Have you ever wondered how your body reacts to sugar?

Sugar, as much as we love it, can be a cause of many health issues such as chronic health problems or heart diseases. Not only can access sugar sabotage your weight loss, but it can also take over from the space that should be reserved healthy - nutritious.

How about some facts?

Despite all the warnings and signs, people often tend to overlook this fact. The amount of sugar per day for women should not exceed 24 grams (6 tsp) and for men 36 grams (9 tsp). While, currently, the average for both genders is about 73 grams (17.4 tsp) per day!

Have you ever wondered what happens to your body after overeating on sugar? Let's break it down...

Your Brain

Sugar triggers the release of dopamine (your happy hormone), so yes sugar provides temporary feelings of happiness, which however might become addictive. The more sugar you eat, the more you need to reach that same 'sugar high'.

Your Skin

Sugar increases inflammation in the body, when it comes to skin - it could appear as a skin conditions such as acne.

Your Liver, Pancreas, and Kidneys

Your liver converts the excess sugar into fat, which over time can lead to fatty liver disease - similar to what alcohol abusers may suffer. When it comes to the pancreas and kidneys, overdoing it with sugar can lead to diabetes and kidney failure.

Your Digestion

Too much of processed sugar can negatively influence your gut microbiome, and lead to poor digestion.

Your Blood

Refined sugar and too much of it can cause blood spikes - highs and lows, and eventually lead to chronic health problems.

your-body-and-sugar

How sugar works?

Any sugar you consume broks down into glucose and fructose.

Glucose: is a simple sugar (monosaccharide) and the main component of carbohydrates, which is the body’s preferred source of energy. Glucose gets directly absorbed into the bloodstream to be used as energy.

Fructose: known to be - fruit sugar, this particular sugar is processed in the liver, where it's converted into glucose so that it can be used as energy.

Other than fruits, fructose is also in added to processed foods (high-fructose corn syrup for example). The difference is that when eaten in a fruit form you're also consuming fiber and nutrients that help slow down the absorption and keep your blood sugar levels steady.

The Bottom Line?

Not all sugar is created equal. Sugar naturally occurs in foods like fruits, veggies, dairy products and grains. When consuming these whole foods, you also get plenty of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This includes fiber, which helps slow digestion and maintains your sugar levels steady.

If you'd like to read more about sugar check those out:

HE HEALTHIEST SUGAR ALTERNATIVES

IT IS TIME TO BREAK UP WITH SUGAR

The Deadly Truth about diet soft driinks

Cheers to those hot summer days when we tend to crave something cold and refreshing. To cool our bodies down, we often reach out for a bottle of coke for example. Oh sorry, I meant to say - DIET coke, because of course, you don't want to drink your sugar. You know what I'm talking about, right?

In a world where foods are no longer grown but rather genetically modified, it is easy to believe that diet foods and drinks are better for our health because they say to have less sugar. Well, here is the truth bomb.

The sad truth is, that the sugar that has been removed needed to be replaced by some unnatural alternative. Such artificial sweeteners used in drinks (but also low-fat, fat-free or sugar-free products) can have a damaging effect on our health. Drinking 'diet' soda drinks have been linked to type 2 diabetes and even cancer. And did you know?

Drinking diet soft drinks can lead to weight gain as opposed to keeping the pounds off. This is because the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks increase cravings and messes up the body's natural metabolism. But that's not all!

Beverages with artificial sweeteners have been linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, inflammation, stroke, and heart attack. Knowing all of this now, would a diet coke next time be the solution to satisfy your thirst?

What To Do

The answer is really simple - stay hydrated with water. While water should be your main source of hydration, having an occasional soda drink is no reason for panic.

How To Hydrate

Let's start with the fact that water makes up roughly 60% of our body weight, and therefore you should drink water more often than you think.

Hunger can often be mistaken for thirst and dehydration. On top of helping manage your appetite, staying hydrated keeps your body functioning well and of course, helps with weight loss.

TRANSFORM Tip:

When you feel like water isn't satisfying or refreshing enough, which at the time may be true especially if you feel dehydrated during hot summer days or following a workout, there are healthy alternatives.

Coconut water is a great natural way to hydrate and it sure is refreshing, especially if served cold. You can also make your own electrolyte water by adding a pinch of salt, a little maple or agave syrup, a squeeze of lemon and if you fancy, add some cinnamon too!

Electrolyte-enhanced water contains potassium and sodium, which help your body absorb the water more quickly.

Struggling to make hydration your new habit? We can help!

Book your free consultation NOW, and learn more about your body and weight loss!

Christmas Treats versus Treadmill pain

Have you ever wondered how many calories you can put on at Christmas? Or how long will it take to lose the extra pounds? Read on to find out how long you have to spend on a treadmill to burn off a 4000 calorie dinner.....how long you have to run for one 70g mince pie.....

So if you ever wanted to put those snacks in perspective and see how much time it will take to “burn” them off on a treadmill then here you go:

Item and caloriesMinutes on a treadmill*Additional Information
Christmas Dinner 40006 hours 4 mins (4000/658)http://www.metro.co.uk/news/850612-christmas-dinner-will-hit-4-000-calories
70g Mince Pie 26023.7 minutes1 serving 70g http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/nutrition-calories/food/tesco/finest-mince-pies/
1 mini Pig in Blanket 465 mins 30sServing size hard to identify – mini looks like 46 calories
5 mini cocktail sausages 14012min 45 sechttp://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/tesco-cooked-cocktail-sausages-35339823
Christmas Cake 36533 min 30 sechttp://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/home-made-christmas-cake-4499017
Pringles (15 crisp tub) 15013min 40 secondshttp://www.myfitnesspal.com/nutrition-facts-calories/pringles

* Source http://www.livestrong.com/article/515546-how-to-burn-500-calories-per-day-using-a-treadmill/ Assuming running at 6mph (9.6km/h) for 1 hour = 658 calories. 658/60 = 10.96 calories per minute

To brighten your Christmas even further, here's a short list of popular drinks and their calorific value:

Small glass of wine (175ml) - 160 calories (15 minutes on treadmill)
Large glass of wine (250ml) - 228 calories  (20 minutes on treadmill)
Bottle of wine (750ml) - 680 calories (60 minutes on treadmill)
Pint of lager - 227 calories (20 minutes on treadmill)
Pint of beer/stout - 250 calories (22 minutes on treadmill)
Gin and tonic (normal mixer)  - 120 (s) 175(d) (10 minutes on treadmill)
Gin and tonic (slimline)  - 56 calories (5 minutes on treadmill)
Bacardi and coke - 129 calories (10 minutes on treadmill)

And don't forget kids, these amounts are JUST ONE of each drink.......

Other useful fat burning info:

 To lose 1llb per week you need to create a 3500 calorie deficit (i.e. less than your BMR total for the week). So if your BMR (Basal Metabolic rate - the rate you need to stay the same weight) is 1500 per day (average for a woman) you need to be at 1000 calories which includes exercise. So you could eat 1500 calories but you would need to burn 500 to get to your 1000 calorie total for the day. On a no exercise day try to eat 1000 calories.

Simple rule: the more calories you burn (or don't consume) the greater the calorie deficit and the greater the weight loss.

For more information about how you can lose weight in January, register for a free consultation

4 High-Protein, Egg-Free & Low Calories Breakfast

What comes to your mind when you think of high protein breakfast? We bet it's eggs! Eggs are the most popular breakfast food. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. In fact, a whole egg contains all the nutrients needed to turn a single cell into an entire chicken.

But even when it comes to eggs - or any food for that matter, the good old - all in moderation - should be applied. Apart from being high in protein, egg also contain cholesterol. 

Did You Know?

A single medium-sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). In contrast, the white is mostly protein and low in cholesterol. Therefore, eating two or more eggs per day, will go over the recommended intake daily and can increase your bad cholesterol (LDL). 

1. PROTEIN RICH OVERNIGHT OATS

Ingredients (Serves: 1)

Directions

  1. Combine oats, milk, yogurt, almond butter, honey, spice, and apple in a 1-cup jar, stirring until very well blended.
  2. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Once Ready, stir before serving and sprinkle with walnuts.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving: Calories: 380; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 82mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 19g; Protein: 18g

2. SMASHED AVOCADO WITH TOMATO, MOZZARELLA & BASIL

Ingredients (Serves: 1)

Directions

  1. Spread avocado on toast.
  2. Top with cheese and tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped basil.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving: Calories: 224; Total Fat: 24g; Saturated Fat: 10g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 38mg; Sodium: 136mg; Carbohydrate: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 23g

high-protein-egg-free-breakfast

3. CHAI SMOOTHIE BOWL

Ingredients (Serves: 1)

high-protein-egg-free-breakfast

Directions

  1. Heat the milk, add a tea bag and steep 1 minute.
  2. Squeeze the bag and refrigerate until cooled.
  3. Discard tea bag and combine tea-milk mixture, yogurt, oats and seeds in a blender. 
  4. Cut the banana into pieces, setting aside a few slices for garnish, and add to yogurt mixture.
  5. Process until smooth and well blended.
  6. Divide mixture into bowls and top with mango, blueberries, and almonds.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: Calories: 263; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium: 91mg; Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 16g; Protein: 17g

4. FLUFFY CHICKPEA OMELETTE 

Ingredients (Serves: 1)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients, then add yogurt water and mix well. Add more water if needed to make a thick pour-able batter. Mix well and let sit for 2 minutes.
  2. In a non-sticking frying pan sautė tomato, onion and eventually add the prepared batter. Move the pan if you need to move the batter around.
  3. Cook for 5 - 7 minutes, the first pancake usually takes longer as the pan heats up.
  4. Flip it over very carefully and cook for another 2 - 3 mins on the other side. Serve hot with more veggies and a sauce of your choice.

Trying to Lose Weight? Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes!

Snacks are always a tough topic. It’s almost like the marmite - people either love snacking or hate it. Now, what if we tell you that snacking can actually a good thing, but it can also be the reason that sabotages your weight loss progress. Read on to see what tips we have for you.

The key to successful snacking is to know what to eat. Also understanding what common snacking mistakes could be in the way of you achieving your ideal shape. We carefully prepared this ‘mistake guide’ for you to understand a healthy and beneficial way to enjoy your favourite snacks.

Here are the most common mistakes you want to avoid.

1. SNACKING OUT OF BOREDOM

We often tend to snack when we work, study or watch a film, and before you know it the whole large bowl of popcorn is gone.

When you start to feel hungry or feel the need for a snack, first just try to reach out for a glass of water instead. Wait for around 20 minutes and if you’re still experiencing hunger, then reach out for your healthy snack.

2. LESS IS MORE

Nuts, seeds and dried fruit, although healthy and delicious, they are also very easy to overeat on. You better watch out! Over-snacking is another very common issue.

You want to apply the good old 'all in moderation' rule, because even when it comes to healthy snacking you don't want to overdo it. Instead, aim for appropriate portion sizes. Good examples are nuts and seeds, you don't want to eat more than 28g (a handful) of these in one day (unless you follow a vegan diet and nuts/ seed are the only sources of fat intake - then go nuts).

OUR TIP:

Instead of eating right from the big packaging, prepare small snack bags or serve an appropriate amount of your snack in a bowl.

weight loss mistakes

3. REGULARITY IS THE KEY

Having a light lunch and then starving yourself until dinner will either result in overeating in the evening or reaching out for a fast unhealthy snack. You want to make sure you don't get to the point when your blood sugar gets too low so that you'd wanna eat anything and everything you lay your eyes on.

WE SUGGEST:

be prepared! If you know you'll be in for a long day at work, prepare a healthy packed lunch and some snacks. You want to make sure your snacks are balanced in macros: fat, carbohydrates and protein. You can read more on this topic HERE.

The Solution?

A great snack would, for example, be: cucumber with canned tuna and a whole grain cracker, peanut butter rye toast with banana, or yogurt with fruit and nuts.

You'd be surprised how much can those three simple steps help you in achieving your weight loss goals. It really can be that simple if you put your mind to it. However, if you feel confused and need a little extra guidance in your weight loss journey, don't be afraid to get in touch with us or claim your free consultation, by clicking HERE.

Did You Know? 7 Interesting Nutrition Facts

In the world of fitness and nutrition, there is a vast number of information available. However, some of the information that can be found online may not necessarily be true, or the intention of the information provided may be altered in order to sell you a programme or a product.

The most common sources of information are TV, magazines, and the internet. You don't have to - and you shouldn't believe everything you see. So we are here to bust those myths out and give you some surprising facts from the world of nutrition.

1. You Can Eat Fats

Fats are no evil, quite the opposite - eating oily fish, nuts and seeds can actually assist with weight loss. The key is to know which fats are beneficial as opposed to those that aren't.

There are many kinds of fats, the good ones, and some not so good ones. The bad fats are - trans and saturated fat of which intake should be limited. These fats can raise your cholesterol levels and don't provide any benefits for your body and health. On the other hand, unsaturated fats do the opposite. They help in lowering bad cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.

Such fat filled foods are:
> avocados
> nuts and seeds
> fish
> soybeans
> flaxseed
> olive oil

2. Skip the Juice

Yes, fruit juices are yummy and refreshing, but there is a but. Such juices are filled with sugar and therefore can be pretty bad for our health.

Other than fruits being naturally high in sugar, they also contain lots of added sugar, which is hard for the body to process. Healthier options would be:
> 100% fruit juice (not from concentrate) as it doesn’t contain added sugar
> juices that also contain one or two vegetables
> smoothies as they contain fibre which slows down digestion and sugar absorption

did you know

3. Carbs Can Be Your Friend

Information you hear about carbohydrates is confusing. Which are good and which are bad? Carbs contain no more calories than the other macronutrients. A similar approach that applies to fat fits here, it's important to know which carbohydrates are beneficial.

The best sources of carbs are unprocessed whole grains, fruits and vegetables. White bread, highly processed foods and pastries are unhealthy sources of carbs that can contribute to weight gain.

The friendly carbs are:
sweet potato
quinoa
brown rice
whole grain bread/ pasta

4. Protein Isn't the Best Energy Source

The more protein the better? Wrong.

Our most efficient source of energy are carbohydrates. Using protein as a source of energy can actually compromise the recovery of your muscles. It’s often believed that consuming protein in large amounts results in muscle gain, but that is false! Consuming excess protein may actually lead to health problems such as can cause intestinal discomfort and indigestion, dehydration, exhaustion.

Moreover, there are serious risks associated with chronic protein overconsumption such as: cardiovascular disease, blood vessel disorders, liver and kidney injuries, seizures.

5. Ditch the Low-Fat Products

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and almost all products contain little fat in their natural state. But don’t get fooled! Processed foods that are labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free” are usually higher in salt and sugar to make up for the lost 'fat flavour'.

So the funny fact is that people who drink whole milk are less likely to be fat than those who consume low-fat milk. Besides, according to research, low-fat diets can even make you depressed.

did you know

6. Colour Matters

Just like the rainbow, the more colourful the better. To get all the nutrients you need, choose a rainbow of colourful foods. The pigments that give foods their colour, known as phytonutrients, can help reduce your risk of cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease.

Fruits and vegetables provide all the colours and nutrients you may need, plus they are fiber - filled, low-calorie, fat-free, superfoods! They help control and reduce free radicals - unstable molecules in the body that damage cells and are known cause of many diseases.

Have any of these facts surprised you? Let us know! If you have any questions when it comes to nutrition, you can book your FREE consultation with us.

Size Matters... When It Comes To Food Portions

There are cases when size actually isn't important, while in other cases, size really does matter. We are going to focus on the things where size plays an important role, and that is your food intake.

Nowadays we don't suffer from lack but from abundance. We buy more than we need and more than we can consume. Supermarkets and stored literally force-feed us with 2 for 1 offer, or the fact that when you get a large menu it's only a few pennies more expensive than a small menu. And therefore we buy and we eat, and we come to a point where being overweight or obese became very common, almost normal, while truly it is a real issue.

First of all - we need to learn to say no and listen to our bodies by eating the right foods and the right amounts. Eating out of boredom is as natural as breathing for our generations, but it shouldn't be that way. Paying attention to our feelings of hunger and fullness is important, and overeating is not beneficial to our health or wellbeing.

Why Size Matters?

It is one thing to say you'll only eat two slices of pizza and it is a whole new thing to actually act upon it. Portion control can be extremely difficult, and let's face it, those large fast food chains and restaurant servings/ combos don't help either.

Managing your portion sizes can be a number one step towards weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight, as well as it is a key to good nutrition. Creating a positive relationship with food is a great way to make portion control a healthy habit.

Portion Control Tips:

1. Drink water before eating

Before getting to the actual food talk, try to drink water before eating every meal. At times we tend to confuse hunger for thirst, as well as being dehydrated, you are more likely to overeat.

By reaching out for that glass of water, you not only staying hydrated but you are also managing your portion size. Double win, especially with the summer months approaching.

2. Balance Your Plate

Using the plate or palm rule is the way to go in knowing how much carbs, protein, fats, and veggies to have in a meal.

TIP #1: Divide the plate into 2 halves. Fill up one half with low starch vegetables, and divide the second half into two. One quarter for serving of protein, another quarter of the plate for complex carbs + a tablespoon of healthy fats.

TIP #2: Use a smaller plate - with bigger plates we tend to overload. If you serve yourself food on a smaller plate, the plate will look fuller but you will not overeat and will be able to control your portion better.

Too much of anything isn't good, but overeating on veggies is certainly healthier than overeating on pizza or pasta. Eat up your vegetables first - they are your friends. Vegetables are low in calories, but rich in fiber and other nutrients, keeping you healthy.

3. Keep a Track

If you're prone to overeating, try to avoid all you can eat buffets and load your plate only once as opposed to keep adding food as you eat. That way you lose a track of how much you've eaten and you are likely to overeat. Note that to satisfy hunger it can take 20-30 minutes, so hold on before you reach out for the top up or the dessert. Give yourself a little time for your brain and body to start digesting.

This brings us to the next tip...

4. Take Your Time

Eating fast, you're more likely to miss your hunger and fullness signs. Taking your time with your food, really enjoying each and every bite, is not only a great mindful way to eat but it will also help you to make sure you don't eat more than you need. By the time that a few minutes pass by, chances are you'll be satisfied and full enough, and might not even finish your plate. And that's ok! Save it for another day

Aim to sit and eat mindfully, enjoying every bite of what is on your plate. Make sure your portions are balanced when it comes to macronutrients. You can read more about macros (macronutrient) in one of our blogs HERE.

What to eat before & after a workout

You are putting a lot of effort into your workouts so it is obvious that you expect to see progress in reaching your goals. Knowing what to eat and when can make all the difference to your fitness programme no matter what your goal is.

Following our recent blog on 5 QUESTIONS YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO ASK YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER, at Transform PT, we decided to address yet another well discussed topic.

eating before and after a workout

Eating before a workout?

An outgoing debate if people should eat before a workout or not may lead to lots of fights even between the best gym buddies. Whether you are a pre-workout food believer or not, let’s look at it in this way. Simply picture your body as a car – you can’t expect it to drive 200 miles without any petrol in the tank, can you?

When and What to Eat

Just like the car, our bodies need fuel. Ideally, you want to have some form of fuel in your system before a workout. Eating something small and simple about an hour or so before you head out for your workout is the way to go. Try fruit and yogurt, peanut butter on toast or avocado toast with a broiled egg - nothing that’s too much otherwise you will feel sluggish and heavy.

eating before and after a workout

On the other hand, not eating enough before a workout can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Not eating may also impact your performance and reduce results. You are also more likely to get injured. If you prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, try to at least have a banana or a sugar free protein bar on the go. Make sure to drink water before, during, and after exercise.

• We recommend to eat light meals and foods which contain simple carbohydrates and some protein 30 minutes to an hour before a workout - see ‘snacks’ examples bellow.

• Eating a meal with around 300 - 450 calories containing a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and little fat, 2-3 hours before a workout.

Reasons to eat before a workout:

1. Gives you more energy
2. Prevents muscle breakdown
3. Increase muscle recovery

Here are some tips on how to fuel up before a workout:

SNACKS

MEALS

Eating after a workout

The eating after a workout is no brainer. We all know just how important it is to replenish the body after a strenuous exercise. Luckily, most of us naturally have the desire to eat something considerably healthy following a workout.

Generally speaking, eating after a workout is important. You sort of ‘feed’ the muscles that you’ve just trained. Suggested is a small snack soon after you finish your sweat session - ideally something with protein and fibre rich carbohydrates. Following an hour or two later, would be the time for your main meal.

Benefits of eating nutritious meal after a workout:

• Increases muscle 'growth'
• Restores your glycogen levels
• Enhances recovery

Watch out!

eating before and after a workout

The most common post-workout mistake of eating too much and choosing less healthy options can sabotage all your hard work and efforts. If you burn 300 calories during your workout, you don’t want to be consuming a 500 calorie junk food. Period.

We highly recommend that you eat after a workout, as that is all about replacing the calories and nutrients you just burned. First of all you want to make sure to replenish the glycogen and electrolytes that you have lost during your exercise. Secondly, eating protein and complex carbs rich meal after a workout can help with speedy recovery of your muscles. This is especially important following a weight training session.

Not eating after a workout can result in fatigue and low blood sugar. You are also disturbing your body's natural repair process and in the long run it will be harder to reach your fitness goals.

Example foods to eat after a workout:

CARBS

PROTEIN

FATS

Is this post & pre-workout talk still a little too confusing? No worries - we got your back! Book your free consultation with us and let clear all the confusion up! 

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