Emma Nutrition

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


The Bliss Point – thoughts on Sugar

Have you seen any of the recent TV shows on sugar? It’s about time this information finally surfaced! The sugar industry is big bucks and while most of us are probably aware that it contains empty calories, did you know that our body reacts to it like its a drug? Ever noticed how sometimes you just cant stop eating it?

I watch my kids when we go somewhere that serves them sugar – jelly or fruit juice etc and they firstly resemble drug-addicts; unable to get enough of the ‘good stuff’. They then become hyperactive and irrational for 20 mins. This is followed by, for me, the scariest part of the sugar-drug-rush and its the sugar-stupor. They cant think, they are grumpy and generally need a sleep at inopportune times. The sugar-stupor isn’t limited to our kids and some believe its not an acute symptom but a long-term real social and physical problem.

Are you too Stupid?

Choose sugar or you are stupid..?

Back to The Bliss Point…the perfect marriage of fat, salt and sugar. The point at which the texture or mouth-feel is soft and buttery, the flavour is intense without being overpowering and the feelgood factor exists. The bliss point is individual and is an acquired taste however it is also cultural and generic to a point. The more sugar you eat, the more you will want to eat as the less other food tastes good. Recently I tried removing salt from my diet and now the tiniest bit of salt is too tasty for me. It works the same way for sugar.

Robert Lustig believes that sugar is the cause of diabetes. His talk on sugar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM is well worth watching; I have watched it 3 times and get something new every time. High fructose (fruit sugar) corn syrup is used in soft drinks, soups, processed foods and has been studied as a contributor to heart disease markers eg trigylcerides, cholesterol etc. When testing for the markers of heart disease one common theme, or associated risk, is an increases in visceral adiposity – the fat surrounding the liver, kidneys, bowel. When healthy students were given a high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) drink for 2 weeks all of their cardiovascular disease risk factors increased.

At the 1999 get together of top food industry executives they received a presentation on ‘Responding to the challenge of childhood obesity’. This presentation told these execs that the environment that encourages obesity is the “Ubiquity of inexpensive, good-tasting, super-sized, energy-dense foods.” They scoffed at this theory. In 1972, when British scientist John Yudkin first proved that sugar was bad for our health, he was ignored by the majority of the medical profession and rubbished by the food industry. The scientist Ansel Keys was a major player in debunking Yudkin. Ansel Keys later debunked his own research on fats.

Will the food industry be next?

Leaked tobacco industry documents

Leaked tobacco industry documents

Stan Lance, who published secret tobacco documents says that “strategies that the tobacco companies used were being used much earlier by the sugar industry”. The parallel he see is that the sugar industry tries to undermine science and to intimidate scientists as well as subverting sensible regulation. In 2003 WHO was looking at a resolution for sugar to be reduced to just 10% of what people were currently eating. The resolution never went forward. The sugar industry influenced US congress to pull this recommendation by threatening to pull its funding of WHO. Just like we wouldn’t have a tobacco epidemic if there wasn’t a tobacco industry, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic if we didn’t have an industry selling sugar, salt and fat – or the perfect combination of these ingredients; The Bliss Point.

To control the epidemic of non-communicable disease we have to control the food giants. But how? The law to ban supersize soft drinks in the States was overturned. Then followed advertising suggesting we were infringing on consumer freedom and rights by limiting consumption or telling people what they could eat. If fat and Sodium have limits why does sugar not? The consumer is blamed for their over-consumption yet they are not given the information they need or given it in unclear formats. Who knows how much sugar is in a child’s yoghurt or how much is too much?

What are your thoughts on sugar and the sugar industry?

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20 Nutritional Visionaries You NEED to know about!

Perhaps it is the geek in me, but I just can’t get enough of other Nutrition experts websites; blogs, recipes, general foodie chat. You name it, I will read it, or watch it. I’ve worked with some of the industry’s most professional and hard-working Nutritionists and health professionals and you know what? Most of them are movers and shakers, big-thinkers and innovators. They are Nutritional Therapists, Nutritionists, Dieticians and Doctors or Chiropractors with Nutritional training or simply highly knowledgeable individuals. Their skills are diverse: women’s health, cooking, supplements, research, weight loss, networking, presenting and lecturing. Some of them you may have heard of….others perhaps not, but they all have similar qualities in common: success, passion and heart-felt caring and they are all on my very own New Years Honors List 😉

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Emma’s Munchy Muesli

There’s nothing quite like a refreshing bowl of muesli in the morning. I love to make my own; partly because I like to choose my own healthy ingredients, partly to stave off the boredom of yet another huge box of samey samey muesli!

Here is one of my favourite recipes but you can use any type of nut, seed and dried or fresh fruit. Along with home made yoghurt; you can’t beat those lively little enzymes in the home made yoghurt 🙂

Emma’s Munchy Muesli 

Serves 18


Oats xEmma's Munchy Muesli 500 g

Pumpkin seeds x 30 g

Flaxseeds x 30 g

Sunflower seeds x 30g

Dried apricots chopped x 60g

Per serving:

Natural yoghurt x 50g

Crushed walnuts x 30g

Banana x 1

Blueberries x 50g

Raspberries x 10

  • Add the oats, seeds and apricots to a large bowl or serving container and mix together
  • Store this mix for use on a daily basis – 35g per serving (3 tablepoons)
  • Add yoghurt, walnuts, banana and berries fresh to serve. Mix the yoghurt into the muesli
  • You can add the walnuts if the mix will be used within one week but nuts can turn rancid if not stored in an air tight container so please be careful if storing for weeks

Nutritional information per serve:

Protein: 8 gm

Carbs: 57 gm

Sugar: 23 gm

Fat: 8 gm

Cals: 343

From my personal Nutrition notes:

Oats are a medicinal food; full of fibre and beta glucans to support a healthy digestive function. Seeds and walnuts provide omega oils for the brain, skin and hair, while banana and apricots are full of potassium and other minerals. Berries are full of immune enhancing antioxidants.

Download or Print: Emma’s Munchy Muesli

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REVIEW: Optibac probiotics

“For a flat stomach!”…….Intriguing huh? Is it possible to take a supplement that will give you a flat stomach? If your non-flat stomach is due to bloating, it certainly is.

I’ve known Jalal from Wren Laboratories for around 6 years now. He runs the family company who make OptiBac products. They are seriously passionate about probiotics and gut health. It’s all they do and they are a reputable ‘go to’ resource for me. I was proud to be asked to give my opinion on their bloating product.

What is it?
A packet containing 7 sachets, one for each day of the week. It’s a one week course or perhaps a little longer dependent on the severity of your symptoms. They’ve now (as of Nov 2013) added larger pack sizes which is fantastic and should last a month or longer.

How much is it?
£8.69 per 7 sachets or £21.99 per 80 capsules

Who should take it?
If you suffer from bloating you would probably benefit from taking a probiotic. Most bloating is caused by dysbiosis, an imbalance of probiotic (good) bacteria and pathogenic (bad) bacteria. The bad outweighs the good or the good outweighs the bad. We are aiming for the latter. If the pathogenic outweighs the probiotic we tend to suffer from bloating, a build up of gas, where the organs of the digestive system stretch. This can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.

What are probiotics?
Most of us have probably heard of Acidophilus but it is only one of many probiotics. Probiotics are actual bacteria, prebiotics are foods that feed the probiotics. Fermented foods and vegetables are very good prebiotics so increasing these in our diets will be beneficial for bloating or digestive upsets.

What is the science?
Lactococcus lactis – lactis helps to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria and fungi in the small and large intestines

Lactobacillus casei – resisting stomach acids and bile casei supports the small and large intestine to grow bifidobacterium

Lactobacillus acidophilus – adheres to the gut wall, pushing out space for the pathogenic bacteria and increasing immune function. It survives stomach acid and bile.

Bifidobacterium bifidum – this is the large intestine bacteria of choice. It helps immunity by increasing antibodies and supports detoxification by pushing out pathogenic bacteria in the colon

Fructo oligo saccharides (FOS) – FOS is a prebiotic that stimulates the growth of probiotics.

Using a combination of bacteria enables the body to utilise the necessary ones and work synergistically to combat its own needs.

If you have a bloating problem I would highly recommend checking out this product. It would be useful to consult a practitioner to rule out food intolerances, gut wall damage, IBS, abnormal stool, Crohn’s Disease etc. Probiotics are very well researched though and have not been known to cause any damage or ‘overdose’. The body will simply and easily excrete unnecessary bacteria. Where there is damage caused by antibiotics and aspirin intake probiotics can be very helpful if you are trying to heal the gut wall.

I’ve found these useful for my patients who suffer from PMS related bloating, post running bloating as well as IBS related bloating.

Have you ever taken probiotics for anything? Let me know your thoughts!


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Share your questions with me!

Hi there! I would love to hear your Number 1 question about Nutrition.

Would you like to know:

  • How you can make your kitchen healthier?
  • What diet tips you can use to treat your IBS/fertility/arthritis etc?
  • Which brands of supplements are best?
  • What specific condition or illness would you like to know more about?
  • What topics you would like to see more information on

    Whatever your questions or topics please share them with me below!

    Thanks so much for your time 🙂


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    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!


    A good reason to run?

    Source: runwiki.org viaRob on Pinterest


    Clean your fridge out!

    Clean your fridge out…it makes your cucumbers all fresh and sparkly looking. Much more attractive! It also gives you a ‘fresh’ start and renewed pride in your culinary choices. You can see what you have in your fridge, throw some old jars out and fill it with fresh, healthy, tasty goodies.

    Use baking (bicarb) soda and lemon juice – the bicarb soda absorbs the bad smells, the lemon gives a fresh smell and dissolves grease and stains.

    A happy fridge makes for a happy eater!

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    Food and wine for the soul, the mind and the chat that it entices. Not so much for the slimming effects ;)