Our Bittersweet Relationship with Sugar

If you live with diabetes, the dangers of high blood sugar will remain prominent. Put simply – regular stretches of high blood sugar levels can result in permanent damage to parts of the body. And we aren’t talking about your fingernails and nostril hairs, either.

After long periods of sugar consumption, your eyes, kidneys, nervous system, and blood vessels take a pounding. Not to mention the catastrophic effect it has on your heart, liver and brain.

However, it’s not just those with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes who can suffer from that sweet, granulated issue of Hyperglycaemia (the technical term for high blood glucose).

We are all at risk. It’s fair to say that sugar offers a bittersweet relationship with our health. While moreish (having been proven as more addictive than cocaine) and available in plentiful quantities, sugar can cause a wide range of health issues and behavioural torment.

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Our societal dependence on sugar is also capitalised by big companies seeking to exploit our weakness for confectionary and sweetness, but that doesn’t mean all sugars are bad for you.

At the risk of upsetting the applecart, natural sugars are perfectly safe as an inclusion of our modern diet; so long as it’s in moderation. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates – including fruits and vegetables, dairy produce and grains.

Eating these foods is considered common sense by most nutritional experts. I mean, how could any sane dietary guide not worship the high amounts of fibre, essential minerals and antioxidants served up by plant-based foods?

There’s also protein and calcium in dairy products, and they are good for you (ignore what those pasty vegans bemoan). Natural sugar offers a steady supply of energy to your cells, and as your body slowly digests these foods, those gently-burning carbohydrates act akin to a battery pack.

A healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases – such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. So, what’s the problem then?

In a (deliciously sweet) nutshell, we eat too much sugar that isn’t natural. From refined glucose to fructose syrup and all those lovely additives, we subject our bodies to sugars that we aren’t designed to process.

Our Problem With Sugar

Lots of sugar, piled on a spoon, surrounded by sugar cubes in the background.

It’s no secret. Contemporary society consumes too much of the wrong sugar. There’s very little in the way of natural substance in the added glucose that food manufacturers inject into products for increased flavour and extended shelf life.

In the Australian diet, according to recent batches of research, top sources of refined sugar come from soft drinks, cereals, chocolate/confectionary bars, flavoured yoghurts and most processed foods.

Some of you may give an audible sigh of relief, having steered clear of these foodstuffs and subsequently patted yourself on the back. But hang on a minute – don’t celebrate your nutritional triumph quite yet. All those ‘bad sugars’ are also – sneakily – present in items that you may not realise are sweetened.

Supermarket items such as bread, cured meats, pasta sauces, condiments and even those ‘healthy ready meals’ are all laced with added sugar. The result? We all unknowingly ingest secret sugars.

According to the National Cancer Institute, adult men eat an average of 24 teaspoons of added sugar every 24 hours. That’s the equivalent of 384 calories, which would take most people 45-minutes of gym activity to burn. As each day builds up and the weeks melt into months and years, that’s a lot of required activity just to neutralise the effect.

All that sugary goodness has a direct impact on obesity and the national diabetes epidemic, too. And, here’s the thing – you likely already know that. What will come as a surprise to most of us is how the enforced taste for sugar effectively, and slowly, tears your body down from the inside – especially your heart.

Such A Sweetheart

A heart symbol constructed of sugar cubes on a blue background.

There have been countless studies undertaken to highlight the correlation between heart health and sugar intake, but one of the scariest undoubtedly remains a published report from 2014, nestled deep within JAMA Internal Medicine.

Over the case of a 15-year study, Dr. Hu and his colleagues determined that people who received 17-21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to those who instead received 8% of their calories from added sugar. The result of cardiovascular disease? You got it. Death.

It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to therefore deduce that the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk of heart disease and fatality.

That being said, there’s still widespread debate as to exactly how sugar actually affects heart health. The whole process isn’t yet understood, but it appears that indirect connections to the ol’ ticker are at play.

Here’s an example. High amounts of sugar can overload the liver, which metabolizes glucose in the same way it deals with alcohol – converting dietary carbohydrates into fat.

As the sugar overload continues, and a greater accumulation of fat builds up, there’s a greater risk of fatty liver disease – a major player in the development of diabetes; which in turn pumps up the danger of heart disease.

Then there’s the impact that excess sugar on your blood pressure, alongside chronic inflammation. These two aspects are the cornerstones of the pathway to heart disease, but there’s one extra attribute you should be aware of. Brace yourself.

Soft Drinks: Sugar's Nasty Party Trick

Excess sugar consumption can come from any number of dietary options, but the biggest culprit remains sugary beverages.

Feeling as though you’ve been unable to shift your weight gain lately? That’s because your brain is being tricked, and you won’t be able to lose those pounds anytime soon.

The likes of Coca-Cola confuse your body and, as a direct consequence, shutters all appetite control. Liquid calories are nowhere near as satisfying as solid food, leaving you to consume more and yet still feel hungry. Dozens upon dozens of extra calories enter your system, making it oh-so-easy to gain weight as you plunder the supplies.

Take heed. Heart disease can also lead towards a heart attack or a stroke. Think about that the next time you reach for an easy can of liquid sugar.

So, How Much Sugar Is OK?

We said that 24 teaspoons of sugar is a tad excessive. What’s a safe amount to therefore eat? Aha! You won’t catch us out that easily – especially as there’s no definitive answer, bearing in mind that you require natural sugars for dietary nutrients.

There is also no formal amount of sugar from the Institute of Medicine and their strict RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances). If you do go digging, then you can get a feel for what the human body can filter.

The American Heart Association has suggested that women do not exceed 100 calories (roughly 6 teaspoons/24 grams) of added-glucose intake, and men should not exceed more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons/36 grams). To put that into perspective, that almost matches one can of Coca-Cola per day. That then begs the question; how can you keep track and ensure you don’t indulge with added sugars?

You’ll have to remain vigilant. We would recommend reading the labels on food packaging to look for these culprits:

· corn sweetener

· brown sugar

· corn syrup

· fruit juice concentrates

· high-fructose corn syrup

· honey

· invert sugar

· malt sugar

· molasses

· syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).

A Lifehack For Staying Control

There is no need to suddenly cut these ingredients from your diet and go cold turkey, but it might be worth considering a reduction in the frequency of purchase. It would also be wise to note the total grams of sugar per serving, alongside the suggested number of servings (usually found in the small print beside the nutritional information on the back).

There’s a method and reasoning to that madness. For instance, packaging for a microwave-ready meal may state “Only 10g of sugar per serving!”, but should you delve behind that claim, you’ll find that the entire meal consists of two, three, or four servings.

It’s easy to get carried away and eat the whole thing, as usually there’s not much substance to them, and – BOOM – you’ve successfully devoured up to 40g of added sugar. Just like that.

And what of tea and coffee? I’m glad you asked. A study produced in May 2017 showcased that two-thirds of coffee drinkers, and one-third of tea drinkers, put sugar or sweetener in their hot beverages. That accounted for more than 60% of the sugar-based calories that those individuals received.

Personally, I find that quite scary, as I enjoy quite a number of tea/coffee breaks each day. Each cup has two sugars, meaning that I’m likely to be dead next week. Probably best that I burn all the bags of delicious, delicious sugar in my cupboards. Yet – being overzealous in attempts to cut down on added sugar can also be unwise.

By this stage, you are already addicted to the white stuff, and you’ll turn to other foods to satisfy your cravings. Popular rebounds include white bread, rice, and comfort foods high in saturated fat and salt (sodium).

It would be a lie to state that we don’t all crave a bag of chips when steering away from sweet treats. Ready Salted are the best, and I’ll die on that hill. All these comfort foods can also cause havoc with your heart. Is there any win to be had here?

The answer is yes, and we’ll be exploring that next time.

Speak with us. We are here to help.

Energy Drink: How much is too much?

To understand the rabid popularity of society’s answer to sleep – the uncompromising ‘energy drink’ – you first need to re-establish the concept of peer pressure.

We’ve all been there in youth. Feeling the enforcement from our equals, friends or family to engage with something that you’d rather not. Once you cave in, there’s often no going back. Especially when introduced to deep-fried goods. Not that I’m using that as an excuse. *cough*

Extreme modern-day peer pressures don’t really involve enslavement to fish and chips, but rather showcase innocents becoming trapped in a single moment’s yield, habitually addicted to cigarettes or illegal substances, or partaking in criminal activity.

But now there’s a new kid on the block – it’s perfectly legal, and it can be found in a can; festooned with attractive labels that veil an array of ingredients destined to brawl with your internal organs.

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The Great British Health Service witnesses a yearly average of 1500 adolescents (aged 12 to 17 years) staggering into the emergency room for an energy drink-related emergency. From extreme dehydration to heart complications, and even self-harm courtesy of a toxic blend of can-sponsored anxiety and insomnia, energy drinks have demonstrated an ability to cause serious issues for young people.

Asking for a friend – is that because older individuals can handle each can of energy drink with more processing power?

In a word: no. It’s mainly because of a marketing switch – as can be highlighted when delving into the drink’s promotional campaigns, arguably driving a keen round of peer pressure among children and teenagers.

On the flip side, the drinks wouldn’t be legal if they were inherently dangerous. So – what’s the story?

What Is An Energy Drink?

An energy drink comes from a family of liquid products that typically contain enough caffeine to spice your eyeballs and inject your soul with an abundance of vibrancy – without the need for other, added, caffeinated dietary supplements.

You may believe that such a beverage is a modern phenomenon, but no. The first energy drink reportedly appeared on the North American market in 1949, marketed as Dr. Enuf. The vein-popping dose of canned energy largely remained on the shelves of Americana until the drinks range was launched in Europe for 1987.

Australia, and the rest of the world, quickly followed suit, with Red Bull taking the globe by storm following a 1997 promotional campaign. The booming energy drink market has since grown dramatically, attracting various companies and establishing an array of brands that promote a sexualised and energetic lifestyle.

Annual consumption exceeded 5.8 billion litres in 160 countries by the time 2013 rolled on round. Needless to say, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. And the youth are paying for it.

Targeting The Young

Manufacturers appear to have moved away from a consumer focus on athletes and sporty individuals, instead opting to aggressively market in places that remain popular with teens and young adults. According to various reports, 66% of consumers are aged between 13 and 35 years old.

That’s right – children aged 13 (and oftentimes younger than that) are indulging in highly-caffeinated beverages with all the nutritional value of asbestos-flavoured rubble.

In the United States, energy drinks have become the second most common dietary supplement used by people under the age of 30. A third of that age bracket opts to purchase energy drinks on a regular basis; a theme that can be translated from any country in which these drinks are sold.

From the Kingdom of Audi Arabia to Canberra – it’s a trendy drink that sells the lifestyle we’re told we need. And that’s the peer pressure today’s younger generation are subjected to. I know of the dangers, because I’ve previously suffered from it.

While stranded in the computing library throughout panicked cramming for university exams, alongside the accompanying dissertation study and also working various night shifts to fund myself, I caved into the ‘energy drink’ trend.

It’s easy to look back and criticise, but when everyone in the vicinity – including those whom you look up to – are tanking the energy drinks and surviving with more literary and cognitive success, as a vulnerable teen, it’s inevitable that you’ll get swept away. Monkey see, monkey do.

Of course, as with any dietary fad I’ve attempted to join, it didn’t go well. The energy drink didn’t seem to bolster my vibrancy at all. Instead, I lived in fear of the toilet, never quite sure when another gut-wrenching sprint to the communal bathroom was due.

My stomach churned like a brick-filled washing machine on a spin cycle. Within a couple of weeks, I’d bailed on energy drinks completely. Yet, my flatmate had more success and could stay awake for over 24 hours each go.

Until, that is, we were sat in the emergency room with said flatmate suffering from chest pains; spooked into seeking immediate medical attention courtesy of several nightly binges. With fellow students consuming vast quantities of energy drink as a style choice, and others coming to depend on the substance when burning the midnight oil, my flatmate had tried to keep up with the fashion and paid the price. And then there’s the fashionable alcohol and energy-drink mix.

Those brainwashed by advertising – in this case, on television, on the internet, through sports sponsorships, video games and in shops – were always going to be easy pickings, and brand loyalty always adds to the blend.

Yet, the laddish craze of crafting drinks such as a ‘Jägerbomb’ (Jägermeister taken with a shot of Red Bull) not only encourages a deep-rooted peer pressure to enjoy energy drinks, but also embeds it into our cultural DNA for a generation. The internal fight – where the caffeine pumps your heart faster and the alcohol tries to slow it down – can result in frightening palpitations.

From my honest experience, the energy drink isn’t consumed by those seeking the taste, largely because it tastes like sour beer and stale lava, nor does the ‘energy hit’ affect everyone in the same way.

The only energy heightened for me involved the actions of my colon. Yet, thanks to some very clever advertising that utilises the culture of youth, consumption appears to continue on the increase – despite claims from purchasers that the drinks are somewhat expensive.

So, what’s going on? Answer: It’s a fashion trend more than a drink. And that means it defies the laws of common sense.

But – here’s the question that Google Trends and SEMrush tell us people are searching for: how much is safe to drink?

I mean, let’s get one thing perfectly clear – energy drink (just like most things) is not inherently dangerous in sensible quantities. But what about those who substitute meals and sleep with a can of spritely-looking energy drink? Well…

How Much Energy Drink Is Too Much?

Energy drinks are designed to give an “energy boost” to the drinker through a combination of stimulants and boosters – the major constituent of which is, naturally, caffeine. The majority of brands also add large amounts of glucose/sugar, with other ingredients including:

“taurine, methylxanthines, vitamin B, ginseng, guarana, yerba mate, acai, maltodextrin, inositol, carnitine, creatine, glucuronolactone, and ginkgo biloba”.

All those natural* ingredients aren’t to be found in the nutritional guidebook, and those with a health-conscious attitude certainly protest the adverse health effects. However, it’s somewhat difficult to answer the question of ‘how much is too much’.

There are limited comprehensive publications that detail the safety of binging on energy drink, but delving behind the headlines makes for interesting reading. Without naming brands, certain manufacturers claim their beverages are “natural dietary supplements,” thus not subject to the regulations that apply to each nation’s food products.

As such, it’s difficult to gauge exactly how much caffeine you’re downing with each can of luminous energy drink, but the sky-high amounts speak for themselves; a typical 16-ounce energy drink contains between 150 to 280 milligrams of caffeine.

Larger cans have up to 500 milligrams of caffeine. I know these are just numbers on a page, but when compared to soft drinks and sodas the difference is alarming. There is typically around 35 milligrams of caffeine per average can of soda.

Would you consider downing five cans of sugary pop and proclaiming you haven’t overindulged? Even if you are that way inclined, there’s one extra aspect to contend with. And that’s guarana – a South American plant used by most brands as a more potent form of caffeine.

One gram of guaranine, a derivative of guarana, is equivalent to 40 to 80 milligrams of caffeine. Always bear that in mind when clocking the caffeinated content – it’ll be stronger than stated.

To offer some practical advice, if you feel dehydrated, burdened with a headache or as though your heart is having a party all to itself, then get some water and stay off the energy drink.

Side effects of too much caffeine:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Dehydration
  • Restlessness
  • Caffeine withdrawal; associated with headache, marked fatigue, anxiety, tremors and irritability.

So – what’s the conclusion? From a personal point of view, I’d encourage you to stay clear, especially if you already suffer from health conditions that can be amplified by the wrong ingredients. From a nutritional perspective, there doesn’t seem to be much benefit, either.

Seriously, don’t substitute a meal with these things. Have some food. Buy a coffee. Stay out of the emergency ward. And don’t believe that the folly of youth will protect you – I’ve seen what it can do.

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Struggling to get your diet back on track? Reach out to us. We can help – we’ve been in your shoes, and proudly offer a non-judgemental service destined to make you healthier. 

Can you get Omega-3 from anything other than fish?

Can you get Omega-3 from anything other than fish? I have a phobia of eating fish – known as Ichthyophobia. And because my diet has been a tad poor, I certainly haven’t been getting enough Omega-3. My joints are aching, and my nutritional sat nav has gone AWOL. Time to face some fears.

As a consumer, it’s easy to clock that Omega-3 fatty acids suffer from the media’s fashion trend. They fall in and out of favour, largely depending on which study or ‘online expert’ owns the headlines that week.

Some claim that Omega-3 is good for the brain, while others claim consumption of fatty acids deteriorates our grey matter into a Zombie state. Reports contradict themselves, circling around whether Omega-3 does or doesn’t prevent heart disease, cancers or physical ailments.

Conflicting reports claim that foods containing fatty acids can aid in the personal fight against encroaching arthritis, whereas other publications declare that they make little-to-no difference. At all. What can get lost in translation is this – Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for the human body to function effectively.

Regardless of opinion on those debated aspects above, what has been accepted by almost everyone is the impact Omega-3 has on the improvement of blood vessel function, prevention of blood clots, and a direct influence on gene expression; embellishing your ability to function.

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Here’s the clincher – although these fats are crucial for a healthy lifestyle, your body doesn’t produce Omega-3. You need to source them from your food, but you won’t find these necessary fatty acids in the likes of chocolate, bread or cakes.

Sadly, that delicious slice of deep-fried Victoria Sponge (with heaped servings of ice cream and sprinkles) does not help in the fight against joint pain, heart disease or encroaching arthritis. Chips don’t aid your defence against deteriorating brain matter. Grabbing a dirty burger is unlikely to prevent physical ailments. Sad face.

What you really want to be eating comes from Neptune’s pantry. Top sources of Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish; herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna and sardines. Feeling adventurous? You can also enjoy chomping down on seaweed, or swallowing fish oil, cod liver tablets or algal oil supplements.

And that’s where I had a problem. This all makes sense on paper, and I can’t disagree with the facts, but I’ve always had an aversion to fish.

Unless it’s been dipped in batter and served alongside a mountain of hot chips, then fish dishes have always been viewed as trouble.

Even then, I’ve usually been forced into ordering butterfish and chips. Although we both know that I’m lying when I say that. Sigh.

Going Vegan for Omega 3

Vegan Omega-3

It’s funny how our childhood trauma can follow us into adulthood when it comes to food. As I watched a bone jettison itself across the floor following the Heimlich Manoeuvre from my father, I vowed never to touch fish-based dishes ever again. So, in trying to improve my diet without venturing into that dreaded marine food group, I did

something that I’d never before contemplated. I went vegan. After doing some research and praying to God that I didn’t have to risk eating fish again, I discovered that – courtesy of a growing proportion of our population taking this turn – veganism is no longer shunned during Omega-3 discussions.

The good news was this; certain plant foods offer alpha-linolenic acid, which potentially does the trick. The shopping trolley was soon filled with kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and various assortments of nuts.

The bad news was this; even if I feasted on these greens in a single sitting, the results would be lackluster. Due to complicated maths and conversion rates between the three main types of Omega-3 fatty acids – Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – it would be a largely wasted venture. And nobody wants to overdose on sprouts for no good reason.

Turning to fresh and unexplored options in a feverish bid to avoid the inevitable, I went in search of algal oil, which is derived from algae. According to the experts, it contains both DHA and EPA and can almost claim to be equivalent to the oils found in Salmon. But then things got scary, as you need to find a brand that avoids contaminants such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB).

I’m sure that there are loads of safe and trustworthy online sources to get a hold of these supplements, but – stupidly – I became spooked. It triggered an overload following the bombardment of recent new healthcare terms. I tapped out.

That mantra was enhanced when reading about fish oil’s blood-thinning effect should you take more than 3 grams per day. So, as predicted, I was going to have to confront my childhood phobia and actually eat fish. Yikes.

Facing Fear. And Fish.

Seafood has one of the most distinguishable smells. And with every meaty whiff of fish, I’m transported back to that ridiculous mental block. I’ve taught myself to hate everything about it – the smell, the texture, the appearance.

And so, to aid my progress towards a healthier diet, it was time to face a meal of salmon and vegetables. All the veg was consumed in a sad effort to postpone the inescapable, and then the moment could be put off no longer.

My throat squirmed, and my face seemed to screw up into something Picasso would be proud of. The salmon may have been baked with asparagus and tomatoes, but it tasted like death warmed up. I could feel sweat materialising across my brow, each swirl of my jaw searching for any trace of thin bone.

Convinced that I was fatally close to a repeat of that haunting childhood memory, I stopped. Until someone reminded me why I was doing this, and how important Omega-3 is for my joints and wellbeing. They had a point.

Why Omega-3 Matters

Because Omega-3 fights inflammation and decreases inflammatory markers within the joint, there’s an aurora that fatty acids can prevent stiffness, joint pain and a dependence on painkillers/medication. Evidence suggests that Omega-3 may even protect against cartilage loss.

And, when looking at the rising cases of disability in Australia, that kind of assistance is priceless. According to studies, one in three adults over the age of 45 will develop osteoarthritis, with increasing numbers affected by rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or osteoporosis. When reading that 75% of those with osteoarthritis live in constant pain, suddenly that Salmon doesn’t seem so terrible. But there is a voice at the back of my head: “could Omega-3 fatty acids really help keep that condition at bay?”

Although the media may scream of contradictions, when you delve behind the headlines, the research looks promising. Omega-3 supplements have been found to impact joint pain in a positive fashion – reducing discomfort and improving function. Perhaps there was a way to avoid digesting Nemo after all. Yet, there are some other things to note in the studies.

These supplements have to be used in conjunction with, or as an alternative, to conventional anti-inflammatory painkillers. And even then, it’s not a one-dose-fixes-all in regards to current joint pain. Nutritional experts appear divided when discussing Omega-3’s influence on clinical improvements, but one thing seems certain – the long-term effects depend on other aspects of life.

For instance, I couldn’t (sadly) get away with a sugary diet, lack of exercise and high-stress lifestyle and expect Omega-3 supplements to counteract all my evils. I also couldn’t expect those fatty acids to fix any lingering muscle pain from a sedentary lifestyle.

For that, osteopathic services offer a more direct and tangible solution to ailments such as lingering back pain and difficulty with knee ache, torment from neck pain and the like.

So, with a little guidance from the team at Focus Osteopathy, I’m going to tackle my fear of eating fish for the greater good. Omega-3 seems to be wildly beneficial for preventing future joint pain, and those fatty acids certainly appear to keep things like Gout at bay.

Guidance From Focus Osteopathy

That guidance from the nutritional boffins at Focus should keep me on the right track, as it’s not quite as simple as “eat all the fish and eat it now”.

Fish oils are known to increase blood sugar levels, and that can have a nasty effect on anyone with diabetes or relevant health conditions, and can potentially clash with certain medications.

Too much Omega-3 over a small time stretch and you can also incur nausea, headaches, heartburn, toxicity towards Vitamin A and even insomnia. Not to mention bad breath and an irritating taste left in your mouth. Although that could just be my cooking talents.

On the plus side, this will all assist in vanquishing my phobia of fish as a meal. And it means I don’t have to opt solely for vegan options to gain my Omega-3 requirements.

After all, as previously stated, nobody wants to explain an overdose of Brussel Sprouts to St.Peter at the pearly gates. Can you imagine trying to hang with Amy Winehouse or Janis Joplin, using that claim to fame?

Looking for dietary advice? Reach out to us.

True or false – Top 12 nutrition questions answered!

Eggs raise cholesterol levels?

Short answer: False
Although egg yolks are a major source of cholesterol — a waxy substance that resembles fat — researchers have learned that saturated fat has more of an impact on cholesterol in your blood than eating foods that contain cholesterol. “Healthy individuals with normal blood cholesterol levels should now feel free to enjoy foods like eggs in their diet every day,” the lead researcher from a 25-year University of Arizona study on cholesterol concluded.

Olive oil prevents heart disease?

Short answer: True
The health benefits of olive oil come from the presence of  polyphenols, antioxidants  that reduce  the risk of heart diseases  and cancers.

But to get these healthy compounds, consumers should buy good-quality, “extra-virgin” olive oil, which has the highest polyphenol content. Most commercially available olive oils have low levels of polyphenols associated with poor harvesting methods, improper storage, and heavy processing.  Remember olive is best consumed cold, so use it as a salad dressing by mixing it with apple cider vinegar, salt and some dried herbs.

Sugary soft drinks lead to diabetes?

Short answer: True
The majority of health research is stacked against sugar-sweetened soft drinks. A large 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks per day increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 83% compared to those who consumed less than one of these beverages per month.   If you crave a drink with fizz, try soda water with some fresh lemon squeezed into it.

Nuts make you fat?

Short answer: False
As much as 75% of a nut is fat. But eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. The bigger factor leading to weight gain is portion-size. Luckily, nuts are loaded with healthy fats that keep you full. They’re also a good source of protein and fibre. One study even found that whole almonds have 20% less calories than previously thought because a lot of the fat is excreted from the body.  If you’re trying to lose weight but love your nuts, stick to using your fingers as a guide – the amount that can fit on three fingers will make a good snack and stop you from overindulging.

Walking is as effective as running?

Short answer: True
Studies have shown that how long you exercise — and thus how many calories you burn — is more important than how hard you exercise. Running is a more efficient form of exercise, but not necessarily better for you. A six-year study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology in April found that walking at a moderate pace and running produced similar health benefits, so long as the same amount of energy was expended.

Drinking fruit juice is as good for you as eating fruit?

Short answer: False
Calorie for calorie, whole fruit provides more nutritional benefits than drinking the pure juice of that fruit. That’s because when you liquefy fruit, stripping away the peel and dumping the pulp, many ingredients like fibre, calcium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants are lost. For comparison, half a glass of orange juice that contains 69 calories has .3 grams of dietary fibre and 16 milligrams of calcium, whereas an orange with the  same number of calories packs 3.1 grams of fibre and 60 milligrams of  calcium. Not only that, when you take away the fibre, the sugar from the juice causes a blood sugar spike, which can leave you craving more.

All wheat breads better for you than white bread?

Short answer: False
Not all wheat breads are created equal. Wheat breads that contain all parts of the grain kernel, including the nutrient-rich germ and fibre-dense bran, must be labelled “whole grain” or “whole wheat.” Some wheat breads are just white bread with a little bit of caramel colouring to make the bread appear healthier, according to Reader’s Digest.  Whole grains are also richer in fibre, slowing down how quickly your body breaks down the bread and leaving you feeling fuller for longer.

Does coffee cause cancer?

Short answer: False
Coffee got a bad rap in the 1980s when a study linked drinking coffee to pancreatic cancer.   The preliminary report was later debunked. More recently, health studies have swung in favour of the caffeinated beverage Coffee has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and even suicide.  The trick is to not drink too much!

You can drink too much water?

Short answer: True
It is very rare for someone to die from drinking too much water,  but it can happen. Over hydrating is most common among elite athletes.  Drinking an excess of water, called water intoxication, dilutes the concentration of sodium in the blood leading to a condition known as hyponatremia. The symptoms of hyponatremia can range from nausea and confusion to seizures and even death in severe cases. To avoid this, drink fluids with electrolytes during extreme exercise events.

Yogurt can ease digestive problems?

Short answer: True
Your digestive tract is filled with microorganisms — some good and some bad. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria, generically called probiotics, that help maintain a healthy balance. Probiotics can relieve several gastrointestinal problems, including constipation and diarrhoea.
Certain brands of yogurts are marketed exclusively to treat tummy issues.  Just be careful of the sugar content and avoid low-fat yoghurts, as these have extra sugar added to compensate for the lack of taste caused by taking out the fat.

Red wine is better for you than white wine?

Short answer: True
Red wine contains much more resveratrol than white wine, an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes that has been shown to fight off diseases associated with aging. However, the amount you would have to consume to see benefits from the resveratrol is so high that the alcohol content negates the advantages. You’re better off finding a good resveratrol supplement instead

Bottled water is better for you than tap water?

Short answer: False
Bottled water is no safer or purer than tap water, although it is substantially more expensive. A recent study by Glasgow University in the U.K. found that bottled water is actually more likely to be contaminated than water from your faucet  because it is less well-regulated. Bottled water and tap water typically come from the same sources — natural springs, lakes, and aquifers. While public water supplies are tested for contaminants every day, makers of bottled water are only required to test for specific contaminants every week, month, or year.