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October 2008

Welcome to my blog, where you'll find short tips, quick stories, resource links and other useful stuff about nutrition and weight loss. Its also where I rant and rave from time to time.

25 October 2008 - Why you shouldn't wait for a magic slimming pill... another obesity drug off the market

Why fix your diet and get active when you can take a pill to make you thin?

Aside from missing out on all the wellbeing boosting benefits of a nutrient-rich diet and regular invigorating activity, choosing a pill-only approach could harm your health.

Yet another obesity drug has been pulled off the market (at least temporarily) in Europe. Yesterday's Melbourne Sun-Herald newspaper article Europe suspends weight loss pill Accomplia reports that after 2500 adverse reports from British consumers, prescriptions have been suspended.

The problem with Accomplia, and one that has been well known (I provide a complete overview of Accomplia and other weight loss drugs in my Weight Managment Essentials Online Course) is that it increases the risk of psychiatric disorders. It may help you lose weight, but you could lose your mind along the way, which has become too much of risk according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

In Australia, Sanofi-aventis which makes Accomplia has put it's application to the Therapeutic Goods Adminstration (TGA) on hold.

Whether Accomplia makes it back onto the European market or into the Australian market doesn't change the fact that obesity drugs do have risks that need to be tightly managed and in some cases drugs should not be approved for use.

I'm a big fan of diet and exercise and this latest development makes me more motivated to keep on eating well and moving regularly.

24 October 2008 - Campaigning for regulation of the weight loss industry and accredited training

Download and read my brief submission to the Obesity Inquiry at the bottom of this page.

A common question I get about my SmartShape Certificate in Weight Management is, "Who is it accredited with and what qualification will I receive?"

The Certificate is made up of four courses, all Accredited continuing education programs with Fitness Australia providing 15 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) each course. So, if you are a registered fitness professional with Fitness Australia you can extend your training with our program.

I'd like to give everyone who completes the SmartShape Certificate in Weight Management a formal qualification that is recognised by the government. But there is no system to be able to do this because there is no formal training program for weight loss industry consultants, advisors or coaches.

Numerous pharmacies now claim to have 'trained', 'qualified' or 'professional consultants' to help you lose weight with their diet shake and meal replacement products. But there is no qualification available that they can claim.

Today, I gave evidence at the Melbourne Hearing for the The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Inquiry into Obesity in Australia and told the politicians that they need to act to regulate the weight loss industry in Australia and establish a training and qualification system.

There are 5 very important reasons why we need this:

  1. To provide financial protection - When people spend money on weight loss products that don't work they lose your money. We've got protection in the financial services industry with disclaimers and rules for hown inestments work, so why not in the weight loss industry to protect your investment in your shape and your health.

  2. To reduce unrealistic expectations - Dramatic before-and-after images and seemingly effortless slimming programs maintain the idea that weight loss is quick, easy and permanent for everyone. Rules for the appropriate use of imagery and claims in advertisements would help establish better expectations.

  3. To imrpove self-esteem and motivation - Each failed weight loss attempt can generate feelings of despair and compromise resolve to try again. Increasing standards in the industry would reduce the likelihood of consumers blaming themselves for failure.

  4. To prevent damage to metabolic function - Rapid weight loss that results from many quick-fix programs reduces metabolic rate within 24 hours and risks loss of muscle mass which for some people on some extreme programs can have a permenent effect.

  5. To promote positive messages - If consumers don't hear quick-fix messages and only receive postive, effective information about weight loss programs they will be more likely to choose programs that work.
There is a real risk that the Federal Government's $30m obesity awareness Measure Up campaign will be wasted if people take action, but choose weight loss programs that are either unsafe, ineffective or simply delivered by people who have inadequate training to help anyone lose weight.

Download and read my brief submission to the Obesity Inquiry at the bottom of this page.

23 October 2008 - Watch my top 10 healthy foods on Sunrise

Click to watch Matt's segmentNext time you go to the supermarket add these foods to your trolley for a health boost; salmon, blueberries, walnuts, soy, broccoli, oats, tomatoes, lentils, yoghurt and eggs.

If you already eat these foods, give yourself a big pat on the back as you are choosing some of the best nutrient-rich foods.

A note of eggs - the Sunrise website may say that eggs helps lower cholesterol (unless they correct it after they get my email). The thing about eggs is that if you have high blood cholesterol or a family history of high cholesterol you should on balance limit eggs to once or twice a week. This is because eggs do contain a relatively large amount of cholesterol - about your daily limit in one egg.

However, if you have normal cholesterol levels and no history of cardiovascular disease in your family, you can probably enjoy an egg every day without a negative effect on your cholesterol level.

When you unnecessarlily cut eggs from your diet you miss out on a good source of protein, iron and iodine. This is why eggs are aq nutrient-rich food.

Read & watch my segment on Sunrise

20 October 2008 - Watch my bad foods gone good on the Morning Show

Some foods and drinks may not be as bad as you think. Here are a few from my Morning Show segment today.

1. Crisps
Reputation - High in fat, calories and salt.
Good news - There are many more fat-reduced and low-fat savoury snacks available these days. Try oven-backed pretzels.
Energy = 420 kJ / 100 Cal per 45g (medium handful) serve.

2. Red wine
Reputation - High in alcohol and harmful to your health Good news - Small does, say 1 glass a day for women and perhaps 2 for men can reduce disease risk due to the alcohol itself and phenol antioxiants, including one called resveratol.
Energy - 300 kJ / 70 Cal per 100 mL glass.

3. Deli meats
Reputation - All highly processed and high in saturated animal fat so avoid them.
Good news - 97% fat free sliced ham, chicken, turkey that are high in protein, iron and low in carbohydrate.
Energy = 420 kJ / 100 Cal per 100g serve.

4. Vanilla custard
Reputation - High in fat, sugar and calories so should only eaten as a treat.
Good news - Trim vanilla custard is low in fat and a great sweet treat that provides some calcium.
Energy = 460 kJ / 110 Cal per 1/2 cup (125 g) & 200mg calcium.

5. Chocolate
Reputation - High in fat and sugar.
Good news - Also high in flavonoids, which are antioxiants found in cocoa so 2 squares a day can round off your nutrient-rich diet.
Energy - 330 kJ / 80 Cal per 2-3 squares.

By no means does the information above give anyone permission to pig out on these foods, but it does show you what wise choices and moderation is all about in practise.

Watch my segment on the Morning Show

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Related file downloads
Description Filename Size Download
matt O'Neills Obesity Inquiry Submission - 21Oct08 21Oct08.pdf 43.5k Download

 

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