All posts by Ben Sammut

About Ben Sammut

Australia's leading health and fitness consultant, author and columnist.

Which Food Group Produces The Most Energy?


The quality of the food that we consume also has a direct impact on the energy we can use from those foods. This process is explained below.

Different categories or levels exist in determining the body’s ability to convert consumed foods into energy. These levels or theory, as seen below, are referred to as ‘The Tropic Food Chain’.


Level 1 Food:              Plants and algae.

Plants and algae make their own food and are called primary producers.


Level 2 Food:              Herbivores

Herbivores eat plants and are called primary consumers.


Level 3 Food:             Carnivores

Carnivores that eat herbivores are called secondary consumers.


Level 4 Food:              Carnivores

Carnivores that eat other carnivores are called tertiary consumers


Level 5 Food:             Apex predators

Apex predators that have no predators are at the top of the food chain.


The Living Lean program harnesses the energy (and protein) of level 1 foods.

The energy transferred between levels can also be thought of as approximating to a transfer in biomass.

The efficiency in which energy or biomass is transferred from one tropic level to the next is called the ‘ecological efficiency’.

The Living Lean program has been designed to maximise ecological efficiency.

It is known that humans at each level convert, on average, only about 10% of the chemical energy in their food to their own organic tissue.

This level of energy conversion continues to decline the further up the tropic food chain foods are found. Each individual step can see a decline of between 80 – 95% of this energy conversion.

The Living Lean program utilizes Level 1 tropic foods for maximum energy production, maximum protein absorption and improved metabolic functions.

Furthermore, the Living Lean customized meal plan focuses on Level 1 tropic foods. These Level 1 foods, or primary producers, unlock the body’s ability to function at an optimal level which will result in more energy, less body fat, improved physiological functions and maximal health.

PCOS – Which Type Do You Have?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance usually causes them to skip menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant. Women with PCOS also have trouble losing weight.
But did you know that there is more than one kind of PCOS?
There are several types of PCOS and knowing which type you have is key to understanding the right treatment required for you to best deal with the condition.
Each type of PCOS is given the same name, however the root cause are often quite different. Of course, in mainstream medicine, every type of PCOS is also managed with the same suggested treatments, even though these treatments only work for some women, some of the time.
Different types of PCOS also have different symptoms – not all women with PCOS are overweight, or have acne, or have excess hair growth – and this confusion can delay diagnosis, and therefore delay proper treatment and support.
There are 3 main types of PCOS, all having different causes behind them, as well as varied symptoms. The way you’ll know which you have is by looking at symptoms, and by following up with blood tests or an ultrasound to look for cysts on the ovaries. The first sign for all women is irregular cycles and missing periods. If you know you’re not ovulating and your cycles are messed up, the next step is to figure out which PCOS you’re dealing with exactly.


The 3 types of PCOS.

Insulin-resistant PCOS – this is the most typical and common PCOS type. High insulin levels stop ovulation in its tracks, causing irregular cycles and symptoms. The insulin resistance is brought about by diet. The symptoms are weight gain or obesity, acne, hirsutism, mood swings, and lack of periods. Women with this kind of PCOS are usually considered borderline diabetic.

Inflammation-based PCOS – this is the kind of PCOS that can be seen in women who are not overweight, but normal weight or even underweight, and don’t feel they have any of the classic symptoms of PCOS. The inflammatory response that stops ovulation and causes irregular cycles comes from the body’s response to foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, or from overexposure to endocrine disruptive chemicals whether it be from chemical lawn spraying or frequent use of the dry cleaner. There are multiple influencers that can cause suppressed ovulation and irregular cycles. It could be an over-reliance on artificial sweeteners (I’m talking too much Diet Coke or Stevia-based products). It could be due to poor diet, especially if you’re eating very little, only vegan, only raw, or no carbs whatsoever. The lack of ovulation will cause symptoms, but it won’t necessarily look or feel the same as common, insulin-resistant PCOS.

Synthetic Hormone-Induced PCOS – this kind of PCOS is common for women who have been on the pill or other hormonal birth control like the implant, shot, or ring, for a long time. They will come off and see their periods do not return. The synthetic hormones shut down communication between the pituitary gland and the ovaries in order to prevent pregnancy and often times this can be challenging to bring back online.

It’s also possible to have a combination of these types of PCOS or for the root cause of your PCOS to change and develop over time.

Treatments for PCOS

The two most commonly prescribed PCOS treatments are Metformin and the birth control pill. Varying degrees of success are experienced with these two options.
Metformin is mainly effective for women with insulin-resistant PCOS, and even then only short term use is recommended paired with changes to diet and lifestyle.
The birth control pill acts to mask the problems with PCOS. It may suppress symptoms short term, but they will usually return when you stop using it and they could be even worse than when you started. The pill usually will aggravate many of the causes of PCOS, including insulin-resistance and inflammation.

Natural treatments for PCOS

For all PCOS types there are 3 main strategies for natural treatment:
1. Stabilize blood sugar
2. Eliminate endocrine disruptors
3. Improve estrogen metabolism

Women with all types of PCOS can benefit from an all-natural product such as Living Lean. Other treatment suggestions include taking a high-quality magnesium supplement, achieving good quality sleep, eliminating sugar and undertaking some resistance or weight training.

Top 5 Simple Ways To Detoxify With Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay has powerful detoxification qualities and is suitable for both internal and external use. Always look to purchase organic Bentonite Clay to ensure you are consuming the best possible quality and purity.

There is an abundance of ways that clay can be used as both ingestable and/or topical treatments. Here are my Top 5:

  1. Mix With Water & Apple Cider Vinegar – Pour 25 ml Apple Cider Vinegar into a glass and fill with water. Add 1 -2 tsp Bentonite Clay and stir well to alkaline the body and detox from the inside out
  2. Consume In Your Favourite Smoothie – Simply add 1-2 tsp of Bentonite Clay to your daily smoothie. You will not even know that it there and will give you powerful detox.
  3. Use As A Beauty Face Mask – detoxify your skin, remove impurities and create a healthy glow by mixing Bentonite Clay with enough water to make a paste. Apply directly to the skin in a thin layer. Wait for it to dry before washing off with warm water.
  4. Treat Skin Conditions – Bentonite Clay is a simple and effective way of treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Simply make a paste and apply in a thick layer to the problem area. It is best left on overnight when covered by plastic wrap or a clean cheese cloth.
  5. Calm An Upset Stomach – Bentonite Clay has a natural calming effect on the stomach. Simply mix 1-2 tsp with water, fruit or vegetable juice and sip slowly. Before you know it you will be back to yourself.

As previously discussed, Bentonite Clay can be used in additional ways to assist with internal and external health. It can be used to treat everything from cuts and bruises, rashes, sunburn, ingrown hairs and even used as a toothpaste.

Stay tuned for our next post explaining some of these uses.




Diabetes – The World’s Fastest Growing Chronic Condition



Diabetes is now recognised as the world’s fastest growing chronic condition. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is rapidly growing in each country. In 2013, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths globally. Higher blood glucose levels also caused an additional 2.2 million deaths, by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.


Global Statistics

In 2015, the 7th edition of the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) Diabetes Atlas estimated that:

  • One in 11 adults has diabetes (415 million)
  • One in two (46.5 per cent) adults with diabetes is undiagnosed
  • 12 per cent of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes (USD$673 billion)
  • One in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes
  • Three-quarters (75 per cent) of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries
  • 542,000 children have type 1 diabetes
  • Every six seconds a person dies from diabetes (5.0 million deaths)

By 2040, IDF estimates that:

  • One adult in ten will have diabetes (642 million)
  • Diabetes-related health expenditure will exceed USD$802 billion

37 per cent of all adults with diabetes live in the Western Pacific region (which includes Australia);

  • China with over 100 million people with diabetes (ranked highest number of people with diabetes),
  • Indonesia with 10 million people with diabetes (7th highest),
  • Japan with 7.2 million people with diabetes (9th highest).



What Causes Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is one of the major consequences of the obesity epidemic. The combination of massive changes to diet and the food supply, combined with massive changes to physical activity with more sedentary work and less activity, means most populations are seeing more type 2 diabetes.

Genes also play a part with higher risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese, South Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.



In type 1 diabetes, symptoms are often sudden and can be life-threatening; therefore it is usually diagnosed quite quickly. In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed being seen as part of ‘getting older’.

Therefore, by the time symptoms are noticed, complications of diabetes may already be present.

Common symptoms include:

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
  • Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps


What To Do About It.

There are different types of diabetes; the three most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Strong international evidence shows diabetes prevention programs can help prevent type 2 diabetes in up to 58 per cent of cases. You can do a lot to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes (read our tips below).

The good news is that there have been multiple studies conducted on the benefits of completing an alkaline diet, such as Living Lean, when dealing with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Currently type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. However, researchers are looking into the autoimmune process and environmental factors that lead people to developing type 1 diabetes to help prevent type 1 diabetes in the future. Living Lean has been proven to assist Type 1 diabetics in reducing their insulin requirements. Eileen, a registered nurse, from Sydney reduced her insulin requirements by 35% in 11 days when undertaking the Living Lean program.

Type 2 Diabetes

Evidence, including large-scale randomised control trials, shows type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in up to 58 per cent of cases by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan, like that found on the Living Lean program. Increasing alkalinity has also proven to assist in treating the condition.

People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent the condition by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Making healthy food choices
  • Managing blood pressure
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Not smoking.

Many people don’t know they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Here at Living Lean, we take a strong interest in diabetes and the impact it is having on society. Health, lifestyle and financial factors will impact on the majority of our population within the next 20 years. We are pleased to be able to assist with the treatment of this condition.

Over the next few weeks we will explore in detail the impact diabetes is having on particular regions across the world and provide medical research that links the benefits of our Living Lean program to the treatment diabetes.




Source: Diabetes Australia


How To Avoid Gaining Weight This Christmas!




It is nearly that time of year when we receive a visit from the jolly old man in the red suit.


For many of us he brings a little more than the usual presents and good cheer.


Christmas is often a time when we accumulate excess kilograms and are constantly dealing with a foggy head.


Traditional meals, more alcohol, cheese and nibbles than usual and a break from the gym. Sound familiar?


So why do we seem to gain those Christmas kilograms so quickly and then have a tough time losing it?


We gain those excess kilograms so quickly due to a number of factors.


Yes poor nutritional practices are the main contributor but stress, pollution and other environmental factors also play a role as does alcohol and prescription medication.


The reason we gain the weight so quickly is due to the high amount of animal protein the traditional Christmas meal and associated snacks contain. Cheese, dip, turkey, ham, pork and seafood to name but a few.


As we have explained in previous posts, animal protein, whilst a great source of protein, produces a by-product that being acid and toxins.


These acid and toxins then get stored inside a fat cell.


Think of your fat cells being transformed from the size and weight of a squash ball prior to Christmas (with no acid or toxins present) to the size and weight of a tenpin bowling ball post Christmas (when acid and toxins are present).



Remember that the only place the human body can store acid is inside a fat cell. The body acquires and/or retains fat cells to store this abundance of acid when present.


This swelling of fat cells are often seen in problem areas such as the thighs, bottom and stomach.


So how can we minimise the damage done on that one special day?



Firstly, drink 2 – 3 litres of alkaline water first thing in the morning. Better still, purchase a Living Lean kit and consume 2 – 3 sachets  of the formula. This will ensure you are not too hungry later in the day and ensure your body is well prepared for the day.


Next, consume your main Christmas meal in an 80/20 ratio – 80% vegetables and 20% of ‘the other stuff’. Attempt to eat in an 80/20 ratio for the entire day.


Prior to going to bed – whatever time that is – consume another litre of alkaline water or Living Lean formula.


This will ensure that the acid and toxins from the ‘nasties’ that you consume on Christmas Day will be passed straight through your body system and not  stored inside the fat cell.



After all Christmas is a time to enjoy family, friends and good food.


Have a great time but eat wisely ……. your body will thank you a day or two later.