Tag Archives: British Dietetic Association

Sugar addiction and how to stop eating sugar.

The guys over at Coach Magazine asked me some questions about sugar recently and this is the article that they then wrote. It’s created quite a bit of chatter over on Twitter, so have a read and see what you think:

Sugar Addiction and How to Stop Eating Sugar 

ADVICE

Is there really such a thing as sugar addiction? And how can you cut down on the sweet stuff?

 

 
 
 COACH STAFF 

 

30 MAR 2016
 
 Sugar is on almost everyone’s hitlist, with the government even stepping in to take action against it in its last budget with a tax on soft drinks that contain too much added sugar. However, that tax is two years away and sugar will continue to be responsible for diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular issues, so to get some advice on how people can kick their sugar habit now, Coach began by speaking to British Dietetics Association spokesperson Priya Tew.

Is sugar genuinely addictive?

“Addiction is a strong word, so I wouldn’t call sugar addictive. However, sugar has been shown to stimulate the areas of the brain that are linked to addiction, the opiate receptors and the reward centre. So some people are more susceptible to this and may find they crave sugar more than others.”

Why do we crave sugar at certain times of the day, like the mid-afternoon snack?

“This is due to habit for some people, tiredness for others and sometimes thirst. Think about these things first to work out if you are actually hungry or not. Try having a drink, [and] if you still want something then choose a healthy snack that includes protein to help keep you satiated. Peanut butter on toast or hummus with vegetables sticks, for example.”

How can you recognise what food has sugar in it?

“Reading the list of ingredients on a food label will help with this – however, sugar can be found in a variety of disguises. Syrups, glucose, sucrose, fructose, honey and agave are all forms of sugar. It is helpful to remember that there are added sugars, and sugars that are found naturally as part of a food. It is the added sugars that we want to be reducing – but not cutting out [all sugars] completely. So sugar that is naturally found in fruit, natural yogurts and milk is OK.”

 You can read the full article here.

Why dietitians need to be on Social Media.

This week I gave a talk on social media to a group of dietitians as part of the South East Branch Meeting of the British Dietetic Association. Rather nerve wracking but they were a lovely crowd and it went down really well 🙂 

Here is a photo someone took of me and posted on Instagram. Thankyou to Tash Guildford (@NGuildford82 on Instagram).

Thanks to Tash Guildford for the photo (@NGuildford82 on Instagram).
Thanks to Tash Guildford for the photo (@NGuildford82 on Instagram).

What it really highlighted to me was the lack of expertise we have in the profession in this area. Which is understandable as it’s not exactly what we were trained in! However in this world of technology when everyone has a smart phone and listens to the info on the internet we need to be have a presence. A good presence. A loud presence. A big presence. 

If as dietitians and trained nutritionists we think we are the people that the public should be seeking out for their nutritional knowledge then we need to be visible and easy to find. Otherwise there are plenty of others out there giving nutrition advice. Not all good, evidenced based, sensible advice either. 

Top tips:
1. Find a platform you like best. Set up an account and watch what others post/do. I like twitter the best. I get business through Twitter, I learn through it, I network with other professionals on it. That’s just my preference however.
2. Follow other nutrition professionals and follow who they follow! Start asking questions and interacting. 
3. Post interesting content. Things your patients ask you. Research papers you have read. Websites you like. Good fact sheets. 
4. Share other people’s good content. It makes them feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and it stops you reinventing the wheel. 
5. Find out your departments social media policy and look at starting a department account that several people can post and run. 
6. Don’t get drawn into arguments. It is quite easy to do! Either step back and ignore those types of comments or take it off line. 
7. If you are unsure about anything then ask! There are lots of more experienced dietitians on social media who will help. I chatted to some of the U.S. Dietitians in the early days to get tips on how they do
things and they were delighted to help me. 
8. Join in Twitter chats and network with others. Don’t sit there silently, just watching. Come and “join the conversation” (twitters tag line).
9. Be yourself. I share some personal info on my social media. It helps people see a bit about who I am and how I work. But don’t over share and be careful what you share. In our house we have some rules about what we post about the children for example.
10. Check out the BDA and HCPC’s social media policy and your local departments too. 

If you aren’t following me on social media then go and do it!! Then get chatting to me 🙂 

Dietitians’ Week: A snapshot of my life as a dietitian.

This week 8th-12th June is officially DIETITIANS WEEK. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean a week off for us hard-working dietitian’s. Maybe I should suggest that! Instead many departments and dietitians around the UK are taking the opportunity to work even harder and put on special events to celebrate and highlight dietitians. There are also twitter chats happening and receptions at places like the House of Lords!

To celebrate I thought I would share a snapshot of how I work as a dietitian. I’m a freelance dietitian, so there is no big department for me, instead I work either on my own from the delights of my loft… or as part of a team of therapists and health professionals. A large amount of my work is supporting clients with eating disorders, either face to face or via Skype. I also enjoy getting involved with media work and project work. I love the variety my work brings me.

I work around my 2 small children, which means I can tend to work odd hours. Plus I also run a Pilates business with my husband. That’s currently 24 classes run from our studio. Life can get a bit hectic!

Dietitian UK: Dietitians Week 2015

My job role:

1. Eating Disorder Clients. I tend to have 6-8 clients a week. These are via Skype or I see people at Wings Counselling where I work as part of a team of therapists and a psychiatrist. These clients can take up quite a lot of me time as once I have chatted to them there can be meal plans to adjust, phone calls to liase with the GP and often I am in daily email contact with the client.

2. Chronic Fatigue Clients. This is a smaller part of my role and I have 1-2 clients on my books at present. Again here I work as part of a team that includes a physio, several Occupational Therapists and some nurses. This involves home visits and phone calls. I also advise the team on the rest of the client base.

3. Other issues. I also see a few clients each month for other conditions such as IBS, weaning and food intolerances. I have to be careful how much I take on so am quite specific about the areas I work in.

4. Media calls. These can vary but I usually do at least 2 a week. Sometimes I find I am doing these daily and then other weeks I only do a couple a week. I give quotes for the press, for websites and for magazines, chat to television producers, go on the radio and sometimes appear on the screen too.

5. Project Work is something I enjoy as it gives me the chance to get my teeth into something and run with it. Whether it is recipe analysis, writing text, advising a food company or making a video I tend to enjoy all the work I do. Maybe it is the chance to sit down and have a moments peace from the children 😉

6. Social Media. Now I’m no social media expert, it is something I’ve fallen into, but also something I’m now addicted to. I see the benefits to myself, to the profession and I enjoy it most of the time. Blogging, networking, tweeting, making videos, posting pictures and coming up with new ways to get messages across. I’ve taken part in Google Hangouts on nutrition and in live twitter chats. My latest venture is playing with Periscope. Go check it out.

So no hospitals and white coats for me. Being a dietitian is diverse. The world is your oyster. Go grab it.

 Dietitian UK: Trust a Dietitian

 

 

Winner of the British Dietetic Association Media Spokesperson of the Year Award 2015.

I’m still slightly in shock. 

However I have a trophy and certificate to prove it.

BDA Conference and Dinner 2015: winner of the media spokesperson of the year award, Dietitian UK

BDA Conference and Dinner 2015: receiving my award, Dietitian UK

This week I travelled up to Birmingham for the British Dietetic Associations Annual Awards Dinner. This was a great opportunity to network, meet lots of people who I’ve heard of, seen in the past or chatted to on social media… and also to get a little dressed up. 

The British Dietetic Association is my professional body. To receive an award from them is something I would never have dreamt of and is a complete honour. So I was pretty astounded when I received a call asking me to come up to Birmingham for the evening. My first reply was I wasn’t sure with 2 small children that I could make it. However on being told I had won an award I realised I needed to go. So we went up as a family. Why travel alone when you can take a 1 and 4 year old too.

I respond to a lot of Media requests. Personally I see it as part of my working week and my role. As dietitian’s part of our remit is to educate the public and pass on our knowledge. One way of doing that is through the Media. Making sure the right messages get out there and also ensuring that the name “dietitian” is one that is widely seen by the public and widely used by the media. So if I can help out I will. The vast majority of these media requests are unpaid work, they take time and thought but they do gain you some exposure in a variety of places.  I’ve been quoted in the Independent and the Times, lesser well-known industry magazines, the BBC News Website and other lesser read health websites. In fact I often don’t know where and when I am quoted until people tell me! I think my all time favourite media quote has to be talking about Madonna’s bottom, closely followed by Victoria Beckham’s face. Yes really.

If you are a dietitian I would highly recommend you get involved with media requests. Get to know your local press and radio station. I’m a regular on our local BBC radio station. Get known as someone who is happy to help, you never know where it will lead you.

 

Priya finalist for British Dietetic Association Media Spokesperson of the Year!

It’s been an exciting month. A couple of weeks ago I had the great honour of going to the British Dietetic Association Awards Evening. Somehow I had made it through as one of 3 finalists for the Media Spokesperson of the Year Award. To be a finalist for an award for my professional was something I had not expected or anticipated and to be honest when I found out I was quite stunned. My lack of words did not last long 😉

I went up to Birmingham with the whole family. As I am still breastfeeding the baby he had to come, which meant me husband had to come, so it only seemed fair to take the toddler along too. Thankfully they all let me to go the Awards Evening myself.

Dietitian UK: Priya Tew at the British Dietetic Association Awards 2014

This started off with chatter and cocktails. I met up with some lovely dietitians who I have only met on twitter. Followed by a 3 course meal, which I hasten to add was not just fruit, vegetables and salad. The dessert option was a chocolate brownie or ice-cream. The awards were announced throughout the evening and it was good to see familiar faces, put names to faces and hear some of the amazing work others in the profession have been doing.

I didn’t win the Media Spokesperson award, the lovely Sioned Quirke did. However for  me being  finalist was amazing enough.

Priya Tew, Dietitian, Quoted in the Daily Mail on Vegan Diets

Tuesday, Sep 10 2013 
 

Could going vegan two days a week ease your creaky knees? The pros and cons of a meat-free diet

  • It’s suggested veganism can lower cholesterol and ease painful joints
  • But some experts argue there are nutrients we can only get from meat
  • Is the solution to become a ‘cheagan’ (vegan who occasionally eats meat)?

By PETA BEE

PUBLISHED: 22:18, 9 September 2013 | UPDATED: 22:19, 9 September 2013

Celebrity convert: Tennis ace Venus Williams says her overall health has improved dramatically since she stopped eating animal products Celebrity convert: Tennis ace Venus Williams says her overall health has improved dramatically since she stopped eating animal products

 

Many of us wouldn’t relish the idea of giving up meat and cheese – imagine living without that juicy steak, tasty roast or delicious piece of brie. 

Yet a growing number of sports stars are crediting a switch to veganism for enhancing their performance and helping them recover from joint injury or surgery. 

Tennis ace Venus Williams says her overall health has improved dramatically since she stopped eating animal products. 

She has Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune illness that causes muscular pain and fatigue – and giving up meat, she says, has eradicated the worst symptoms, including joint pain and swelling. But she recently said: ‘I think it’s pretty well known that I’m a cheagan (a vegan who occasionally eats meat). I’m not perfect but I try.’ 

British singer Leona Lewis has also announced she’d become a vegan. 

And last week the Mail reported how U.S. journalist Mark Bittman shed 2½ st in a couple of months just by eating vegan food until 6pm each day. He ate meat in the evenings. His best-selling book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health…For Good, documents how his cholesterol and blood sugar levels were reduced, too – probably due to his reduced intake of saturated fat.

Increasing evidence suggests a vegan diet has health benefits for us all – from easing painful creaky joints to lowering cholesterol and boosting heart health. 

But some experts argue there are many nutrients we can only get from meat – and that a vegan or vegetarian diet can have serious implications for our health.

 

 

Just last week, lifelong vegetarian Laura Dixon hit the headlines for giving birth to triplets after being told she couldn’t have children. She credited the births to shunning vegetarianism and eating three portions of meat a day.

So what should we do – eat meat, avoid it altogether, or go ‘cheagan’? We explore the pros and cons of a vegan diet…

EAT NUTS FOR JOINT HEALTH . . .

It seems many Britons are already shunning meat. The Vegan Society estimates around 150,000 of us are vegan, and nearly two million are strictly vegetarian. As a nation, we spend £780 million a year on meat-free products such as tofu.

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, points out that several studies show people who eat a lot of red meat have a higher risk of developing inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which affects around 350,000 Britons and can cause severe pain and immobility. 

He says: ‘Vegetarian diets have been shown to be helpful in the long-term for some people with rheumatoid arthritis. Vegan diets may also be helpful, possibly because of the “good” polyunsaturated fatty acids in them, which help reduce inflammation.’

 
Go nuts: Fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and leafy greens have been shown to be helpful in the long-term for some with rheumatoid arthritis Go nuts: Fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and leafy greens have been shown to be helpful in the long-term for some with rheumatoid arthritis

 

 

 

These fatty acids are found in high amounts in nuts, seeds and leafy greens – key parts of vegan diets. (They are found in oily fish, too.)  And they may also help ease osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis caused by age-related wear and tear.

Elaine Mealey, a lecturer in sports nutrition at London Metropolitan University, says that vegans tend to have a high intake of vitamin C – from fruit and vegetables – and zinc – from whole grains, nuts and seeds – both of which can help with recovery from illness and injury.

. . . BUT WATCH YOUR ENERGY LEVELS

However, Elaine Mealey also thinks that a vegan diet can be too restrictive. She points to a 2010 review in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports, which claims that vegan and vegetarian athletes risk a deficiency in vitamin B12.

This is crucial for maintaining the  energy levels needed for any activity, even walking. Ms Mealey says: ‘The best sources of vitamin B12 are meat, especially red meat, and food from animal sources, such as eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt. 

‘Vitamin B12 is crucial for the production of red blood cells needed to ferry oxygen to working muscles, as well as the breakdown of fat and carbohydrate for fuel.’ Other studies, including one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest up to 80 per cent of long-term vegans are vitamin B12 deficient. 

Getting enough protein is also crucial, as it is essential for maintaining muscle health and strength – needed especially around joints to protect them from injury – and  for recovery from exercise. 

Vegan sources of protein include tofu, peas, pulses and soya products – but it’s not a case of making a direct swap from animal protein. 

 
What's best, doc? Increasing evidence suggests a vegan diet has health benefits for us all, but some argue there are many nutrients we can only get from meat What’s best, doc? Increasing evidence suggests a vegan diet has health benefits for us all, but some argue there are many nutrients we can only get from meat

 

‘Women need 60 to 90g of protein a day, with those who do exercise a couple of times a week on the high end of that,’ says Louise Sutton, a sports dietitian at the Carnegie Centre for Sports Performance, Leeds Metropolitan University. 

‘While there are good sources of vegan protein, it’s not as easily absorbed and used by the body as the protein from animal sources. So you need to have more to get the same benefit. For instance, skimmed cows’ milk has around 8g of protein per glass, while soya milk has 6g.’ 

Research by Professor Stuart Phillips of McMaster University, Canada, has shown dairy protein stimulates muscle recovery and growth after exercise more effectively than vegan protein. For vegans, this could mean slower progress towards fitness goals.

WHY VEGANS MAY BE LESS FERTILE . . .

There are other potential pitfalls. Researchers at King’s College London have showed a compound in soya called genistein can hinder access of sperm to the egg. This suggests eating large amounts of soya – popular with vegans and vegetarians as a source of protein, – can affect a woman’s fertility.

And opting for a strict veggie or vegan diet might not be great for our brains, either. A recent study in the journal Nutrition reveals that vegetarian and vegan athletes are more likely to have low levels of muscle creatine, a substance that provides quick energy to cells. It is produced naturally in the body but our major source is eating meat.

A low level of creatine not only means reduced energy, it can slow the speed at which the brain remembers things. Researchers from the University of Sydney tested the effects of creatine on memory by giving 45 young vegetarian volunteers a creatine pill or a dummy pill. 

After six weeks, they had to perform memory tasks. Those on the creatine supplement did better, possibly because the amount of energy to the brain was increased.

. . . BUT THEY COULD LIVE LONGER

Meaty problem: The solution may be to eat a mostly plant-based diet while occasionally eating meat Meaty problem: The solution may be to eat a mostly plant-based diet while occasionally eating meat

 

Yet cutting back on meat has been linked to a reduction in risk of several illnesses, including high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. And, earlier this year, researchers at Oxford University’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit reported that a vegetarian diet could cut the risk of heart disease by one third. 

‘Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by the effects on cholesterol and blood pressure,’ says Dr Francesca Cowe, lead author of the study. The benefit seems to come from the reduced amount of saturated fat – an artery-clogging substance found in high amounts in red meat and processed meat, such as sausages. 

This finding was echoed by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who put 38 arthritis sufferers on a vegan diet of nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit, vegetables and sesame milk. Another group followed a healthy, non-vegan diet. The vegans showed a decrease in cholesterol levels whereas the non-vegans had no change. The researchers suggested that a vegan diet could help protect against heart disease and strokes.

And the evidence grows: another study of more than 70,000 adults published in the Journal of the American Medical Association just two months ago suggested that vegetarian diets were linked to longevity – as meat- avoiders were less likely to die of chronic diseases.

SHOULD WE ALL BE ‘CHEAGANS’?

So what could be the answer? It may be to follow the example of Venus Williams and go ‘cheagan’ – having a mostly plant-based diet but occasionally eating meat. 

This is a ‘sensible option’ says Priya Tew, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association. ‘It sounds like a good idea to eat veggie or vegan a few days a week,’ she adds. ‘We encourage people not to eat meat every day because of the adverse health effects linked to its saturated fat content.

And the added fibre from the fruit and vegetables is great for health.’

But any significant change in diet warrants careful consideration, cautions Elaine Mealy. ‘You need to think a lot about food as a vegan or vegetarian. Don’t convert casually and hope for the best,’ she says.

 

 

Blue Monday: the day you are most likely to fall off the wagon?

Apparently Monday 21st January is Blue Monday, the day you are most likely to fail on those New Years Resolutions. If I’m honest this all seems a bit crazy, can there really be one day where we have a higher likelihood of slipping up? For me this would not be a Monday, it would more likely be a “I’m tired, its the end of the week, I need a treat Friday”. Perhaps thats just me.

What is obvious is that many people do not make it beyond a few weeks of good intentions. I guess there are a number of reasons for that…. perhaps those resolutions are over ambitious, lack of planning, life gets busy after the holidays, willpower slips. It’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to you.

Blue Monday
Blue Monday

 

As a lot of these New Years Resolutions are set around food here are some top tips on how to keep you mood high and your eating healthy, they may just help keep you on track 😉

“Our mood is affected by many things that we are unable to alter, but what we eat is one big variable we can take charge of.  When you eat and what you eat has a big impact on how you feel and on your energy levels,” says Priya.

“Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar levels which can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and craving sugar.  Planning regular meals and small snacks will avoid these danger points in your day.  Choosing foods that have a lower glycemic index will help fill you up and sustain your energy levels for longer as they help your blood sugars stay stable.  Try adding beans and lentils to dishes, choose ‘oaty’ dishes like porridge or muesli and add a low fat yoghurt to your lunch.

“Whole grain carbohydrates are not only lower in glycemic index than the white versions but they increase the amount of tryptophan than enters the brain, resulting in more mood enhancing serotonin being produced,” she added.  “Include wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, and wholegrain cereals at meals, try adding pearl barley to soups and bulgur wheat to salads.

“B vitamins play a vital role in energy release.  Therefore eating more of these will help improve your energy levels, lifting your mood.  121 Females taking a thiamine supplement reported improved mood, a clearer head, increased energy levels and better cognitive function.  Folate is another micronutrient that has been shown to be linked to mood through blood samples taken from 58 men.  Eating more green vegetables, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers will boost your thiamine and folate levels.  Wholegrain cereals are also fortified with these nutrients.

“Iron is well known to be linked to fatigue and low energy.  It’s lesser known that there is also a link to poor mood and concentration.  Topping up your iron will boost that feel good factor.  Include red meat, dried fruit, green vegetables and wholegrains in your diet.

“The Mediterranean diet contains plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish, olive oil, cereals and some red wine.  Eating these foods is associated with better mental health scores.  So making sure you are meeting the 5 a day recommendation for fruit and veggies, go wholegrain with your cereals and sticking to healthy fats such as olive oil, oily fish and nuts really can work!”

How are you doing with your  New Years Resolutions? If they are related to weight loss see my tips here.
These tips are take off a press release written for the British Dietetic Association, the full version can be seen here.