Samford

Ditch the Detox

Detox is a popular buzzword in the world of health and wellness. These diets claim to clear toxins from our body, increase energy, boost immunity, improve digestion and facilitate rapid weight loss. Sounds too good to be true, right? That's because it is. 

 

Healthy adults have amazing inbuilt mechanisms to remove toxins from our bodies each day. Our liver, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, skin and immune system are constantly working to remove unwanted substances. It's fair to say detox products and regimes are largely a marketing gimmick, seeking profit for a process your body can manage solo. 

 

These diets involve fasting, elimination of entire food groups and reliance on commercially prepared detox products. Due to the restrictive nature of these diets it is difficult to meet nutritional needs when detoxing, which may compromise our immune system and digestive processes over time. There's also no scientific evidence to suggest these regimes will increase energy levels, in fact many people experience lethargy due to inadequate nutrition. Finally, we know any weight lost via these programs will return, and long term engagement in dieting behaviour is the biggest predictors of weight gain. 

 

If you're looking for a way to feel more energised and healthy, skip the detox diet; instead, honour your appetite, choose a variety of food across and within the key food groups, hydrate, cut down on alcohol, participate in activity you enjoy, make time for self-care, and rest as needed. 

 

 

MEGAN     Dietician  Megan Bray   B Exercise & Nutrition Sciences., M Diet St., APD.   Megan one of the Dietitians at the Movement Team and is passionate about challenging the way society approaches dieting. She has clinical interests in weight management, chronic disease, and eating behaviour. Megan also has experience in research and aged care.

MEGAN

 

Dietician

Megan Bray

B Exercise & Nutrition Sciences., M Diet St., APD.

Megan one of the Dietitians at the Movement Team and is passionate about challenging the way society approaches dieting. She has clinical interests in weight management, chronic disease, and eating behaviour. Megan also has experience in research and aged care.

Chewing The Fat

Nutrition science is not without controversy, and the conversation surrounding dietary fat is no different. Let's chew the fat...

 

Firstly, a brief overview. We refer to fats in three general categories; saturated fat, trans fat and unsaturated fat. Intake of saturated fat (red meat, whole milk dairy and many commercially prepared foods) has long been associated with increased risk of heart disease. Trans fats (predominately found in processed foods) are also known to elicit negative cardiovascular effects. A diet rich in unsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and salmon), however, is linked to improved blood lipid profiles and reduced cardiovascular risk. Fat is also extremely energy, or calorie, dense so it is often targeted for individuals seeking weight loss. 

Image of some healthy fats

Image of some healthy fats

In our quest for a healthier, leaner population a generalised low-fat diet gained traction over past decades. This shift away from excessive fat intake sought to reduce rates of overweight, obesity and cardiovascular disease. While the sentiment was there the general public were not equipped with suitable low fat alternatives, and because fat is a haven for flavour our diets lacked without it. This gave way to diets high in refined carbohydrates, which included the likes of white bread, pasta, processed snack foods and added sugar. 

 

As nutrition science evolved we learnt a lot more about the specific effects of dietary fat, and the health implications associated with excessive intake of refined carbohydrates. We now know refined carbohydrates generate an equal, if not greater, burden of disease when consumed in excess. We determined trans fats to be definitively unhealthy, and as a result significantly reduced these within the food supply. Saturated fats have been somewhat vindicated in recent years with evidence indicating some varieties (stearic acid and lauric acid specifically) have neutral effects on cardiovascular risk, although we still lack convincing evidence that they are helpful. Finally, we know eating unsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates improves blood lipid profile, and is a staple among some of the world's healthiest regions. 

 

The bottom line? Fats are in. Prioritise olive oils, avocado, nuts and fatty fish, but don't demonise a great piece of steak and whole milk dairy products. Remember though, fats are simply one element of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Focussing on specific nutrients is not the key to a nutritious, health-promoting diet. Emphasise a diet of wholesome foods in sensible combinations instead. When we get the foods right, the nutrients take care of themselves!

Why is Exercise Good for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

We all know that exercise is good for us, we hear it time and time again in the media, but never has it been more important than now. Especially as the rates of obesity are on the rise, and with it other associated lifestyle diseases. One lifestyle related disease, the focus of this blog, is type 2 diabetes mellitus. But what is type 2 diabetes? Why is exercise good? How much, and is there anything I need to consider?

Jackie Chan wondering confused by what to do

Jackie Chan wondering confused by what to do

Well…. I’m glad you asked!

What is Type 2 diabetes?

T2DM is a progressive disease where by the body over time develops a resistance to insulin. 

Insulin is the major cellular mechanism for transport of glucose into skeletal muscle where it is stored as glycogen, or used to produce energy. As the body becomes resistant, more insulin is produced over time to facilitate this process until eventually the cells in the pancreas, responsible for insulin production, become exhausted. Not good! What is required at this point in time is an exogenous (external) source for this process to continue.

Diagram of diabetes

Diagram of diabetes

So my pancreas is exhausted. Now what do I do?

This is where exercise can assist. Muscle contraction also draws glucose into the muscle cell without the reliance on insulin. Using separate signalling pathways, these two processes eventually both lead to the same transporter protein, which transports the glucose into the muscle cell. 

So think of it like this, the more you use your muscles, whether it be walking, riding, jumping, skipping, weights etc. the more you are pumping glucose into the muscle without working the pancreas into overtime. This assists in blood glucose/glycaemic control. A bout of exercise often has a carryover effect on blood sugars of 24hours. 

How exercise is beneficial for those with diabetes

How exercise is beneficial for those with diabetes

How much exercise should I do?

Exercise and Sports Science Australia have released the following position statement when it comes to exercise recommendations for T2DM.

“Based on the evidence, it is recommended that patients with T2DM or pre-diabetes accumulate a minimum of 210 min per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 min per week of vigorous intensity exercise with no more than two consecutive days without training. Vigorous intensity exercise is more time efficient and may also result in greater benefits in appropriate individuals with consideration of complications and contraindications. It is further recommended that two or more resistance training sessions per week (2–4 sets of 8–10 repetitions) should be included in the total 210 or 125 min of moderate or vigorous exercise, respectively. It is also recommended that, due to the high prevalence and incidence of comorbid conditions in patients with T2DM, exercise training programs should be written and delivered by individuals with appropriate qualifications and experience to recognise and accommodate comorbidities and complications.”

One of the greatest moments in life is realising that 2 weeks ago, your body couldn't do what it just did

One of the greatest moments in life is realising that 2 weeks ago, your body couldn't do what it just did

Things to consider.

When exercising with diabetes, it is important that you check your blood sugars pre and post exercise, as well as monitor signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia (a dropping of blood sugars below safe levels presenting in dizziness, confusion, slurred speech and nausea which can lead to a coma or death if unattended). A normal range is 4-8mmol. However, personally I prefer that a diabetic exercising in the movement room, has a post blood sugar reading higher than 6. This accommodates the consideration that the body is still working at a higher metabolic rate for a short time post exercise, and acts as a buffer from dangerously low levels until the body returns to its resting state.

Doctor pun about blood sugar

Doctor pun about blood sugar

Other comorbidities to which the ESSA guidelines refer are heart disease and hypertension to name a few. These also require close monitoring until a safe exercise capacity can be established without risk of causing a serious event. Complications associated with diabetes are things such as peripheral neuropathies, where an individual can experience altered sensation, more commonly in the lower limbs. This can affect balance and sensitivity. So it is important to consult your GP, as well as an exercise physiologist to establish a safe exercise program that will improve your quality of life. 

MIKE

 

Michael Pegg

Exercise Physiologist

B.ExSci&Nut, M.ClinExPhys, AEP, ESSAM

Michael is a masters qualified Exercise Physiologist with 5 years of clinical experience. During this time he has successfully applied exercise protocols to treat neurological, metabolic and cardiopulmonary disease.

Do standing desks stack up?

It is well researched and well known that prolonged sitting, as a form of inactivity, can be detrimental to both musculoskeletal and general health. Even if you go to the gym for an hour in the mornings, you can undo all of that hard work by sitting on your butt for eight hours of the working day. 

It is estimated that 60-70% of our waking hours are spent in a sedentary position. That’s a whopping three quarters! Sitting for 8 hours at work, the commute from home, screen time .. it all adds up quickly! 

Thanks to google images for this one...

Thanks to google images for this one...

So if sitting is bad… lets just stand!

One of many strategies that many workplaces have been implementing to help their employees be more active are standing desks. 

You may have heard about them, or perhaps even used them at work, but for those of us not in the know they’re just a desk that is higher than normal so you can stand rather than sit. Ideally, the height of the tabletop should be roughly at elbow level. So they constitute more of a workplace culture change rather than a technological advancement! 

Standing desks have been shown to have great outcomes for employers because they improve productivity, reduce time away from work due to illness or injury and tend to lead to happier, healthier workers. 

Surely it’s not that simple…

The implementation of standing desks in workplaces has not always been a story of happiness and productivity though! Some employers have completely turfed seated desks in favour of standing desks. So instead of eight hours of sitting and a sore neck, employees now stood for eight hours and had sore lower backs and feet instead*! It really shows that too much of anything can have a negative effect. 

The middle ground is a variable height desk, or a sit-stand desk. They allow the user to alternate between sitting and standing as they feel the need. There are various models of these desks, which begin at about $300 for a manually variable desk that sits on top of your current desk, right the way up to fully automated electronic and programmable versions for several thousands of dollars. Experts recommend doing your research before buying in to anything to make sure it suits your needs, your body frame and the work you need to do. 

Image of man working with an adjustable desk

Image of man working with an adjustable desk

Stand, Sit, Sit-Stand… whats the best for your body?!

If you are thinking about switching from a sitting desk to a standing or variable height desk, there are some things you can do to smooth the transition. If you are normally an 8 hour a day sitter… you should begin by trying to incorporate no more than two hours in a day of standing and light walking (like to the printer and back again). There might be some initial tiredness or discomfort as your body adjusts, but you should not just accept pain. If you are experiencing discomfort or prolonged fatigue don't just put up with it! Review your posture, change your timing, move more and consider having your standing position reviewed or assessed. 

Once comfortable with this, then aim for four hours in the day where you are active or standing, which should equate to roughly half your time at work. This is a gradual process. Be patient and stick to it! Remember that there are more options than just sitting or standing also… perhaps different types of chairs, kneeling, squatting, or lying are options for you and your workplace. 

Trust your body!

"Trust yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks"

"Trust yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks"

When you move your body more, it will thank you! Just by taking the scenic route to the water cooler or a stroll during lunch you’ve dropped your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Congratulations! 

Isabelle.

TMT Physiotherapist

 

The facts in this article are drawn from a consensus statement published in 2015 from experts in England and Australia. You can find it here. http://getaustraliastanding.org/pdfs/BJSM_Expert%20Statement%202015_06.pdf


For more palatable reading of those facts and more information on the topic, head to getaustraliastanding.org 

Infant Milestones: Worth stressing about?

Infant Milestones: Worth stressing about?

Especially in the first two years, parents are very often on the receiving end of the ‘how are they?’ and ‘are they doing x yet?’ double. Instead of x, insert any key milestone or achievement. Are they rolling yet? Are they sitting yet? Are they talking, crawling, eating, smiling, walking, or drawing yet?

Stand Up and Be Strong

Just go from sitting to standing and back again…sounds simple right? To get up from a seat. But for some it’s quite difficult. 

This motion is one of the crucial elements in maintaining quality of life as we get older. The less we perform this action, the more we are reliant on aids to get us out of a chair, using our arms to pull ourselves up, changing our living spaces to accommodate (often a costly process), reliant on others to perform actions we once thought of as simple tasks, or worse yet, having to leave your home all together. 

Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results

Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results

The muscles involved in a sit to stand are crucial for maintaining balance while standing and walking. This means having difficulty controlling getting up and down from the couch can be a warning sign for other, more risky difficulties. Reduced muscle mass in the lower extremities equates to less stability which means that an individual’s gait becomes wider and shorter. More simply, the way we walk is not fixed, if we have weak leg muscles, we walk more slowly and have to have our feet further apart to reduce the risk of falling over. Additionally a reduction in muscle mass in the hips and this change in body mechanics commonly contributes to overuse injuries such as hip, knee and lower back pain. 

Over and over I have seen patients drastically improve their quality of life simply by practising ‘sit to stands’ every day. By performing this simple exercise you can improve your strength, reduce the risk of injury and make some simple things easy again. This can seem daunting, especially if this has been an almost impossible feat in the past. Here are some tips to help you start your journey to a better quality of life.

Make the impossible possible

Make the impossible possible

Let’s start with getting the technique right.

Start from the seated position. If you start here you know the seat will be there when you return. Your feet should be parallel to each other (or as close to parallel as possible), the knees should always stay over your heels, chin up, chest out, shoulders back while sticking the backside out to allow the activation of the back muscles to maintain posture. You should always be pushing through the heels. Try wiggling your toes when performing. This will tell you whether you are on the balls of your feet, or on the heels.

Stand to sit avoiding plonking

Stand to sit avoiding plonking

Don’t go too hard too soon!

A phrase that I commonly use is “avoid the plonk”. It’s important to maintain muscle activation through the whole movement and not cheat by letting gravity do all the work. If you ‘plonk’ on the way down, the way back up is likely to be hard work! ‘Plonking’ while lowering down into a seat is a sign that you were not able to (or out of the habit of) controlling your own weight. This will mean that you won’t be working the muscles, which is the whole point. So pick a height that means you are able to dictate the pace of the sit to stand. It may be high at first, and the range small, but you can always progress to a lower seat as the muscles strengthen over time.

Little by little, a little becomes a lot

Little by little, a little becomes a lot

Volume without pain

The more often you are able to perform the sit to stand on a weekly basis the more improvements you will see over a shorter space of time. It’s no use doing 5 sets of 15 on one day then being incapacitated for the rest of the week. This is meant to improve your quality of life not hinder it. Start with a very easy range that produces minimal muscle soreness but is still challenging. Look to increase these repetitions over time. 

A little puppy who got too tired to tired to finish the walk

A little puppy who got too tired to tired to finish the walk

Start in front of the mirror

Perform the sit to stand in front of the mirror. What you are doing here is coupling how good technique looks with how it feels. As a result of giving yourself different forms of immediate feedback, mastery of the technique will be obtained much quicker. You won’t have to do this forever, but it is important in the beginning. 

Kitty thinks he's looking in a mirror!

Kitty thinks he's looking in a mirror!

Get coaching

It’s important to make sure you feel safe when you perform a sit to stand. If you’re unsure of your ability, see an Exercise Physiologist to establish safe ranges of motion, rep ranges and any coaching of techniques that may be required. If practicing this movement causes pain or discomfort, perhaps the first person you need to see is a Physiotherapist. Either way, and whatever your starting point, it is never too late (or too early) to get stronger.

So stand up for yourselves!

MIKE

Michael Pegg

Exercise Physiologist

B.ExSci&Nut, M.ClinExPhys, AEP, ESSAM

Michael is a masters qualified Exercise Physiologist with 5 years of clinical experience. During this time he has successfully applied exercise protocols to treat neurological, metabolic and cardiopulmonary disease.

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset

Fitness Trackers - Do they make us more healthy?

Fitness Trackers - Do they make us more healthy?

So, I took the dive and invested in a Fitness Tracker. My weapon of choice is a popular one, apparently: a FitBit Charge HR. I like it because it challenges me to compete against my past self. And so far, it’s working for me! (Also it’s great for letting my know someone is ringing me when my phone is on vibrate and hiding in the bottom of my handbag, but that’s another story.) 

Weighing In On The 'Obesity Epidemic'

If like 2/3 of the Australian population you're either overweight or obese, are you doomed to a lifetime of poor health unless you lose those extra 10, 20 or 30kg? The short answer, NO! 

BMI charts aren't always accurate

BMI charts aren't always accurate

As a society we've come to associate the increasing number on the scales with declining health and higher mortality rates. The weight of recent evidence suggests that perhaps we don't fully understand the big picture in terms of the relationship between weight and health. For example, almost all population based studies show that overweight or moderately obese persons live at least as long as people in the normal weight category! Many people then argue that if this group lives as long as their leaner counterparts surely overweight and obese people are comparatively less healthy, right? Wrong. When we take a closer look at the specific effects of fitness, physical activity, diet quality and weight cycling we see that these factors are more relevant than weight. 

Fit & fat

Fit & fat

So what does this mean in practical terms? In essence this means you can make significant health improvements WITHOUT focusing on weight. 

In terms of nutrition, it's about getting back to basics. Choose a varied diet, eat regularly and include plenty of wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat. Recognise that it's normal to enjoy cake, chocolate and wine. Eat mindfully, tap into your hunger and fullness levels, and avoid restrictive diets. These behaviour changes will allow you to settle at your most comfortable healthy weight. For some people, this will translate to weight loss, for others it may mean a change in body composition without weight changes, and for many it will require acceptance that your healthiest most comfortable weight will not be the 'goal weight' you had in mind (and that's perfectly okay). 

Health at every size

Health at every size

While some of these concepts may sound simple, they are certainly not easy to fully embrace. I can only recommend that you seek help from your personal support team (health professionals, family and friends included), make gradual changes, and be kind to yourself. We are given only one body, so it seems absolutely absurd that many people spend the better part of their lives dissatisfied with their unique shape and size. Let go of the idea that weight loss equals health, and remember that your best weight is the one at which you are living the healthiest life you actually enjoy. 

You can find some great information here from Linda Bacon- one of the pioneer's of the "health at every size" movement.

Megan on a hike in New Zealand

Megan on a hike in New Zealand

Megan one of the Dietitians at the Movement Team and is passionate about challenging the way society approaches dieting. She has clinical interests in weight management, chronic disease, and eating behaviour. Megan also has experience in research and aged care.

You've decided to exercise more, now what?

You've decided to exercise more, now what?

We are bombarded with so much information on what is the best form of exercise, how often to do it, when to do it, why to do it aaaaand the list goes on….. and on. It can be pretty confusing at the best of times, but especially so if regular exercise is not your forte. So lets simplify things a little.