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Weight Loss

11 Summer Drinks That May Do You More Harm Than Good

Posted Monday 10 July 2017 11:24 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Keeping hydrated is particularly important in warm weather. It is also important to pay attention to the types of beverage you choose to consume.

For many of us, summer is filled with refreshing smoothies, cocktails and cans of fizzy drinks. But what are these drinks actually doing for our bodies.

Soft drinks

It is worth bearing in mind that soft drinks have been directly associated with obesity, and once you look at them closely it’s no surprise. Not only are they packed with empty calories which won’t satiate your hunger, but they’re also overloaded with sugar.

Flavoured water

You might think flavoured water would boast more vitamins than normal water, but the only thing you’ll be getting extra of is sugar. If you are in need of hydration and need a little bit of something to satisfy the taste buds then it is worth taking a bit of time to consult the label to find an option that won’t expand your waistline. Ideally, you are looking for a bottle with just water and natural flavours on the label.

Juice drinks

Don’t let the word ‘juice’ fool you. Juice drinks or juice cocktails are usually little more than flavoured sugar water with a hefty dose of colouring thrown in. In order to find juice that is truly healthy, you need to be looking for beverages that are 100% juice and not made from concentrate.

Diet soda

Many of us think of diet soda as the healthier alternative to regular fizzy drinks. Whilst it’s true that it does often have zero calories, it also has no nutritional benefits. For hydration purposes you should be opting for water as your drink of choice, but if you’re craving a fizzy hit then go for carbonated water instead.


You might be surprised to find smoothies on this list seeing as they’re blended with fruit and veg, but it’s important to remember that any food in excess is bad for you. While smoothies can be a terrific meal or snack solution, they are not the way to hydrate your body. All too often, people make fruit-based smoothies that are hugely calorific and do not contain enough vegetable elements to make them diverse in nutrients. Smoothies can often add up to 700 calories worth of fruit in a single sitting, while shop-bought smoothies are even worse due to their astronomical sugar content.

Sports drinks

Sports drinks might be marketed as a post-workout health boost, but most of them are packed with artificial sweeteners and additives. The main benefit of sports drinks is their ability to replace electrolytes which are lost during exercise. But when consumed to excess, they can also increase calorie intake and undermine the hard work carried out during the exercise period.

Energy drinks

Many of us indulge in energy drinks for a caffeine hit when we’re tired, but the issue is that these drinks contain far too much caffeine and sugar to be considered healthy. To avoid the rush-and-crash of energy drinks, make green tea your caffeine source instead.


There’s a reason why homemade lemonade and shop-bought lemonade taste so different, and that reason is sugar. Whilst traditional lemonade is quite tart and refreshing, canned lemonade is essentially just another soft drink, packed with sugar and preservatives and boasting an average of 100 calories per cup.

Elaborate coffees

Here in the UK, there will inevitably be some rainy days this summer which will leave you craving coffee more than cocktails, but be mindful of what kinds of coffee you’re enjoying. A coffee from a high street chain, topped with milk, sugar and (in some cases) even whipped cream can contain up to a whopping 170 grams of sugar and a third of your daily saturated fat.


We all know that too much alcohol is bad for you, but what are the worst boozy drinks for staying healthy this summer?

Frozen cocktails

Frozen cocktails are just as bad for their mixer content as they are for their alcohol levels. A 16 ounce pina colada can contain up to 880 calories due to the sugary nature of all the creamy juices inside!

Hard spirits

One or two drinks a day has actually been found to be good for your health in certain ways, such as raising good cholesterol levels and increasing blood flow. But spirits in excess can be hugely detrimental to your health. Studies have found that the risk of cancer is 36% greater in those who drink three or more drinks a day.

For fast and discreet advice on staying healthy this summer, contact the team at Express Pharmacy. You can reach an experienced pharmacy member via our Live Chat tool or by calling 0208 123 0703.

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6 Unusual Ways to Help You Get Fit for Summer

Posted Wednesday 21 June 2017 11:19 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Get fit for summer

With summer comes the pressure to get fit. Your social media accounts will most likely be bursting with fad diet ideas and the best summer workouts for torching fat. Check the tabloids and you’ll also see celebrities with enviable figures lounging around on exotic beaches.

Amidst all of this, how do you know what’s best for your health?

We take a look at the evidence behind some simple, safe ways to get healthy for summer.

More often than not, extreme diets do our bodies more harm than good. All too many of them deny your body vital nutrient and they certainly don’t provide long term results when it comes to fitness and weight loss. One of the key things to remember is that drastic diets are not sustainable and it is easy to put weight back on quickly once you come off your strict regime.

The best advice is always to build a plan that is well balanced and sustainable to improve long-term health. But it’s not all about calorie counting on packages. There are many other factors that you could be taking into account.

Let’s take a closer look.

Switching off your screens can lower your calorie intake

One study on children’s health found that youngsters who limited their TV and computer time consumed an average of three hundred fewer calories a day. Similarly, other studies across the age range have shown that eating without distraction gives you a better memory of what you’ve eaten, helping you feel fuller for longer. This means that watching TV, playing tablet games or using your phone whilst eating can leave you feeling unsatisfied with your meal and craving more food. Try to stop and think about what you’re eating.

Embracing spicy foods helps burn fat

A study published in the American Society of Microbiology found that mice being fed a high fat diet alongside a chilli pepper compound had less body fat than those who did not take the compound. This compound was capsaicin.

Capsaicin is the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat, but it can also help speed up your metabolism. Another study found that participants receiving capsaicin supplements after every meal burned between 100 and 200 more calories a day, and continued to burn fat for several hours longer after every meal.

Aim to include a broader range of spicy foods in your diets, as this can help your body burn off excess fat. The other good thing about spicy foods? They can make you feel fuller quicker.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that overloading on spice can have a number of drawbacks – such as giving you heartburn and even dulling your taste buds. So, as with everything in life: moderation is the key.

Getting enough sleep gives you energy and will power

Sleep is a big contributor to your overall physical and mental health, but it can also help keep you fit too. Not only does obtaining 8+ hours of sleep every night give you more energy to be more active when you’re awake, but studies have also shown that sleep can help you burn more fat and make you feel less hungry throughout the day.

One recent study by the Cognitive Neuroscience Society even found that sleep deprivation increases our perception of food odours, making snacking harder to resist. This is because sleep deprivation increases activity in the areas of the brain linked to olfaction, meaning our nose knows when we’re tired and makes food smells more appetizing as a result.

Changing your coffee habits increases your metabolism

A study last year found that drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes due to the presence of chlorogenic acids and caffeine. These ingredients boost metabolic rate which can help with managing weight. Of course, if your caffeine hit of choice is a milky mocha topped off with whipped cream and dusted chocolate, you’re unlikely to be losing any weight as a result.

Take a couple of weeks to try switching to black coffee or herbal tea whenever you feel a caffeine craving. After a while, you may find your once beloved mocha a little too sweet for your tastes.

Follow the rule of ¾’s gives you a healthier plate

Sadly, 75% of Brits don’t get their five a day, but the rule of ¾’s can help.

When dishing out your meals, try to see your plate as a pie chart. The rule of ¾’s is the idea that 75 per cent of your portion should be made up of vegetables, whilst meat and carbs should make up the final 25 per cent.

The average plate uses meat as the main component of a meal, but this rule lets veg be the star of the show and helps you see meat as a treat. Aim for the carbs you choose to be healthy ones, like sweet potato, brown rice or grains. And get creative and exotic in your choice of vegetables so you don’t get sick of the same combinations every day.

Tried everything and need a little medical assistance?

For those who struggle to lose weight through traditional means, Express Pharmacy stocks Xenical – a prescription medication that can help with weight loss. Xenical prevents the body from absorbing the fat from food within the digestive system.

Xenical is one of the few weight loss products on the market that has been clinically proven to be both safe and effective. As with any medication, you should only ever take a weight-loss drug after a consultation with a trained medical professional.

Contact our experienced pharmacists today for a consultation to find out if Xenical is suitable for you. Start Consultation

Contact Express Pharmacy today. Our live chat service lets you get the answers you need discreetly from the comfort of your own home.

Related Products: Xenical

June 12th Marks the Beginning of Men’s Health Week 2017

Posted Tuesday 06 June 2017 16:51 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Men’s Health Week takes place every year, so what it’s all about and why is it so important?

One in five men die before the age of 65. Men’s Health Week aims to increase awareness for men’s wellbeing and encourage men to live healthier, more active lifestyles in order to fight this statistic and improve the lives of men all over the world.

The movement aims to do this with the help of thousands of participants. By signing up to regular updates, using free resources to carry out events and activities, sharing images on social media and using hashtags you can boost awareness for this important cause.

Last year, Men’s Health Week focussed on stress relief. The year before, the topic was healthy living and in 2014 it was work and health. So what is this year’s focus?

This year’s Men’s Health Week is all about belly fat

For 2017, Men’s Health Week focuses on belly fat. Although women are by no means immune to abdominal fat, it is a fact that many more men carry an unhealthy amount of weight around their middle. The importance of keeping abdominal fat to a minimum extends far beyond the aesthetics of wanting a washboard stomach, as belly fat has significant implications for our broader health.

Abdominal fact consists of two forms of fat: subcutaneous fat, which sits just below the skin; and visceral fat, which surrounds organs such as the pancreas, liver and intestines. Although it is often the subcutaneous fat that we consider to stand in the way of achieving the perfect physique, it is visceral that is by far the most dangerous for our health and wellbeing. This is because visceral fat interacts with our vital organs and changes the way that the body operates – inhibiting circulation, causing inflammation and creating a hormone imbalance in the body, among other things.

Over time, large amounts of visceral belly fat can increase your risk of serious conditions like sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer and even premature death.

So how much fat is too much?

It’s time to get measuring

You can check to see whether you’re carrying a high-risk level of belly fat by measuring your waist with a tape measure at the belly button (simply relying on your trouser size is not an accurate enough measurement.)

Waists below 37 inches (or 94cm) are generally in the low-risk category, whereas anything above this means you’re at an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and erectile dysfunction. If your waist is over 40 inches (or 102 cm), you are considered to have a significant risk of contracting one of these diseases.

It is worth noting that to get an accurate calculation of deep-lying visceral fat, an MRI scan is necessary. But measuring fat in this basic way can at least help men to benchmark their current state of health as a starting point to make improvements.

Why is Men’s Health Week so important?

The time to talk about men’s health is long overdue. Men are infamously bad at doing anything to address symptoms or seek treatment, choosing instead to ignore problems and keep them to themselves.

Studies have found that over a two-year period, men are half as likely to visit the doctor as women. What’s more, they are three times as likely to go five years without a visit and twice as likely to have never contacted a doctor as an adult.

The reasons for this seem to be a mixture of different factors, including feeling ‘too busy’ to seek medical advice, feeling embarrassed about intimate tests and being scared about receiving unpleasant results. But remaining in the dark about your health can have disastrous consequences.

Men, on average, die earlier than women. They’re also more likely to die from eight out of the top ten fatal diseases and are more likely to smoke, drink and live generally unhealthy lifestyles.

So, men, what should you do?

Get involved in Men’s Health Week by downloading resources, educating yourself and sharing messages on social media. You can even plan events, and don’t forget to get that tape measure out and check your belly fat level.

If you’re worried you might be carrying too much weight around this region, make the effort to implement some key lifestyle changes. Eating healthier, moving more and cutting down on alcohol could be enough to see significant health improvements. And, of course, never be afraid to seek medical expertise.

For further information, advice and guidance on weight management or related symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, why not speak confidentially to one of our trained pharmacists using our Live Chat facility.


Saleem Elmoussa on Sunday 09 July 2017 16:08

I am 80 years old, had a heart attach October 2016, had 5 stents and now taking the following medications:

Perindoprill 2m, Bisoprolol 2.5m, Lipitor 40m, Furosemide 40m,

Ticagrelor(brilinta) 90m, Aspirin 81, Nitro Patch 0.2m, Pantoprazole 40m, Potassium(allot- on) 10m and it D3

I used to take Viagra before the Heart Arrack. Kindly advise what can take now to be safe not effecting my heart / medication ?

Marina Abdalla on Wednesday 12 July 2017 13:25
Reply to Saleem Elmoussa

Dear Mr Elmoussa,

Thank you for reading our blog. After a heart attack, or any heart condition, it is not advised to take any type of erectile dysfunction treatment. However, this is something that should be discussed with your regular GP who can see your medical history, and full report of medication, and who will be able to advise you further.

I hope this has been of some help to you.

Express Pharmacy Patient Support Team.

Saleem EL-Moussa on Wednesday 12 July 2017 17:39
Reply to Marina Abdalla

HI Marina,

Many thanks for your quick response. I shall discuss your response with mg GP. Meanwhile, would it be safe to using the external cream ?




Little Ways to Actually Lose Weight (Without Fad Diets!)

Posted Tuesday 18 April 2017 11:29 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

We’re all familiar with those crazy diets that claim to show you how to lose weight fast, but is the answer easier than you might think?

With spring in full swing, many of us are already thinking about our summer holiday and getting fit in preparation. But with work, friends, travelling and daily tasks, it can be difficult to find the time.

Here are just a few little changes that can make all the difference without you having to resort to crazy diets.

Plan your meals ahead

Planning your meals ahead of time can help you keep your food varied and your diet of a high quality. Understanding the contents of your meals can also help you to manage calories if you are looking to lose weight. Planning lunches ahead makes you think about what you eat, and stops you making impulse decisions on your break from work. It can also help save you money too – win, win!

Drink more water

Recent research has shown that consuming water can actually play a role in boosting the metabolism and helping you process what you eat. In fact, researchers found that drinking two large glasses of water before every meal can help you lose weight and keep it off. Drinking water will also make you feel fuller more often, lessening the temptation to snack.

Don’t food shop hungry

We’ve all done it – felt our stomachs rumble as we peruse the supermarket aisles for delicious treats, sending all willpower out the window. A simple change like eating before you shop will stop you making those impulsive purchases you don’t need.

Ask yourself why you’re eating

If you stop and think about it, you don’t always eat because you’re hungry. Boredom, stress, tiredness and depression are all linked to unnecessary eating. Almost a third of adults who overeat on unhealthy foods say they do it because of stress.

Switch to wholegrain

Whether bread, rice, pasta or potatoes, carbohydrates are a large part of many UK adult diets. A reasonable amount of carbs is good for you, but overindulging in these foods is closely linked to weight gain. Swapping your white carbohydrates for brown ones can make all the difference, as wholegrain carbs not only offer more nutritional value but also contain more fibre and contain slower-burning natural sugars. More fibre encourages a healthier digestive system and can help you to feel fuller for longer, while the slow-burning sugars help to avoid those peaks and troughs in blood sugar that are linked to Type 2 diabetes.

Set yourself goals

Small, achievable goals are key to keeping you on track with your weight loss. Simply thinking ‘I want to be thinner’ without any specifics doesn’t really help you at all. Instead, come up with little goals like ‘lose x number of pounds’ or ‘go for a thirty minute run’ and give each one a schedule and a deadline.

Get plenty of sleep

Experts have long discussed the link between not getting enough sleep and gaining weight. Without a decent night’s sleep your hormone balance can become disturbed, affecting everything from your metabolism to your memory. This makes it easier to gain weight and harder to shake it. Not only this, but feeling tired is detrimental to your willpower, making you more likely to indulge in sweet treats for a quick source of energy.

Bulk Up Your Meals

Yes, that’s right – put more food on your plate! This doesn’t mean piling your plate with a mountain of pasta though. Instead, incorporate healthy vegetables, grains, nuts and lean meats into your dishes to stay full without indulging in fat or carb heavy foods.

Use the right kind of medication

There are no magic pills that make you lose weight and keep it off. However, there are a number of prescription medications available for individuals who struggle to manage their weight effectively. At Express Pharmacy, we offer Xenical which reduces the amount of fat you absorb from your food – a solution that can make a difference to those needing an extra push to shed weight.

If you would like more information or advice on taking Xenical or managing your weight more generally, you can call the fully-qualified pharmacy team or try our Live Chat tool.

Related Products: Xenical

The Effects of Weight Gain Are More Than Skin Deep

Posted Wednesday 01 February 2017 09:24 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

It may be the end of a long January. But if you have been paying attention to your diet and exercise regime for the last month, there are plenty of reasons for you to keep up the good work. And none of them have anything to do with preparing for a beach body.

There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain. Whether it’s poor diet or just a sedentary lifestyle, millions of people in the UK now eat a little bit too much that’s not good for them and exercise a little too infrequently to keep the weight off.

Weight gain has become a huge issue nationally and, indeed, globally. According to research by the World Health Organisation, ‘At least one in three of the world's adult population is now overweight and almost one in 10 can be categorised as obese.’ And worryingly figures are even higher in the UK. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate that one in four British adults is now obese – a figure much higher than many of our European counterparts.

It should be no real surprise to hear that obesity can have an extremely serious impact on health – including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and several forms of cancer. All of these issues can cause or contribute to premature death.

Yet, it isn’t just those people who are clinically obese whose health can be affected by lifestyle diseases. A poor relationship with nutrition and exercise can lead to a catalogue of health concerns that affect both the body and the mind. Let’s take a closer look at some of the symptoms that may be encountered with weight gain:

Mental health issues and depression:

Alongside the stresses placed on the body, weight gain can also have a major psychological impact. Those who are overweight often encounter low self-esteem, negative body image, anxiety and in some cases more serious mental health issues such as eating disorders and depression.

The role that diet plays in mental health is an obvious but under-recognised fact. At a basic level, maintaining a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals in the body can play a significant role in balancing mood and emotions. Conversely, erratic spikes in nutrients and particularly blood sugar can lead to mood swings and greater stress.

In the same vein, regular exercise can have a profound impact on mental health, helping to combat depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, through the release of endorphins.

Joint pain:

Weight gain can also lead to joint pain, particularly on weight-baring joints like the knees and hips. In fact every extra pound of weight gained puts an extra four pound of pressure on to our knee joints. Which means that extra 5 pounds of holiday weight adds 20 pounds of weight to each knee. So it’s really no surprise bones and joints can suffer wear and tear overtime.

Indigestion and heartburn:

Recent studies have shown that those who gain weight dramatically increase their risk of heartburn. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, occurs when the acidic stomach juices flow up into the oesophagus. This is thought to be caused by pressure in the stomach. While this can bring discomfort it can also increase the chances of something much more serious. If left untreated, it can lead to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.


Obesity can have significant implications in terms of fertility, particularly for women. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), more than 70% of women who are infertile due to weight issues, would be able to successfully conceive without the aid of fertility treatments if they maintained a healthy weight. Excess fat is the main culprit here as fat cells help create the reproductive hormone, oestrogen. Too many fat cells, lead to an overload in sex hormones, which can disrupt ovulation.

Men who gain excess weight also experience hormonal changes that effect fertility — mainly a reduction in testosterone levels. There are also much higher rates of erectile dysfunction among obese men, making it more difficult for couples to conceive.

Maintaining a healthy BMI is the best way to avoid the health impacts caused by weight gain. Weight loss should always be achieved through healthy means. That means maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

For those who are carrying a lot of extra weight, there are also several medications available that can help you on your weight loss journey. Xenical, also known as Orlistat works well as part of a healthy weight loss strategy.

Want expert medical advice about safe and sustainable weight management? Why not contact our pharmacy team today on 0208 123 0703?