Category Archives: Nutrition

To Diet or not to Diet!

So many Diets!

Ever wanted to lose weight, went on this or that diet, only to be left more confused and frustrated because you’ve not seen any results or worse yet, you’ve finally lost some weight (YAY) only to find that after some time you’ve put all that lost weight back on plus some more, and now you find that you’ve got less energy and a slower metabolism.

Angry fat woman punching scale by hammer, shouting.

Unfortunately there are so many different diets out there that claim they are the “ultimate” diet and guarantee you the much sort after weight loss that you have been after!

There are so many categories of diets, and the lists of diets for each category are endless !

  • Belief-based diets
  • Vegetarian diets
    • Semi-vegetarian diets
  • Weight control diets
    • Low-calorie diets
      • Very low calorie diets
    • Low-carbohydrate diets
    • Low-fat diets
  • Crash diets
  • Detox diets
  • Diets followed for medical reasons


How to choose?

Unfortunately every human being is different and we all metabolize various foods differently. Some of us are very sensitive to certain foods and some of us can handle an excess of certain foods where some can’t. This is the very same reason that some diets work very well for some people and not so well for other people.

Now for any human being to survive we need 6 essential nutrients in proportionate quantities:

  1. Protein
  2. Carbohydrates (Including Fibre)
  3. Fats (Including Cholesterol)
  4. Minerals
  5. Vitamins
  6. Water

This is where we have to use our head and big warning signs should go off when we see a diet that is restricting us of any of these vital nutrients! When any diet plan also removes a whole food group from your diet, unfortunately you are not going to be getting that particular nutrient provided by that food group. This is unfortunately how a lot of nutritional deficiencies are caused and sometimes our bodies are  irreparably damaged.

How does food damage me?

But my diet works!

This is where you’ve really got to try and understand why or how your particular diet is working! The basis of all diets comes down to restricting total caloric intake in order for it to come in below your “caloric maintenance”, this is the total amount of calories your individual body needs in order to maintain its current muscle mass and survive. So when you are consuming less calories than what your body actually needs, you are going to lose weight.

NB: In order to not lose any muscle mass while losing fat, you need to be exercising. This sends your body a signal that you cannot afford to lose any muscle mass, as the muscles are put under constant strain and need to adapt to the stimuli of exercise. This only leaves the excess fat stores in your body to burn for fuel, and not your muscles!

You can actually still lose weight by eating all sorts of junk food with absolutely no nutritional value at all, as long as the total caloric intake is less than your caloric maintenance. Herein lies the success and danger with the diets that are so called helping you lose weight.

These diets will have you in a caloric deficit (which is essential for weight loss) but they also cut out most of the essential elements that we need to survive! This unfortunately does make you lose weight but it compromises your health in a very dangerous way by robbing you of nutrients, and your body starts scavenging for the nutrients it needs by breaking down precious muscle (which we need) and fat stores!

Healthy or unhealthy

Science has shown us that nutritional deficiencies give rise to the following :

* Excess body fat and obesity * Menopausal symptoms
* Excess alcohol hangovers * Muscle cramping and aches
* Exhaustion and chronic fatigue * Otitis and ear infections
* Enteritis or Crohn’s syndrome * PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome)
* Blood disorders and anaemia * Hypertension and high blood pressure
* Poor hair growth and hair loss * Chest tightness, shortness of breath, asthma
*Hypo and hyperthyroidism *Allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities
* Allergic rhinitis and hay fever * ASDV (arteriosclerotic vascular disease)
* Poor leg circulation and varicose veins * Podagra, gout, elevated uric acid
* Cold sores and herpes labialis * Insomnia and sleeping disorders
* Common colds, viral infections, and flu * IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
* Stomach pain, heartburn, or indigestion * Insulin resistance and diabetes
* Sinus inflammation (sinusitis) * Joint inflammation and arthritis
* Slow colonic transit and constipation * Lung infection and bronchitis
* Stomach ulcers * Low immunity and recurrent infections
* Thrush, fungal infections, and
* Mood disorders and depression
* Tumours, lumps, and cancers * Excessive bruising
* Colon inflammation and colitis * Chronic pain and fibromyalgia
* Calculi and gallstones * Dementia and Alzheimer’s
* Diverticula inflammation (diverticulitis) * Migraines and headaches
* Urinary tract infection (UTI) or cystitis

skinny Muscular women

The above pictures are great examples of what healthy and unhealthy weight loss looks like. Ask yourself, which woman looks healthier, would be able to perform at peak physical performance, would be able to fight off disease or sickness easier, and is less likely to have any nutritional deficiency or be less prone to any of the ailments mentioned above?

Although both ladies are obviously not overweight, there is a drastic difference between the two in the following areas : Muscle mass, body shape, metabolic rate and health.

You see when losing weight the wrong way, you also lose muscle mass and strength. (This is the point where you go fetch your scale and throw it in the dustbin!) Muscle weighs much more than fat, and weight is never an indicator of health or being in shape! Unfortunately when you start losing muscle mass, your metabolism also slows down significantly (and this is not a good thing!) Muscle burns a lot more calories and therefore it raises your caloric maintenance, never mind the fact that you are stronger and look better, as it is our muscles that give our bodies shape and curves (as seen above). This is one of the main reasons why people put on more fat after they have lost weight incorrectly on fad diets, as they have also lost muscle mass and lowered their metabolic rate.

I would recommend a personalized nutritional plan while doing resistance training. This way you would reach a caloric deficit while still getting all the vital nutrients and keeping or increasing muscle mass while avoiding the many pitfalls and dangers of an incorrectly based diet.

Toxic overload – Cell Oxidation

We all want to be healthier, right?

Let’s imagine that you have a brand new, red Ferrari!

You pull up to a petrol station and you want to fill the petrol tank. You’re now faced with a decision. What petrol do I use in my brand new Ferrari?

The obvious choice would be the petrol with the highest octane (After all, we want the best performance out of our sports car!), and the cleanest burning petrol (We want to look after our Ferrari’s motor and make sure it runs as clean as possible and as long as possible!).

I’d like to think that we’re on the same page as to which petrol would be best for your new red Ferrari!

Unfortunately this very same logic ceases to prevail with everyone when it comes to choosing the correct food (Petrol) for our bodies (Red Ferrari).

Just as an engine can only run at peak performance and peak endurance with the correct type of fuel, so too do our bodies require the correct nutrition to be able to run at peak performance.

The human body has this amazing ability to be able to repair itself when it gets injured or sick, build it’s own defences against diseases and viruses, adapt to stimuli in the form of exercise by building stronger and bigger muscles, increasing the bodies endurance capacity to enable us to work harder, faster and much longer. The human body is by far, more complex and adaptable than any red Ferrari.

Why then do we not apply the very same logic of “Best fuel = Best performance” to our own bodies?

With the advancements in food processing (chemicals, deep frying etc.), storage (canned foods, preservatives etc.), additives (colourants, sweeteners etc.) and refinement (Flour, corn syrup etc.), it has increased the availability and diversity of our food and at the same time brought the cost of food down exponentially.

Bad food!

Unfortunately as much as we have advanced with food, not all of these advancements are healthy for us. The human body cannot digest and deal with all these changes correctly.

These advancements unfortunately lead to an overload in the total toxicity in the human body.

You see, our body is in a constant state of repairing damage caused by oxidation.

As oxygen interacts with cells of any type – an apple slice , in a cut on your skin, the cells lining your lungs or in your body– oxidation occurs.

This produces some type of change in those cells. The cells may die, as with rotting fruit. In the case of cut skin, dead cells are replaced in time by fresh, new cells, resulting in a healed cut. This birth and death of cells in the body is a process that is necessary to keep the body healthy and goes on continuously, 24/7.

Oxidation is a very natural process that happens during normal cellular functions. The processes of breathing, exercising and breaking down food creates free radicals in our body. However, there’s a downside. While the body is very efficient in metabolising oxygen, 1% or 2% of our cells get damaged in the process and their molecules turn into free radicals. “Free radicals” are unstable molecules, with unpaired electrons. They are “free” because they are missing an electron, which sends them on a riot to find another electron to pair its unpaired electron. The new free radical can then pull an electron off the next molecule, and a chemical chain reaction of radical production occurs. The free radicals produced in such reactions often terminate by removing an electron from a molecule which becomes changed or cannot function without it. This chain reaction causes damage to the molecule and cell, and ultimately the DNA that contains it.

Unfortunately as free radicals rob any molecule of the missing electron they damage cells and DNA along the way.

Cross-linking of atomic structures are caused by free radicals, which lead to disease (Particularly cancer) and ageing. Cross-linked fat and protein molecules lead to wrinkles. Heart disease and stroke from plaque in the arteries are caused when free radicals oxidise fat molecules (LDL)

There is hope!

Thankfully our bodies have a natural defence system to cope with free radical damage called antioxidants. The problem comes in when we are eating all the incorrect food as mentioned above and the total load of free radicals become too much for our body to handle. This is when we experience a toxic overload of free radical which cause damage.

Antioxidants are molecules that safely terminate the bad chain reaction before any damage is done by interacting with the free radicals.

This is where eating correctly becomes vital to our everyday lives.

Our body cannot unfortunately manufacture all the main antioxidants that hunt down free radicals.

The main antioxidants to be consumed in the macro-nutrients that our body needs are D-Alpha tacopherol, Beta-carotene, Ascorbic acid and Selenium.

Thankfully nature has provided everything we need to stay healthy and perform at peak performance!

Types of Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)

Sooooo, weight training!

When dealing with weight lifting, things are not as clean cut as “lifting weights = getting bigger and stronger”

You have to have a clear understanding of what your goals are ie:

  • Pure Size
  • Strength
  • Endurance

Only once you’ve figured out what you want to achieve with your training can we delve deeper into the basic mechanics of how to train!

When it gets to Muscle Hypertrophy (Increased muscle mass), there are 2 types of muscle hypertrophy.

  1. Myofibrillar Hypertrophy
  2. Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy

Both types increase muscular size, but are not the same!


Myofibrillar Hypertrophy is when the actual myofibril size and amount increases (Increase in muscle fiber and amount of muscle fiber). This type of muscle is extremely dense and hard! A muscle consisting of mostly myofibrillar hypertrophy feels as hard as rock in a contracted state.  This increases your strength exponentially as the amount of muscle fiber is increased and muscle fiber size is increased.

Myofibrillar hypertrophy usually occurs withing the 6 – 8 rep range (Using a weight that you are only just able to complete 6 – 8 reps per set)

Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy is when the muscles sarcoplasm ( Fluid within the cell membrane) increases. There is no increase in myofibril (Muscle fiber) size and no new myofibrils created. The only thing that increases is the sarcoplasm (Fluid within the cell) volume per cell.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy does increase the overall size and appearance of muscles (Even at a resting state the muscle appears to be much larger and blown up), but there are no strength gains as the muscle fibers have not increased or become bigger! A muscle consisting of mostly sarcoplasmic hypertrophy feels very soft and puffy in a contracted state, as there are no new or larger muscle fibers to recruit and only sarcoplasm. This type of Hypertrophy will mostly occur withing the 9 – 15 rep range per set.

Any rep range above 15 reps per set will start working on your muscles endurance ability and start becoming an Aerobic  exercise rather an Anaerobic. Any rep range between 1 – 5  per set increases your one rep maximum strength as your body adapts to the higher amount of weight used and is able to recruit almost all the muscle fiber available (Neuromuscular Efficiency). There is no size gain or endurance gain within the low rep range though!

The above demonstrates the importance of having a varied rep range to train with. We don’t want to be all SIZE and no power, but we also don’t want to be able to lift a ton once and then have nothing else left in reserve!

The 6 – 8 rep range per set (We’re talking each set to failure) is the ideal rep range to train in most of the time  as you get very good strength increases along with size and endurance gains, but as long as you don’t neglect the higher and lower rep ranges as you will be shortchanging yourself if you don’t get to train in these rep ranges as well.



I would like to congratulate you at this point for making it this far, because you have realised that you are not as healthy as you could or want to be, and something needs to change! This is sometimes a very painful realisation.

By now you have realised that what you are or aren’t eating is affecting your health!

You have also realised that you need to change your eating habits in order to help your body be healthier, as you can not continue on your current course and expect your body to be able to heal itself and recuperate correctly and efficiently.

It is at this point that I step in and help you on your journey to becoming a better, healthier, happier YOU!

Your body is a remarkable machine that can repair itself, grow stronger, fight off sickness and adapt to physical and mental stimuli.

My job is to help you give your body the correct food it needs to be able to perform all of these amazing tasks with efficiency.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to guide you scientifically, in your journey towards better health!