Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – The Accumulative Factor

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Over the years I have found it fascinating to hear what people believe about the food they are eating. I ask my clients to complete a lengthy questionnaire on general health and eating habits from childhood and also a two week food diary. Many times I will see quite healthy food diaries but the interesting thing is that rarely do I see One piece of toast, One biscuit or cookie, One roast potato etc. Most of these items seem to come in pairs…..or multiples thereof….

The other interesting topic of conversation with some clients was that they did not eat fruit such as bananas because they were fattening!  However, they would think nothing of eating a 100gm bar of chocolate per day as their one treat! An average banana has about 100 to 150 calories depending on size and a huge number of health benefits.. 100gm of chocolate does have anti-oxidants in the darker variety but comes in at 500 calories and rather a lot of fat!


I first began to think of the accumulation factor when I was working and looking at ways to improve the company image and productivity. I began project 101 – everyone in the company, around 150 people, were involved from our Italian handyman to all the senior executives. Instead of making one or two major sweeping changes, everyone was invited to submit any change that they felt improved the product, company image, customer service etc. At the end of three months we had a fantastic list of small changes that we implemented and which made a real difference to not only the bottom line and customer satisfaction but also to team dynamics and work environment.

When I retrained in my mid 40’s as a nutritional therapist I began to apply the same principal to my work with clients both in weight loss and also in their general health. For example, for someone with rheumatism to begin walking for five minutes gently per day, adding a minute each week until they were walking comfortably for 20 minutes per day.

For weight loss clients it was quite an eye opener when they discovered how much weight in pounds of fat they were carrying due to their habit of just eating two cookies or biscuits a day with their afternoon tea. In the table below I have used some averages for the calorie equivalents but roughly 80-120 per biscuit.

fat accumulation tableSo at 200 calories for 2 biscuits everyday with a cup of tea that is 1400 calories per week, 72,800 per year which at 3,500 calories per pound amounts to around the 20lbs in body fat per year.

I am not a kill joy and love a good biscuit or cookie occasionally but if you need to lose 10lbs to 14lbs you could do so by just having one biscuit with your tea instead of two!.

The Fat Accumulation Table compares the most common foods in our diet. Many are very healthy foods and should be included regularly but they do give you a comparison to some of those that are best eaten from time to time.  Just check to see if something you are eating on a daily or very regular basis may be the reason that you cannot shift that last 10lbs, even though you are eating healthily the rest of the time.

Having said that I also believe in eating the real food.. I use full fat milk and butter along with olive oil.  Although still processed they have not been industrialised, which is the term that I use for food that has been through a number of chemical changes and been added to with artificial elements to enhance taste and texture!

Because the foods are generic the calories are average estimates too but serve to give you a rough idea. Biscuits average calories refers to choc chip and other filled biscuits which is why they are slightly higher in calories.

As always I do recommend that you Cook from Scratch. And that you limit your industrialised foods to no more than 10 to 20% of your diet with the remainder being fresh, unenhanced vegetables, fruits, lean protein and carbohydrates. It is the hidden extras in processed foods that very often do the damage and certainly even eating healthy fats and carbohydrates can accumulate if you do not exercise enough to use up before they are deposited in the fat cells.  I literally had to put on not just my reading glasses but my normal pair as well the other day to read the labelling on a jar.. but it was worth the effort when I saw how much sugar was in that particular brand of pasta sauce.

The old fashioned calories in and calories out equation still works and if you have a look at what you are eating on a daily basis you may spot one or two items that would be better to the power of one... However, I don’t believe in counting every calorie for the food you are taking in… if you are eating natural and unprocessed foods from the shopping list that I posted the other day you are doing well.

Next time..Food is often used for comfort or to reward us for daily events and the manufacturers are pretty slick when it comes to appealing to our basic instincts!  If you are going to become healthy and reach a healthier weight you need to create a new reward system.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me


Vitamin of the Week – B2 – Riboflavin – with some healthy controvesy!

 smorgasbord health

Welcome to the start of this week’s health posts and whilst I am going to cover one of the essential B vitamins today; B2 – Riboflavin, I am also going to be stirring things up a bit with some controvesy.  I do not care what dietary stance that you have as long as you follow it fully informed. Over the last twenty years I have worked with many people whose health has been compromised, sometimes seriously by following the latest food trend. The worst being the complete withdrawal of one of the main food groups that has sustained and developed the human body over hundreds of thousands of years.

There is a new theory and ‘expert’ opinion every decade and I consider this to be highly dangerous to health. Second guessing nature never ends well and that includes modifying the foods that we eat, removing nutritious natural foods from our diet, and mass farming of animals to produce the cheapest possible foods possible. I would rather do without my flat screen television, smart phone or other ‘must haves’ than compromise on food quality.

Later on in the post you will find some other views on the subject but in the meantime here is one vitamin that plays a vital role in our health.

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Like the other B vitamins, B2 plays an important role in energy production by ensuring the efficient metabolism of the food that we eat in the form of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It plays a key role in our nutritional processes such as its help in processing amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is the substance that we are made of. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the various different proteins used in the growth, repair and maintenance of our body tissues and whilst eleven of these are made by the body itself, the others must be obtained from our diet and processed by other agents including B2.


Vitamin B2 is a vitamin that is essential for metabolising carbohydrates to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) without which we would be totally lacking in energy. It also works with enzymes in the liver to eliminate toxins, which helps keep us clear of infection.

Pre-Natal health

B2 is needed to change B6 and Folic Acid into an active and usable form so that our nervous system is protected. Folic acid is essential for healthy cell division and is needed before and during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy to help prevent birth defects. B2 is also part of the process that changes tryptophan, so important to our mental wellbeing, into niacin.

Blood Health

Research into anaemia has highlighted the role of B2 in the body’s inability to manufacture red blood cells. There are two areas that would appear to be particularly critical. One is the vitamin’s role in mobilising iron from storage to the cells and secondly that a deficiency prevents the efficient absorption of iron. (I will be doing a post on Anaemia later in the week)

Antioxidant efficiency

Our bodies have an extremely complex chemical operating system and it is synergistic. It is rare for one of the chemical components to work in isolation and it usually requires a reaction to occur to achieve a function. For example B2 is needed to recycle the vital antioxidant Glutathione in its oxidised state (after it has done its job to detoxify the unstable free radicals) into reduced Glutathione so it can go back and do the job again.

Other areas where B2 is essential.

Without sufficient B2 we would not have healthy skin, nails and hair and our thyroid function can be compromised

B2 works in conjunction with B1, B3 and B6 and as a supplement is more usually taken as part of a B complex. Incidences of deficiency are low but are more prevalent in alcoholics and has been found in people suffering from cataracts or sickle cell anaemia. It is more likely to be a problem in developing countries where there has been some link to preeclampsia in pregnant women.

Sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome, the main symptom being lack of energy, are often deficient in the B vitamins and again B2 would be included as part of a B-complex supplement.

Other areas where eating foods rich in B2 may be helpful are with migraines, headaches, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, anaemia and also skin conditions such as acne.

The vitamin is water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body except in very small amounts so needs to be replenished from diet every day.

Dairy products are one of the main sources of Vitamin B2.


You will see a number of articles on the toxic components in milk products in comparison to prepared soy, nut and other milks touted as the healthier option. Man has been drinking the milk of sheep, goats and cows for many thousands of years and you can be sure they got more than milk when they did, including the bacteria from their own unwashed hands as they milked the animal. My stand on dairy products is you get what you pay for and if you insist on buying the cheapest possible milk and other dairy products you are encouraging the practice of mass farming. I like my milk to come from cows that live an outdoor life, eat grass and line-up of their own accord when it is time to hit the milking parlour.

Having said that in most of our countries there are vigorous testing and processing stages in place to minimise the toxic content of what we eat and drink. I am not naive and know that the various sectors of the food industry will spin whatever story is necessary to get us to buy their product in favour of a competitor; but being an informed consumer means doing your own research. Here is an article on milk you might like to read and then one on the promoted health benefits of drinking the alternatives. If I was to use an alternative it would not be soy-milk but rice milk. The only proviso with rice milk is if you are diabetic or at risk of diabetes and you can find out more in the link.

Offal meats.

Over the last twenty years there has been a move away from the offal meats that used to be so popular such as liver and kidney. Again I prefer to buy organic and we certainly eat from time to time. The main issue with liver is that it is both the waste organ of an animal and also the body’s storage facility which makes it a strong tasting meat as well as making it unpopular with many who feel it is gross to eat organ meat. Here is an informative article from Dr. Mercola.

It is a rich source of B Vitamins and if you do eat meat then I recommend that you go to a butcher that sells organic organ meats or a farm shop and buy from that source.



This is another rich B vitamin food source that has suffered in recent years from bad press. At various times eggs have been blamed for increased cholesterol, salmonella and other diseases. The cholesterol theory has been debunked and with the screening now available within the high end of  the egg industry; it is rare to find infected eggs.

It is also to remember that if you have a strong immune system, promoted by a healthy diet your body is designed to deal with a level of toxins in our food very effectively. It is only the very young and elderly, or those who have compromised immune systems that are at risk.

Again I am against factory farming particular of chickens to I am very happy to pay more for this highly nutritious food. It is a powerhouse and contains healthy amounts of not only B vitamins but also protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Selenium and phosphorus. I eat one a day and as an alternative to meat and fish regularly during the week.

Wholegrain Rice.


This is another of my daily foods and whilst it is again a trend to exclude all grains from the diet I strongly disagree. I cannot tolerate white, packaged bread that has been industrially produced. Not because it has the natural wheat included but because it does not. It has a heavily refined white flour that has been added to by various chemically enhanced additives and sugar. If I eat fresh home-baked soda bread made with wholegrain flour or even the supermarket bakery baguettes; I don’t have a problem.

The same with rice. I would not touch refined cheap white rice as it has lost all its nutrients in the processing and some have even been added back artificially to give it a ‘healthy’ appeal. We use Basmati wholegrain rice which is a slow burning fuel, low on the Glycemic Index and full of nutrition including the B vitamins. If you would like to know more about the Glycemic index of foods here is the link from last week.

Vegetarian options.

You can get B vitamins from vegetarian sources and in particular dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. You can include Soybeans but again I would pay extra and buy guaranteed non-genetically modified products. Also good amounts in asparagus, mushrooms and almonds.

Chopping and cooking can destroy over 75% of the vitamin content of green vegetables. Step one is not to buy fresh greens that have been pre-cut and packaged. They might be more convenient but by the time it gets to your pot after several days it will have lost at least 50% of its nutritional content. Then if you overcook much of the rest will disappear into the water.

Buy the vegetables whole, eat raw or steam. Buying good quality frozen vegetables is another alternative but again most have been chopped before freezing.

Coming up this week.. Anaemia and how to ensure you are not at risk.

You will find the previous posts on the nutrients we need to be healthy in this directory.