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Nicole Berberian Alabaster is a specialist dietitian working with individuals, companies and the media. A highly experienced nutrition scientist, regular media expert on television and a public speaker.  

Her news team regulars include Sky News, Five News, BBC news, ITN, Aljazeera.  Programs and series include C4 Dispatches, BBC Food Unwraped. The Food Hospital, The Biggest Looser. 

She has been the Lead bariatric specialist dietitian based at Streamline Surgical Ltd Weight Loss Surgery Centre since 2012. 

Nicole’s latest diary entry

Getting Active - so much more than calories

Activity more than just calories burned

Studies have shown that it's energy balanced healthy eating combined with activity that provides the best results for weight, but more importantly for health. 


The current government guidelines in the UK are to have  a minimum of 150minutes a week of heart rate raising activity, along with 2 days of strength building activity for the core muscle groups. That works out at 30mins on 5 days and two days of weight resistance. However  studies have shown results for double this - an hour a day five days a week and 2 days muscle strengthening. 

Labelling with activity equivalents needed to burn the calories in that food package aims to tie the two together. 

Through obsessive Focus on details of calories  is not the aim.  

It may be motivational to use this for the treat foods like a 400 calorie cake bake and full fat latte from a coffee shop coming to over 700kcal  may make you think twice when you think that's over two hours of walking or an hour and a half jog. 

Activity is much more than weight maintenance. There are deeper fast acting effects acting from the moment you start that means even if you don't see the results on weight there is much more going on, with just a few here on this list below...

  • Body tone and shape
  • Muscle strength and posture,  improving endurance to daily tasks. 
  • Builds bone  - fracture risk reduce 
  • Energy levels increased
  • Mood improved
  • Heart health
  • Hormone balance and insulin sensitivity improved. 

Many patients I see get despondent when they increase activity but see no results on weight. Remember muscle weighs more than fat, so body tone and shape are improved despite what the scales show. 

I have seen a patient recently who came in with a weight gain but he showed me a body scan he had done, showing he had gained a stone in muscle with a major reduction in body fat - and he felt so well. 

Do something every day. Anything you enjoy that gets you up and moving. 

Rough guide to calories burned in one hour for a 70kg person:

  • Dancing ballroom 200kcal
  • Brisk walk 3.5mph – 300kcal
  • Aerobics – low impact – 400kcal
  • Cycling 12mph – 500kcal
  • Running 5mph 600kcal
  • Swimming fast – 700kcal
Recipe of the week

Aubergine and Chilli Bean Beef Lasagne


In the News

18th January 2023 Prof Jebb, chairwoman of the Food Standards Agency, making the comments in a personal capacity, not as the FSA head, highlighted the individual choice to eat sweets, but adding people can help each other by providing a "supportive... read more
A school in Glasgow has created a full replica American diner complete with jukebox and red leather seats as an option for school children to eat in. Typical diner food is served but the aim is that all the food complies with the school food... read more
 Proposals from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) are to put 'activity equivalent' food labels that show how much activity would be needed to burn off the calories in that food. People surveyed by RSPH were three times more likely to... read more
 The World Cancer Research fund already have clear guidance on bowel cancer and meat. Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, goat and hamburgers, mince meat. The guidance is for 500g cooked weight a week, 700g raw weight. That works out about 70g... read more
Public Health England put a number of recommendations out today to help cut the UK's intake of sugar in an attempt to reduce the health consequences of obesity, tooth decay and other related diseases.   The recommendations include.... read more