Eggs for muscle growth

Don’t separate your whites!

Post exercise, your muscles synthesis protein 40% more if you’ve consumes whole eggs, rather than consuming the equivalent grams of protein in egg whites only.

Many people have been throwing away the yolk thinking that they can get more protein from egg whites only, but in fact, the yolk contains valuable nutrients not found in the white, and these nutrients enhance the protein synthesis mechanism in the muscle. So don’t be afraid of the fat in egg yolk, it’s a powerhouse of essential nutrients for your muscles!

Why not scramble yourself a bowl of delicious egg after your next workout and watch those muscles grow?

Stephan van Vliet et al, Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of postexercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2017). DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.117.159855 
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The A-Z of fermented foods

Fermentation is the process in which microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast or fungi convert organic compounds – usually carbohydrates such as sugars and starch – into alcohol or acids.

The role of fermentation is varied, it was originally used to preserve foods, it makes food more digestible, changes the taste of foods and decreases cooking time. The bacteria involved in fermentation produce micronutrients, are a source of good bacteria’ for the gut and can reduce anti-nutrients.

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha have recently become popular in health conscious population due to their probiotic or ‘good bacteria’ content. These probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal tract health, enhance the immune system, reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance, potentially reduce prevalence of allergies and reduce risk of certain cancer. They may also play are role in improving our mental health.

So what are they and should I use them?

  • Kombucha is a drink traditionally made by fermenting sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, commonly referred to as a ‘scoby.’ Its lower sugar content makes it a good alternative to a sugary drink.
  • Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir ‘grains’ – a fermentation starter made of yeast and bacteria. Traditionally, kefir was used to treat gastrointestinal problems, hypertension and allergies.
  • Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish, made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage with a variety of seasonings.
  • Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria giving it a distinctive sour flavour.
  • Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning, a thick paste used in sauces, spreads, picking and of course in miso soup,  produced by fermenting souybeans with salt and koji (a fungus) and sometimes other ingredients.

In the context of a healthy balanced diet, including some fermented foods for flavour, variety and the potential gut benefits would be a welcome addition. However, be careful not rely on these foods as a cure-all.

Parvez, S., Malika, M.A., Ah Kang, S., Kim, H.Y. (2006). Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health, J Appl Microbiol, 100(6), 1171-1185.
Vina, I., Semjonovs, P., Linde, R., Denina, I. (2014). Current evidence on physiological activity and expected health effects of kombucha fermented beverage, J Med Food, 17(2), 179-188.
Leite, A.M., Miguel, M.A., Peixoto, R.S., Rosado, A.S, et al. (2013). Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage, Braz J Microbiol, 44(2), 341-249.
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Can you sleep away a bad diet?

Wondering why you’re craving sugar so much when you’re tired? Feeling that afternoon slump?

A new study has found that sleeping a little longer each night could be the simple answer to cutting down your intake of sugary food. Many adults are not getting enough sleep each night, leaving them fatigued and craving sugary boosts.

A recent study looked at adults who slept less than seven hours per day, and their overall nutrient intake. They found that by extending sleep by an 1.5 hours, the participants ate 10g less free sugars, as well as less overall carbohydrates for the day.

This confirms what a lot of studies have already seen; that inadequate sleep is linked to poor food choices.

So put on your PJ’s a little earlier today and catch those zzz’s, then enjoy your healthy diet tomorrow!

Haya K Al Khatib  Wendy L Hall  Alice Creedon  Emily Ooi  Tala Masri  Laura McGowan  Scott V Harding Julia Darzi  Gerda K Pot , ”Sleep extension is a feasible lifestyle intervention in free-living adults who are habitually short sleepers: a potential strategy for decreasing intake of free sugars?” A randomized controlled pilot study . The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 107, Issue 1, 1 January 2018, Pages 43–53,
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Are there any health benefits of a vegan diet?

Yes, a vegan diet can be nutritious, but extra care needs to be taken. It is important that careful consideration and planning goes into a vegan diet to ensure that all nutrient bases are covered.

A vegan diet is one where only plant based foods are eaten, it excludes all animal products and animal derived ingredients (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy products, eggs, honey and any other animal derived ingredients).

The benefits of a vegan diet on chronic health conditions:

A vegan diet can be beneficial in improving glycaemic control of individuals with type 2 diabetes, and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The American Diabetes Association looked into vegan diets and their affect on HbA1c, total blood lipid levels, cholesterol and body weight. All markers were significantly reduced after 22 weeks on a vegan diet – supplemented with B12 tablets to ensure nutrient adequacy.

A well balanced vegan diet may be one method of reducing weight, and improving glycaemic levels amongst T2DM sufferers and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.1  

To ensure nutritional adequacy of a vegan diet, these nutrients need to be considered as they are mainly/only found in animal products:

  • Iron – the type of iron found in plant foods (non-haem iron) is not easily absorbed compared to animal sourced iron. It is important to pair your plant based iron (legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, fried fruit, dark leafy greens) with Vitamin C rich foods to boost the absorption levels. Vitamin C rich foods include berries, citrus, tomatoes, broccoli.
  • B12 – is naturally occurring in animal products only. Vegans must include foods fortified with B12 or take a B12 supplement. Common foods fortified with B12 include vegetarian burgers/patties/sausages, some breakfast cereals, some soy milks)
  • Calcium – no dairy products are included in a vegan diet. Calcium must come from other calcium rich foods or fortified products. Tofu, calcium-fortified soy products, green leafy vegetables, tahini and almonds are good alternatives for dairy products.
  • Omega 3 fat’s – our body must ingest omega 3 fats as we cannot produce it ourselves. It is commonly found in oily fish, however a vegan diet could include linseeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, soy bean and canola oil as alternative omega 3 sources, but note that the type of omega-3 found in these plants differs from the marine omega 3 fat which is the more beneficial form. the body is able to convert a small amount of plant omega 3 fats to the marine type.


  1. A Low-Fat Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Randomized Clinical Trial in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes. Neal D. Barnard, Joshua Cohen, David J.A. Jenkins, Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy, Lise Gloede, Brent Jaster, Kim Seidl, Amber A. Green, Stanley Talpers. Diabetes Care Aug 2006, 29 (8) 1777-1783; DOI: 10.2337/dc06-0606
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What a day of eating looks like for a dietitian

Ever wondered what a dietitian eats?

It is important to remember that what everyone eats in a day will be different. What works for someone, may not work for someone else. Our age, gender, level of physical activity, work load and medical history will all impact our nutritional requirements. Plus we each have preferences, likes, dislikes, ethnic or religious backgrounds that may affect what we choose to eat.

 Here are some important factors that affect the way I eat:

  • My diet is based on healthy, nutritious, real foods.
  • I do include meat and fish on a regular basis
  • I do not count calories, I count nutrients. I look at the food as a whole to see what benefit it can provide for my health and well-being
  • I listen to my body. If I am hungrier one day or my energy levels are low I adjust accordingly
  • I am not deficient in any nutrients

Below is an overview of what I typically consume in a day. Alongside each meal I will provide some helpful tips and tricks to assist you in making a more informed decision when it comes to your own eating regime.

Hope you enjoy!

Before my morning walk:
1 large glass of water.

Consuming >2L of water per day assists in keeping us hydrated, preserving our energy levels and helps to keep our bowels regular too.

1 tub of YoPro Yoghurt (vanilla, passionfruit or neutral are my favourites), topped with fresh berries, 1 tablespoon of Muesli and 5-6 Almonds

The high protein content of this meal helps keep my blood sugar levels stable which assists in controlling my appetite throughout the day. If I have a nutritious breakfast, I am less likely to over eat at other meal times.

Morning Tea:
This usually alternates for me. Sometimes if I’m super busy or don’t have the appetite, I’ll skip morning tea. On other occasions I enjoy a fresh piece of fruit (particularly stone fruits at the moment), ½ handful of nuts of a small skinny latte.

I usually like to pair some left-over meat (protein) from the night before with a mixed salad or some roasted vegetables. Otherwise, I’ll throw a small tin of 4 bean mix on top of a salad and add ¼ avocado to ensure I am getting some healthy fats throughout the day. It is always important to add salad items and vegetables where you can to ensure you are consuming the recommended amount of fibre per day (30g). Cook up a large batch at the start of the week so you have always some on hand

Afternoon Tea:
A Peppermint Tea and either 2 vita wheat with hummus or a couple of slices of low-fat cheese

If I didn’t have a piece of fruit for morning tea I will have one for afternoon tea to make sure I get the recommended 2 servings per day. I may have a slice of my healthy banana bread if I have a fresh batch made

Relatively similar to lunch. My favourite dish at the moment is grilled salmon with a hint of soy and ginger, resting on a bed of fresh greens. I will also add ¼ cup of brown rice to include some Low GI carbohydrates. Low GI foods release sugar at a much more gradual rate than typical High GI (more processed) foods. Try freekeh, quinoa, couscous or buckwheat noodles for something different

1 large square of 70-80% dark chocolate

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Kombucha: What is all the hype about?

Kombucha is a fermented drink that has recently become one of the fastest growing trends.

It is made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to a solution of sugar and tea. During the fermentation process, the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol and the bacteria converts the alcohol to organic acids such as acetic acid. Acetic acid has been shown to control the growth of harmful microorganisms in the gut. The end result is a refreshing, tart-tasting fizzy beverage which contains lives cultures of bacteria and yeasts which act as probiotics.

Probiotics are defined as the ‘good’ microorganisms that live in our digestive tract that are expected to have a beneficial impact on our health.

Commercial kombucha can come in a range of different flavours but can also vary greatly in the amount of beneficial bacteria they contain.

Dr Michael Conlon, who is a senior research scientist at the CSIRO, specialising in diet and gut health, states “The health potential of probiotics more generally can vary depending on the number and type of microbes, what you consume them with, and the composition of your own gut microflora. It’s likely the number of microbes in kombucha would be much lower than what you might see in a commercial probiotic product.”

Be mindful! Although these fermented drinks can provide many gut-health benefits, make sure you look at the amount of sugar they contain. Some commercial kombucha drinks can contain as much sugar as popular soft drinks such as Coca Cola. A good target is to aim for <1g sugar per 100ml or look for any added sugar listed in the ingredients list.

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Long term effects of the low FODMAP diet

Since its inception, the low FODMAP diet has been a great management tool for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferers.

The low FODMAP diet is split into two stages:

  1. Elimination of high FODMAP foods.
  2. Reintroduction of eliminated FODMAP foods.

Due to the chronic nature of IBS, many individuals may restrict FODMAPs for longer than recommended. There is ongoing research being conducted to determine the long-term effects of a low FODMAP diet. Results suggest it may have a detrimental impact on gut health and nutritional status.

What is a low FODMAP diet?

Firstly, FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. It is a term used to classify short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed. These poorly absorbed sugars reach the large bowel where bacteria ferment them resulting in gas production. In IBS sufferers, this may lead to increased bloating, abdominal pain and distention, as well as bowel changes.

By following a low FODMAP diet for two to six weeks, it may help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for individuals suffering with long term gastrointestinal symptoms.

Potential consequences of long-term adherence to a low FODMAP diet

Evidence suggests a long term low FODMAP diet may impact negatively on gut health. Oligosaccharides found in wheat, rye, onion, garlic act as important prebiotics (food for probiotics – the good bacteria in our gut). There is ongoing research to determine whether individuals with IBS have a different gut microbiome. At present there is evidence to indicate that there may be a reduction of beneficial Bifidobacteria after following a low FODMAP diet for a little as two to three weeks.

Another side effect of long-term adherence to a low FODMAP diet is a risk of low fibre intake as well as calcium, iron, zinc, folate and other B group vitamins. Although low FODMAP only requires a person to follow a ‘wheat free’ diet, many will opt for ‘gluten free’ products which are highly processed and contain minimal dietary fibre. Furthermore, the reduction of vegetables, legumes and fruit may further decrease total dietary fibre intake and the use of dairy substitutes to manage lactose intolerance may decrease calcium intake.

Tips to ensure adequate nutrition during the elimination phase

  • If using gluten free bread, choose varieties with seeds and grains to increase fibre. Alternatively try a spelt bread with grains.
  • Include 5 serves vegetables and 2 serves fruit from the low FODMAP list.
  • Choose lactose free dairy (milk and yoghurt) – they contain calcium and yoghurt has bacterial cultures (probiotics).
  • Ensure dairy substitutes are calcium fortified.

After the elimination phase start the reintroduction protocol to ensure you are getting a well-balanced diet and you are not unnecessarily excluding foods that may be well tolerated in small quantities. Our tolerance level can change over time therefore it is important to keep retesting problem foods every 6 months. The low FODMAP diet can be complex and dietary advice from a qualified dietitian is essential.

  1. Catassi, G et al. The Low FODMAP diet: Many Question Marks for a Catchy Acronym. Nutrients. 2017; 9: 292-300.
  2. Halmos E.P et al. Diets that Differ in their FODMAP content alter the colonic luminal microenvironment. Gut. 2015; 64: 93-100.
  3. Hill, P.H et al. Controversies and Recent Developments of the low FODMAP Diet. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2017; 13: 36-45
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The truth about eggs

Eggs are one food that causes a lot of people confusion. In the past we have been told that eggs can have a detrimental impact on our heart health due to the dietary cholesterol they contain.

The good news is The Heart Foundation has reviewed the latest research and have confirmed that eggs have little to no impact on blood cholesterol levels or the risk of heart disease. Studies have found that the major contributor affecting LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol is a high intake of saturated fats or trans fats. Saturated fats are often referred to as ‘bad’ fats and can be found in foods such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed foods, full fat dairy products, meats, fried foods and takeaways.

The new recommendations suggest that six to eight eggs per week can be included in a well-balanced healthy diet, without increasing the risk of heart disease.

Two 60g eggs (one serve) contains over 20% of an individual’s daily protein requirements. Research has found that high protein diets are becoming increasingly popular for achieving weight loss and weight maintenance. The reason being, high protein foods contribute to a greater sense of fullness during consumption and increase satiety between meals.

Eggs are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (good fats) which has been shown to protect against some inflammatory diseases and heart disease. They also include a number of important vitamins and minerals required for growth and development.

So forget what you have previously been told… eggs can be an excellent food to include for people of all ages!

  1. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Position statement. Dietary fats and dietary sterols for cardiovascular health (2009).
  2. Gray J, Griffin B. Eggs and dietary cholesterol – dispelling the myth. Nutr Bull 34, 66-77 (2009).
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Diet trends for 2018

With the new year in full swing, it is no doubt that lots of resolutions have been made to keep healthy, lose weight or try particular diets.

Here, I have compiled a list of the trending diets that are drowning the news cycle, social media, magazines, books – you name it! It’s important to understand the pros, cons and dangers of each fad diet or trend before commencing any of them. I will discuss what to be careful of and how to ensure you will be at your healthiest state throughout the whole year. Remember, science based-evidence guides the practise of dietitians and when it comes to nutrition, your diet and your health, it is always important to seek advise from a university-qualified health professional.

What is trending in 2018?

  1. Fermented Foods: Foods that are fermented have undergone a process in which natural bacteria feeds on the sugar and starch in a food to assist with preservation. This process creates forms of beneficial enzymes to support the growth of various strains of probiotics within the food. Consuming fermented foods assists with supporting a healthy and varied gut microbiota, promoting benefits In our digestive systems. Recent evidence is suggesting that our gut microbiota plays just as much of a role in our body and our health as our brain. Fermented foods include:
    – Yoghurt: always opt for lower sugar versions with a high protein content. Yoghurt is also a source of calcium, protein and phosphorus which means it is vital for optimal bone health.
    – Sourdough bread: (also lower GI than regular white bread. Low GI foods help to stabilise our blood sugar levels and therefore regulate our appetite and fat-storing hormones)
    – Kombucha: Research is still limited as to the extent of the effect that kombucha has on gut  health, however it is still a great alternative to sweetened beverages like soft drinks or cordial.
    – Sauerkraut/Kimchi (fermented cabbage): Add a serving into your evening salad for flavour variety.
  2. Healing Powders: In this context, I am referring to powders that are promoted on the market to provide a range of health benefits. You have likely heard about of matcha, macca or turmeric and their large array of proposed health qualities. Unfortunately, their hasn’t been enough research undergone to determine the effects that these powders can have on our health. For example, lets look at turmeric and inflammation. A recent study published in the Journal of Family Practice actually states that there is limited evidence to suggest that consuming turmeric assists with relieving symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other joint-related conditions. Perhaps further evidence needs to be undertaken to fully make a proposition. For the mean time, save your money and eat as much real, wholesome food as possible.
  3. Ketogenic Diets: Ketogenic meal plans refer to diets that are low in calories and carbohydrates. Essentially, the body prefers to burn glucose (broken down carbohydrates) as its primary source of energy, however if we are not consuming large quantities, the body looks for an alternative energy source which is where it finds fat. The by-product of fat breakdown is ketones, which in turn assist in suppressing our appetite. Extensive literature and research has been conducted and has found that ketogenic diets are extremely beneficial for weight loss, the treatment of epilepsy and putting type 2 diabetes into remission. If you are considering trialling a ketogenic diet, it is important to seek advise from your doctor in conjunction with an accredited practising dietitian. For more details on ketogenic diets, head to
  4. Health Bowls: Poke Bowls, Acai Bowls and Smoothie Bowls are the current craze flooding the menu’s of trendy cafes and restaurants all over the world. Whilst there are lots of nutritional benefits of this style of eating, such as fibre, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein in high quantities, it is important to remember that are often served in large portions and may have hidden calories.
    Where to watch for excess energy: 
    – Muesli (particularly the toasted type with honey).
    – Large amount of avocado (more than ¼).
    – White rice as the base (processed and higher in GI than wholegrain carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, cous-cous or freekeh).
    – There may be 2-3 serves of fruit per bowl (equates to the same amount of carbohydrates as 2 slices of bread).
  5. Plant-based Diets: Often plant-based diets are undertaken with a lack of knowledge and preparation. Animal products are avoided in this style of eating, which we know are a main source of protein. Whilst protein can be found in plant-based foods and products, they have to be consumed in much larger quantities and are not as readily absorbed as animal-based products. The same goes for calcium and iron. Lacking in any of these nutrients can pose serious health detriments. If following a plant-based or vegan diet is something you are considering, it is important you gain assistance and guidance from a Dietitian to ensure you are receiving adequate amounts of all macro and micronutrients.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact a Peninsula Physical Health and Nutrition Dietitian to organise a personalised consultation.

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Include some fish this Summer

Fish is a high protein food that is often forgotten in our diets. Fish should, ideally be consumed 2-3 times per week, but is often pushed to the side by chicken and meat due to its prevalence and ease of cooking.

Fish is a low calories food that contains Vitamin D and is one of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of ‘good’ fat that are essential to our bodies, especially for brain function. They have antioxidant properties and are linked to reduced risk of disease, including childhood asthma, cardiovascular diseases and prostate cancer.

Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines and cod, are the ‘best’ type of fish as they are more nutrient dense than the others. The skin of fish such as salmon contains most of the good fats, so should be consumed wherever possible.

Fish doesn’t need to be fresh. Tinned fish and sardines are just as nutrient dense as fresh fish. They are cheaper, easier to prepare and more versatile. Frozen fish is a great alternative that can be kept on hand, ready to use and is still super fresh.

5 ways to include fish:

  1. Add a tin of tuna or salmon to a roast vegetable or green salad at lunch.
  2. Combine fresh fish with thai flavours such as lemongrass, ginger, lime, chilli and garlic and make some fish cakes (see recipe below).
  3. Combine your favourite pasta with some tuna, roast vegetables, cheese and some natural yoghurt and cook as a pasta bake.
  4. Cook a fillet of salmon, skin side down with the lid on until just pink in the middle. Serve with a green salad and some oven baked sweet potato chips.
  5. Lightly crumb fillets of salmon and bake or fry in a small amount of oil. Serve with homemade tartare sauce – natural yoghurt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, gherkin and capers.
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