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  • Blood sugar (glucose) Glucose or sugar in the blood comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, chapatis, yams and plantain, from sugar and other sweet foods, and from the liver which makes glucose.
  • Blood pressure the amount of pressure in the blood vessels or the amount of force needed to get the blood to circulate around the body. Blood pressure is recorded as a ratio between the pressure exerted by the heart after and before it beats. High blood pressure is anything above 140/90.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) is a way of describing the degree of persons overweight. BMI = weight (kilos)/height² (in metres)
  • Calories (kcal) is a measure of the energy used in the body. These calories can enter the body as food or drink. The body uses up calories to fuel bodily functions and activities. Any excess calories or fuel is stored, usually as fat cells
  • Carbohydrate is a nutrient which provides the most available source of energy for the body. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly and can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Examples of simple carbohydrates include sugar, honey and sugary drinks, try to avoid these foods or have them occasionally and in small quantities. Complex carbohydrates are broken down in to simple carbohydrates in the body as this takes longer these carbohydrates provide a slow and steady release of energy. These carbohydrates can be found in rice, pasta, potatoes and yams and should form the base of your meals.
  • Cholesterol is a waxy substance which is mainly made in the body. The liver makes it from the saturated fats in food. There is very little cholesterol found in foods, except for eggs, liver and kidneys, and seafood such as prawns, however, these foods do not usually make large contributions to blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol plays an essential role in how every cell works but too much cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of getting heart and circulatory disease. You can reduce your blood cholesterol by
    • eating a diet rich in soluble fibre (oats, fruit vegetables, lentils and beans)
    • Reducing the total amount of fat you eat and replacing some of the saturated fats with unsaturated fats
    • Enjoy oily fish once a week as part of a healthy balanced diet
    Click here for more information on cholesterol
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease. This occurs when the walls of the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle) become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty material which affects the coronary arteries, it can cause angina, heart attack or sudden death.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. There are two main types of diabetes:
    • Type 1 diabetes develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of 40 and needs to managed by taking insulin
    • Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with being overweight. This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian and African-Caribbean people it often appears after the age of 25. Type 2 diabetes is the more common of the two main types and accounts for between 85 - 95% of all people with diabetes.
  • Glyceamic index (GI) is a measure of how a foods affects your blood glucose levels
  • Heart disease (see coronary heart disease)
  • HDL (high density lipoprotein) is the 'protective' or 'good' cholesterol that return excess cholesterol to the liver.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) High blood pressure happens if the smaller blood vessels in the body become narrow and cause the pressure to build up.
  • Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, that helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.
  • Low density lipoproteins is the more 'harmful' cholesterol Also called LDL. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from your liver to the cells of your body.
  • Negative energy balance occurs when the energy taken in through food and drink is less than the energy used by the body for essential functions and physical activity. Prolonged negative energy balance will lead to weight loss as the body will use energy reserves (usually fat stores) to meet daily energy requirements.
  • Obese Obese is a clinical term used to describe the amount of excess weight a person is carrying. This is often defined as having a body mass index (BMI) over 30.
  • Omega-3 are fatty acids found in oily fish which may help prevent blood clotting and reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. Good sources including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and fresh tuna.
  • Positive energy balance occurs when the amount of energy taken in through food and drink is less that the amount of energy used up by the body. Any excess energy is stored by the body (often as fat) so a regular positive energy balance will lead to weight gain
  • Stroke A stoke occurs when the blood supply to the all or part of the brain is cut off by a blockage or a bleed. For more information about strokes click here.
  • Sucrose Sucrose is another term for sugar also know as cane sugar, table sugar or granulated sugar. Although sucrose occurs naturally in some fruit and vegetables, most people in the UK consume sucrose as sugar added to foods and drinks. All types of sugar (brown and white) contain about 16 kcal per teaspoon and provide no other nutrients.
©Weight Concern 2008