Man breasts and belly

I’m a 16 year old guy, I recently lost 13 kg and now my height is 184 cm and 79 kg, but I still have man breasts and a belly. How can I lose them without going to gym?


During weight loss it is common for the some body fat to be lost in areas faster than others. Additionally there are certain areas where the body tends to store more fat that others. The belly is usually the last to go when your dieting. You don’t need to specifically go to the gym to loose this fat, but you will need to maintain your diet and do some form of daily exercise. I see that you are engaged in daily sports from your profile so this should help. Regarding your man breasts otherwise known as Gynaecomastia, this is something that can commonly occur during puberty affecting 50% of boys during puberty. This is not directly related to just being fat, but is due to the hormonal changes you are going through. In boys this is usually due to high estrogen levels and will level out and normalise itself in time. There are cases where other factors are at play such as environmental estrogenic substances called xenoestrogens that are introduced from things such as food packaging, plastic water bottles and cosmetic and body care products. Cruciferous vegetables such as Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts can help reduce Gynecomastia. These vegetables contain specific phyto-nutrients such as indole-3-carbinol that help combat these xenoestrogens. Eating foods rich in Zinc can also help maintain your testosterone levels, although they are going to be relatively high anyway due to your age. Roasted Pumpkin, Squash and Watermelon seeds are all rich in zinc and a healthy snack that can be eaten throughout the day. Try to eat fiber rich foods such as whole grain brown rice, bran, oatmeal, and minimise consumption of white products, white bread, white rice, sugar as these promote fat gain. Finally one other thing you can consider without going to the gym is to do some press-ups at home. Press-ups will help build and tone the muscle in your chest and help support distribute more evenly any fat that is currently there.

Middle Age Spread

I eat shred wheat or fiber one and milk for breakfast. 2 coffees. Lunch I eat half a sandwich and a cup of ginger ale and cranberry. Dinner I make a protein a vegetable and a starch with water. I have yogurt and wheat thins and or a cup of ice cream. This is my families usual meals and I am getting the middle spread I am not overweight just feeling uncomfortable around the middle I have never had a problem there. I also walk for exercise. I am 49 yrs old.


Thanks for your question. The middle age spread is something that most people suffer from. Unfortunately this slow weight gain creeps up on you even thought you don’t seem to have changed anything in your diet over the years. As part of the aging process, our metabolism slows and we lose muscle mass. These changes mean we are not able to process the same amount of calories as well as we could in the past. Currently you are walking for exercise. Whilst this has some health benefits it does nothing to combat age related muscle loss. After the age of 25 we lose approximately 0.5-1% of our muscle mass per year. Muscle is very important for maintaining our metabolism and burning calories throughout the day. By the age of 50 you have lost 25% of your muscle mass. When you lose this muscle your bodies requirement for calories is reduced and you don’t need as much to sustain your current weight. I would suggest that you engage in some resistance training to help combat this. You don’t need to join a gym, but doing some simple whole body exercises such as press-ups and body weight squats can help combat this muscle loss. Reading your profile I noticed that you do consume 2 servings of sweets every day and 1 soda a day. Both of these are sources of empty calories which only contribute to weight gain. Whilst it is still nice to have a snack and the odd treat try to have it as an occasional rather than twice daily treat.

Does amaranth have to be cooked?

I hate cooking. I drink a lot of smoothies. Can I simply add the uncooked amaranth seeds to my smoothies, or does it have to be cooked in order to get the nutrients?


Unfortunately Amaranth does contain Phytic acid so needs to be soaked before cooking to remove as much phytic acid as possible. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of a variety of nutrients and minerals so it would be counter productive to add raw Amaranth to your smoothies.

Nutrient tracking

How do you know if you’re getting enough vitamins every day? Most nutrient trackers are based on calories or focused on weight loss, which is not what I am looking for.


There is no easy way to know whether you are getting enough vitamins every day. You may not get 100% of every vitamin you require every single day, as your intake of food will vary from day to day. However if you are eating a diet that comprises a broad range of food sources and includes 5 different pieces of fruit and vegetables every day, then it is more than likely you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you require in your diet. if you want to get more information on the nutrients you are consuming, is a good website which contains lots of information on the macro and micro nutrients in foods.

Blended whole fruit VS eating whole fruit

Is there an advantage or disadvantage to consuming a serving of fruit a day via smoothie (just blended fresh raw fruit and water no other additives)?


No, there is no real disadvantage to consuming blended fruit vs eating whole fruit. As oppose to juicing, when you blend fruit you still leave all the fiber intact in the fruit. The fiber helps slow the digestion of your smoothie which means the fruit sugar is absorbed more slowly which in turn stops your insulin levels from rising sharply. One advantage of making smoothies is that some studies have shown that blending/juicing can improve the absorption of nutrients from the fruit. For your reference, some vegetables are more effectively processed when raw and blended, whilst others need to be cooked before eating.

Lowering LDL’s

I have read that grapefruit can lower cholesterol. I asked my MD and did some web searching, but can’t find the recommended amount of juice necessary to lower my LDL’s (I drink Pink Grapefruit as I read this was more effective). Do you have any advice? I currently take no cholesterol medications. Thanks, Bruce


Thanks for your question. There have been some studies to show that citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits may have a beneficial effect on cholesterol and cardiovascular health in general. One study showed two glasses of orange juice a day had a positive benefit on cholesterol, whilst another showed three glasses of orange juice a day had a benefit. Regarding grapefruits specifically, I believe the study was not using grapefruit juice but whole grapefruit. The serving was 1 grapefruit per day. I would suggest it is better to eat whole oranges and grapefruits over the juice, because these fruits are rich in fiber. Fiber in itself has been show to lower cholesterol and also regulate blood sugar so you are doubling your benefit when you eat the fruit vs the juice. Drinking juice is fine, however you need to remember fruit still contains sugar and drinking three glasses of juice everyday is going increase your calorie intake significantly. Over time this could lead to weight gain. I would suggest limiting yourself to one 250ml glass of juice a day and then try to eat a whole grapefruit and orange a day. As mentioned above fiber is also beneficial for lowering cholesterol as fiber binds with fat in your digestive system and prevents it from being absorbed by your body. Try to eat a source of fiber with every meal. This way you always make sure you will benefit from fiber and reduce your fat absorbed with each meal. Foods rich in fiber are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and seeds. If you eat cereal in the morning, look for a hi fiber cereal that contains whole wheat, oatmeal and seeds. Look at the label and look at the fiber content looking for products with over 10 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Anything about 6 grams per 100 grams is considered a high fiber food. Based on your stats you should be aiming to consume 30 grams a fiber per day. Other things to include in your diet is fish, specifically oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel. Oily fish is high in omega-3 which has a beneficial effect on cholesterol. Two to three servings of oily fish per week should be consumed. Avoid farmed fish and Tilapia which tend to be low in Omega-3. As you are already taking a multi-vitamin check the formula and look if it contains Folic Acid or Folate. If it contains Folic acid, I would recommend looking for an alternative product which contains Folate. Folic acid is a synthetic B-Vitamin which the body cannot metabolize effectively. Folate is the naturally occurring form of folic acid. There is some suggestion Folate may have beneficial effects on cholesterol and cardiovascular health.

Breakfast Meal – no appetite

I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I am so not hungry in the morning. What can I do to help this?


Hi, Thanks for your question. A lot of people don’t have much appetite in the morning and would rather skip breakfast. I really recommend that people do not skip breakfast as I find it to be one of the most common factors in people struggling to lose weight. Rather than trying to eat a solid meal I would suggest that you try and make a smoothie or milk shake in the morning. No need to buy any fancy products or powders. if you have a compact electric hand blender, I would get some live probiotic yoghurt add a couple of tablespoons, a banana, a small dash of honey and some skimmed milk (or soy or almond milk if you prefer) blend it together and you have an quick and nutritious breakfast that will last you till lunchtime. You can add a few strawberries or blueberries on different days to have a bit of variety. It should only take a few minutes to make and its easy and quick to consume.

Are Chia seeds are good source of Omega 3?

I am a vegetarian and looking for a good source of Omega 3’s. I’ve seen Chia seeds are rich in Omega but was wondering was they are really tiny seeds is it possible to absorb the nutrients from them?


I would not worry too much about absorption issues, Chia has around 60% Calcium and 40% Iron per 100 grams. A typical serving might be one or two heaped teaspoons so around 10 grams which equals only 6% and 4% of those minerals respectively. Absorption issues typically occur when consuming large amounts of one or the other minerals, which is not the case with Chia. They are perfectly fine to add to smoothies. They are an excellent source of Omega-3 and fiber. When you use Chia you should drink your smoothie straight away as due to the rich fiber content you will find that they form a gel fairly quickly that can give your smoothie a very thick consistency.

Muscle loss from diet

I’m a 23 yr. old female. I cut all bread wheat and potatoes out of my diet. I really don’t eat starches at all besides black beans. I eat a lot of veggies and some fruit, mostly tomato. I occasionally eat red meat but mostly shrimp. if I just eat shrimp with a meal I make sure to eat some cheese with it for some fat. the only dairy I eat is cooking my food in butter and a little cheese. I feel weak a lot and am concerned about losing muscle mass. I drink some water and take fish oil pills. my skin feels tight and dry. I don’t know what to do or what to eat. I don’t leave my house a lot and don’t exercise a lot, I don’t have a car anymore. do I need something for fiber or a whey protein


Hi, firstly is there any reason you cut all wheat and potatoes from your diet. If there isn’t a specific medical reason or allergy, I am not a fan of completely cutting foods out of your diet. In the long term it can be difficult to sustain. From your description of dry tight skin and the diet you outlined I suspect that you have cut too much fat from your diet and more specifically the good fats. For good skin health its very important to consume healthy fats such as Omega-3’s from fish and Olive Oil. Evening Primrose oil which contains Gamma Linolenic acid and has anti-inflammatory benefits. I would suggest when cooking or making salad dressings you use olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil which is right in Omega 6’s which we consume in excess and promote inflammation. If you can afford it you may want to consider using Udo’s oil. It is a excellent blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 plus GLA. It can be used on salads and cooking but not for frying. Consuming oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines in olive oil will also provide the fatty acids you need. Consuming walnuts and flaxseeds can provide a rich source of good fatty acids and some fiber. Regarding vegetables, I would try and consume more that just tomatoes as your vegetable, because in fact tomatoes are a fruit despite being considered a vegetable!! Eat some darky leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, these are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber too. I would recommend that you do try and exercise, as exercise helps optimise hormone levels which can also have a benefit on your skin as well as your strength. Even if you are able to do five minutes of exercise every day at home this will be of benefit. To aid in building muscle try and do your exercise before you are about to have a meal. Make the meal a protein rich meal so that following your exercise bout your body will make best use of the protein in that meal to build muscle.

Do carbohydrates ADD calories?

I’m curious about carbs. Let’s say I get a lean cuisine meal and it has 320 calories, with 39 carbs in the meal total. Do the carbs add any hidden calories to the meal? I.E. the meal is really 500+ calories with the carbs.


Hi, when you read the nutrition label on the back of your meal, it should show both a calorie “per 100 gram” and a “per pack” reading. The calorie reading has to show the total number of calories in that meal. If your meal says 320 calories per pack, then in total including all the calories from carbohydrates, it has to total 320 calories. Manufacturers must provide accurate figures. Carbohydrates are a source of calories, as is protein and fat and the calories they yield will make up the total calorie number in the meal.