Author: neil

Bigorexia…When Is Being Big, Big Enough?

By: Danielle Roberts
Date: May 2016

Bigorexia is the fairly new term for Body Muscle Dysmorphia, which is a disorder that causes a person to constantly obsess about how much muscle they have (and worrying that it is too little), and feeling too ”small”, or underweight. In most cases the person is in fact quite muscular, yet believes their muscles to be inadequate. Similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), they constantly obsess about their imperfections, and similar to Anorexia in that they distort their self-image.
Bigorexia can therefore definitely affect one’s moods and emotions, causing depression and feelings of inadequacy. Men usually fall prey to Bigorexia with an estimated 10% of gym-obsessed men! They are usually the ones lifting very heavy weights, taking high protein products and often illegal substances to “get bigger”, and entering body building competitions.
Signs of Bigorexia to look out for
• Distorted self-image
• Missing social events or skipping work to exercise
• Never being satisfied with their muscle size, despite having large muscles
• Pushing weights despite injury
• Maintaining extreme workout programmes
• Following a strict high protein, very low fat diet
• Using excessive amounts of high protein powders
• Steroid abuse
• Unnecessary plastic surgery (e.g. Calf muscle implants)
• Suicide attempts

The main consequence of Bigorexia is that it impedes a normal happy life. Those affected cannot relax and enjoy life as they are constantly worried and obsessing about their next gym workout, what they need to eat and how to get bigger. Having fun and being spontaneous can never be a high priority.
Health Risks of Bigorexia
• Frequent injuries due to excessive exercise
• Damage to muscles, joints, and tendons
• Kidney damage
• Liver damage
• Heart problems

Many people with this problem resist getting treatment and are afraid to admit that they take steroids or performance enhancing drugs. Some admit that they are afraid that if they give up the drugs and exercise, they will wither away and become skinny. Getting an assessment by a dietician, doctor, or psychologist can help focus on problems caused by obsessive behaviours, job loss (due to negligence), relationship problems and physical harm.
For those who start treatment, cognitive-behavioural therapy combined with medication is helpful, especially if depression is present. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps a patient to identify triggers that makes the bigorexia thought pattern worse, and aims to change behaviours which are harmful. It also aims to assist in setting more realistic and healthy goals. Nutrition education on portion control, correct intake of protein foods, and meal timing can help a person understand food and /or protein foods better, and how they work to build muscle in the body, without having to consume excessive amounts. A valid point of Nutrition education for such clients also involves the risks of taking unsafe supplements, and the overuse of certain supplements.
However, just like anorexia, it is never about the food, but the obsession with body image. Once that is corrected, then a healthy, balanced lifestyle may be resumed.

If you suspect yourself or someone else to suffer from Bigorexia, contact Danielle Roberts, a Registered Dietitian working at the Sharks Medical Centre ( who together with a team of other health professionals such as a sports physician and psychologist can assist in treating someone with Bigorexia. To find another dietitian in your area, visit this website:

The importance of spending time with dad

By Andrea Kellerman
Date: January 2016

Now that the holidays are coming up it is good to consider why it is important to spend time with the family. Many children spend a lot of time with their moms, especially when they are young. Have you ever thought of why it is so important to spend time with dad too?
Parents are vital for the emotional well-being of their children as they teach children how to behave, how to love, how to be kind and caring and set the right principles and morals for life.
Research shows that if your child’s father is loving, supportive, and involved, he can contribute to a great extend to the child’s cognitive, language, and social development, good academic achievement and a strong self-esteem.

How fathers influence children’s relationships
The child’s relationship with his/her father can affect the child’s relationships for his/her entire life, including his/her friends, lovers, and spouses. This means that the interactions with the father can change and mould the child’s view in life and can have a profound influence on existing and future relationships.
Girls will look for men who are behaving similar to their dad as they feel familiar and comfortable with that. Therefore, if the father is kind, loving, and involved, they will look for those characteristics in their boyfriends or husband. Children look for what they have experienced and become familiar with in childhood. Because they’ve gotten used to certain behavioural patterns in their father, they think that they can deal with them in relationships.
Boys on the other hand, will copy their fathers and behave in a similar way. They will look for their father’s approval in everything they do, and copy behaviours that they see as both successful and familiar. Hence, if dad is abusive, controlling, and dominating, those can be the patterns that their sons might imitate and act out in their relationships with others. However, if the father is loving, supportive and protective, often boys will want to be like that too.
We, as human beings, are “social animals” and we learn by copying our parent’s behaviour. Those early patterns and behaviours of our interaction are all children know, and it is those exact patterns that effect how they feel about themselves, how they behave and how they develop.
It is very interesting what research shows how a good relationship with dad can influence different areas in a child’s life, also the scholastic performance. For example, girls tend to do better in mathematics in school, and boys tend to have better grades or perform better on achievement tests.

Family structures are changing
Over the last decades the traditional family structure has started to change. More and more women are focusing on their careers and men are taking over additional family roles like running the household, looking after the children and being more involved in the day to day running of the family. A recent study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) shows that fathers are more engaged in caretaking than ever before. The research found that children who have fathers that are involved and caring tend to have fewer behavioural problems, and are somewhat stronger in deciding against alcohol and drug abuse. This indicates that fathers are as important as mothers in their roles as parents, protectors, financial supporters, and most importantly, role-models for the social and emotional behaviour of their children.
Having said this, do not be alarmed if the father has to work long hours, has work in another town or if the parents are divorced. Even when fathers are physically removed from their families, there are ways for them to develop healthy relationships with the children. Fathers need to realize that they matter and can shape their child’s future greatly.
Showing interest in the child, phoning him/her regularly, being part of the daily routines even if it is via Skype or a phone call can create a close bond as well. It is important to spend some quality time with the child, which can be one or two hours a week. This can often be enough for a child if he/she feels that this time is just for the child because he/she is special to the parent. What counts is the quality, not quantity of the time spent together.
There are many reasons why fathers should be part of their child’s life. It is interesting to see how a good relationship with love, care, good listening skills, granting appropriate freedom, being there to support and setting clear rules and boundaries can develop happy children who have the ability to do well in life and gain the necessary resilience to cope with difficult situations.
In summary, the key point to remember is not to focus on who’s more important but understand that dads are vital in all the ways moms are. “We hope findings like these will encourage men to become more involved in their children’s care,” says Dr Rohner (Study for Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut).
Use your time wisely and keep in mind that being involved in your child’s life will have long-term and long-lasting benefits.
Written by Andrea Kellerman, Educational Psychologist, specializing in Neurofeedback/Brain Training, Emotional Intelligence courses, Business coaching and hypnotherapy.
For further information or courses on parenting or emotional intelligence skills for children, contact EQ Advantedge, 031-2668563/ (

Sport nutrition on a budget

By: Angela Bentley

Date: April 2016



  • Sports nutrition can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Requirements can easily be met with everyday groceries and FUTURELIFE®
  • The meal you choose before you start exercise plays a very important role in making sure that you are properly fuelled and that any discomfort is minimised during exercise.
  • Using basic ingredients all requirements can be met at a cost of between R24.35 and R56.96.


Walk through the aisles of any sports nutrition retailer and you could very easily be forgiven for thinking that proper sports nutrition needs to cost A LOT of money.  The truth is that you can reach all of your sports nutrition requirements with relatively inexpensive foods that you can purchase at your local grocery store and FUTURELIFE® is always there to lend a helping hand.


My goal in writing this article is to show you that you can easily get everything you need to fuel for and recover from 3 hours of intense exercise for under R50, as opposed to the hundreds that sports nutrition retailers would have us believe.


The meal you choose before you start exercise plays a very important role in making sure that you are properly fuelled and that any discomfort is minimised during exercise. For more information around what and when to eat visit:

Here are 4 cost-effective options that I picked. Portion sizes are chosen to fulfil the requirements of a 60kg athlete, but can easily be adapted.

Food choice Grams of carbohydrates/protein Price
75g FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Smart Food™ + 1 large banana (136g) 63g/ 15g R7.62
75g FUTURELIFE® Smart Oats® + 100g low-fat sweetened yoghurt 65g/10g R7.75
3 slices of FUTURELIFE® Smart White  Bread  with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (32g) and 1 tablespoons of Jam (20g) 65g/20.5g R5.10
50g  FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Smart Food™ + 1 cup low fat milk and 200g fruit salad 61g/17g R9.90



During exercise, nutrition is very important for longer sessions. Glycogen (energy) stores are quickly depleted and need to be replaced in order to keep you going. 30-60g of easily digested carbohydrates per hour should do the trick for this athlete. Where within the 30-60g range one should fall will depend on intensity among other things. For more information on during-exercise nutrition visit


Food choice Grams carbohydrate/ g per hour Price
FUTURELIFE® High Energy Smartbars™ + 75g jelly sweets + 500ml sports drink 129g/43g R27.20
75g jelly sweets + 500ml sports drink 107/36g R19.50
2 slices of FUTURELIFE® Smart White  Bread with 2 tablespoons of honey + 1l cordial (already diluted with water at ratio 1:3) 90g/30g R9.45
FUTURELIFE® High Energy Smartbars™ +1l cordial (already diluted with water at ratio 1:3)+ 75g nougat 106/35g R23.15



Nutrition after exercise should be rich in carbohydrates to refuel energy stores and contain some lean protein to repair muscles. The carbohydrate to protein ratio should be around 3-4:1. Fluids and electrolytes are also essential to rehydrate the body. Here are some very simple and cost-effective options that will help you to reach these goals. For more information on the benefits of FUTURELIFE® Smart Drink in sports recovery visit: .




Food choice Grams of carbohydrates/protein Price
75g FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food™ + 1 large banana (136g)+ 500ml cordial (already diluted with water at ratio 1:3) 72g/ 24g R14.85
250ml FUTURELIFE® Smart Drink with 2 slices of FUTURELIFE® Smart Brown Bread and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of honey. 75.5g/25.8g R19.85
Open sandwich: 2 slices FUTURELIFE® Smart Brown Bread with 2 boiled eggs and lite mayo + 150g sweetened fruit yoghurt. 54.5g/24.4g R9.80
FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food™ Muscle fuel smoothie: 65g/28g R16.19



Using these wallet-friendly options pre, during and after your 3 hours of exercise will cost you a minimum of R24.35 and a maximum of R56.96 while giving you everything you need to be everything you want to be.








Nutrition tips for the traveling athelete

By: Angela Bentley

Date: April 2016


  • Nutrition during traveling can be tough, it is advisable to pack your own meals and snacks that can be easily transported without spoiling to prevent poor eating or going hungry. Great options include FUTURELIFE® Smart Bread sandwiches, FUTURELIFE® Smart Bars™, nuts, dried fruit, biltong and popcorn 1,2,3,4.
  • When eating out during traveling, find out about their menu beforehand. Preference should be given to restaurants offering carbohydrate rich meals to help you fuel up for your event. Restaurants offering buffets can also be useful as they offer the opportunity to choose foods according to your liking
  • If you have never visited your destination before you can never be 100% sure of what foods will be at your disposal. If there are any products or ingredients which play an important role in your nutrition or recovery it may be best to bring these from home. Examples that may be applicable to you may be your during exercise fuels, bars, concentrated drinks or your favourite FUTURELIFE® powdered product


Once you’ve got the hang of it, nutrition at home becomes easy. Then you decide to compete out of town or even abroad where everything is new and unknown and things become a lot more complicated…  Follow these golden rules to make sure that your nutrition doesn’t take a step back when you decide to step out of your comfort zone.



Plan ahead for your time either on the road or in the air and airports. Both situations make finding healthy food options extremely difficult. It is advisable to pack your own meals and snacks that can be easily transported without spoiling to prevent poor eating or going hungry. Great options include FUTURELIFE® Smart Bread sandwiches, FUTURELIFE ® Smartbars™, nuts, dried fruit, biltong and air-popped popcorn 1,2,3,4.



Call your accommodation provider before leaving home to find out which meals (if any) they will be providing and what foods will be available. Often they will be open to your suggestions and go out of their way to provide you with preferred foods, but if you don’t ask you won’t receive. Make sure that you have a plan for any meals that are not provided or compliant with your pre-existing eating habits1,3.


Most meals not provided by your accommodation will most likely be eaten in a restaurant. Again, it is recommended that you call ahead of time and make an informed reservation so that you aren’t left settling for the first open restaurant that you find. Find out about their menu where preference should be given to restaurants offering carbohydrate rich meals to help you fuel up for your event. Restaurants offering buffets can also be useful as they offer the opportunity to choose foods according to your liking1,3.



Although you may not have a full kitchen at your disposal, there are many sports nutrition-friendly meals that can be prepared with only the basics. Preparing your own food gives you the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing exactly what you are putting into your body and how it has been prepared. Not to mention eating in can be a big money saver during longer trips1. FUTURELIFE® products offer preparation convenience while still providing optimal nutritional benefits.



If you have never visited your destination before you can never be 100% sure of what foods will be at your disposal. If there are any products or ingredients which play an important role in your nutrition or recovery it may be best to bring these from home. Examples that may be applicable to you may be during-exercise fuels, bars, concentrated drinks, your favourite FUTURELIFE® powdered product, etc.



Being in a new place brings with it so many food novelties and if you aren’t careful too much experimenting or eating out of boredom (while traveling) can lead to unwanted weight gain. If you really want to try a new food, share it with friends and try to find non-food related ways to entertain yourself.



Last thing you want is to have travelled a long way and done all the necessary preparation only to get food poisoning and be unable to compete. Some tips to avoid such a situation2,3:

  • Eat only from reputable suppliers, avoid stalls and markets where hygiene may not be good or where food is kept luke warm for hours.
  • Choose well-cooked foods that are served steaming hot, but not foods that have been reheated.
  • If tap water is unsafe, drink only bottled water, don’t have ice unless you know it has been made with clean water, brush teeth with bottled water and eat only fruit and salads that have been rinsed with clean water.
  • Avoid seafood unless there is guarantee that it is completely fresh and uncontaminated.
  • Avoid spicy foods and foods that you don’t usually eat.
  • Avoid foods that have not been pasteurised.




This should be quite obvious, but it is often neglected. Know exactly what you will need on the day of the event and stock up on what you will need ahead of time. If there is a big event, local shops often get sold out due to high demand. It is not a good idea to try out something new on competition day.



Traveling, lack of routine, lack of fresh water and change in climate can all lead to dehydration if special attention is not given to fluids. It is important to prioritise fluid intake daily and adapt you intake in warmer climates where you may sweat more1,2,5.



  • UFS second year sports nutrition notes





FUTURELIFE® Brand generally

What is a healthy lifestyle?

By: Wilna Nienaber

Date: February 2016

Starting something new can be hard if you are not prepared; particularly when it involves something you do numerous times each day — like eating and drinking.  Doing what you used to do with small adjustment is so much easier.  So if you know what you are doing now and you know what a healthy lifestyle looks like you can simply adapt certain aspects. Adapting your lifestyle will definitely fall into the “as-hard-as-it-gets” category.  Luckily baby steps are called baby steps for a reason.


  1. Get up

I have never heard of someone that actually goes for a run, goes to work, eats lunch or drinks coffee without getting up.  Getting up is probably the most important thing that you will do tomorrow or have done today.  Without getting up nothing else will happen effectively.  I am not talking about Saturday morning cuddles with your Egyptian cotton sheets.  Healthy people are allowed to have those as well.

Start your morning without snoozing the alarm 5 times.  Set your alarm clock realising that as soon as it goes off if you do not get up straight away you will be late!  Getting up the first time your alarm goes off is easy, after that it just gets so much harder.


With that said, you need to get up for 3 things in the morning:

  • To do some sort of physical activity
  • To eat breakfast
  • To go to work/ take your kids to school/raise your toddler or feed the dog (a responsibility)


It is not really about getting out of bed, it is more about starting your day without a nervous breakdown.  If you start your day the healthy way the rest of your day will fall into place.  Reality is that if you are not doing it already it is going to take some time.  For some or other reason time before 6:30 goes by a lot slower than time after 17:00.  Getting 3 very important healthy lifestyle “chores” behind you before work is more than great.


  1. Exercise

This will be ideal if it could happen after getting up, but some of us need to be at work at 7:00 and if that means leaving at 6:15 it will result in you getting up at 5:30.  I get that.  Not everyone can exercise in the morning.  But the most important thing is that you do exercise.

This is just as important as eating correctly. Make sure you include at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, 20 minutes of strenuous physical activity or at least 15 minutes of very strenuous physical activity, more than 5 times a week. If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk in an office, take the stairs and park further away from the entrance.  Every bit of energy that you burn during the day helps.

How active are you?

Moderate physical activity Strenuous physical activity Very strenuous physical activity
Walking 1.5km in 15-20 min Walking or jogging > 30min Jogging > 40min
Treading water Swimming laps (light effort) Swimming laps (vigorous effort)
Bicycling (16 km/h) Bicycling (20 km/h) Bicycling (>22 km/h)
Dancing High impact aerobics Step aerobics
Yard work/gardening Mowing lawn with hand mower Digging a ditch
Hiking Playing doubles tennis Playing singles tennis
Vacuuming Moving furniture Playing basketball or soccer
Playing actively with children Weight lifting Hiking up a mountain


Exercise should not be like eating ice cream (it happens only on special occasions); it should be like brushing your teeth.  Nothing to think about or put on Facebook.  It should be a habit.  If you are posting your training sessions on social media you should know that you are not doing it often enough (except if you are a professional and your sponsor requires a selfie in your sponsored kit).

JUST DO IT, every day, so that the days you do not get to do it you pick up your kid twice us much because you know you should burn that energy somehow.

Exercise may become addictive, try it, I dare you.


  1. Every meal counts

If you keep on telling yourself that this is just one bad meal, you are making a mistake.  If you on average eat 21 main meals per week and of those 3 are takeaways.  Takeaways have on average 3 times the amount of energy of a balanced home cooked meal. So 14% of your meals are contributing to 43% of your energy allowance for the entire week.  If you look at it like this you will realise you need to fast at least one day for every take-away meal you have.


Now that eating fast food sounds like a terrible idea, portion control at home is just as important as choosing your meals outside your own kitchen.  Rule nr 1:  fruit and vegetables.  This is the only way we can keep our stomach full and our energy intake low.


If time is a constraint keeping you from eating a balanced meal than make life simpler by enjoying one of the following FUTURELIFE® products which can be enjoyed as a nutritionally balanced meal replacement, ensuring you receive essential nutrients such as protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and sustaining carbohydrates:

  • HIGH ENERGY Smart Food
  • FUTURELIFE® Smart Oats


  1. Drink water

I am more than convinced that people consume just as much energy through cold drinks than through food.  Drinking sodas or any other sort of cold drink or even 100% fruit juice is just one of those habits that we find comfort in.  In winter it is that warm cappuccino on our way to work, in summer it is the long glass of iced tea when we get home.  A cappuccino made with full cream milk contains a shocking 899kJ1, this is not those instant cappuccinos, and they are even higher in energy.  This is about the same amount of energy a small meal should be for an average normal weight woman.  There is no worth in mentioning the amount of energy in soda drinks, because we all can read the labels and deep down know we should not drink it that often.


The moral of the story here is that “comfort drinks” should be seen as a treat.  When you are thirsty you should drink water.  If you feel like something to drink then your brain is telling you that you are thirsty and the answer should still be water.  Cutting down on empty energy is an easy habit to learn, because the alternative (water) is free.


A healthy lifestyle is not a diet or something you do for a week or two.  This should be sustainable, affordable and health enhancing.






  • Smart Food
  • Zero
  • High Protein
  • Smart Oats
  • ZERO with Oats


Everyday Healthy Eating for an Active Individual

By: Angela Bentley

Date: March 2016


  • A healthy, balanced diet is one providing sufficient energy, macronutrients, micronutrients, water and fibre.
  • FUTURELIFE® High Protein Smart Food™ provides 30g of high quality protein per 100g. Adding milk to this will further increase protein availability.
  • Did you know: FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Smart Food™, FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food™ and FUTURELIFE® ZERO provides 100 % of the NRV’s for all vitamins and most minerals per 100g.

While what you eat before, during and after your sport is very important, a healthy, balanced diet, providing sufficient energy, macronutrients and micronutrients is also essential. Such a diet will help you to perform at your best, make sure that you have sustained energy, improve your health and prevent illness. In this article I will take a closer look at some of the components of a healthy diet as well as guidelines around the amounts required. Take note that while not mentioned in this article, other important dietary components to monitor are your fluid and fibre intake.



Achieving an energy balance requires energy taken in through food and drinks to match energy expended through daily metabolic functions and activity. A sufficient daily energy intake is essential for ensuring that the body is able to perform all necessary functions while still having sufficient fuel for training. Energy requirements will vary according to gender, size and body composition, as well as training type, intensity and frequency. Therefore at different stages of training, an individual’s energy requirements may vary and intake should be adapted. It may be advisable to consult with a registered sports dietician to calculate exact energy requirements1,2,3.




Carbohydrates play numerous roles in sports, arguably the most important of which is its role in energy provision. They provide an important energy source to the brain, central nervous system and muscles during exercise and since the body is only able to store limited amounts of carbohydrates, it is important that adequate amounts are provided through the diet. The below table provides guidelines for daily carbohydrate intake in athletes.


Type of training Daily carbohydrate needs per kilogram body weight
Low-intensity or skill-based exercise 3 to 5 g
Moderate duration and low intensity 5 to 7 g
Moderate to heavy-training load and high intensity 6 to 10 g
Extreme training and high-intensity races (longer than 4 to 5 hours) > 8 to 12 g

These amounts will generally equate to around half or more of your total energy intake. For good health, the majority of carbohydrates in the diet should come from nutrient-dense sources such as whole grain breads and cereals, rice, pasta, fruits, starchy vegetables (e.g. sweet potato, potato and corn), legumes as well as dairy products. Try to always include lower GI products to provide sustained energy4.5,6.


Athletes require a moderate amount of high quality protein in the diet, usually between 1.2g and 2g per kilogram body weight per day. Protein is essential for many functions within the body, including it’s often most recognised function, muscle protein synthesis. Requirements can usually be met with a well-planned diet, making supplements unnecessary. Intake should ideally be spread throughout the day, rather than at one or two meals. Protein can be obtained from both plant and animal sources, but it is important to be aware that animal proteins, while high quality are often high fat and that lower fat options should be prioritized. Below are some examples of both plant and animal protein sources which could be included in the diet4,7,8.

Animal protein

  • Skinless chicken or turkey
  • Tuna, hake, trout, salmon
  • Pork without fat rind, fresh ham
  • Red meat, visible fat cut off before cooking
  • Extra lean mince
  • Dairy
  • Eggs


Plant protein

  • Soya
  • Beans
  • Split peas
  • Chick peas
  • Lentils
  • Did you know: FUTURELIFE® High Protein Smart Food™ provides 30g of high quality protein per 100g. Adding milk to this will further increase protein availability.


While fat is necessary for absorption and transportation of fat soluble vitamins, protection of organs, brain development and is an integral component of cell membranes, it is also a very energy-dense macronutrient. This means that an excessive intake can lead to weight gain. While fat allowances will vary according to goals in sports nutrition, it should usually make up around 30% of total energy intake, with saturated fats making up less than 10% of energy intake. Unsaturated fats come mostly from plant sources and are considered “healthy fats” because they have the ability to lower “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol which benefits the heart and vascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids also provide many health promoting benefits, while trans-fats should be avoided as far as possible, always check trans-fat content on labels4,8. FUTURELIFE® products do not contain Trans fats and majority of them are also cholesterol free.



‘Micronutrients’ refers to vitamins and minerals, which the body requires in small amounts daily for many necessary functions. Each micronutrient has a NRV or a daily intake considered to be sufficient to meet the currently recognised nutritional needs of the majority of healthy people. Due to biomechanical adaptations that take place in active people, the requirements for certain micronutrients may be slightly increased. However, with meeting increased energy requirements and eating a healthy, balanced diet, without any food group exclusions, micronutrient requirements are also usually met. Pay special attention to fruit and vegetable intake, making sure that you eat 5 or more servings per day. Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of micronutrients. Ensure that you vary your choices of fruit and vegetables, choosing different colour options. One serving is equal to one medium fruit, one cup of raw vegetables or half a cup of cooked vegetables.

If you feel for whatever reason that you may not be getting sufficient micronutrients, take a multivitamin at 100-150% of the NRV for each nutrient. Individual micronutrients should not be supplemented without a diagnosed deficiency.

Did you know:  FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Smart Food™, FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food™ and FUTURELIFE® ZERO provides 100 % of the NRV’s for all vitamins and most minerals per 100g.



  • Angela Bentley: The truth about protein
  • FUTURELIFE® Sports nutrition presentation





Exercise makes you happy

By Angela Bentley

Date: January 2016

This shouldn’t come as a surprise but the best way to stay happy or get happy is definitely EXERCISE…  Though it offers many health benefits (exercise is medicine), one of the main reasons that I exercise is simply its effect on my mood. This article will examine why exercise makes you happy and the best forms of exercise for mood enhancement.


What causes that happy feeling?

Although we may not have much on our mind when we are exercising, our brains are actually very busy. When we start exercising our brain perceives that the heart-rate changes occurring must be due to stress (maybe you’re running away from danger) and it tries to help out by releasing the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine among others1, 2, 3. A summary of how their roles affect your mood is described in the image below, but the bottom-line is that they make you feel good.

The stress and pain of exercising also brings about the release of endorphins, otherwise known as the “happy hormone”. These feel-good molecules have a similar effect to that of pain-killers and are associated with a feeling of euphoria, pleasure and general well-being4, 5.

Picture2 Picture1

Other reasons why exercise makes you happy1, 10:

  • It helps to energize us
  • It helps us to sleep better
  • It relieves stress
  • It eases anxiety
  • It improves self-confidence and appearance
  • It improves our immune systems
  • It reduces depression
  • It helps you to be more social
  • It gets you outdoors
  • It improves memory and brain power

How much exercise and what type?

Since the effects of exercise on happiness, productivity and memory are largely acute; your focus here should be more on frequency than duration. It seems that the most important factors influencing these aspects are that you work out regularly… but findings are more positive if you have worked out on the particular day that research is carried out5, 6. The guideline derived from this research is that we should get 20 minutes of focused exercise everyday”5. Although extending these sessions to 30-60 minutes per day can provide further health benefits7, 8.

According to 2010 research, high-energy aerobic activity such as running, cycling or swimming reduced depression more than less intense exercise7, 9. However, an integrated workout schedule of 3-5 days of aerobic exercise and at least 2 days of resistance training with at least 10 minutes of stretching at each aerobic and strength session is what is recommended by for reducing anxiety and depression8. Resistance exercise helps us to function better and improves self-esteem, while stretch and balance exercises such as yoga and tai chi help with mind and body relaxation and stress-relief 8, 9.

One of the great things about exercise is that it needn’t cost much, if anything at all, and its benefits are clearly substantial. So the next time you’re feeling a little down try go for a run, not only will it clear your mind but it’ll make you feel great! Remember though to recover well with FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food, or FUTURELIFE® Smart Drink, ensuring to keep those energy levels up for the remainder of the day.




Sports supplements: What you need to know!

By Angela Bentley

May 2015

Sports supplements are products often used to enhance athletic performance or to meet the additional requirements that may be demanded by an athlete. They may include macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats), vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, or botanicals (plants) — or any concentration, extract, or combination of these; and are generally available to anybody over the counter. They can be further divided into 3 groups:

Sports foods: convenient alternatives to food which provide nutrients found in food and serve to help meet sports nutrition goals. Such products include sports drinks, bars, gels and liquid meal supplements.

Dietary supplements: vitamin and mineral supplements which are used to treat deficiencies or inadequacies in the diet. These should only be used after consultation with a doctor or sports dietician.

Ergogenic aids: nutrients or food components in larger amounts than would generally be found in food. These claim to directly affect performance by enhancing mechanisms within the body. Many of these are not proven to be effective, but some such as creatine, caffeine, buffers, proteins and essential amino acids are well proven to provide desirable effects.

Whether chatting to professional sportsmen or members of my gym classes, I am always surprised (and quite alarmed) by the way many people perceive dietary supplements to be the most important part of their nutrition regimen.

As the name suggests, supplements are meant to SUPPLEMENT but not substitute a healthy diet. The diagram below demonstrates the value of various strategies in sports nutrition. You will see that maximising performance requires a foundation of balanced and suitable eating. Sports foods certainly have their place in meeting requirements before, during and after exercise, while ergogenic aids, if required at all are there to provide a small boost or advantage.


While there are ingredients which are proven to be beneficial in sports nutrition, it is important to note that there is a lack of regulation governing the supplement industry. One should be aware that there are many misconceptions and risks that surround the industry, particularly ergogenic aids.

Here are some common beliefs about supplements, which are actually not at all true:

  1. Products must be safe, legal or effective:
    • If bought through a “well-known” or “reputable” seller.
    • If proven benefits are mentioned and it is stated that the product is ‘tested’ and ‘safe’.
    • If no banned and/or harmful substances are listed on the label.
    • If the label says it is ‘natural’ (or herbal).
  2. Active sports people cannot get everything they need from a healthy, balanced diet
  3. Nutrients from supplements are superior to those obtained from eating wholesome foods.
  4. Competitors or top sports people are using a product, therefore I should be using it too.

What are the risks?

Due to the lack of regulation, supplements are frequently not labelled correctly. We therefore cannot be assured of the ingredients contained within the packaging. As a result allergic reactions, illness, toxicity, or even overdosing on harmful substances can occur.

Often supplements purposefully or inadvertently contain substances banned in sport without stating so on the packaging. This could lead to positive tests for banned substances and result in a sports career being cut short.

Due to a lack of testing, side effects are often not known or stated. Certain substances which have been found in supplements have the ability to change your metabolism or even hormonal levels, putting you at risk of various adverse health effects such as heart disease, depression, cancer and many others.

Minimising the risk:

Okay, so now you know the risks associated with supplements, but you are still looking for the “boost” that I referred to earlier. Use these tips to lower your risk.

  • Limit or minimise the use of supplements. Just because an unregulated supplement claims to be able to help you, doesn’t mean it will. Make use of reputable resources to find out if it is the right product for you.  Visit for a summary of what ingredients have been proven effective and what you should avoid.
  • Even if a product is effective it is always advisable to consult with a dietician or sports physician before choosing a supplement. They will be able to give you better insight into the required dosage, product safety, form of the ingredient, interactions with other medications/nutrients, contraindications etc.
  • An effective supplement may still not be necessary for you. Always consider if you can get the same benefit from food, if so food is always the better option.
  • Phone or mail the company selling the product and ask questions.
  • Look out for Informed-Choice and Informed-Sport marks on labels:

These are certification programmes for sports supplements, ingredients and manufacturing facilities, which assures athletes that products carrying these marks have been regularly tested for substances considered prohibited by WADA (World Anti-doping Agency).They also ensure that products have been manufactured to high quality standards.

Did you know: FUTURELIFE® High Protein SmartFood is endorsed by Informed Choice, giving you everything that you need for effective exercise recovery without the risk. Take note that many of the FUTURELIFE® products can be used as effective meals or snacks throughout the day, helping to take the guess work out of healthy eating.



High Protein SmartFood

What foods should you avoid for optimal running?

By Angela Bentley

As dieticians we are continuously giving advice to runners on what to eat to perform at their best.  While what we eat is extremely important, we can destroy our best efforts by putting other incorrect substances into our bodies. Today I will be discussing three things that I consider to be potentially detrimental to your performance and health.


We know it is tempting to enjoy a drink or two after a good training session or race, but it may be better to opt for an orange juice. You may not think that a few casual drinks will have a huge impact on your athletic performance, but sadly its effects are widespread and could be the cause of disappointing results. Alcohols effects include:

  • Impaired muscle growth and recovery due to interruption of sleeping patterns and protein synthesis.
  • Increased risk of injury due to blood flow changes in soft tissue.
  • Reduced endurance, strength and speed.
  • Increased risk of dehydration due to alcohols diuretic effects and alteration of judgement
  • Altered ATP production pathways, thus lower energy levels.
  • Increased fat storage and micronutrient depletion. This is worsened by the fact that we often skip meals or make unhealthy food choices when drinking.

For these reasons it is probably better to stay away from alcohol during peak training and races. This being said, alcohol in moderation (one drink for women and two for men) has its pro’s. It can be beneficial to the cardiovascular system, prevents certain diseases and has social and psychological benefits. If you do not have any condition that contra-indicates alcohol consumption by all means have a drink during the quieter periods of training.


In this day and age I don’t think there are many people under the impression that cigarettes are healthy for you. But if you need further reason to throw away that box, consider how it impacts your running performance. Smoking decreases your lung capacity and VO2 max which in turn leads to lower energy levels. It also weakens your immune system, increasing sick days and decreasing training.

Quitting smoking is definitely not easy, but there is no doubt that you will feel the difference in your training. It is human nature to replace one addiction with another- why not replace yours with the endorphins that come from a killer run?


Sports supplements are dangerous for a completely different reason to alcohol and cigarettes. Their risks lie in the fact that the supplement industry is unregulated; this means that the producers of supplements do not have to give a complete ingredient list or prove that the product contains ingredients listed. They also don’t need to prove the efficacy or safety of their products in order to get it on to the market. Using a supplement that you are lead to believe is perfectly safe could cause you to test positive for banned substances or be detrimental to your health. Effects include allergic reactions, toxicity of self-medication, overdosing and poisoning.

Some sports supplements carry larger risks than others. For example, it is unlikely that a high carbohydrate gel or bar would contain banned substances. There are also companies like Informed Choice that are there to offer some piece of mind. They test products for banned substances and offer an endorsement if their requirements are met. It is advisable to consult with a dietician or sports physician before using a sports supplement. FutureLife® High Protein makes for a fantastic carbohydrate and protein blend and carries the added benefit that it is endorsed by Informed Choice.

Our bodies are amazing machines and we need to respect them. We need to be careful to consume only what is beneficial to us. Let’s face it; we are very cautious about putting the right fuel into our cars, should we not be far more careful with our bodies?


Amazing Benefits of Caffeine in Sports

By Angela Bentley

November 2014

Walking through supplement aisles, it is easy to get confused about what works and what doesn’t. There are many sports supplements making all sorts of unsubstantiated claims and in reality very few are proven to be effective. I must also remind you that the market is unlegislated making the likelihood of contamination and the presence illegal substances high.

Caffeine, the humble stimulant found in coffee, was previously on the banned substance list, however with a wealth of research to show that caffeine enhances both endurance and high intensity performance in trained athletes, 12 μg of caffeine per ml of urine  is now allowable.

Caffeine is one of the few sports supplements which has been extensively researched and is recognised to be generally effective and safe as an ergogenic aid. I think that anybody that has had a strong cup of coffee before a workout will understand why!

How does it work?

By stimulating the nervous system caffeine helps to make free fatty acids available from fat cells (sounds good to me!). These free fatty acids are then available to the body as a source of energy to fuel your exercise.

Caffeine also causes an increase in the “fight or flight” hormone, adrenaline. Adrenaline increases heart-rate, breathing-rate and energy production, preparing the body for an intense workout.


Who and for what?

Caffeine has been shown to improve exercise performance by 11-12%

More specifically,

  • Caffeine has been shown to enhance ones maximum endurance performance, which can be extremely useful in improving time trial speeds
  • In conditioned athletes caffeine has been shown to assist in prolonged high intensity exercise such as rugby, soccer, rowing, hockey etc.
  • Use in strength and power training is still controversial with mixed findings, but studies show that it may help trained athletes
  • Caffeine enhances vigilance and alertness, which can assist athletes in exhaustive exercises which require alertness
  • When combined with carbohydrates, caffeine can enhance glycogen re-synthesis during recovery from exercise.

How much and when?

It is generally recommended that caffeine in a low to moderate dose (3-6mg/kg) be taken 60 minutes before exercise to allow for optimal absorption. Intake above 9mg/kg is not shown to have any additional advantage. Interestingly, consumption as little as 15-30 minutes before has still produced enhanced performance.

It is important to bear in mind that caffeine can negatively influence your sleep, which could inhibit proper recovery. Therefore it is advisable to avoid consuming caffeine after mid-afternoon if you are caffeine sensitive

What is the best form of caffeine?

Caffeine is caffeine. To get to 3mg per kg of body weight you would need to consume about 2 cups (250ml size) of percolated coffee. If you aren’t a coffee person there is always the option of taking a pill.

Will caffeine cause dehydration?

Studies have shown that caffeine induced diuresis does not take place during exercise. There has been no change in sweat rate, fluid loss or any negative changes in fluid balance caused by caffeine. This is true even in extreme heat. Sufficient fluid intake is still very important for recovery.