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10 most-searched nutrition questions - Answered

We've taken 10 of the most-searched nutrition questions in the UK and provided a quick, easy-to-understand answer. Take a look...

  1. What should my daily calorie intake be? 

How long is a piece of string? There is not a definite, universal answer and you need to be vigilant in making sure that any meal plan you are placed on does not tell you otherwise. You need to take many things into consideration including; gender, age, weight, height, activity level (PAL) to accurately work out your required calorie intake.

There are many different formulas you could use to calculate your calorie intake. The most accurate being Mifflin St. Jeor's equation, which takes your own personal statistics and details into consideration, try it here.

If you are interested in finding more information on this subject we recommend reading "How many calories should I eat daily to lose weight?" as it's packed with tips and information.

2. Is the Paleo diet right for me?

The Paleo diet is the best known nostalgic diet around. This diet encourages you to eat like you did 10,000+ years ago, when humans/cavemen ate foods they could hunt and/or gather. Despite cavemen only living until around the age of 25, this diet is fashionably renowned for being super-healthy and squeaky clean.

There is a lot of evidence to support impressive average vitamin & mineral intake sustained from the Paleo diet and yes, it's very good but you don't need to be on the Paleo diet to fill your diet with nutrient-rich foods. A lot of Paleo-designed meals would be fantastic to support a diet for maintenance if you train at light intensity however when you really want to start pushing yourself, evidence supports higher carbohydrate meals that can be few and far between on Paleo plans.

PaleoLeap provide a fantastic database of Paleo recipes. Maybe give one a try? But if you regularly train at high intensity or for a long time we recommend checking out other types of diet.

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3. What is GI? 

GI (Glycemic Index) is a way to measure the effect of foods and ingredients on your blood sugar levels. It is measured on a scale of 1 - 100, with 1 having the smallest rise on blood sugar levels and 100 having the largest effect.

Not all high GI foods are bad and not all low GI foods are good. It can also depend on the amounts and time you consume them. For example Gatorade has a GI between 95-100 (flavour dependant) and has benefits when drank during exercise but would not be great as a pre-bed drink.

4. What is the natural healthiest sweetener?

There are so many sweeteners now available. Keeping track of which sweetener is the latest to be deemed as "evil" by the media can be very tricky and sometimes misleading. Rather than listing all possibilites and their pro's and con's we'll keep it nice and simple.

Our favourite is Stevia, this is naturally occurring, ultra-low calorie and unlike other 0 calorie sweeteners, Stevia has actually shown to have a positive effect on your digestive system. Stevia is becoming more readily available and will be easy to find on your supermarket shelves over the next few years. The price of Stevia is also likely to drop after major brands such as Coca-Cola are creating an increasing demand by including in "healthier option" products.

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5. Can reheating rice cause food poisoning?

The process of re-heating, no. Cooking your rice and leaving this to cool at room temperature for a long period of time, yes. If you're cooking rice that you plan to eat 2-3 days later, place it immediately into the fridge or freezer after cooking to reduce chances of bacteria growing on the food.

Note: Our Pots O Gold are immediately quick frozen after cooking :)

6. What are E-numbers?

"E-Number" is an umbrella term for different groups of additives that have certain functions on your food. E-numbers a mix of natural and artificial additives that effect your food in one or more of the following ways; anti-oxidants, colours, preservatives, emulsifiers, sweeteners and flavour enhancers.

Not all E-Numbers are bad for you E100 (Curcumin) is a natural yellow/orange colouring that has recently been linked to anti-inflammation and cancer fighting benefits. Other E-Numbers aren't so good, E621 Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a flavour enhancer linked to headaches, dehydration and can induce fat storage.

7. Are saturated fat bad for me? 

It seems like an age ago that people saw fat as the enemy. Over recent years a wealth of information has been provided and paired with the popularisation of foods like coconut oil and cacao butter. It's agreeable that over-consumption of saturated fats (dairy in particular) can have negative effects on maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, especially when paired with a sedentary lifestyle.

If you're keeping fairly active you shouldn't needed to worry. If you do have any concerns we recommend monitoring your food intake on an app like myfitnesspal, if you're fairly active you should be aiming around the 20g mark, daily.

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8. Is eating dessert really bad for me?

We all like a pudding here and there :) This is all about self-control and understanding what, when and how much is bad. If you're into habits of needing a pudding after each meal, something is not right. It may be that you are in a calorie deficit during the first half of your day, causing your body to work over-time all afternoon before either crashing or refuelling (with sugar).

Wanting the odd pudding from time to time or as a reward is great and can actually be used to set yourself personal targets and goals. Use a pudding as a reward for hitting a target e.g your target weight or a new PR, this can help to boost your motivation. Make it realistic though, a 1lb Cheese Burger as a reward for losing 1lb will not get you anywhere :)

9. How can I naturally whiten my teeth?

There are many naturally remedies available. We feel the best, safest and most effective is...

Add 1 tsp of baking soda to a glass with 50ml water and mix well. After brushing your teeth as usual, dip your brush in the baking soda/water mix and brush again. Keep dipping your brush back in the glass throughout. The baking soda naturally whitens teeth, helps to clean your gums and is a mild abrasive to help remove plaque.

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10 . How much fibre do I need?

Fibre is a very important part of any diet. As well as your digestive system, fibre plays an essential role in keeping your heart healthy and preventing chances of heart disease. Fibre's main function is to act as un-digestible material that works it's way through your digestive system, picking up dirt, muck or bacteria along the way. This is why most "cleanse" diets begin with high fibre foods, to help rid your body of any "nasties" that may be lurking in your intestines to begin with.

On average you need around 15g-20g fibre daily (adult) however if you are on a higher calorie diet you may need more.

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