Articles on Health Matters:

Obese Should Exercise, Not Diet

Health professionals should shift focus from losing weight to becoming healthier.

Women who are clinically obese do not need to diet to improve their health, say British researchers.

A programme which encouraged women not to diet but to take part in exercise classes found significant improvements in health and mental well-being. The women in the study were also taught about good eating habits, such as how to cook and received social support.

After a year, the women had only lost a little weight but were significantly fitter and happier with themselves. the team from Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Hull, who are presenting the results at the British Society of Behavioural Medicine Scientific Meeting in Cambridge, said a healthy lifestyle could improve health risks regardless of weight.

The 62kg women aged 24 to 55 who took part in the study all had a body mass index of more than 30, which is classed as clinically obese. They were required to do four hours a week of exercise, such as taiji, aqua aerobics or circuit classes.

The programme also included educational sessions to teach them how to read food labels and cook food and behavioural therapy to help the women respond to body cues such as hunger and feeling full. One exercise used by the dietitian encouraged participants to eat a chocolate bar in small portions over the course of a week.

But the women were encouraged not to diet and to eat whatever they wanted in moderation. Women who took part in the scheme lost a small amount of weight from 108kg to 104kg after the first three months; whereas women in the control group put on an average of 3kg.

However, despite only a small amount of weight loss, the women in the programme ended up significantly fitter. Blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol fell and respiratory fitness increased. Women also felt better in terms of general well-being, body image, self-perception and stress.

Dr Erika Borkoles, exercise psychologist at Leeds Metropolitan University, said health professionals needed to shift their focus fromweight loss to helping people become healthier. She further adviced, "What is important is we don't set people up for failure. Psychological and physical health and metabolic risk factors geatly improved so that should lead us to think differently about intervention programmes. Don't go on diets, change the way you eat."

Women were taught skills which meant they could take part in exercise classes and they were given discounts to encourage them to continue with physical activity after the 12-month project finished.

Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum said, "It is well known you canimprove your lifestyle and reduce your risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. You can improve fitness without losing weight as you can gain muscle and lose fat and weigh the same or even gain weight. but I do not think the focus should shift."

This article was abstrated from,
The Straits Times, Mind Your Body, December 20, 2006
BBC News
22 Dec 2006

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The Big on Detox

The human is naturally equipped to remove potentially harmful substances. The liver, for example, works to reduce toxins into compounds that the body can safely handle and eliminate through the kidneys (as urine), skin (as sweat), lungs (as expelled air) and bowels (as faeces).

Ketki Vinayachandra, ND (Naturopathic Doctor) is a naturopath herbalist, nutritionist and iridologist from the Natural Therapies Centre adds, "Although the body does a pretty good job, the huge amounts of environmental contaminants today, may present too tough a challenge for its built-in detoxification systems."

Detoxification or Detox for short, was primarily used as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependence. However the term now refers to diets, herbs and other methods and treatments.Collectively, the aim is to remove environmental and dietary toxins from the body to improve health anf vitality, to clear symptoms, treat disease and prevent further problems.

It is believed that when toxins remain and accumulate in our bodies to dangerous levels, it may lead to the incidences of many toxicity diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease for instance, says Vinayachandra. In addition, a wide range of symptoms, such as coughs, headaches, fatigue, pains, gastrointestinal problems and problems from the immune weaknesses, can all be related to toxicity.

While there are many detoxification progremmes (DP) available differing in their actions and their intent, many are complicated and confusing to follow. Some DPs work only with bowels, others may clense the liver or the blood, while yet others, may aid the kidneys or tthe skin in their functions. A good program however, combines all into a total health program that can effectively restore one's health to an optimal level and make one look younger in the process, says Vinayachandra.

According to Vinayachandra, a good detox program should:
* be based on safety and effectivness
* use herbs, homeopathy, and nutriants
* be gradual and last for a duration unique to an individual's health status
* detox at cellular level
* clean the gastrointestinal tract, stirring up and freeing stored toxins
* bind the freed toxins with fibre for excretion and elimination
* restore power to the liver so it can once more eliminate toxins, poisons and contaminants
* improve the lymphatic system, to flush out toxins

Other factors must be considered in detoxification, like nutrition, water, and exercise, rest, sunshine and fresh air. Mental detoxification is also important.

According to Consultant Dietitian and Nutritionist at Food & Nutrition Specialists Pte Ltd, Wong Yuefen, Most detox regimes urge dieters to strip down their diets to basics of water and raw fruit and vegetables. Some diets also recommend laxatives, enemas, or colonic irrigation to speed up the detox process.

A detox diet, is a short-term diet that generally:
* Minimises the amount of chemicals ingested.
* Emphasises foods that provide the vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that the body needs for detoxification
* Contains foods that draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and urination such as high fibre foods and water.

Keith G Emuang
Spring - North East
23 Dec 2006

Do's & Don'ts of Detoxing

* Drink lots of water everyday - it's important to help flush out the toxins.

* Your body needs time to rest and rebuild while you are detoxifying - light stretching exercises and short walks in the fresh air are ideal.

* Try deep breathing and meditation - it increases the effectiveness of detox.

* Juicing (especially vegetable juices) - a great way to get minerals and vitamins absorbed in your body quickly.

* Try to eat organic - it doesn't add to the toxic load when following a detox programme.

* Don't eat refined flour, sugar, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, white potatoes or highly processed foods.

* Eat less of or try to avoid dairy and wheat products.

* Avoid beef, pork, cold cuts, sausage, bacon, hot dogs, shellfish, soy products, peanuts, refined oils and margarine.

* Avoid caffine and alcohol.

* Don't eat on impulse - eat regular meals with healthy snacks during detox period.

* Don not do vigorous exercises while cleansing.

Ketki Vinayachandra
Spring - North East
24 Dec 2006

Food & Nuitrition Specialists Pte Ltd -
Natural Therapies Centre -