Category Archives: health

Weight Loss and Asthma

It may not surprise you to hear that weight loss and asthma are not two conditions that you would normally utter in the same sentence, unless of course you were an overweight asthma sufferer. Then you might be tempted to consider in which way the two are intrinsically linked and how the alleviation of the former may help lessen the symptoms of the latter.

Let’s look a little closer at what I’m talking about here.

When you are overweight, one of the problems that happens to your health is it makes it harder for your heart to pump the blood around your body for a couple of main reasons. They are in the first place, the extra body mass meaning the extra blood vessels that are needed to reach all that extra “body” create more work for your heart and secondly, overweight people tend to have higher bad LDH cholesterol levels which have a tendency to clog up arteries, raising blood pressure.

What has any of that to do with asthma? Plenty.

If your heart is having to work harder, it needs more oxygen to do so. Guess where the extra oxygen must come from? Yep, those lungs and airways that are directly affected by the asthma itself. With more stress placed on the respiratory system to provide the additional oxygen needed to run an overweight body, it means more instances of asthma attacks or more severe attacks because the body is fighting for additional oxygen resources.

So it stands to reason that by removing the problem of being overweight, you will reduce the stress placed upon the respiratory system and thereby help to alleviate the symptoms of asthma and the asthma attacks. And what is needed to bring that situation about?

A good weight loss program specifically designed for asthmatics. This would typically comprise a more diet emphasized plan as although it is still important to exercise regularly, the very exercise that is needed can be a problem for asthma sufferers. However, if you can do some light exercise without suffering unduly, then its a good idea to try to do as much as possible without placing your system under too much stress.

So to the diet as the major means of getting the weight down. Any good, healthy diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetable and good wholesome foods that are naturally low in calories and saturated fats is a good thing.

Try not to totally exclude any food group from the diet excepting of course those items that can’t really be considered true nourishment such as fast food or junk foods such as burgers, fries, hot dogs, pizzas… you know the ones by now and also the sweet foods such as cakes, biscuits, candies, pastries, ice cream and all the other foods that you love to eat but that are only going to pile on the pounds.

At the end of the day, you need to aim to reduce your overall body weight while maintaining a reasonable level of fitness to improve lung function while making things easy for your heart.

More information about asthma and how weight affects the body can be found at this excellent online resource: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma/. Good luck!

Lose Weight by Watching Your Sugar Intake

On of the most common sense of all weight loss tips is that you can lose weight by doing little more than keeping a close eye on your daily sugar intake through the food that you eat. So how does that work, exactly?

Well, its a total no-brainer to know that you are what you eat and if you eat only good, wholesome, healthy foods in the right quantities to balance the amount of calories you burn in a day, you are simply not going to gain any weight at all. Period. No arguments there. But unfortunately, how many of us are that well disciplined in our eating habits?

Not many, that’s for sure and its not helped by supermarket shelves being stocked with a plethora of sugar-laden processed foods that we tend to buy and eat. So it pays to read the label on everything before we buy it. Yep, another complete no-brainer but it’s staggering when you realize just how many people don’t do that! So what’s the deal with sugar?

Ok, our body needs the stuff to function, but it only needs what it needs and any excess gets stored as fat for later use. If we don’t get to that “later use” part, the fat storage keeps happening until we gain weight. If nothing is done to change our eating habits and our exercise habits, the weight will simply continue to pile on and it won’t stop until we’re dead from an obesity related illness, heart attack or stroke.

So what can be done to prevent that happening?

Easy. The first thing to do is to know how to recognize the sugar present in the food we eat and to balance what we take in by exercising to burn it off. So what sugars are in our food?

There are two main groups of sugars in food, which are intrinsic and extrinsic sugars.

Intrinsic sugars are those found in fruit and vegetables in their natural state. This is contained in within the actual cell structure of the fruits and vegetables. We don’t need to make any cutbacks with regards to intrinsic sugars because these form a part of the essential vitamins, minerals and fibres that we need in our daily diet for good health.

Extrinsic sugars are those sugars that are not contained withing the cell structure of the foods. They fall into two main groups. The first is milk sugars, or those which occur in milk and milk/dairy products and are combined with proteins and calcium. The second is non-milk extrinsic sugars (NME) and these are the ones that are added to foods by humans to make them sweeter to the taste, as a preservative or to increase their bulk.

It is the last group, or NME’s that are the main cause for concern when it comes to weight gain. That’s because they are present in large quantities in things like fizzy soda drinks, cakes and biscuits, breakfast cereals and in some savoury foods such as ready meals, peanut butter, baked beans and crisps (potato chips). These are the things that cause weight gain and while you should always read the label, come on, you know these foods are going to make you gain weight just by looking at them, so DON’T DO IT!

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) set for sugar consumption, although there damn well should be! The advice from the Foods Standards Agency is is that consumption of NME’s (added sugars) should not exceed 10% of your daily energy intake. For a woman of average size and build, that equates to no more than 50g (1.76oz) a day.

So be wary of what you eat and do read the label, as it will go some way to helping you to put things back on the shelf if they contain too much added sugar. By the way, added sugar is not always labeled as “added sugar” just to try and confuse you. Here’s a list of alternative names for “added sugar”, so you know what to avoid:

  • Honey
  • Corn Syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Raw Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Mannitol
  • Dextrin
  • Malt
  • Sucrose
  • Molasses
  • Fructose
  • Modified Corn Starch

Yep, these are all added sugars and the quantities add up to the same thing, so a product with 10g (0.35oz) of corn syrup (or any of the above list) is the same as 10g (0.35oz) of sugar. So do your math and enjoy a treat every now and then, but just stay below the threshold and you will keep your weight in check. Stay well below that and do daily exercises and you will lose weight. Its a pretty simple equation, really!

Weight Loss Tips