1.Get Back to Full Fat
For those of you who research into nutrition you may have already been aware of the benefits that full fat dairy foods have to offer. However, for many of us the media has a big part to play in the nutritional trends we follow. Last year you may remember hearing about the benefits of low fat milk and yoghurts. Well this year the tables have turned and in February it was all about the benefits of full fat dairy products!
Over the past few years full fat dairy products have been avoided like the plague for those who want to lose weight and maintain heart health, mainly due to their higher saturated fat content, but recently a number of studies, including one by Kratz et al (2013), claimed full fat dairy products where actually linked to a lower body weight.
So which is best? The jury is still out when it comes to full fat vs low fat and ultimately it depends on your overall macronutrient intake. Consuming full fat dairy products can help keep you fuller for longer which can lower cravings and cause you to crave less, not only this, but often lower fat version are stripped of nutrients and loaded with a higher sugar content- which can raise insulin levels and promote fat storage. Ultimately you should aim to consume full fat dairy products where necessary and if it fits your macronutrient intake. When opting for a low fat version- always check the sugar and nutritional content.
2. Nuts about Coconut- Are You a Coconutter?
Coconut oil, coconut water, coconut butters, dried coconut- coconut has hit the headlines this year with the media and retailers reaping in the rewards.
So what’s the big deal about coconut?
In fact coconut oils main benefit actually comes from its SATURATED fat content- that’s right saturated! But these aren’t just any saturated fats that you find in processed foods, meat and dairy- Coconut oils are a combination of medium chain triglycerides/fatty acids which can be utilised by the body as a quick source of energy- which can actually increase energy expenditure. Coconut oil is also thought to keep you fuller for longer and lower the level of body fat around the abdominal area.
Not only this, but the lauric acid content in coconut oil can also help prevent infection whilst delivering benefits for your hair and skin. Check out our premium version- (and also best value on the market) coconpure. Or add some of our dried coconut ( long lasting bags-trust me the bags are huge) to your cereal and protein pancakes.
To enjoy the benefits of coconut- get on the band wagon! This is definitely a trend of 2015 that everyone should be enjoying. Just make sure that you follow the moderation rule! Remember coconut oil is still a fat and therefore should be incorporated into your macronutrient intake for the day- even when added for frying foods and hot drinks. Too much of anything- even good foods can be unhealthy!
3. Avoid Aspartame: Death of Diet Coke?
You’re on the go, you’re in a hurry and you need a drink… how many of us go to grab that can of diet coke? I know I did!
We know full sugar soft drinks are the devil when it comes to weight loss, fat loss and controlling our insulin levels- but is opting for diet versions any different?
This year the negative effects of too many sweeteners like aspartame have hit the spotlight, with findings that sweeteners can actually react in the body to create a similar insulin response to sugar- facilitating the risk of diabetes and obesity (Sardesai & Waldshan 1991). In the body our gut health is essential for digestion, whereby sweeteners have been thought to alter the functioning of the gut and affect our digestive health leading to issues such as bloating. Not only this, but the intake of sweeteners is also thought to increase hunger cravings and cravings for sweet foods- causing you to actually eat more of the bad foods you are trying to avoid. This is described in a study by Rogers and Blundell (1989) to be due to the fact that sweeteners do not have the macronutrient and energy value of glucose and other sugars (4kcal per g).
The affect of sweeteners on insulin in the body is somewhat controversial and not et scientifically proven (Teff et al 1995), therefore small doses of artificial sweeteners are can be consumed as alternatives to sugar but if you’re a “no added sugar” junkie you may want to look for natural forms of sugar such as honey and coconut sugar! In the body natural and processed sugars react in a similar way when it comes to insulin spikes- the difference lies within digestion. In the gut processed sugars can feed bad bacteria and kill good bacteria leading to bloating and other digestive issues. Sugar in the diet is not necessarily a bad thing providing you control your sugar intake and timing- aim to consume sugar pre workout for fuel or post workout to replenish glycogen stores. And please don’t be a fool to media trends- avoid high GI alternatives where possible such as agave nectar syrups- these products are well marketed as a health food but due to their high glycaemic index can rocket your insulin levels.
4. Extra Protein
It’s no surprise that here at Myprotein we are huge fans of increasing protein in the diet- but don’t just take our word for it! Increasing protein in the diet has hit the media this year with the promotion of protein shakes, protein bars and products with added protein (e.g. ne Icelandic yogurts and yogurts with added protein).
But why? Protein offers a range of benefits- not just weight loss. Protein can help muscle recovery during sports, can increase satiety keeping you fuller for longer, and can help build muscle and increase metabolism. Not only this, but protein can help control insulin levels and peaks in insulin that sugar and carbohydrate consumption can cause- lowering the risk of diabetes.
5. Going Green: Superfoods & Superfood Powders
It seems the UK this year is on one massive health kick (it’s about time guys!) with superfood green powders flying off the shelves. Superfoods have a range of benefits from their antioxidant, vitamin and mineral contents preventing free radical damage and chronic disease such as cancer, to helping with digestion and increasing metabolism.
But who has time to eat all the superfoods we should be eating in one day? Superfood green powders make consuming healthy ingredients such as acai powder, gogji berries, pomegranate extract, spirulinia, barley powders, wheatgrass, alfalfa, green tea extract, chlorella, ginseng and more…. An easy to do task that can be consumed conveniently in a 250ml drink! Just take our nutrigreens plus for example! Combining this with just water can get all the superfood goodness, or even better- add it to your smoothies and superfood shakes! The benefits of a good diet are never ending and long term can help prevent chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease, whilst aiding digestion.
6. Sugar is Out & Healthy Fats Are In
Forget packing in as much energy dense high carb/ sugar foods and avoiding fats- finally in 2015 people are learning that not all fats are bad when it comes to weight loss and dieting. Unsaturated fats (mono and poly unsaturated) have a series of benefits when it comes to health whereby studies have shown they can lower the risk of cardio vascular disease, obesity and other chronic diseases and risk factors.
Unsaturated fats contain fatty acids such as omega-3 which can help aid fat loss and control insulin production- as a result in the nutrition industry this year there has been a huge boost in the sales of foods such as nuts, nut butters, avocado and chai seeds. Packing in healthy fat into your diet is definitely a trend we should all be following- again however making sure to pay attention to the energy density and calorie content of these foods- moderation being key!