Tag Archives: diabetes

Carbohydrates, the Good Guys.

Carbohydrates are often seen as the baddies of the nutrition world. There are so many low carb diets out there and lots of claims about carbohydrates being the reason people can’t lose weight.


Carbohydrates are actually the bodies favoured energy source. Given a choice of protein, fat and carbohydrate the body will always choose to use the carbohydrate first. Why? Because carbohydrate foods easily break down to simple sugars that are the fuel the body needs. Proteins and fats needs to be converted to sugars in order to be used, a time consuming process that uses energy up. However you will put on weight if you OVEREAT carbohydrates or eat too much of the wrong kinds.


So where do these anti-carbohydrate claims come from? 

After we eat carbohydrates, blood sugar levels increase and insulin is released. Insulin moves the sugar in the blood into the bodies cells and it will be used as fuel or stored as glycogen to be used later on. Eating too much carbohydrate in one go or more white, processed carbohydrates cause a larger, rapid peak in blood sugar levels. In response lots of insulin is released, which can cause a problem. After the insulin has done it’s job it takes a while to drop back down to normal levels, so you have insulin in the blood stream asking the body for more sugar. It’s this lag phase that can lead to you craving sugary food or wanting to eat a short while after a meal.  If you eat like this you are likely to put on weight. Those hunger cravings will get the better of you and you’ll eat more than you need.


What happens if you avoid Carbs:

If carbs are the bodies preferred energy source then it makes sense that avoiding them can lead to you feeling tired, grumpy, lethargic, perhaps dizzy and shaky. Ever had that energy slump after skipping a meal?


How to eat Carbohydrates without gaining weight:

  1. Eat carbohydrates at every meal. Just watch your portion size. If you are trying to lose weight keep those carbs to 1/3 of your plate, steer clear of adding creamy sauces, butter and oils to them.
  2. Go Wholegrain. Wholegrains have been shown to protect against cancer, obesity, diabetes and obesity. Choose wholemeal, granary or multi-grain bread, whole oats, weetabix, shredded wheat, bran flakes, rye bread, oatcakes,brown rice and pasta, bulgar wheat, quinoa, pearl barley and anything with the word whole/wholegrain in from of it!
  3. Lower the glycaemic index of meals. Adding lower GI foods (many of which are wholegrains too) will help stabilise your blood sugars, preventing the peaks and dips that can cause those sugar cravings. Also try adding beans and pulses to your main meals.

This post was written for Slimsticks and can be seen on their website here.

The Food Hospital.

The latest food programme to hit our screens is The Food Hospital. We have a GP, a consultant and excitingly a dietitian aiming to treat conditions with food alone. It’s been in a prime time slot, Tuesday evenings on Channel 4 and seems to be attracting quite a lot of attention. I know in “dietitian-land” there has been a lot of support for Lucy Jones, the dietitian who is bravely in the limelight and there has also been a lot of chatter after the show about the conditions covered. See here for an exclusive interview with Lucy Jones: http://www.bda.uk.com/news/111101FoodHospitalInterview.html 

The show has been promoting the use of evidence-based scientific research when treating conditions, rather than a faddy diet or an unresearched food. Because of the pace of the show and the type of show it is there hasn’t always been time to explain each condition and treatment in great depth, however the show does seem to have sparked a big interest in nutrition as a form of treatment.

Last night we saw Rianna being treated for Alopecia, it was her IBS that was targeted, the hypothesis being her IBS was causing her body extra stress which could be contributing to her Alopecia. A special probiotic supplement was prescribed (not the same as buying a probiotic yoghurt drink) and this seemed to have remarkable effects and it was exciting to see some hair regrowth occurring.

The previous week Chris, a man with Type 2 diabetes was put onto an 800kcal diet plan. Unsurprisingly he lost weight, a total of 2.5 stone in 6 weeks. Although usually as dietitian’s we would be advising people to lose weight slowly and to stick to a healthy eating plan that contains a lot more calories than this, this was all done under medical supervision. The evidence for this type of diet is new and experimental still, further research is needed. A small study on 11 people was carried out in Newcastle using a 600kcal diet plan showed pancreatic cells function went back to normal and a possibly reversal of diabetes.

I’d love to see this show follow some of these people up later down the line and compare their symptoms then. What I think I’d like to highlight is the fact that some of the research used is new and still in preliminary stages. The show could encourage people to go off and try some of these dietary regimes out for themselves, which would be potentially dangerous. If you feel you have a condition that could be treated by diet then please do get in contact me. I’d love to chat. I’d also love to hear your views on The Food Hospital, leave me a comment below or tweet me 🙂