Foods, Chocolate and Alcohol

By: Quinton de Bruin

Food has become such a fashionable industry, the number of cooking shows has boomed, books and celebrity chefs have gained in popularity. Marketers have leveraged this in a phenomenal manner.

With all this hype and messaging around what's good and what's not, it's no wonder that people are trying one fad diet after another. Gym staff and nutritionists are pulling their hair out almost having to convince clients that the answer isn't in the bottom of a pill bottle, it is in real foods. Sure, there may be slight variations in belief on how much of what should be consumed, but the broad message is consistency.
The value in avoiding certain foods is that they provide "empty calories". This means literally devoid of nutrition. Think for a minute when you grab a small packet of crisps out of your kid's stash (oh come on, I know I am not the only one who does it!), when you reach the bottom, you are ready for another, it hardly touched sides! Conversely, when you have eaten an apple, you feel satisfied and unlikely to grab yet another one. When you feel hungry, the body doesn't require food as such, it is hungry for nutrition. When you give it food that provided empty calories, it hardly registers that you have eaten at all.

How's this for frightening facts: (fortunately in America but seeing as kiwis are in the top 5 obesity rates statistically – we won't be too far off the pace)

100 years ago the average American consumed 4 pounds of sugar as part of their diet per year. 50 years ago that bumped up to 12 pounds. Nowadays the average American consumers 156 pounds per year! That is 70.76 kilograms of sugar!! Not surprising then that they gain 1.5 pounds (that is 0.7 kilograms) of pure fat per year.

A "food group" close to my heart is chocolate. There is some good news and some bad news (well bad if you prefer milk chocolate) – yes 70-100% cacao has some very favourable qualities and in small quantities is actually good for you - bonus!!
A few facts worth pulling out to impress your mates at any good social event:

The word Canola (as in oil) is not a real word but derived by putting together the word Canada and the word oil – it's true, Google it!

Yams and Kumara are better for you than potato – we all know that, but interestingly by baking (or frying the Kumara, it has a similar effect on spiking your insulin levels as having pure glucose – so stick to the boiled version.

Most people enjoy the odd drink and at this time of year, it's rather difficult not to enjoy a couple with friends around the BBQ. No surprise then that the news is all bad – when you start consuming alcohol, the body literally stops burning fat instantly and the liver priorities the processing of the alcohol. SO keep it to one or two beers or wine (preferably red wine, at least it has some anti-oxidants).
So, if you were smart, you would abstain from alcohol until you achieve your body fat target. If you are a little more human and prioritise socialising as high as your fitness goals, here are a few tips to limit the 'damage':

1.Favour red wine over everything else
2.If you know you are going to have alcohol, limit your carbohydrate consumption
3.Have one glass of fresh water for every alcoholic drink you have
4.Avoid beer, if that proves difficult (like a damn fine day in the sun) avoid stouts and heavy beers.

Well although there are some parameters on what one should or shouldn't consume, I take solace in the fact that I can still enjoy chocolate and the odd glass or two of wine. What more could one ask for? We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback or questions. The measuring and weighing will happen on Sunday or Monday (to be confirmed) and some support or better, some fellow challenge participants are welcome and appreciated. Just let me know! Whether you want to partake in this challenge or your own 30-day "something" challenge, join me!

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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