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Numerous studies last year showed that using electronic tablets before bed time was bad for your quality of sleep. Now even more research shows that even using them as a reader can impair a good night’s rest, and shows that your iPad may be making you fat.
The study, by Harvard Medical School, gave one test group an iPad to read at night; the other test group got an actual paper book. Those who had read from the iPad tool, on average, 10 minutes longer to nod off, spent less time in deep REM sleep and also produced less melatonin. They were also found to be much less alert in the morning after waking.
The results supported evidence from other recent studies that the short wavelength “blue” light emitted by these devices suppresses the production of melatonin. It also does so more than any other source of light.
Not only will this lack of sleep make you tired, but the stress experienced by the body also leads to the production of cortisol. This stress related hormone is interpreted by the body as a signal to store more fat – to ensure survival in troubles times. So reading your iPad could be making it more difficult to lose weight, and could actually be making you fat!
By Adam Atkinson
As we enter the new year here is our 2014 health and fitness review – both the good and the bad. From the uselessness of vitamin supplements to the benefits of standing up, we learned a lot in 2014.
Although generally frowned on by your GP, the fasting diet, where calories are drastically lowered for a couple of days a week, were found to have a remarkable effect on the immune system, we were told in June. In tests on both humans and mice, fasting for two days a week triggers a “regenerative switch”, making the body produce more white blood cells. These blood cells fight illnesses, so fasting could be used by the elderly or those with damaged immune systems (from chemotherapy, for example) to generate a new one. Source – The University of Southern California
Standing is a great idea if you want to have a pert bottom said a study in April by the University of Tel Aviv. When fat cells are subjected to “chronic, sustained pressure” they expand by 50%, becoming both bigger and heavier. This is what happens when we sit for prolonged periods, so try to stand and walk, even in the office, at least every 20 minutes.
Although not technically good for us, these previously “vilified” fats do not have the negative impact on health as previously thought. For nearly half a century the consensus has been that saturated fats raise the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. The NHS still advocates reducing intake to around 25g a day. But researchers at the University of Cambridge conducted a “mega-study” covering 600,000 people in 18 countries, and found that there is no “clearly supportive evidence” to support the NHS advice. The study showed that although trans fats increased a person’s likelihood of getting heart disease, saturated fats made little difference.
Many parents worry that endless hours in front of computer games is addling their childrens’ brains. But a study released by Oxford University in August showed that this worry may be misplaced. Involving 5000 children aged from 10 to 15, the research showed that those who spent up to an hour a day playing were happier, more sociable and better behaved than those who did not play computer games. Even playing for up to 3 hours a day was found to have no harmful effects (apart from the obvious effect on fitness). The study concluded that the games provided cognitive and social stimulation to a much greater extent that their TV based counterparts.
These were found to be a waste of time and money by a team at the University of Johns Hopkins in the USA. In January they declared “case closed” on a long running debate as to the effectiveness of vitamin supplements. Reviewing more than 25 studies involving 500, 000 people the University concluded that over the counter supplements had no benefits for “well nourished adults” and should not be taken for health benefits or disease prevention.
Known to be bad for us in excess for a long time, the year saw further dammning evidence for drinking. A decade-long study of 7,00 people found that boozing in middle age appeared to accelerate cognitive decline. Those that drank the equivalent of 2 ½ pints a day were found to have the verbal fluency, memory and mathematical ability of a 70 year old – when they were just 60. Moderate drinkers (1 pint a day) were unaffected.
These were given the thumbs down when research in September found that sweeteners in diet drinks can fool the metabolism, causing blood sugar levels to rise and making people overweight. There was also found to a mental factor too; those an diet drinks felt that they had more leeway in other areas of their diet and so ate more sweet treats.
Fruit juices, fizzy drinks and cordials.
The sugar in fruit juices and smoothies was labelled bad in February, when a study suggested that those who get their sugars from drinks with added sugar (as opposed to natural sources) were 1/5th more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke. British children consume 40% more added sugar that the recommended maximum, and the biggest source of thus was found to be fizzy drinks, fruit juices and cordials.
By Adam Atkinson
Shocking Christmas fact: he average UK adult puts on 5lbs over Christmas and eats 7000 calories on actual Christmas day itself. That’s nearly 6 days’ worth of energy, in one sitting. Here are Diets Don’t Work’s 6 tips on how to stay slim over Christmas
Although losing weight over the festive season might not be the most realistic of goals, how about a more achievable weight maintenance program? With just a little bit of exercise (you don’t even have to get breathless…much) and some smart food choices – both in terms of timing and content – you can have your cake and eat it.
If doing all of the above may seem like a bit of an effort; it’s so easy to just switch off a Christmas. But it will be much more of an effort to try and lose 5 lbs later on down the line. Especially in depressing January.
So take these simple steps and have a happy, but weight static Christmas!
Eating a Mediterranean diet can not only prevent heart disease and lead to a longer life, but it can keep the very essence of you – your DNA- young, says a new study from the US.
The researchers from Boston followed 5000 nurses over the course of a decade and found that the mix of fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry and good fats found in olive oils protected their DNA from the usual ageing found in those eating a more western diet. Typically this includes more red meats, saturated fats and more starchy vegetables.
The vitamin and nutrient rich meteterranean foods were found to be a protective buffer against the unravelling of our DNA. The study looked at TELOMERES, tiny structures that protect the ends of our chromosomes, which store our DNA. These “caps” prevent the loss and degradation of our DNA a during cell division. Throughout the natural ageing process our cells divide and our telomeres get shorter, with structural integrity weakening. This can actually cause the cells to die. Experts believe now that telomere length is a strong indicator of cellular ageing. Coversely, short, damaged telomeres are now being linked to a range of age-related diseases, from heart disease to cancer.
In the study, those nurses who ate a Mediterranean diet had longer and healthier telomeres. The study also showed that no single food stood out as the main producer of healthier DNA, and so emphasises the need for variety and a healthy all around diet.
The British Heart Foundaion said that the results reinforced their advice that eating a balanced and healthy diet can reduce chances of heart disease. Heart disease remains the largest age-related cause of death in the UK.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
Most of us may have tried some sort of fitness tracker in the past, with the most popular choice being Garmin. These little clever devices use GPS satellites to track where, how fast, how high and how long you have been running, swimming, cycling and even kitesurfing for. Despite being the most popular brand, there are lots of other choices; here is our fitness trackers review, and the best four.
Tom Tom multi sport cardio
The Tom Tom multi sport cardio monitors your heart rate without the need for a chest strap. Not only is this easier and less faffy but also avoids the dreaded chest strap stink. Instead it monitors heart rate by measuring blood flow through the wrist. It’s also waterproof to 50m and can provide information not just on distance run but also calories burned. £250 www.tomtom.com
Samsung gear fit
This nifty watch has a superb extra wide screen and combines fitness monitoring with smart functionality. It can connect to galaxy phone, allowing you to read emails and texts. £169; www.samsung.com
This bad boy comes in a choice of nine different colours, and is also the most sleek and unobtrusive of the trackers on the market. It uses an app, so once you have set your goals the circular pattern of lights show you how far you have come – and soon it will be over! £80; www.johnlewis.com
This slim and lightweight tracker use light reflective technology to detect your heart rate, breathing patterns and blood oxygenation levels. It then combines them into a “vita” score of your overall fitness. It just plugs into your phone, you touch the sensor with your thumb, and off you go! £74 for IOS; www.zensorium.com/tinkie
Personal trainer Wilson on The Supervet
Our personal training assistant Wilson has decided to move from modelling and PT into acting, and will be featuring on C4’s popular primetime show “The Supervet” on tomorrow’s episode (29-10-2014) at 8pm.
Having initially qualified as a personal trainer with Premier Global (dog division), and been scouted as a striker for Postlethwaite FC, Wilson’s good looks and remarkably human personality were soon noticed by local photographer Martin Price. A subsequent photo shoot saw his image picked up by a well known ice-cream brand for their advertising campaign. Along with the constant “oohs” and “ahhs” he was getting while out walking, Wilson decided recently to try acting, taking the plunge into TV.
“I love football, but I think this is a natural step. I generally use method acting, and have now perfected several looks, from happy, to sleepy to sad. My personal favourite is looking hungry, desolate and sad all at the same time. And Julie (Walters) my acting coach says I’ve got the best frown since Marlon Brando.” says Wilson.
Hullo magazine reports this week that Wilson is in talks with Grumpy cat’s agent, with a possible movie partnership on the cards. “He’s so talented, I’m sure he can do it” an insider reported.
“I keep trying to call Spielberg, but my thumbs just won’t oppose, it’s very frustrating” said the super dog.
So be sure to tune in for this weeks episode – personal trainer Wilson The Supervet star.
By Adam Atkinson
How quickly can I get fat? Those of you who have tried (and succeeded) to lose weight will know that to lose one pound of fat you need to eat 500 calories a day less that you burn. This comes to 3500 calories a week. Logic dictates therefore that if you eat 500 calories a day more than you need then you will put on 2lbs of fat a week. However, in reality it is not just a numbers game. Humans are not just machines, and the amount and speed that we store fat will vary greatly from individual to individual.
Our hormones play a great part, as does the type of food that we are overeating. If we are eating sugary foods, then these will trigger a larger insulin reaction than proteins and fats, and we will store fat more quickly. Similarly, the amount of stress we are under will also have an effect – more stress = more cortisol = more fat storage. A myriad of other factors are involved too. From what gender you are, age, genetic inheritance, metabolic rate, hydration levels, amount of water in food consumed and so on. The more fibre that is contained in the food then the less calories will be digested, passing though the digestive system.
As a rough guide you will store excess energy 12-24 hours after you have eaten. If you can manage to eat enough then you will see the weight gain and fat storage the next day, or within the next 24 hours. There is technically no limit to how much fat we can store – otherwise we would not see 30+ stone individuals. In a week, through over eating and keeping the content to mainly high GI sugary foods you can gain around 6lbs of fat a week.
Again, results will vary greatly from individual to individual. Some of the only studies done on the topic have been done for TV. “Supersize me” featured Morgan Spurlock, an American independent documentary maker. Spurlock’s film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he ate only McDonalds. Eating 5000 calories a day he put on 24.5 lbs, or 11kg in the 30 day trial.
Get fit and look amazing for as little as £28 a week with a highly qualified DDW personal trainer in Windsor, Maidenhead and Sunningdale. We know many of you are pressed for time, so from autumn 2014 we are now offering ½ hour personal training sessions from £28 a session.
Having a dedicated professional look after your health and fitness gives you the best possible chance of getting (and staying) fit and trim. Struggling to do it alone? Our ½ hour sessions pack in lots of fun targeted and effective exercise. They also include all the extras that our clients get with full length sessions: comprehensive nutritional change and eating help, an increase in exercise outside of the sessions and dedicated homework that fits around all your other commitments. Plus ongoing support to make sure you stay on it via email and text.
It’s a commitment to exercise and healthy eating; it’s simple and it really works.
Call or email us to arrange a free consultation – if not now then when?
Having won our successful summer challenge and completed 60 push ups in one minute, Roger Huntingford has just been named by Ladbrookes as the favourite for our next autumn challenge – the burpee test. How many burpees can you do in one minute? Can you stop him winning again?
There will once again be ladies and gents trophies to put in your cabinets, plus kudos and respect from your other trainees. Winners will also be featured on our website and our popular Facebook page.
What is a burpee? Only the toughest bodyweight exercise there is, according to the Royal Marines.
The burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training and as aerobic exercise. The basic movement is performed in four steps and known as a “four-count burpee”:
Good luck everyone, look out for updates and videos on our Facebook page!
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, with a Costa or starbucks opening on every street corner it would seem. People spend time and effort trying to stay in shape bbd keeping slim by watching what they eat; often though we neglect the calories hidden in liquids that we drink so often.
That cappuccino on the way to work may well be sabotaging your weight loss. Just a single drink from Starbucks could be as much as 50% of the calorie allowance for a female trying to lose weight. Recent reports from the World cancer Research Fund says “these types of drinks as an occasional treat won’t do you much harm. But if you are having them regularly then they will increase the chances of you becoming overweight, which in turn increases your risk of developing cancer as well as other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease”.
Here are some of the worst culprits from just one chain, Starbucks, and just for interest, some fast food equivalents. It can help to reduce intake (or for you to make better choices) if you make a strong mental link with an unhealthy food that correlates with the energy in your latte.
1. Venti signature hot chocolate with whipped cream and whole milk – 690 calories (Supersize bigmac and fries)
2. Venti white chocolate mocha with whipped cream and skimmed milk – 624 calories (big mac with normal fries)
3. Venti iced hazelnut mocha with whipped cream and semi skimmed milk – 599 calories (supoersixe quarter pounder with cheese and fries)
4. Grande signature hot chocolate with whole milk – 556 calories (big mac)
5. Venti peppermint mocha with whipped cream, drizzle and whole milk – 555 calories (same as a Big Mac)
6. Venti strawberries and cream frappucino with whipped cream – 459 calories (double cheeseburger and fries)
There are of course lots of options for making healthier choices, with just as much caffeine in.
This strong after-meal beverage is traditionally served as a single shot of strong black coffee with no milk. It contains around 80 to 100mg of caffeine, no protein, and around five calories.
Dietitian Catherine Collins of London’s St George’s Hospital says: ‘An espresso has no nutritional value, but for those who want to lose weight it is low in calories. The high dose of caffeine should give you a good kick to last you throughout the afternoon.’
Our health rating: 3/5
Cappuccino is an espresso topped with a generous amount of steamed milk made from full or skimmed milk. It contains about six grammes of protein from milk, a small amount of sodium and 150 calories when made with whole milk and 95 calories when made with skimmed milk.
Although a cappuccino is not best for those looking to lose weight as it is quite calorific, the large amount of milk provides a good source of protein and calcium which is important for bone health and will also help to maintain lean muscle mass.
Our health rating: 4/5
A latte is made from an espresso and much more steamed milk than a cappuccino. Each contains around ten grammes of protein from milk, five grammes of fat – the equivalent to a single butter pack – and around 225 calories when made with whole milk and 135 when made with skimmed milk. Again the protein and calcium content will help offset any sugars.
Coffee and tea
No calories, provided that you don’t have any sugar. If you must have some sweetness then feel free to cheat and have a sweetener. Plant based ones are the least unhealthy, like Stevia based sweeteners.
Our health rating – 4/5
By Adam Atkinson