5 Top Metabolism Myths

There are a number of popular myths about metabolism that have long been proven incorrect. Here, we outline some of the more pervasive and explain why they are wrong.

  1. Eating after 8pm will make you gain weight
    At a simple level, in order to gain weight, your calorie intake has to exceed your calorie expenditure. If you eat more than what you burn, you will most likely gain weight. This is true regardless of whether the calories consumed were at 8am or 8pm. (That said, it’s often those late afternoon and after-dinner snacks that increases our risk of weight gain. Chocolates, lollies, biscuits, chips, etc, typically exceed our daily energy requirements for a healthy balanced diet.)
  1. Caffeine, chilli and green tea increase your metabolism
    It’s true that these foods will slightly increase metabolism but it is not significant enough to produce drastic changes to your overall weight. In order to gain a noticeable boost in metabolism, you would need to consume these foods all day and even then, the weight loss effect would most likely be due to their low caloric density.
  1. Metabolism decreases with age
    Your metabolism will decrease slightly with age but this decrease is generally due to the decrease in muscle mass that is associated with ageing. This drop in metabolism can be minimised by including some resistance training in your exercise regime and consuming adequate protein to promote muscle growth and repair.
  1. Skinny people have a higher metabolism
    A lot of people blame their ‘slow metabolism’ for their inability to lose weight, but in fact, those who weigh less will have a lower basal metabolic rate than those who weigh more. Further, as you lose weight, your metabolism will most likely decrease, not increase, as you will have less total body mass to burn calories.
  1. You have no control over your metabolism
    This is not true. What you eat as well as exercise play a role in metabolism. Exercise is the best thing for improving metabolism; for every 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous high intensity exercise you do, your metabolism will remain elevated for up to 24 hours.
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Kate Save appears on Studio 10

Backing on from her successful appearance on Channel 10’s hit entrepreneurial TV show Shark Tank, PPN director Kate Save has appeared on the network’s morning infotainment show Studio 10.

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The pros and cons of yoghurt

The yoghurt aisle at the supermarket tends to bring on utter confusion… a whole fridge dedicated to this one products, yet the varieties of yoghurt seems to be endless. Making a lot of people simply turn away and avoid yoghurt completely! So just which yoghurt should you be choosing and why should we bother eating yoghurt?

What’s so good about yoghurt?

  1. Calcium – an essential part of the diet, needed for strong bones and teeth
  2. Probiotic – for gut health by balancing the bacteria in the gut
  3. Protein – for muscle growth and repair, needed by everybody, every day!
  4. It’s versatile – it can be used sweet or savoury, eaten cold from the fridge, frozen, warmed or cooked

Not keen on eating it straight from the tub? Try these new ways with yoghurt:

  • Dip it: blend yoghurts with chickpeas or your favourite pureed veggies to create savoury dips for your next antipasto platter
  • Dressings: swap heavy mayonnaise dressings for natural yoghurt with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your next salad
  • Swirl it: into your favourite soup, curry or stew instead of sour cream
  • Top it: dollop it on top of pancakes instead of ice cream at your next Sunday breakfast
  • Swap it: yoghurt can be used in cakes and biscuits instead of butters and oils

Good yoghurts to choose:

  • Chobani plain 0% Greek yoghurt super high protein which makes it very filling. Per 170g tub: 15.6g protein and 410kJ.
  • Jalna Proheart natural yoghurt has plant sterols which help reduce cholesterol absorption. Per 200g tub: 596kJ.
  • Activia yoghurt high in probiotics to ease bloating and digestion issues. Per 125g tub: 430–465kJ.
  • Soy Life yoghurt is lactose free, fat free and gluten free. Per 175g tub: 571–606kJ
  • Yoplait Forme Satisfy yoghurt is a diet yoghurt high in protein with added fibre to keep you full. Per 170g tub: 316kJ.
  • Yoplait yoghurt is a good basic low-fat yoghurt, with moderate amounts of protein and calcium. Per 200g tub: 296mg calcium, 8.8g protein and 698kJ.
  • Vaalia lactose-free yoghurt is another good lactose free option. Per 175g tub: 648–688kJ.
  • Nestle Soleil diet is a non-fat diet option. Per 150g tub: 243–252kJ and 180mg calcium.


Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 2


  • 1 cup milk (any type eg cows, almond, soy, oat)
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup chia seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  2. Divide amongst 2 bowls or jars and place in the fridge overnight to set
  3. Top with your favourite fresh fruit or eat as is!
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PPN director Kate Save appears on Shark Tank

PPN director Kate Save, who also co-founded BE Fit Food, has appeared on Channel 10’s small business investment show Shark Tank, securing a $300,000 investment in the process.

Boost Juice founder Janine Allis, who was the successful ‘shark’ who funded the company, said of Kate and business partner, bariatric surgeon Dr Geoff Draper, “I’m actually buying you because I really love what you’re doing and if I can help get this out there, because it is a real problem, then I’d be really happy.”

BE Fit Food meals are developed by dietitians and are made fresh in a commercial kitchen by professional chefs, sealed fresh and delivered to your home. It is healthy, convenient, real food.

Kate with BE Fit Food partner Dr Geoff Draper and ‘shark’ Janine Allis.

To read more about BE Fit Food’s appearance on Shark Tank, visit one of the links below.

‘Lose 10 kilos in two weeks’: Be Fit Food scores $300,000 investment on Shark Tank –

Doctor launches his own weight loss meal plan business that promises incredible results in just TWO weeks – so does it really work? –

After a “nerve wracking” pitch, healthy meals business Be Fit Food lands a $300,000 deal –

A Diet That Will Help You Shed 10kgs In 2 Weeks Landed A $300,000 Deal On ‘Shark Tank’ –

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Kate Save assists Australian Defence Force

Last month, PPN director Kate Save delivered the ‘Nutrition’ module for the Australian Defence Force Physical Training Instructor course.

“The 22 week course is predominantly delivered by my staff; however, as a school we are heavily reliant on subject matter expertise and relevant industry experience that only specialists in the field can provide,” explains Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander CJ Holloway.

In a letter addressed to Kate, he writes: “Your nutritional expertise combined with your exercise physiologist background enabled you to fully contextualise the delivery of the module relevant the student’s needs. Feedback from my staff and students was very positive and they relished in the practical real life examples and myth busting you provided to promote healthy lifestyles. Your delivery of the module was scientifically based and supported by published peer reviewed evidence. This factor alone was invaluable to the students who must continually evaluate new and popular press fads whilst advising their future clients.”

Kate says she and the rest of the PPN team will continue to assist the Australian Defence Force in any way they can and that she looks forward to participating in future courses, helping the people who serve our country are able to ensure their own health too.

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The importance of legumes

Legumes, lentils and beans one of the most commonly forgotten food in a diet, but they need not be. Not only are they highly nutritious, they are a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans and they are cheap and easy to cook with. They are also a good source of iron, folate and potassium with 100g of red lentils having more potassium than a banana!

As far as protein goes, ½ a cup of cooked lentils will provide 1.5 times the protein of 1 egg and 1 cup cooked provides the equivalent of an 80g steak, so consider including these beauties in your cooking more often. If you are a family that has meals centred mainly around meat, consider swapping one meal out per week and including legumes as your protein source, your body, the environment and your wallet will thank you.

The cost of one typical 200g porterhouse steak is ~$4-6, which if feeding a family of 5, that will be $20-25 for the meat. Whereas you can buy a bag of du puy French style lentils for 375g is $3.35, which works out to be $8.90 per kilo, and for a family of five a 375g packet would be more than enough for a meal.

Nutritionally, legumes and lentils are also a great source of soluble fibre, which is associated with reducing blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. Soluble fibre also helps to keep your insides healthy, keeping you regular and keeping your gut healthy. They are a low GI grain, meaning that they will fill you up and keep you fuller for longer and will also help to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Five dishes you can make with legumes, lentils and beans:

  1. Homemade baked beans
  2. Lentil Soup
  3. Falafels
  4. Hommus Dip
  5. Bean, lentil and vegetable soup

Almost any dish that contains meat can have lentils or legumes added in or put in in place of the meat.

Five meat dishes that can have lentils, legumes and beans added to:

  1. Spaghetti Bolognese – kidney beans
  2. Slow cooked lamb, beef, chicken – chick peas, cannellini beans, butter beans, lentils
  3. Lamb shank and vegetable soup – green lentils or chickpeas
  4. Roast chicken and vegetable salad – chickpeas
  5. Pulled beef tacos – kidney beans
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What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

HIIT is a type of training involving repeated bouts of high intensity exercise followed by varied periods of lower intensity exercise.

The intense work period may range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long and are performed at 80-95% of maximal heart rate (HR) while the recovery periods may be equally as long as or longer than the work periods and involve exercise at 40-50% of max HR. You usually alternate work and recovery periods for 20-60 minutes.

HIIT can be any done using mode of exercise – cycling walking, running, swimming, cross—training or in group exercise classes.

Who can do HIIT?

Most people!

HIIT has been shown to be safe and effective in a wide range of patient groups including older adults, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, paraplegics, intermittent claudication, COPD, cardiac rehab patients


Benefits of HIIT for weight loss and metabolic syndrome

Provide similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts, but in shorter periods of time. HIIT burns more calories than traditional workouts both during and after exercise.

  • Improved aerobic (increased VO2 max) and anaerobic capacity
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Improves insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)
  • Decreased fasting insulin
  • Cholesterol profiles
  • Abdominal fat and body weight while 
maintaining muscle mass – ability to increase whole body fat oxidation
  • Increased mitochondrial capacity
  • Reductions in body fat including subcutaneous fat and abdominal fat
    • Increase exercise and post exercise fat oxidation and decreased post exercise appetite
  • Decreased waist circumference and body mass

The number one reason for not doing exercise is “lack of time.” HIIT gives all the same and maybe more benefits of continuous moderate intensity exercise in a much shorter amount of time.

Gibala, M.J., Little, J.P., MacDonald, M.J., Hawley, J.A. (2012).  Physiological adaptations to low-volume, high-intensity interval training in health and disease. J Physiol, 590.5, 1077–1084.
Drigny, J., Gremeaux, V., Guiraud, T., Gayda, M. ,et al. (2013). Long-term high-intensity interval training associated with lifestyle modifications improves QT dispersion parameters
in metabolic syndrome patients. Ann Phys Rehabilitation Med, 56, 356–370.
Talanian, J.L., Galloway, S.D., Heigenhauser, G.J., Bonen, A., Spriet, L.L. (2006). Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. J Appl Physiol, 102, 1439–1447.
Little, J.P., Gillen, J.B., Percival, M.E., Safdar, A., et al. (2011). Low-volume high-intensity interval training reduces hyperglycemia and increases muscle mitochondrial capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Appl Physiol, 111, 1554–1560.
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Protein shakes vs. whole food

Protein shakes and supplements are a staple in a large number of gym-goers’ diet. They claim to help build muscle or ‘bulk up’, aid recovery, speed up metabolism, and help weight loss.

There is some truth to these claims – but are shakes and supplements the answer, or could we get the same effect (or better?!) from eating whole foods. I’ll outline the argument for and against for using protein shakes/supplements but the simple answer is that there is no “one size fits all” approach.

Case for Whole Foods

  1. Shakes are not necessarily BETTER than whole foods – as long as you are eating enough protein in your diet (trust me, you are!) there is no evidence to suggest that protein shakes are better than protein-rich foods for muscle growth and repair
  2. Chewing food makes you feel full – if you are watching your intake, eating protein from food may be better for your energy budget.
  3. Whole foods are cheaper – recovery shake = $3.66 for 1 serve vs. Milk = $1.80 for 1 Litre (at least 3 serves!)
  4. Whole foods offer a whole range of essential nutrients to help you meet other nutrition goals such as recovery, hydration and immune function – protein is not the only nutrient that helps in muscle gain and recovery
  5. There’s a huge variety protein-rich options – eggs, milk, lean meat, chicken, fish, yoghurt.. just to name a few
  6. Protein supplements often contain long list of ingredients that we’ve never heard of and are of little benefit or potentially harmful

Case for Protein Shakes

  1. Protein shakes are convenient – easy to pack in your gym bag
  2. Protein shakes are easy to get down – if you are not feeling very hungry after your workout, shakes may be an easy option to kick start your recovery

You can decide what works for you!

Warning: Protein supplements may contain harmful substances – you never know exactly what’s in your shake. If you are competing at a high level, make sure you know where your supplements have come from and if they have been tested for banned substances.

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Beating the Winter Cold and Boosting Immunity

Winter is the time of the year that is dreaded by most. It’s dark in the morning, dark at night, the days are short and it’s cold, and more than likely you or someone in your family will get sick at some stage. Ensuring your diet is on point is essential to staying on top of colds and flus that are going around. If you stay well nourished by eating well; exercise and sleep well, you will be on the right track to stay healthy.

Individuals who live in poverty and have limited to access to good food are malnourished and more vulnerable to disease and infection. The same is true in the Western world – if your diet is lacking in variety and micro- or macronutrients, you a likely malnourished, just not in the same way as those in poverty, however, this still leads to a decreased immune system. If you think that your diet is insufficient in one way or another, talk to your Dietitian and they can guide you as to how to boost things up, or a quality multivitamin is a good place to start.

Fruit and vegetables are the key during the colder months. These are the foods that are packed full of vitamins and minerals, which assist in keeping you healthy. And while there isn’t a plethora of delicious berries, stone fruits and melons like there are in Summer, it is still just as important to ensure you have your 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day.

Foods that can help to boost immunity:

  1. Citrus foods – there’s no coincidence why oranges, mandarins, lemons and limes are in season during Winter. It’s like the world knows that this is the time of the year that these foods are needed in the diet. Citrus along with red capsicum are a great source of vitamin C, which is thought to boost the production of white blood cells, helping to fight infections. Vitamin C is not stored in your body, so you need to have some everyday to help keep your immunity up.
  2. Garlic – has been known for centuries to assist with immunity and fighting colds and flus. The compound allicin, present in garlic can help to fight infection from both bacteria and viruses.
  3. Ginger – reduces fevers, soothes a sore throat (along with lemon and honey) and can assist with removing mucus from the chest.
  4. Yoghurt – a good source of probiotics, which helps to put good bacteria, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterial, into the gut. This good bacteria has been linked to shortening the severity and duration when taken regularly. If you are not a fan of yoghurt a probiotic containing these bacteria strains will also be effective.
  5. Vitamin D – people with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to getting sick. If unsure of your vitamin D levels, it’s worth getting them checked. Where we live, in order to get adequate vitamin D from the sun in Winter you need to spend 60 minutes with bare arms and legs in the sun each day between the 11am and 3pm – for most people this is unrealistic, mainly because it’s too cold and very few people have the time to spend lounging in the sun everyday. Good food sources of vitamin D include mushrooms, oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and cereals and dairy that are fortified with vitamin D.

Aside from eating well, exercise is a great way to stay healthy and not only keep you warm in Winter, but also assist with improve immunity. The fresh air is good for the body and a welcome change to being inside with minimal fresh air circulating, harboring bacteria and viruses. Exercise releases endorphins, so if nothing else, it will make you feel good and increase your energy levels, so rug up, get out there and get moving.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Any soup is going to help to warm you from the inside out and help to soothe a sore throat, but the key to keeping your immunity up is vegetables, so make sure that any soup you have is packed full of veggies and has a good source of protein – chicken, meat, fish, legumes, lentils or beans.


  • 1 whole chicken or a combination of thighs and breast
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 packet of frozen spinach or 3 cups of fresh
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • Any other veggies you have lying around
  • 1 x 400g tin of brown lentils
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  1. To make the chicken broth, place the whole chicken in a large pot and cover with boiling water and cook until chicken is cooked. If time poor, you can use store bought chicken stock.
  2. Remove chicken from the water and chop or shred into pieces, set aside.
  3. In another pot, heat 1 tbs olive oil and add chopped onion, garlic, carrot, celery and thyme and cook stirring for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the liquid the chicken was cooked in and bring to the boil. Add the turmeric, curry powder, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper and parsley and reduce to a simmer, cooking until the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pot along with the lentils, mushrooms, spinach and broccoli and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
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Mediterranean-style diet when eating gluten free

There is increasing evidence emerging to suggest that the Mediterranean-style diet is the world’s healthiest. It is comprised mainly of plant foods with an emphasis on healthy fats, unsaturated rather than saturated, helping to prevent against heart disease. Really, it is the basics of healthy eating balanced out with some olive oil and red wine.

In fact, there is plenty of research to suggest that it is one of the most suitable diets for individuals with Coeliac disease or who is following a gluten free diet, as it is a great way to supply some of the nutrients lacking in a standard gluten-free diet.

Because grains play a large role in the Mediterranean diet, and many common grains contain gluten, it can be tricky to get this balance right. There are many grains that can be included in place of wheat, rye and barley containing grains, it’s just a matter of knowing what they are and how to cook them.


What does the Mediterranean Diet consist of?

  1. Consuming grains in the whole, unprocessed form. Some common gluten free grains include quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, corn, rice, sorghum and teff.
  2. Including nuts, legumes, lentils and beans is a good way to fill out meals and to replace the common grain with something equally as filling and tasty. These legumes also contain more protein than other common grains and are a good source of fibre.
  3. Use olive oil daily and limit use of butter and lard. It is high in monounsaturated fats and contains antioxidants, which proved protective properties assisting with improved cardiovascular health.
  4. Herbs and spices are used liberally to enhance the flavour in dishes, allowing for less salt to be needed for flavour.
  5. Cheese and yoghurt are eaten often providing a good source of calcium.
  6. Fish and shellfish are consumed regularly, providing a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  7. Red meat is consumed less, in small portions, with white meat such as chicken being consumed more moderately as it has a lower fat content.
  8. Eggs are included regularly providing a good source of quality protein.
  9. Fruit is consumed in moderate amounts, while other higher sugar containing sweets and desserts are limited and consumed in small amounts.
  10. Wine, particularly red wine can be consumed in moderation – one drink for females and two for males per day, with water being the main fluid source, providing hydration.
  11. Portion and moderation are two of the key elements to the Mediterranean diet.

The evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet can improve the nutritional status of individuals with Coeliac disease without increasing weight. It can also improve iron status and absorption through the increased consumption of legumes, lentils, spinach and chickpeas, especially when they are paired with Vitamin C containing capsicum and tomato.

Health Benefits of a Mediterranean diet:

  1. Reduces risk of heart disease, decreasing bad cholesterol, triglycerides and improved blood vessel health.
  2. Reduces risk of cancer and Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease.

How to include gluten free grains on a Mediterranean diet?

  • Use quinoa in place of cous cous, mix with some roast vegetables and serve with some fish or use to make a tabbouleh
  • Use gluten free wholegrain crackers as a base for hommus
  • Use gluten free oats and top with nuts, seeds and fruit
  • Use brown rice to mix through a salad
  • Stuff capsicums or eggplants with millet and veggies
  • Replace normal pasta with gluten free pasta
  • Use tinned salmon or tuna to make fish cakes and use mashed potato to hold the mix together in place of flour or breadcrumbs
  1. M Barone, N Della Valle, R Rosania, et al. A comparison of the nutritional status between adult celiac patients on a long-term, strictly gluten-free diet and healthy subjects. Euro J Clin Nutr(2016) 70, 23–27.
  2. G. Mancini et al. Systematic review of the Mediterranean diet for long-term weight loss. Am J Med (2016); 129(4): 407-415.
  3. Sofi, R.Abbate, G. Franco Gensini, A. Cassini. Accruing evidence on benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on health: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr (2010); 92(5): 1189-1196.
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