Emma Nutrition

Simplifying the science through cooking and education. When I'm not on Mummy duties…


Fathers health affects offspring

Research suggests fathers diet, body weight, health at conception may contribute to obesity in offspring. If fathers have a high fat diet, diabetes and were obese their offspring have altered gene expression in the pancreas and in fat.

Finally we understand how dad’s can have a positive impact on the health of their babies!



The effect of Magnesium on Diabetes

The results of a meta-analysis published in the September, 2011 issue of the journal Diabetes Care found a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes among men and women whose intake of magnesium was relatively high compared to those with a lower intake.


Continue reading

1 Comment

Is sitting bad for your health?

Much research has identified obvious reasons not to sit for long periods. The negative health aspects to health of sitting for long periods, such as neck, shoulder or back pain are no doubt familiar to most of us.

However, new research has identified much more serious consequences from being sedentary, which include heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The study found diabetes type 2 risk was elevated by 20% and by 15% for heart disease when seated for a prolonged period. The increase of diabetes may have been due to the effects of glucose and insulin levels in the blood when sitting. The study found that walking for 2 minutes every 20 minutes controlled glucose and therefore insulin levels by more than 20%, than just remaining seated after consuming a test drink (sugar based).

In another study exercise has been shown to increase intelligence! Interviews were conducted at regular age intervals from the age of 11 to monitor levels of exercise. Those who had exercised two to three times per month or more scored higher in memory, attention and intelligence tests than those who had not.

So what exactly is prolonged sitting?

It is classified as anything more than 11 hours per day….which may sound a long time but really it isn’t when you consider that many people sit at work or in front of a TV or computer much of their day and evening. The above study recommended sitting for less than 4 hours per day and that “public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels”.

Now I don’t know about you but I find sitting is very beneficial. As long as it is interspersed with regular activity I feel that it is good personally for reducing blood pressure, stabilising blood glucose and increasing a feeling of wellbeing. When I was working in an office I found the sitting part of my day never occurred for too long a period – hence the constant hallway/tearoom chats and standing up to type or chat on the phone. I was a restless colleague! When I travelled in the car alot (3-4hrs/day) for meetings I was certainly at my peak of unhealthiness!

What to do?

I suggest that regular activity, even simply the motion of standing up or stretching out may be enough to counteract this sitting problem. An ergonomically friendly chair, a good stretch, some deep breathing exercises and a positive outlook have to be better than trying to keep constantly active – that just sounds exhausting right?! This study even backs up this theory stating that “increased mortality risk for prolonged sitting only (occurs) among participants not meeting physical activity guidelines”.

So there you have it. Rest and recuperate but get off your bum regularly and shake it all about!

Leave a comment

Hormone contraceptive injection and type 2 Diabetes

A ground breaking study by Nicole M. Bender has shown that contraceptive implants containing the hormone progestin can increase the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes in obese women.
20131125-190658.jpg image by Armin Kübelbeck

There was a 10 percent increase in fasting blood-glucose levels among the skin implant users, compared to a 5 percent increase among the IUD users and a 2 percent decrease among those using non-hormonal methods. The effects on sensitivity to insulin showed a similar trend.

“All women, including overweight and obese women, need to have access to safe and effective contraception. Obese women are at increased risk for pregnancy-related complications and are sometimes warned by their doctors not to use contraceptives containing estrogen, such as the pill, patch and vaginal ring.” said Penina Segall-Gutierrez, co-investigator of the study. Oestrogen contraceptives can increase the risk of blood clots in these women.

While contraception is important as pregnancy carries risks of it’s own for obese women, they need to consider the risk of the injection on their long term health.

Weight loss and/or dietary or supplemental changes can have a massive effect on blood sugar levels.


New belly fat research

Scientists have yet again been beavering away for our benefit!


They’ve been researching how belly fat is different to thigh fat. Interestingly they’ve discovered that genes dictate fat cell distribution ie fat cells are predetermined to where they are stored – thighs or belly.

Given the detrimental health effects (diabetes, heart attack, osteoporosis etc) its good to know that we may not be entirely responsible for having a fat tummy!

Of course we are responsible (excluding valid medical reasons) for being overweight, its the actual fat storage depots that we can’t dictate. Did you know that fat cells secrete hormones and proteins that control appetite and blood sugar levels? They aren’t just inert storage depots after all!

So what do scientists advise we do about it? Frustratingly they don’t know yet!! They hope future studies can evaluate treatment methods.

There is evidence that brown fat (active fat as opposed to white fat aka flabby fat) can be kick-started to burn more calories. This is by having more healthy gut bacteria – so eating less processed foods and more veg and legumes such as chick peas, lentils etc.

In the meantime I’m planning my run and pilates session tomorrow as I know that helps trim and tighten my tum-especially after a cheese heavy weekend (mmm I do love Brie as a treat).

What helps you reduce belly fat?

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (2013, January 11). How belly fat differs from thigh fat, and why it matters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130111092721.htm

American Chemical Society (2010, September 2). New evidence that fat cells are not just dormant storage depots for calories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901121526.htm

American Chemical Society (2012, January 12). New evidence that bacteria in large intestine have a role in obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221105804.htm