Discover how a health villain might have turned over a new leaf

Sunday 8th April 2012

  • Has someone been stealing your Easter eggs?
  • So decaf coffee might not be all bad
  • Fancy having Ray pole dance for you? Thought not.

May I begin today by wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

If ever there was a day to celebrate chocolate then it is today.

Now I know that this significant day isnít all about sweet things, but chances are youíll spend at least part of it slurping a bit of the good stuff around your mouth.

Increasingly though I feel the need to do so in secret.

I rarely admit to being caught up in the media hype, but it seems like every time I turn on the radio, open a paper or watch the idiot lantern there is someone telling me Iím too fat.

Or at least that Iím about to be.

Is it me or are the entire media out to rob you of your chocolate bars?

Notice the way I say 'your' chocolate bars, like I wouldn't know what to do with a Twix if I was handed one.

Smoke it? Stick it behind my ears? Who knows?

The problem is that innocent pleasures are slowly being criminalised by well meaning but ultimately overbearing commentators.

I know that the western world, and the UK in particular is at risk of increasing waistlines and a corresponding tidal wave of cardiovascular failure.

But for the love of all, please leave the size of my Buttons Easter egg alone.

I have no proof of this but I swear they are getting smaller each year.

It might be an effect of ageing, you know like how the coppers and doctors all look younger, but I demand the return of my standard sized egg.

Of course the diminishing size of our annual fix might just be a cunning ploy by the manufacturers who are trying to get us to buy more.

But thatís not what happens in our house.

Iím allowed ONE egg every year irrespective of its size, and if Iím being short changed I want an answer.

Is decaf coffee a safer alternative? That depends.

A few years ago I reported on a survey from The US National Institutes of Health that found that drinking decaffeinated coffee could increase the risk of heart disease.

Yep - increase, not decrease.

Those in the survey who drank decaffeinated coffee experienced an 18% rise in the fatty acids, which encourages the production of bad 'LDL' cholesterol.

They also discovered that their levels of apolipoprotein B (a bad cholesterol) shot up by 8%.

The group drinking regular coffee was not affected.

The survey was led by Dr Robert Superko of the 'Fuqua Heart Centre' in Georgia. He said:

ĎContrary to what people have thought for many years, I believe it's not caffeinated but decaffeinated coffee that might promote heart disease risk factors.'

So there you go... another 'healthy' alternative, like margarine and artificial sweeteners, has turned out to be the devil in disguise.

However, it turns out that the world of the coffee drinker isnít quite so black and white as that.

More recent discoveries have shown that for type 2 diabetes sufferers a cup of decaf each day might save their brainpower.

The research team from Mount Sinai published their paper in the Journal Nutritional Neuroscience in February this year, and it makes interesting reading.

Obviously with Dad on the fringes of developing Alzheimers I am all over any reports about cognitive function so I was onto this early.

The team found that decaffeinated coffee enabled brain tissue to continue to utilise glucose when the rest of the body tissues were being compromised by the effects of late onset diabetes.

ĎImpaired energy metabolism in the brain is known to be tightly correlated with cognitive decline during aging and in subjects at high risk for developing neurodegenerative disorders,í said Dr. Pasinetti, head of the team involved.

ĎThis is the first evidence showing the potential benefits of decaffeinated coffee preparations for both preventing and treating cognitive decline caused by type 2 diabetes, ageing, and/or neurodegenerative disorders.í

So I guess we need to keep an open mind about this one.

Read on to find out why I needed something similarly stimulating last weekend.

A thousand women to every (portly) man

Just last week I put myself through several weird ordeals...

And this, dear reader, was all on your behalf.

I attended the Natural & Organic Products Show in London's Olympia, to see what's new - and to see if there was anything there that might benefit your health.

Now, I don't know if you've been to Olympia before, but it's huge. There must have been 150 stalls there, and about 2,000 visitors... and they were nearly all ladies.

Honestly, I felt as though I'd walked into an Amazonian convention by mistake. There were girls EVERYWHERE.

But, being the dedicated health man I am, I ploughed straight in to see what I could find.

And after three or so hours, I discovered a few great health products that I'm testing out right now to see if they do what they say on the tin.

And if they do, you're in for a treat.

But let me tell you, I had to wade through A LOT of rubbish to find them.

I had crystals put on my head, I was told that spending £4,000 at a retreat would be good for me (but not for my bank balance thank you very much), I was given some artificial sweetener chocolate (urrrgh!) and, bizarrely, the audience were given a demonstration of pole dancing.

(I suppose pole dancing IS pretty healthy, but I just couldn't face the embarrassment of having neighbours tucking £5 notes in my waistband).

But like I've said, after a lot of searching I've found a couple of things that, on the surface of it, look great.

But I'm not going to tell you about them until I'm 100% sure they work.

If they do - I'll tell you about them straight away. Because they really could benefit your health enormously!

I'll keep you posted but for now there is the other half of my Easter egg calling to me..

Yours, as always



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