Category: Weight Loss

SUGAR REPLACEMENTS

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

HONEY

True wholesome honey releases sugar in the blood more slowly. It may also contain small amounts of vitamins, minerals and propolis.

MOLASSES

Molasses provide a good substitute for sugar, which can be used, for example, for baking cookies. It is a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and iron, calcium and potassium.

MAPLE SYRUP

It is less sweet, but richer in minerals than sugar. When buying a product, make sure that it contains only maple syrup (often there are substitutes: water, sugar and flavors).

FRUIT AND FRUIT CONCENTRATES

These products, whose basic ingredient is pineapples, pears, peaches, grapes or other fruits, contain a certain amount of primary nutrients. These are great additions to cakes and pastries as well as breakfast cereals. You can buy them in health food stores or do it yourself, mixing fresh fruit with fruit juice.

DATES AND OTHER DRIED FRUITS

They can be added to cakes, pastries and other products as natural “sweeteners”.

FRESH FRUIT

Fruits are an ideal way to sweeten breakfast cereals and natural yogurt.

 

SWEET SYRUP

Malt syrup made from barley or rice, contains a certain amount of nutrients found in the cereals from which it was produced, such as vitamins K, B, A and C and calcium. You can buy it in health food stores.

LICORICE ROOT

It gives a pleasant, sweet taste to herbal teas.

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

„LIGHT” PRODUCTS

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

The food industry offers a lot of products for people who care about their figure. Low-fat or low-sugar versions of many products fill supermarket shelves. However, the value of such food as helpful in slimming is debatable and some products have a worse nutritional value than their “fattening” counterparts.

NON-FAT PRODUCTS

Store shelves are filled with products recommended as low-fat, „light” or cholesterol-free. Are they healthier than their full-fat versions? The percentage of calories from fat is more important than the percentage of fat in a given product. To calculate this, we must multiply the total number of grams of fat in the product by 9, divide the result by the total number of calories and multiply by 100. We can then conclude that many foods presented as low fat are in fact very fatty products. For example, in cream cheese containing 30% fat, 86% of calories are from fat. The low-fat cheese has 15% fat, which is half of what the full-fat version is. However, when we do the calculations, we discover that the percentage of calories from fat is 73, so it is not a particularly low fat product.

Many items such as ice cream, biscuits and reduced-fat yogurt have increased sugar added to improve taste or consistency. For health and weight reduction, a better solution is to reduce the consumption of fatty foods and their substitutes and replace them with more fruits and vegetables.

WHAT IS IN THE MIDDLE?

„Light” food producers, on the one hand, eliminating sugars and fats, have to replace them with other ingredients to keep the product in its original shape. Sugars are often replaced (often in very large quantities) with synthetic sweeteners that are less caloric than traditional sugar, but their can have unpredictable effects on the body, including the increase of the level of insulin in the blood. In the case of fats, the proportion of these substances, which is not always sufficient, is reduced at the production stage. Then, starch and thickening substances are used as replacements, e.g. modified starch, locust bean gum, inulin, pectin, xanthan gum. To obtain a taste that is comparable to the traditional product, manufacturers often use substances imitating or even enhancing the taste. That is, additional portions of synthetic chemistry.

MORE THAN 0%?

Therefore, all products under the “0%” banner do not contain empty space instead of fats or sugars, but only “clever” chemicals that keep our product unchanged. Following the persuasions of producers, consumers reach for “0% sugar” snacks in the hope that eating a few pieces will not affect their waist circumference. This cannot be more far removed from the truth. Eating the “0%” product means that the body sends a faster signal that it needs more calories, so instead of 1 bar, in the short time we will eat 3 and the total caloric balance will be comparable to eating some popular bar or sometimes even higher.

DIETARY BEVERAGES

In addition to artificial sweeteners, another component that is potentially harmful to health is caffeine, found in many dietetic beverages. It causes an immediate impression of energy flow, crispness and well-being. However, it is an addictive substance and many of us need caffeine as an impulse that will help us survive the hardships of the day. Regular drinking of caffeinated beverages leads to feelings of tiredness, headaches, depressed mood, insomnia, irritability and anxiety. There are serious concerns about the potential for the influence of caffeine on the development of prostate, pancreatic and bladder cancer.

Although dietary foods and drinks are recommended for those who want to lose weight, their alleged advantages are more often advertising than reliable information. Manufacturers of many of these articles claim that they help in weight loss and when used as part of a low-calorie diet. It is true that every product, regardless of how many calories or unhealthy ingredients it contains, can help you lose weight only when used with a low-calorie diet. In fact, it is not the product, but the reduction of calories that leads to weight loss. What’s more, a good amount of such slimming product contains almost as many calories as its regular counterpart. The solution to reducing the caloric content of a meal is to use a smaller amount of such a product for its preparation. 

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Cooking Without Fat

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

WAYS OF NO-FAT COOKING

Dietary modification that is beneficial for health consists mainly in reducing the amount of fat. In addition to choosing low-fat products, we are able to reduce the consumption of fat used in cooking. This article shows how to prepare meals with reduced fat.

  • Steam cooking is fast, fat-free and minimizes nutrient losses. It is the most convenient method of preparing fish and vegetable dishes.
  • Slow cooking is another convenient way to prepare a meal, but it causes greater loss of nutrients.
  • Short boiling in boiling water is an indirect method between slow cooking and steaming. It is often used to prepare fish dishes. The fish or other product is put in a container with water, covered and boiled. This method requires the addition of a small amount of fat and saves most of the nutrients.
  • Frying or roasting without fat can be used to prepare meat and poultry dishes. Do not add oil or other fat during this process. The meat should be placed on a metal “basket” so that the fat drips from it.
  • Grilling is a low-fat method, suitable for making fillets of meat, poultry, fish and some vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers. Avoid grilling over an open fire, because there is a connection between this way of baking meat and the risk of developing some cancers.

AVOID SHALLOW OR DEEP FRYING

Each type of frying causes an increase in the amount of fat in the product, so frying should be avoided. Not only does the fat cover its surface, it penetrates deeper. What’s more, heating oil to high temperatures can change its properties, causing the formation of harmful ingredients. Stir frying requires a small amount of fat, so it is healthier.

USING NON-STICK DISHES

When you have to fry something, use a pan or saucepan with a bottom to which the food does not stick. Thanks to this, you will reduce the amount of added fat. Remove the fried product from the pan when it’s ready.

REMOVING SKIN FROM POULTRY

Remove skin from poultry before cooking. Also remove as much as possible of the visible fat before cooking dishes such as roast or goulash, so that the least amount of fat is found on the plate. After cooking, cool the food and remove the coagulated fat from its surface, and then re-heat it and serve it on the table.

USE LOW FAT MILK PRODUCTS

Full-fat milk can be easily replaced with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Cream can be mixed with natural yogurt or replace it completely with low-fat yogurt. You can also use lean cheese instead of full fat in various dishes. Even if you need to use some fat, such as butter, its amount can be reduced by 1/3 without harming the taste of the dish.

ADDING FAT TO MEALS WHEN THEY ARE READY

For vegetables and salads, it is best to add the fat raw, i.e. make the sauce with a tablespoon of a good vegetable oil or olive oil at the end.

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Psychological aspects of obesity

Article by  Karolina Jakiel

Obesity is defined as a state of pathological increase in the amount of fat in the body, which is also an integral component of the body. It is the fastest-spreading disease of the 21st century. It is a global problem. Both the causes and the effects of obesity have a diverse character. Obesity, in addition to physiological complications, can also lead to problems with the social and psychological basis of the individual. Scientific research shows that obese people have a negative self-image, reduced self-esteem, lower self-efficacy, difficulties with changing situation, and often suffer from mood disorders resulting in depression.

Psychological effects of obesity

Excessive body weight can lead to numerous psychological problems as follows:

Depression and mood disorders

Scientific research proves a close relationship between obesity and the symptoms of depression and between obesity and an episode of depression in an interview. Among women with obesity, higher BMI was associated with a higher incidence of depression and suicidal thoughts.

There are also cases in which depression is the cause of obesity. The reason for this may be taking antidepressants or eating too much food as a way to deal with a depressed mood. These people often reach for high-energy products such as sweets and fatty foods. Sweets cause the secretion of serotonin called the happiness hormone, however, this condition doesn’t last too long. It is followed by remors, a reduced mood, and a sense of inefficacy. Ingestion of excessive high-calorie products causes an increase in body weight, its increase causes a worse mood, the patient tries to cope with this state again by overeating, which leads to a vicious cycle.

Decreased sense of self-efficacy

Self-efficacy refers to the individual’s beliefs about one’s ability to mobilize energy and cognitive resources to meet the demands of the environment. Our own efficacy influences the making of right decisions as well as formulating and achieving goals. People with low self-efficacy are afraid to undertake new tasks and challenges. They are dominated by feelings of powerlessness and lack of influence on a given situation. The state of reduced self-efficacy impedes the process of introducing nutritional changes and adhering to the undertaken task.

Feeling negative emotions

Unsuccessful attempts to reduce excessive body weight can cause a growing sense of guilt, resentment, a sense of injustice, and a sense of shame caused by your own appearance. A negative perception of your own appearance also contributes to a lower self-esteem. In some cases, low self-esteem is additionally strengthened by negative reactions from others, lack of support and incorrect stereotypes about obese people.

A negative image of your own body

Pressure from culture and society regarding an ideal figure in obese people may cause dissatisfaction with their appearance. In addition, negative opinions of other people and comparisons with others will have a negative impact on the perception of yourself.

Obsessive thinking about food and calories

Obese people who are on restrictive diet are obsessively paying attention to food and calories. For people with obesity focusing on food is better than focusing on body weight. Trying to stop thoughts of eating paradoxically causes more frequent thinking about eating and the desire to reach for food.

Eating disorders co-occurring with obesity

Obesity is also accompanied by eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, nightly disorder, sleep-related eating disorder, bulimia nervosa and numerous addictions, including addiction to food.

Effects of diets

In many cases, the decision to change eating habits and the slimming process is an additional source of tension. People who are on restrictive diets often experience depression, anxiety, irritation, irritability, as well as frequent and exaggerated thinking about food. However, these conditions only apply to some people on low-calorie diets. In other people, weight reduction can significantly reduce the sense of anxiety and improve their mental functioning.

Karolina Jakiel – master of dietetics specialist in psychodietetics.
She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Rzeszow in Poland, completed post-graduate studies in psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS University) in Katowice in Poland.
During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others: diagnostics in the office of a dietician, insulin resistance, psychodietetics, sports dietetics, oncological dietetics, and diet for the elderly.
During her studies she took an active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszow.
She is interested in healthy eating and shares her ideas through her profile in social media.

Yoga for Diabetes

Article by Ray Cacciattolo

Diabetes can affect people at any age, leading to many complications like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations. With the rising number of persons in Malta being diagnosed with diabetes, it is no wonder that the need for treating the disease is on the increase.

One way to keep diabetes under control is through yoga practice. Turning to yoga is an effort to keep this condition under control and improve overall quality of life. Yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to a state of natural health and proper function.

It has been scientifically proven that yoga helps to reduce the level of sugar in the blood and improve glucose metabolism; along with lowering blood pressure and keeping weight in check. Yoga practice can reduce the severity of the symptoms and slowing the rate of progression of the disease, apart from lessening the possibility of further complications.

A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that practising yoga regularly caused short-term improvement in fasting glucose. It has been discovered that direct stimulation of the pancreas by certain yoga postures revitalised its capacity to produce insulin. Yogic exercise has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are often accompanying symptoms for diabetes.  In another study, it has been found that subjects who practiced yoga had an increase in measures of nerve conduction.

By integrating the mind with the body, yoga can relieve the daily stresses that often lie at the heart of diabetic symptoms. The stress we experience in our day to day lives can accumulate and lead to ‘emotional eating’, which in turn leads to obesity. Stress increases the secretion of glucagon (a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels) in the body. The consistent practice of yoga can help reduce stress in the mind and protect the body from its adverse effects. This, in turn, reduces the amount of glucagon and improves the action of insulin.

Yoga can directly and indirectly have a great positive effect on diabetes. It increases willpower, self-confidence, strength and discipline, which can all be of a great help with weight loss and other health issues. For those looking for how to prevent diabetes or gain relief from the disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates yoga for diabetes can offer a better way of life.


Ray Cacciattolo, founder of Functional Fitness Yoga (Malta), is a fully qualified Yoga Instructor (Yoga Alliance 2011), Pilates Instructor (National exercise & Sports Trainers Association 2007), Hatha Yoga Teacher (C.h. Dip. Yoga, Kevala Centre 2005) and Sport Yoga Instructor (National Exercise & Sports trainers Association 2004). Ray started the practice of yoga in 2001 to increase his fitness level. It immediately struck him that practice of yoga is highly beneficial on the physical, mental and emotional level. He highly considers yoga as a way of life, a means not just to get physically fit but also to obtain and maintain inner well-being, harmony and a deep sense of peace. It is his passion sharing the many benefits that yoga has to offer to every person, whatever the age, level of fitness and shape of the body. His teaching experience includes yoga with the visually impaired and blind persons and yoga in prison. He may be contacted at email address:raycacciattolo@gmail.com; contact number: 79555574; website: www.rayogamalta.com ; fb: Ra Yoga Malta

Quick tip: Strategies for Weight Loss

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By Dr. Antonella Grima

The key to losing weight is reducing the portion sizes of all meals and snacks. Another trick is to replace energy-dense, or high calorie, foods, such as biscuits, chocolates, and crisps with foods that have a lower energy density, such as fruit and vegetables. Eating plenty of fibre also helps you reach satiation before and curbs hunger for longer, helping you eat less. Excellent sources of fibre include fruit such as kiwi, vegetables like legumes, nuts and wholegrain products. Cutting back on creams, oils and dressing reduces the amount of calories you consume. Keep in mind that one tablespoon of oil or mayonnaise contains around 100 Calories! Soft drinks, fruit juices and alcohol are full of extra calories. Limit their consumption or stick to low calorie alternatives where available. Of course, no weight loss regime is complete without involvement in some degree of physical activity. This may also involve simple strategies, such as taking the stairs, using public transport, or parking your car farther away.

Staying Healthy While Eating Out

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By Dr. Antonella Grima

Article as appeared on eve.com.mt on 19th September 2014

Enjoying a meal away from home can be a healthy experience if one avoids a few culinary pitfalls and selects items off the menu wisely.

Beware of Portion Distortion

One of the major reasons why eating out often leaves a mark on our waistline is the generous portions we are presented with. Plates used in restaurants are often larger than the ones we use at home and the amount of food placed on them may even be double that found in a home-cooked meal. If available, opt for a starter or smaller portion and do not feel obliged to wipe the plate clean. You can put aside part of your dish and plan to eat only that. Other strategies to deal with large portions include sharing your meal with a friend or asking for a doggie bag.

Limit the Courses

Whenever possible, choose one main meal and avoid nibbles, starters, bread and dips before your meal, as these are often calorie-dense and contribute significantly to the total amount of calories consumed.

Choose the Cooking Method

Steer clear of fried or breaded food and opt for steamed, boiled or baked options. Reduce the fat content when eating meat products by choosing leaner cuts, such as fillet, sirloin, or breast when choosing poultry, and avoiding meats that still have the skin on. Leaner types of meat include fish, poultry and rabbit, while products containing higher amounts of saturated fats, and hence calories, are red meat and full-fat dairy products. Offal, eggs and shellfish, on the other hand are high in cholesterol.

Opt for Whole Grain

If whole grain options are available, choose them. Fibre is not only beneficial to your digestive and circulatory systems, it also helps you feel full earlier and curbs your appetite longer than refined grain options. Whole grains may be in the form of bread, wraps, pasta or rice, among others.

Ditch the Hidden Calories

Sauces, dressings, creams and oils are laden with calories and can easily add on 500 or more calories to your meal. Keep in mind that one tablespoon of oil or mayonnaise contains around 100 calories. Stay away from food containing cream and opt for vegetable-based sauces. When ordering a salad as part of your meal, ask for the dressing or oil to be left out from the preparation and to be brought to you in a separate container. That way you can add a small amount to your meal.

Go for Veggies

When vegetables are on the menu, do not shy away from them. Vegetables may be included as salads, soups, vegetable-based sauces for pasta dishes or vegetarian pizza toppings. Vegetables are lower in calories than meat or grains and help you feel fuller for longer. Pulses and beans are an excellent protein source and a low calorie, high fibre substitute for meat.

Drinks are Important Too

It is useless to watch what you eat when you are guzzling down litres of sugary drinks, alcohol or fruit juices. Try and stick to water and remember that, while a glass of red wine is good for you, alcohol consumption should be limited as it is packed with extra calories.

The Dessert Dilemma

After your meal, the lure of dessert is easy to succumb to. Ask yourself if you are really still hungry and consider postponing that sweet something to later on during the day as a snack. If skipping dessert is not an option, go for healthier choices, such as fruit, smaller bite-sized portions or sharing dessert with someone else.

Arrive Early and Enjoy!

Do not postpone eating to when you are starving. When we are hungry, we tend to gravitate towards sugary, calorie-packed foods and consume more nibbles than we would normally do. Arrive at the restaurant or pick up your food 30 minutes before your regular meal time so as to avoid irrational food decisions. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy your food, your company and your surroundings. Eat slowly and savour each and every morsel. This will help you reach satiation earlier and render your dining experience a memorable and healthy one.

Categories: Weight Loss

Snacking It Right

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By Dr. Antonella Grima

Article as appeared on eve.com.mt on 19th January 2015

I often encounter people who are ever so diligent when having their main meals and who unfortunately commit a number of snacking blunders, thus consuming the wrong types of food and exceeding their daily caloric needs through snacking.

The result is inevitable – weight gain. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will help you snack wisely.

The Do’s:

Keep healthy snacks handy when you are out. This will keep you from purchasing calorie-dense alternatives, such as fast food takeaways, chocolate bars or sweets. Low calorie alternatives that can be easily carried around in your bag include fruit, a low fat yoghurt, a small packet of wholegrain crackers or a handful of nuts in a small container.

Find time to snack and try to have two or three snacks during the day, between your main meals. This will help you keep your glucose and insulin levels stable and avoid craving and overeating at meal times.

Drink plenty of water. Thirst may be misinterpreted as hunger by our bodies. Keeping yourself well-hydrated helps you curb your appetite and keep your food consumption within healthy limits.

And the Don’ts:

Avoid snacking when you are distracted in front of the TV or computer or when you are busy doing something. Mindless eating, which happens when we are concentrating on something else, makes us over eat and to go for the wrong food choices.

When you snack, do not graze. Choose one food item and stick to it. Eating one food item after another and in large quantities, may result in the consumption of a considerable amount of calories over a short period of time. This often happens when we have not eaten for some time and if we are starving or craving food.

Do not fall into the trap of snacking on protein shakes, protein or cereal bars. These might contain a high concentration of sugars and are seldom filling, making you want to eat more, afterwards.

In conclusion, snacks should provide an opportunity for increasing the consumption of healthy nutrients, such as vitamins and fibre, through wholesome and healthy options, while also keeping hunger under control until mealtimes. When chosen wisely, a snack can provide us with a refreshing and energy-boosting break to our daily routines.

The Festive Season: Indulge Responsibly

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By Dr. Antonella Grima

Article as appeared on Ilsien in-Nisa Magazine, December 2014 issue

The time to be merry is once again here and, as we all know, too much merriment often leaves its signs on our waistline. Public Health doctor and Nutritionist Dr. Antonella Grima gives us a few tips on how to enjoy the festive season without facing the consequences, or rather piling the pounds.

Contain yourself: It is ok to taste foods that would be on the forbidden list at other times of the year, but the trick is just that – tasting. Enjoy bite sized portions of the yummy stuff and savour every morsel, rather than piling your plate high with food, thus saving yourselves plenty of calories.

Compensate: When you know that you will be eating more than you ought to, stay light during the rest of the day. Eat low calorie alternatives, such as vegetable soups or salads and snack on low calorie options, such as a skimmed yoghurt or a fruit. Drink plenty of water to help your digestion and give your system a good flush.

Skim on the hidden calories: Stay away from cream-based sauces, mayonnaise, oils and butter. These all have a high caloric content and make a big contribution to the amount of calories you consume while celebrating.

Drinks count too: Watch the booze and try to stick to one drink a day if you are a woman, and two if you are a man. This will not only help prevent any alcohol-related damage, but also keep you in trim shape since alcohol is packed with calories. Needless to say, when going for non-alcoholic beverages, water is always the best option. Sweetened drinks and fruit juices all contribute towards the number of calories you consume.

Get moving: A brisk walk or jog in the cold air restarts your digestive system after last night’s banquet, while helping you burn away some of the culinary sins you may have committed. Do not fall into the trap of overeating with the promise of exercising it off however since, as the saying goes, a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips.

Categories: Weight Loss

Enjoying the Summer Grill… The Guilt-Free Way

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By Dr. Antonella Grima

Summer is round the corner and the smell of those fabulous summer barbecues is already in the air. Follow these practical tips to join in the summer fun in a healthy and low-calorie way.

Choose your cuts. When it comes to meat, fish or white meat such as chicken breast are the healthier options as they are lower in saturated fats and hence lower in calories. If you must have red meat, go for leaner cuts, such as fillet, as this is mainly muscle and contains less fat than other cuts.

Eyes on the marinade and sauces. These can drastically increase the calorie content of your meal. Steer clear of oils, mayonnaise and ready made sauces or gravies and instead opt for wine, herbs and lemon to marinade your meat, and vegetable-based sauces, such as hummus or bigilla.

Stick to one main plate. Nibbling on snacks and starters, such as nuts, crisps, cheese, ham and sausages before your meal may add on hundreds of extra calories to your barbecued meal. Try and have one main plate and skip nibbles and starters if you can.

Do not shy away from vegetables. Barbecued vegetables, such as aubergines, peppers or corn on the cob taste divine and usually contain less calories than their animal-derived barbecue counterparts. You may also wish to prepare a cold and crispy vegetable salad to serve as a side dish.

Eyes on that glass. The wine or beer somehow goes down easier while savouring a good grill. One drink for the ladies and two for the gents per day are more than enough. Alcohol is a source of extra calories and causes harm to your liver if consumed in excess. While on the topic of drinks, water or diet soft drinks are low-calorie alternatives to juices and sugary drinks.

When it comes to the dessert dilemma, it is always better to skip or choose a healthier option such as fruit, or opt for a small portion if you really must taste the ice cream or gateau.

Go slow on the charring! Barbecuing releases unhealthy free radicals and oxidizes the food. While a few barbecues here and there will cause minimal harm, one should refrain from having a barbecue on more than one or two days a week and try not to char food beyond the cooking point, while making sure it is well-cooked, of course. Counteract the effect of oxidation by consuming plenty of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C or E or Beta carotene during the day. Excellent sources are colourful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Supplements are not necessary.

And finally, enjoy the company, the food and the exquisite Mediterranean climate we have been blessed with!

Article as appeared on 23rd May 2015 on eve.com.mt

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