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!


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Fruit Restriction Proven WRONG for Type 2 Diabetes

Fruit Restriction Proven WRONG for Type 2 Diabetes

Guest post by Naturopath Case Adams

A recent study by Danish hospital researchers has disproven the efficacy of the advice given typically given by conventional doctors and nutritionists that type 2 diabetics should lay off the fruit.


The research comes from the Department of Nutrition of Denmark’s West Jutland Regional Hospital. The researchers tested fruit consumption on 63 men and women who had been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The researchers randomized the participants into two groups. One group was given the advice to eat at least two fruits a day, while the other was given the more common conventional medicine advice to eat no more than two fruits a day. This advice accompanied the other typical medical and nutritional advice typically given to diabetics.

The participants then recorded their fruit consumption each day for three months. Before and after the trial began the patients were tested for HbA1c status, body weight and waist circumference. Because many of the patients were overweight, their diet plan also included strategies for weight loss.

The HbA1c test shows the mean glucose levels over the past three months. It illustrates glucose control among diabetics. Less than 5.6% or lower is considered normal, while 5.7 to 6.5 is considered pre-diabetic, and more than 6.5% is considered diabetic. The patients studied were all over 6.5%.

After the three months on their new diets, the patients were all re-tested, and their fruit consumption was analyzed together with their HbA1c results, weight and waist size.

The researchers found that those on the high fruit diet had little difference in their relative HbA1c levels, amount of weight loss or waist size as compared to the group that consumed less fruit.

The researchers concluded that:

“A recommendation to reduce fruit intake as part of standard medical nutrition therapy in overweight patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes resulted in eating less fruit. It [consuming less fruit] had however no effect on HbA1c, weight loss or waist circumference. We recommend that the intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

In fact, when the data is looked at more closely, those who ate more fruit had slightly more weight loss and lower ending waist circumference than those who ate less fruit.

The high-fruit diet group had an average weight reduction of 2.5 kilos while the low-fruit diet group had a 1.7 kilogram average loss in weight. Meanwhile, the high-fruit diet group had an average waistline shrinkage of 4.3 centimeters, while the low-fruit diet had an average shrinkage of 3.0 centimeters.

The reason why this nutritional advice of lower fruit consumption has been erroneous is that conventional medicine has failed to understand the importance of consuming the fibers within fruits: They have assumed the sugar levels of fruit without the fiber. Whole fruits contain a number of long-chain polysaccharides – such as pectin and others – which have been shown to reduce glycemic levels and balance blood sugar.

This reality – that fruits pose no threat to type 2 diabetics – has been in front of conventional medicine for over two decades. Research at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis in the early nineties – published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition – tested seven diabetic men with bananas of various ripeness. Their testing illustrated that the ripeness of the bananas had no effects upon the patients’ levels of glucose, insulin, C-peptide and glucagon. This should have led to the immediate abandonment of this notion that fruit is not advisable for diabetics.

In fact, the precisely opposite is true.

Just about every whole fruit will contain both soluble and insoluble fiber – often at precisely the perfect levels for our digestive tract. Fiber levels among popular fruits range from a low of about three grams for every 100 calories to a high of seven to over eight grams per 100 calories – among raspberries, blackberries (about a cup), prunes and figs. An apple or pear will contain close to four grams each.

Fruit juices, on the other hand, present the sugar of fruits without their fiber. Thus fruit juices are a quite different thing altogether.

Most health-oriented nutritionists suggest that between 30 and 40 grams a day of fiber is best, while some suggest as low as 25 is okay. Most Americans eat between 10 and 15 grams per day. Fiber is critical to maintaining blood sugar balance.

Soluble fiber – also called water-soluble – has been shown to lower cholesterol because it prevents bile from reabsorption – as bile acids are produced from cholesterol. Fiber will attach bile acids and escort them out of the body. Soluble fiber also slows carbohydrate absorption and decreases insulin requirements. These together help balance blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber attaches to toxins and waste material in the digestive tract and escorts them out of the intestines.

Fruits make up one of the best ways to get both soluble and insoluble fiber. Other ways to add beneficial fibers to the diet include whole grains and seeds. Psyllium husks and flaxseeds are some of the best supplemental forms of fiber.


Christensen AS, Viggers L, Hasselström K, Gregersen S. Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes–a randomized trial. Nutr J. 2013 Mar 5;12:29.

Ercan N, Nuttall FQ, Gannon MC, Lane JT, Burmeister LA, Westphal SA. Plasma glucose and insulin responses to bananas of varying ripeness in persons with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Am Coll Nutr. 1993 Dec;12(6):703-9.

Adams C. The Living Food Diet: The Ultimate Diet for Increasing Vitality, Losing Weight and Preventing Disease. Logical Books, 2011.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath and holds a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences. His focus is upon science-based natural health solutions. He is the author of 25 books on natural health and numerous print and internet articles. A listing and description of many of his books can be found on Realnatural.org. A new video series on low back pain can be found on Healthy-back.net. Case appreciates feedback and questions at case@caseadams.com.

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“Fat talk” – does it make us fatter?

Women who engage in “fat talk” (women speaking negatively about the size and shape of their bodies) face greater dissatisfaction with their bodies and are more likely to have internalized an ultra-thin body ideal than those who engage in fat talk less frequently, according to a review article from Psychology of Women Quarterly.


Study results found that while frequency of fat talk was associated with increased dissatisfaction with women’s own bodies; over half of the participants reported that they believe fat talk actually makes them feel better about their bodies. It’s concerning that women might think fat talk is a helpful coping mechanism, when it’s actually exacerbating body image disturbance. Researchers Rachel H. Salk of the University of Wisconsin and Renee Engeln-Maddox of Northwestern University found that “fat talk” is overwhelmingly common in the college-age women they studied, with more than 90 percent reporting they engaged in “fat talk.”

“The most common response to fat talk was denial that the friend was fat,” wrote Salk and Engeln-Maddox, “most typically leading to a back-and-forth conversation where each of two healthy weight peers denies the other is fat while claiming to be fat themselves.”

An additional interesting finding was that the frequency of “fat talk” was not related to a respondent’s BMI. “In other words, there was no association between a woman’s actual body size and how often she complained about her body size with peers,” Salk and Engeln-Maddox wrote.
“These results serve as a reminder,” wrote Salk and Engeln-Maddox, “that for most women, fat talk is not about being fat, but rather about feeling fat.”

This study shows a fascinating aspect of women’s personalities and exposes the core of, what I believe, to be the single most important barrier to weight loss; appreciation of our bodies. Recently I have tried to appreciate my body for what it is, what it has achieved and what it can do. For example, I could carry my two children out of a burning building, I can run as far as I need to run and I feel strong. Sure, I could lose a little weight and tone a bit more but overall I’m happy with my body. Try it for yourself; appreciate your body. It’s truly liberating!

Here’s an exercise to try:

Find an old photo of yourself from a time you felt fatter than you wanted to be. Take a good look at it…. We’re you really as fat as you felt? Did you look happy? Was your skin healthy? Mostly I find that this exercise makes me wonder why I felt fat when in reality I looked a whole lot better than I thought I did at the time. The purpose of this exercise is to hopefully highlight how beautiful your body is, and was, and how our perception of ourselves could sometimes be a little kinder.

R. H. Salk, R. Engeln-Maddox. “If You’re Fat, Then I’m Humongous!”: Frequency, Content, and Impact of Fat Talk Among College Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2011; 35 (1): 18 DOI: 10.1177/0361684310384107


What are the best calorie counting and exercise trackers

Being a fitness gadget lover I get excited about a shiny new toy. It spurs me on to be a bit more healthy and to keep track of my diet and exercise. I’m more of a believer in a holistic approach than solely the simplistic principle of calories in versus calories out. I do however find it helpful to track my food intake. It makes me more mindful of what I’m eating, and gives me a little boost to see what exercise I’ve done that week. Not that its always recorded but its good to go back to it if I find myself slipping…so I’ve compiled this list of food and exercise resources that I have used or found helpful.

Food databases and calorie trackers:

Calorie King


Calorie Count

My Fitness Pal


Spark People

Smartphone Applications:

Lose It!


My Food Diary

My Fitness Pal


Spark People

Body Fitness Free


Go Meals

You are your own gym (a personal favourite of mine!)

Physical activity aids:

Google Maps

Map My Walk


Map My Run

Pedometers- New Lifestyles, Accusplit, Oregon

Accelerometers- Fitbit, Gruve, FitBug, Ki Fit

Heart rate monitors- Polar, Garmin

Any cool stuff missing? Let me know!


Summer cocktails that are not fattening!

Fancy a cocktail to celebrate the incoming summer?! I know, it’s not great outside today but it is coming I’m sure…

My friend Jackie over at Jackie Diss sent these today. Check them out. I’m loving the sound of the Piña Colada recipe…

Summer Cocktails That Are Bikini Friendly

Skinny Piña Colada
2 oz Barcardi Rock Coconut Rum
5 oz coconut water
2 oz pineapple juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake shake shake shake, maybe garnish with a little pineapple

Chocci Rocket
1 oz. vodka
2 oz. coffee
3 oz. light almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a blender, whizz up, stick in a straw and ENJOY!

1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup honey
1 packet Stevia
4 shots tequila (for margaritas) or rum (for daiquiris)
Juice from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lime
6 fresh strawberries
1 cup ice
Combine ingredients in a blender, whizz it up then sip it up

From Emma’s personal Nutrition notes:
Coconut water is much lower in calories than coconut milk yet still full of that summery coconut flavour. It is not a substitute for coconut milk in cooking however in drinks it is tasty and refreshing. Almond milk contains healthy fats (yet is low in calories ~40 per serving), calcium, magnesium, selenium and is free from casein so is low allergenic – great for those with lactose intolerance, milk protein intolerance or just sticking to a low allergenic diet. Stevia is a natural sweetener without any chemicals. It is 10x sweeter than sugar.

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Protein-rich breakfasts prevent unhealthy snacking in the evening, study finds

An interesting study I found this morning while eating my (egg!) breakfast.

In my experience personally and in my clients a protein breakfast is one of the most achievable and successful ways of reducing cravings and therefore snacking. Uncontrolled snacking that is….where you reach for a high sugar or high carb snack that will only satisfy for a few minutes. To curb cravings try eating an egg at breakfast or a protein drink a couple of hours after breakfast.

Protein-rich breakfasts prevent unhealthy snacking in the evening, study finds.

*note this study was funded by beef and egg boards but is valid research in my opinion.


Can I lose 2.5kg in one week?

Yes, yes you can! I have done it this week.

I’ve not eaten as much as I usually would, but that’s because I usually eat more than I should. I’ve recorded every thing I’ve eaten. I use my fitness pal to do this. On ny Android phone I estimate its taken me approximately 5 mins per day to record my food intake. The more you use it the easier it becomes as your standard foods are already there to just click on.

Additionally I have aimed for one hour per day of exercise. In reality I’ve done 30-60 mins 5 days out of seven.

I know that my body responds quite well to low carb so I have had only a small amount. 50gm (approximately 2 tbspn) of rice or pasta with my meals, a few ryvita crackerbreads, a couple of rice cakes and of course some chocolate. I have also had a protein shake with flaxseed to stave off hunger.

My focus this week has been to shift 2 things (alongside shifting my butt!);

1. Shift my idea of normal portion size. It’s amazing how much this creeps up on us until we need more and more to feel full. I estimate that many if us are eating double what we need to.

2. Shift my feelings surrounding exercise and food. I am to have enjoyment from movement and pleasure from food. My favourite movement this week was pilates and yoga. I did these while the children napped and it felt good.

What are your tips for enjoying the weight loss journey?