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Health conscious parents usually fixate on the salt in crisps and other children’s treats, but what about the bread in their sandwiches? According to new research, one in four loaves sold in your supermarket and on the high street contain as much salt as one whole packet of crisps in every slice. The worst offenders are also those that you would think are the most healthy, namely “designer” brown loaves containing seeds and grains. The Cranks seeded farmhouse loaf has 2.03 grams of salt per 100g (the the equivalent of two thick slices). Vogel’s original mixed grain has 1.38g/100. By contrast Tesco Stayfresh medium white sliced bread has 0.6g of salt. However the saltiest bread was a Pain de campagne from the artisan baker Paul, with a whopping 2.83 grams of salt per 100 grams. A packet of crisps contains on average 0.5 grams.
Perceived “healthy” cereals can also contain a lot more salt (and other bad things) than you might imagine. The Consumer Association has recently released the results of a study into the salt, fat and sugar content of cereals. Researchers compared the content of 100 popular cereals with advice from the Food Standards Agency. It found 85 brands had “a lot” of sugar, 40 had “a lot” of salt and nine had “a lot” of saturated fat. Many of the worst offenders identified in the study are marketed at children. Nine of these contained at least 40% sugar and 18 contained “a lot” of salt.
The researchers said Nestle Lion Cereal contained so much sugar it was like the chocolate bar of the same name. And they found a serving of either Kellogg’s All-Bran, Quaker Oat Krunchies or Nestle Golden Grahams contained four times the amount of salt as a 25g bag of roasted peanuts. The research also found 13 brands containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil or fat in the ingredients. Foods with hydrogenated fats or oils contain trans fats which, like saturated fats, have been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels and are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The researchers also found many cereal bars contain high amounts of saturated fat and all the 11 tested provided less energy and fibre than an equivalent bowl of cereal.
Poor performers (per 100g):
Nestle Lion Cereal: 0.75g salt, 13.7g fat, 35.9g sugar
Kellogg’s Frosties Turbos: 1.5g salt, 1.5g fat, 40g sugar
Nestle Cookie Crisp: 1.5g salt, 2.9g fat, 41.3g sugar
Nestle Golden Grahams: 2.5g salt, 3g fat, 32g sugar
Kellogg’s Frosties Chocolate: 1.63g salt, 4.5g fat, 41g sugar
Kellogg’s Hunny B’s: 1.25g salt, 2.5g fat, 37g sugar
Nestle Cinnamon Grahams: 1.75g salt, 9.8g fat, 34.2g sugar
Nestle Honey Nut Cheerios 1.75g salt, 3.7g fat, 35.2g sugar
Kellogg’s Coco Pops: 1.13g salt, 2.5g fat, 39g sugar
Kellogg’s Frosties: 1.5g salt, 0.5g fat, 38g sugar
But what should you have then? Try as much as possible to stick to foods that are wholefoods (have not been tampered with) and where possible include a blend of proteins, fats and low glycaemic carbohydrates like all bran, oats, eggs, lean grilled bacon, yogurts and dairy.
If you would like a full nutritional consultation then these are included in all of our block bookings (6 or more sessions) for personal training, or we can provide nutritional counselling and help as a stand alone service. All of our personal trainers in London and Berkshire are very knowledgeable in this area and will be pleased to help make you trim and fit.
To lower your blood pressure, go out and have fun. Researchers in the U.S. have found that laughter not only lifts the mood but it also has a powerful effect on hypertension. The study, reported by Sciencedaily.com, split people into two groups. One group was shown clips from the comedy “There’s Something About Mary” while the other was shown parts of the war movie “Saving Private Ryan”. During the funny scenes (in the first film of course!) the volunteers’ blood vessels dilated and expanded, improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. “The magnitude of change we saw after the laughter was similar and consistent with the benefits that we might see with the use of statins and aerobic exercise” said Dr Miller of the Maryland School of Medicine.
If you are not generally amused however why not try a bit (and I mean a bit) of chocolate? A Cambridge University review of studies using data from 114,900 patients found that consumption of chocolate was associated with a 37% reduction of cardiovascular disease over not having chocolate. The experts did warn though that these results should be interpreted with caution, as chocolate does of course have a high sugar content, so too much will lead to weight problems, diabetes and heart disease.
Other recent studies have also shown that you don’t need to sweat it out in the gym for hours at a time; short reasonably high intensity bouts of exercise can be just as effective in making you fitter and healthier. So spend your time constructively when exercising, don’t wander aimlessly, and success will be yours. Many of our personal training clients have really busy lives, so we use short effective homework routines outside of their one-on-one sessions to keep them fit and trim.