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Children risk higher blood pressure from high sugar diets

A new study reveals that children who have large amounts of sugar in their diet may be at risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease.

The recent study looked at the calorie intake of over three hundred children and found those who consumed excessive amounts of sugar in their diets were more likely to have higher blood pressure. The report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, says the results support a hypothesis that high sugar consumption among children “may contribute to the development of poor cardiovascular health before maturity”.

The food industry has argued that sugar is not “implicated” in any serious diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. However, this is just the latest research that suggests sugar may have a specific and adverse metabolic effect on the body over and above the effects of consuming too many calories.

Kenneth Kell, one of the report’s authors, said: “Added sugars in our study were associated with risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. However, more research is needed to determine causality and physiological mechanisms.”

Dr Aseem Malhotra, science director of the campaign group Action on Sugar, said: “The sooner the medical profession and the public accept that all calories are not metabolised in the same way, the sooner we will be able to tackle the increasing burden of chronic disease.” The report has emerged after a government advisory group recommended that sugar consumption be halved to just five teaspoons a day. The group concluded that people who ate too much sugar were also likely to consume more calories overall, so there would be clear benefit in cutting sugar consumption.

Professor Ian Macdonald, who chaired the carbohydrate working group that reviewed sugar in the diet and who has advised Coca -Cola and Mars, said he had warned the two food giants that the long-term prospects for sales of sugary drinks and treats were “pretty poor”.


France has imposed a tax on soft drinks and Macdonald believes other countries are likely to introduce laws to curb the obesity epidemic.

Campaigners in Britain are calling for a sugar tax and Labour is considering a cap on sugar in children’s cereal.

Macdonald said: “Unless something positive happens to get people to change, then some governments will be tempted to try to use legislation. I am keen that this will be based on evidence rather than political expediency.”

On Thursday, the carbohydrate working group of the scientific advisory committee on nutrition proposed limiting intake of added sugar to 5% of an individual’s energy intake. It was one of the boldest public health initiatives in years and follows a similar recommendation from the World Health Organisation this year.

The new target is a blow to the sugar industry but will be hard to achieve. Some children already consume on average more than three times the new recommended amount.

Statistics from the UK’s national diet and nutrition survey show that 11 to 18-year-olds consume 15.6% of their calories from sugar, mostly from fizzy drinks, squash and fruit juice. Younger children, aged 4-10, have the second-highest sugar consumption, gaining 14.7% of their daily calories from sugar.

Food manufacturers have taken steps to reformulate products. Under the responsibility deal — a joint industry and Department of Health initiative to improve the nation’s health — companies have removed billions of calories from products.

Manufacturers, supermarkets and caterers — including Britvic, Tesco and the caterer Sodexo — say they have removed more than 10bn calories from products in a year.

Some of the biggest companies — including Coca-Cola and Mondelez International, which makes Cadbury chocolate — have reformulated products but not disclosed the number of calories that have been removed.

The total number of calories removed under the reformulation initiative is likely to be well over 100bn calories a year, but this is less than 6% of a government target to cut 5bn calories a day from the nation’s diet, or 1.8 trillion a year. Ministers say this cannot be achieved by the food industry alone and individuals must also change their diet.

The reformulation follows an initiative in America, championed by Michelle Obama, where Kellogg’s, Nestlé, PepsiCo and other companies cut 6.4 trillion calories from products between 2007 and 2012.

Healthy Eating Around the World

January is here again and no doubt many of you have New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and move to a healthier diet with lots more fruit and vegetables.

But you shouldn’t let that stop you taking a well-earned break. In fact, let it inspire your travels! Having a relaxing time doesn’t have to mean relaxing on your resolutions.

Here we look at some of the regional health specialities from around the globe.

Olives in the Mediterranean

For many in the Mediterranean, the food message is simple: eat from the source. Olives and olive oil are widely used in this region’s cooking and it is no surprise as they are rich in mono-unsaturated fat and antioxidants too!

So if you’re visiting southern Europe or other parts of the Mediterranean coast this year, you can eat local cuisine safe in the knowledge that it will not all be fatty and unhealthy. Opt for olives as a healthy snack and use fresh olive oil in dressing on your salad. It is no surprise that olives are one of the worlds most enjoyed foods!

Pineapple in South America & the Caribbean

Whilst many associate pineapples with Hawaii, they actually originate in South America. They are one of the most popular tropical fruits, being sweet, juicy, nutritious and healthy too, bursting with vitamins and minerals. Popular almost all over the world now and it’s particularly refreshing in hot climates. Enjoy it as part of your breakfast on holiday, in a juice, smoothie or sorbet on the beach, as a snack (fresh or dried) or grilled as part of a delicious dessert. It’s so versatile and one of your five a day too!

Mint tea in the Middle East

Fresh mint tea is one of the key drinks in this region. It’s consumed throughout the day, offered to guests and a must at parties and gatherings, all sustained by being both healthy and refreshing! Mint tea is made using fresh mint leaves, hot water and green tea, then brewed and served in small glasses rather than cups and saucers. It is also taken as an ancient and popular remedy for indigestion. So whether you visit Dubai, Oman, Lebanon or Egypt this year, adopt mint tea as your regular brew!

Lentils in India

Lentils are one of the world’s primary pulses and are extremely popular in India where much of the population is vegetarian. They come in various sizes and colours and are a great source of protein, high in fibre and have a low glycemic index value making them particularly good for diabetics. Their versatility means they are great for both hot and cold dishes from healthy salads and soups to stews, curries, dhals and purees too. If you happen to visit India this year, enjoy eating lentils in myriad ways!

Grilled meats in Australia

Healthy eating in the antipodean lands isn’t actually hard. The Aussies are big fans of the BBQ which is a great, healthy way of cooking! If you’re planning a trip ‘Down Under’ this year then you definitely shouldn’t miss out on a good old ‘barbie’. With lots of fresh seafood, poultry and meat on the grill, it’s a great way to enjoy food and still be good to yourself. So whether it’s in a beer garden on the beach or on the terrace of a restaurant, enjoy meat the Australian way – leave the rich, fatty sauces behind and throw in some roasted veggies for good measure!

Low Fat Diets

Fat and Cholesterol

Most of us eat too much fat including too much saturated fat, which directly causes raised cholesterol and causes weight gain. Fatty foods contain huge numbers of calories compared to the same amount of carbohydrate foods and fruit and vegetables.
Due to the large amount of calories contained in fat, you should cut down on all types of fat. However, it is much more important to cut back on saturated fat, as this fat increases cholesterol.

Saturated Fat

This type of fat should be avoided altogether (the fat found in animal fat, coconut and palm oil) because it is known to increase blood cholesterol levels. This causes narrowing or furring of your arteries and increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. This risk is much greater if you also have high blood pressure
There are two types of cholesterol in your body:

  • LDL (Low density lipoprotein) – This settles in your arteries, narrows them and can block them
  • HDL (High density lipoprotein) – This removes LDL cholesterol from your arteries
Your doctor will want to know your total cholesterol level as well as the ratio of the bad cholesterol (LDL) to good cholesterol (HDL).
You should be aiming for:

  • Total cholesterol level of less than 5mmol/l
  • LDL cholesterol of less than 3 mmol/l (ideally 2 mmol/l)
  • HDL cholesterol above 1 mmol/l
Eating saturated fats increases the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. In some foods saturated fat is easy to see, eg, the fat on meat, and cream on a pint of whole milk. However, much of the saturated fat that we eat is hidden in processed foods.

How do I cut down on saturated fat?

  • Eat less red meat. When you do eat red meat, cut off all the fat you can see and grill rather than fry it. Do not make gravy from the fat if you roast the meat
  • Avoid all meat products such as sausages, paté and bacon. These are very high in saturated fat and salt.
  • Eat only low-fat dairy products, eg, fully skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurts. Cheese (40-60% animal fat and high in salt), butter and cream should not be eaten or only eaten in very small amounts; choose half-fat or low-fat products where possible. Many ready prepared meals have cream added to make them taste richer so avoid these
  • Do not use lard (or other animal fats), coconut oil or palm oil
  • Avoid baked foods that are high in fat such as pastry, croissants, manufactured cakes and biscuits
  • Be careful with foods that are labelled as lower or reduced fat as these may still contain large amounts of fat. Look for packaged foods or ready meals with less than 1 gram of saturated fat in 100g
  • Butter and margarine should be avoided. Many contain large amounts of salt and some margarines contain trans fatty acids (see below). It is best to use olive oil or very low-fat spreads using soya or oils which contain no trans fatty acids

Measuring body fat shouldn’t be a chore. This new unit has been developed and endorsed by specialists in a Pan-European study. This development has created an accurate, validated device for home, clinical and fitness use. Easy to use, just stand with feet shoulder length apart, input data, hold straight in front of you and press start. Within a minute the measurement is ready

Trans fatty acids are naturally present in small amounts in meat and dairy produce. In order to harden oils, some are “hydrogenated” (a manufacturing process) to produce trans fatty acids. These may be harmful as they increase LDL cholesterol and also lower HDL cholesterol. Avoid using foods or spreads that contain them; check the ingredients list for the word “hydrogenate” or look for products that state they contain no trans fats The two types of fat or oil to use are:

1. Monounsaturated fat: This fat is found in olive and rapeseed oil as well as walnut oil and avocados. Olive or rapeseed oils are the best fats or oils to use, but remember all oils are very high in calories. For example, one tablespoon of olive oil has the same calories as four apples or two slices of bread. Both olive oil and rapeseed oil can be used for salads, frying, pastry, cakes, biscuits etc.

2. Polyunsaturated fat: This is found in sunflower, soya, and cornflower oils etc, and can be used if rapeseed or olive oil is not available.


Some foods contain cholesterol, but most of the cholesterol in our blood is made from the saturated fat we eat, so small amounts of cholesterol in the diet are not harmful. Eggs, liver, kidney and shellfish all have cholesterol in them.

Do not eat more than two or three eggs a week and only eat these other foods now and again. If you have high cholesterol your doctor or dietitian may advise you cut out these foods altogether.

Some margarine and yoghurts claim they contain substances that will lower cholesterol. More evidence is needed from long-term studies to show whether they do work to lower cholesterol and thereby reduce the risk of a heart attack. They are expensive and it is better to cut your fat intake. If your cholesterol is high you may need tablets to lower it and you should see your doctor

Omron M6 Comfort

The OMRON M6 blood pressure monitor is one of the best selling monitors from a leading manufacturer of medical equipment.

A new look, fully featured automatic blood pressure monitor, with cutting edge technology offering the very best in the fight against hypertension

As well as incorporating all the best functions of previous Omron machines, the success of this new equipment is due to the ease of use and comfort that the Omron M6 offers. It is important that users are relaxed and comfortable when taking readings. The Omron M6 Comfort has a unique pre-formed cuff that is easy to use and sits softly and snugly around the upper arm. It has an arm measurement range of 22-42cm (which suits most people) – although larger and smaller cuffs are readily available

Users of this monitor say that they feel more in control of their blood pressure by taking regular, accurate readings at home

The Omron 6 Comfort blood pressure monitor is an affordable, easy to use reliable machine ideal for home use.


The M6 has the largest display on the market, so it is easy to view and record readings.

The measurement is quickly recorded using comfort inflation technology – Omron’s Trademarked IntelliSense.

Motion Detection – The M6 Comfort has a support system, showing the user if body movement has disturbed the measurement and needs to be repeated.

Irregular pulses (e.g. arrhythmic pulses) can disturb measurements, which can result in false readings. The M6 has unique algorithm that detects measurement quality and ensures that only valid, accurate results are displayed. If irregular pulses are detected, these are indicated.

The Omron M6 has the ability to record 90 memories including the date and time. As it uses the newest OMRON technology, one set of batteries lasts for 1500 measurements.

Fully automatic Omron M6 upper arm blood pressure monitor

Large, clear display enables easy readings of results.

  • Longest battery life on the market – One set of batteries is good for 1500 measurements!
  • Intellisense comfort inflation: only pumps the cuff as high as necessary and decreases measurement time
  • Stores 90 memories with date and time stamp – helpful for your GP
  • Averaging mode: averages 3 values and helps to better illustrate long term blood pressure developments
  • Measurement quality indicators:
    Detect and display if irregular heartbeats or user movement disturb the measurement. Only reliable measurements are displayed
  • One button operation makes the Omron M6 Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor easy to operate
  • Clinically validated according to the International protocol of the ESH
  • Soft case – continue to take readings wherever you are

What Omron say about the New M6 Comfort Blood Pressure Monitor

A new look, fully featured automatic blood pressure monitor, with cutting edge technology offering the very best in the fight against hypertension. Unique pre-formed cuff fits medium and large arms with ease and comfort.

Omron M10-IT Blood Pressure Monitor

Omron, a leading manufacturer of blood pressure monitors for both home and clinical use are now able to offer the Omron M10 IT Monitor for sale to the public and include it in their highly recommended range of automatic upper arm blood pressure monitors.

Using the Omron M10-IT

The Omron M10 blood pressure monitor takes home blood pressure measuring to the next level offering comfort and accuracy – bulit and designed to incorporate blood pressure monitor reviews of Omron models over the past three years.  The Omron M10 monitor benefits from many user reviews of its predecessors gathered over several years and is certain to give home users exceptional comfort whilst confidently measuring their blood pressure at home.


Features of Omron M10-IT Blood Pressure Monitor

The Omron M10 monitor is the natural progresion from previous Omron models – incorprating the benefits of the Comfort M6  and featuring advanced functions such as:-

  • Clinical validation – International Protocol & British Hypertension Society
  • Fully automatic upper arm digirtal blood pressure monitor with “Intellisense” controlled inflation and defation of cuff
  • Dual sized comfort cuff (22-42cm) for medium to large arms
  • Irregular pulse detection – irregular pulses can affect readings if irregular pulse is detected only reliable results will be displayed
  • The Omron M10 takes 3 consecutive readings in’Auto’ mode – the omron M10-it blood pressure monitor automatically takes 3 measurements of your blood pressure
  • Twin 84 reading memory with date and time stamp enable two people to use the same machine
  • Averaging for morning, evening and ‘Auto’ measurement
  • Computer connectivity with Health Management Software included

A selection of user reviews of Omron M10:-

The Omron M10-it blood pressure monitor is extremely easy to use.

A very well made solid piece of equipment which looks very professional.

Excellent value for money.

All you do is attach it to your arm and switch it on.H

The Omron M10 has a memory capable of storing 84 readings each for 2 people which can be fed to your PC via USB for use with the supplied software to store readings using a comparison chart. Omron even supply a USB cable!

I would definitely recommend the Omron M10 blood pressure monitor!

This is a quite sophisticated device but it’s very easy to use.

I have mixed views about the OMRON M10-IT BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR.

PRO – excellent innovative features – on the positive front, the machine is well made and is able to store over eighty readings each for two users

Con – not impressed with the ‘one-size fits all’ cuff, which is very bulky and not easy to achieve a snug fit with if you have a slim arm however I understand this is unusual