Your Nail Polish Is Making You Fat (Really)

Decorated digits never looked so unappealing…

April 1, 2016

Dumbing Down: How Modern Life Is Destroying Your Brain

Thank gooodness for spellcheck, Siri and Google, right? Wrong, says experts – they’re eroding your brain.

According to a new study, modern day life is having a significant impact on our brains, with everything from gadgets to eating habits damaging neural pathways and making us slower and less capable of original thought.

RELATED: The Impact Coke Really Has On The Body Will Shock You

While better living conditions and education initially boosted our IQs in the early 1900s, scientists have revealed that for the last decade these have been declining thanks to lifestyle factors such as stress, technology, sugar and even reality TV. Curious as to how? Let’s take a look in further detail:

  1. Breakfast

That big breakfast of bacon, eggs and buttery toast is doing you more harm then you’re led to believe. According to studies at The University of Montreal, consuming large amounts of soggy saturated fats hamper the brain’s dopamine function, resulting in slower reaction times and feelings of depression.

  1. Multitasking

Do you often find yourself on the phone while researching, answering emails and consuming the news all at once? Earl Miller, an expert on divided attention and a neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the Sydney Morning Herald: “The brain is not wired to multitask. When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly, and every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”

The result? A flood of cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline to the brain which prevents clear thinking.

  1. Googling

Having information available to us 24/7 is destroying our memory, says scientists. Googling a phone number, address and seeing what friends are up to on Facebook means that we no longer have to rely on our memory, which, according to research by Columbia University, is changing the way we store them.

  1. Reality TV

Watching episode upon episode of Keeping up with The Kardashians is rotting your brain – not that we needed research to clarify that. Apparently what we watch, see and listen to influences our behaviour.

  1. Fructose

A spoonful of sugar does not make the medicine go down. In fact, it slows down your brain and affects chemical pathways, says experts. Dr Sarah Brewer, a medical nutritionist told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Brain cells need glucose to function but too much in a short time will cause a sugar rush and make you feel over-wired.”

  1. Nightly disruptions

If you wish to function like a normal human being, shift work, jetlag and/or regular nightly disruptions is not ideal. “Whether you are a flight attendant, medical resident, or rotating shift worker, repeated disruption of circadian rhythms is likely going to have a long-term impact on your cognitive behaviour and function,” reported professor Lance Kriegsfeld from the University of California at Berkeley.

  1. Chewing gum

We know swallowing gum is bad for your health, but apparently chewing it can be bad for your short-term memory tasks. Dr Sarah Brewer said: “When people chew gum for hours, it may cause a problem with distraction. As soon as the flavour, goes I’d recommend taking it out.”

Image via Shutterstock

August 3, 2015

Insulin Resistance: The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

Are you struggling to shift that stubborn body fat despite eating well and exercising like a demon? There could be an underlying hormonal reason at play: you may have a clinical condition called insulin resistance, says leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell.

RELATED: Top 5 Non-Diet-And-Exercise Ways To Lose Weight

Insulin resistance (IR) means insulin – the hormone secreted by the pancreas to control blood glucose levels in the body – is no longer working as efficiently as it should. And Susie (pictured) believes it’s an incredibly common condition, estimating up to 20 per cent of adults are walking around with IR.

emotional eating, comfort eatiing, nutritionist advice

“Over time, numerous factors including a diet high in processed carbohydrates, relatively inactive lifestyle, and often genetics, insulin becomes less and less efficient at processing the glucose we consume in carbohydrate-based foods such as bread, cereals, fruit and sugars,” she says.

“When insulin is not working properly, the body is forced to produce more and more to process the same amount of glucose that we consume in food to fuel the muscles and the brain. The unfortunate thing when it comes to weight control is that the higher the amount of insulin that you have circulating in the body, the harder it becomes to burn body fat.

“This means that if you have insulin resistance, you can be eating an extremely healthy diet, exercising as recommended and actually physically unable to lose weight. In fact, as insulin is the central regulator of both glucose and fat metabolism in the body, when it is not working, the basic energy balance equation when it comes to weight loss – calories in vs calories out – simply does not hold true.”

Susie, who specialises in treating people with hormonal disorders, says up to 30-40 per cent of her female clientele present with both polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – a health condition which affects a woman’s hormone levels, periods, and ovulation – and/or IR. And, left untreated, it can lead to Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

women's health, hormonal disorders, insulin resistance

So, what are the signs and symptoms of IR? Fatigue and sugar cravings are red flags, Susie says, but the most significant giveaway that a degree of insulin resistance may be present is in the way that fat is deposited on our bodies.

“Insulin likes to deposit fat around the abdominal area, which is why women (and men) with severe insulin resistance have a large belly, and the reason that a waist measurement greater than 80cm for a female too may be a sign that insulin resistance is present,” she says.

The dietitian/nutritionist, who recently launched her new program, Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, says an IR diagnosis requires specific blood testing such as a glucose tolerance test via an experienced GP and/or endocrinologist. In addition, it often requires medication to help lower insulin levels and diet and exercise management are crucial.

“Shape Me has developed a specific dietary model which allows individuals with IR to get the right mix of carbs, proteins and good fats to allow them to lose weight,” she says. “Shape Me is the first online program to offer such specific dietary requirements and users also have ongoing access to me for any other specific questions about their IR.”

So, ladies, if you’re concerned you have IR, get your health checked out, stat. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

What do you think? Could IR be the reason you can’t lose weight?

Images via,,

July 11, 2015