The focus of the last hundred years (as far as diet was concerned) was about adding physical size and the easiest way to get that size was to eat lots of carbohydrates. The focus was not so much on the quality of the food, but the amount (as measured in calories or kilojoules). By eating more food, there is no doubt that humans grow bigger and taller, but we have also become much fatter. I tend to think today that the reason we are encouraged to consume the volumes of carbohydrates we do, is because it’s the only way to feed 6 billion people living on the planet. Foods like steak and fish are a lot more expensive than bowls of rice or potatoes.
“Pop around for a cup of coffee” – words that frequently roll off our tongues without a second thought. Coffee for many of us is an integral part of our daily rituals. But did you know that caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world? It is available in a variety forms, including beverages – coffee, cola and energy drinks, tea (including the great health tonic, green tea), as well as chocolate. Around 80% of the population partake in caffeine usage daily and whether we like to admit it or not, most of us are probably dependent on the stuff.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that occurs naturally in the soil and is absorbed by plants and crops, from where it enters the human food chain. New Zealand soils have long been low in selenium which in turn affects its content in foods and which transfers to a low serum (blood) level in the general New Zealand population. While an increase in the selenium content of our food supply – largely due to imported selenium-enriched foods, and supplemental animal feeds – has improved our collective selenium status, it is still worthwhile ensuring that we are consuming adequate amounts.
Summer’s rapidly heading this way, so if like me you are contemplating donning a bikini (well, at least a sun frock or a pair of shorts) – the next thought you have will quite possibly be along the lines of “yikes, how can I lose my winter cuddly bits fast?” Once again, if you are anything like me, you had this exact same thought last spring! Maintaining a stable body weight and shape can be a life-long pursuit for many people.