What the nutritional therapist would like everyone to know


There are some questions that come up time and again, says expert Karen Geary – so she’s decided to tackle them head on

Karen Geary with some healthy carolo Nero

This month I decided to tackle the questions I get asked most frequently, both in clinic and online. If you have a question about health and nutrition, do feel free to ask on my Instagram or Facebook feed or email me at karen@amplifynutritionaltherapy.com.

Which diet is the best for weight loss?
This one’s simple: the diet that you can do most consistently is the best one for you.
If you check the research, all diets work, whether it’s keto, fasting, low carb or low fat. And there is often very little between them in terms of resulting weight loss over time. Most of them work because they have a calorie deficit of some kind – and no, that’s not a fashionable view in some circles.
It is true that some people struggle to lose weight for medical reasons, even though they are counting calories; it is unusual, but it can happen.
Many clients come to me as a last resort for weight loss and only very occasionally do we find an underlying medical reason getting in the way.
It is easy to over-estimate calorie intake. With most weightloss clients, I’ll get them to weigh their food at the start of working with me to get a proper handle on portion control. One way to see if you can estimate a portion size is to weigh your food ‘blind’ – with the scale covered up, add the portion you plan to eat – and then look at the weight. Try it!

What do you think of the Zoe app?
On the positive, I appreciate anything that raises awareness about gut health, which is precisely what the Zoe team has achieved. I particularly like their advice about the importance of fibre in the diet – the vast majority of my clients do not eat their 30g daily requirement (you can check that yourself by looking at the fibre score using a free app such as Cronometer or My Fitness Pal).
On the other hand, you should absolutely not consider the Zoe app if you have a history of disordered eating. The app encourages people to eat food by colour code, and I have seen people become quite obsessed by it, leading to disordered behaviours. Personally I don’t want to be told what to eat by an AI algorithm.
If your interest in Zoe comes from suffering with an underlying gut issue, my message is that there are more comprehensive gut tests available. They don’t come cheap – but they’ll cost far less than the Zoe test and annual subscription. It can be a revelation for people who have suffered for years to finally see objective data as to what might be driving their discomfort.

What supplements do you recommend?
I don’t recommend supplements generally to the public, which is why you do not see me recommending them on socials. Supplements need to be tailored for need and condition.
A simple example is vitamin D3, which behaves like a hormone in the body, but is commonly referred to as a vitamin due to its role in calcium absorption and bone health.
Nearly everyone should take D3 over the winter, and some people should take it throughout the year. However, the dose needs to be targeted (by measuring current levels in the blood) and then tailoring accordingly. Additionally, I always like to recommend that D3 is taken in conjunction with vitamin K2, to ensure that calcium is properly absorbed into the bones. However I do not recommend it if someone is taking blood thinners, as K2 regulates blood clotting.
Many supplements can be contraindicated with medications, and I always undertake a full analysis of this before recommending any supplement. You can calculate your own vitamin D3 needs here, but it is always better to consult a healthcare professional if you are considering supplementation.

What is the most important universal diet advice?
1. Protein and plants with every meal
2. Don’t snack (unless you are an athlete or have an underlying medical condition).
Plants are essential for fibre and nutrient density – 30g a day roughly translates to seven cups of veggies and two cups of fruit. People over-rely on grains and potatoes for their fibre, so try and diversify with different colours and types of plants to encourage optimum gut health.
Protein quantity depends on age, goals and overall health. However a decent amount of protein with each meal fuels brain, bone and muscle health and keeps you full for longer.
Breakfast is the meal where most people under-eat protein. A bowl of porridge or muesli isn’t enough! It’s why you will see me posting a lot of breakfast recipes on Instagram.
Three meals a day are sufficient for most people. However, individual dietary needs do vary, and some people – especially those with certain medical conditions or specific fitness goals – may benefit from more frequent, smaller meals.


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