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Healthy Eating – the science behind our dietitian approved programmes

Watch the video from Dr. Nicole Avena and TED Ed at the bottom of the page

We do our best to stay on top of the health information regarding healthy eating and we are concerned that you receive the correct healthy eating messages. Highly processed foods, in excess, are a cause for concern in the UK as many contain hidden sources of sugar, salt, saturated and trans fats, some also can contain additional ingredients, such as, colourings and flavour enhances, its best to know what you are eating as you can make the right choices for your health.

Our programmes are dietitian approved.  To read more about what this means to you click here.

The science behind healthy eating is an ever changing area and below we have included some studies and health information that we thought you may be interested in.

    Processed foods, including fast and takeaway foods in excess, can increase your risk    of heart disease

A bulletin (2012) by the World Health Organisation reported that a so-called “Western” diet high in salt, sugar, saturated fat and trans fat which were found mainly in processed foods, fast and takeaways, in excess, were associated with a higher risk of Cardiovascular Diseases. These also contributed to excess calories in the diet.

‚Äč   Processed foods in excess could be associated with depression

An analysis on Middle aged men and women whose diet was high in processed foods - such as processed meat and sugary drinks and foods – were found to be associated with depression compared with participants who ate mainly a “whole foods” pattern, such as plenty of vegetables, fruit and fish, according to this study. This study was also published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, European Journal of Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition and Diabetic Medicine and the information can be found here in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Further research that gives more conclusive evidence is needed.

   A diet high in processed and red meat, salt and low in fibre, including fruit and vegetables, can increase the risk of certain Cancers

Experts think that nearly one in ten UK cancer cases are linked to less healthy diets according to information published by  Cancer Research UK. 

   Too much Trans fats in the diet can lead to high cholesterol which is linked with heart disease and stroke

According to information by the NHS trans fats, that are present in some processed foods, which help give a longer shelf life, in excess, can increase cholesterol levels which can lead to health conditions such as, heart disease and stroke. 

   Excess calories can lead to obesity, this is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes

A study of data on 175 countries suggested that every 150 kcals per day per person increase in sugar availability, increased the risk of diabetes. A point to ponder: Sugar is present in many highly processed foods or drinks. This is one study and further studies are needed to conclude the role of sugar and diabetes. However we do know that being overweight or obese will increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

   Drinks containing stimulants and heavy meals can disrupt sleep

According to the sleep review. caffeine and alcohol which are stimulants, if taken near bedtime can disturb a good nights’ sleep, which could leave you tired and less unable to function effectively during the day. A heavy meal or too much food can also disrupt your sleep pattern. Lack of sleep regularly could put you risk of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and lower your mood. More info here from the  NHS.

   Can sugar be addictive?

Without realising, that slice of cake, chocolate or sugary drink can become a daily habit. We often reward ourselves with a sugary treat or associate these foods with making ourselves feel good. Sugar is often contained in highly processed foods that can also contain salt and saturated fat. Don’t get into that daily habit.

Neuroscientist Dr.Nicole Avena has the answers for you. Find out what sugar does to your brain in this animated video from Dr. Nicole Avena and TED-Ed.


To find out if you can eat chocolate, drink alcohol, avoid processed foods take a look at our healthy eating factsheets page where you will find the answers to these questions plus much more find the page here.

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