Looking for nutrition advice? Catherine Jeans answers some FAQs….

As a The Family Nutrition Expert, Catherine Jeans is often asked for nutrition advice about what we should and shouldn’t be doing in terms of our basic diet.  Here she answers three of her clients most common questions….

The most common questions that I am asked by my clients all centre around what we should be doing on a daily basis to aid our nutrition and maintain a healthy balance…..

1. How much fruit should I be eating every day?

Nutritional therapy in Norwich The Orange Grove ClinicWe are all told we should be eating our five per day, and that can consist of fruit or vegetables.  However, fruit is high in sugar, and although it contains lots of fiber and vitamins and minerals (so much better than snacking on sweets and cakes), it is also high in sugar.  Fruit sugar is still sugar… so if you find you’re getting energy dips in the afternoon or you’re experiencing bloating, my advice is to avoid the afternoon grapes or berries, and have some vegetable sticks and hummus or an oatcake with cottage cheese.  These snacks are more slow releasing, because they contain protein, and will help keep your energy levels balanced for the day. Also do remember how big a portion of fruit is… ie a handful.  If you keep punnets of fruit on your desk and snack on them all day long, you may be having too much sugar.

2. How much water do I need to drink daily?

Because everyone is unique, it really depends on each and every person.  A good guide is around 1.5 to 2 litres, but remember this does include herbal teas as well as water, sparkling water.  If you struggle to drink enough water, keep a bottle with you and make sure you finish it by the end of the day. You can get some really nice water bottles now that filter the water as you drink it, such as the Bobble bottles or Britta on the go.

3. What’s the best sugar alternative?

If you want to do some baking or make a dessert, there are some really good natural sugar replacements that are widely available.  Avoid artificial sweeteners, and go for things such as Xylitol (which has the same consistency as sugar, so good for baking – it’s available in most supermarkets now under the brand Total Sweet), Agave nectar (from cactus, a sweet syrup) and Sweet Freedom, from fruit sugar.  Have a look at my blog on birthday cakes to find out more about how to use them. You can also use dried fruit, soaked and blended, as an alternative to syrups in recipes.  Do remember though that it’s important not to overdo any kind of sugar replacement, as it will still affect your blood sugar.  Cut the sugar content down in recipes by around 50% for these sugar replacements, and look for recipes that are lower in sugar such as those by Hemsley and Hemsley or Deliciously Ella.  These sugar replacements are released much more slowly than regular sugar, so don’t affect your blood sugar so much.  Yet the more sugary things you have the more you will crave them… so try to do without the sweet stuff and you’ll find you don’t think about it so much anymore!

If you would like to book an appointment with Catherine for more specific nutritional advice, call the Orange Grove on 01603 631 900, email reception@theorangegroveclinic.co.uk or go to our contact page