Carte Blanche – Sugar Addiction

Tonight at 7pm Carte Blanche is airing an insert on ‘Sugar Addiction’ which includes an interview with ADSA President, Claire Julsing-Strydom. They asked some interesting questions and we would like to share those with you:

Is sugar addiction real?

The answer is that yes sugar can lead to addictive like eating behaviour. Food addiction is real, especially in individuals who have a predisposition towards addiction and addictive like eating behaviour. Studies refer to the hedonic pathway of food record, what we know is that excessive sugar intake alters dopamine and opioid neurotransmission thereby increasing food intake.  But it is important to note that BOTH sugar and high fat foods mobilise the latter establishing hard wired cravings in these areas.  Current literature indicates that addictive like eating behaviour can be attributed to refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour) as well as fats.  The Yale Food addiction scale suggests that highly processed foods that combine sugar and fat are more likely to lead to addictive like eating behaviours.

How much sugar is too much?

The intake of added sugar appears to be increasing steadily across the South African population. Children typically consume approximately 40-60 g/day, possibly rising to as much as 100g/day in adolescents. This represents roughly 5-10% of dietary energy, but could be as much as 20% in many individuals. The South African Food Based Dietary guidelines recommend that sugar and foods and drinks high in sugar be used sparingly.  The World Health Organisation have in their most recent guidelines recommended reducing total energy from sugar to below 5% from the previous 10%.  This equates to about 25g pf sugar per day which is approximately the same as 5 teaspoons of sugar. Keep in mind then that a single can of cold drink will exceed 25g of sugar.

In a balanced diet what kind of sugars should we be eating?

Naturally occurring sugars in whole foods such as lactose in yoghurt or fructose in fruits which occur in a fibre matrix have a very different metabolic process then refined carbohydrates and sugar.  It is important to avoid the excess intake of sugar – there is allowance for moderate intake in accordance with dietary guidelines. However research does intake that intakes of added sugars in on the rise and people need to start adjusting their intakes.

Why does ADSA have sponsors that have products that contain sugar?

Woolworths and Pick n Pay are sponsors of ADSA they stock chocolate and colds drinks, but just because they stock these particular food items and are sponsors of ADSA, does not mean that we as ADSA endorse or promote these particular products.  Our sponsorship policy states that we don’t endorse products and in accordance with the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines and evidence based information we make recommendations to our patients based on their individual nutritional requirements.

A food product that contains sugar can be included in a balanced meal plan as discussed earlier in line with local and international guidelines. Excess sugar intake however should be avoided as it is associated with adverse health risks. What is important to note is that when we have sponsorship discussions with industry it is made very clear that our sponsorship policy does not allow for endorsements in any way. ADSA is an NGO and all the dietitians that work for ADSA do so on a voluntary basis and do not get paid for the work that they do to serve the dietetics profession and the public by informing them on nutrition related matters. Various companies sponsor ADSA and all the funds that we collect through sponsorship are pooled. These funds are used in order to support the dietetics profession and ultimately the improvement of nutritional status for all South Africans. To read more on our sponsorship policy please visit our website: www.adsa.org.za


“People don’t eat nutrients, they eat food” – Meet The Dietitian

Over the next couple of months we will be introducing you to some of the amazing dietitians we work with every day. We are going to find out why they became registered dietitians, what they love about their work, how they cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices, and what people should look out for when choosing a dietitian.

Meet Nathalie Mat, a clinical dietitian in private practice.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I grew up in a family that loves and celebrates food but is also concerned with health. What really drew me to becoming a dietitian is that dietetics is based in science but requires artful skill for successful implementation. People don’t eat nutrients, they eat food and it’s my job to help interpret ever-evolving nutrition research into real food that people can eat and enjoy.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?

My heart absolutely sings when someone walks into my office looking vibrant and healthy and tells me how much better they feel – and all we did was fine tune their eating. I love seeing people transform their health and their relationship with food. It is wonderful seeing people achieve their goals and it is a privilege to share the journey with them.

What has been your career highlight?

Presenting my thesis at an international congress and receiving my masters in nutrition was a definite highlight. I’ve also really enjoyed serving as the ADSA Gauteng South chair and being part of my profession.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Because everyone eats food, almost everyone has a theory on nutrition that is their own and is unique to them. Helping people find their individual recipe for health is my job – but I have to fight a lot of misperceptions. Just because something worked for your aunt/friend/colleague does not mean it’s right for someone with your genetic background or lifestyle.

How do you cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices?

Firstly, if I am making a slightly less healthy choice, I really savour and enjoy it. I think food is meant to be enjoyed! I then make sure that I get back on the healthy bandwagon as soon as possible; I do not wait for Monday. Life is about balance. Your arms and legs won’t fall off if you eat a chocolate; just make sure that you’re choosing chocolate 10-20% of the time and making healthy, balanced choices the other 80-90% of the time.

What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?

Everyone always asks for a quick tip to losing weight – I don’t mind answering but people tend to ask a second time because they do not like my answer of “Eat more vegetables”. It makes me laugh.

If someone meets me for the first time and we’re having a meal, they often say “please don’t watch what I’m eating”. If it’s Saturday night or after hours, I’m not on the clock. I love answering nutrition questions but I am not secretly calculating everyone’s kilojoule intake.

“I have ; what should I eat for that”? I do my best work when I am in my office; if you’re keen on getting quality nutrition advice, go and see your dietitian for an appointment. Not only can a dietitian miss important points while you’re both eating dinner or having coffee, you are not likely to remember everything that was said over a meal.

What should clients look out for when deciding which dietitian to work with?

I think the most important aspect of working with any health professional is that they should hear you. Finding the right dietitian is like finding the right psychologist – you need to be on the same page. You’ve found the right dietitian for you if he/she can create a way of eating that is sustainable in the long term; is manageable (in terms of money, time and effort); and is tasty.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

I love everything. I really enjoy eating a wide variety of cuisines and styles so my favourite dish can change every time I’m asked. I am loving fragrant Indian curries at the moment. In terms of a favourite treat, my parents are both Belgian so I think chocolate will always be one of my favourites.

Nathalie Mat completed her Bachelors in Dietetics at the University of Pretoria where she is completing her Masters. Nathalie has experience in both State and Private hospitals and clinics. As a qualified personal trainer and avid cook, she is able to translate up-to-date scientific information into practical and achievable goals for her patients. Nathalie has been published across a variety of media and platforms including CPD activities, Oprah Magazine, Business Day and e-tv. She has worked as a guest lecturer and enjoys a variety corporate work. She’s the treasurer and chair for the ADSA Gauteng South branch.


ADSA represents registered dietitians working in various spheres of nutrition and dietetics in South Africa

The Association for Dietetics is the professional organisation for registered dietitians in South Africa. The activities of the organisation are centred around representing and developing the dietetic profession to contribute to optimal nutrition for all South Africans.

Registered Dietitians are qualified health professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) who have a minimum qualification of a four year scientific degree with training in all aspects and fields of nutrition and dietetics. Whether they consult privately to one client, work within a community or as part of the food supply chain, they have to adhere to best practice guidelines delivering sound dietary advice based on the latest scientific evidence.

ADSA members nominate and vote for members to serve on branch committees regionally or on the ADSA executive committee nationally, once every two years. These elected members serve on a voluntary basis, in their own time, without remuneration.

All committee members are registered dietitians working in different areas within nutrition and dietetics. The current executive committee has representatives from private practice, academia, government and the food industry.

As an association working in South Africa, we know South Africans eat a wide variety of foods from the entire food supply. We can’t ignore entire sections of the food industry, because they’re part of the daily diet of many South Africans.

We agree that while there are lot of nutritious, high quality foods on the market in South Africa, there’s a lot that can and needs to be improved when it comes to nutritional value and quality of some of foods sold in both the informal and formal food supply.

It’s therefore important that there are registered dietitians working in various sectors within the food industry, to influence changes that will benefit all South Africans.

Furthermore, registered dietitians working within the food industry have numerous important roles such as ensuring that foods are labelled correctly, as well as for ensuring compliance to various nutrition-related regulations, which provides the consumer with the information they require to make informed food purchasing decisions. They are also involved in managing nutrition-related queries about products, including ingredient queries, and can also be involved in corporate wellness programmes within the respective organisations, to name a few of their roles.

ADSA will continue to represent registered dietitians working in various spheres of nutrition and dietetics in South Africa, at all levels of the association, to ensure that the association is able to effectively represent and develop the dietetic profession to contribute to optimal nutrition for all South Africans.


Raw Chocolate Truffles

Spoil the one you love with some homemade ‘Raw Chocolate Truffles’ made from raw cocoa paste, dates, goji berries, raw almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon and honey.

Our dietitians say:

Date flesh is a high source of energy and 100 g of flesh (about 4 mejool dates) can provide an average of 1300 kJ. It is rich in mainly fructose and glucose; low in fat and protein; and a good source of magnesium, potassium, copper, selenium and manganese. The consumption of 100 g of dates can provide over 15% of the recommended daily allowance from these minerals.

Vitamins B-complex (especially Vitamin B6) are the major vitamins in dates and they are an excellent source of dietary fiber (up to 8.0 g/100 g).

Last, but not least, dates are a good source of antioxidants, mainly carotenoids and phenolics.

We love this recipe:

Easy to make, package in a beautiful box and voila … a great gift for mom.

The raw chocolate balls are also a great dessert option – and can double up as a high energy lunchbox snack or perfect ‘take along’ energy boost for runners or cyclists.

Ingredients

100 g raw cocoa paste

100 g dates

30 g goji berries

50 g raw almonds, chopped

20 g sunflower seeds

20 g flaxseeds

2 ml cinnamon

20 g honey

*Makes 20 truffles

How to make it

– put the dates into a small saucepan and cover with a little water. Cook the dates in a medium high heat until soft (about 5 minutes) and the water has evaporated. Mash the dates into a purée and set aside.

– gently melt the cocoa paste on a low heat.

– mix the melted cocoa paste, date purée, goji berries, almonds, seeds, cinnamon and honey into a firm paste.

– roll the mixture into 15g balls and dust with cocoa powder, or roll in seeds or coconut to decorate.

The nutritional value per truffle (makes 20 truffles):

Energy: 254 kJ

Protein: 2 g

Carbohydrate: 4 g

Total fat: 3.2 g

Dietary Fibre: 1.1 g

Sodium: 48 mg