• How to survive the holiday season
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    How to survive the holiday season

    One month till Christmas! Yes, yes, Christmas 2020 will not be like any other Christmas but the holiday season always comes packed with plenty of opportunities to break healthy habits. Keep reading to find out how to survive the holiday season, 2020 edition. Holiday season, version 2020 This year everything is different. Although we are lucky that there are not as many cases in Australia as in other countries, the way we live our lives has changed, at least for a period of time. Many people are not back to their work or study places full-time and large gatherings are not allowed. Private gatherings are also meant to be held…

  • What are postbiotics
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What are postbiotics?

    In a previous article What are synbiotics? we spoke about some of the players in gut health. This week we will introduce a new term as we discuss: What are postbiotics? What are postbiotics? Postbiotics are metabolites (i.e. byproducts of metabolic processes) secreted by live bacteria or released by dead bacteria which provide health benefits to the host (1, 2). Other names given to postbiotics are metabiotics, biogenics or metabolite/cell-free supernatants (1). Types of postbiotics Postbiotics include, but are not limited to: Short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs) produced by fermentation of non-digestible dietary fibre by gut bacteria. The most abundant SCFAs are acetate, propionate and butyrate (1, 2, 3, 4) Secondary…

  • Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What are synbiotics?

    If the word “synbiotics” rings a bell is probably because it sounds like prebiotics and probiotics. All these terms relate to the gut microbiome in ways we will explore to answer the question: what are synbiotics? The microorganisms that populate our gastrointestinal system, or gut microbiome, has been the focus of much research in the past several decades. It is now known that the gut microbiome is involved in immune function, digestion, gut integrity and production of vitamins, among other important functions (1, 2). Probiotics Probiotics are live non-pathogenic microorganisms that can confer health benefits when taken in appropriate doses (1, 3, 4). Probiotics can act on the gut microbiome…

  • Magnesium and health
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Magnesium and health

    The relationship between magnesium and health is widely studied because of the importance of this essential nutrient in many body functions and the prevention of chronic diseases. What is magnesium? Magnesium is a mineral involved as a cofactor in many processes within the body, including metabolic functions (energy production, glucose breakdown, protein synthesis, RNA and DNA synthesis), bone development, immune and neuromuscular function (1, 2, 3). It’s also involved in the balance of calcium, sodium, potassium and antioxidants (1, 2, 4). The total amount of magnesium in an adult is about 25 grams, of which 50-60% is located in the bones (1, 3) and about 0.3% in serum (2). This…

  • Mojo gut shots
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition,  Product reviews

    Product review: Mojo gut shots

    Mojo gut shots are a new non-dairy probiotic product by one of the most popular Australian kombucha makers. Like other fermented foods, these shots may help improve gut health. Mojo gut shots Think of these shots as a mini-version of kombucha (fermented tea) enriched with probiotics (beneficial bacteria). They are dairy-free and low in sugar. Mojo gut shots can be taken on their own or added to smoothies, etc. Ingredients Ginger Spice: Organic kombucha (walter, sugar, tea, kombucha culture), ginger juice (14%), probiotic (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086) Berrytown: Organic kombucha (walter, sugar, tea, kombucha culture), berry puree (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry) (7.4%), probiotic (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086) The packaging indicates the…

  • Nutrient reference values vs nutrient intake in Australia
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Nutrient reference values vs nutrient intake in Australia

    We all know we should be eating vitamins and minerals but not many know how much. Is there a gap between nutrient reference values vs nutrient intake in Australia? What are nutrient reference values? Nutrient reference values (NRV) are the recommended levels of intake of different nutrients, based on scientific evidence about food intake and health. The NRVs for Australia and New Zealand are expressed as a recommended daily intake (RDI) of each nutrient, which is the average amount of the nutrient that is required for the majority of healthy individuals. For some nutrients where the RDI could not be determined, the recommendation is based on the adequate intake (AI)…

  • Ultra-processed foods
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Ultra-processed foods

    Ultra-processed foods, a.k.a. energy-dense nutrient-poor foods, discretionary choices or junk foods dominate modern supermarkets. They represent a large proportion of the average dietary intake in developed countries and, not surprisingly, are linked with poor health outcomes. What are ultra-processed foods? The term “ultra-processed” foods refers to the NOVA classification and it’s based on the degree of processing of foods. This classification has 4 categories: unprocessed or minimally processed (such as grains, meat, fish, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds) processed culinary ingredients (such as sugar, oils and butter) processed foods ultra-processed foods (1, 2) Processed vs ultra-processed foods Have you ever met someone that tries to justify their junk…

  • Milk as a sports supplement
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Milk as a sports supplement

    Milk as a sports supplement? Why not! Milk is a relatively inexpensive source of many nutrients, which include protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Milks from different ruminants (e.g. cows, goats, water buffalo) have similar nutrient profiles. However, for the sake of this article we will be talking about cow’s milk as it’s the most available and commonly consumed. Nutrients in milk Milk and other dairy foods contain calcium, protein, B vitamins (including B2 and B12), vitamins A and D, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iodine. The table below shows average content for some nutrients of different types of plain cow’s milk (data from 1). A glass of milk has 8…

  • The Health Star Rating System
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    The Health Star Rating System

    The Health Star Rating System is a way of labelling food products in Australia to indicate their healthiness. Similar to energy ratings, health ratings are meant to guide consumers toward better choices. What is the Health Star Rating System? The Health Star Rating (HSR) labelling system was created by the Australian government in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. It is being used voluntarily by manufacturers since June 2014 and reviewed every 5 years. Assigned ratings go from ½ star (least healthy) to 5 stars (most healthy), which are displayed on food product packaging. How is the Health Star Rating calculated? The HSR score is calculated as: baseline…

  • Sugar-containing ingredients
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Sugar-containing ingredients

    Now that you know that there is little difference between brown sugar vs white sugar, that added sugar consumption in Australia is higher than it should be and how to read food labels, it is time to put it all together by looking at sugar-containing ingredients. What is sugar? The term sugar “refers to all carbohydrates of the general formula Cn(H2O)n” (1). Single sugars such as glucose and fructose are known as monosaccharides. Two monosaccharides linked together (e.g. sucrose = glucose + fructose, lactose = glucose + galactose) are known as disaccharides. Many sugars linked together are known as polysaccharides. Added and free sugars As a reminder, added sugars are…