Category: Nutrition


BY: Nicola Wilken  

With fat being a hot topic these days, you are probably wondering if you are consuming the right type. With so many oils to choose from, do you feel stumped as to which one you should be buying and using based on your needs? Fear not! Here we will explain the types of fat you should be including in your diet, along with how to do it.


Fats and oils have many different functions in the body, including chemical, physical and nutritional. In food, fats and oils provide appearance and texture, flavour, nutritional value (provide calories and are needed for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K), satiety, solubility and heat transfer1.


According to various nutrition guidelines, 20 – 35% of our total energy should be coming from fat2. There are different types of fat that should be making up your total fat intake for the day. Of your total energy this should come from2:

  • 15 – 20% monounsaturated fat (MUFA)
  • 5 – 10% polyunsaturated fat (PUFA)
  • <10% saturated fat


Figure 1: Fatty acid composition of oils5.

Figure 1 depicts the fatty acid composition of various oils. As you can see, coconut oil is mostly made up of saturated fat, so you should limit the use of this oil. On the other hand, olive oil is mostly made up of MUFAs, which may help decrease your risk of heart disease. You should thus try to include this in your diet where possible.


Cooking temperatures can vary depending on the cooking method1:

  • Pan-frying / sautéing on stove top: 120°C
  • Deep frying: 160 – 180°C
  • Oven baking: below 200°C

When you expose cooking oils to high temperatures, oxidation and a number of other chemical changes start to occur. If oils are heated too high, or for too long, they can start to breakdown and form a number of by-products1. The type and quality of oil, as well as the temperature it is exposed to are some of the factors that dictate the chemical reactions that take place. The end result of heating oil too much and for too long is decreased nutritional value of the oil and the by-products may have adverse health effects1.

The temperature at which an oil starts to break down is known as its smoke point. Different oils as well as whether they are virgin, semi-refined, or refined, have different smoke points as seen the table below3.

Refined canola oil 400
Unrefined sesame oil 350
Refined avocado oil 271
Palm oil 232
Refined soy oil 232
Peanut oil 227
Sunflower oil 227
Grapeseed oil 216
Virgin olive oil 216
Almond oil 216
Sesame oil 210
Extra virgin olive oil 207
Refined coconut oil 200
Butter 177
Unrefined coconut oil 177
Extra virgin olive oil 160
Unrefined peanut oil 160
Unrefined soy oil 160
Unrefined canola oil 107
Unrefined flaxseed oil 107
Unrefined sunflower oil 107


You may have been told to cook with olive oil as it is the healthiest for you, but just be aware of the type of olive oil you are using, as well as the temperature you are going to expose it to. For example, if you are going to be pan-frying a food, it may be better to use virgin olive oil as opposed to extra virgin olive oil.


Based on the smoke point, some oils would be suitable for cooking at high temperatures. However, some oils may have a high smoke point, but also have a very strong flavour. Can you imagine the taste of French fries cooked in avocado oil? Beyond the taste, avocado oil is expensive.


To make things a bit easier for you, the below table lists the oils suitable for various cooking methods or uses4.

Baking Canola oil

Olive oil

Sunflower oil

Cooking Canola oil

Olive oil

Sunflower oil

Coconut oil (moderate amounts of virgin coconut oil in curries, etc.)

Sautéing Canola oil

Olive oil

Sunflower oil

Grapeseed oil

Stir-frying Canola oil

Olive oil

Sunflower oil

Sesame oil

Peanut oil

Grapeseed oil

Deep frying Canola oil

Sunflower oil

Peanut oil (if this is the flavour you are looking for. . .)

Coating pots / pans / grill Canola oil
Dip Olive oil

Sesame oil

Peanut oil

Grapeseed oil

Salad dressing Olive oil

Sesame oil

Flaxseed oil

Peanut oil

Grapeseed oil


Store oil away from light and heat. A cool, dark cupboard may be just the place. Some oils, especially those high in PUFAs (e.g. grapeseed oil) are prone to turning rancid quickly. Rather store these oils in the fridge.


Understanding the chemistry behind the oil is key to knowing which oil you should be using and for what. The less exposure to heat the better, where some oils are more tolerant than others. After going through this article, I am sure you will be able to impress your guests at your next ‘come-dine-with-me’-styled dinner party!


  1. Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive. Gray, Sarah. 2, s.l. : ACNEM Journal, 2015, Vol. 34.
  2. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults. Dietetics, Academy of Nutrition and. 1, s.l. : Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vol. 114.
  3. [Online]
  4. [Online]
  5. [Online]






Walk through the aisles of a 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 of course FUTURELIFE® is always there to lend a helping hand.

My personal challenge 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. How is it done?


The meal you choose before you begin your exercise plays a very important role in making sure that you are properly fuelled and that any discomfort is minimised during exercise.

In previous articles I have covered the what, when and how of pre-endurance nutrition. Below are 4 cost-effective meal 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® 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  Bread™  with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (32g) and 1 tablespoons of Jam (20g) 65g/20.5g R5.10
50g  FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ + 1 cup low fat milk and 200g fruit salad 61g/17g R9.90



During exercise, nutrition is very important for sessions exceeding 60-90 minutes Glycogen (energy) stores are quickly depleted and need to be replaced in order to keep you performing at your best. 30-60g of easily digested carbohydrates per hour should do the trick for this athlete. Exactly how much you would need within the 30-60g range will depend on the intensity of exercise among other things. Below are some great options, as well as the amount of carbohydrates it would provide in total and per hour for the 3 hours.

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


BY: Angela Leach   /   DATE: April 2018

Roughly 60% of the human body is made up of water, which is a good indication of its importance for all bodily functions and this certainly does not exclude sporting performance. Did you know that just 1% dehydration can lead to a reduction in strength?  Learn the ins and outs of good hydration by reading on.


Many people fail to see the value of good hydration in their sports, until they have experienced the dehydration. Common symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, mouth dryness and loss of coordination, which can severely impair performance with effects such as:

  • A reduction in physical and mental performance
  • Increase in heart rate and body temperature,
  • increased perception of how difficult the exercise feels
  • Impaired skill level
  • Increase the risk gastro-intestinal problems during and after exercise.



Day to day we need to make sure that we are meeting our fluid requirements. As a guide it is often recommended that we drink 6-8 glasses or 1.5-2l of water per day, but often relying on thirst is the best indicator because individual requirements vary. It is a good idea to fill a water bottle(s) in the mornings and keep it on your desk to drink during the course of the day. Although water should be our primary source of fluid, we can also fulfil some of our requirements with other drinks and foods. Fruit, veg, dairy products such as yoghurt and soups are all good food sources of fluid. Drinks to use with caution include:

  • Sugar sweetened beverages- these contain empty calories, providing little or no nutrition. Certain cold drinks may also have a diuretic effect, worsening dehydration.
  • Alcohol- alcohol in moderation (1-2 servings per day) is alright, however be aware that besides being harmful to the body, alcohol can have a negative effect on your sporting performance, nutritional status and cause dehydration in excess.

Around exercise

No two people are the same, likewise people vary in how easily they dehydrate. Get to understand your hydration levels better by weighing yourself before and after training. The difference in weight will be the result of fluid losses. In order to compensate for these losses, drink 1l-1.5l per kg lost.

BEFORE: Make sure you always start an exercise session session well hydrated, but beware of overhydrating before as this can lead to increased urination and GI upset during exercise

DURING: In events lasting less than 60-90 minutes you can use thirst as indicator, however longer sessions usually require planned fluid intake. Requirements usually vary between 150ml to 350ml of fluid at 15-20 minute intervals. Beverages with carbohydrate concentrations of 4% – 8% can be handy for intense exercise events lasting longer than 1 hour because they provide for both part of the athletes fluid requirements as well as carbohydrate replenishment requirements. Sports drinks are ideal in this situation as they provide the correct carbohydrate concentration, fluids and electrolytes which assist with rehydration and prevent hyponatremia.

  • AFTER: You do not stop losing fluids as soon as you stop exercising. You continue to dehydrate through sweat and urine losses after you finish exercising. Aim to replace 125-150% of all fluid lost in the hours following exercise. To rehydrate effectively drink your fluids along with salty recovery snacks which will provide much needed electrolytes.


Making sure that you are properly hydrated can be instrumental in maximising your sports performance. Following the guidelines above and learning exactly how your body’s fluid regulation works is definitely worth your effort if you want to be the best athlete you can be.









BY: Angela Leach

Vitamin D is different from other vitamins for two reasons. Firstly, it is in actual fact a hormone otherwise known as calcitriol1. Secondly, while other vitamins must be taken in through diet, the body is actually able to obtain Vitamin D through certain foods or produce it through exposure to sunlight. Despite this fact, Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is common in a large proportion of the world’s population which can cause serious health issues if not recified2.

For a long time the role of Vitamin D in bone health has been widely recognised, but in recent years research has increased in its role in muscle function. This leads us to ask, how can getting sufficient Vitamin D optimise our sports performance?


Improved muscle strength

Vitamin D plays a regulatory role in protein synthesis and various studies have demonstrated that Vitamin D can improve muscle strength. These results have been revealed in both upper and lower limbs4,5,6.

Injury prevention

Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to an increased risk of muscular injury as well as prolonged recovery time6, keeping you away from training and improving.

Decreased risk of stress fracture

Due to the very important role Vitamin D plays in bone health, supplementation has demonstrated significant effects in the prevention of fractures, including stress fractures5,6,7.

Reduced inflammation

Studies have demonstrated that increased levels of Vitamin D can reduce the level of inflammation following intense exercise. The benefit of the decrease in inflammation would be an earlier resumption of training7,8.

Immune system benefits

Increased blood Vitamin D levels are associated with a strengthened immune system, the result, less colds and flu and fewer infections to keep you away from training6,8.

Over and above these benefits in sports there is also research to show that Vitamin D can reduce cancer risk9,10,11, type 1 diabetes10,11,depression11, osteoporosis10,11 and overall morality,10,11 amongst others.


For those periods where soaking up some sun is just not possible, cod liver oil is the top dietary source of Vitamin D with just one tablespoon providing more than double the daily value for this nutrient.

The FUTURELIFE® Smart Food™ range is also a great source of Vitamin D providing 100% of the NRV per 100g.





REVIEWED BY: Angela Leach   


Java, Mud, Joe, Brew. People love coffee so much that in 5 seconds I was able to find 30 nicknames for it. Fortunately coffee is one of those rare treats that contain next to no calories and offers health and performance benefits. It is also one of the leading sources of antioxidants in the Western diet. What are the proven benefits (and risks) of coffee? And are there specific safe dosage limits? We take a look.


The following guidelines have been issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):


In healthy adults between the age of 18 and 65, a daily dose of 400mg of caffeine does not raise safety concerns. Note: this guideline refers to caffeine as a whole and not just caffeine from coffee, it is important to consider all sources of caffeine in your diet when calculating your coffee allowance. Below is a table showing of the caffeine content of various sources:

Mug of brewed coffee 100 – 125 mg Mug of instant coffee 70 mg
Bar of dark chocolate 65 mg Can of Cola – 350 ml 50 mg
Mug of tea 45 – 75 mg 30g dark chocolate (a third of a bar) 20 mg
Mug of cocoa 15 mg Mug of green or white tea 15 mg
30g milk chocolate (a third of a bar) 6 mg Mug of decaffeinated coffee 2 mg

Beware: Too much caffeine (over 500-600mg) can cause restlessness, tremors, irritability, insomnia and an upset stomach.

Children and adolescents

On the whole, significant amounts of caffeine aren’t recommended for children and adolescents; this is due to the fact that caffeine interferes with sleep, which is necessary for proper growth and development. Safety has been established at a limit of 3mg per kg body weight for people between the ages of 3 and 18 years. This would equate to 60mg for a 20kg child.

Pregnant and lactating women

Because the physiological effects of caffeine are passed from the mother to the foetus/infant, its safety in pregnant and lactating women has long been debated. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage, growth restriction and childhood leukemia, but largely in quantities exceeding 200mg per day. An intake of below 200mg is approved as safe by EFSA. However, to be cautious it is advisable to keep consumption as low as possible.

Specific health conditions

Those with pre-existing heart conditions or type 2 diabetes are advised to keep to an intake of below 200mg or follow their doctors’ instructions regarding intake.

There are some people that are ultra-sensitive to caffeine. In such a case it is difficult to establish a safe limit, but it is recommended to start intake at 50mg per day and increase or decrease from there.


Research on the benefits of Java is continuously emerging, some are mentioned below. The majority has shown health benefits from at least three 230ml cups of coffee per day, it may be even more beneficial to split this up into smaller amounts of about 80ml every hour. For those needing to limit their caffeine, decaf typically (with exception) offers the same benefits.

Liver protection

Coffee prevents liver cirrhosis and other liver diseases. The liver is an extremely important organ, responsible for many important functions in the body. Coffee plays a very important role in liver defence, which is particularly important if you drink alcohol. People that drink at least 4 cups per day have up to 80% less chance of developing liver cirrhosis.

A happier you

I’m sure you don’t need any article to tell you this, but coffee makes you happier! Coffee drinkers are 10 to 20% less likely to be depressed, they are also about half as likely to commit suicide. I would say a double expresso is a good reason to wake up in the morning!

Decreased cardiovascular risk

You may have heard that caffeine increases blood pressure and think that I am talking nonsense? However, this effect usually goes away if you drink coffee regularly (with exceptions). It also does not increase risk of heart disease and may prevent cardiac deaths.

Even better, coffee drinkers that drink between 1 and 3 cups per day have a significantly lower risk of having a stroke.

Effects are put down to antioxidants present in coffee which combat inflammation and a boost in nitric acid which dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Brain benefits

A moderate intake of coffee improves brain function and reduces risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Coffee helps to increase the amount of certain important neurotransmitters which improves, among other things, memory, mood and general cognitive function.

As previously mentioned, coffee is also rich in antioxidants, this, along with its effect on neurotransmitters is thought to be the reason that coffee drinkers that consume between 1 and 5 cups per day have a noticeably decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and even a form of brain cancer.

Coffee or more specifically the caffeine in coffee also assists with prevention of Parkinson’s disease. It can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by between 30 and 60%

Cancer prevention

Coffee does not only prevent brain cancer. Due to its antioxidant content it has proven to be helpful in the prevention of skin, liver and colorectal cancers too.

Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a huge health concern which affects about 347 million people worldwide. Interestingly studies have shown that coffee consumption decreases risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Risk is shown to decrease by about 7% with each cup of coffee drunk per day, I.e. The more coffee you drink the lower your risk of developing diabetes. Remember this is preventative in nature and is not the case for those with existing type 2 diabetes.

Improved sporting performance

By stimulating the nervous system caffeine helps to make free fatty acids available from fat cells. 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.

Because of its physiological effects on the body, Caffeine has been shown to improve exercise performance by 11-12%.  It therefore makes sense to have a cup of strong coffee 30-45 minutes before a workout.


While there are guidelines around safe intake limits, good quality coffee provides us with many health benefits. Take note that although roasted coffee contains antioxidants (Chlorogenic acid), its raw unroasted format ‘Green Coffee beans’ provide a stronger antioxidant punch (as roasting will decrease the antioxidant content). So keep a look out for new developments in products containing Green coffee bean extract.


To combine the goodness of FUTURELIFE® and coffee try this amazing mocha protein smoothie


1/2 cup coffee, already prepared
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 handful of ice
50g (5 heaped tablespoons) of Chocolate flavour FUTURELIFE® High Protein Smart Food™

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend together on full power until smooth. Serve and enjoy.

Serves 1 – meal
Serves 2 – snack






BY: Danielle Roberts   

Maximum anabolism is ideal for muscle growth, strength and recovery, and the key is to keep the body tilted towards anabolism is to increase muscle protein synthesis.

Protein synthesis is a process where nitrogen from amino acids is arranged into structured proteins to create muscle growth. The more efficient this process, the more you build muscle. Protein synthesis requires two main criteria:

  1. Training- using the muscle
  2. Nutrition- a sudden increase in amino acids signals muscles to repair and grow.



Protein Pulse feeding is the use of fast proteins to spike amino acids in the bloodstream in order to increase muscle protein synthesis. The main way to do this is by ingesting anabolic dense meals often throughout the day. Basically anabolic density means more protein is taken up in less time. A good example of this is whey protein. Whey is broken down and absorbed quicker than casein in the same time, therefore it has a higher anabolic density.


The trick with protein pulsing is that you cannot eat a protein with a meal, as fat or carbohydrates, or even slow digesting proteins will delay digestion, and prevent a spike in amino acids. Ideally a protein pulse plan starts with having whey protein in the morning. Upon waking, we are usually in a catabolic state. To put the body into a more anabolic state, drinking a fast digesting protein, such as whey, is a good idea. Thereafter, taking in fast digesting proteins (whey, cottage cheese, egg whites) every 2-3 hours throughout the morning, helps ‘inject’ the muscles with amino acids. Once this has been done for about half a day, more balanced meals including protein, carbohydrates and fat can be consumed, making sure the protein content of the meal remains between 25g – 60g.



6am:  25g protein from whey (in water)

8am:  50g protein from whey (in water)

10am: 3 egg whites scrambled

12pm: lunch meal e.g. 200g grilled chicken with baked sweet potato and salad

2pm: FUTURELIFE® High Protein SmartBar

5pm: 25-50g protein from whey (in water) post gym

7pm: dinner meal e.g. 200g grilled fish with brown rice & steamed vegetables


This protein pulse idea proposes that the body will be flooded with amino acids which will increase muscle protein synthesis. Another upside to this is more metabolically active muscle tissue, which means the body burns more calories, and thus more fat.


While research is still fairly new, protein pulsing then gives one the opportunity to try build lean muscle mass more quickly with fairly little effort in terms of preparing laborious meals. It is certainly worth a try for those looking to increase their lean muscle mass, but should ideally be carried out with consultation of a registered dietitian to ensure that nutritional requirements are met.


BY: Angela Leach  

Maybe you’ve heard that it’s really important to eat before morning exercise? Perhaps you’ve tried it, but you had limited time and really regretted it during your workout because you just felt heavy, slightly nauseas and had tummy issues? Don’t fret, you are not alone, this is a common scenario and a major reason that many people do their workouts in a fasted state. Today I’m going to explain why it is so important to eat before you exercise in the morning and give you tips on WHAT to choose when time is not on your side.


Food, particularly carbohydrates, is fuel for your body. We all know how far a car goes when it runs out of fuel… Not very far at all. While we fortunately have carbohydrate stores (in the form of glycogen) in our muscles, these stores are limited, even more so if you have not eaten for 10-12 hours since your dinner the night before. You can therefore imagine the effects that going to train fasted would have1,2 3:

  • Premature fatigue
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Decreased endurance capacity
  • Decreased speed
  • Gastrointestinal upsets
  • Negative effects on body composition

Simply put to get the most out of your training and to be able to go for longer it is a good idea to consume something before you train.


Your pre-exercise meal should be eaten in a period of 1-4 hours before training. Now, obviously if you are training at 5.30am, eating at 2am is really not an option for most recreational athletes. You may be willing to make some sacrifices before a competition or race, but certainly not a few times a week. Eating 1 hour before may be more realistic, but brings its own limitations; most people really can’t stomach much so soon before.


If you have a good few hours before start of your exercise options of carbohydrate rich breakfasts that will fuel you well are broad. However, when you have an hour or even less before exercise your options become quite limited. Nevertheless, you should ideally get something in, here are some tips that I’ve picked up over time:

Go low residue

Contrary to the types of carbohydrates one should generally try to include in their diet, in this meal you want to try steer away from high fibre foods. Low fibre foods are digested more quickly and will help to prevent gastrointestinal upsets and leave you feeling lighter during exercise4.

Portion with caution

You are most likely not going to be able to stomach a large serving of anything so soon before exercise. My feeling here is something is better than nothing, even if you can only tolerate a few mouthfuls of a carbohydrate rich food, it is more fuel than you would have had if you had foregone the meal.

Fat phobia

Like fibre, while (good) fats play an important role in our diets, they should be kept to a minimum before exercise. The reason for this is that fat slows down absorption of food and will leave you feeling heavy and uncomfortable. As a side note, if you include dairy remember to go low-fat or fat-free.

Drink your pre-exercise meal

This is a dual-purpose guideline. Firstly, this will help you to get in some fluids and assist with hydration levels. Secondly, many people find a liquid meal easier to stomach in the morning, it is also often more convenient to drink a meal on-the-go rather than sitting down to eat.

Personalise to your own tolerance

What works for one person may not work for the next, try different food options until you learn what works best for you. A small period of trial for a lifetime of brilliant morning workouts.


Now that we know the rules, here are some examples of foods that fit the criteria. Remember to keep portions small.

I hope that this information will help you to go from strength to strength in your training and that you achieve all your goals in whatever sport makes you smile.



How is it Possible for me to Train this Hard and not Lose Weight?

By: Sonal Ratan

Do the gym staff know you by name, because you’re there every day, like clockwork? Do you struggle to keep up at your running club, but still always show up and never give up? Do you work up a sweat at home every night, following the instructions from your fitness app? And are you still not losing weight, despite following such a high intensity fitness regime? We might have the missing link that can help on your journey towards weight-loss.



You need petrol to fuel a car and get to your destination, right? Of course you do, the car and petrol are equally important to get you from point A to point B. In the same way, if you want to lose weight then it is important that you follow a calorie-restricted, balanced eating plan as well as exercise.



Okay, so you’re fully aware that what you eat is just as important as how you exercise. But let’s take a closer look at a few common myths that could be misleading you.


“I can have this cupcake and run for an extra five minutes to work it off later”.

Think of your body like a scale. If you consume the same amount of calories (in the form of food or beverages) that you use (for body functions and physical activity), then your weight will stay the same. Let’s use the cupcake as an example:


1 cupcake= Jogging at an average pace (5 minutes) = ±240 calories IN   ± 80 calories OUT

This much extra jogging would only burn off one third of that cupcake! It doesn’t sound so appealing now, does it? I’m not saying that you should never have a treat again. You are human and sometimes you want to indulge in something sweet. So, why not go for our FUTURELIFE® Crunch Bar instead? Not only is it delicious, it also:

  • Is high in protein;
  • Is a source of fibre;
  • Contains soya lecithin. Studies suggest that soya lecithin assists with improved brain function, aids in healthy weight loss, lowers cholesterol and prevents fat build-up in the arteries to promote heart health.


12g FUTURELIFE® Crunch Bar=   Walking up the stairs (4 minutes) = 43 calories IN ±43 calories OUT

Do you work in a building with stairs? Then working off a FUTURELIFE® Crunch Bar is as simple as skipping the elevator and walking about four flights of stairs.


Note: Calories burned will differ between individuals as this is dependent on numerous factors. The above are examples for a better understanding of how calorie intake and use works.


“I need a low fat or low carb diet to lose the most amount of weight”.


Absolutely not! A study investigated the effects of a low carb and low fat diet on weight loss. For two weeks, one group of obese participants were placed on a low carb diet that reduced their total calorie intake by 30%. A second group of obese participants were placed on a low fat diet which also reduced their calorie intake by 30%. After the two weeks and a few weeks of rest, the groups switched diets. The results revealed that both groups had lost about the same amount of weight1.


This study is a great example of why cutting down on one specific food group does not achieve optimal weight-loss results. Yes, the groups did lose some weight but this was due to the fact that the participants were obese and had cut back on calories by 30%. More focus should be placed on reducing your total calorie intake and distributing your daily allowed calories throughout a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This will lead to you losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off, with exercise. It is also important to watch your portion sizes and choose the right types of foods. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are eating the correct portion sizes at meal times:

Palm for protein


Your portion of protein should be the size and thickness of your palm. Remember to go for lean options and cut off all extra fat from meat before cooking. E.g. skinless grilled chicken breast, grilled fish or boiled eggs.

Fist for carbohydrates


Include a fist full of a high fibre carbohydrate. E.g. FUTURELIFE® Smart Bread™ (1-2 slices), brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

Handfuls for vegetables


You should include at least two handfuls of a variety of vegetables of different colours. The more colours you include, the better. Each colour indicates different nutrients. E.g. carrots, tomatoes, broccoli or beetroot.


Thumb for fat


Include healthy fats at meal times but only as much as the tip of your thumb. As a general rule, use no more than 1 teaspoon of fat for a meal when cooking. E.g. canola oil, olive oil or avocado in a salad.


The above are general guidelines. For a more precise calculation of your meal portion requirements visit your nearest dietitian.


“I need to sip on an energy drink while training”.

It is common knowledge that staying hydrated while training is important. However, what you are meant to drink is still unclear to many people. The American College of Sports Medicine states that when exercising for less than one hour, there is limited evidence that people who drink beverages with carbohydrates and electrolytes perform better than those who drink plain water2. It is also important to keep in mind that if you are exercising in an air-conditioned gym for 90 minutes, you are still more likely to need fluids in the form of water than electrolytes (you may need some carbohydrates for hard sessions, lasting longer than an hour). Let’s break it down:


500ml energy drink= Full body gym workout (60 minutes, non-stop) = 150 calories IN   240 calories OUT

Once you’ve completed a 60-minute, full body workout, you have burned about 240 calories. If you’ve consumed a 500ml energy drink during this time, then you’ve consumed about 150 calories. 150 calories in and 240 calories out, means 90 calories burned by the end of your gym session. So, do you really need that energy drink? Research shows that there is no substantial evidence to prove that energy drinks – except for caffeinated drinks, which are beneficial because of the caffeine – lead to the enhancement of physical performance3. My advice is that if you are not an athlete, sweating vigorously and training for lengthy periods of time and your aim is to lose weight, energy drinks are not a good idea. Plain water is enough to keep you hydrated, as you will not lose a significant amount of electrolytes while you train. You also won’t require extra glucose if you have had a small snack or a meal some time before your workout. If you want that caffeine fix, then simply add a teaspoon of coffee to your FUTURELIFE® shake before your workout.


No one said that the journey towards losing weight was going to be easy but it certainly isn’t impossible. Now that you have a few tips, stay motivated, train hard and eat right – starting now! You will definitely be thanking yourself later.








When and How to Tone and Build Muscles

By: Wilna Eksteen



This is something every male will attempt, and more than once in his lifetime. Unfortunately, muscle building and toning are (like most things in life) influenced by your genes, age, gender, eating habits and exercise. Not all teenage boys will wake up on their 15th birthday with a full beard and start shaving, some will start earlier. Some will take years to grow a beard that runs from ear to ear and some will have to shave twice a day to keep everything under control. The same principle applies to muscle building and toning.


Not everyone builds muscles in the same way. If you understand that your body determines how you build and tone muscles, you can start doing the right types of exercises, taking part in the right sports and identifying which physical activities will be easiest for you.

Type 1

Type 1 fibres are also known as slow twitch fibres. They are red in colour due to the presence of large volumes of myoglobin and oxygen as well as high numbers of mitochondria. They are very resistant to fatigue and are capable of producing repeated low-level contractions.

Athletes such as marathon runners have a high number of this type of fibre, partly through genetics and partly through training1.

Type 2A

Type 2A fibres are also known as fast oxidative fibres and are a cross of type I and II fibres. They are more prone to fatigue than type I fibres. Resistance training can turn type 2B fibres into type 2A fibres by increasing the ability to utilise the oxidative cycle1.

Type 2B   

Also known as fast glycolytic fibres, these are white in colour due to a low level of myoglobin and few mitochondria. This results in short, fast bursts of power and rapid fatigue. This type of fibre can be turned into type 2A fibres, through resistance training. This is a positive change because of the increased fatigue resistance of type 2A fibres. These fibres are found in large quantities in the arm muscles1.

It is a lot harder for someone with majority type 1 muscle fibre to build bulking muscles, than it is for someone with majority type 2B fibres. It is quite easy to identify the type of muscle fibres you have. If you are lean, naturally a bit skinny and have never been the fastest person around, you most likely have type 1 muscle fibres.

This will help you when you exercise. If you have type 1 muscle fibres, it takes you a lot longer to condition your muscles into being ‘bulky’ than if you have type 2B muscle fibres.



During your teen years, your body wants to grow. You’re churning out hormones that are specially designed to help you get bigger. Right now you may be able to take in a huge amount of food and use it to build a strong body.  But growing will not stop here – especially for guys.

  • There is no shortcut to growing.
  • You will not look like the guy next to you, everybody is different.
  • Start slowly. Your muscles are growing but forcing them will just cause injuries.
  • Genetics does play a role.
  • Do not overdo protein.
  • Sleep! Your body produces growth hormones while you sleep.
  • Get advice on your specific body type.


You are not supposed to look in proportion when you are going through puberty. Your body grows at different rates, in different places and this is completely normal. The same principle applies to your muscles, they will grow bigger as soon as your body can afford to use energy for it.



  1. Listen to your body.
  2. Speak to your parents about when they went through growth spurts. This can give you an idea of when you might start growing taller or building muscles more easily.
  3. If you work against your body, you will cause more damage than good and it will take you a lot longer to see any results.
  4. Do not compare yourself with other girls or boys.
  5. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that consists of a variety of foods. The body you have now still needs to go through a lot, look after it.
  6. Muscle building and toning is very dangerous if you start too early.

Building and toning muscles is different for every person. Make sure you understand your body and what is ‘natural’ for you. There are a lot of ways to look better and have a healthy body, but it depends on your body and what it is capable of at different stages in your life.







What You Need From Your Nutrition During Exercise

By: Danielle Roberts

Endurance sporting events are becoming increasingly popular. Doing well, and recovering well in longer endurance events can be directly linked to good nutrition.



The energy requirements of endurance athletes are higher than other athletes. Calorie requirements differ depending on an athlete’s gender, age, weight goals, and training programme. Smaller athletes in light training will require a minimum of 2,000 calories per day; larger athletes and those in heavy training may need well over 5,000 calories per day. It is important that athletes try achieve these calories from a variety of food sources. Having a good nutrition programme that meets energy, weight and training goals during the early phases of training, helps prepare you for heavy training schedules, and competition. A sports dietitian is the best person to assist in a personalised meal plan.


Carbohydrates provide the ideal energy source for most endurance exercises because they are quickly absorbed and used by the body. Following a diet that is too low in carbohydrates can cause fatigue and injury. Also, eating sufficient carbohydrates spares protein from being used as a source of fuel during exercise. Generally 5-7g / kg is needed per day for high intensity endurance athletes to perform at their best day after day, and on race day.


Protein helps build and repair muscles, and supports immune function. Protein also is used as a less important fuel for endurance exercise and sport. Even during race events and long training sessions,

taking in a little protein, along with carbohydrates may help prevent muscle breakdown. Protein is also vital for recovery post training and allows for muscle protein synthesis. Generally, 1.2-1.7g / kg protein is needed per day.

Looking at your overall diet

Following a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet, you can easily meet your needs for endurance training and racing. Eat a diet high in quality carbohydrates, moderate in healthy fat and adequate in lean protein.

Your nutrient intake and diet plan needs to adjust to meet changing energy and macronutrient demands as you progress through the different stages of training and competition. Once you have an eating plan in place for a particular cycle, keep consistent eating habits to maintain or improve performance goals.



During a race or event, carbohydrates (or an energy source), becomes very important to avoid “hitting the wall”. This is when your body runs out of available energy sources to fuel performance, and the athlete feels exhausted. Taking in intermediate or fast digesting carbohydrates can prevent this from happening during a race. As a rule we require 30-60 g of carbohydrates per hour, this can increase to 90 g in events with high levels of effort lasting more than 4 hours.

Fat as a fuel?

There are some athletes who are able to adapt to using fat as a source of energy during longer (slower) events, but it takes a while for the body to adapt to a low-carb training diet, and this needs to be monitored closely and adhered to strictly. Something to be cautious of is ingesting slow absorbing fuels like proteins, nuts, or foods with fibre and other solid foods during workouts or races, which can cause gastric discomfort. An empty stomach can absorb your race drink quickly and properly. Keep your stomach empty by only consuming fast absorbing drinks instead of slow solid foods.


The most important tip to follow for any type of race is of course, never to try a new supplement on race day. An athlete should always be familiar with nutrition available during the race in case that

specific supplement disagrees with the digestive system, makes you feel nauseous or causes drops in  sugar levels.