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Searching the Research

Is all research created equal? Certainly not! But, with the new age of information at the fingertips, it becomes challenging to discern what is reliable from the not-so-reliable that often slicks our screens.Scientific research is divided into 6 categories that range from low to high impact. The diagram below illustrates the divisions of research in order from least to most reliable:Starting from the bottom, descriptive quantitative research is case studies, observational and ‘anecdotal’ evidence. A researcher watches and interviews subjects, then documents the findings. Evidently, this research is ranked low based on quality and efficacy because of its capacity for human bias and subjectivity. For example, “my close friend Joe lost 89kg by cutting carbohydrates…” – Joe’s story is portrayed as fact without any verification…very...

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Conversations with Prof Tim Noakes

Prof Tim Noakes: My talk was not primarily about what people should eat. It is about the absence of science behind the current dietary guidelines. I then state what I think nutrition should be about especially for those with insulin resistance. I wish you would represent what I said more honestly.Nutritional Solutions Response: There where 7 dietitians present at your talk, what was said was very clearly recorded to prevent misinterpretations.Prof Tim Noakes: Suggest you listen to all 13 hours of what I have said on the internet Nutritional Solutions Response: The general public is not going to sit and go through 13 hours of comments.  Each time you speak on radio or TV you convey various nutrition messages – we are specifically giving feedback...

What do Dietitians ACTUALLY recommend?

What has become apparent to me with the discussions around the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet is that there is a lot of confusion about what dietitians are actually recommending.  Assumptions are being made and we know that they will ultimately get us nowhere. Dietitians calculate individualised meal plans by working out total energy requirement and then select a macronutrient split that is appropriate for the patient. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  Macronutrient splits will vary depending on nutritional status and medical conditions. A fact sheet developed by the Nutrition Society of South Africa stated the following: “Single “best values” for population level recommendations for healthy eating are seldom appropriate.  It is for this reason that recommendations across countries specify “safe ranges” for macronutrient contributions to...

Prof Tim Noakes: Clarifying the Controversy

Anyone vaguely interested in food, or vaguely uninterested, will have been exposed to Prof Tim Noakes’ publicised views about proteins, fats and carbohydrates. He recommends severe restriction of carbohydrates and advocates the use of fats, particularly saturated fats. Part of the interest of the diet is the controversy surrounding it. Dietitians are frequently labelled as haters. Many doctors are also taking a stance against the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) recommendations being made. We decided that we should discover first-hand what advice is being dished out and decided to attend the presentation given by Prof Noakes this week. Without a doubt Prof Naokes is a charismatic speaker – and had most of the audience eating out of his hand...

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Combating the dreaded “weight-loss plateau”

Creating a kilojoule deficit is key when wanting to lose weight.  When embarking on a calorie restricted diet you reduce your total energy intake which creates what we call a kilojoule deficit – basically you are creating an incentive to access fat stores (which represent stored calories).   The problem is that as you drop weight so your kilojoule deficit shrinks and you need to work harder to maintain a consistent weight loss.  People often comment that the last few kilograms are always the most difficult to shed, this is in fact true because the kilojoule deficits keep getting smaller as you progress with your weight loss.  To maintain good kilojoule deficits when reducing your weight you need to up your game, by reducing energy intake...

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The Acid/Alkaline Diet explained

As private practicing Dietitians we learn more about the types of diets floating around from our clients than anywhere else.  Similarly to clothing – there are fads and trends in eating too.  One of the latest to catch our attention is the “acid-alkaline” diet.  I recently heard it being discussed on radio – and then I knew the trend was really growing when my mom pulled out her “pH balance” sticks and told me to give it a go. The first thing I would like to clear up is the statement often heard “I am very acidic” or “I have very acidic blood”.  The most your blood pH level is going to vary is between 7.35 and 7.45.  Blood pH is maintained despite enormous acid loads...

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The Boost of Breakfast

“There's just no time”, “I am not hungry” and “It’s too early in the morning to eat.” Does any of this sound familiar? Yes, we’ve all heard it before, these common excuses and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As clichéd as this may all sound it is still the absolute truth. There are plenty of people- some of my friends and family included – who start their day on an empty stomach, not realizing how it affects their bodies for the rest of the day. Eating a nutritious, balanced breakfast boosts your energy, sharpens your mind and gives you the long-lasting endurance to tackle your daily activities and perform at optimal efficiency. Missing breakfast, causes you to experience a drop in your glucose levels, this in turn results in...

5 Easy-to-follow weight-loss tips

1. Organisation is key I feel that too often weight-loss is made out to be way more complicated than it should be.  Keep it simple - write a shopping list to shop from, plan your meals in advance, and pack snacks and lunch for work.  Having the healthy options in front of you makes unhealthy eating a lot less convenient. 2. Eat consciously How often do you stare into the fridge “trying to find what you feel like”, buy popcorn & coke at the movies despite just having eaten, or search for something sweet directly after a meal despite feeling satisfied?  Learn to eat when you are hungry.  Turn off the TV and put away your cell phone and IPad, eat slowly and teach yourself to actually taste...