January 22, 2014

Tips For Healthy Eating | Rachel Hobbs

January 22, 2014
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Tips for Healthy eating

For most of us the past couple or months may have been slightly indulgent, a cheeky chocolate here, an extra glass of wine there; and that is completely “normal”. Normal eating is over indulging at times and Christmas is certainly a common one! As enjoyable as it is, it often leaves us feel fatigued, bloated and not very happy with how our bodies look, but throwing ourselves into a heavily restricted dieting regime is likely to lead to failure. Therefore the most sensible thing we could do is focus on eating nutritious foods that will make us feel good, look good and most importantly improve our long term health.

Throughout January I have requested most of my clients to eat what they like … following one basic rule. Focus on eating natural foods, avoid processed foods. Initially, most clients seemed happy with that as they do not eat “processed foods” such as ready meals or pizzas, however many of us are unaware of what a processed food actually is.

To put it simply, a processed food is “a food that has been altered from its natural state.”

There negative health implications of processed foods are normally the result of two things;

1)    Nutrients are removed

2)    Artificial “things” are added


Removal of nutrients:

Some vitamins are more stable than other vitamins. The ones most likely to be altered or removed during processing are water soluble vitamins folate, thiamin and vitamin C. This can result in deficiencies which can lead to tiredness and a weakened immune system.


Addition or artificial colours/preservatives/pesticides:

Unnatural substances are added to foods to increase their palatability, appearance or shelf life, however they can also compromise our body’s structure and function.

Some colourings have been found to promote hyersenitivity reactions in us as well as being linked to ADHD, asthma and inflammation. We should be aware of products claiming to have “natural” colours as despite the name “natural” these colours only require the original ingredient to be sourced from nature. It does not mean that there has been no processing involved.

One of the most common ingredients added in processing is salt. Naturally occurring salt contains essential minerals, however processed salt is much cheaper and therefore more commonly used. This processed salt does not contain the minerals and a lack of mineral nutrients create an appetite drive and increase food intake.  Salt has also been linked to an increased heart disease risk due to elevating blood pressure, this is a very public risk that we are all aware of, and this means manufacturing companies are reducing salt, however due to it decreasing flavour, other additives are being used.


Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is one additive added in place of salt. MSG not only enhances the flavour of foods but also interferes with appetite mechanisms in our body, making us crave more of the food. This leads to increased weight gain and may not even be listed on the label.


Processed or refined sugars have been used in food products for years and are commonly high in “low fat” products to add flavour. , if we eat too much sugar we put ourselves at risk of restricting fat loss as well as diabetes and heart disease. The food industry use terms to prevent us thinking sugar has been added, these include, glucose syrup, fructose corn starch, agave nectar, maltodextrin, sorbitol.


These non-calorie sweeteners have become increasingly popular in recent years. There are many different types which affect our bodies in different ways. Aspartame, is now the most discussed and has been found to interfere with our appetite pathways and potentially lead to weight gain.


The primary foods to avoid are:

Ready mealsWhite flour (and products)
Frozen foods e.g. fish fingersWhite sugar
CrispsFactory farmed meat
Chocolate barsSoybean oil
Fizzy drinksSauces
Flavoured yogurtsTakeaways
Breakfast cerealPre-cooked meat
MargarineSalad dressing
Breakfast barsBiscuits

There are a few exceptions to the rule of avoiding processed foods, a few may be beneficial to include in the diet;

  1. Diary milk – processing is used to kill harmful bacteria and keep fats for separating
  2. Frozen vegetables – processing is used to prolong shelf life whilst ensuring vitamins are kept in
  3. Fortified orange juice – processing is used to add calcium, a common deficiency in the Western world
  4. Tinned salmon/sardines – processing is used to can and prolong shelf life

The main principle is to choose foods which have either grown on a tree, underground or on a bush and have once swum, walked of flew! This way it is highly likely we can eat more better quality food whilst optimising our body composition.


These have similar “energy values” which meet government recommendations…but one is heavily processed and the other is based on natural foods…what would you choose?

A) This… a processed high trans fat, high carbohydrate, high salt takeaway pizza



B) All of these…whole foods, high in essential fatty acids and protein and containing slow release carbohydrates



Love this article?

Then why not drop Rachel an email or give her a shout out on twitter – you will find her contact details below!

Rachel Hobbs

Written by Rachel Hobbs R.D.



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  • Rian

    Very good article.

    • http://www.physiqueboss.com Physique Boss

      Thank you very much Rian – please let us know what content you would like to see from us moving forward!