In this, the last of my columns, I thought it would be opportune to leave you with a few simple pointers that I hope will help you get the best from nutrition.
1. Don’t diet — tempting as it may be, any diet that means a sharp drop in your calorie intake will, of course, result in weight loss. But, and this is the crux, how you eat after the diet is key. When losing weight, eat mindfully afterwards as the metabolism makes it more difficult to lose weight next time. Instead of dieting, learn how to eat so that you nourish yourself without getting into weight problems down the line.
2. Mind who you see – there are any number of alternative therapists out there who will happily “diagnose” you of deficiencies, allergies and the like. They may be very well meaning but if they use a machine to test “cell resistance” (often developed, they say, for Nasa), claim they “can just tell” what’s wrong or use any spurious tests, then tread carefully.
3. Combine the food groups — eat little and often always eating a little protein with complex carbohydrates. If you are unsure about food groups then search out lists online or in a good nutrition book. This way of eating promotes energy and reduces appetite (and cravings) as well as easy weight management.
4. Watch the sugar — in my opinion, sugars are more detrimental to health than fats, especially as sugar in its many forms is lurking in so many foods. Avoid sugar where possible and remember that organic, brown, cane, honey and even fruit sugar should be limited too.
5. Drink wisely — we may not be known for alcohol intake but it’s all too easy to have a couple of glasses here and there. Nothing wrong with that per se, but mixers can be a significant source of sugar while alcohol can increase the risk of major disease.
6. Fizzy drinks — even diet, organic or fair-trade drinks make use of chemicals to add the pleasurable fizz. There is a danger that this can reduce potassium levels in the body which in turn carries a risk of low blood pressure, weak muscles and digestive problems.
Please stay in touch, or better still come and see me at the LJCC on June 23 where I will be talking about all things nutrition.
Ian Marber is one of the UK’s most highly regarded nutrition experts and the author of 11 books.www.ianmarber.com or follow him on Twitter@IanMarber