Should I avoid carbs or avoid fats if wanting to lose weight?

Avoid neither! The problem with diets that exclude whole nutrient groups are that they aren’t sustainable (are you really going to avoid bread or fruit for months on end?), and because you are cutting out many food groups, these eating regimes risk being nutritionally incomplete.

When your diet is lacking in nutrients, you’ll feel tired and won’t want to be whipping up healthy lunches at 7am or going for a walk after work, which are the sort of key lifestyle changes that actually need to occur for long-term weight loss.

Instead, think about choosing lower kilojoule, minimally processed foods to base your diet on, such as wholegrains, fresh fruit and veg over juiced varieties,  reduced-fat dairy and trimmed meats.

Can I include the occasional “sweet treat” in my diet if I have Type 2 diabetes?

You’ve already got halfway there with mentioning ‘occasional’; the other half is all about portion size! Type 2 diabetics needn’t ban chocolates or desserts for life, but they do need to limit consumption for controlled blood sugars and weight management.

A good guide is to limit your sweet treat to once or twice a week and keep the portion to approximately 500kJs (for example, 3 squares of chocolate or 2 small scoops of ice-cream).

Am I coeliac if I feel unwell after eating gluten-containing foods? Whenever I eat bread/pasta/pizza I end up feeling bloated and gassy.

As the incidence of coeliac disease is only 1 in every 100 persons, odds are it is unlikely. However, the only way to rule this out is via firstly asking your GP for an antibody blood test , and if this shows raised antibody levels, getting an endoscopy by a gastroenterologist (after you have eaten gluten-rich foods for a month). Coeliac disease can only be properly diagnosed following this endoscopy.

In many cases, people who feel uncomfortable after eating gluten-rich foods are usually suffering from food malabsorption (such as a wheat malabsorption) or food chemical sensitivity. Seeking the advice of your dietitian will help you determine why certain foods are causing you uncomfortable symptoms.

I have just been diagnosed with coeliac disease. I know this means I should avoid gluten, but does it really matter if I occasionally cheat and eat something that’s not gluten-free?

Yes, it does matter! The only treatment for coeliac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Gluten consumption is the cause of coeliac disease, so if you still occasionally eat it, your abnormalities (such as inflamed bowel lining) will not recover. This directly increases your risk of developing coeliac-associated diseases, such as osteoporosis and certain cancers.

I’ve heard there’s an eating regime that helps settle Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Yes; it is called the ‘Low FODMAP Diet’. Limiting dietary FODMAPs (FermentableOligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) has been proved to be an effective treatment for people suffering IBS symptoms, such as bloating, abdominal pain, excess flatulence and fluctuating bowel motions. A dietitian specialising in this field will guide you in how to follow the Low FODMAP Diet to see if it works for you.

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