Let’s talk about caffeine (& enjoy our morning coffee)

Caffeine is often unfairly criticised by some, but this is not justified when the evidence from research studies on moderate intakes is considered.In fact, moderate caffeine intake has been associated* with a reduced risk of heart disease in adults. Caffeine also has desirable short-term effects, such as improved alertness, concentration, and reduced perception of fatigue and pain.

Safe upper levels for caffeine consumption for healthy adults (report by EFSA**) have been defined as no more than 200mg as a single dose, and no more than 400mg as a daily dose.

Caffeine content of common drinks (per serving):

  •  espresso: 140mg
  •  filter coffee: 90mg
  •  black tea (teabag): 50mg
  •  decaff coffee: 15mg

Based on the above, up to 8 cups of tea or 2 cups of espresso, can be safely consumed as part of a balanced diet. However, what caffeine should not be used for, is to compensate for inadequate food intake or lack or sleep. Although it may feel like it's helping short-term, it may mess up your hunger signals, make you feel anxious and further disrupt your sleep..

*association studies do not suggest cause & effect, but merely a link, therefore, evidence from these studies need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

**(EFSA) European Food Safety Authority


Happy Easter

Easter means different things to people and to me it’s about celebrating spring, new life and and embracing family traditions, which revolve around painting eggs, baking cinnamon buns and spending half of the day eating Easter lunch... The egg is a symbol of fertility and of renewed life that goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians. It’s thought that they are the ones who started the custom of colouring and gifting eggs during their spring festival... I’ve gone off on a tangent here a little talking things not really diet related...

To get back on track, I will share a ‘fun fact’ on male fertility. Male sperm contains lots of antioxidants, including vitamins E & C, carnitine, carotenoids, zinc, selenium and folate. They protect semen from the damage of reactive oxygen damage, which could otherwise cause fertility issues by damaging sperm and changing the sperm DNA. Dietary intake of antioxidants (both from food and supplements) has been shown to be strongly associated with semen quality (aka fertilisation potential). On the contrary, alcohol and smoking (even being exposed to cigarette smoke) have negative effects on fertilisation potential because these tend to reduce sperm count and slow down its speed... Bottom line is, when it comes to fertility, diet and lifestyle choices matter! Happy Easter everyone!


International Women's Day

To mark the international women’s day, I’d like to share some thoughts on Sexual Objectification (SO) Theory. It proposes that SO contributes to mental health problems and disproportionately affect women (i.e. Eating Disorders, depression and sexual dysfuntion) via two main paths: SO experiences and self-objectification.

When media presents women in body parts rather than thinking and feeling humans, we, women, learn to turn that gaze upon ourselves. We internalise this outsider view and begin to self-objectify by treating ourselves as an object to be looked at and evaluated on the basis of appearance (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). This takes away from everything more important that we could be focusing on, such as good friendships, talents, hobbies and dreams...  To all girls out there, I wish the power to overcome self-objectification and start living your life to the full.


Do you suspect a food intolerance?

If you suspect you have any other food intolerances, you should see a dietitian who will be able to support you in identifying the culprit for your symptoms. A dietitian’s role is to carefully assess your diet, eating patterns and other potential factors that may impacting on your symptoms and propose dietary/ lifestyle manipulations.
If you are likely to have food intolerance, you may be offered to complete an elimination diet. They require dedication and time, but if done properly, can be invaluable in helping you to find out whether you have any particular food intolerances and how to best cope with these. your digestive symptoms may arise from years of dieting, in which case elimination diets may make things worse, not better. Make sure you see a dietitian with experience in gastroenterology and disordered eating to receive the support that you need.


Exercise

My clients often ask me what exercise they should be doing and for how long for ‘optimal health’. The truth is that you could have the most ‘perfect’ exercise prescription, but you won’t be able to sustain it, unless you ENJOY it... A growing body of research shows that getting pleasure from physical activities may be one of the most important factors for sustaining consistent exercise. So it’s not the frequency, intensity and duration that you need to be thinking about, but what you FEEL LIKE and WHAT FEELS GOOD... This concept of engaging in activities that you enjoy or that give you increased energy or an improved mood is based on the Hedonic Theory of Motivation. This theory basically says that people will repeat activities that feel good. Conversely, activities that cause pain or discomfort will wane or be avoided. Discover physical activity that you truly enjoy and ditch all exercise that feels like punishment/ something that ‘you should be doing’. So what do you enjoy?


STOP the plastic tide

Today, Marine Conservation Society published beach litter report, which reveals the tide of plastic has risen to a whopping 70% of all the rubbish that is found.

We mustn't let drinks cups, plastic cutlery, straws, plastic bottles, lids and stirrers replace sea life. They're used for a moment but last a lifetime in our oceans.

Join their their call to get levies introduced across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on single-use plastic items such as plastic cups and lids, straws, plates and cutlery.

To sign the petition:
https://www.mcsuk.org/appeal/plastic-levy