Q&A with Nutritionist Sharon Armstrong

Meet Nutritionist Sharon Armstrong - Q&A WITH OUR THRIVE EXPERTS - Thrive Nutrition and Health Magazine

Q1.I’m new to this whole nutrition thing. Where do I start?

Firstly, take a look at what you are currently eating before making any major changes. You may find it’s actually not too bad! The key things to remember, is to avoid anything processed. So only consume fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. If you have carbohydrates by way of rice or pasta, keep to brown rather than white. And have 2-3 litres of water per day. Just by sticking to these core rules, you will be well on your way to having a healthy and nutritious diet.

 Q2. How important is ‘when’ I eat? Should I eat breakfast? Will eating at night make me fat?

It is actually very important when you eat during the day, however it does also depend on your lifestyle and career. Food is the equivalent of fuel for your body. You can not drive a car without fuel, and the same applies for your body. So yes, eating breakfast is very important to fuel you and kick start your body for the day. Eating at night technically doesn’t make you fat. However, you have less time to burn off the calories you have consumed and therefore likely to encourage your body to store any calories not used, which may then result in weight gain over time if you do eat to late in the evening. However, that being said, if you work nights for example, this may not apply. So it is not a “one rule fits all”. You may need to change your eating habits to accommodate dependant on your daily routine.

Q3. I love fruit but, can you eat too much fruit?

Fruit although has natural sugar, they do still contain large amounts of sugar. Eating a lot of fruit could mean you are taking a high amount sugar, which you would need to monitor. Especially if you are trying to drop a few pounds. But otherwise, there is no problem with consuming multiple portions of fruit throughout the day.

Q4. Are artificial sweeteners worse for my health than sugar?

Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar and therefore less is needed to sweeten food and drinks. They also have virtually no calories which of course has its benefits. That being said, it has been known to negatively affect blood sugar levels, gut health, and even linked to an increased risk of cancer. I would usually recommend sticking to an organic unrefined sugar. But used in moderation.

Q5. Is it bad for my digestion to eat after 8pm?

It depends on what time you go to bed. As a rule, try to eat approx. 3 hours before you go to bed to allow for digestion. Eating too soon before bed can slow down digestion and causes digestion problems such as acid reflux or heartburn.

 Q6. Is our food less nutritious these days?

It is true that there is now more processed foods than there ever was, even compared to 10-15 years ago. As I am sure you are aware, you should avoid processed foods where possible and stick to a natural diet, consuming fresh and unprocessed foods. However, it is also true that there have been studies that suggest that fresh fruit and vegetables contain less nutrients than before. This is particularly true for levels of Calcium, Protein and Iron in foods among others. This is mainly due to the depletion of the quality in the soil in recent years, partly due to farming methods, including the use of pesticides. This has also affected the size of fruit and vegetables. Rest assured, foods do still contain high levels of nutrients and remain beneficial for your overall health, particularly organically farmed foods. Buying organic is not always in everyone’s budget, but it might be worth the extra costs to ensure you have a higher level of nutrients in your diet.

Feature from inside our Thrive Health Magazine Autumn issue article written by: Sharon Armstrong.

Say hello to our THRIVE EXPERT Nutritionist – Sharon Armstrong [dipN, SACdip, RDN, FNTP] A Thrive Expert and Clinical Nutritionist. Sharon is here inside each issue to answer your nutrition and food based questions.

So ask away!

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