About – The Link Between Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain
Comparison – Pop chips or crisps?
Nutrition Tip – What’s the deal with coconut oil?
Recipes – Minty Green Quinoa & Brown Rice Salad; Nut and Seed Slice
The Link Between Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain
Sleep is not one of the first things that come to mind when you think about the factors that contribute to weight management. However, studies have shown that insufficient sleep in both quality and quantity has a negative effect on weight management. Additionally, insufficient sleep also increases the risk of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and diabetes!
Let us explain why.
Reading labels is important to ensure that you pick the right food product for you.
Looking at these two packets of chips, the rice and multiseed pop chips might be the better option since they:
The use of coconut oil is often promoted in the health and wellness industry, but is it as amazing as it is touted to be?
First things first, coconut oil is a refined product (as are all oils). It is made by extracting the oil from the coconut flesh, leaving behind the carbohydrate, fibre and protein. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. Saturated fat is also found in all animal products (meat, poultry), animal by products (dairy, butter, lard, ghee) and palm oil (used in most processed, packaged foods).
Saturated fat increases the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol that the liver makes. When there is too much LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood stream, it builds up in the walls of our arteries forming a plaque which over time can restrict blood flow to vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and liver. This can lead to heart disease or stroke. Saturated fats are also solid at room temperature due to their molecular structure. Saturated fats therefore make the cell membranes that line all the cells in the body more rigid rather than fluid, interfering with the movement of nutrients into and out of cells. Saturated fats should therefore be limited in the diet and the focus should be on unsaturated fats, which we get from plants sources (nuts, seeds, plant oils, olives, avos, hummus, pesto) and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, snoek, trout, fresh tuna, pilchards, sardines). These fats improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the body.
One of the touted benefits of coconut oil is that it increases HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This is true, however coconut oil also increases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. And this increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels outweighs the benefits of the increased HDL levels.
With that being said, this does not mean that you necessarily have to completely cut coconut oil out of your diet. If you are someone that does enjoy using coconut oil, it’s just important to remember to use it in moderation and to limit your total intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of your total calories consumed per day. If you are someone that consumes a lot of animal products and are getting your saturated fat from these other sources in the diet then it might be best to use another unsaturated plant oil such as canola/ sunflower oil. If you are already at risk of cardiovascular disease, the recommendation is to limit your total intake of saturated fat to <7% from your total calories consumed in the day. One tablespoon of coconut oil comes close to that limit!
Something else that should be kept in mind is the smoke point of oils. When oils are heated to temperatures above their smoke point they start to break down and form free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to the cells in our body. Coconut oil has a low smoke point so there will be less breaking down of the oil if you choose to use oils that have higher smoke points such as canola/sunflower/ sesame/ avocado oil instead. See the table below showing the smoke points of different oils.
Bottom line: Coconut oil is a saturated fat and excess amounts of saturated fats are proven to be detrimental to our health. Coconut oil is best consumed every now and again as an alternative to other unsaturated vegetable oils such as canola/ sunflower/ olive oil. It should be eaten sparingly to minimize your risk of developing heart disease. Unsaturated fats from plant sources as well as fatty fish are healthier fats to use. When looking at improving overall health, it’s also important to look at the diet as a whole rather than focusing on certain ‘superfoods’. One type of food does not provide all the nutrients that we need to be healthy. Focus on eating a varied diet consisting of mostly whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and then lean meats, fish and reduced-fat dairy if you do consume animal products.
PREP TIME: 15
NO OF SERVES: 4
250g cooked Quinoa & Brown Rice
1 cup green peas (or snowpeas, green beans, any greens)
1 medium zucchini halved lengthwise and sliced
1 avocado, diced
100g reduced fat feta crumbled
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
¼ cup shaved almonds
Spray olive oil
50 mL extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
Sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 20 MINUTES
NO OF SERVES: 18 SLICES
50g butter/ margarine
1/3 cup honey
½ cup plain flour
½ cup dried cranberry
¾ cup sunflower seeds
½ pumpkin seeds
½ cup almonds (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. sesame seeds