‘Fat’ Genes Not To Blame For Obesity



UK scientists have found that the genes that can contribute to obesity can be counteracted by exercise.

Scientists at the Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge discovered that exercise can work off around 40 percent of the extra weight an individual’s genes had predisposed them to gain, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported.

In the study, the genes of more than 20,000 men and women aged 39 to 79 were analysed for the 12 genetic markers linked to a higher body mass index value (BMI) and obesity. A “genetic predisposition” score was then calculated for each person.

The individuals were also asked to fill in a questionnaire about their physical activity levels in their daily lives.

The researchers concluded that physical activity can reduce the genetic tendency toward obesity by 40 percent.

“Our research proves that even those who have the highest risk of obesity from their genes can improve their health by taking some form of daily physical activity,” lead researcher Dr Ruth Loos said.

Dr Loos said that we don’t need to be marathon runners to make a difference, every bit of incidental activity, such as walking the dog or gardening, counts too.

“It goes to show we’re not complete slaves to our genetic make-up and really can make a big difference to our future health by changing our behaviour,” she said.

The research is published in the online journal, PloS Medicine.


The Hidden Sugar Found In Your Favourite Drink

Close-up of a woman drinking glass of water
Water or soft drink?

Most soft drinks and fruit juice you purchase from the supermarket or local shop have a sweet taste because of the amount of sugar they contain. Varying amounts of sugar are found in many of the popular brands and are contributing to excessive weight, poor dental health and feelings of lethargy within the general community.

Children are at an even greater risk if they consume moderate to high levels of sugary drinks.

A survey conducted in 1995 on Australian children discovered that 33 out of every 100 children had consumed soft drink the previous day. Ten years later (2005), another survey found that 78% of 12 to 17 year olds had consumed soft drink in the previous week. It seems that soft drink consumption is habit forming and posses a huge risk to the health of our children.

The latest and more concerning trend is the evolution of so called energy drinks. These drink are not only choc full of sugar but they also contain high amounts of caffeine. A catastrophic combination when concerned about the health of our kids.

It is important to note that many soft drinks are sold in larger sizes than a standard 375 ml. A good example of this is the Coke ‘Buddy’, which contains 600ml and was initially marketed as a bottle to share with friends…. hence the ‘buddy’ name. Energy drinks have followed suit and this needs to be monitored carefully. The upsizing of a meal at a fast food store will also see the quantity of soft drink provided increase dramatically.

So why is sugar unhealthy?

The human body turns the foods that we eat and drink into energy, to enable us to grow and function. Different drinks contain different amounts of ‘energy’ which we generally refer to as calories or kilojoules.

Soft drinks are often called ‘empty calories’ meaning they contain sugar, water and colouring and very little else. They provide little energy for your body to use but contain almost none of the vitamins and minerals your body requires to stay healthy.

Soft drinks can make you feel full for a half hour or so but then will result in you being hungrier than if you had had no soft drink at all.

To keep your body strong and healthy it is best to avoid soft drinks completely and instead drink water. Water will help with all bodily functions as well as help to quell hunger and cravings.

Eating fresh fruit is a better option than drinking fruit juice. If you are still thirsty after the consumption of fruit, drink a glass of water.

Below is a chart outlining the amount of sugar found in popular drinks:

600ml Cola: 16 – 20 teaspoons + caffeine

375 ml Regular Soft Drink: 13 teaspoons

600 ml Sports Drinks: 10 teaspoons

250 ml Energy Drink: 7 teaspoons

400 ml Fruit Juice: 10 teaspoons

250 ml Flavoured Milk: 6 teaspoons

300 ml Normal Full Fat Milk: 4 tsp

375 ml Carbonated Mineral Water: Nil

375 ml Water: Nil

Remember that you cannot beat water from both a hydration and health perspective.



Coffee – Good or Bad?

Winter is a time when we all look to the local coffee shop for some much needed energy and a quick ‘pick-me-up’. It is also a meeting place and an opportunity to catch up with family or friends and be able to sit, relax and talk. But is coffee considered positive or negative when it comes to weight loss?

Over the years we have heard the reports telling us to stay away from caffeine, because it is classified as a drug. Yet there has not been one single study or test that has proven coffee or caffeine has a connection to any heart condition or other medical problem. Drinking 2 cups of coffee per day could possibly cause a rapid heart beat in a small percentage of people and could temporarily raise their body temperature.

A few of you regularly drink a cup of coffee prior to your workout to help reduce body fat. The caffeine in the coffee helps boost endurance by prolonging fatigue and therefore helps to burn greater amounts of stored body fat. However, this will only apply if the coffee is consumed on an empty stomach.

Where people get it wrong is that they eat a meal prior to a workout which is often high in carbohydrate. By adopting this principle they are negating the effects of the workout and the benefits of the caffeine ’hit’. This results in no movement at all in their scale weight and/or body fat percentage. By simply avoiding the meal and consuming the coffee on an empty stomach they dramatically increase the total fat being burnt during exercise.

Other benefits of caffeine include:

  • Improvements to long term memory
  • Stimulates bowel movements
  • Being a natural diuretic

It is vitally important that plenty of water is consumed when drinking caffeine to flush out the associated toxins.

The only proven negative effect of caffeine has been found in unfiltered coffee beans. Unfiltered beans have compounds that could possibly raise blood cholesterol by as much as 20 points. Be sure to stay away from coffee that is made in a French press. Whilst many claim the flavour is better, it is clearly not healthy and should be avoided. Drink only filtered coffee!!

A couple of other interesting facts include:

  • 1 shot of expresso has less caffeine than a regular coffee
  • 1 cup of tea can often have just as much, if not more caffeine than regular coffee
  • 1 cup of coffee can enhance your alertness and concentration levels

So go ahead and enjoy your coffee. Moderation is the key and if weight loss is your desired goal keep this information at the forefront of your mind.