Yogurt please! That’ll be four teaspoons of sugar…

As the modern world discusses the benefits of Meat free Monday (of which there are many), and the fight against obesity seeming to be solely focussing on the sugar in soft drinks, one very dangerous oversight is being made by the public in the mission to be more healthy…yogurts!

Yogurts you ask? But they are part of my healthy breakfast you say.

In some cases you will be correct, however little do you know that the delicious ‘healthy’ yogurt you have in the morning could have as much sugar in as the chocolate bar you wouldn’t even consider for breakfast!

Don’t get me wrong; ‘un-sweetened’ yogurts make an extremely healthy snack. They are overflowing with calcium, protein and vitamins. If you choose a natural yogurt then the benefits are vast. The lactic bacteria in yoghurt can boost the immune system, lower body fat; protect against food poisoning and build stronger bones. Furthermore, We at MetMUnch can’t claim that all sugars in yogurts are bad, however, scratch beneath the surface of some of your favourite brands and you’ll find similar levels to junk food lurking in that tub.

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One problem lies with the fact that brands don’t differentiate between naturally occurring sugars and those that have been added, merely marking it ‘carbohydrates – of which sugars’. This is a sneaky way of deceiving the customer into not knowing exactly what they are consuming.

Not too surprising is the fact that the Muller Corner range can contain 90% of a child’s daily allowance of sugar. That’s over four and a half teaspoons in one 100g serving!!

The biggest shock though will come from two that you might have considered to be healthy; Onken Greek style apple and cinnamon yogurt and the Yeo Valley 0% fat vanilla yogurt.

Let’s start with Onken. Greek yogurt gets an amazing write up and the health benefits can be great, the deception here lies in its name though, it’s a ‘Greek style yogurt’, which enables Onken to add four teaspoons of sugar to it. Crazy right?!

Now for the one people would consider being healthiest…Yeo Valley and its 0% fat vanilla yogurt, surely 0% fat means it’s healthy? Nope! They’ve still managed to cram in 15.5g of sugar into a 100g serving, which is just a bit less than four teaspoons.

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Some of the main reasons for this are that, although dairy prices have been falling, sugar is still the cheaper alternative to bulk up that pot. That combined with the fact that natural yogurt tastes quite sour, means that the sugar makes tastier, and more addictive and generally more fun for the sugar beasts we have become in the last few decades.

The UK government is at least making some headway into this issue, with its Childhood Obesity Plan tasking the sector to reduce sugar by 20% by 2020. However, it is public opinion on yogurt that needs to change to have a bigger impact.

Obviously, it will still come down to have a healthy balanced lifestyle, but more care needs to be taken with all processed food. Take the time to read the label to see what you’re actually eating. Alternatively, why not make yourself some overnight oats to give yourself the brain food that you need, as well as keeping you fuller for longer.

For recipe ideas or for more tips, visit metmunch.com  or see our social media feeds on Twitter and Instagram at @metmunch.

Gluten: Friend or Foe? – by Molly Hanson

The gluten-free diet: Possibly the biggest diet trend of the 21st century, there are copious amounts of gluten free products available to purchase these days making it accessible to all. For those that cannot tolerate gluten, this accessibility means that their social life and eating habits are less impeded than ever before and preparation for a meal out is rarely necessary.

But is going gluten free beneficial for everyone?

When the gluten-free diet is necessary:

Gluten, which is a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye, can have a dangerous effect on certain individuals.

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For those with coeliac disease as little bit of gluten can have irreversible effects. The consumption of gluten triggers an immune response which damages the lining of the small intestine causing the microvilli (finger-like projections) to be damaged and become flat, which inhibits absorption of nutrients, and can result in malabsorption.

This response causes the symptoms associated with Coeliac Disease such as excessive wind, change in stool frequency and consistency, stomach pain and bloating. In serious un-treated cases coeliacs can develop villious atrophy where the microvilli totally disappear. These symptoms increase the risk for other health conditions such as anaemia and osteoporosis due to insufficient Iron and/or Calcium absorption. In this case a strict gluten-free diet is necessary and will improve the health of the individual dramatically.

There is also a condition that causes similar symptoms; non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. However, the consumption of gluten does not result in an auto-immune response and there is no intestinal damage. Having said that the symptoms can be as painful and debilitating as those with coeliac disease suffer and a gluten free diet can also be necessary to improve health.

When the gluten-free diet is used incorrectly:

Following the gluten free diet with no gluten related health condition? Perhaps a friend suggested going gluten free because ‘it’s better for you’, or perhaps you read an article online or in the newspaper based on anecdotal reports, suggesting that the gluten free diet can help you to; lose weight, boost energy, treat autism or generally feel healthier.

pointing-finger-1922074_1280Following the diet erroneously can result in more harm than good. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggested that the omission of gluten may result in reduced consumption of a variety of beneficial wholegrains, which may affect cardiovascular health. In conclusion the promotion of a gluten-free diet among people without coeliac disease (or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity) should not be encouraged.

If you think you are suffering with either of the two conditions above, do not cut gluten out of your diet without Medical advice and make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

For more advice, visit Coeliac UK at https://www.coeliac.org.uk/home/.

How to cure a hangover (theoretically)… – By Emma Green

Here at MetMUnch, we don’t encourage drinking to the excess, but we know that sometimes we can have a few too many vodka lemonades on a night out, which can lead to a bit of a sore head the next day. That’s right, the dreaded hangover.

So, what do you really know about the nutritional status of alcohol?

Well here’s a few facts:

  • There are 7kcals in every gram of alcohol. That’s almost as much as fat (9kcal/g)! These calories are also referred to as empty calories, as they contain little nutritional value, so aren’t contributing any health benefits to our bodies. These calories soon mount up, especially when consuming numerous drinks on a night out.
  • It’s not just the alcohol itself, but what you consume with it. Mixers are full of sugar and additives, with a 330ml can of coca cola containing 139kcals and 39% of your daily sugar intake. From one can! Ciders and wines are also full of extra sugars, which can pile on the pounds. And all those calories are before that fatty, end of the night takeaway!
  • Over consumption of alcohol can lead to metabolic issues, liver problems and obesity. This can ultimately lead to a poor quality of life as you age.
  • Alcohol is both a stimulant and a depressant. Alcohol affects our brain chemistry, influencing our thoughts, feelings and actions. For many, it can provide a temporary confidence boost and reduce anxiety, but excessive drinking increases the chances of negative emotional responses. This could not only turn a super night sour, but in the long term have a huge effect on your mental health.

our bodies

Our bodies are designed to process small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol (ethanol) converts to a substance called acetaldehyde, which converts to a product called acetate. The body can use this for energy. However, excess consumption of alcohol causes a build-up of acetaldehyde, which causes a whole load of nasties, such as mistakes in our DNA and free radicals.

You’ve probably heard of many horror stories about free radicals. They are highly unstable atoms which cause damage to our cells and tissues – they can be stabilised by antioxidants, which we can get from consuming plenty of vitamins and minerals in our diets.

So, theoretically, eating loads of fruits and veggies can combat excess alcohol consumption and that nasty hangover, right!? Sadly for us, getting rid of a hangover isn’t that simple, but there’s a few tips that can keep it at bay (or just make it a little less painful).

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  • Make every other drink a water! By keeping hydrated, you will pace out and reduce your alcohol consumption, whilst still having a great time out. And you will thank yourself in the morning when you feel as fresh as a daisy!
  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies before, during and after the night out will keep you topped up with antioxidants to (try and) combat the hangover. Reaching for fatty, sugary convenience foods will contribute to weight gain, and make you feel sluggish and fatigued the next day.
  • When choosing drinks, opt for lighter, sugar free versions! This will save massive amounts of calories and sugar, but also reduce fatigue and the chance of feeling a bit rotten after all the fun.
  • Keep moving! A good boogie the night before surprisingly will contribute to your activity and fitness, but make sure you move about the next day to keep you feeling revived, as well as sweating out some of those sins. Too many of us spend hangover days bed ridden, which is so bad for your health and productivity.

But we’re not saying quit the drink completely! Of course, we all need to let our hair down and have a bit of fun. Drinking in moderation is completely okay, alongside making healthier choices and staying in control when going out. So, go out, have fun, and keep that hangover at bay.

Check out the calories in your drink at https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator

Salad season is here – Cennet Tezgel

It’s time to ditch the soups, salad season is upon us and what a perfect way to get in your 5 a day. The thought of salads may seem boring to you though right?

That’s where we go wrong, salads can still be delicious and energising foods without being associated to being on a “diet”. We can spice up our salad, add different vegetables and even add fruit to be adventurous and exotic.

Why eat salads on a nutrition point of view? Vegetables in salads have a good source of insoluble fibre which will help keep a healthy digestive tract, adding extra sources of fibre such as nuts, seeds and beans to our salads known as soluble fibre can help to keep out blood sugar levels balanced along side a healthy living diet and lifestyle.

Salad vegetables such as spinach, a dark vibrant colour adds in the nutritional profile packed with vitamin A & C, as well as adding in iron and fibre.

Tomatoes a popular salad ingredient adds vitamin C and fibre. Fibre aids in achieving a healthy weight, as well as keeping a healthy digestive system, with vitamin C is a treatment for the common cold, boosts the immune system as well maintaining a healthy skin, and healing of skin which may be vital during the hot summer days.

But why not be adventurous instead of the normal day to day salads? I have a few recipes to share to get your salads looking instagramable, summer vibrant and full of colour that will make your food choices this summer extra healthy and happy.

Here are my top four favourite ingredients/recipes for a salad this summer, if you decide to be adventurous try them out and tag a picture in Instagram with @metmunch we love to see your food pictures.

  1. Roasted Aubergines

An easy vegetarian recipe, that can pack your salad with summer flavours. Aubergines are a source of dietary fibre, B1 & B6 and also adding in as a source of potassium.

  1. Mint

A perfect additional to a bit of flavour to your salads, a perfect summer taste. A good idea is courgette, feta and mint salad. or you can add to your basic salad vegetables with a apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. Mint is perfect to grow in your own garden, much sustainable and organic, additionally on a health side mint is known to be promote digestion, and good for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome to relieve symptoms.

  1. Pomegranate

There’s nothing wrong with adding fruit to our salads, it gives it that refreshing taste whilst adding extra vitamins, nutrients and increasing our 5-a-day recommendation. With its sweetness and pleasantly bitter taste it gives it that fresh feeling, along with a superior visual presentation to our salads by adding colour and shine. Pomegranates are known to have anti-inflammatory effects and is a source of antioxidants. A great recipe to try is a goat’s cheese salads with a pomegranate dressing. The dressing is simple to make, with using the juice and seeds of one large pomegranate, 4tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1.5tbsp of red wine vinegar, 1tsp of honey, and a touch of salt and pepper to finish. Exotic and beautifully flavoured.

  1. Asparagus

Last but of course not least we have asparagus a perfect addition to your summer salads. Not only are they delicious but very healthy, with only 20 calories per 100 grams and 0g of saturated fats it is one top a nutritionists list for ‘superfoods’. Asparagus has good sources of fibre, folate and vitamins A, C, E and extremely high in vitamin K; Vitamin K is important for strong bones and blood clotting, additionally antioxidants to help repair from free radicals in our body. Know you know that not only asparagus is the food to get a good amount of vitamins from a recipe that I would recommend is asparagus & halloumi salad (or tofu for a substitute).

A simple recipe that just requires asparagus, halloumi, fennel, red onion, and virgin olive oil to finish. After cooking the asparagus until tender, add it to cold water to refresh before adding into your salad, the fennel and onion should be trimmed and finely sliced and combined with the cooked halloumi and asparagus before adding in oil with a squeeze of oranges juice for the finish.

I hope you like the sound of a few of these recipes or added ingredients for your summer salads, don’t forget to tag in @metmunch to show us your creations of the recipes or any new recommendations for us to take on board. Thank you for reading.

 

Don’t waste food, preserve it!

Ok, so issues regarding food waste aren’t exactly brand new information for most people in the UK, especially since research published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that the UK created around 10 million tonnes of food waste in 2016, a staggering 60% of which could have been avoided. This has an estimated value of over £17 billion a year, and is associated with around 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

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However, here at MetMUnch, we have been having some thoughts…

Now, this is a little old school, but when a food is nearing the end of shelf life it can still be really useful, so how about making it into something else?

Strawberries a little mushy? Make them into a jam.

Got more cabbage than you can eat? Give kimchi a go.

Whatever you do, DON’T THROW IT!!

What started as a way of keeping food from the bountiful autumn harvest through cold winters is still a good way to keep food, as well as being able to imbue it with all manner of tasty flavours and textures.

But this is just the start…canning, drying, salting and preserving– all this and more is open in the wonderful world of fermented foods!

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The science of preserving

They say the making of food is half-art and half-science. Well, the science is certainly clear to see whenever we preserve our foods.

There are so many methods open to us to keep our food at its best, and all which work on a few basic scientific mechanisms. Here are some examples:

  • Salting – By using salt to draw out the water we dehydrate the food and make it inhospitable to microbes, which would either spoil it or hurt us. Examples of salting include Sauerkraut or salt cod.
  • Vinegar – On a similar theme we can add vinegar, which changes the pH (<4.6), making it too acidic for microbes to grow. Examples include traditional favourites like a pickled onion or egg.
  • Use of ‘good bacteria’ – Competition is a good thing, so if we can get a harmless strain of microbe to proliferate & consume the resources in a food it leaves no room for the ‘bad bacteria’. This tool is often used in conjunction with salting, for example in the traditional Korean dish kimchi, which uses lactic acid bacteria.
  • Anti-microbial agents – It sounds a bit technical but some foods like spices contain natural chemicals that discourage microbial growth. While these are not often enough on their own they provide a great back-up line of defence when combined with one of the other methods. Cinnamon, clove and mustard all have this property.

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These are just a few of the methods of preserving which have an incredible number of variations and combinations to add flavour, texture and safety to our foods. Have a go at home!

Ask a MetMUncher for more advice on creative ideas for your food, or visit www.metmunch.com for recipes, ideas and nutritional advice!

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Spill The Beans #2: Food Tips From An MMU Student

Welcome to the second in our series of student food tips.

MetMUnch know it can be tricky to strike a good balance between your studies, money and feeding yourself what you need to shine.

The start of the academic year is an exciting and chaotic time, but it can also be the perfect chance to form new habits – which will hopefully leave you with a healthy body, brain and bank balance.

With this is mind, we decided to speak to some of nutrition’s future superstars to spill the beans on their food habits, tips and tricks! 

In this issue of Spill The Beans MetMUncher Sam Harrison spoke to third year Nutritional Sciences student, Cennet.

Hi, Cennet! What do you love about food?

Cennet – Hey! I love how food can bring social circles together. Whether its foodie lovers on social media or family get togethers. From a nutritionist standpoint – I love how food can heal our body and give us energy to enable us to achieve our best.
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Beans

Spill The Beans: 7 Food Tips From An MMU Student

MetMUnch know it can be tricky to strike a good balance between your studies, money and feeding yourself what you need to shine.

The start of the academic year is an exciting and chaotic time, but it can also be the perfect chance to form new habits – which will hopefully leave you with a healthy body, brain and bank balance.

With this is mind, we decided to speak to some of nutrition’s future superstars to spill the beans on their food habits, tips and tricks! 

In the first issue of Spill The Beans we speak to second year Nutritional Sciences student, Kate.

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Hi Kate! What do you love about food?

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Kate – Hi! I love how food can bring people together and can also be at the foot of a big debate. One of the best things about food is exploring the many different ingredients and seeing different cultures, recipes and how diverse meals can be.

 How do you fuel yourself before a day at uni?

I absolutely love Scottish oat porridge – I normally have skimmed milk and change up the toppings from banana to berries with a splash of agave nectar. I love the way you can change porridge to anything you like, it is never boring and also keeps me full until lunch time. Not only is it nutritious, but it also contains beta-glucans which help to lower cholesterol.

 What’s your go-to healthy snack when at uni?

I love Aldi’s ‘Foodie Market’ range, they have cheap and nutritious snacks that always keep me going between lectures. Their range consists of fruit and nut collections, a range of seed pots, healthy flapjacks and even baked crisp breads.

 What WILL we find in your fridge?

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You will always find free-range eggs in my fridge, they are so versatile and can be made into a lunchtime snack or a beautiful cake as I love to bake. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, scrambled eggs on a wholemeal bread is my go-to after uni meal.

What WON’T we find in your fridge – and why?

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You definitely won’t find any ready-made meals within my fridge. I love cooking and always look forward to creating new delicious and exciting recipes.

 What three food essentials can you never do without?

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I could never go without mushrooms, I love the taste and always add them to dishes if I can. I also love tinned chickpeas – they are so versatile and scrumptious, making an excellent addition to curries and salads.

What is your best piece of advice for food shopping on a budget?

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When on a budget, frozen vegetables are a great way to get the essential nutrients without having to spend too much, they are often chopped too which is a bonus. Additionally, tinned fruits are great to get your 5-a-day when certain fruits are out of season, as fresh fruit is generally more expensive – but be careful of some in very sugary syrups!


There you have it, some wonderful tips and advice from a MetMUnch star! From cholesterol-lowering, versatile breakfasts to nutrient packed frozen veggies – thank you, Kate!

We’ll be back next week where we’ll ask another nutrition mastermind to Spill The Beans!

Want more foodie tips, tricks and nutritional advice? Find out more about our latest adventures in food at @MetMUnch on Twitter, Facebook, andInstagram.

And that’s not all! Want a free recipe book of our favourite meals? Sign up to MetMUnch’s monthly mailing list and get a free eCookbook of student-friendly recipes.

Spill The Beans interviews by Sam Harrison.