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Why are some people so easily able to stay ‘lean and mean’, while others (like me), are always dieting and exercising?

Our size and shape depend on our genetic make-up. To a certain extent, we have to accept that we are not all born with the genetic inheritance of supermodels – some of us are born with an innate capacity to develop longer limbs and more muscle. Ageing is also key.

As we get older, our muscle mass decreases as our fat mass increases. This means the number of kilojoules we burn at rest drops, so we need to slightly adjust our food intake to account for that. I is also possible that the years of yoyo dieting have a negative impact on metabolic responses, but this is still unknown. There are things that you can do to be leaner and meaner. The more muscle you have the more energy you burn.

So tone those muscles with moves that challenge them. Any extra physical activity burns more energy, so think about creating more opportunities to move more,  whether it is doing a new gym class or taking the stairs.

What is a glucose challenge test?

The glucose challenge test measures your body’s response to sugar (glucose). The glucose challenge test is done during pregnancy to screen for gestational diabetes — diabetes that develops during pregnancy.

The glucose challenge test is done in two steps. First, you drink a sugary solution. One hour later, your blood sugar level is measured. The results of the glucose challenge test indicate whether you might have gestational diabetes.

If the test results are above normal, you’ll need to have further testing to determine the diagnosis.

Is lo salt ok to use? My doctor told me to reduce my salt intake because I have high blood pressure. Is lo salt good to use instead?

Too much salt (sodium chloride) can contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension), which health experts warn can put you at risk of health problems such as stroke and related heart disease. LoSalt contains all the flavour of regular salt but only one-third of its sodium. Used in place of salt in cooking or at the table, LoSalt can help you reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.

LoSalt is especially good on those foods which many people find bland without any salt, such as eggs, fish, chicken, potato and tomato dishes. But remember – even LoSalt should be used sparingly since it contains some sodium.

My weight can fluctuate by as much as 2 kg in one day! What makes this happen?

Our body weight naturally varies throughout the day. We add to it by eating and drinking and then dispose of metabolic waste by sweating and going to the toilet. Add to that a set of potentially inaccurate bathroom scales, and you have a very good case not to weigh yourself too often – and certainly not at different times during a single day. Women who retain fluid during their menstrual cycle also need to acknowledge these extra grams when they are deciding whether and when to weigh themselves.

In fact, your own body may be an even better gauge than the scales: measure your waist (at the narrowest point above your hips), or simply monitor the way your clothes fit, such as how tight a favourite pair of jeans feel. If you are stepping on the same scales to track your weight, stick to a weekly weigh-in that is always at the same time of day, and remember to take natural variations into consideration too. The best way to lose weight is slowly – whichever method you use to measure changes, try not to check it too often.

Is Fosamax the most common medication for osteoporosis patients?

Osteoporosis treatment may involve medication along with lifestyle changes. If you’re undergoing osteoporosis treatment, you’re taking a step in the right direction for your bone health. But you might have many questions about your therapy.

Is the medication you’re taking the best one for you? How long will you have to take it? Why does your doctor recommend that you take a weekly pill when your friend takes a pill only once a month?

Bisphosphonates are the most common medications prescribed for osteoporosis treatment.

These include:

  • Alendronate (Fosamax)
  • Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
  • Ibandronate (Boniva)
  • Zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)

Hormones, such as oestrogen, and some hormone-like medications approved for preventing and treating osteoporosis, such as raloxifene (Evista), also play a role in osteoporosis treatment. However, fewer women use oestrogen replacement therapy now because it may increase the risk of heart attacks and some types of cancer.