Access Allied Health

Food Intolerances and FODMAPs

Access Allied Health - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the low FODMAP diet

Irritable bowel Syndrome or IBS isn't really a dinner table topic of conversation but it affects around one in five people at some time.  IBS is a long term condition that has a long list of symptoms including abdominal pain and distention, bloating, excess wind, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation or a combination of both) and other gastrointestinal symptoms.  The cause is unknown but there are some known triggers such as change in routine, emotional stress, infection and diet. Unfortunately IBS cannot be cured with medication.  The good news is that research by Dr Sue Shepherd from Monash University in Melbourne has proven that there is a very effective dietary therapy for IBS.  It's the low FODMAP diet.

 food map

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat.  FODMAP is an acronym (abbreviation) of certain molecule collections found in food that are poorly absorbed by some people.  These molecules shoot through to the large intestine (rather than being absorbed by the body) and become a food source for the bacteria that live there naturally.  The symptoms experienced by those with IBS are the outcome of the complex molecules (FODMAPs) being digested or fermented by the bacteria.

 

The low FODMAP diet has two phases.  The first phase involves eliminating high FODMAP foods for a period of 6 - 8 weeks.  The second phase involves gradually testing these high FODMAP foods to see which ones can be reintroduced and are suitable for each individual.   Obviously each low FODMAP diet is going to look different for each individual.  Tim Black our principal dietitian has completed two training courses at Monash University in Melbourne on the low FODMAP diet and has excellent success helping his clients find relief from the symptoms of IBS.   






Proof of new red wine anti-ageing link

Access Allied Health - Thursday, March 21, 2013

If you ever needed another excuse to pick up a glass of red, then read on.  New research[1] has suggested that ‘a red a day’ is keeping the wrinkles away.  Specifically, a molecule found in red wine has the ability to activate an anti-ageing protein in our body.  This molecule, an antioxidant called resveratrol, has had the attention of researchers for a number of years due to its possible benefits for cancer prevention, diabetes management and cardiovascular risk reduction.  This new finding adds ‘anti-aging’ to growing list of potential benefits to having a quiet red to the delight of many a wine enthusiasts.

But, if you’re reaching into the cellar while reading this, visualising a younger you, then before you find the corkscrew please note: Experts say that the amount of resveratrol contained in red wine is not quite enough to impact on our anti-ageing protein and therefore benefits would be limited.  Still, it adds weight to the mounting evidence that a glass or two is good for us in the long run.  So enjoy today’s cab sav with the knowledge your taking a step towards a healthier you.  For additional steps, please contact the experts – your accredited practicing dietitian.



[1] Hubbard, B.P et al (2013) Evidence for a Common Mechanism of SIRT1 Regulation by Allosteric Activators, Science, 339 (6124), 1216-1219

Image from: http://www.zmescience.com/research/ladies-drink-up/ 

Should I take nutritional supplements?

Access Allied Health - Thursday, February 07, 2013

In my youth, as newly-graduated dietitian armed with idealistic ambition to make the world a healthier place I would have answered this question a little differently than I will today.  Back then, when the broccoli was greener, I suspected that a lack of education was the main cause of rising fast food sales and the unpopularity of lentils.  “If I tell them,” I thought as I hummed the ‘Rocky’ theme song, “they will change”.  Surely all the motivation one needed to mix cottage cheese into their brown rice was the knowledge that their daily molybdenum requirement will be met (yes molybdenum IS an actual nutrient).

Armed with this belief and my youthful exuberance, I previously would have been quick to state the fact that a good diet will meet all nutritional requirements and the use of nutritional supplements is quite literally money down the toilet.  But now I’m not so young, I’m not so self-assured and while I still fundamentally believe in good nutrition for optimal health, I now consider there to be more than one way to skin a cat so to speak.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I mean, what sort of dietitian would I be if I thought that the food we eat couldn’t be meet our nutritional needs.  Of course it can – but does it?  While I don’t expect our molybdenum requirements to be the major driver of our food choices (anymore), far too often our frantic lifestyle and need of convenience are leading us to form food habits not conducive to meeting our nutritional needs.

Ok, ok – I’ll admit - I’ve only ever met one person in my years of practice that showed clinical signs from a vitamin deficiency and acute symptoms of dietary inadequacy in the developed world are rare.  So maybe it’s just some remaining idealistic ambition that I can’t shake, in continuing to push for dietary change – after all we seem to be doing alright.  However, when we consider non-clinical markers – such as fatigue, malaise and poor workplace productivity perhaps there remains a case for dietary change and a revitalised campaign to meet requirements.

While lifestyle change will always remain the flagship to correcting these dietary deficiencies, perhaps a multivitamin may offer, dare I say it, a reasonable solution.  Or perhaps I'm simply getting old and cynical.  Either way, before attempting dietary change or choosing a nutritional supplement, please speak to an expert - an accredited practicing dietitian.

 

Fast or slow weight loss - which is better?

Access Allied Health - Thursday, January 24, 2013

”Is it better to lose weight slowly?” I get asked this question all the time and the short answer is ‘no’.

I’m not sure where it came from, but there seems to be this idea that losing weight slowly is somehow much more meritorious and honourable than losing it quickly.  And I, for one, don’t buy into it.

Be it fast or slow, weight loss is one of the most effective health improvement strategies for anyone carrying a few too many kilos.  But motivated new-years resolutioner’s beware.  Losing weight will only improve your health if your lost weight stays lost.  In fact, should you pile on the pounds after losing weight you end up unhealthier than if you’d never lost weight in the first place!

Given that reported statistics tell us only five per cent of weight losers are successful in keeping their tummies trim, a maintenance strategy is something that needs to be incorporated into any weight loss plan.

I guess this is one advantage of a slower weight reduction, as it does suggest that some moderate lifestyle changes have been made and stuck to over time.  This, in turn, may make maintaining that loss easier.  Now this doesn’t at all invalidate faster weight loss.  But should it be fast or slow, improvements to your health will only be seen if you keep the weight off long term.

So before you head down to the chemist to pick up a month’s supply of meal replacements, spend some time considering the day-to-day changes you’ll need to make once the replacements run out.

For help with a weight maintenance plan, see the experts – an accredited practicing dietitian.