Could sugar be better for you than artificial sweeteners?


Number 2 on the list of major health issues of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia is Obesity.  Here is some very important information for those who are concerned about their health and weight.

We all know people who would choose an artificial sweetener in preference to sugar in the belief that it is better for them.  

There is a body of opinion that artificial sweeteners do not present the health benefits that are implied.  I have been reading for many years that saccharin and it analogues are a neurotoxin.  More recently I have read that artificial sweeteners have been linked to weight gain, rather than weight loss. 

Recent research articles published in Nature, have revealed a mechanism that would explain why the use of sucralose/aspartame and other artificial sweeteners have been observed to cause weight gain.  

The Gut flora is very powerful in its effect on the whole body.  The Gut flora is 10 times more numerous than the cells in our body.  There is new evidence that the gut microbiotica actually influence the DNA expression of the cells of the gut lining.  They can actually alter the genes of the cells in the intestines.  The varieties of gut bugs in your digestive tract is a “lock and key” relationship with the foods we eat.  A widely varied pantry will lead to more varied population of gut bacteria.

The article in Nature explained in detail how the composition of the gut bugs in humans changed in as little as 7 days and glucose tolerance was reduced, leading to high blood sugar.

The mice study was replicated in a large human group of 381 non diabetic individuals, 44% males and 56% females.  The blood work testing showed that there was significant correlations between increased trunk girth – central obesity and non calorific sweetener     ( NAS ) consumption; higher fasting blood glucose; higher glycosylated haemoglobin          ( HbA1C%); poor glucose tolerance testing; and elevated serum alanine aminotransferase ( ALT ) which is a measure of liver stress or damage. 

The study did a one week trial with a small group of 7 healthy volunteers aged 28-36 who do not normally consume artificial sweeteners directly or in foods containing them.  They consumed the maximum daily allowance recommended by the FDA.  That is 5gm per kg of body weight.  The dose was divided into 3 equal amounts and their glucose tolerance was monitored daily. 

The testing period was just 7 days, and after 4 days four of the seven individuals developed significantly poorer glycaemic responses  compared to their own response in days 1-4.  

What does this mean for you?  

We will notice that in advertising foods with artificial sweeteners there is no health benefit claimed, it merely states that there is no sugar.  You are left to infer that it is therefore healthy.  The actors in the ads are all young and beautiful and active, or for the drinks directed at men, very physically active doing extraordinary physical things.  

Like the cigarette industry previously they sponsor sports that will be followed by their target market.  

There is a significant body of evidence that confirms that there are many adverse effects of NAS in the human physiology.  Research recorded effects that include neurotoxicity, carcinogenicity and an addictive factor.  

We know that sugar is not good for our health, however, the answer may be to shift our palate to less sweet foods, rather than swap high sugar intake for the artificial sweetness of a chemical. 

4 Phases of injury recovery – Why perfect joint position matters

Process of an Injury

Injuries can happen to anyone in sport, from the weekend amateur to the Olympic professional.  Poor or improper joint position and mechanics will predispose to joint injury via altered loading and imbalanced ligament and tendon tension.

These injuries can be from a simple sprain or strain of an ankle ligament, to a meniscus injury of the knee.  The process of spinal injury is the same as a knee or ankle strain.  The process of healing of these injuries is complex and understanding the phases of repair, gives us an understanding on the duration a particular injury might take.


Healing relies on many factors such as,  injury aggravators, exercises and rehabilitation adherence, diet and age. Taking advice from your Health care provider will reduce the negative effect of these factors.  This healing process can be catagorized into the following phases:


Acute – Protection Phase

The acute phase can last two to four days, depending on how the patient treats the injury. During this phase, the injury is usually at its most painful, with potentially bleeding and swelling. The body’s aim is to protect the injury, limiting movement and recruiting supporting tissues to aid the injury and limit further pressure/movement of associated joints.


Sub-Acute – Repair Phase

After the body’s protection phase and initial bleeding and swelling may begin to subside, the body begins to repair the injury site. This phase can last up to 6 weeks post the initial injury. During this phase, the body removes excess swelling and begins to produce new tissue at the injury site.

Tissue repair is still fragile during this phase and range of movement will slowly improve over this period.


Late Stage – Remodelling Phase

During Tissue remodelling and repair phase the tissue is still quite weak as we return from an injury. This results in range of motion of a damaged joint and tissue to still be limited initially. When our body detects that a repaired structure is still too weak for activity, the body will stimulate new additional tissue to help strengthen and support the healed scar tissue. This period can last up to 3 months and range of motion and agility will continue to improve during this period.


Chronic Phase – Ongoing Repair and Remodelling

This phase usually begins 3 months after the initial injury and can last months to years. During this phase, the scar tissue should be healed, bruising gone and range of motion restored, however, if pain and limitation persist, it can be due to poor healing and overuse. During this period, treatment will continue to remodel tissue. Repatterning of joint behaviour and encourage range of motion is essential. Rehabilitation exercises should still continue, even if pain has gone, to avoid re-injury of the site.


Chiropractic treatment is effective in treating injuries at each of these four stages. Like any professional treating an injury, the earlier a Chiropractor can begin treatment and the healing process, the better the outcome.  Joint adjustments within 6 hours of the injury will optimize the bone position before swelling within the joint capsule.  These adjustments will often produce almost “magical” results with significantly reduced injury and recovery phases.   This occurs via a return of good proprioception and lymphatic drainage of the joint.

Dr Matt Hardy has a special interest in sports injuries and recovery. 

What emotional style are you?


Have you ever wondered what Emotional Style you are?


Up until recently, there has not been a lot of research on the part of the brain that that is responsible for emotion, in fact as early as the 1970’s psychologists believed that any form of emotion ‘interrupted’ the cognitive function of the brain. We know now through the amazing field of Neuroscience, that the Prefrontal Cortex, Hippocampus and the Amygdala are primarily responsible for the the way we process information, memories and life events and how we quickly we are able to return to baseline from an emotional response.


It therefore makes sense, that according to the way our individual brains are constructed, we each have a unique style of emotional reactivity.


Becoming aware of our emotional style will assist us in many aspects of our life and will help us navigate relationships and perceived injustices with greater clarity and wisdom.


Richard J Davidson (2013) in his book, The Emotional Life of the Brain, suggests that ‘Our emotional style can affect the way we feel about ourselves and those around us, how we behave, how susceptible we are to stress, our cognitive function and our vulnerability to particular psychiatric disorders’. He also goes on to say that our emotional style also affects physical health and can impact on our respiratory, immune, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and endocrine system.


Yes, the mind/body connection phenomena is very real!


Davidson suggests that there are six dimensions of emotional style. Each dimension describes a continuum. Some people fall at one or the other extreme of that continuum, while others fall somewhere in the middle. The combination of where you fall on each dimension adds up to your overall Emotional Style.


And without any further ado, here they are (taken from The Emotional Life of your Brain):


Resilience – Can you usually shake off set backs, or do you suffer a meltdown? When faced with an emotional or other challenge, can you muster the tenacity and determination to soldier on, or do you feel so helpless that you simply surrender?


Outlook – Do you seldom let emotional clouds darken your sunny outlook on life? Do you maintain a high level of energy and engagement even when things don’t go your way? Or do you tend toward cynicism and pessimism, struggling to see anything positive?


Social Intuition – Can you read people’s body language and tone of voice like a book, inferring whether they want to talk or be alone, whether they are stressed to the breaking point or feeling mellow? Are you socially intuitive or do you become puzzled by peoples responses to you?


Self-awareness – Are you aware of your own thoughts and feelings and attuned to the messages your body sends you? Or do you act and react without knowing why you do what you do? Do you find it difficult to label your emotions and describe how you feel on any given day?


Sensitivity to Context – Are you able to pick up the conversational rules of social interaction so that you do not tell your boss the same dirty joke you told your husband or try to pick up a date at a funeral? Do you become baffled when people tell you your behaviour is inappropriate? Are you tuned in or tuned out?


Attention – Can you screen out emotional or other distractions and stay focused? Are you so focused on your video game that you don’t notice the dog whining to go out until he makes a mess on the floor? Or do your thoughts flit from the task at hand to the fight you had with your spouse this morning or the anxiety you feel about an upcoming presentation for work?


Everyone has elements of each of these dimensions of Emotional Style. Everyone is unique and there are countless Emotional Styles. Research shows us that despite having inadequacies in any one of these Emotional Styles, neuroplasticity means we can change the way our brain works and reap the benefits of more fulfilling longer-lasting relationships, greater self-esteem and ability to bounce back from setbacks.


So, how can we do this?


  1. By being aware, where we sit on each of the above spectrums
  2. Engaging in exercises and activities that increase our emotional resilience and allow us to engage in behaviours that are prosocial and reflective by nature
  3. By understanding that we can always improve, no matter how amazing we are!


If you would like to learn more about your brain, and what your specific emotional style is,  contact me today for a FREE consultation via Skype. It might be the best thing you ever did for yourself!

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Exercise for an immunity boost.


Number 2 in the Top 5 Must Dos to avoid colds and flu

Exercise is a powerful tool to help you stay healthy this winter.  Our bodies are made to move. You’ve heard that sitting is the new smoking.  There is a growing body of research that shows that sitting more than 6 hours each day significantly increases your health risk for 3 main “co-morbidities”.  Who wants that – it sounds like you’ll get sick.

The three are diabetes; heart disease and some cancers.  Mental health also seems to take a hit.

When we analyse our day we will find that for many of us the sitting gets way over the 6 hours when we add sitting for breakfast?, commuting, working, commuting, evening at home eating and relaxing.

So what to do?  Incidental exercise is the movement you get when you are doing other things that involve movement. Walk to the bus/train, or walking from your parking spot.  Walking around at work, and taking the stairs where possible.  Look for them in the parking station, or coming out of the train station.  Be one of those annoying people walking on the escalator!

Actual exercise is an obvious goal.  The latest studies and research shows that there is a huge value in quite short but hard workouts. But short I mean under 15 minutes and hard, I mean you really push yourself to your current limit.  You should be out of breath.

The HIIT ( High Intensity Interval Training ) method is highly researched and has significant benefits especially when combined with dietary changes.  Significant improvements in blood sugar management, heart lung capacity and muscle tone and bone health.  Are you just a little interested?

So what sort of activity could you do for this HIIT training?  Actually there is a nearly unlimited range of things you could do.  Most of the research has been on stationary bikes, as they require no training and are effective as they work the biggest muscles in the body – the legs.  The Rowing machine also lends itself to this as does a skipping rope. You could sprint for 10 seconds ( running or swimming ).

The basic formula is hard for 10 seconds and then coast for 20 seconds and then repeat. Do this 5 times.  I’ve done it periodically on a stationary bike at the gym, and I can attest that it is startlingly exhausting!

Why might it boost immunity, I hear you question.  The benefits are several.

  1. Stress reduction via activity
  2. Circulation boost
  3. Movement of the organs to process and eliminate better
  4. Feeling good via positive hormones

So there you have some inspiration that will give you reasoning as to why exercise will support good health and boost vitality.

Keep coming back for more regular updates.

Rest and recovery – Immune boost with rest 




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Over the next 5 days I will expand each of the topics I covered yesterday to give more detail about each.  I want you to feel empowered by better understanding the “Why and How” of each of the elements that can build your immunity and resilience.

“Tell me why rest will boost my immunity” I hear you say.

The Immune system is far more complex that has been understood in the recent past.  The primary antagonist to the immune system is the adrenal system.

Adrenaline is a master hormone – it is a survival response, so it has the power to override other systems so that the body can live through the immediate threat.  The body is fundamentally logical.  The immediate response is to survive.  This is a fundamental truth and is regularly seen in news items when we see people survive against the odds.

I remember a woman Mary who lived in shop doorways in Surry Hills in the 90s and lived on a combination of cheap wine and food from skip bins and left overs from restaurants.  Despite this lifestyle she was a regular site on the streets for over 10yrs and will be known by many who lived and visited the area.  The take away was the imperative of the body to survive.  I’m not suggesting that she enjoyed excellent health, but what is quite instructive is that she survived an environment that may kill the rest of us, so how DID her body allocate those immune resources to ensure that she woke up every day?  Despite all this She had an abundance of energy to offer her opinion about a range of topics to any passers by. A contradiction evident in her story.

Back to YOU, the basics of the immune system is its connection to the nervous system.  If the stress response or adrenaline shuts down the immune system over time, then the relaxation system or parasympathetic side of the nervous system is the stimulator or supporter of the immune system.

To achieve good sleep you need to get the parasympathetic or relaxation response active.  If you can follow my crumb trail you may begin to see that the power of sleep or rest is that it puts your nervous system into a state that will push resources or energy into the immune system.

You know that we digest well when were are relaxed, and you probably now know that over 50% of the immune system lives in the gut lining. You can see how although very complex, the body systems that are diverse but require the same environment to function well.

The reason that over half of the immune system is in the gut is that the gut wall is the barrier between the outside and the inside of the body!  I found that very difficult to swallow when I was studying anatomy, however, when you think about it, until food has gone through the gut wall it is actually just inside a long tube that has an opening to the outside at each end, so while it might be dark inside your mouth, it isn’t in your body truely till it is absorbed through the gut wall.

Soooo, back on track, I hope that I have laid out some understanding of how the nervous system shuffles energy to where it is needed for survival.  When we relax into sleep, rest or meditation, then we boost the immune system.  That is obviously a survival reflex, however, it will take second to the fight or flight response.

Where is the take away message..  if the topic yesterday was how to not get sick this winter, the in-depth explanation above is to ensure that we keep the immune system “on guard” by getting sufficient sleep so that we are not running tired on adrenaline to make ends meet.

PS meditation is well researched to boost immunity and in studies those who meditate get better 3 to 4 x faster than those who do not.  Powerful stuff!

5 MUST DOs for winter health – avoid flu and colds

triangleThe immune system can protect you – but will it?

Here are a number of things that you MUST do if you are to help your immune system to stay on top of all the bugs circulating during winter

Be sufficiently rested.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we are often under pressure to deliver in both our personal and professional lives and this leads to a lowering of our immune defence.

How then do we “bank” rest to give our body the resources to stay well.

Get to bed early at least 1 x during the week.  Lights out by 9:30 is a good guideline.  Sleep in 1 weekend morning, say an extra 1-2 hours longer than the working week.   Both these practises will give you a surprising degree of resilience.

There is plenty of evidence both “common knowledge” and research based, that support the notion that extra rest is very powerful in keeping us well.

PHYSIOLOGY TIP:  The body repairs and heals during rest, – think rest in hospital to get better.  Induced coma to give the body a chance to put energy into repair and recovery.

Exercise every day.

Really! I hear you say.  There are so many benefits of movement, there isn’t enough ink in the world to record them all!  Take the NIKE approach and just “do it”.

Moving with intensity that is at your level, will dissipate adrenaline and reduce stress markers.  This will boost immunity – beginning to make sense?

The High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, is proven to be very powerful at triggering the body systems to move toward better function.

Name  some HIIT exercise I hear you ask…  How about skipping for 2 minutes,  stationary bike for 10 sec bursts 5 x in 5 minutes, run some stairs, 50 body weight squats without stopping, – you’re getting the idea.

No chatting possible in this exercise style – you’ll be too puffed!  Excellent stuff.

Serious BUT.  Never do this type of exercise if your are tired and feel that you might be coming down with something!   Your energy will be too low to recover and fight the bugs in your system.  Sleep is the answer at that point.

Eat Fresh with lots of colour

Fresh foods that have a high level of green / yellow / orange will provide good nutrients to support good health and immunity.

The Greens will provide chlorophyl – great for liver health

The Yellow/Orange will offer Vitamin A essential for cell health – particularly the cell wall.

Fresh means picked today or in the last few days.  Shopping once a week means that the veggies are a few weeks old by the time they get to your plate at the end of the week.  Many nutrients are not longer present by that time.


This is often a confusing area for many.   Some authorities still recommend that supplements are unnecessary if your diet is good.  I would suggest that that is true if you grow your own in awesome soil that is busting with minerals and beneficial bacteria and you go from garden to table on the same day.  Mostly that is not the case for our food or its freshness, so simple supplements are highly recommended.

Good old Vitamin C is enjoying a come back. It wasn’t cool because it was so familiar, however, its role is so well documented that you can Google that yourself.  It is very protective so include a good quality buffered mineralised version with co-factors such as Bioflavonoids, Vit A & E and Zinc.

A good quality mineral blend is also very important – this will support so many chemical reactions in your body, they are pretty essential.  Again the soil has to have them before they are in your food, and some don’t last long if the food isn’t fresh.

Chiropractic adjustment 

The work of Roger Sperry in the 80s showed the impact of poor posture and body distortion on the nervous system and brain activity.  The more twisted the posture the higher the level of brain activity to keep you upright in gravity.  Stress reduces immunity – that is not in dispute.

Being strong and stable in gravity is a great boost to your immunity, because it frees up resources and energy to fight infections.  HOS has collected client data for over 20 years and we can say that as individuals posture and stability improve their resilience to infection is much improved.

Does that sound like 5 things you could include in your week starting today!

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