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Fresh Fruit Rice Paper Rolls

If you’ve been out lately, you’ll have noticed the weather in Hong Kong cycling between hot and sunny 35 degree days and rainy typhoon days. Whether you need a cooling snack for the scorching summer days or a burst of fruity color to brighten up the rainy days, these healthy and delightful fresh fruit rice paper rolls are the way to go. They’re super quick and easy, and can make a fun weekend activity with family and friends!

Fresh Fruit Rice Paper Rolls

Makes 4 Rolls

Nutrition for 4 rolls: 168.9 kcal (38.6g carbs, 2.1g protein, 0.7g fat)

Ingredients:

Spring roll:

4pcs 22cm rice papers

60g honeydew melon

50g strawberries

20g apple

30g mango

1g mint leaves

 

Dipping Sauce:

1 tbsp honey

10g lemon juice

Directions:

Fruit Preparation
Cut the apple, mango and honeydew melon into long, thin strips. Slice the strawberries into pieces. Place fruits on a plate to prepare for spring roll assembly.

Spring Roll Assembly

1. Prepare rice paper by submerging them one at a time in warm water for 2 to 3 seconds, until malleable, then transfer softened rice paper to a large plate.
2. Fill spring rolls by first laying down a few slices of either strawberries and honeydew melon.
3. Place down a few sticks of apple and mango for the second layer, then top with a couple of mint leaves.
4. Roll up the spring roll by first folding the long side near you to enclose the filling. Then, fold in the short sides, and roll.

Dressing Preparation
Whisk together the honey and lemon juice. Serve with the fruit spring rolls.

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夏日鮮果米紙卷

炎炎夏日的下午,必定要吃水果補充身體最容易流失的水分和維他命。蘋果和檸檬汁正正可以幫我們補充流汗時流失的電解質。水果沙律吃到悶不妨試一試做鮮果米紙捲!涼涼的水果既消暑又美味,夾酸酸甜甜的檸檬蜜糖醬更添上多一層清香味。

夏日鮮果米紙卷

4份

每4份的營養含量:

總熱量:168.9 kcal,碳水化合物:36.8克,蛋白質:2.1克, 0.7g,脂肪:0.7克

材料:

鮮果卷:

22cm越南米紙 4片

哈密 瓜 60g

士多啤梨 50g

蘋果 20g

芒果 30g

薄荷葉 1g

醬汁:

蜜糖 1湯匙

檸檬汁 10g

做法:

春捲:

1. 將蘋果,哈密瓜和芒果切成幼條,士多啤梨切片,備用
2. 取一張米紙浸在暖水中2-3秒至半透明
3. 把米紙在碟上鋪平,在米紙中間放上士多啤梨和哈密瓜
4. 後鋪上蘋果和芒果條。鮮果上放數片薄荷葉裝飾
5. 米紙由下捲起包起餡料,再收起左右兩側,由下至上捲起

醬汁:
蜜糖與檸檬汁攪拌至均勻

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Impossible Burger

The veggie burger that bleeds - does that sound appetizing or like something out of a horror story? The Impossible Burger, handcrafted by the scientists of Impossible Foods, is a plant-based meat substitute that apparently looks and tastes like real meat. If the sizzling sounds and meaty aroma are not enough to convince you that it is meat, then its bleeding interior will certainly take you back. Have you ever thought of ordering your veggie burger medium rare?

Hong Kong is the first city outside of the United States to launch this Impossible Burger. Impossible Foods claims that the “meat” is great for the environment, as its coming-to-be “uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions” due to their beef being, essentially, cow-less. Good for the environment, indeed, but how good exactly is it for your body?

Why Does It Bleed?

In meat, the heme in myoglobin (oxygen-binding protein) presents us with that glorious medium rare reddish-pink appearance and contributes to the metallic, meaty flavor that some of us know and love. Impossible Foods targeted this and discovered that a soy-derived protein, leghemoglobin, could give shockingly similar results. Since it would take way too many soybeans to produce the amount of leghemoglobin for a marketable amount of “meat”, they use genetically modified yeast instead to pump out this protein.  Although some studies have concluded that it is most likely safe especially at this low level of consumption, the FDA has not yet designated leghemoglobin as ‘generally regarded as safe’

But What Else is in the Impossible Burger?

On their official website they state: “Our burger is made from simple, all-natural ingredients such as wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes.” However, looking at their FAQs gives away the full ingredient list.

They contain natural ingredients, but mostly derivatives of these ingredients like proteins isolated from wheat, potato, and soy. During processing, much of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals are lost, leaving behind just highly absorbable carbohydrates. That may be why the creators have added so many vitamins back.

The impossible meat also contains a whole bunch of sodium -- 470mg. That’s a whopping 20% of the recommended dietary allowance! Excessive sodium intake is linked with hypertension, which ultimately may lead to cardiovascular complications.

Bottom Line

Like a monstrous BLT burger, the Impossible Burger should be eaten sparingly. Missing the taste of meat as a vegan/vegetarian or doing the Earth a small favor are good reasons to give the Impossible Burger a chance. However, it isn’t something that should replace all meat in your diet if you’re looking for a healthy option. Albeit, it isn’t that healthy!

References

FAQ. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.impossiblefoods.com/faq/

Fraser, R. Z., Shitut, M., Agrawal, P., Mendes, O., & Klapholz, S. (2018). Safety Evaluation of

Soy Leghemoglobin Protein Preparation Derived From Pichia pastoris, Intended for Use

as a Flavor Catalyst in Plant-Based Meat. International Journal of Toxicology, 37(3), 109158181876631. doi:10.1177/1091581818766318

Impossible Burger. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2018, from

https://www.impossiblefoods.com/burger/

Lemonier, G. (2017, December 05). Great Veggie Burgers are Here, But Are They Any

Healthier? Retrieved June 15, 2018, from https://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/great-veggie-burgers-are-here-but-are-they-any-healthier-w449490 

Pierson, D. (2017, August 08). Why environmentalists want Impossible Burger's meatless patties to be pulled off menus. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-impossible-burger-fda-20170808-story.html

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Ketogenic Diet = Cholesterol?

Do you need to completely cut out cholesterol from your diet? No. What you do need is to control the amount you have and maintain healthy cholesterol levels in your body.

HOW DO I DO THAT THOUGH?

Cholesterol doesn’t have to be the antagonist in the story. Does it contribute to anything positive?  Of course, it does!  It’s a building block for hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, it’s part of your cell membrane structures, it helps in absorbing those lovely vitamins you always want a good amount of and it helps produce vitamin D from the sun [1]. 80% of the cholesterol your body requires is produced in the liver and small intestines while the other 20% is obtained from our diet [1].

Leaving all the complicated science behind, all you need to know is that higher levels of HDL cholesterol is good for you while higher levels of LDL cholesterol will be bad.

So is a low-fat diet the way to combat your cholesterol levels?

Low-fat diets, contrary to popular belief, are not that effective in lowering your LDL cholesterol. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that a low fat diet was only able to lower the LDL-cholesterol levels of their participants by 3% [2].

Why not give the keto diet a try?

We have discussed about the keto diet numerous times on our site so if you’d like to

know more about what it exactly is, check out this link: https://www.eatologyasia.com/blog/What_is_a_ketogenic_diet/.

In terms of lowering your cholesterol levels, it showed a 9.6% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels [3]. Moreover, HDL cholesterol  levels were observed to have increased by 20.6% compared to only 4.9% in the low-fat diet [4]. Looking at these numbers you can definitely deduce which diet might be more useful in lowering your cholesterol levels.

References:

1)    Corliss, J. (2011). “Portfolio” beats low-fat diet for lowering cholesterol. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-its-made-cholesterol-production-in-your-body

2)    Jenkins, D.J.A. (2011). Effect of a Dietary Portfolio of Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Given at 2 Levels of Intensity of Dietary Advice on Serum Lipids in Hyperlipidemia A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Medicine Association. 306(8). 831-839.   

3)    Wood, Richard J., et al. (2006).  “Carbohydrate restriction alters lipoprotein metabolism by modifying VLDL, LDL, and HDL subfraction distribution and size in overweight men.” The Journal of Nutrition, 136(2). 384-389.

4)    Brinkworth, Grant D., et al. (2009).  “Long-term effects of a very-low-carbohydrate weight loss diet compared with an isocaloric low-fat diet after 12 mo.” The American journal of clinical nutrition, 90(1). 23-32.

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DNA testing for optimal nutrition

Nutrigenomics and You

What is Nutrigenomics? It is the study of the relationship between nutrition and genetics.

What does this mean for you? Everything.

DNA is unique for everyone. While the general rules of how our body works may apply to all of us, there are tiny variances within our genes that can define certain aspects of our health. Our genes can affect how well or how poorly we utilize the nutrition in the food we eat, or the amount of exercise that is truly effective. Each person differs in their own little way. This test is designed to tell you just exactly what makes you, you.

With the information now in your hands, you can create a personalized diet to fully reap the benefits of the food you eat, the exercise you do and the lifestyle you live.

Most importantly, you can find a hassle-free way to lead a healthier life.

Background

DNA is the genetic material in your cells that determines your traits you inherit half from your mother and half from your father. It determines your physical appearance i.e. blood type, skin color, hair color, etc.

Similarly, DNA also influences how your body functions, i.e.,

How your body utilizes and metabolizes sugar, fats and other nutrients.

Obesity Risk

A lot of us may say, “I am naturally fat or thin”. “Even drinking water can make me fat”, “I can eat anything I want and still stay in shape” – so can our genes truly help us to understand more of these situations?

Via some selected genes, we are able to uncover the obesity risk of an individual, and that means genes can answer whether you have the tendency of being fat or not. However, even if you have relatively low obesity risk, that doesn’t mean you can continuously eat food with high calories without a cost. If you love stuffing yourself with high energy or sugary food, it will still increase your obesity risk.

Fat Storage

Fat can store in any part of our body, but the thing that we can annoy us is Central Obesity. If your PLIN1 genes tell you that your body tends to store more fat, you will need to be aware central obesity. A sagging belly could destroy the great body shape you’ve worked hard for and trigger your health alarm.

If you tend to store fat easily, you need to be aware of central obesity.

Sugar Intake

Many women say they have two separate stomachs, one is for savory food, another is for sweet dessert. The fact is, part of the population has a set of sweet teeth and can’t avoid the power of desserts.

If your genes indicate you are a fan of desserts and all things sweet, you need to be aware of your daily diet. Don’t consume too much sugar.

Fat Intake

Just like sugar, some people particularly crave food with fat. These people like the taste of meat and fat, and they also like deep-fried food. These may be caused by the MC4R genes, which make the body more likely to intake more fat

Carbohydrates

Most people who are dieting would always say, body weight will decrease when you consume less carbohydrates. However, if you have a certain genetic coding that is beneficial to you, this rule may not apply to you. Inversely you may need a high carbohydrate and low fat diet to lose weight.

Caffeine

Some may ask: “Doesn't coffee keep you awake? Why do I feel so sleepy after drinking coffee?”. Actually, if your genes show that you tend to have faster metabolic speed towards caffeine, you may not feel awake even after drinking cups of coffee.

Alcohol

There are people around us whose face and body will turn red after drinking alcohol. There are two possibilities for this: maybe he or she is allergic to alcohol or the contents in alcohol, or their genetic coding gives them a slower metabolic rate against alcohol. Although alcohol may not get you drunk easily, you should be aware of your body’s reaction (like feeling unwell or sick) after drinking too much alcohol.

MUFA (Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids)

When it comes to unsaturated fatty acids, it can be divided into monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in the cooking oil and food, including peanut oil, canola oil, almonds and hazelnuts. Monounsaturated fatty acids are actually good antioxidants, which can reduce bad cholesterol damage, and can help some people who have a genetic advantage, to lose weight.

PUFA (Polyunsaturated fatty acids)

Still a form of unsaturated fatty acids, PUFA mainly helps to keep your blood vessels healthy. Everyone can benefit from consuming PUFA, however, those who have a genetic advantage will get far better results than those without.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin responsible for different functions in our body. It is one of the cornerstones of maintaining the immune system, promoting body growth, and protecting eyesight, body cells and tissues. Lacking vitamin A, the body may show symptoms of cystic fibrosis, immunity problems, dryness of skin and other health risks.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is responsible for the production of antibodies for the immune system and hormone synthesis, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which helps to regulate mood, quality of sleep and other functions of normal brain development. If the body lacks vitamin B6, there is a possibility that anemia, depression and concentration difficulties and other health risks may begin to develop.

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (also known as folic acid) plays an indispensable role in the formation of red blood cells, for the prevention of anemia, and amino acid synthesis, which is the basis for producing protein and energy metabolism. A deficiency of vitamin B9 could lead to a chance of fetal injury during pregnancy period (neural tube defects, heart defects), poor body growth and inflammation of the tongue and other health risks.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is also known as Cobalt Ammonia, a water-soluble vitamin that is an important vitamin for maintaining healthy nervous systems. In addition to being a cofactor for DNA and RNA synthesis, it also helps to release the energy of the body for our own use. Vitamin B12 is also responsible for producing red blood cells to prevent anemia. A deficiency of vitamin B12 could lead to the body developing anemia, constipation, fatigue and other health risks.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has a variety of functions. For example, it is the main element of collagen synthesis, which is the important formation component of our general skin tissue, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels and helps us to heal wounds. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties can reduce the internal damage caused by free radicals on our cells and DNA. Some studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of getting chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and arthritis. A deficiency of vitamin C could lead to the body showing symptoms of scurvy, bad wound healing, fatigue and other health risks.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in our body. Its most widely known function is to promote calcium absorption in the body to help grow and maintain strong bones and maintain adequate serum calcium levels. Deficiency in vitamin D could lead to the body developing osteoporosis, rickets, muscle weakness and other health risks.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has a strong antioxidant function, meaning that it helps prevent free radicals from damaging the body's cells. Many studies have found that antioxidants protect the body from chronic diseases (including heart disease and cancer). In addition, vitamin E has other functions, such as immunization, cell signaling and other metabolic processes. One of the functions is to produce red blood cells together with vitamin K. A lack of vitamin E could lead to symptoms of immune system damage, sensory nerve injury/destruction (peripheral neuropathy), muscle weakness (myopathy) and other health risks.

Metabolic Rate (Basal)

Even when our body is still, we continue to burn energy to keep our body functioning, such as breathing, digesting, and metabolism. When compared to the energy fats would use, muscle requires 22.5 times more energy (when comparing 1kg fat to 1kg muscle). Therefore, knowing your basal metabolic rate is the first step in planning your exercise routine.

Effectiveness of Losing Weight

Most people will use different ways (including diet and exercise) to shorten the time needed for weight loss and increase its effectiveness. However, not everyone can use the same extreme methods as these people to lose weight effectively due to differences in their genetic makeup.

Amount of Exercise

Exercise is a vital practice for us to keep in shape and keep our body healthy. Not only can exercise effectively burn calories from our body, it also helps deliver nutrition to every part of our body, and there are so many benefits that exercise can bring us. However, some people with genetic disadvantages may take more effort and time to achieve the same exercise results as others. This is not a reason to give up exercise though. If you put more effort on exercise, you can still change your natural born disadvantage.

Effectiveness of Exercise

There are people who are born with advantageous genes that give them an edge when they perform exercise. Their superior exercise genes improve effectiveness of losing weight allowing them to perform better and reap greater rewards with exercise or sports.

Studies

Based on the studies of over 170,000 people by the Human Molecular Genetics in 2014, we found out different fat genes coordinates would obviously relate differently to our body weight (calculated by Body mass index). However, there may be others who hold fat genes coordinates, but it is not impossible to make changes.

From the studies of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009, over 20,000 people's fat genes are related to overweight (calculated by Body Mass Index). However, the studies have also stated that exercise could decrease this gene’s effects at a certain level.

Reference:

1. Qi, Q. et al. FTO genetic variants, dietary intake and body mass index: insights from 177 330 individuals. Hum Mol Genet 23, 6961–6972 (2014).

2. Vimaleswaran, K. S. et al. Physical activity attenuates the body mass index-increasing influence of genetic variation in the FTO gene. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 90, 425–428 (2009).

Selected Scientific Research Evidence

Dr. Christopher Gardner from Standford University performed a study regarding nutritious genomes and made an incredible discovery. In the study, when 133 women established eating habits that specpfically fit their genes, their weight decreased an average of 5.2%. In contrast, women who did not have tailored diets only decreased their weight an average of 2.3%.

According to this study, people who chose to integrate nutritious genomics into their eating habits lost 100% more weight than those who didn’t.

Reference:

New Twist on Low Carb vs. Low Fat for Weight Loss

http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/file/11383/

Body Shape

Everyone has their own conception of beauty, but one this is for certain – we all want to be healthy and have a good body shape.

However, our genes are major factors that affect how easy we can achieve a good body shape. These 4 types of genes can help uncover some of the secrets that affect everyone's body shape.

   Obesity Risk

Many women may say, "I am naturally fat or thin", "even drinking water can make me fat", "I can eat anything I want and still stay in shape" – so can our genes truly help us to understand more of these situations?

Via some selected genes, we are able to uncover the obesity risk of an individual, and that means genes can answer whether you have the tendency of being fat or not. However, even if you have relatively low obesity risk, that doesn't mean you can continuously eat food with high calories without a cost. If you love stuffing yourself with high energy or sugary food, it will still increase your obesity risk.

   Fat Storage

Fat can store in any part of our body, but the thing that can annoy us is Central Obesity. If your PLIN1 genes tell you that your body tends to store more fat, you will need to be aware central obesity. A sagging belly could destroy the great body shape you’ve worked hard for and trigger your health alarm.

If you tend to store fat easily, you need to be aware of central obesity.

   Sugar Intake

Many women say they have two separate stomaches, one is for savory food, another is for sweet dessert. The fact is, part of the population has a set of sweet teeth and can't avoid the power of desserts.

If your genes indicate you are a fan of desserts and all things sweet, you need to be aware of your daily diet. Don't consume too much sugar.

   Fat Intake

Just like sugar, some people particularly crave food with fat. These people like the taste of meat and fat, and they also like deep-fried food. These may be caused by the MC4R genes, which make the body more likely to intake more fat.

Food Sensitivity

Food sensitivity is different from food allergy, it relates to the level of food or certain ingredients that affect you, and which part of the body it affects. By testing the related genes, you will be able to understand which foods you should eat and what ingredients provide the best benefits to your body and health.

   Carbohydrates

Most people who are dieting would always say, body weight will decrease when you consume less carbohydrates. However, if you have a certain genetic coding that is beneficial to you, this rule may not apply to you. Inversely you may need a high carbohydrate and low fat diet to lose weight.

   Caffeine

Some may ask: “Doesn't coffee keep you awake? Why do I feel so sleepy after drinking coffee?”. Actually, if your genes show that you tend to have faster metabolic speed towards caffeine, you may not feel awake even after drinking cups of coffee.

   Alcohol

There are people around us whose face and body will turn red after drinking alcohol. There are two possibilities for this: maybe he or she is allergic to alcohol or the contents in alcohol, or their genetic coding gives them a slower metabolic rate against alcohol. Although alcohol may not get you drunk easily, you should be aware of your body’s reaction (like feeling unwell or sick) after drinking too much alcohol.

   MUFA (Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids)

When it comes to unsaturated fatty acids, it can be divided into monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in the cooking oil and food, including peanut oil, canola oil, almonds and hazelnuts. Monounsaturated fatty acids are actually good antioxidants, which can reduce bad cholesterol damage, and can help some people who have a genetic advantage, to lose weight.

   PUFA (Polyunsaturated fatty acids)

Still a form of unsaturated fatty acids, PUFA mainly helps to keep your blood vessels healthy. Everyone can benefit from consuming PUFA, however, those who have a genetic advantage will get far better results than those without.

Vitamin Needs

Vitamins have a very important role as nutrients, they can maintain the normal functions of our organs, and help us grow. Since our body cannot make vitamins on its own, we must intake vitamins via our daily diet. In fact, everyone's genes have a different level of needs on vitamins. Shall we be more alert to intake some of the vitamins? Our test will answer the question for you.

   Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin responsible for different functions in our body. It is one of the cornerstones of maintaining the immune system, promoting body growth, and protecting eyesight, body cells and tissues. Lacking vitamin A, the body may show symptoms of cystic fibrosis, immunity problems, dryness of skin and other health risks.

   Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is responsible for the production of antibodies for the immune system and hormone synthesis, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which helps to regulate mood, quality of sleep and other functions of normal brain development. If the body lacks vitamin B6, there is a possibility that anemia, depression and concentration difficulties and other health risks may begin to develop.

   Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (also known as folic acid) plays an indispensable role in the formation of red blood cells, for the prevention of anemia, and amino acid synthesis, which is the basis for producing protein and energy metabolism. A deficiency of vitamin B9 could lead to a chance of fetal injury during pregnancy period (neural tube defects, heart defects), poor body growth and inflammation of the tongue and other health risks.

   Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is also known as Cobalt Ammonia, a water-soluble vitamin that is an important vitamin for maintaining healthy nervous systems. In addition to being a cofactor for DNA and RNA synthesis, it also helps to release the energy of the body for our own use. Vitamin B12 is also responsible for producing red blood cells to prevent anemia. A deficiency of vitamin B12 could lead to the body developing anemia, constipation, fatigue and other health risks.

   Vitamin C

Vitamin C has a variety of functions. For example, it is the main element of collagen synthesis, which is the important formation component of our general skin tissue, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels and helps us to heal wounds. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties can reduce the internal damage caused by free radicals on our cells and DNA. Some studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of getting chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and arthritis. A deficiency of vitamin C could lead to the body showing symptoms of scurvy, bad wound healing, fatigue and other health risks.

   Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in our body. Its most widely known function is to promote calcium absorption in the body to help grow and maintain strong bones and maintain adequate serum calcium levels. Deficiency in vitamin D could lead to the body developing osteoporosis, rickets, muscle weakness and other health risks.

   Vitamin E

Vitamin E has a strong antioxidant function, meaning that it helps prevent free radicals from damaging the body's cells. Many studies have found that antioxidants protect the body from chronic diseases (including heart disease and cancer). In addition, vitamin E has other functions, such as immunization, cell signaling and other metabolic processes. One of the functions is to produce red blood cells together with vitamin K. A lack of vitamin E could lead to symptoms of immune system damage, sensory nerve injury/destruction (peripheral neuropathy), muscle weakness (myopathy) and other health..

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What is the South Beach Diet?

Has anyone heard of the South Beach Diet? Its main aim is to help people lose weight through 3 phases. Promoted as a maintenance diet, this diet is meant to be incorporated into your lifestyle. 

Phase 1, which lasts for 2 weeks, is all about eliminating your cravings for foods high in sugar and refined starches. This means, say goodbye to pasta, rice, bread, potato and yes, fruit, fruit juice and alcohol as well. What you will be consuming more are,  lean proteins such as lean beef, skinless poultry and seafood and healthy unsaturated fats from avocados, nuts and seeds. 

Those of you who might have read the previous blogs might be thinking that it sounds similar to the keto diet . The difference between the two diets is that percentage of carbs that you’ll be consuming on this diet will increase in the later phases and overall this diet is lower in fats. Also, even though you are eliminating most of the carbs from your diet in Phase 1, this diet allows you to have a cheeky dessert once a day as long as it’s portion controlled.

Phase 2 is about incorporating the carbohydrates back into your diet. Does this mean you can start eating everything you used to eat before? No. Healthy carbs, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, fruits and vegetables are incorporated back.This phase is a long-term phase that you will maintain until you reach your desired weight.

Phase 3 aims to teach you moderation. After you have reached your desired weight, you are allowed to eat everything BUT in moderation. So you can indulge in delicious cheesy pasta once in a while, however your overall diet will be centred around lots of fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meat. It’s a diet that’s high in fiber, low-glycemic carbohydrates, unsaturated fats and lean protein.

So should you follow this diet to lose weight?

There is barely any quality research supporting the efficacy of this diet. It could just be another fad diet among the numerous other diets on the market. Its principle of consuming the right carbs and fats is beneficial. Ultimately, it wants you to have a balanced diet and you could achieve this by just switching to it without having to go through the 3 phases in the South Beach Diet.

Remember to always go through quality peer-reviewed journal papers before believing that a random diet will 100% work.

 

References:

Baran, M. (2004). Fighting obesity. Health Care: Food and Nutrition Focus, 21(10). 1-12. 

Attribution to photo:

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alishav/3521316900

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Vitamin D: The “Sunshine” Vitamin

It’s that time of year again when your calendar is filled with pool and boat parties! What better time is there to show off your sun-kissed skin, escape from the hectic city, and enjoy the little bit of nature that Hong Kong has to offer. With the summer sunshine in full swing, I bet you’ve heard your parents nagging you to “always put on sunblock!”. Sunblock does an amazing job to protect your skin against UV damage, but unfortunately decrease the amount of UV radiation received, thus affecting Vitamin D synthesised by our body.

What is Vitamin D for?

The primary function for vitamin D is to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis (when your bones become brittle and prone to breaking). But how exactly does it work? And why do we hear that calcium and phosphorous are also important for bone health? Our bones are made up of a mineral crystals that contain both calcium and phosphorous, and vitamin D is the key we need to absorb these minerals from our food into our bodies. That’s why we could develop brittle bones and bone pain if our bodies are deficient in vitamin D.

But that’s not all that Vitamin D is good for - we also need it for muscle strength, healthy teeth, good immune system function!

 

Where can we get Vitamin D from? 

As humans, we absorb vitamin D through our diet, supplements and from the sun. However, vitamin D is naturally found in a limited amount of food in our diets, such as fatty fish and dairy products. For those of us who don’t incorporate enough of these foods into our diet or may be lactose intolerant, we would run the risk of having low vitamin D levels in our body.

Aside from dietary sources, our skin is also capable of synthesizing vitamin D when it is triggered by sunlight. Depending on sunlight intensity and the level of pigment in your skin, sitting in the sun for 5 - 30 minutes twice per week is generally enough for our bodies to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D (Holick, 2007)

 

How much Vitamin D do I need?

The table below shows how much Vitamin D you may need, it is based on your age, gender, and whether you are pregnant or lactating. The amount we require is also set to based on the assumption of minimal sun exposure.

 

 

Table 1. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) For Vitamin D (NIH, 2016) 

 

You may be thinking...how much exactly is 600 IU? Table 2 here shows some of the more common food sources that are high in Vitamin D:

Food

IUs per serving

Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces

447

Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces

154

Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup

115-124

Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, 6 ounces (more heavily fortified yogurts provide more of the DV)

80

Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon

60

Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk)

41

Table 2. Selected Food Source of Vitamin D (NIH, 2016)

As you can see, not a whole lot of food contains enough Vitamin D, and we aren’t expecting you to eat salmon every day so that you can meet your requirement. That’s because many people meet at least some of the Vitamin D needs through some sun exposure. So even if your dietary intakes do not appear to be adequate, your overall vitamin D status may be very different as you may be receiving more sunlight than you think.

Take home message

It seems like your parents were right again when they talked about the importance of putting on sunblock. As much as sun exposure is good for our bone health in small doses, it’s very easy to get too much of a good thing in this case. The risk of getting skin cancer because you didn’t wear sunblock is much greater than the risk of having osteoporosis because you did wear it, especially if you eat a balanced diet or take supplements. 

So next time when you go on your junk trip, have fun but also remember to wear your sunblock!

Reference

Ensuring Bone Health for Men. (2016, June 17). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/preventing-illness/bone-health-for-men

Holick, M. F. (2007). Vitamin D Deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine,357(3), 266-281. doi:10.1056/nejmra070553

How the sun and UV cause cancer. (2017, May 03). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/how-the-sun-and-uv-cause-cancer

Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D. (n.d.). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Sunlight exposure and vitamin D advice - Health News. (2010, December 17). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/12December/Pages/sunlight-exposure-and-vitamin-d-advice.aspx

What Is Vitamin D? (2016, May.). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/vitamin-d

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Hypertension & DASH diet

The DASH diet, an acronym for the  “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" diet is a diet recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It’s aimed to prevent and control healthy blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels by a low dietary sodium intake (2300 mg per day) and a potassium-calcium-and-magnesium rich diet. The diet is also effective in reducing body weight, preventing diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and other chronic diseases. It can be the ideal diet plan for most of the general population and provides a general guide of a sustainable healthy diet.

DASH Diet 2000 kcal/d break-down

Food Group

Servings per Day

Per Serving Size

Grains

6-8 serv

⅓ Cup Cooked Brown Rice

Vegetables

4-5 serv.

1 Cup Raw Veg Salad or ½ Cup Cooked Veg

Fruits

4-5 serv.

½ Cup Fruit Juice, ½ Apple or Pear

Dairy

2-3 serv

1 Cup Fat-free Milk/ Greek Yogurt

Lean Protein

<6 serv

1 oz. Lean Meat, 1 Egg, 4 oz. Tofu

Fats & Oils

2-3 serv

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter

Sweets

1 serv ( <5 serv./ wk)

1 can (12 oz) Soft Drinks, 1 Small Cup Cake

Nuts, Seeds, Legumes

1 serv. (4-5 serv/ wk)

6 Almonds/ Cashews, 10 Peanuts, 16 Pistachios, 8 Black Olives, 10 Green Olives

Low sodium intake doesn’t only mean to avoid adding extra salt into your meals, but also staying away from all the  hidden sodium in canned, preserved foods and certain dairy products.

 (Health + Wellness, 2017)

Reference

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456?pg=1

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods

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Your Biggest Keto Diet Questions Answered

You might be starting or contemplating about starting the keto diet. Whichever one it is, there might be several questions popping up in your head and I’m going to answer some of them right now.

   1.  Is this diet safe to follow long term?

This diet was originally developed to treat epilepsy but is now widely used for weight loss.

In terms of the short-term positive effects, it has been shown to significantly reduce obese patients’  body weight and BMI. It’s also observed to have lowered their cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with increasing their HDL cholesterol levels (Dashti et al., 2004).

Some side-effects that might be experienced when starting off this diet include, dizziness, a feeling of lethargy, irritability and since your body is not used to using fat as energy, hypoglycemia. These symptoms with proper follow-up can be managed.  The period of adapting to this new diet can last for a few days or up to 3 weeks. So if you’re persistent enough, quick weight loss is what you’ll get with this diet!

 

   2.  Does this diet provide enough fiber?

 Constipation is one of the side-effects that you might experience when starting off this diet. This could occur due to the loss of water after starting the diet. When there’s not enough fluid in your blood, it’ll absorb water from the colon and hence make your stool drier and harder to move through. So if you’re constipated on this diet, drink more water!

 

   3.  Does a keto diet cause deficiencies? Is supplemental use necessary when starting with this diet?

Since you might experience loss of water when starting off this diet, there is a possibility of you losing electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. It is important to notice symptoms like muscle weakness and cramping, dizziness and constipation which are caused by deficiencies in these electrolytes and to compensate for their loss by increasing their intake.

  

    4.  Can I maintain my muscle mass while on the ketone diet?

The amount of protein that you will be consuming will be adequate for the maintenance of your muscle mass. Your carbohydrate levels are going to be low and your fat intake will be high, but the amount of protein that should be consumed  will be just enough to keep you in the state of ketosis while maintaining your muscle mass.

If you often train rigorously, this diet might not be suitable for you as you need to consume an adequate amount of carbohydrates to provide you with enough energy for an optimum workout.

     5.  Isn’t there too much fat in this diet?

The purpose of increasing the amount of fats consumed in this diet is to provide a source of energy for your body through its metabolism. With the low amount of carbs that are being consumed, having another adequate source of energy is essential for the functioning of your body. So in this diet, the higher amount of fats consumed will be used for driving the state of your body into ketosis. 

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Biomarkers for Longevity

Once again, Japan ranked first in the life expectancy index in 2017 (WHO, 2017). Wondering what factors make Japan always come first in this index? Is it their eating habits? Lifestyle? Or environmental factor? Well, eating habits play a vital role in longevity; “You are what you eat”. Eating the right foods can lead to a healthier and longer lifespan. The following factors contribute to longevity from picking the right foods.

Sex hormone Status

The average life expectancy of men tend to be lower than women. This could be due to the different in sex hormone levels. Research revealed that low serum testosterone, a male sex hormone, increases the risk of early death (Laughlin, 2007). Meanwhile, in both male and female, estrogen is highly associated with fractures (Kuchuk, 2007). In other words, sex hormones are related to injury. Sex hormones are synthesized from cholesterol, so consuming adequate amount of cholesterol is fundamental for sex hormone productions. It is thus unwise to exclude fat intakes.

 

Fatty acid content of cell membrane (mitochondrial, Red Blood Cell)

Choosing the correct type of fat is key. Our body needs fatty acids for cell growth, recovery and energy generation. Fatty acids such as omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid are response for oxidative stress and lead to the deterioration of cell nucleus. The monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids help remove free radicals produced from oxidative stress (Jose, 2006).

The same effect can also be found in blood vessels. The composition of fatty acid in blood vessel membrane is even more vital, as it directly affects the inflammatory response in humans. Unsurprisingly, omega-3 is better than omega-6 PUFA. As the inflammatory product produced is less harmful, the chance of developing chronic disease is lower if taking more omega-3 PUFA. In view of this, the study suggests intakes of omega-3 PUFA and monounsaturated fatty acid like fish and olive oil over saturated fatty acids. High proportion of omega-6 fatty acid also produces red blood cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, in turn reducing the amount of oxygen carriers in the body (Yuan, 2015). Meanwhile the chance of developing colon cancer is less if there are more omega-3 than omega-6 in red blood cell (Rifkin, 2017).

 

Triglyceride:HDL ratio

HDL is so-called the good type of cholesterol in your body, while triglyceride is the end product of fat digestion. Cholesterol intake is vital in longevity and cell growth. The difference between good(HDL) and bad(LDL) cholesterol are their composition, where triglyceride content is much higher in bad cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is anchored on blood vessels and increases the chance of having cardiovascular disease which limits the amount of blood flowing back to heart. While HDL is responsible for removing the bad cholesterol out of blood. High triglyceride to HDL ratio implies the chance of developing heart disease is high. Choose a better source of fat, prioritize omega-3 PUFA over other type of fatty acid.  Meanwhile, avoid intaking excess cholesterol-dense food, instead eat more fiber-rich food that reduces the level of triglyceride or LDL. Maintaining a normal triglyceride to HDL ratio is crucial for longevity (Vnitr, 2006).

Waist Circumference

Maintaining an ideal waist circumference is important to longevity. A high waist circumference increases the chance of becoming overweight or obese. Visceral fat is associated with inflammation, and the inflammatory products are directly associated with aging-related diseases (Adriaensen, 2015). Individuals with apple-shaped body, where fat is accumulated above waist, have an increased chance of getting diseases. Various health agencies recommend the waist circumference should be limited to 40 inches or under for men, 35 inches or under for women.

Low fasting Insulin

High fasting insulin level is also related to a higher risk of cancer mortality. People with high blood glucose level are more susceptible to cancers (Tsujimoto, 2017). Limiting the amount of glucose intake is important to prevent cancers. Diabetes can also be prevented by reducing sugar intake.

So, what are the keys for longevity? Switching omega-6 fatty acids with more omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids in your diet is one.  Fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids is a common ingredient in the Japanese cuisine. It may explain their high their life expectancy. Other than being concerned with the food you eat, a healthy lifestyle is also vital. Doing moderate exercise, sleeping well, and most importantly having a positive mindset are also factors that will contribute to your longevity!

Reference

Adriaensen, W., Matheï, C., Vaes, B., Van, G., Wallemacq, P., & Degryse, J. M. (2015). Interleukin-6 as a first-rated serum inflammatory marker to predict mortality and hospitalization in the oldest old: A regression and CART approach in the BELFRAIL study. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26051931

Dobiásová, M. (2006). [AIP--atherogenic index of plasma as a significant predictor of cardiovascular risk: from research to practice]. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16526201

Kuchuk, N. O., Van, N. M., Pluijm, S. M., Smit, J. H., De, W., & Lips, P. (2007). The association of sex hormone levels with quantitative ultrasound, bone mineral density, bone turnover and osteoporotic fractures in older men and women. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17555504

Laughlin, G. A., Barrett-Connor, E., & Bergstrom, J. (2008). Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17911176

Perseghin, G., Calori, G., Lattuada, G., Ragogna, F., Dugnani, E., Garancini, M. P., . . . Piemonti, L. (2012). Insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and cancer mortality: the Cremona study at the 15th year of follow-up. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22215126

Quiles, J. L., Barja, G., Battino, M., Mataix, J., & Solfrizzi, V. (2006). Role of Olive Oil and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids in Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress and Aging. Nutrition Reviews, 64. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00261.x

Rifkin, S. B., Shrubsole, M. J., Cai, Q., Smalley, W. E., Ness, R. M., Swift, L. L., . . . Murff, H. J. (2017). PUFA levels in erythrocyte membrane phospholipids are differentially associated with colorectal adenoma risk. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28660850

Yuan, T., Fan, W. B., Cong, Y., Xu, H. D., Li, C. J., Meng, J., . . . Zhao, J. N. (2015). Linoleic acid induces red blood cells and hemoglobin damage via oxidative mechanism. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26191198

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