Loose weight with Arlene Normand

June 6, 2017


Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:28 am


How does diet affect blood sugar levels?


As a diabetic it is essential that you manage your blood sugars. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. You are obviously not educated in what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall – food is central to this, particularly carbohydrate containing foods.

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it’s not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat and when you eat matters, too. Keeping to a regular schedule of eating can work to your advantage. This does not work all the time, but it is essential that it works most of the time. Your blood sugar level is highest an hour or two after you eat, and then begins to fall. But this predictable pattern can work to your advantage. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.

Ideally every meal should be well balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It’s especially important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and appropriate balance. Eat the right amount of foods, particularly carbohydrates (eg. fruit, bread, pasta, rice). Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size.

You must coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycaemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.


How important is it to take a multi-vitamin throughout pregnancy?

Nutrition and Healthy Eating Pregnancy

I am a healthy eater but obviously I don’t have the “perfect” diet and I know I don’t eat enough vegies.

What should I do? Do I need to be on a good pregnancy vitamin??



Eating a healthy, varied  diet in pregnancy will satisfy most of the vitamins and minerals you need. There are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important. It is recommended  to get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, but when you are pregnant you will need to take some supplements as well to make sure you get everything you need. It’s recommended that you take:

10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and if you breastfeed

400 micrograms of folic acid each day – you should take this from before you are pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant .Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A (retinol), as too much could harm your baby.


You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or your GP may be able to prescribe them for you. If you want to get your folic acid or vitamin D from a multivitamin tablet, make sure that the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol).


Folic acid is important for pregnancy as it can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. You should take a 400 microgram folic acid tablet every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks pregnant. If you didn’t take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out that you are pregnant.  You should also eat foods that contain folate (the natural form of folic acid), such as green leafy vegetables and brown rice. Some breakfast cereals, breads and margarines have folic acid added to them. Some women have an increased risk of having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, and are advised to take a higher dose of 5 milligrams (5mg) of folic acid each day until they are 12 weeks pregnant. Women have an increased risk if they:

or their partner have a neural tube defect

have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect

or their partner have a family history of neural tube defects

have diabetes

In addition, women who are taking anti-epileptic medication should consult their GP for advice, as they may also need to take a higher dose of folic acid.

If any of the above applies to you, talk to your GP as they can prescribe a higher dose of folic acid. Your GP or midwife may also recommend additional screening tests during your pregnancy.


Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, these are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. You need to take vitamin D during your pregnancy to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life. You should take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed.  In children, not having enough vitamin D can cause their bones to soften and can lead to rickets (a disease that affects bone development in children).  Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Some manufacturers add it to some breakfast cereals, soya products, some dairy products, powdered milk, and fat spreads such as margarine.  The best source of vitamin D is summer sunlight on your skin. The amount of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D is different for every person, and depends on things such as skin type, the time of day and the time of year. However, you don’t need to sunbathe: the amount of sun you need to make enough vitamin D is less than the amount that causes tanning or burning. If you have dark skin or always cover your skin, you may be at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency. Talk to your midwife or doctor if this applies to you.


If you are short of iron, you’ll probably get very tired and may suffer from anaemia. Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts contain iron. If you’d like to eat peanuts or foods that contain peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, you can do so as part of a healthy balanced diet unless you’re allergic to them or your health professional advises you not to. Many breakfast cereals have iron added. If the iron level in your blood becomes low, your GP or midwife will advise you to take iron supplements.

Vitamin C protects cells and helps keep them healthy. A balanced diet containing fruit and vegetables, including broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, and blackcurrants, can provide all the vitamin C you need.


Calcium is vital for making your baby’s bones and teeth. Dairy products and fish with edible bones – such as sardines – are rich in calcium. Breakfast cereals, dried fruit – such as figs and apricots – bread, almonds, tofu (a vegetable protein made from soya beans) and green leafy vegetables – such as watercress, broccoli and curly kale – are other good sources of calcium.


If you are Vegetarian or  Vegan , a varied and balanced vegetarian diet should give enough nutrients for you and your baby during pregnancy. However, you might find it hard to get enough iron and vitamin B12. Talk to your midwife or doctor about how to make sure you are getting enough of these important nutrients. If you are vegan (you cut out all animal products from your diet), or you follow another type of restricted diet because of food intolerance (for example, a gluten free diet for coeliac disease) or for religious reasons, talk to your midwife or GP. Ask to be referred to a dietitian for advice on how to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby.

A good pregnancy multi vitamin is recommended (eg. Elevit)  which you can take throughout your pregnancy. If you have a restricted food intake you should see a dietitian who will recommend certain supplements for your individual needs.


Why is low fat milk higher in salt and sugar?

Nutrition and Healthy Eating

I thought low fat milk would be better as it has less saturated fat, should I stick with full fat milk?



From a young age we are programmed to believe that milk is healthy, but as we get older, we start questioning the differences between skim milk and whole milk. You know that skim milk is probably better for your waistline, since it contains virtually no fat, but is it really worth sacrificing the taste of whole milk and opt for the fat-free variety? Can skim milk provide the same nutrients as whole milk, and it is healthy? The answer to all these questions is simply, yes.

Skim milk is also labeled as fat free milk, and in order for milk to be considered skim, it must contain less than 0.5% milk fat. In comparison, whole milk contains 3.5% fat and over half of this fat is saturated. One cup of skim milk holds 90 calories, while whole milk delivers 145 calories a serving.

Skim milk consists of the following nutrients (approximately as may vary from product to product):

Sodium – 130 mg

Carbohydrate – 13g

Sugars – 12g

Potassium – 382mg

Protein – 9g

Cholesterol – Less than 1%

Vitamin A – 10%

Vitamin C – 4%

Calcium – 30%

Vitamin D – 25%

Skim milk has the obvious benefits  of being kind to your waistline and not filling your body with fat or cholesterol. But, what about the nutritional potency of skim milk? Since the fat is removed, does this mean that vital nutrients are as well? While the fat content of skim milk decreases, the nutritional composition does not. In fact, some nutrients are actually increased during the fat removal process, such as protein, potassium and calcium.  While skim milk delivers a lot of vitamins and minerals, some of these vitamins are fortified. Whole milk naturally contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which skim milk lacks since the fat is removed. Therefore, manufacturers will add vitamin A and D, which isn’t quite as natural, but still beneficial. After the fat removal process, sodium and carbohydrates are left behind, leaving the sodium and carbohydrate content higher in skim milk than in whole milk. Another disadvantage of skim milk is that it contains 12g of sugar, as stated above. While skim milk should be included as part of a healthy weight loss routine, you must keep in mind that it does contain sugar. Therefore, limit your consumption to two servings a day.

Another drawback of skim milk, and of all milk for that matter, is that many adults suffer from lactose intolerance and cannot consume skim milk without experiencing discomfort. However, some lactose intolerant individuals find they can handle skim milk with greater ease than with whole milk. If you are lactose intolerant, there are still options available that will enable you to reap all the health benefits of skim milk. You can opt for skim milk that is lactose free or indulge in light soy milk.

All drawbacks aside, skim milk is considered healthy and should be a part of your balanced diet. In comparison to whole or low-fat milk, it comes out on top and should be your milk of choice.



Should I avoid all high GI foods?


In general, you do not have to eliminate these foods and pairing them with low GI foods (i.e. fats and proteins) will help slow their absorption in your blood stream and regulate your hunger level. For example, try eating your cereal with milk and nuts. Choose cakes that have no icing and a mixture of fruits. Also, try to choose whole wheat products over refined products, as the bran in whole wheat products helps to slow absorption to your blood stream.

Is Tapioca Syrup better than Maple Syrup? and whats the difference between the two?


Maple syrup is preferable to white sugar as it is richer in antioxidants, but that’s not very difficult. It’s also been eaten for centuries as a traditional food, perhaps even longer, since the native Americans were producing maple syrup when the Europeans arrived in the Americas. A recent study identified 54 phenolic compounds in real maple syrup, including one dubbed quebecol that actually forms during the process of boiling sap down into syrup. Since honey owes its unique metabolic effects to the presence of dozens upon dozens of phenolic compounds, I would guess that maple syrup is one of the safer sweeteners. When it comes to sugar, all maple syrups, regardless of the grade, are almost entirely sucrose. Maple syrup, however, is darker, richer, more complex, and contains more minerals (and, probably just like the darker honeys, more phytochemicals). Make sure you get real maple syrup, not just “syrup”, however it is still sugar.


Tapioca (also known as cassava, manioc, mandioc, or yucca) is a root native to tropical areas of South America. The tapioca syrup we use is made by converting the raw root into syrup through the use of natural enzymes.  This process is known as enzymatic hydrolysis. After enzymatic hydrolysis is complete, a sweet syrup is formed. The syrup is considered to be a healthy sweetener. Typically, tapioca syrup is a light golden colour, and it contains a neutral flavour. The neutral flavour makes it an ideal candidate as a food additive. The flavour is not beany, and the texture is not grainy like some other syrups. It can be added to soy and dairy products. There are many uses for tapioca syrup. It is used as an alternative sweetener in place of corn syrup, honey, sugar or maple syrup. Compared to maple syrup, tapioca syrup is lower in carbohydrates – but this difference is negligible. I would select the syrup you prefer the taste of.



I have been on a 1500-calorie diet for the past six months and work out hard four times a week, but still cannot seem to lose weight.  Can you give me some advice?


Are you sure you have been subsisting on a diet of broiled fish, carrot sticks and low-fat yoghurt? Did you forget to count the fistful of M&Ms you grabbed from your child’s packet or that handful of potato chips you munched on during the weekend?  Habitual dieters who claim they cannot pare off the kilos can consume as much as an additional 1000 calories without even realising it.  It is very difficult to assess calories: you can be off two to three hundred at every meal, which really adds up.  Part of the problem is underestimating portion sizes. Many people guess what a cup of pasta is without actually measuring it, so they end up eating twice as much.  Or they think they are being good by nibbling on only a handful of candy, when, in reality, they are consuming several hundred.  Instead of guessing, weigh or measure food to develop a realistic idea of portion sizes and read food labels for specific serving size information.  Keep in mind these guidelines:

  • A serving of meat, chicken or fish should be the size of a deck of cards.
  • Pasta and rice should be the size of one cupped handful (cooked).
  • Vegetables are two cupped handfuls.
  • The tip of your thumb equals one teaspoon (helpful when calculating a serving of fat.




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