How Toxic Is Your World?

We live in a world that is literally awash with a concoction of untested chemicals. They are in your soaps, detergents, cleaning products, furniture, cars, trains, planes, till receipts, plastics, paints, carpets, clothes, cosmetics, drinking water and food….and this is not by any means an exhaustive list! Not only have 80,000 chemicals been released into the environment since the end of the Second World War, the majority of them have never been thoroughly tested with respect to their potential effect on human health. We are only now just beginning to see the results of this ‘experiment’ that all of us (and there are no international boundaries involved) are unwittingly involved in.

Some of these chemicals have been classified as endocrine disruptors, meaning that they interfere with the intricate balance of hormones in both humans and wildlife, potentially leading to developmental and reproductive problems. In particular there is concern over the ever increasing  number of hormone related disorders in both humans and wildlife and the results of recent scientific research that links specific endocrine disruptive chemicals to the continued rise in specific health conditions, including  adverse pregnancy outcomes, thyroid disease, hormonally driven cancers, early puberty, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The United Nations and the World Health Organisation have jointly published a report ( that identifies these potential problems and calls for more research to understand the link between the chemicals in our environment and specific health conditions with the aim of reducing the ever burgeoning burden on our already strained healthcare systems.

The good news is that you can dramatically reduce the total toxic load that you are exposed to, by making sensible lifestyle choices when it comes to what you eat, drink, wear and use. I will be regularly discussing the merits of specific toxin reducing lifestyle strategies that you can implement into your lives, so that you are in the best possible position to be able to positively impact not only your own well being, but that of those around you and the planet as a whole.

What About The Calories?

The concept that calories consumed less calories expended equates to either weight gain or loss, is regarded by many as the holy grail to weight management. But is this really the case? Does the body work like this? The reality is that 97% of calorie controlled diets fail, with more weight gain happening after the diet has finished.

A calorie is a measure of the possible energy that can be obtained from burning a particular food. The reality, however, is that we do not eat food purely to create energy and heat, but also to do a plethora of other very important processes including, making enzymes, hormones, antibodies, muscle tissue and new cells. So the body does not simply use food as fuel but also for structure and repair.

Not all calories are equal. It depends not only on whether the calories are being supplied by fats, protein or carbohydrates but also on the type of fat or carbohydrate being consumed. For example there are many different types of fat. Some will be long chain saturated, some will be medium chain saturated, some will be unsaturated and some will be trans fats. The body will process and use each of these fats in a different manner. Each food type uses a different number of calories to digest and unlock their inner nutrients.

When you start eliminating the highly processed and typically glycaemic modern day foods and oils and replace them with whole food choices that we have evolved with for millennia (fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, wild pastured meats, line caught fish) the requirement to count calories is negated and you will start the journey to becoming the weight that you are genetically programmed to be.






Is Sitting Bad For You?

We should all now be well aware of the fact that including regular activity into our lifestyles is supposed to be good for your health. The Government certainly continues to try and communicate that message to the population as a whole. However, a large body of recent research, now points to the fact that too much sitting can significantly raise the risk of premature death along with developing obesity, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer; and here is the kicker EVEN if you exercise regularly. Exercising regularly (e.g. going to the gym or for a run) but sitting for the majority of the day still classifies you as having a ‘sedentary’ lifestyle. Most of us spend a great deal of our days sitting in cars, behind desks, on planes, trains and in front of the TV, with very little concern as to the long term effects on our health, especially if we consider ourselves to be ‘active’.

This effect was first officially observed in the 1950s when researchers found out that bus drivers (sitting all day) were twice as likely to die of a heart attack than their bus conductor colleagues (on their feet a lot of the time). The science is progressing all the time and currently there is no scientifically validated recommendation on just how long too long is when it comes to sitting. The current consensus is that ideally a short two minute break every 30 minutes will minimise the effect of sitting on one’s health, even if it involves no more than walking around the room, making a cup of tea or going over to speak with a colleague (standing up). There are a number of lifestyle choices that can make a significant difference to your overall activity levels during your day, helping you to mitigate the potential long term harm associated with a sedentary lifestyle.  I will be discussing specific strategies on how to reduce the detrimental effects of long term sitting in future posts.

For more information on his subject please have a look at the following NHS Live well article –