A healthy balance

Kate Miller looks at diet and detox and how important it is for natural product retailers to offer sound advice in this area

If you’re old enough to recognize the name Trisha Yates, then you’ll definitely know who Roland ‘Roly’ Browning was. For those of you in the dark, both were characters from children’s TV series Grange Hill. Trisha was the sassy bad girl with a heart of gold, while Roly was known for one thing. He was fat. What’s more he was the only fat child in a large London comprehensive, and everyone noticed.

How very quaint it all seems now. Fast forward 30 or so years and he’d probably have a much easier time at school because he’d be in such good company with both pupils and staff.

According to the National Obesity Forum, more than six in ten adults are overweight or obese, with many having associated health problems which cost the NHS around £5 billion annually. Targets set by the Health of the Nation report in 1992 to reduce obesity, have been missed by 400%. In 2007 the Foresight Report warned that almost half of the UK population could be obese by 2050, costing the NHS £50 billion per year. However, in his foreword to the National Obesity Forum’s State of the Nation’s Waistline, released to coincide with National Obesity Awareness Week this year, chair, Professor David Haslam, warns: “Without action across the board – from government, business, society and individuals – we might feel fortunate if only 50% of the population is obese and the cost is only £50 billion in 2050 if current trends continue.” He goes on to paint a bleak picture of things to come.

Various government schemes have included the Change4Life campaign which launched in 2009, and the Healthy Lives Healthy People strategy published in 2011 with the ambitious target of reducing the average calorie intake by five billion a day. However, according to the National Obesity Forum, little has been heard about the latter initiative since its launch. And the voluntary food and drink labelling scheme using the traffic light colour system, designed by the British Retail Consortium and rolled out in June 2013, has been a source of consternation both in the mainstream industry and, for slightly different reasons, by nutritionists.

Despite all of this, market analyst Mintel says that sales of diet and weight control foods are struggling. Con-sumers, wary of artificial sweeteners and doubts over ingredients, are looking to other means of losing weight and being healthy. A Mintel survey published in Sept-ember 2013 found that 55% of Britains (29 million) had tried to lose weight in the last year with, unsurprisingly, women signi-ficantly more likely than men to try to slim down. In fact only 5% of women and 17% of men said they never think about their weight.

Dr Marilyn Glenville says that this trend is a worrying one and is holding a Fat Around the Middle retreat in January to help women lose weight permanently: “There’s been an enormous change in the female shape from pear shape to apple shape over the past couple of decades,” she says, “and this is enormously dangerous. If our shape keeps changing we could find ourselves having the same health problems as men.”

Quick fixes
However, many consumers are looking for instant solutions including faddy diets and quick-fix pills and powders such as fat-blockers and appetite suppressants. But public perception of some of these has been badly affected by products that have been withdrawn from the market. Appetite suppressants which were licensed and appeared to work have been linked with dangerous side effects including making people feel suicidal and non-fatal heart attacks or strokes. And fat- blockers have been linked with cases of diarrhoea. The only drug with official NHS approval – orlistat which is sold under the name of Xenical – works by preventing absorption of fat in the gut and has been criticized for not suppressing the appetite and, in some cases, causing diarrhoea.

Shona Wilkinson at Nutricentre says that she thinks the public is aware of the problems with products such as fat-blockers: “They have such horrendous side-effects and we would never recommend them. They’re indiscriminate in that they block good fats as well as bad. With weight loss it’s very difficult to recommend particular products as you really want to do it as naturally as possible, so any product should support the process.” She says that when customers come in for weight loss, she points them to something like chromium which helps to balance blood sugar levels, or something with a lot of fibre in it. “What worries me is when people follow a low-fat diet – it’s quite old fashioned, but still very popular. We would look at supplementing them.” She says that products with caffeine should also be avoided.

For the health food retailer, faced with a customer desperate to lose the pounds, it can be tricky to persuade them that there is no magic pill that can do it for them – however, some can help. Retailer Becky Sherwood, a qualified homeopath at Greenlife Totnes Town Store says that one of the new products she’s particularly keen on is Pukka Natural Balance which blends herbs such as seaweed, green tea and cinnamon to give a broad spectrum formula. “One of my colleagues recommended it and says it really helps her not feel like she’s dieting. It covers blood sugar and cravings and nutrition.”

Sherwood says that while the weight loss area of the shop isn’t the busiest due to its customer base, it carries the usual products. “I’m wary of raspberry ketones and am actually more of a fan of garcinia,” she says.

The detox confusion
According to Wilkinson, many customers are confused about the difference between dieting and detox and the pills and potions surrounding each market. She points out that while weight loss can be a side-effect of a good detox programme, particularly if there is a hormonal problem, the two are very different. Half the problem, she says, is confusion and misconception over the word detox: “Some people interpret it as a fasting diet, some interpret it as cutting out alcohol and smoking, and for some it’s a seven-day juice detox.” Wilkinson doesn’t use the word detox, partly because of the eggshell legislation that the industry has to tiptoe through, but also because terms like ‘revamping yourself’ are more easily understood by customers. “When we talk in terms of revamping yourself we talk about everything, including lifestyle. It’s giving the body a rest from toxins and giving it time to recover and revive itself.”

To the detox sceptics, Dr Marilyn Glenville points out that, while the body is very good at detoxifying itself, it does need a spring clean now and again: “Our diet and environment are not the same as a generation ago when there was less pollution, more locally-grown food, no convenience or fast foods and no additives, preservatives or colourings in our food. Our bodies have to work harder all the time with this overload so it is good to give it a cleanse.” Cleansing the body, she says can have a variety of benefits including imparting more energy, clearer, brighter skin, less puffy/dark eyes and water retention, improved digestive function and weight loss. Psychological benefits can include a clear mind, balanced mood and a ‘plat-form’ to get you eating well.

For supplementation she recommends psyllium husks to cleanse the colon, dandelion to support liver function, chlorella to support the liver, ginger for the bowels and kidneys, probiotics, and flaxseed which can help with bowel regularity and eliminating waste and toxins.

Nutritional therapist at Feel Better Nutrition, Lorna Driver-Davies, says that one of the problems is modern-day diets: “Historically we used to use so many more herbs in everyday foods which would be doing this natural cleansing to the body each and every day. But we’re so far from that now that we need to help the body.”

Driver-Davies says that the negative media coverage of detoxification has had little effect on her very full clinic. She prefers the term ‘metabolic clearing’ as a description of what is actually going on. She says that she’s very careful when discussing the concept of detox. “I discuss it in terms of good, healthy food and then with vitamins and minerals. It’s not some weird starvation diet.” Clean eating Driver-Davies says she makes sure clients know that the concept of what she calls, ‘clean eating’ isn’t just a fad and should be done all the time. “Yes, there are certain times in the year where you can be more intensive about it, but you should be eating all year round in a way to support the liver.” Like Glenville, she likes tried and tested products and thinks detoxification should be looked at as a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. She points to herbs like turmeric, or milk thistle which help with phase two of the detox, as the kind of thing that can be taken every day. With the gentler methods of detox customers come in saying that they haven’t had that huge, life-changing result, says Driver-Davies, but they look and feel so much better. She adds that, while you’re always going to have the customers who want to do the two-week detox – which is why you need to have products to suit them – most customers will appreciate that the real results can be had by adopting a more gentle lifestyle change. The time of year that customers start these cleansing periods is also key, says Driver-Davis: “The body really doesn’t want to be detoxing at the beginning of the year, spring is a much more natural time for the body to start the cleansing process.” She says that retailers should be steering customers to products which offer the full array of nutritional needs and says that people often don’t realize that the body needs extra support, for instance with B vitamins, during phase one and two of a detox.

Shona Wilkinson says that she’s seen a move from the short, fast, aggressive detox diets to the more holistic approach, which is better for the customers and less likely to be jumped on by the media and sceptics. She says that customers who come into the London store are very knowledgeable and have often had a metal toxicity test and are looking for something like chlorella.

For ease, she also says that people are asking for more products in powder form which they can just add to their juices in the morning. “A lot of people are juicing again and there are a lot of mixed messages out there. People lean towards fruit when juicing, but we don’t recommend that – it just gives a huge sugar rush. We would recommend vegetable smoothies, rather than juices, because you get all the pulp which has so much goodness in it. To these you just add your powders and it’s a really great way to start the day.” She says that retailers could think about stocking good hardware to encourage customers, and particularly recommends the Nutri Bullet as it’s easy to clean and very simple to use.

Having just been to the States, where some health food stores are using smoothie making as part of in-store theatre, Wilkinson wants to import the idea to Nutricentre in the next couple of months. “Apart from the excitement of seeing the smoothies being made, it shows customers how easy it is. They can sample them and you have the ingredients all there ready for customers to put it in the trolley and go.”

At the moment she is looking into the practicalities of the venture, but thinks it will become a weekly in-store event. “It’ll probably be a 15-minute demonstration every week.” Wilkinson says that this is a great way to engage customers: “Health food stores can be a bit intimidating for people, and because of legislation nothing really says what it is – it can be a really uncomfortable shopping experience – but if you can relate it to food, people relax.”

With both slimming and detox, Dr Marilyn Glenville says that retailers should be wary of fads which seem to offer ringing tills, but leave customers wary of visiting again when they don’t work. They also have a knock-on effect with the tried and trusted methods: “I think fads such as raspberry keytones don’t help the industry because these fads are often what the sceptics bring up. And then, even though there’s good evidence on things like chromium, they get tarred with the same brush. If customers buy products that don’t work then that’s really bad for retailers. The flash-in-the-pan products tend to come and go quickly and when people see that you sell the types of products that don’t work they’ll tell their friends. The natural products industry is built on word of mouth.” The best thing that retailers can offer, according to Glenville, is decent staff training. “Good staff can direct customers to products that have good evidence.


HealthAid Ltd,
Tel: 020 8426 3400
E-mail: [email protected] 

CoffeeSlim™ – Help Support Weight Loss – CoffeeSlim™ is new weight management supplement with essential ingredients, such as Green Coffee Bean, Raspberry Ketones, Green Tea, African Mango Seed, Blueberry Extract, Cayenne Pepper and Chicory Root. Green Coffee Bean Extract help’s to release fatty acids from fat stored in the body. Chlorogenic acid helps the liver to process these fatty acids more efficiently. Raspberry Ketones are naturally occurring phenolic compounds found in red raspberries which help curb appetite and cravings for food. CoffeeSlim™ has the additional benefit of key Amino acids and Minerals to help support, healthy metabolism and weight management. Suitable for Vegans CoffeeSlim™ retails at £19.99 for 60 capsules. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 020 8426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit www.healthaid.co.uk.


natures-aid3-in-1 Natural Formula

Natures Aid
Tel: 01772 686231
E-mail: [email protected]

With so many weight-loss products on the market, it’s often confusing for consumers, (not to mention retailers) about which of the weight-loss products would best work for them. To help resolve this problem, Natures Aid® have combined three popular weight-loss nutrients into one convenient capsule for maximum effect. Natures Aid® 3-in-1 Formula combines Decaffeinated Green Coffee extract (Svetol®), Garcinia Cambogia providing 60% Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) and Green Tea together in a vegetarian capsule to deliver the benefit of all three ingredients. Combining these popular nutrients is an innovative and targeted approach to Weight-loss management. Natures Aid® 3-in-1 Formula, 60 Capsules RRP £24.95.


natural-health-practice-1Amino Support & Nutri Support

The Natural Health Practice
Tel: 0845 88 00 915
E-mail: [email protected]

Two very special formulations from the Natural Health Practice containing all the most important nutrients and amino acids scientifically proven to help reduce fat from around the waist. Nutri Support contains chromium which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels, Magnesium which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue as well as other beneficial nutrients. Amino Support contains a special blend of 8 specific amino acids. For best results use both supplements as part of the ‘Lose your Belly’ programme as featured in the ‘Fat Around the Middle’ book by Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD.


health-sparkRaspberry Ketone & Garcinia Complex / Yacon 500mg / Yacon Complex

Healthspark Ltd
E-mail: [email protected]

Healthspark, the UK’s slimming supplement specialist has recently launched three new products, using fully compliant ingredients produced to GMP: • Raspberry Ketone & Garcinia Complex, containing 2500mg natural Raspberry Fruit extract combined with Garcinia Cambogia, Cocoa Extract, Green Coffee, Green Tea, Cayenne & Zinc. • Yacon Root 500mg with naturally occurring prebiotic inulin and fructooligosaccharides (also known as FOS). • Yacon complex is made up of 500mg Yacon Root, Cayenne, Citrus Aurantium, Yerba, Carob & Cinnamon which all may help to maintain a healthy weight.


new-nordicChili Burn

New Nordic Ltd
Tel: 01482 300695
E-mail: [email protected]

The calorie burning spice! Chili Burn™ is an advanced chili based tablet optimized with ingredients, which contributes to normal energy-yielding calorie burning. The Swedish Company, New Nordic have formulated a tablet that provides you with a highly potent green tea extract, very rich in EGCG plus chromium piccolinate, B vitamins and magnesium, which help maintain a normal metabolism of fat, carbohydrates and proteins and the conversion of these ”body fuels” into energy.


pure-natural-productsThe Lemon Detox – Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup

Pure Natural Products
Tel: 0845 370 1012
E-mail: [email protected]

Fasting made easy with The Lemon Detox. Fasting has never been more popular, but it can be tough preparing meals of 500 calories every fast day. Supporting your fast with The Lemon Detox couldn’t be easier: simply mix Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup with lemon juice, water and a pinch of cayenne pepper to get a nutrient rich drink of approx. 100 calories per glass. Mix a bottle for the day and away you go. Perfect for those on a 5:2 diet. 100% natural, no additives / preservatives. Available in health stores nationwide. Retailers & practitioners contact [email protected] or call 0845 3701012. www.lemondetox.com


amazing-grassAmazing Grass Amazing Meal – New Packaging & Formulation

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Amazing Grass Amazing Meal is phasing in new packaging and slight tweaks to the formulations. Before, many felt the opening of the tub was not wide enough, so the new tubs have wider openings. Amazing Meal now has 11+ grams of premium whole food protein containing all essential amino acids, naturally sourced from Organic Hemp Seeds and Organic Brown Rice, and NOW with Organic Quinoa and Organic Pumpkin Seeds for a complete, balanced protein blend. There are also 5 billion probiotics per serving. Yes, Amazing Grass Amazing Meal just got even more Amazing!


natures-answerNature’s Answer L-Carnitine, Raspberry Ketones and Green Coffee Bean with Green Tea

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Nature’s Answer L-Carnitine, Raspberry Ketones and Green Coffee Bean with Green Tea formula is a powerful synergistic complex to support healthy weight management especially when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise. speeding up the metabolism. Featuring the purest form of L-Carnitine, Carnivore, with 125mg of natural raspberry ketones, a naturally derived compound that produces the scent of raspberries. Standardized Green Coffee Bean extract also offers Chlorogenic Acid. Unlike some Raspberry Ketone supplements, Nature’s Answer is benzoate-free. As with all Nature’s Answer Liquid Nutraceuticals, the formula features Quiksorb to aid absorption.


terranovaTerranova Green Purity

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Terranova’s Green Purity Super-Blend is deeply nourishing to avoid nutrient loss which is sometimes associated with detox. It is also the perfect product to use for ongoing detox on a daily basis. With Dandelion Leaf, known for its supporting detox and a healthy liver, due to bile flow influence; Watercress and Kale, both healthy sources of sulphur compounds associated with detox; Parsley Leaf, a traditional kidney and urinary tract tonic; Beet Juice & Greens, with high levels of carotenoids; Burdock Root: rich in prebiotic compound inulin, associated with maintaining a healthy gut and immune function; and Turmeric Root, Coriander Leaf, Artichoke Leaf, Wheat Grass Juice and Cordyceps.


ultimate-listingLepicol 3 in 1 high fibre formula

As we move into a new season, many see spring and autumn as ideal times to cleanse the body. The theory behind cleansing is to release any toxic build up in our blood, body cells and adipose fat. It is therefore, imperative that all our elimination systems are working well or these toxins will get stuck in the body potentially causing symptoms such as jittery nerves, nausea, tiredness or acne. The liver is an important organ for processing toxins and the body’s main elimination organs are the kidneys, lungs, skin, lymph and bowels. Maintaining regular healthy bowel movements is essential to remove waste substances and toxins from the body. Many people experience more energy, find it easier to lose weight and have sense of general well-being after cleaning their bowel out. The consumption of high fibre foods such as vegetables and salads absorb the waste products, providing bulk to stools, while adequate water intake helps the stool mass to stay soft and easy to pass. For those who don’t consume enough fibre in their diet or are undertaking a fast, psyllium husk is a gentle fibre supplement known to absorb much more water than other fibres and improve gut transit. Having a balanced gut flora is also important to ensure healthy regular bowel movements. Probiotic intake has been shown in studies to increase bowel movements by up to 50%1. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that are selectively fermented by beneficial bacteria in the gut to help their growth2. Together probiotics, prebiotics and psyllium husk fibre were shown in a 3 month study to significantly improve stool frequency by over 50%3.

References 1. Fateh R, Iravani S, Frootan M, Rasouli MR, Saadat S. 2011. Synbiotic preparation in men suffering from functional constipation: a randomised controlled trial. Swiss Med Wkly. 141:w13239. 2. Gibson GR, Roberfroid MB. 1995. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: introducing the concept of prebiotics. J Nutr. Jun;125(6):1401-12. 3. Probiotics International Ltd. Data on file. 7.

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Jane Wolfe has worked in journalism since leaving University with a BA (Hons) in English in 1991, covering industries as diverse as energy, broadcasting, wellbeing and animal welfare. She first became part of the Natural Products News team in 1998 as a sub editor and freelance journalist before relocating to Greece in 2004. In 2013 she returned to the magazine as assistant editor, then deputy editor.