• Sleep Smarter
    Blog,  Book review,  Health

    Book review: Sleep Smarter (Shawn Stevenson)

    Continuing with the sleep health theme of the month, here I review Shawn Stevenson’s bestselling book Sleep Smarter. The author Shawn Stevenson is the American podcaster behind The Model Health Show. He was diagnosed with degenerative bone and disc disease as a teenager, which led to weight inactivity, poor food choices and subsequent weight gain. One day he made the decision to reverse what doctors thought was irreversible. He fixed his exercise, diet and sleep and now helps other people to improve their lifestyle. The book This book has an interesting structure. It’s divided in 21 chapters, each one is a tip for better sleep. At the same time, every…

  • misconceptions about sugar
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    5 misconceptions about sugar

    Here are 5 misconceptions about sugar I heard from colleagues, patients and friends. Something tells me these are probably common beliefs among the general public. 1. Gluten-free desserts are not very sweet Desserts that are made without gluten-containing ingredients can still contain a ton of sugar. Sugar is gluten-free, but not sugar-free. Exhibit A: Banana bread mix Ingredients: sugar, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, raising agents, maize starch, salt, thickener, natural flavouring, vegetable emulsifier, natural colour Sugars per serve (75g): 15.8g (almost 4 teaspoons) 2. Organic yoghurt doesn’t have sugar Once again, organic does not mean sugar-free. In addition, it does not necessarily mean healthier or “good for you”.…

  • is dairy good for you
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition

    Is dairy good for you?

    Dairy products and alternatives constitute one of the five food groups in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. “Alternatives” are included in this group because there is an increasing number of people who cannot or choose not to consume foods derived from animal milk. Is dairy good for you? As it’s often the case, it depends. What is dairy? Dairy products is the name given to milk and products made from milk of animals such as cows, goats and sheep. This includes fermented milk products such as yoghurt, kefir and cheese. While cream, ice cream and butter are technically dairy products, they should not be consumed on a regular basis. Nutrients in…

  • fructose sweet poison
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition

    Fructose: Sweet poison?

    Fructose is a simple sugar (such as glucose and maltose) that occurs naturally in foods. It is a pentose (has 5 carbons). When one molecule of fructose combines with one molecule of glucose, it forms sucrose (a.k.a. table sugar). Years ago, agave syrup was all the rage because it was high in fructose. Fructose is known to have a low glycaemic index, meaning it does not raise blood sugar as much as glucose. Back in the 1960s, fructose was used to treat diabetes because it does not need insulin to be metabolised (1, 2, 3). That’s good, right? Not so fast! There has been plenty of scientific research on how…

  • avocado and health
    Blog,  Diet,  Gluten-free,  Low-carb,  Nutrition

    Avocado and health

    Avocado, aguacate, palta. All of these words refer to the same fruit – yes, fruit. The avocado (Persea americana) seems to have originated in Mexico (1, 2) and is currently enjoyed in most corners of the world thanks to globalisation. The picture at the top of this article was taken in my hometown (Lima, Perú), where avocados are pretty much a staple. There are several varieties available throughout the year, including Fuerte, Hass, “punta” and “dedo”. However, in the anglo world, Hass seems to be the most common varity. Fruit or vegetable? Even though avocado is botanically a fruit, it’s normally considered a vegetable. This is because it’s low in…

  • cinnamon and health
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Cinnamon and health

    The link between cinnamon and health has been recognised for a long time in traditional cultures. Cinnamon is thought to be antimicrobial, antiinflammatory (1, 2, 3, 4), antifungal (1, 2), antioxidant, antidiabetic (1, 2, 4), antimycotic (1) and anticancer (1, 2, 5). Thus, people have been using the spice for multiple purposes, including bad breath (1, 2), colon health (1, 2, 3), coagulation (1) and food preservation (4). What is cinnamon? Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the bark of trees in the Cinnamomum genus (4, 7). Only some of the approximately 250 species in the genus are used as a spice (1, 6, 7). Cinnamomum verum, a.k.a. C. zeylanicum,…

  • health benefits of nuts
    Blog,  Nutrition

    Health benefits of nuts

    The health benefits of nuts are widely accepted in many cultures. Most traditional cuisines incorporate nuts in one way or another. Nuts are part of many dietary patterns, including vegan (raw or regular), vegetarian, pescetarian, paleo, keto, Mediterranean, etc. Tree nuts and peanuts Tree nuts include walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, etc. Peanuts are botanically legumes, but are considered in the “nut” category due to its similar nutritional profile. Sadly, they also share the potential to cause food allergy. Both tree nuts and peanuts are in the list of top ten food allergens that must be declared in food packaging (read more about food allergy here). Most scientific studies include peanuts…

  • Blog,  Nutrition,  Self-experiment

    Self-experiment: 7 day carb test

    Guinea pig time! This n=1 experiment comes from Wired to Eat, Robb Wolf latest (and greatest IMO) piece of work. Robb Wolf is one of the most respected voices in the paleo/ancestral scene not only because he was one of the early adopters, but because he gets science, both at an academic level (he is a biochemist) and at a philosophic level (he is not afraid of changing his views when new evidence is available, which is the case with this book). I encourage you to listen to a few of the many podcasts Robb has been interviewed in, so that you get an idea of what his book’s message…