• Brown sugar vs white sugar
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Brown sugar vs white sugar

    Have you ever found yourself in the supermarket staring at sugar packets and not knowing which one to buy? Which one is healthier: brown sugar vs white sugar? What about raw sugar? What is sugar? The sugar you buy at the supermarket to put in your coffee is sucrose, a disaccharide (= two sugars) composed of glucose and fructose. Types of sugar White sugar: this is your regular table sugar. Caster sugar: has a smaller crystal size than white sugar. It is used for coating bakery products and confectionery. Brown sugar: is a moist, golden brown, very fine crystal product, made using selected refinery syrups. Raw sugar: is a free…

  • Should you take BCAAs
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Should you take BCAAs?

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you use them to purchase a product, I will get a commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to products that I personally use and/or recommend. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is the name given to three of the nine essential amino acids. BCAAs are sold as a sports supplement to increase muscle synthesis and recovery. Today we answer the question: Should you take BCAAs? What are BCAAs? BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential amino acids (EAAs), meaning they cannot be made by our bodies and must be taken from the diet. Unlike other…

  • Diet and blood pressure
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Diet and blood pressure

    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common chronic condition that represents a risk for cardiovascular health. Besides other lifestyle factors, there is a clear link between diet and blood pressure which we’ll discuss in this article. Blood pressure levels In Australia, blood pressure is classified as follows (1): Category Systolic (mmHg) Diastolic (mmHg) Optimal <120 and <80 Normal 120-129 and/or 80-84 High-normal 130-139 and/or 85-89 Mild hypertension 140-159 and/or 90-99 Moderate hypertension 160-179 and/or 100-109 Severe hypertension ≥180 and/or ≥110 Isolated systolic hypertension >140 and <90 Target recommendations vary for individuals that have other health conditions. Dietary factors Sodium In about half of people with hypertension and a quarter…

  • Gluten free sliced bread
    Blog,  Diet,  Gluten-free,  Health,  Nutrition

    Gluten free sliced bread

    If you follow a gluten free diet for health or preference reasons, you might know that good gluten free sliced bread is hard to find. This applies to taste, texture and, most importantly, nutrition. Brands Some of the most popular sliced bread brands offer gluten free options, including the big supermarket brands. Examples include Helgas, Abbott’s Village, Woolworths and Coles. A little harder to find are Genius Gluten Free, Well & Good, Venerdi, Deeks and Naturis. Ingredients While regular bread can be made with 3-4 ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast – which you can omit as a deliberate ingredient if making sourdough), gluten free bread is not easy to…

  • The Fast 800
    Blog,  Book review,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Book review: The Fast 800 (Dr Michael Mosley)

    The Fast 800 is one of the most recent diet books by Dr Michael Mosley, author of the famous 5:2 diet. His books focus on the use of “intermittent fasting” for weight loss, blood sugar regulation and general health. The author I first heard from Dr Mosley through his piece on high intensity interval training (HIIT, see video below). I later learned about his 5:2 diet and know a few people who have done it. It wasn’t until I read his bio that I realised that Dr Michael Mosley became a psychiatrist after working in other fields, and then decided to move away from the medical profession. He is mostly…

  • what to do with canned beans
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What to do with canned beans

    Canned beans are great additions to a healthy diet. They’re cheap, nutritious, convenient and shelf-stable. Keep reading if you’re looking for ideas on what to do with canned beans, chickpeas and lentils. Types of canned beans All types of legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas) can be found in canned form. In most cases, they’re either canned in water with or without salt, except for baked beans. Nutrient composition Canned beans, chickpeas and lentils are a good source of fibre and a decent source of protein, folate and other micronutrients. What’s nice about these legumes is that there’s virtually no nutritional difference between cooking them from dried or buying them…

  • Nutrients in organ meats
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Nutrients in organ meats

    Organ meats are a staple in some traditional cuisines, but unfortunately not very common in Western countries. Nutrients in organ meats include many vitamins and minerals, making them true superfoods. What are organ meats? Organ meats, or offal, are exactly what they sound like: meat from animals’ organs. This includes the heart, liver, brain, thymus gland, intestines, etc. Organ meats contain many micronutrients and that’s why they are highly regarded in traditional cultures. Nutrients in organ meats The graphs below contain a comparison of some nutrients for different types of organ meats (data from 1). What about cholesterol? Cholesterol content in organ meats is higher than in muscle meats such…

  • What to do with canned fish and seafood
    Blog,  Diet,  Food,  Nutrition

    What to do with canned fish and seafood

    Canned fish can be a great source of nutrition, especially when cost and shelf life are a concern. Find out what to do with canned fish and seafood to make it taste great. Types of canned fish and seafood Without a doubt, the most common fish in a can is tuna, but there is a decent variety of fish and seafood available in canned form: Fish: tuna, sardines, salmon (red, pink), anchovies, mackerel, herrings, kipper, trout Seafood: oysters, mussels, crabmeat Nutrient composition In general, canned fish and seafood are great source of protein and long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Some varieties also contain high amounts of zinc (e.g. oysters), calcium…

  • Nutrition and mental health
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Nutrition and mental health

    What we eat has a big impact in all aspects of our well-being. The relationship between nutrition and mental health has been a topic of interest for quite some time and is especially relevant in uncertain times. Healthy vs unhealthy diets Higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains seem to reduce the risk of depression (1, 2). On the flip side, unhealthy diets are associated with increased mental health problems. This negative effect seems to be true in diverse populations, i.e. across different age ranges, genders and ethnicities (1). Dietary patterns Some dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean diet, a traditional Japanese diet and a typical Tuscan diet…

  • Lifespan David Sinclair
    Blog,  Book review,  Diet,  Fitness,  Health,  Nutrition

    Book review: Lifespan (David Sinclair)

    Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To is a remarkable book by Harvard professor David Sinclair. Sinclair postulates that aging is a disease and can be “cured” by activating the right pathways. The author David Sinclair is a Sydney-born biologist who earned his Bachelor of Science and PhD at the University of New South Wales (NSW). He is now a professor in the Department of Genetics and the co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School. He also has a lab in his alma mater UNSW. His work focuses on aging and how to slow it down or…