii.            Wrong mindset: diet is not a quick fix but a life term solution to better health. If you think it is a quick fix, you are likely to give up and gain back the lost weight.


 While maintaining weight is impossible, following simple maintenance dietary tips will help you keep those lost kilos off for good.

1.     Create a Food Plan:

 Do not wait until you are hungry to eat this is because you are likely going to grab whatever food that is available while caring less about its nutritional quality. Instead, distribute your calories throughout the day. Distributing your calories in small frequent meals helps curb the physiological desire to overindulge in foods.

  • Create the concept of eating three meals with two healthy snacks in between comprising protein, grain, fruit, vegetable, and dairy at a meal. The more varied the foods you eat, the more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you consume.
  • Eat “clean.” This implies choosing minimally processed food rather than their refined versions. For instance, taking whole fruit rather than fruit juice. Minimally processed foods usually have more nutritional value and less sodium, trans fat, and other health-eroding ingredients. 
  • Eat-in moderation. While building the foundation of healthy ones, do not deprive yourself of enjoyable foods the watchword is “moderation”. Rather than classifying foods as being healthy or bad, aim for a diet that is majorly nutrient dense with fewer choices of energy-dense. In this way, refined or convenience foods can fit into a nourishing diet plan. Try to strike a balance in your choices.

2.     Eat Right and don’t just eat

  • The key to building a healthy diet is to diversify your diet by consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods from the five basic food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and calcium-rich foods).
  • Eat rainbow. Strive to eat a varied colour of fruits and vegetables. Different colours offer different kinds of health-protective phytochemicals that are linked to reducing disease risk.
  •  Replace refined grains with whole grains until at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains. Whole grains are excellent sources of carbohydrates, fibre, and B vitamins. They fuel your muscles, protect against needless muscular fatigue, and reduce problems with constipation. And despite popular belief, the carbohydrate in grains is not fattening excess calories are fattening. Excess calories often come from various forms of fat.
  • Increase your intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yoghurt, and calcium-fortified soy beverages.
  • Increase the amount and variety of seafood you consume by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry. That means more fish and less meat.
  • Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, soy products, legumes, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fat with choices that are lower in solid fat and calories (such as chicken and eggs) or are sources of oils (such as fish and nuts).
  • Use liquid mono- and polyunsaturated fats (such as olive, canola oil, soy oil, and safflower oil) or soft fats to replace solid fat (such as stick margarine) where possible.
  • Stay away from partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats). These are found in commercially prepared foods such as crackers, cakes, cookies, chips, and pastries. Trans fat because it raises the bad LDL cholesterol and lowers the good HDL cholesterol.

3.     Move more

  • Indulge 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day in addition to activities of daily life.
  • Exercise reduces abdominal obesity and improves their blood pressure, insulin resistance, and cardiorespiratory fitness, regardless of weight loss

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

Friday 22 April 2022

Honey vs Sugar, which is a healthier sweetener?


Honey is a natural, sweet, thick liquid obtained because of the nectar collected by bees from flowers. It can range in colours from pale yellow to dark brown and consists primarily of water and simple sugars (glucose and fructose). It consists of various organic acids, vitamins, proteins, enzymes, antioxidants, and nitrogen elements. The antioxidants found in honey are known for their antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Due to the higher levels of fructose when compared to that of sugar, the former is denser, sweeter and contains more calories than the latter.

Sugar is derived from sugar beets and sugar cane plants and involves a lot of processes making it lack vitamins and other nutrients. It may come in three different forms-raw sugar, brown sugar and whites sugar. Though based on the form (e.g. brown sugar), some traces of nutrients can be found

Both honey and sugar are carbohydrates, and both contain two primary sugars: fructose and glucose, with white sugar being 100% sugars (50% fructose and 50% glucose), while honey is about 85% sugars (fructose and glucose ratios varying with each honey variety). The remaining 15% of honey is water, pollen, and trace minerals. Because of this difference in their makeups, white sugar is absorbed into the body and blood at a faster rate than honey.

Some benefits of honey over sugar

  • Raw honey is honey that has not been heated, pasteurised, clarified or filtered in any way, and this form typically retains more of the health-promoting nutrients that can be lost to the standard processing methods.
  • Honey contains antioxidant compounds called flavonoids which are reported to have antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic properties.
  • Honey has a lower GI value than sugar, meaning that it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly. If you are diabetic or trying to manage your blood sugar levels, there is no real advantage to substituting sugar for honey as both will ultimately affect blood sugar levels.
  • Honey is a proven cough suppressant and also relieves sore throats. For many people, raw honey helps to moderate the sinus and throat irritation caused by pollen allergies.

While honey does provide more nutritional value than table sugar, when consumed in excess, both honey and sugar can have negative effects on metabolic health. If you are reaching for honey, it is best to reach for local and raw honey to benefit from its antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, and health benefits.


Saturday 16 April 2022

Velvet Tamarind


Velvet tamarind is a seasonal tropical fruit ripening between January and May with a peak yield in March and April. It is consumed in West Africa including Nigeria. It is one of the versatilely consumed wild fruits in Nigeria, and it is called different names by each tribe; popularly called “Icheku” by the Igbos, “Awin” by the Yorubas, and “Tsamiyar kurm” by the Hausas. It is loved by many probably because of its sweet and tangy taste. It can be taken as a fruit snack, or soaked and juiced into a fruit juice and/or the juice added to a smoothie.

Some of the nutritional benefits include.

  • Velvet tamarind is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C reduces the duration and severity of colds, improves the body’s immune system, and protects against cancer of the oesophagus.
  • A good source of potassium: potassium plays a major role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and steady heartbeats. It also helps to correct and prevent hypertension.
  • A great source of calcium: calcium plays important role in blood clotting and helps maintain normal blood pressure and is essential for maintaining steady heartbeats. 
  • Also a great source of magnesium: magnesium is one of the crucial minerals that help regulate normal blood pressure and heart rhythm.
  • Velvet tamarind is also an excellent source of antioxidants: Antioxidants are powerful components that may help protect the body from disease. They protect the body against inflammation diseases and certain forms of cancer.
  • It is a good source of soluble dietary fibre:  soluble fibre helps lower blood cholesterol, and glucose levels, promotes gut bacteria and helps achieve a healthy weight.
Velvet tamarind is currently in season, do well to take advantage of it while it is still easily accessible.




Thursday 31 March 2022

Health Effects of Sugars


When it comes to health, sugar has a two-edge sword reputation. They occur naturally in carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, legumes etc. Consuming foods with minimal processing contain healthy sugar. Aside from the healthy sugar contents of these foods, they also have high amounts of fibre, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Added sugars and concentrated sweets such as soft drinks, cakes, pies, etc contribute discretionary calories to the diet with little or no other nutrients should not form a major part of one’s food intake.

Moderate amounts of sugar pose no major health risk, but in excess, can be detrimental in two ways. It can contribute to nutrient deficiencies by supplying energy (calories) without providing nutrients while contributing to tooth decay. High intakes of sugar have also been shown to increase the risk of obesity.

Sugar and nutrient deficiencies

High energy foods contain lots of added sugars such as cakes, candies, and sodas that provide the body with glucose and energy, but few, (if any) other nutrients, compared to naturally occurring foods that contain natural sugars and lots of starches, protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

For instance, spending 240kcalorie of a day’s energy allowance on a 500ml(50cl) soda gets little value for those calories. In contrast, a person using 240 calories on three slices of wheat (unfortified) white bread gets 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fibre, plus several micronutrients.

Sugar and dental caries  

Any carbohydrate-containing food, including fruits, bread, or milk, as well as sugar, can support bacterial growth in the mouth. These bacteria produce the acid that eats away tooth enamel. Of major importance are the length of time the food stays in the mouth and the composition of the food, how sticky the food is, how often the food is eaten, and especially whether the teeth are brushed afterwards.

 How do you recognize sugars?

People often fail to recognize sugar in all its forms and so do not realize how much they consume. To estimate how much sugar you consume, treat all the following concentrated sweets as equivalent to 1 teaspoon of white sugar (4g of carbohydrate);

·       1 teaspoon honey brown sugar, jam, corn sweetener, syrup, molasses, or maple sugar

·       A 50cl of soft drinks contains 60g (15 teaspoons i.e. 5 tablespoons) of sugar which is equivalent to 240 calories.


For other food-related consultations, consult us today!