Eat What’s Right for Your Body Type

Although there are government guidelines regarding the recommended quantity of macronutrients that we all should be eating, there are actually three different macronutrient recommendations one could choose to follow, depending on how your body burns.

If your body tends to store fat easily, you will need to eat a different amount of carbs, protein and fat to someone else who burns their food slowly and rarely stores fat.

During the process when food is broken down, oxidation occurs, converting carbs into glucose. This is released in the blood, stimulating the pancreas to release the hormone insulin to mop up the glucose(sugar) from the blood. This sugar is not being utilised by the body for energy and it needs to be stored in the cells as fat.

Depending on our body types, we oxidise foods in different ways. This can explain why certain diets work on celebs or our friends but not on us.

To eat correctly for your body type, it is important to understand which type you are. This can help you consume the optimum nutrients to achieve maximum results.

Fast oxidisers store fat easily. This is because the nutrients in their food are broken down very so rapidly that the carb content is broken down to glucose and released into the blood almost at once. This sudden increase in blood sugar quickly causes vast amounts of insulin to be released to mop up the extra glucose, which the body then stores as fat in the cells.

The more carb content in a fast oxidiser’s food, the more energy will be available to the body right away, and so more fat is stored.

The hormone insulin works quickly to remove the glucose from the blood, causing a dramatic rise and inevitable fall in blood sugar levels that result from fast oxidation. This is called a sugar crash. For a fast oxidiser, foods with high carb ratios will therefore cause fatigue, carb cravings and fat storage.

Fast oxidisers would benefit from consuming meals with more proteins and fats in order to slow down their rate of oxidation and insulin release, and to better promote stable blood sugar and sustained energy levels.

On the other end of the scale, slow oxidisers burn through the nutrients in their food slowly and do not release the glucose from carbohydrates into the blood quickly enough, which means that they do not get converted into glucose, and energy production and availability are delayed. They will be less likely to store fat.

The presence of protein and fat in the meal will slow down the rate of oxidisation even further, so a slow oxidiser should eat a higher ratio of carbs in order to gain an increase in energy as storing fat is far less of an issue.

As you have probably guessed, balanced oxidisers fall right in between the two. Ideally meals should contain equal quantities of protein, fat, and carbs in order to obtain the maximum amount of nutrients and energy from the foods.

The three main body types are shown below with the ideal macronutrient percentage of your total daily food intake, and per meal.

1. Fast oxidisers: 20%carbs, 50% protein, 30%fat.
2. Slow oxidizers: 60%carbs, 25%protein, and 15%fat.
3. Balanced oxidizers: 40%carbs, 30%protein, and 30%fat

Insulin Spikes

The hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas in order to reduce sugar levels in the blood. An insulin spike is created when you eat foods with a high glycemic index (GI),that is a large amount of simple sugar. The simple sugars enter the bloodstream and insulin is needed to store the sugars as glycogen in the liver and the muscles. Insulin also stops protein breakdown after a workout and increases amino acid uptake into the body.

Muscles have a high demand for glucose and utilise an enzyme called hexokinase. This is found in skeletal muscle and promotes glucose uptake independently of blood glucose levels. Hexokinase has a high affinity for glucose, which allows muscle to take up glucose from the blood even when blood glucose levels are low. When the glucose reaches the muscle, it remains there and is not released back into the bloodstream. Thus skeletal muscles do not need insulin in order to obtain much needed glucose, however any insulin secreted will cause additional glucose to be taken up.

Another enzyme called glucokinase found in the liver works when levels of glucose in the blood rise. Unlike skeletal muscle, the liver can release glucose when the cells require it. This enzyme only acts in the presence of high blood glucose levels.

Exercise, especially resistance training, has been shown to increase glucose uptake for skeletal muscle in the absence of insulin, so that you do not necessarily need to consume simple sugars in your post workout meal in order to cause an insulin spike so that your muscles will uptake glucose.

While insulin will certainly enhance the anabolic response of a meal post workout, glucose is not actually needed since skeletal muscle is already able to uptake glucose in the absence of insulin after a workout.

For optimum results however, consuming a meal post workout with simple sugars and protein, will bring glucose into the muscles and allow an increase the uptake of amino acids into the body.

Insulin not only controls the uptake of glucose into cells but also has an impact on fat oxidation and storage. When blood glucose and insulin levels are low, fat is the main fuel burned for energy. This is why a low intensity cardio workout on en empty stomach before breakfast can be so effective at tapping into the fat stores when glucose and insulin levels are low. But when blood glucose and insulin levels are high, fat burning is blunted and glucose oxidation is elevated.

When the body senses there is glucose in the bloodstream, it wants to return blood glucose levels back to a homeostatic level. In order to do this the body must get rid of the glucose, which is accomplished by increasing glucose oxidation and storage.

Since the body is focusing on storing nutrients, it would not make sense for fatty acids to be released from adipocytes because they would not be burned. Therefore it is important that blood glucose levels return to normal quickly so the oxidation of fat can once again become the primary source of energy. This can be done by controlling your carbohydrate intake and controlling your insulin secretion by consuming less high GI foods; simple sugars, and more slow release low GI complex carbohydrates.

In the presence of high blood glucose and insulin, hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), the enzyme that catalyzes the liberation of fatty acids from fat cells) cannot act on stored fat. Therefore, fatty acids cannot be liberated from fat cells and fat oxidation is put on the backburner while glucose oxidation and storage is made a priority. Insulin is termed an anti-lipolytic hormone because it blocks lipolysis – the breakdown of stored triglycerides fat into fatty acids.

In addition to blunting fat oxidation, insulin secretion stimulates fat synthesis in the liver and increases fat uptake by fat cells.

Insulin spikes can also be caused by prolonged periods of sitting, such as in an office environment. Studies show that a short walk to the bathroom or the water cooler can alleviate this by getting away from your desk every 20mins after one hour of sitting still.

As useful as insulin spikes are at aiding the uptake of amino acids into the body, a large number of spikes throughout the day can cause the storage of fat and decrease fat oxidation. Regular exercise and a diet consisting of complex carbohydrate allows the body a steady flow of glucose without spiking the blood and increasing fat storage.

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How to Avoid Cellulite

We are all familiar with the term cellulite which has been around since the 20’s, also known as orange peel and cottage cheese skin. We find it often on the thighs and glute areas, mostly in women after puberty, and for many it is the bane of their lives.

The dimpling effect occurs when herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue, leading to an orange peel–like appearance.

Cellulite is often classified using three grades:-

– Grade 1 classification sees no clinical or visual symptoms, and cellulite is only visible with the help of a microscope to view anatomical changes.
– Grade 2 has the above symptoms plus the skin is pasty, cooler than the rest of the skin and less elastic.
– Grade 3 has the above symptoms and also includes rough orange peel skin.

No matter what size or shape, anyone can have cellulite as it occurs in the layers of fat just under the surface of the skin, when the connective tissue is stretched or pulled, restricted in some way.

Genes can determine your susceptibility to getting cellulite. Race, gender, fat deposits, metabolism and circulation also affect the likelihood of cottage cheese thighs.

Hormones have been thought to greatly influence the chances of having cellulite. The female hormone oestrogen may initiate and aggravate cellulite hence why more women have cellulite and such few men.

Stress can cause the level of catecholamines which are organic compounds linked to the formation of cellulite. Catecholamines are hormones which include adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine among others.

Anti cellulite massages to breakdown the cellulite, deep tissue massages and sports massages are always popular, as are massages that stimulate lymphatic flow, heat therapy, ultrasound, radio frequency therapy, magnetic therapy, radial waves therapy, and electrical stimulation. Foam rollers (self myofascial release) may also help break down the cellulite and push toxins up towards the lymph glands. Sadly however, there is no scientific evidence that these methods are effective.

There are numerous creams and potions available claiming to cure cellulite, most include the ingredients caffeine, green tea and sometimes Ginko biloba. Pharmacists have other options of creams to apply topically, as well as oral and injectable medications, however none have yet to be given scientific approval and as yet there is no known cure.

Loose underwear that does not restrict blood flow to the arteries is essential in staving off cellulite; good options are G strings, thongs, boy shorts and hotpants, as long as the elastic is not tight across the glutes.

Diet is very important. Even a few months of eating junk food and carbonated drinks a couple of times a week can take its toll, changing the appearance of the skin.

Although not viewed as a medical condition by the medical community, it isn’t something we have to settle for, so here are my top tips for avoiding cellulite, and joining the 5% of us who don’t have any.

Tips for avoiding cellulite include:-

1. Dry body brushing with a stiff brush – this is my top tip as it improves circulation and prevents cellulite, it is simple and takes as little as ten minutes per day
2. Avoid eating or drinking toxins – processed food and drinks
3. Avoid fizzy low calorie drinks
4. Eating a healthy balanced clean diet, limit the quantity of fruits, plenty of dark green and colourful vegetables, and fibre
5. Staying hydrated with plenty of fluids, at least 3 litres a day
6. Exercising regularly using weights as opposed to cardio is the way forward to tone the muscles and decrease the body fat and cellulite
7. Keep a healthy weight and body fat percentage
8. Avoid crash diets
9. Avoid smoking
10. Avoid drinking coffee and tea excessively as this causes dehydration which will not help the cellulite
11. Rub ground coffee granules into the thighs and glutes to prevent cellulite. Cindy Crawford is a fan of this method
12. Keep moving – don’t sit or stand in the same place for too long
13. Avoid liposuction, this can actually worsen the effects
14. Avoid eating too much salt

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Trans Fats & the Dangers of Low Fat Food

woman shoppingIn the pursuit of health and weight loss, many of us choose low fat or fat free options which we deem to be healthier. Surely a low fat product is better for us than full fat product. A gram of fat is calorie rich and contains 9 calories, more than double the calories in a gram of carbs or a gram of protein. We are constantly told to reduce the fat in our foods and in particular the quantity of saturated fat.

The main issue with this is the quality of the fat in a low fat product after the food processing has taken place to lower the fat content of the food.

During food production, instead of using a full fat saturated ingredient, vegetable oils are used. To make them solid in order to be used as a viable replacement, the vegetable oils have to be hydrogenated.

The hydrogenation process turns polyunsaturated fatty acids into solids. This is done by adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats, eliminating double bonds. This makes them into partially or completely saturated fats which are solid or semi-solid at room temperature.

This also produces transfats which cause ill health, coronary heart disease and raised cholesterol. Many thousands of cardiac deaths each year are directly attributable to transfats. Although transfats are found in small doses naturally in food, much of the low fat products which are readily available to us contain transfats in higher doses.

Many studies have taken place over the years proving that the quantity of transfats in the diet is inextricably linked with the risk of mortality. Whereas polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect and actually decrease the risk of dying.

Transfats increase the amount of unhealthy LDLs in the body. The level of HDL to LDL is a key factor in determining the risk of coronary issues, and it is vital to keep the ratio of healthy HDL high and the amount of bad LDLs low.

Transfats have been linked to depression and in particular suicide. Eating transfats has a risk of infertility in women. Transfats require different metabolic processes that take place in the liver and so can cause dysfunction of the liver. Aggression is another side effect and most worrying of all, transfats are linked to cancer.

Transfats are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, however good fats such as fish oils have been found to be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and are recommended for improving brain function.

As transfats are not required to be listed on the label, the easiest way to avoid eating them is to choose the full fat option and have a smaller portion. Labels to avoid include “Light”, “Low fat” “Half fat”.

As well as containing transfats which are harmful to the health, low fat products contain additional high levels of refined sugars and sweeteners to increase the taste and palatability that has been reduced by removing the fat. This is not advisable for a weight loss diet. Eating good fats in small portions won’t make you fat, but eating refined sugar can. Sugar causes spikes in the blood, causing insulin to be released. This reduces insulin sensitivity over time. Over production of insulin also causes fat to remain in the cells and therefore this fat storage is unlikely to be metabolised.

Overeating the sugar can cause obesity, Type 2 diabetes as well as dental problems. Excess sugar will also be stored as fat, mainly in the liver. Transfats also cause obesity, more so than eating a similar quantity of normal fats.

Fat is essential in small amounts in our diet, the quantities depend on our body type. Fat cushions our joints, balances our hormone levels and keeps us warm. Eating good fats allow us to absorb fat soluble vitamins D, A, K, E. Sugars conversely do not contain any vitamins or minerals and are basically empty calories.

Fats containing Omega 3s are especially good for mental health and emotional health. To conclude, a small amount of full fat with a low sugar diet is far healthier than the equivalent quantity of reduced fat. Good sources of unsaturated fat include Extra Virgin Olive oil, flaxseeds, linseeds, and nuts.

8 Ways to Get to the Bottom of Cellulite

How many times do you look in the mirror and pick up on those dimply thighs and that wobbly bottom? Don’t you just hate it and wish it was not there?

There has always been a debate whether or not cellulite exists but if you suffer from the orange peel effect on your bottom, thighs or even your tummy area, you will quickly realise that it does exist.

What causes the lumpy effect is a fat and toxin build up just below the surface of the skin and sometimes genetics have a say in the matter.

There is however something you can do to help break down those stubborn fat and toxin deposits and help reduce the appearance of this somewhat annoying dimply effect.

Here are 8 simple ways to try and get rid this unsightly enemy:-

1. Exercise not only will burn off that excess fat that can cause cellulite, it also increases the blood flow and it plumps up the skin making it less noticeable (you don’t see many athletes with it). To combat it I do jogging /squats and skipping on a spot with a rope – no costly gym memberships involved.

2. Eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables as these foods are low in toxins.

3. Cut out caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as these are extremely high in toxins

4. Body brush with a spa brush making sure you always brush upward towards the heart. This speeds up the lymphatic system which removes unwanted toxins in the body. You can also use a gritty exfoliator to remove dead skin cells on surface of the skin which in turn will really improve skin tone as well.

5. Massage is a MUST along with body brushing. Use a body moisturiser or massage oil and massage movements upwards towards the heart. With both hands pick up a section of thigh like a pinching effect starting from the outside of the thigh and gently squeeze then slowly roll down with your thumbs. Do this all over the thigh. Using your knuckles in a fist, gently make circular movements making sure you always have enough oil or moisturiser so skin does not dry out. Do this massage as a daily routine but if you find you don’t have the time every day then make sure after your evening bath you massage moisturiser into the skin on legs and thighs. Just by massaging the cream in you’re helping break down fatty deposits without even trying.

6. Always keep skin moisturised around these areas mentioned, it will give your skin a much better appearance and try not to have too hot a bath as heat dehydrates the skin..

7. A salon massage is a great way to expel unwanted toxins from the body and reduces build-up. It is also a fantastic way to promote a feel good factor within yourself – so treat yourself now and again.

8. Invest in a good self tan product as tanned skin will make your dimply bits less noticeable.

We all want to have a great body shape but remember most photos you see of celebs have been airbrushed, tweaked and enhanced so don’t be disheartened. There is never a quick fix to any beauty solution and nobody has the perfect body. Be thankful for what nature has given you but it is down to you to look after yourself so go on and give it all a go, you have nothing to lose except for the dimply bits!