xanthohumol hops beer diabetes obesity hypertension cancer

Attention Beer Drinkers: Compound found in Hops lowers cholesterol, blood sugar and weight gain

If you’re a health & fitness nerd like myself, you already know that metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and/or low HDL cholesterol) is fast becoming the #1 health concern around the globe.

img_img_9781587798054_metabolic_syndrome_chartIf you’re a beer lover, you already know that one of the main ingredients in beer is hops.

hops20cones20for20beer20production_0

What you may not know is that, a recent study at Oregon State University has identified specific intake levels of xanthohumol, a natural flavonoid found in hops, significantly improved some of the underlying markers of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and also reduced weight gain.

Unfortunately for the beer drinkers out there, while xanthohumol is found in beer, it would take 3,500 pints per day for a 70 kg /  human to get enough xanthohumol as was used in the study.

And I’m pretty sure that the calories found in 3,500 pints of beer would counteract all of the health benefits of the xanthohumol.

big-belly-means-inflammation

What is Xanthohumol and how does it work?

  • Xanthohumol is a natural flavonoid found in hops and beer.
  • As it pertains to metabolic syndrome, xanthohumol has been shown to decrease levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), lower insulin levels and reduce levels of IL-6, a biomarker of systemic inflammation.
  • And if that wasn’t enough, there is research hinting that xanthohumol may be a potent anti-cancer agent.

How cool is that…a substance, found naturally in beer, may turn out to be a potent (and inexpensive) way to prevent obesity, prevent type 2 diabetes, prevent hypertension, prevent cholesterol jammed arteries…and prevent obesity.

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What does this research mean to me…right NOW????

Not a whole heck of a lot.

  • On one hand, you can go online and buy xanthohumol supplements.
  • On the other hand, all of the research conducted on xanthohumol has been done on animals – no human studies. As a result, we have no idea of effective dosage and SAFETY.

My advice?  Stay tuned for more research.

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Obesity in Canada

Yesterday, the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released their report on the state of obesity in Canada.

Included in that report is a series of 21 recommendations.

As a health/fitness/politics junkie, this report is like catnip to me, so I was pretty eager to get my grubby little paws on a copy.

Let’s take a look inside….

obesity in canada

The Cost of Obesity in Canada

The committee’s findings show the vast scope of this epidemic:

  • Each year 48,000 to 66,000 Canadians die from conditions linked to excess weight;
  • Nearly two thirds of adults and one third of children are obese or overweight; and
  • Obesity costs Canada between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion annually in health care and lost productivity

In short: Canada’s obesity problem is way too big to be ignored

How did this happen???

1. Nutrition

In terms of eating habits, the committee was told that since the 1980s, Canadians have decreased their intake of high fat foods and increased intakes of fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the food guide. However, consumption of processed, ready-to-eat and snack foods have shown the largest increase over this period.

Over this period of time (80s – present), a review of Canada’s food guide reveals that Canadians have been told to switch…

  • from a diet of a modest number of daily servings reflecting a balance of whole foods
  • to a low fat diet that permits significantly more servings per day, a large proportion of which should be grain products, or carbohydrates.

The committee was told that, as a result, the food guide may be recommending a diet that is nutritionally insufficient with respect to vitamins D and E, potassium and choline and that only by eating artificially fortified and highly-processed cereals can the diet provide adequate levels of calcium, iron and vitamin B12

  • According to 2012 data only 40% of Canadians are eating even the lower recommended number of fruit and vegetables per day, 5 servings.
  • The food guide recommends that adults should be consuming closer to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

At the same time, Manuel Arango, of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, indicated that as much as 62% of the Canadian diet can be categorized as highly-processed, a percentage that has been rising in recent decades at the expense of whole foods.

As a consequence of the increased intake of highly processed foods, sugar consumption has increased dramatically from 4 pounds annually per person 200 years ago to 151 pounds annually per person today.

The overwhelming consensus among witnesses with respect to food consumption trends was that the consequence of Health Canada’s evolving food guide and the increasing variety and availability of processed and ready-to-eat foods has been a pronounced decrease in consumption of whole foods and alarming increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods.

As a result, Canadians are eating too much calorie-rich and nutrient-poor food.

In short: Canadians eat too much processed food and not enough real food. 

2. Physical Activity (or lack thereof)

Regarding physical activity, the committee heard that the participation rate in organized sport among Canadians has not declined in recent decades, and may have increased. However, several witnesses emphasized that although participation in such activities is encouraged, it does not by itself ensure that Canadians, especially children, are getting sufficient exercise.

They described how many of these activities include a significant amount of sedentary time and that they tend to lead people into thinking that they are doing more than enough to be considered as being physically active. Members heard, for example, sports such as hockey, soccer or basketball include a lot of instruction time outside of games, and a lot of bench time during games, when participants are idle.

More importantly, several witnesses suggested that it is the decline in active, free play among children and a decline in the activities of daily living among adults that have primarily contributed to an overall decrease in physical activity.

In 2011 the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology  developed separate, evidence-based physical activity guidelines for four age-groups; children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

The physical activity guidelines recommend:

  • 180 minutes per day for toddlers and pre-schoolers,
  • 60 minutes a day for children and youth up to 17 years of age,
  • 150 minutes per week for adults aged 18-64 years including some bone and muscle strengthening exercises,
  • and similar guidance for seniors over 65 years with exercises aimed at improving balance and reducing the risk of falls.

In addition the guidelines recommend that:

  • children under four not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time.
  • Children and youth are advised to limit screen time to no more than two hours per day while limiting sedentary behaviour, indoor activities and motorized transport.

Unfortunately, a minority of Canadians are meeting these goals.

Although 50% of Canadians believe they meet the physical activity guidelines when asked, in fact, when objectively measured, only 15% of adults are actually getting the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

On average, Canadian adults obtain only 12 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day.

Similarly, children and youth are largely failing to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. According to Elio Antunes, President of ParticipACTION, less than 9% of children and youth are sufficiently active, and the proportion of active kids decreases with age.

The committee was told that only 7% of 5-11 years olds meet the physical activity guidelines and this proportion drops to only 4% for adolescents.

With respect to the sedentary guidelines, the committee heard that less than 15% of 3-4 year olds and only 24% of 5-17 year olds are meeting the recommendations.

In fact, members were told that children and youth are spending 38 to 42 hours per week in front of television, desktops, laptops, ipads and smartphones.

In short:  While we think we have increased our rates of physical activity via structured exercise (sports leagues, gym memberships, personal trainers, etc), we haven’t….our rates of daily physical activity continue to drop while our rates of sitting on our butts staring at screens have continued to rise.

To make it even worse, we are setting up our kids to be even lazier than we are.

So….what are we going to do about it???

In the discussions of what we can do to reverse the trend of obesity in Canada, participants kept coming back to Canada’s anti-smoking strategy.

Despite the obvious distinction that smoking is a completely unnecessary practice while eating is essential, witnesses noted several lessons that we have learned from the anti-smoking campaign:

  1. the anti-smoking strategy employed several different approaches implemented by different levels of government.
  2. the evidence-base of the negative health consequences had to be elucidated and presented clearly to Canadians.
  3. the strategy had to bring about a societal change in terms of how smoking was viewed.
  4. the change in behaviour would take time.
  5. the strategy would not be popular with the industry.
  6. and finally, the federal government provided the leadership for a pan-Canadian approach.

In their comparison of the anti-smoking strategy to any anti-obesity strategy, witnesses continued to emphasize the need for a comprehensive, health-in-all-policies, whole-of-society approach.

The committee was told that policies, wherever possible, should encourage or facilitate the pursuit of healthy lifestyles. In this regard, witnesses suggested that a health lens, should be applied to a range of policy development, across departments and across all levels of government. An effective all-of government platform would encourage the development of provincial and regional initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles. As such, the committee would like to see the federal government take aggressive measures to help Canadians achieve and maintain healthy weights.

In short:  While Canada’s successful anti-smoking strategy can serve as an effective model, we have to remember that obesity is a much more complex problem and as such requires a more comprehensive solution.

In that spirit, the “Obesity in Canada” Committee has come up with 21 suggestions for reversing Canada’s obesity problem.

Here’s the list….

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories and in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, create and implement a National Campaign to Combat Obesity which includes goals, timelines and annual progress reports.

@healthhabits says:  This is exactly the kind of thing government should be good at. Bringing all sorts of disparate stakeholders together to work together towards a common goal. IMHO, this is a necessary step.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the federal government:

  • Immediately conduct a thorough assessment of the prohibition on advertising food to children in Quebec; and,
  • Design and implement a prohibition on the advertising of foods and beverages to children based on that assessment.

@healthhabits says:  Quebec has had a prohibition on the advertising of all food and beverages to children under the age of 13 under its Consumer Protection Act11 for many years. Studying the effectiveness of this program to determine if it should be rolled out nationwide makes sense to me.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the federal government:

  • Assess the options for taxation levers with a view to implementing a new tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages; and,
  • Conduct a study, and report back to this committee by December 2016, on potential means of increasing the affordability of healthy foods including, but not limited to, the role of marketing boards, food subsidies and the removal or reduction of existing taxes.

@healthhabits says:  Skip the study and just go ahead and slap a tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages AND take ALL of that money and use it to subsidize un-processed (aka real) food

Recommendation 4

The committee further recommends that the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada immediately:

  • Address the recommendations made by the Auditor General with respect to the Nutrition North program and report back to this committee on its progress by December 2016

@healthhabits says:  Northern communities are much worse off in terms of overall nutrition and the cost of nutritious food in particular. Canada’s north is one giant food desert. As such, it may require special (aka expensive) intervention.

Recommendation 5

The committee further recommends that the federal government conduct assessments of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Working Income Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit with a view to determining how fiscal measures could be used to help Canadians of lower socio-economic status, including our Aboriginal population, choose healthy lifestyle options.

@healthhabits says:  Skip the assessment, ditch the tax credits. They are designed to reward the well off & ignore the poor…which is just plain stupid as the poor are the ones driving Canada’s obesity epidemic. If we want to save healthcare & improve economic productivity, any physical activity incentives need to be directed primarily at the poor & secondarily at more affluent Canadians.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that the Minister of Health immediately undertake a complete revision of Canada’s food guide in order that it better reflect the current state of scientific evidence. The revised food guide must:

  • Be evidence-based;
  • Apply meal-based rather than nutrient-based principles;
  • Effectively and prominently describe the benefits of fresh, whole foods compared to refined grains, ready-to-eat meals and processed foods; and,
  • Make strong statements about restricting consumption of highly processed foods.

@healthhabits says:  All of these four recommendations sound great. 

Recommendation 7

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health revise the food guide on the guidance of an advisory body which:

  • Comprises experts in relevant areas of study, including but not limited to nutrition, medicine, metabolism, biochemistry, and biology; and,
  • Does not include representatives of the food or agriculture industries.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%. Economic bias should not be allowed in Canada’s Food Guide…even if food lobbyists support an MPs re-election campaign.

Recommendation 8

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oils, to minimize trans fat content in food, unless specifically permitted by regulation.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%

Recommendation 9

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health:

  • Reassess the daily value applied to total carbohydrates based on emerging evidence regarding dietary fat and the fat promoting nature of carbohydrates;
  • Ensure that the regulatory proposals for serving size have addressed all of the concerns raised by stakeholders during public consultation, and,
  • Require that the daily intake value for protein be included in the Nutrition Facts table.

@healthhabits says:  Every few years, nutrition experts flip-flop their positions on the relative healthfullness of the different macronutrients. One decade, we are supposed to avoid fat…then it’s carbs…then it’s “too much” protein, then we’re back to fats…and so on…

My suggestion is to avoid making blanket statements on the healthfullness (or lack thereof) of any macronutrient.

There is nothing wrong with eating fat or carbs or protein.

The problems start when people:

  • start eating excessive quantities of overall calories
  • demonize a single macronutrient and replace it with a highly-processed substitution
  • choose poor quality highly-processed food over real food – fruit, veg, seeds, meat, etc.

With all of this said, I think that the consumer needs as much info about the quality of the food they are eating AND the gov’t can help them by requiring a total nutritional profile of every food product be made available on the company’s website

Recommendation 10

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health assess whether sugar and starch should be combined under the heading of total carbohydrate within the Nutrition Facts table and report back to this committee by December 2016.

@healthhabits says:  Give us sugar totals, starch totals AND total carb totals.

Recommendation 11

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health implement strict limits on the use of permitted health claims and nutrient content claims based on a measure of a food’s energy density relative to its total nutrient content.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%. I would also require any nutritional claims require scientific proof. Links to that science should be available from the products page on the company website. Make a claim…back it up.

Recommendation 12

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health:

  • Immediately undertake a review of front-of-package labelling approaches that have been developed in other jurisdictions and identify the most effective one;
  • Report back to this committee on the results of the review by December 2016;
  • Amend the food regulations to mandate the use of the identified front-of-package approach on those foods that are required to display a Nutrition Facts table; and,
  • Encourage the use of this labelling scheme by food retailers and food service establishments on items not required to display a Nutrition Facts table.

@healthhabits says:  If you sell food in a package, you should be required to have a Nutrition Facts table as part of the packaging. As well, a website url pointing to a page with more complete nutrition info about the product should be included as well.

Recommendation 13

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health encourage nutrition labelling on menus and menu boards in food service establishments.

@healthhabits says:  This is a little vague. How about something more specific like…calories, macronutrients, allergens listed in small print on the menu AND a more thorough nutritional analysis for each item on a separate booklet…and on their website as well.

Recommendation 14

The committee therefore recommends that the federal government increase funding to ParticipACTION to a level sufficient for the organization to:

  • Proceed with Active Canada 20/20; and
  • Become the national voice for Canada’s physical activity messaging.

@healthhabits says:  Based upon what I have seen from ParticipACTION in the past few years, I am not sure if giving them more money is the best idea. 

It may be simpler and more effective for Health Canada to hire the same PR flacks that put together Canada’s anti-smoking campaign and get them to focus on a “exercise more : play more : move more” style of message.

I’m not sure why we need ParticipACTION’s added layer of bureaucracy.

Why not…

  • hold a public contest for ad/pr/marketing firms to come up with their best message to get Canadian’s active again
  • have Canadians vote via the contest’s website/FB page/Twitter/etc
  • award the winner the contract
  • promote the heck out of the programs via internet, tv, radio and print.

And while we’re at it, why don’t we throw out a request to Canadian celebrities & athletes asking them to donate their time to film some short PSAs to add to the Health Canada Youtube channel.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the fine folks who work for ParticipACTION. They may have exactly the kind of expertise to organize the kind of program needed to get Canadians active again.

Recommendation 15

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities together use the recently established National Health and Fitness Day to promote the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.

@healthhabits says:  I didn’t even know there was a National Health & Fitness Day. I guess that’s why they need the promotion.

Recommendation 16

The committee further recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada provide sustained or bridged funding for pilot projects that have been assessed as effective.

@healthhabits says:  Hmmmmmmm who’s making the assessments? And what happens when they haven’t be PROVEN effective after a year or two of government $$$$ in their bank accounts?

Recommendation 17

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health in discussion with provincial and territorial counterparts as well as non-governmental organizations already engaged in these initiatives:

  • Encourage improved training for physicians regarding diet and physical activity; • Promote the use of physician counselling, including the use of prescriptions for exercise;
  • Bridge the gap between exercise professionals and the medical community by preparing and promoting qualified exercise professionals as a valuable part of the healthcare system and healthcare team;
  • Address vulnerable populations, such as Canadians of lower socio-economic status including Canada’s Aboriginal population, and pregnant women;
  • Advocate for childcare facility and school programs related to breakfast and lunch programs, improved physical education, physical activity and nutrition literacy courses; and,
  • Engage provincial governments in discussions about infrastructure requirements for communities that encourage active transportation and active play.

@healthhabits says:  All of the suggestions sound great…and yet they are couched in the kind of government bureaucracy speak that makes me lose all confidence. Can we please get a little less talk about what we want to do and a little more talk about how we’re going to do it!!!

Recommendation 18

The committee further recommends that the federal government provide funding under the New Building Canada Fund to communities for infrastructure that enables, facilitates and encourages an active lifestyle, both indoors and outdoors.

@healthhabits says:  If that means more walking paths, more bike paths and more walkable neighbourhoods…I am on board. If that means funding for arenas & pools…I have to disagree. We need to keep a focus on the cost : benefit ratio. Tax dollars don’t grow on trees.

Recommendation 19

The committee therefore recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada implement a strategy to increase the visibility, uptake and use of the Best Practices Portal by stakeholders across the country.

@healthhabits says:  Never heard of the Best Practices Portal. At first glance, it seems a little meh, but the idea is solid. Give Canada’s docs a dedicated site to source info on reducing obesity & related diseases seems like a great idea.

Recommendation 20

The committee therefore recommends that Health Canada design and implement a public awareness campaign on healthy eating based on tested, simple messaging. These messages should relate to, but not be limited to:

  • Most of the healthiest food doesn’t require a label;
  • Meal preparation and enjoyment;
  • Reduced consumption of processed foods; and,
  • The link between poor diet and chronic disease.

@healthhabits says:  See my comments on funding ParticipACTION above. We don’t need multiple groups coming up with different public awareness campaigns. Have a contest, using the Canadian people as judges, ask Canadian celebrities & athletes for assistance

As well, bring back Home Ec in school.

Recommendation 21

The committee further recommends that Health Canada and other relevant departments and agencies, together with existing expertise and trusted organizations, implement a comprehensive public awareness campaign on healthy active lifestyles.

@healthhabits says:  See above….physical activity, diet and healthy active lifestyles should all be promoted AT THE SAME TIME.

 

What do you think???

Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you want to discuss.

canada is the worlds fittest country

Reference

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Research Proves Junk Food Advertising Causes Childhood Obesity

Back in the “olden days”, tobacco companies created marketing campaigns like this…

children_49

…and this…

young_35

…and this…

young_07

…in an attempt to make their product seem healthy, family-friendly and to CAPTURE THE YOUTH MARKET.

Because they knew that:

  1. Kids are more susceptible to marketing than adults
  2. People who start smoking as kids are likely to be life-long smokers
  3. Targeting children is the most effective business strategy

“Younger adults are the only sources of replacement smokers” – RJ Reynolds, 1984

“Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens… The smoking patterns of teenagers are particularly important to Philip Morris.” – Philip Morris 1981

“The ability to attract new smokers and develop them into a young adult franchise is key to brand development.” – 1999 Philip Morris report

“They got lips? We want them.” – Reply of an RJ Reynolds representative when asked the age of the kids they were targeting

But of course, that happened way back in the olden days, before we got smart and told tobacco companies to stop giving our kids cancer. Nowadays, we would never let an industry knowingly make profits by making our kids sick….would we?

fat-kid-eating-chips-watching-tv

According to this meta-analysis of all of the available scientific research, we know for a fact that unhealthy food advertising does increase unhealthy food intake in children…but not in adults.

And IMHO, that’s because children are children and lack the awareness & experience to resist the siren call of Madison Ave mind control.

According to lead researcher Dr Emma Boyland : “Through our analysis of these published studies I have shown that food advertising doesn’t just affect brand preference – it drives consumption. Given that almost all children in Westernised societies are exposed to large amounts of unhealthy food advertising on a daily basis this is a real concern.

“Small, but cumulative increases in energy intake have resulted in the current global childhood obesity epidemic and food marketing plays a critical role in this. We have also shown that the effects are not confined to TV advertising; online marketing by food and beverage brands is now well established and has a similar impact.

“On the basis of these findings, recommendations for enacting environmental strategies and policy options to reduce children’s exposure to food advertising are evidence-based and warranted.”

And just in case anyone is confused about the health effects of childhood obesity, here’s what the CDC has to say:

Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.

Immediate health effects:

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6  One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

What does this mean to you?

 

  • Advertisers used to market tobacco to children
  • When enough parents were convinced that tobacco was bad for their kids, they demanded (via gov’t) that advertising tobacco to kids be stopped immediately.
  • Today, advertisers market processed junk food to children
  • Some of us (me, you, World Health Organization, CDC, American Psychological Association, etc) are convinced that (1) processed junk food is bad for our kids and (2) our kids are susceptible to junk food advertising.

Unfortunately, not enough parents are convinced…and until they are, their kids are at a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer,  osteoarthritis, and many types of cancer including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

What can we do?

Thanks to the wonders of social media & the interweb, all you need to do is share this article on Facebook and Twitter.

All we need is one @KimKardashian retweet and those corporate childhood obesity peddlers are screwed  🙂

Reference

 

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Henry Rollins v.s. McDonalds

A lesson in nutrition from an unlikely source – Mr. Henry Rollins

enjoy

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.

Junk Food Can Damage Your Metabolism In Just 5 Days

The human body is an amazing machine. Capable of:

  • Climbing mountains,
  • Adapting to environments as disparate as the arctic and the tropical rain forest.
  • Running for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch,
  • Lifting freakishly heavy weights.
  • Amazing technological advances,
  • Creating art that can elevate the soul

Unfortunately, what your body can’t do is consume junk food – aka the Standard American Diet – without starting to fall apart.

Here’s the science:

According to this new study, after just 5 days of eating a diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter, healthy college-age students experienced a significant change in how their muscles processed nutrients. And not for the better.

According to the researchers, eating a starchy, fatty diet disrupts how your muscles metabolize glucose, “which could lead to the body’s inability to respond to insulin”, leading to insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a reduced quantity & quality of life.

NOTE: In the study, the test diet was designed to have fat make up 55% of the calories – as opposed to a “normal” 30% fat diet – with the inclusion of foods such as sausage biscuits and mac & cheese. And while I agree that a diet in which 55% of the calories comes from fat can be called a “high-fat” diet, I would argue that it would be more accurate to call it a “high fat AND carb” diet or a “high fat AND starchy carb” diet or a “high fat AND high gluten” diet.

To infer that fat is the villain here may not be wholly accurate. We need a bit more research before we start blaming a single macronutrient.

What does this mean to you?

  1. As yummy as sausage biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon smells, you may not want to eat it very often. Your body hasn’t evolved (devolved) to handle this type of food.
  2. If you can’t resist the siren song of Mac ‘n Cheese, space it out with some healthy food, like a Big Salad, to help your muscles sensitive to insulin.
  3. The next time you hear about a study saying High-Fat or High-Carb diets are bad, take a closer look at what the researchers consider high-fat or high-carb.dia

Reference

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What Happens When Superstar Athletes Endorse Junk Food

  • In a free market, superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams are free to negotiate celebrity endorsement contracts with any company that they choose.

lebron sprite

  • In a free market, parents, pediatricians, anti-obesity advocates and health & fitness nerds like myself are free to be peeved that superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams choose to endorse products with a direct link to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.

fat-kits-eating-mcdonalds

  • In a free market, anti-obesity advocates like Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity are free to research which superstar athletes are most likely to trade their celebrity status with children for big endorsement contracts with companies who market  products with a direct link to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.

athletes market junk food

  • In a free market, anti-obesity advocates like Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity are also free to distribute that research to the media in an attempt to shame superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams about their decision to endorse products that threaten the health of their young fans.

freeoreos1

  • In a free market, public health experts are free to postulate what would happen if superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams had been exposed to the same kind of celebrity endorsed messages that today’s kids are exposed to.

fat lebron

  • In a free market, we are free to absolve Big Food corporations of any & all responsibility and choose to heap all the blame on the parents who buy their children junk food.
  • In a free market, we are also free to recognize that childhood obesity isn’t as simple as “blame the parents” or “blame the corporations” or “blame the government”, and that parents, government, food producers and superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams have all played a role in the obesification of our children.
  1. Parents feed their kids too much junk food.
  2. Government officials are manipulated by the lobbyists of Big Food producers into placing corporate profits ahead of the health of our children as well as the exploding healthcare costs that threaten the financial health of our countries.
  3. And superstar athletes (and other celebrity endorsers) ignore the reality that the kids who look up to them are being harmed by their financial decisions.
  • In a free market, we are free to use social media to tell our sports heroes that we want them to stop selling junk food to our kids
Click to expand
Click to expand
  • In a free market, we are free to tell our politicians to cut junk food subsidies, promote healthy eating and to force Big Food producers to stop advertising junk food to our pre-teen children.

twinkies1

  • In a free market, we are also free to accept our share of the responsibility and stop feeding our children huge quantities of junk food.

choose-real-food

Childhood obesity is a real threat to the future health of our children and there is more than enough blame to go around.

What Now???

  • If you want to check out the study looking at superstar athletes and their involvement shilling for junk food companies, head over to the Rudd Center website and read it – Athlete Endorsements in Food Marketing – Pediatrics
  • If you want to apply some pressure on the athletes named in the study, go to their social media profiles (Twitter & Facebook are a good place to start) and tell them that you are not impressed. You can also contact the teams that they play for and tell them that you are not impressed with the behaviour of their employee.
  • If you want to apply pressure to the government, write/email/call your representatives directly and tell them that you expect them to start putting the health of young kids ahead of the health of corporate balance sheets.
  • And if you want to apply pressure to the producers of junk food….STOP BUYING JUNK FOOD FOR YOUR KIDS.

.

What do you think?

  • As a parent, do you appreciate Peyton, LeBron and Serena telling your kids to eat junk food?
  • How would you feel if they were advertising cigarettes or alcohol?
  • Should today’s athletes be expected to project an positive image of health & fitness?
  • If an athlete’s image is tarnished for taking PEDs, shouldn’t it be tarnished for marketing junk food to children?
  • Do athletes in team sports have a duty to their team to project an image of sportsmanship, athleticism,etc?
  • Do you consider the modern athlete a positive role model for our kids?
  • Do you appreciate junk food producers running advertisements on programs/websites dedicated to pre-teens?
  • Do employees of junk food producers have an ethical responsibility to not manipulate pre-teens?
  • Tobacco, alcohol and firearm producers are prohibited from marketing to children…why not producers of products that promote obesity, diabetes and heart disease?
  • Should our political representatives be placing the health of our children above the profits of junk food producers?
  • Should our politicians be placing the profits and jobs of junk food producers over the health of our children?
  • Should parents stop their kids from watching tv shows with ads for junk food?
  • Should parents contact tv networks to complain about junk food advertising aimed at their kids?
  • Should parents contact their politicians and demand expanded limitations on marketing products to children?
  • Should parents teach their kids about what advertisers are trying to do by running ads during Sesame Street et al?
  • Should parents be teaching their kids about living a healthy lifestyle?
  • Should parents ignore their kids demands for junk food?
  • Should parents feed their kids healthy food most of the time?
  • Should parents eat healthy and teach their kids by example?
  • Should I take a chill pill and stop stressing about junk food producers trying to brainwash our kids, politicians placing their financial wants over the health of our kids and parents abandoning their responsibilities and feeding their kids junk food every day???

Reference

Food Addiction: It’s In Your Eyes

As a personal trainer, fitness blogger and all around health & fitness geek, I am constantly reading scientific journals looking for the latest research about nutrition, obesity, exercise science and overall health and longevity. And every now and then, I come across something truly interesting….to my geeky brain.

Something like this research about measuring the pleasure response we get from eating chocolate.

The Science

In this study, researchers from Drexel University found that they could accurately measure our brain’s pleasure response to consuming chocolate with the use of a common, low-cost ophthalmological technique called electroretinography (ERG).

Why is this important?

It’s important because not only is food how we deliver nutrients into our bodies, it’s one of the most powerful ways we generate pleasure in our brains.

woman-eating-chocolate-

Unfortunately, there are a few nasty side effects to eating foods that give us a big boost of pleasure chemicals….calories, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, cancer, etc…

And in 2013, it’s quite obvious that we have a pretty serious problem with those side effects.

Processed food manufacturers have found ways to manipulate their products so that our pleasure centers are constantly issuing commands to eat more, more, more. And for those of us without the willpower of a Spartan, we eat more…and more…and more.

With the result being an epidemic of food addiction, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

What this new research could do for us is provide a truly “pharmacological approach to the brain’s response to food.” No more airy-fairy talk about cravings and food addiction and willpower and how obese people just don’t try hard enough. If and when this technique is validated by additional studies, mainstream medicine would be able to:

  1. Quickly and accurately measure how different foods impact the pleasure center in our brain
  2. Research ways to make “healthier” foods more pleasurable
  3. Research ways to make “unhealthy” foods less pleasurable,
  4. Thereby boosting our willpower against potato chips and chocolate bars
  5. Eliminating food addiction
  6. And helping us fall in love with broccoli & kale

What does this mean to you?

At this point…nothing.

This is the first study of this technique, and it was a very small study too – only 9 people. But it’s a great start.

There are a ton of ongoing studies looking at how food gives us pleasure in the hopes that we can manipulate these pleasure responses with drugs or medical instruments or diets focused on manipulating macronutrient consumption, etc, etc, etc.

Unfortunately, the gold standard for meauring the effectiveness of these approaches is with the use of a PET scanner…which costs $2000+ per session, is more invasive and takes more than an hour to generate a scan.

With electroretinography, the Medicare reimbursement cost for clinical use of ERG is about $150 per session, and each session generates 200 scans in just two minutes.

ERG

And if you’re a drug company looking to test a compound designed to increase our desire for “healthy” food and eliminate food addiction, the lower financial & time costs associated with this new test is a very big deal. It would allow them to test more products, get successful ones to market sooner and offer them at a theoretically lower cost to the consumer.

And who wouldn’t want a magic pill that makes them think cauliflower tastes better than chocolate?

Reference

The Secret Behind Your Addiction to Junk Food

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Michael Moss spent four years researching the scientific research that goes into each bag, box or bottle of processed / junk food.

And what he found, should freak you out.

Teams of scientists spending millions of dollars researching bliss points and maximum bite force and sensory specific satiety…all with the aim of keeping you eating ‘food’ that is high in calories, sugar, salt & fat and virtually devoid of actual nutrition.

And they are very, very good at it.

And because…

  1. They are very, very good at their jobs.
  2. Their lobbyists are good at influencing politicians
  3. Government heavily subsidizes their industry
  4. They spend billions on marketing to both adults & children
  5. And most of us are equal parts lazy and uneducated about nutrition

…the sales of ‘real food’ continue to drop while the sales of ‘processed food’ continue to rise.

Also rising are….

  1. The rate of childhood and adult obesity
  2. The rate of type 2 diabetes
  3. The rate of heart disease
  4. The rate of obesity-related cancers
  5. The rate of Alzheimers
  6. Healthcare costs associated with these conditions

Something to think about the next time you go to the supermarket.

You really should buy Salt Sugar Fat. Or at least take it out from the library

Reference

A Plan to Reverse Childhood Obesity

In January 2012, the Ontario Government got serious about childhood obesity and created the multisectoral Healthy Kids Panel …asking them to sketch out a framework designed to help us reduce childhood obesity by 20 per cent within five years.

Here is what they came back with:

1. Start All Kids on the Path to Health

1.1 Educate women of child-bearing age about the impact of their health and weight on their own well-being and on the health and well-being of their children.
1.2 Enhance primary and obstetrical care to include a standard pre-pregnancy health check and wellness visit for women planning a pregnancy and their partners.
1.3 Adopt a standardized prenatal education curriculum and ensure courses are accessible and affordable for all women.
1.4 Support and encourage breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life.
1.5 Leverage well-baby and childhood immunization visits to promote healthy weights and enhance surveillance and early intervention.

the-Healthy-Kids-Strategy

2. Change the Food Environment

2.1 Ban the marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.
2.2 Ban point-of-sale promotions and displays of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages in retail settings, beginning with sugar-sweetened beverages.
2.3 Require all restaurants, including fast food outlets and retail grocery stores, to list the calories in each item on their menus and to make this information visible on menu boards.
2.4 Encourage food retailers to adopt transparent, easy-to-understand, standard, objective nutrition rating systems for the products in their stores.
2.5 Support the use of Canada’s Food Guide and the nutrition facts panel.
2.6 Provide incentives for Ontario food growers and producers, food distributors, corporate food retailers, and non-governmental organizations to support community-based food distribution programs.
2.7 Provide incentives for food retailers to develop stores in food deserts.
2.8 Establish a universal school nutrition program for all Ontario publicly funded elementary and secondary schools.
2.9 Establish a universal school nutrition program for First Nations communities.
2.10 Develop a single standard guideline for food and beverages served or sold where children play and learn.

healthy-kids

3. Create Healthy Communities

3.1 Develop a comprehensive healthy kids social marketing program that focuses on healthy eating, active living – including active transportation – mental health and adequate sleep.
3.2 Join EPODE (Ensemble Prévenons l’Obesité des Enfants – Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity) International and adopt a co-ordinated, communitydriven approach to developing healthy communities for kids.
3.3 Make schools hubs for child health and community engagement.
3.4 Create healthy environments for preschool children.
3.5 Develop the knowledge and skills of key professions to support parents in raising healthy kids.
3.6 Speed implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
3.7 Continue to implement the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
3.8 Ensure families have timely access to specialized obesity programs when needed.

Unfortunately,  Canadian media ignored the entire report, except for the proposed ban on marketing high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.

Instead of focusing on the health of our kids, they decided that the real story was the potential restriction of the rights of processed food producers to convince our children to crave ‘food’ that promotes obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Well done Canadian media…I’m looking forward to your next story on childhood obesity and how we have to do something about it.

Jerks.

Reference 

‘Diet’ soft drinks associated with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes

Numerous scientific studies and just a pinch of common sense tells us that over-consumption of full-sugar soft drinks increases our odds of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Because of these threats, soft drink companies developed “diet” soft drinks…with artificial sweeteners replacing sugar.

diet-soda-obesity

Unfortunately for all the Diet Coke drinkers out there….according to this study of over 66,000 French women…

  1. Women who drink ‘diet’ soft drinks consume higher quantities than women who drink ‘normal’ soft drinks – 2.8 glasses per week vs 1.6 glasses per week
  2. When an equal quantity is consumed, the risk of contracting diabetes is higher for ‘light’ or ‘diet’ drinks than for ‘non-light’ or ‘non-diet’ drinks.
  3. And of course…the risk of T2D increases as the volume of either kind of soft drinks increases.

diet-soda-diabetes-risk

Conclusion

This study tells us that high consumption of sweet soft drinks (both normal and ‘diet’) is associated with a high increase in the risk of contracting Type II diabetes. This increased risk is all the greater for drinks of the ‘light’ or ‘diet’ type.

And association doesn’t necessarily means causation.

Even though the researchers accounted for a lot of different factors…

  • obesity,
  • type of diet – Western, Mediterranean, etc,
  • intake of carbohydrates,
  • intake of processed meats,
  • family history of diabetes,
  • education,
  • smoking status,
  • physical activity,
  • hypertension,
  • high cholesterol,
  • HRT,
  • alcohol intake,
  • Omega 3 intake,
  • coffee consumption,
  • fresh fruit & vegetable consumption,
  • the reverse causation hypothesis,
  • etc…

All we can say is that…

  1. Consumption of soft drinks is associated with an increased risk of T2D
  2. Consumption of ‘diet’ soft drinks is associated with an even greater increased risk of T2D
  3. The volume of soft drinks consumed is directly associated with an increased risk of T2D

What does this mean to you?

If you don’t drink soft drinks…nothing.

But if you do drink soft drinks, you have some options.

  1. You can ignore this study and wait for the follow-ups which intend to PROVE that ‘diet’ soft drinks cause T2D.
  2. You can believe that there is a link between the consumption of all types of soft drinks and an increased risk of T2D and cut back on your Diet Cokes.
  3. You can believe that there might be a link between the consumption of all types of soft drinks and an increased risk of T2D, cut back on your Diet Cokes just in case and wait for the follow-up studies to make up your mind.

Reference

 

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Is Phys Ed Making a Comeback?

It feels like we have just entered into some sort of Bizarro world my friends.

We all know that politicians will say anything to get elected.

  • They’ll promise lower taxes
  • They’ll promise increased services
  • They’ll sell over their first-born child if it will get them into office.

Because of this, you can imagine my surprise when I read that the wanna-be Premier of Ontario, Mr. Tim Hudak, is promising that Ontario school kids would get 45 minutes of mandatory physical activity in school in addition to phys ed classes as part of a Progressive Conservative prescription for a healthier province“.

healthy-kids

Which is weird considering that for years and years, school boards and politicians have been removing physical activity from schools as a non-essential part of the school day.

As if our overweight, diabetic, ADHD suffering kids couldn’t use a little extra bit of exercise.

Is common sense coming back to politics???

Reference

Canker Cure Cures Obesity?

Back in 2009, U of Michigan researcher Dr. Alan Saltiel published a study indicating that the genes IKKE and TBK1 have a major impact on metabolic balance and obesity.

His research indicated that when someone cuts calories in an attempt to lose weight, IKKE and TBK1 become active and “act together as a sort of brake on metabolism.”

  • You want to lose weight
  • You go on a diet
  • You cut calories
  • IKKE and TBK1 become active
  • Your metabolism slows down
  • Weight loss stops
  • You get frustrated…
  • Eat a box of Krispy Kremes
  • And gain back all that body fat

Based on his thesis, Dr. Saltiel went searching for compounds that…

  • would inhibit the expression of IKKE and TBK1
  • prevent reduced-calorie metabolism slowdown
  • help calorie-counting dieters lose weight

Using high-throughput chemical screening, the researchers came upon an approved off-patent drug – AmlexanoxCurrently, amlexanox is being used to treat canker sores in the US  and asthma in Japan for the past 25 years.

Here Comes the New Research

After discovering that amlexanox may be a cure to the IKKE and TBK1 weight loss dilemma , Dr. Saltiel organized a study of the effectiveness of amlexanox as a weight-loss drug on a group of lab mice.

Credit: Shannon Reilly
Credit: Shannon Reilly

Here’s what they found…

Treatment of obese mice with amlexanox…

  • elevated energy expenditure (caloric burn)
  • through increased thermogenesis (heat production),
  • producing weight loss,
  • improved insulin sensitivity (lowering risk of type 2 diabetes)
  • and decreased steatosis (fatty liver).

As if that wasn’t enough: Because of its record of safety in patients, amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

amlexanox-graph-1

Conclusion: Because of its record of safety in patients, Dr. Saltiel believes that amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

What’s Next?

As it stands right now, Dr. Saltiel doesn’t know “if humans respond with the same pathway, or if the discovery of amlexanox’s effectiveness in mice can lead to a compound that is safe and effective for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.

To find out, Saltiel is…

  1. Teaming up with clinical-trial specialists at U-M to test whether amlexanox will be useful for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.
  2. Working with medicinal chemists at U-M to develop a new compound based on the drug that optimizes its formula.

Fingers crossed people. If we’re lucky, this canker cure could cure corpulence (aka obesity).

Reference

Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

I’ve got some bad news for everyone who started off their morning with a big bowl of sugary cereal…or a couple of donuts…or cinnamon-raisin bagels…or a giant coffee shop muffin…or a high-cal-caffeine-sugar bomb from Starbucks.

In a new study, Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered that “high sugar levels increases the activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression”.

Dr Garcia Jimenez’s research investigates “how cells in the intestine respond to sugars and signal to the pancreas to release insulin, the key hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Sugars in the intestine trigger cells to release a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas.

His research showed “that the ability of the intestinal cells to secrete GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin, and that the activity of β-catenin is strictly dependent on sugar levels.

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

  • Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression.
  • Dr Garcia Jimenez’s study tells us that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation.
  • Ergo…high sugar = increased activity of β-catenin = normal cells become cancerous

Which means…if you are eating the Standard American Diet (high in processed carbs & sugar)…not only are you increasing your odds of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes…you ARE increasing your odds of dying from pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

If this bothers you, and you want to make a change, might I suggest you download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

Reference

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Should We De-Legalize Coca-Cola?

Today’s post is written for people willing to….

  • Take off their “this is what I believe to be true” caps
  • Put on their “thinking” caps

[box type=”important”]For everyone who can’t resist the urge to scream FREE MARKET!!!!, I welcome your feedback, but expect to be mocked for intellectual laziness and your inability to recognize that there is no such thing as a free market. [/box]

If you doubt this statement, I suggest you try selling crystal meth & porno in front of the nearest public school to test your belief that you live in a FREE MARKET.

[box type=”note”]When I say Coca-Cola, I also mean to include Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, etc into the conversation. All soda-style products[/box]

Anyway, enough with my ranting. Here’s what I want you to think about.

Should we de-legalize Coca-Cola?

All arguments are fair game. Medical, social, economic, theoretical, etc…

coca-cola

And just in case you’re interested in my position…

  • I don’t believe that we should de-legalize Coca-Cola.
  • I do believe that Coca-Cola should come with warnings similar to tobacco products
  • I do believe that Coca-Cola should not be allowed to advertise to children (12 and younger???)
  • I do believe that we should apply “sin taxes” to Coca-Cola and have 100% of that tax revenue be directed towards health promotion programs. These health promotion programs need to be 100% transparent to receive this money. Any remaining money is funneled into treating disease affected by Coca-Cola – diabetes, heart disease, etc.

My reasons for taking these positions are as follows…

  • Coca-Cola has no nutritional benefit
  • It is devoid of micro-nutrients
  • It provides empty, high glycemic carb calories
  • It is addictive (caffeine)
  • It contributes to insulin resistance
  • It contributes to type 2 diabetes
  • It contributes to metabolic syndrome
  • These medical conditions have a profound effect on the health of our society
  • These medical conditions have a profound effect on our economic productivity

In short, Coca-Cola is a danger to both our health and our wealth.

On the other side of the ledger…

  • Coca-Cola tastes good.
  • We’re all grown-ups and should be allowed to make our own decisions (good and bad) without someone else telling us what to do.

And that’s how I came to my position.

  • Keep Coca-Cola legal
  • Tax it to offset it’s negative medical/financial impact on our society
  • Restrict it’s marketing campaigns to adults

What do YOU think?

Can my friends make me fat?

Friends Don’t Let Friends Pig Out

Last night, I had a wicked craving for chicken wings.

So, after my last client, I rounded up some of my buddies, hit my favorite wing joint and cleared out my sinuses with excessive amounts of hot sauce.

While we were there, we couldn’t help overhearing the group of 20-something year old women at the next table as they laid waste to a massive pile of wings, fires, deep fried cheese, beer and fruity cooler drinks.

Impressed we were with their eating prowess…those girls could really put away the chow.

Unimpressed we were with how the ladies treated the one who stayed away from all the starchy stuff and only drank water.

  • They kept nagging at her to eat some fries and deep fried cheese sticks.
  • When she declined, they piled some on her plate.

When she didn’t eat them…

  • One of the big-eaters started to get angry and suggested that she thought she was better than them (did I mention they were drinking).

This went on for about ten minutes with all of the cheese stick eaters joining in and bombarding our heroine with different “mean girl” psychological techniques.

In the end, she gave in, ate some fries and order was restored to the group.

But it left me wondering…is this what it takes to fit in in 2012? If your friends eat like crap, do you have to eat like crap to fit in? Back in the 80’s, there was a anti-drunk driving campaign that said…

friends-dont-let-friends-dr

Maybe we need something like this to reverse the our problems with obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, etc.

UNCLE SAM EXERCISE health-healthhabits-fitness

Exercise or Die

I know that this sounds like the crazed rant of a wheat-grass swilling fitness-nazi, but hear me out…

In a recent paper published in the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, Dr. Joseph Knight crunched all of the available scientific data and came to the conclusion that “inactivity significantly increases the risk of numerous diseases/disorders, including several forms of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, coronary and cerebrovascular diseases, overweight/obesity, and all-cause mortality, among others. Unless there is a reversal of this sedentary lifestyle, the incidence of these diseases/disorders will increase, life expectancy will decrease, and medical costs will continue to rise”.

  • This means that you probably won’t get to retire the South Pacific to live out your golden years, bounce your grand-kids on your knee or grow old and grey with your spouse.
  • And before you die, you will spend years and years dealing with all of the fun stuff associated with cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and morbid obesity.

Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

But maybe you think this is just speculation…maybe you’re a “show me the facts” kind of person.

Here are some Facts

  • In 2004, the CDC concluded that 300,000 to 400,000 Americans died from poor diet and physical inactivity – that 16% of all deaths.
  • In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that there are 2,000,000 deaths w0rldwide each year from physical inactivity.

If that isn’t scary enough, we can look at the studies which show that “long-lived species are more efficient in cellular maintenance than short lived species, suggesting that enhancement of the body’s maintenance systems may slow the aging process. Since aging results from the accumulation of cellular damage, interventions in poor lifestyles may prevent damage, promote repair, and thereby increase life expectancy. In fact, about two-thirds of the major causes of death are, to a significant degree, lifestyle related.” And as noted by Mokdad et al, the major “actual causes of death” in the year 2000 were physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

  • Tobacco (435 000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths)
  • Poor diet and physical inactivity (400 000 deaths; 16.6%)
  • Alcohol consumption (85 000 deaths; 3.5%).

Other actual causes of death were microbial agents (75 000), toxic agents (55 000), motor vehicle crashes (43 000), incidents involving firearms (29 000), sexual behaviors (20 000), and illicit use of drugs (17 000).

What does physical inactivity actually do to your body?

According to Dr. Walter Bortz, “our cultural sedentariness, recently acquired, lies at the base of much human ill-being. Physical inactivity predictably leads to deterioration of many body functions. A number of these effects coexist so frequently in our society that they merit inclusion in a specific syndrome, the disuse syndrome. The identifying characteristics of the syndrome are cardiovascular vulnerability, obesity, musculoskeletal fragility, depression and premature aging’.

And since this way-too-easily reproducible syndrome affects the young as well as the old, we can not blame “normal aging” for the onset of the diseases related to the Disuse Syndrome.

And as we know, health care doesn’t come cheap. What do all of these lifestyle diseases cost us?

In 1987, “the direct and indirect costs of sedentary lifestyle to chronic health conditions were reported to be in excess of $150 billion (cost in 2000 dollars for 1987 incidences) (Pratt, Macera & Wang, 2000). As health care costs are $1.3 trillion/year in the US, a rough approximation is that physical inactivity accounts for approximately 15% of the US health care budget.

But it doesn’t have to be this way

The NIH reported in 2009 that…

  1. Exercise improves quality of life
  2. Quality of life improvements are dose dependent on volume of exercise. Small amount of exercise = small improvement to Q of L. Large amount of exercise = large improvement to Q of L.
  3. Q of L improvements were independent to weight loss.

And if that wasn’t enough proof for you, we can look at another pile of research which shows that while quality of life, physical balance, flexibility, mental health, etc naturally decline over the years, being physically active significantly slows down these “natural” signs of aging.

In fact, it has been shown that seniors can significantly reverse the severity of these conditions after taking up an exercise routine.

Conclusion

Thanks to advances in technology, modern humans no longer have to live the physically punishing lives of our ancestors.

  • This is good – it allows us to develop our minds, live longer, live better, etc..
  • Unfortunately, it has also made us sick, fat and lazy.

Your takeaway from this research?

  • Exercise or die.

UNCLE SAM EXERCISE health-healthhabits-fitness

Reference

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Does Ketone Drink = EZ Weight Loss?

Oxford researcher, Dr. Kieran Clarke has created a new type of ketone-based endurance drink designed to…

  • Generate significant weight loss
  • Improve mental alertness
  • Improve cognitive function

…as well as treat, prevent or reduce the effects of…

In short, this supplement MAY make you leaner, smarter, healthier, faster, stronger and less prone to diabetes, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, huntington’s, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Note that I say MAY.

The science is all very new. According to Doc Clarke:

“We are very excited about our research, which we think shows great promise. Our primary interest so far has been to understand how the body’s metabolism responds and makes use of our ketone drink.

We are a long way yet from showing meaningful benefits as a treatment for disease or in aiding athletes’ endurance, and while we think it is possible that the ketone drink may have benefits in slowing Alzheimer’s progression, no one has done much research on this as yet…although this remains of great interest to us.”

How great an interest???

Great enough to apply for a US patent.

Can you imagine how much money Dr. Clarke will make if this product lives up to it’s potential?

The Science

  • Previous research indicates that a state of elevated ketones may improve physical and cognitive performance.
  • Unfortunately, direct administration of ketone bodies is unpractical and potentially dangerous
  • Fortunately, there are ketone precursors that might give her the same effect without any of the downsides.

On of those ketone precursors is  (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone monoester that Dr. Clarke has been administering in the form of a meal replacement drink to her healthy human volunteers.

In one pilot study, eight adults with type 2 diabetes to see whether the drink produced any effect. The volunteers had three ketone drinks a day for five days and had their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar monitored. Their weight dropped an average of nearly two per cent (in 5 days), as did their levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood.

In another study, Dr. Clarke gave 22 elite rowers the ketone drink and monitored the distances they achieved in 30 minutes on an indoor rowing machine.

One rower broke a world record and five others beat their personal best.

Conclusion

I am thoroughly geeked-up about the potential of this supplement.

Fingers crossed people.

Reference

Paula Deen – Leaner, Fitter, Healthier???

Paula Deen really, really, really needs my buddy Gavan Murphy (aka the Healthy Irishman) to start making regular appearances on her show and to share his healthy eating skillz.

Last month, he did a guest appearance on her show Paula’s Best Dishes and he knocked it out of the box.

He had Paula eating, making and enjoying healthy recipes.

Recipes that any Foodie would be proud to serve…and show on international television.

Paula also enjoyed rubbing Gav’s head, but we won’t mention that to his wife.

So, here’s what we need to do.

RT this article and let Paula know that she need to make Gavan a regular feature on her show…and that if she does, not only will he help her eat healthier and get rid of her diabetes, she could help millions of other people reverse their own Type 2 Diabetes.

So…RT it dammit!!!.

Reference

Childhood Obesity: Bruised Feelings v.s. Logic

Childhood obesity is a significant health issue in America and around the world.

Unfortunately for America’s little butterballs, they live in a world where….

  1. Everyone want quick fixes to complex problems
  2. Gov’t & NGOs think that education is the cure-all for obesity & related diseases
  3. Way too many people feel that their bruised feelings trump logic & common sense.

Exhibit #1

Minnesota Blue Cross released the following two videos as part of their ‘Better Example’ anti-obesity campaign. The gist of the videos is that parents need to start setting a better example for their kids by making healthier food choices.

Makes sense to me….parents eat junk food…kids eat junk food…parents eat healthy food…kids eat healthy food…parents are lazy…kids are lazy…parents are physically active…kids are physically active.

Monkey see Monkey do….Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way.

Some people see this anti-obesity campaign as:

  • A personal attack directed at them

I know no one will ever believe me when I say this, so fine. Whatever. But since, apparently, this isn’t evident even among health professionals churning out ad campaigns, I do not fucking eat chocolate cereal and buckets of ice cream. Here is what I actually do: Pretty much every morning before work I walk 1.1 miles uphill to a coffee shop, which is across the street from the organic co-op where I do all my grocery shopping. I eat normal, human amounts of unprocessed, fresh, largely local foods. I have no mobility problems. I have flawless cholesterol and blood pressure. I never get colds, I have never been hospitalized. I have a great job, I make a good living, I’m in an incredibly happy relationship. Sometimes I eat dessert, sometimes I don’t. I pay taxes. I take care of my family. I do not commit crimes. I’m nice to strangers. In general, I think you could say that I contribute more to the world than I take out of it.

And I’m a fucking epidemic? I’m a problem?

You have the gall to make generalizations about my life because, in your eyes, I superficially resemble a massive, diverse swath of the population whose lives you’ve also deigned to generalize? Whose complex, painful, messy, joyous lives you’ve boiled down to, “Har har too many Cheetos”? Please.

Even if I did eat a bucket of pancake-flavored ice cream for breakfast, burrito ice cream for lunch, and salisbury steak ice cream for dinner (OMPH GROMPH GROMPH), I still shouldn’t have to justify my existence to the world in the way I just did. But the fact that I exist, and I am not the sinister straw-fatty pictured in the above commercial—doesn’t it seem likely that there are other fat people like me out there who also aren’t lying about their lifestyles? And in that case, isn’t this commercial FUCKING USELESS NONSENSE? Congratulations! You guys totally “got serious” and took down not-the-problem-at-all.

Lindy West – Jezebel

  • Systemic prejudice against obese people

There have always been fat people. There are fat people like me, who hardly ever eat any processed foods. There are fat people with glandular issues. There are disabled fat people who would love to exercise but can’t. There are healthy fat people. And sure, there are fat people who—fuck it—just really really like Cheetos. Guess what? Those people are allowed to exist too! There are a million different kinds of fat people in the world because FAT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. And kids are people. And if your solution to this “problem” is telling already vulnerable fat kids that they’re an epidemic that’s ruining the world, then fuck you.

Sheeeeesh…what a cry-baby.

She actually makes some cogent arguments about how America’s food production & distribution companies need to accept responsibility for creating an obesogenic marketplace, but she totally blows it by whining about how mean everyone is being to her.

The Facts…as I see ’em

  • Obesity is caused by a mixture of nature & nurture
  • We can’t do anything about nature – your DNA is your DNA – deal with it
  • We can do something about nurture – develop Health Habits
  • The world is full of a-holes who like to insult people based on their obesity, skin color, sexuality, height, lack of hair, abundance of hair, clothing, musical preferences, etc…

Quit acting like a victim, take responsibility for your life and grow a thicker skin

Reference

HIIT kicks even more ass

I love HIIT workouts.

  • Short duration
  • High intensity
  • Increased fat loss thanks to EPOC
  • Improved anaerobic endurance
  • Improved muscular power
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Honorary BADASS certification

And if that wasn’t enough, it also turns out that HIIT is good for your overall health.

HIIT - before and after - fat to fit

 

Here’s the latest scientific proof.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow took 10 overweight/obese men and subjected them to three different fitness protocols:

  1. Sitting on their ass…aka the couch potato workout
  2. 4 x 30 second full-intensity sprints with 4.5 minute rest periods (HIIT workout)
  3. A single full-intensity sprint (ES – Extended Sprint workout) designed to be equal to the work done during the HIIT workout.

The day after doing these workouts, the participants…

  • had a fasting blood sample taken,
  • undertook an oral glucose tolerance test to determine insulin sensitivity index (ISI),
  • and had blood pressure measured.

Here’s what they found….

  • Total work performed did not differ between the HIIT & ES workouts
  • More power was generated during the HIIT workouts than during the ES workouts
  • Both the HIIT & ES workouts resulted in increased Insulin Sensitivity compared to the control group
  • The HIIT group saw a 63% increase in fat oxidation compared to the control group
  • The ES group saw a 38% increase in fat oxidation compared to the control group

And just in case you weren’t aware, increased insulin sensitivity & fat oxidation is exactly what our obese / diabetic society is in dire need of.

And this was after just one workout…imagine how much better things will look after 52 weeks of High Intensity workouts.

Reference

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America’s Great Big Fat Problem…is getting worse

America has a big, big, big problem.

According to the report F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012, “if obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030…

  • 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent,
  • 39 states could have rates above 50 percent,
  • and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent”.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, this could lead to a 10x increase in the number of “new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030”.

Obesity could contribute to more than…

  • 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes,
  • 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke,
  • and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades.

But maybe you’re like me and take your health/fitness seriously and you don’t need to worry about these health warnings.

Unfortunately, this rise in obesity rates is going to affect you financially.

By 2030, medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year in the United States, and the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually by 2030.

Although the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States is difficult to calculate, current estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

This means….

  • Your health insurance rates will increase
  • Social healthcare costs increase
  • Federal & state tax revenues are reduced due to lost productivity

And we all know what happens when government revenues can’t keep up with government spending…

  • Your taxes are increased, and
  • The quality & quantity of government services are decreased

so…what do YOU think…is it time that we did something real about reducing obesity across the board???

Reference

Childhood Obesity is Making Your Kid Stupid

Today’s parents live insanely busy lives.

And this means that sometimes….their kids eat microwave pizza & ice cream while staring at a screen instead of eating of eating a healthy home-cooked meal with the entire family.

Unfortunately, these “sometimes” are quickly becoming “all-the-times” and more and more of our kids are being diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome  – obesity (especially belly fat), insulin resistance, hypertension, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, researchers have discovered that adolescents diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome are not only at higher risk for:

  • heart disease,
  • type 2 diabetes,
  • stroke,
  • kidney disease,
  • and poor blood supply to the legs

They also have:

  • smaller hippocampal volumes,
  • increased brain cerebrospinal fluid,
  • and reductions of microstructural integrity in major white matter tracts

Which results in…

  • impaired mathematics performance
  • impaired spelling performance
  • impaired ability to pay attention
  • impaired mental flexibility
  • and a trend towards lower overall intelligence

And if this isn’t scary enough…

The researchers have no idea if:

  1. these brain abnormalities & cognitive deficiencies will continue to get worse as our kids age,
  2. these brain abnormalities & cognitive deficiencies are reversible with weight loss and reversal of the other Met Syn symptoms.

Conclusion

Childhood obesity is no joke…We are thoroughly screwing up our kids.

Reference

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A Frying Pan Full of Obesity & Diabetes???

Researchers have discovered that how you cook your food can have a major effect on whether or not you develop:

  • Abdominal Obesity
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Type 2 Diabetes

The Bad News (aka The Science)

  1. The researchers found that mice who were exposed to a compound called Methyl-Glyoxal developed “significant abdominal weight gain, early insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes over the course of 4 generations”
  2. Methyl-Glyoxal is a type of advanced glycation endproduct (AGE),
  3. Which is produced when food is cooked with dry heat.
Methyl-Glyoxal = Insulin Resistance, Obesity & Diabetes 😦
What does this mean to you?

It means that all of those burgers and cookies and big greasy breakfasts that your ancestors have been eating for decades may be partially responsible for your size XXXL trackpants.

It may also mean that your “abdominal fat is now operating as a repository of fat cells producing highly inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which impair your glucose metabolism, slow down fat turnover, and may result in you being diagnosed with insulin resistance and diabetes”.

What now?

  1. Wait for the drug companies and Dr. Vlassara to confirm that  Sevelamer Carbonate (aka Renvela) turns out to be a successful AGE blocker.
  2. Cut back on foods prepared with dry heat.
  3. Start cooking foods with moist heat cooking techniques

Dry Heat Cooking Techniques

  • Baking
  • Broiling
  • Frying
  • Grilling
  • Roasting

Moist Heat Cooking Techniques

  • Blanching
  • Boiling
  • Braising
  • Poaching
  • Scalding
  • Simmering
  • Steaming
  • Stewing

For more info on how to eat to avoid nasty AGEs like Methyl-Glyoxal, you can also check out the website – The Age-Less Way

Sorry for the bad news…I love BBQ too.

Reference

I Can Make You Pre-Diabetic in 7 Days

Two weeks ago, I told you about the series of Frankenstein-like diet/blood sugar/insulin experiments that I am conducting on one of my personal training clients-  in the article Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier.

This week, I am going to show you the results of the first experiment and tell you how I took my human guinea-pig and made him Pre-Diabetic in less than 7 days.

Experiment #1 – The “Normal” Diet

I asked my client / test-subject to:

  1. Stop his normal exercise routine (allowed to go on nightly walks with his wife)
  2. Eat like a “normal” person…. ie I told him that he could eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants with no concern for nutrition.

[box type=”note”]I told him not to pig out on junk food – just to eat like the other people in his office. In fact, he modeled his diet after one of his co-workers – a 190 lb, skinny-fat kind of guy.[/box]

Here are some examples of what he ate last week.

Breakfast

  • Bowl of Rice Krispies and a mug of coffee, or
  • Buttered bagel & coffee, or
  • Egg McMuffin with Hash Brown and coffee
  • 1 Donut & coffee

Lunch

  • Sandwich, Coke & cookie, or
  • Slice of pizza and bottle of water
  • Rice, veg & chicken from food court Chinese place
Afternoon Snack

Dinner

  • Pizza, salad and a beer
  • Pasta & garlic bread and a glass of wine
  • Steak stir-fry with rice & tons of veg

Blood Test Info

I had him test his blood throughout the day using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics):

  • Upon waking – fasted blood test
  • Before eating
  • 2 hours after eating
  • Before bed

[box type=”important”]What we found is that other than the fasted blood test (taken first thing in the morning), his blood sugar levels were moving around too much to come to any sort of conclusion…so we’re just going to report on the fasted blood tests[/box]

Blood Test Results

  • His pre-experiment fasted blood sugar levels ranged from 4.4 to 4.7.
  • His pre-experiment diet is a modified Paleo-style diet where he is allowed to eat potatoes and small amounts of legumes
During the experiment, his fasted blood sugar levels were as follows:
  • Day 1: 5.5 mmol/L
  • Day 2: 5.9 mmol/L
  • Day 3: 6.2 mmol/L
  • Day 4: 6.4 mmol/L
  • Day 5: 6.5 mmol/L
  • Day 6: 6.9 mmol/L
  • Day 7: 6.7 mmol/L

And as you can see from the chart, this places our test-subject squarely in the Pre-Diabetes range…on his way to full-blown Type 2 Diabetes.

All in one week.

Not good.

And he felt like crap the whole week.

  • Waking up with a headache 5 of the 7 days
  • Craving carbs like crazy
  • Never feeling full, while…
  • Often feeling nauseous

At the end of the week, he was glad to go back to eating healthy

.

This week, we are experimenting with a grain-free diet.

I will post the results next week.

Capsaicin for Weight Loss

I’ve got some interesting research for everyone out there trying to drop a few pounds.

Published in the journal Obesity, researchers have found that topical application of 0.075% capsaicin to male mice fed a high-fat diet significantly reduced weight gain and visceral fat.  In addition…

  • Fat cells were markedly smaller in the mesenteric and epididymal adipose tissues of mice treated with capsaicin cream.
  • The capsaicin treatment also lowered serum levels of fasting glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides
  • increased expression of adiponectin and other adipokines – leading to increased fat burning and insulin sensitivity
  • and reduced expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-6 – leading to reduced inflammation

fat mouse skinny mouse obesity longevity

 

In short, the “hot sauce” mice lost weight and got healthier.

Note – This research is very, very, very preliminary and it will be a while before human research is conducted.

However, nothing is stopping you from buying a tube of 0.075% capsaicin and smearing it on your jelly-belly and love handles. But remember, if you’re going to play lab rat, make sure not to get the capsaicin cream into your eyes…that’s gonna sting.

Is capsaicin safe?

According to WebMD, experts in the United States generally consider capsaicin to be safe. But it can cause some unpleasant effects, especially for those who are not used to it.

Begin with small amounts, and increase the amount as you get used to it. You can put the creams on your skin up to 4 times a day. You may feel a burning or itching sensation the first few times you use the cream, but this will gradually decrease with each use.

Wash your hands thoroughly after each use to avoid getting the cream in your eyes or on other moist mucous membranes, where it can cause a burning sensation. Do not use the cream on areas of broken skin.[/box]

Reference

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Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier

Over the next few months I am going to be conducting an experiment about the interaction between nutrition, exercise, blood sugar, insulin, body composition and overall health.

Here’s the plan…

Using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics), I am going to have one of my clients measure his blood sugar, blood pressure and body composition again and again and again…. and we’re going to see how it reacts to different types of diets and training modalities.

Starting next week, he will begin taking his measurements upon waking, pre-meal, post-meal, pre-workout, post-workout and before bed.

I will track all the data and (fingers crossed), we should generate some pretty interesting data.

We will be testing how his body responds to:

  • a Standard American Diet (aka junk food)
  • a meat & potatoes diet
  • a vegetarian diet
  • a low fat diet
  • a high fat – Atkins style diet
  • a Paleo diet
  • a Mediterranean diet
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Cardio workouts
  • Health Habits workouts…. lots of HIRT
  • Heavy lifting – power bodybuilding style of workout
  • No workouts
If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.

Childhood Obesity Leads to Heart Disease

Dutch researchers have found that 2/3 of severely obese children (aged 2–18 yrs) have been diagnosed with at least one cardiovascular risk factor:

  • 56% of the kids had hypertension,
  • 14% had high blood glucose,
  • 0.7% had type 2 diabetes,
  • 54% had low HDL-cholesterol

Even scarier….62% of severely obese children aged ≤12 years already had one or more cardiovascular risk factors.

Study Highlights

  • The definition of severe obesity started at a body mass index (BMI) of 20.5 for a 2 year old, at 31 for a 12 year old, and at 35 for an 18 year old.
  • Only one child’s obesity was attributable to medical rather than lifestyle factors.
  • Nearly one in three severely obese children came from one parent families.

Study Conclusion

“The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in these children is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence worldwide of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents,” write the authors. “Likewise, the high prevalence of hypertension and abnormal lipids may lead to cardiovascular disease in young adulthood,” they add. And they conclude: “Internationally accepted criteria for defining childhood obesity and guidelines for early detection and treatment of severe childhood obesity and underlying ill health are urgently needed.”

My Conclusion

Childhood obesity isn’t cute… and parents who enable it are doing their kids a HUGE disservice. 

 

Reference

Fabulous Fruit Fights Fat

Researchers have found that bioactive compounds (phenolics) found in stone fruits, like peaches, plums and nectarines have the ability to fight-off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study (funded by the California Tree Fruit Agreement, The California Plum Board, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League and the Texas Department of Agriculture), “showed that the compounds in stone fruits could be a weapon against “metabolic syndrome,” in which obesity and inflammation lead to serious health issues.”

peaches-plums-nectarines

 

They found that:

  • Phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL which is associated to cardiovascular disease.
  • This mixture of the phenolic compounds work simultaneously within the different components of the disease.
  • Specifically,  the four major phenolic groups – anthocyanins, clorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins – work on different cells – fat cells, macrophages and vascular endothelial cells. They modulate different expressions of genes and proteins depending on the type of compound.
  • This means that all of them are working simultaneously in different fronts against the components of the disease, including obesity, inflammation, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Cisneros-Zevallos said this is believed to be the first time that “bioactive compounds of a fruit have been shown to potentially work in different fronts against a disease. Each of these stone fruits contain similar phenolic groups but in differing proportions so all of them are a good source of health promoting compounds and may complement each other.”

 Conclusions

  1. Plums, peaches, nectarines are loaded with lots of good stuff
  2. Plums, peaches, nectarines make up an important part of the Paleo Diet
  3. This research is funded by organizations that want you to buy more plums, peaches and nectarines
  4. Just because there is good stuff to be found in these stone fruits, be aware that they are to be enjoyed in moderation as they are also loaded with fructose (aka sugar).

Reference

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Are Overprotective Parents the Cause of Childhood Obesity?

Back in the olden days (the 1980s), me and my friends would race home from school, dump our schoolbags in our rooms, shove some leftovers down our gullets and run back outside to play road hockey (or baseball, football, etc) until…

  • it became too dark to see
  • or our Moms dragged us back inside for dinner & homework

Fast forward to 2012…

  • 46% of Canadian kids get 3 hours or less of active play per week
  • Only 35% of Canadian kids walk or ride their bikes to school
  • The average Canadian kid gets 7 hours and 48 minutes of screen time every day
  • As a result, Canadian kids spend 63% of their free time being sedentary
  • And they’re even less active on weekends than on school days

And according to Active Healthy Kids Canada, “two of the major barriers to regular, active play in Canadian kids are screen time and parental safety concerns. In combination, these societal realities force children and youth into highly-controlled environments, where they have little opportunity to let loose and just play“.

Play…like we all did back in the good old days…before the world became a scary place and we needed to start bubble-wrapping our kids to keep them safe.

Fifty-eight per cent of Canadian parents say they are very concerned about keeping their children safe and feel they “have to be over-protective of them in this world.” Safety concerns, whether or not they are founded, such as crime, traffic, neighbourhood danger, outdoor darkness and lack of supervision, discourage parents from letting their children and teens play outdoors.

And as a result, our precious little bundles of joy are fat and borderline diabetic.

NoteWhile this data is Canadian, I’m willing to bet that it isn’t unique to Canada.

Reference

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45 Reasons Why America is Obese

America…like other countries… is getting fatter day after day after day. And if you listen to the mainstream media / medical “experts”, most will tell you that it’s all about Calories in vs Calories Out. A small minority will reference the power of insulin while some obesity-apologists will blame their DNA.

So, I raise the question….Is there a one size fits all cause and/or cure for obesity?

Or are there a whole bunch of factors coming together to create America’s obesity epidemic?

To aid in the discussion, I have put together a partial list of the factors that I think influence human obesity.

45 Unique Causes of Obesity

Food

  • Quantity of food – Calories
  • Quantity of food – Volume
  • Type and Quality of food – Macronutrients – Carbs, Fat, Protein
  • Type and Quality of food – MicronutrientsVitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, Phytochemicals, etc…
  • Type and Quality of food – Nutrient Density v.s Caloric Density
  • Your beliefs and emotions regarding food – food as pleasure, food as fuel
  • Dining habits – eat on the run vs sit down dinner

Pizza Hut Hot Dog stuffed crust pizza

 

Next Page – Your Body…

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5 Ways to Get Fit Faster

The Top 10 Vitamin K Foods

The Standard American Diet results in:

  • Inflammation,
  • Obesity,
  • Insulin resistance,
  • and Diabetes

Luckily for you, Vitamin K reduces

  • Inflammation,
  • Insulin resistance and…
  • the likelihood that people who a Western diet will become fat and diabetic.

And how do we find this elusive Vitamin K?

Glad you asked….

  1. Kale – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 1062 mcg / µg
  2. Spinach – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 1027 mcg / µg
  3. Turnip Greens – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 851 mcg / µg
  4. Collards – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 836 mcg / µg  ***
  5. Brussels sprouts – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 300 mcg / µg
  6. Broccoli – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 220 mcg / µg
  7. Cabbage – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 163 mcg / µg
  8. Asparagus – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 144 mcg / µg
  9. Lettuce, iceberg – 1 head – 130 mcg / µg
  10. Peas, green – 1 cup,  canned & drained – 63 mcg / µg
Notes
  • I don’t know why the USDA thinks everyone is eating frozen greens instead of fresh, but they do. We’re going to assume that fresh Brussels sprouts have just as much Vitamin K as frozen… if not more
  • *** Beet greens, Dandelion greens and Mustard greens could / should have been included in this list – they would have placed between #4 Collards and # 5 Brussels sprouts.  I omitted them due to availability. If you have them in your area, go ahead and eat ’em up. They are Vit. K superstars.

Reference

22 Recommendations for a Healthier Ontario

Earlier today, Cancer Care Ontario and Public Health Ontario released a report detailing 22 recommendations to improve the health of Ontario.

And some Ontarians are losing their minds over some of the “recommendations”

What do you think?

http://2071264.polldaddy.com/s/22-recommendations-for-a-healthier-ontario?iframe=1

Childhood Obesity : A Primer for Parents

Having an obese child doesn’t make you a bad parent.

  • Uninformed : MAYBE
  • Bad : NO
  1. Processed food producers spend an ungodly amount of money learning what type of foods encourage overeating…and over-purchasing. Sugars, fats, processing techniques, flavor enhancing chemicals, etc.
  2. In addition to the bio-chemsitry, then spend big bucks on neuro-psychology to determine how your eyes and brain can be manipulated while you shop. Believe it or not, there is a lot of science behind product placement and purchasing decisions.
  3. Moving on to the science of manipulation, our food producers also spend huge amounts of money creating and delivering marketing campaigns aimed directly at your kids….knowing that if they get them while they’re young, they will have them for life. Creepy – YES…but also very effective.
  4. And if that wasn’t enough, they also spend a lot of money employing lobbyists to protect their interests within government, generate massive food subsidies and to block any legislation limiting their influence over our kids.

Put it all together and it’s not too surprising that our kids keep getting fatter and fatter.

Luckily, there are solutions.

  • Informed parents can make better food and activity choices for their kids.
  • Informed parents can tell their government that they don’t like advertising directed at their pre-pubescent children.
  • Informed parents can bring attention (thank you social media) to the political manipulation that makes a mockery of the Free Market.
  • Informed parents can talk to other parents and local government to improve access to healthy foods in their neighborhood.
  • Informed parents can take advantage of existing grants and support organizations to improve the walkability and “playability” of their neighborhoods

And how does a parent get informed?

Here’s a good place to start.

Other Resources

United Nations says that Factory Farming Sucks

Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has written an amazing article about global hunger / obesity / food policy in today’s Toronto Star.

In the article, he highlights the connections between:

  • Factory farming,
  • Political influence & lobby groups,
  • Obesity,
  • Under-nutrition / starvation,
  • Small scale farming,
  • Junk food advertising aimed at our children,
  • And the rise of global chronic disease

It’s a great read…and one that should be spread all around the internet.

Reference

Canada's Health Ranking Falls Like a Fat Guy Through an Wicker Chair

Canadians love to talk about their healthcare system.

  • We love to brag about how much better it is than the American system, yet
  • We also love to complain about the long wait times and the imminent bankruptcy of the system.

Lately, it’s been more complaining than bragging.

  • We blame the nurses’ union for being greedy.
  • We blame the hospital bureaucrats for their big salaries and “obvious” incompetence.
  • We blame illegal immigrants and the poor for clogging up the emergency room instead of going to their GP.

We blame. We blame. We blame.

Problem is….we should be blaming ourselves.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, the real problem with the Canadian healthcare system isn’t the system…it’s the Canadian public and their lazy lifestyle that is ruining the healthcare system.

Canada’s 2012 Health Report Card

The Conference Board of Canada takes an annual look at 17 industrialized nations and compares them using 11 different markers of health.

  • In the 1990s, Canada was ranked 4th.
  • Today, Canada has fallen to 10th.

What gives? 

According to the research, while top-ranking countries like Japan, Switzerland & Norway have invested in programs designed to promote a healthy lifestyle, thereby lowering the economic impact of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, depression, dementia, osteoarthritis, and heart disease, Canada has virtually ignored health promotion.

And according to the Conference Board of Canada, “most top-performing countries have achieved better health outcomes through actions on the broader determinants of health such as environmental stewardship and health-promotion programs focusing on changes in lifestyle, including smoking cessation, increased activity, healthier diets, and safer driving habits.

Leading countries also focus on other determinants of health—such as education, early childhood development, income, and social status—to improve health outcomes”.

It’s a novel concept…spend a small amount of money preventing disease instead of spending a large amount of money treating disease.

What now?

The cynic in me believes that nobody is going to pay attention to this report and that the status quo will rule the day.

However, just last week, the federal government announced $4 million in additional federal money for Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Awareness and Education Initiative.  And while $4 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the total spending on healthcare, it’s a start and may represent a shift in government thinking.

Time will tell.

What can we do NOW?

You could write a letter to your MP or MPP or the appropriate federal/provincial Health Minister….and they might send you a nice form letter telling you how they take the health of Canadians seriously…yadda yadda.

Or you could use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to put a little heat under their seats.

  • Canada – Leona Aglukkaq – Federal Minister of Health and Long-Term Care – Facebook – Twitter
  • Alberta – Fred Horne – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
  • British Columbia – Michael de Jong – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
  • Manitoba – Jim Rondeau – Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors – Facebook
  • New Brunswick – Madeline Dubé – Minister of Health – Facebook
  • Newfoundland – Susan Sullivan  – Minister of Health and Community Services – Facebook – Twitter
  • Northwest Territories – Tom Beaulieu – Minister of Health and Social Services  – website
  • Nova Scotia – Maureen MacDonald – Minister of Health and Wellness  – FacebookTwitter
  • Nunavut – Keith Peterson – Minister of Health and Social Services – website
  • Ontario –  Deb Matthews – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
  • Prince Edward Island – Doug Currie – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
  • Quebec – Yves Bolduc  – Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux – Facebook
  • Saskatchewan – Don McMorris – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
  • Yukon – Minister of Health and Social Services- Facebook – Twitter

NOTE – this problem isn’t unique to Canada. Other countries (like the US of A – #17 of 17) could use with a healthy dose of health promotion.

The reason why big government "healthy lifestyle" programs don't work is…

…because they think education is the answer.

And while I am a big fan of education, I am pretty sure that the majority of us know that:

  • Exercise is healthier than watching tv
  • Vegetables are healthier than pizza
  • Meditation is healthier than obsessing over that idiot who cut you off in traffic
  • Drinking a glass of wine with dinner is healthier than downing a bottle by yourself
  • Socializing with friends is healthier than being a loner
  • Stretching tight muscles is healthier than sitting all night after sitting all day at work

We already know this stuff…..and yet, we eat junk food, watch too much tv and barely get any exercise.

EDUCATION IS NOT ENOUGH

Education by itself didn’t reduce the number of smokers.

It took education + higher taxes + municipal bylaws restricting public smoking + a whole lot of shaming from non-smokers who finally felt empowered enough to tell someone to butt out.

And if we want to reduce the healthcare costs attributable to poor lifestyle choices – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimers, cancer, etc…. we need to do more than education.

Image: http://www.glasbergen.com

 

Paula Deen : Marketing Genius, Diabetic, Hypocrite

Paula Deen is a Marketing Genius

  • 3 years ago, she was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Not good for someone who makes their living as the Food Network’s resident Queen of Butter.

But not our Paula.

Nope…Paula overcame this hurdle and  managed to keep all that Food Network money rolling in by:

  1. Not mentioning her diagnosis
  2. Not advising her adoring fans how her diet led to her diagnosis, and
  3. By continuing to teach her fans how to get their own case of type 2 diabetes by re-creating her ooey-gooey Southern recipes.
The Lady’s Brunch Burger from Paula’s – Everything in Moderation cookbook

But wait…it gets better.

After three years of keeping her diagnosis to herself, Paula comes out of the diabetic closet by

  • Announcing her multi-million dollar drug endorsement deal for Victoza®  – a non-insulin once-a-day medication that helps lower blood sugar levels quickly in adults with type 2 diabetes.

How’s that for turning lemons into lemonade???

And even when hard hitting journalists such as Clinton Kelly and Al Roker take her to task for the apparent hypocrisy of her actions, Paula stands up tall, looks them dead in the eye and tells them that even with her health condition, she doesn’t plan to change her cooking ways and that she has always encouraged moderation.

Moderation as in:

 

Now that’s a marketing genius.

Stop Sugarcoating Childhood Obesity

The State of Georgia has created an anti-childhood obesity program that has upset various:

  • fat-acceptance groups
  • anti-obesity advocates, and
  • child-protection experts

They’re concerned that the print/tv/online ads used in this campaign will backfire and cause obese kids to face increased bullying and result in lower self-esteem, depression, and even worse eating behaviors…resulting in even greater levels of obesity and decreased levels of overall health.

And they might be right…if these ads were the only tool being used by the people at Strong4Life.

But it isn’t…as explained during this interview on The Today Show

  • Phase 1 is designed to grab attention…which it has done.
  • Phase 1 is designed to help parents understand that childhood obesity has very real consequences upon the health and happiness of their children
  • Phase 1 is NOT about solutions.

The solutions being proposed by Strong4Life come in Phases 2 & 3.

Hopefully they’ll be spending just as much money and receiving just as much media attention on their message of healthy eating and increased physical activity.

The Economics of Obesity

Billions of dollars are spent every year on treating obesity and it’s related health conditions. Unfortunately, only a teeny tiny fraction of that money is spent on OBESITY PREVENTION.

Which is weird considering that obesity is largely a result of poor lifestyle choices.

For example….

  • In Canada, it’s estimated that the cost of obesity (2008 numbers) rose to a staggering $7.1 billion.
  • Based on population data, the province of Ontario’s share of that cost is approximately $2.75 billion
  • And yet, it’s department of Health Promotion & Sport has a total annual budget of $470 million
  • Of which, only $4.3 million is spent on nutrition & healthy eating.

Hmmmmm

  • Obesity cost to Ontario:  $2, 754,8000,000
  • Amount spent by Ontario gov’t to encourage healthy eating:  $4,324,400

Does this make sense to you?

Back in the olden days, my Grandma used to tell me that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As a six year old, I had no idea what the heck she was talking about.

My guess is that whoever’s paying for these obesity costs still hasn’t figured it out.

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BTW, it’s us paying the cost

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Reference

Is Obesity Child Abuse?

An eight year old Cleveland boy was recently taken from his family and placed in foster care after case workers said that his mother wasn’t doing enough to control his weight.

The child in question is over 200 lbs – the average 8 yr old boy is 56 lbs.

Lawyers for the mother argue that the county “overreached” in taking her son, saying the kid’s health is not in imminent danger.

“They are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don’t love my child,” the boy’s mother. “Of course I love him. Of course I want him to lose weight. It’s a lifestyle change, and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying.”

What do you think?

And if you do agree that childhood obesity is child abuse, what do you think that “society” should do about it?

The Ohio state health department estimates more than 12 percent of third-graders statewide are severely obese.

  • Do we take all those severely obese children away from their parents?

What about your neighborhood?

  • Would you be okay with your local children’s aid society taking away 12% of the kids in your neighborhood?
  • And why stop at obesity?

Without crappy parents, we wouldn’t have so many junkies, murderers, rapists, perverts, etc…

Even the best parents screw up their kids in some way.

And as much as it pisses me off to see parents enabling their kid’s obesity, I just don’t see how putting all our severely obese kids into foster homes makes any sense on a large scale.

But that’s just my opinion.

Reference

Truly Terrifying Obesity Statistics

Bad news everyone.

By the year 2020, America is going to be really, really fat and really, really sick.

  • 83% of American men will be overweight or obese
  • 72% of American women will be overweight or obese
  • 77 % of men will have dysglycemia (either diabetes or pre-diabetes)
  • 53 % of women will have dysglycemia (either diabetes or pre-diabetes).
If you don’t want to be part of the majority, click, read and take charge of your health.

Reference

 

ADIPOTIDE : Snake Oil or Miracle Weight Loss Pill?

The anti-obesity industry is all abuzz about a bright & shiny new weight loss drug called Adipotide.

In a recent study, obese rhesus monkeys….

  • lost 11% of their total body weight, and
  • 27% of their belly fat mass

….in just four weeks of Adipotide treatment.

And while that’s pretty impressive, what really gets me excited about Adipotide  is how it works.

Where other miracle “fat pills” have tried to reduce obesity by:

  1. controlling appetite
  2. increasing metabolism
  3. or preventing absorption of dietary fat

Adipotide works by:

  1. cutting off the blood supply to fat cells by means of a “homing agent that binds to a protein on the surface of fat-supporting blood vessels
  2. and a synthetic peptide that triggers cell death

The result of this is that when the supporting blood vessels have died and withered away, the offending fat cells are starved, reabsorbed and metabolized.

And the fat monkeys become fit monkeys

And it’s not just fat loss.

In this latest study, the obese monkeys saw a drastic improvement in insulin sensitivity and metabolic syndrome symptoms.

What about side effects?

Monkeys in the studies remained bright and alert throughout, interacting with caretakers and demonstrating no signs of nausea or food avoidance. This is potentially an important finding since unpleasant side-effects have limited the use of approved drugs that reduce fat absorption in the intestines.

The principal side effects were noted in the kidneys. “The renal effect was dose-dependent, predictable and reversible,” Barnhart noted.

What about human studies?

It turns out that Adipotide is not the first drug developed using this research.

The researcher’s original work focused on cutting off the blood supply of prostate cancer cells. During this cancer research they found that “blood vessels are more than a uniform and ubiquitous “pipeline” that serves the circulatory system, but differ depending on the organ or tissue that they support” .

This allowed them to design a method of screening peptides – small bits of proteins – and to identify those that bind to specific vascular cells among the many possible “ZIP codes” present in a human vascular map.

For blood vessels that support fat cells, the target protein is prohibitin, which they found in unusual abundance on the blood vessel cell surface.

Based on this discovery, the researchers are preparing for a clinical trial in which obese prostate cancer patients would receive daily injections of Adipotide for 28 consecutive days.

The goal of the study is to see if their prostate cancer becomes better as their body weight and associated health risks are improved.

Future studies focused solely on weight loss are in the planning stage.

So what does this mean to you?

For now…not a whole heck of a lot.

If Adipotide does turn out to be a miracle weight loss pill, it’s going to be a long time before you’ll be able to get a prescription.

But….it is the first sign of ingenuity I have seen coming from weight loss researchers in a long time.

Kinda funny that they’re actually cancer researchers.

Reference

Lose Weight with PGX

A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, says that if you consume 5 grams of PGX fibre at the start of a meal, you will lower the Glycemic Index of that meal by 30%.

And that’s good news, because if you lower the Glycemic Index of that meal by 30%, you’re also lowering the resultant insulin production.

And if you believe that fat storage is driven by insulin, that 30% reduction in GI score has also lowered your chances of becoming obese.

What Does This Mean To You?

It means that if you’re going to eat a meal loaded with high glycemic carbs (sugar, starch, etc), you can minimize fat storage by supplementing with some PGX  (or some other viscous polysaccharide) prior to chowing down.

Or you can skip the high glycemic meal altogether and embrace your paleo roots and grill a steak and some veggies on the bbq.

Reference

Oxytocin and Obesity

I happened upon an interesting study this morning.

According to researchers at the University of Washington, a group of obese rats lost a ton of weight after being injected with oxytocin – the “love hormone”.

Isn’t that awesome.

A potential cure for obesity that also makes you feel all warm & gooey inside.

They are going to make a bazillion dollars….is what I thought.

Until I read this study.

Which says that plasma levels of oxytocin are 4x higher in obese human subjects than in their leaner human counterparts.

  • Meals didn’t affect the oxytocin levels.
  • The sex of the subject didn’t matter.
  • Even after having gastric banding surgery…the oxytocin levels stayed elevated.

Sounds kinda like the problem our obese population has with insulin and leptin.

The behaviors that lead to obesity also lead to elevated hormone levels and eventually intolerance of those hormones.

Dammit.

I had the design of these new wonder pills chosen already

 

America's Lifestyle Diseases Cost the Economy over $153 Billion per Year

Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and depression are costing the American economy $153 billion per year in lost productivity.

Based on data collected via the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, researchers concluded that chronic health conditions such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression and recurring physical pain resulted in 449,847,652 days missed from work… and an estimated productivity loss of $153,398,049,221 per year.

And it gets worse.

  • This calculation doesn’t include productivity lost when employees show up at work but are less productive because of their poor health.
  • As well, the Gallup people didn’t speak with part-time workers.

Previous research which included these factors found that America’s chronic lifestyle diseases cost the nation up to $1.1 trillion per year.

And that’s a lot of money.

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Maybe enough money for the government to start throwing some cash into health promotion programs?

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Reference

 

Childhood Obesity, Junk Food Profits and the U.S. Congress

Earlier this year, an interagency working group, made up of the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced that they would be recommending that America’s food producers should voluntarily end all food advertising to children unless they were for healthy choices, such as whole grains, fresh fruits or vegetables.

Key words: recommending, voluntarily, children and healthy.

This first draft of voluntary guidelines set  maximum levels of fat, sugars and sodium, among other requirements, and asks food companies not to market foods that go beyond those parameters to children ages 2 through 17. The guidelines would apply to many mediums, including ads on television, in stores and on the Internet, in an effort to stem rising obesity levels.

Under the original proposal, salty, fatty or very sweet foods or foods with trans fats would no longer be advertised to children, defined as age 17 or under.

Once again… Key words: recommending, voluntarily, children and healthy.

In response, the food industry, backed by House Republicans, has aggressively lobbied against the voluntary guidelines, saying they are too broad and would limit marketing of almost all of the nation’s favorite foods, including some yogurts and many children’s cereals. Though the guidelines would be voluntary, food companies say they fear the government will retaliate against them if they don’t go along.

Officials from the Federal Trade Commission, the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who jointly wrote the guidelines, will on Wednesday face the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has already made its distaste for the proposal clear. In a letter last month, Republicans on the committee wrote the agencies and called the (voluntary) guidelines “little better than a shot in the dark.”

Following the industry objections, the congressional pushback and a public comment period on the proposal, the government agencies involved appear to be softening their approach.

In testimony released by the committee before the hearing, David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the coalition of government agencies is “in the midst of making significant revisions to the original proposal.

Among the changes he suggested are narrowing the age group targeted and focusing on children aged 2 to 11 instead of up to age 17 and allowing marketing of the unhealthier foods at fundraisers and sporting events. Vladeck also said that his agency would not recommend that companies change packaging or remove brand characters from food products that don’t qualify, as was originally suggested in the guidelines.

“Those elements of packaging, though appealing to children, are also elements of marketing to a broader audience and are inextricably linked to the food’s brand identity,” Vladeck says in prepared testimony. Tony the Tiger is well-known as the mascot for Frosted Flakes and Toucan Sam for Froot Loops, both Kelloggs’ cereals.

So, there you go. Democracy in action.

  • Companies market questionable food-like products directly to children.
  • Parents and special interest groups bring attention to this business practice
  • Government investigates and prepares a series of voluntary recommendations
  • Lobbyists for the affected food producers work hard in an attempt to dilute the voluntary recommendations
  • Congress supports the position of the food lobby
  • Recommendations are watered-down
  • Food producers resume original marketing practices
  • Children influenced by said marketing grow up to be obese adults still affected by said marketing practices
  • Continuing increases in systemic obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome et al drive healthcare costs up and quality of life down

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Reference

 

Is it Possible to Transform White Fat into Brown Fat?

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health…the answer is YES.

By reducing the actions of a protein called TGF-beta, researchers were able to transform lazy good-for-nothing white fat cells into energy burning brown fat cells.

And thanks to those mitochondria packed brown fat cells, our group of happy lab mice are walking around sporting little mousey six-packs and beach biceps.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the antibodies the scientists used to block the TGF-beta protein are also currently being tested in human trials as a cancer treatment.

Unfortunately….”due to the potential “immune compromising”  effect of the antibody used in this experiment, it has not yet been approved for treatment of human obesity or type 2 diabetes.

Cancer YES – Obesity NO.

So, what’s the next step?

The researchers plan to design a more targeted approach to partially transform white fat of mice into the brown fat or muscle-like state without compromising the immune system.

“So many great discoveries are the result of hard work and an openness to being surprised by findings, and to follow where those surprises lead,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. “If continuing research supports current findings, this discovery has the potential to improve the treatment of obesity and the prevention of type 2 diabetes”.

Or destroy your immune system.

Either way, I think I’ll stick to my workout routine and my Paleo Diet.

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Reference

Fiber + Exercise Melts Away Visceral Fat

In a study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years.

They also found that an increase in moderate activity resulted in a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation over the same time period.

Why Should You Care?

“We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease,” said Kristen Hairston, M.D., lead researcher on the study.

And since you probably are not interested in having high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease, you may want to figure out how to increase your physical activity and soluble fiber consumption.

FYI – 10 grams of soluble fiber can be achieved by eating:

  • two small apples,
  • one cup of green peas
  • one-half cup of pinto beans
  • 3 tsp Inulin fiber supplement

What about the exercise?

What do they mean by moderate activity?

According to the researchers, moderate activity means exercising vigorously for 30 minutes, two to four times a week. Personally, I think that number is a little low.

My research indicates that you need an average of 40 minutes per day or 280 minutes per week to receive noticeable benefits from physical activity.

And don’t go telling me that you can’t find 40 minutes to exercise…Those butt indents in your couch are giving you away.

Can Stem Cells Cure Obesity?

In this study, researchers have used artificial proteins (peptides) to identify a specific marker on the surface of adipose stem cells.

“This marker, called delta-decorin, is specifically expressed on the surface of adipose stem cells, which are responsible for the production of white adipose tissue,” said Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D., the study’s senior author. “This is the first prospective marker to be discovered for this particular type of adult stem cell.”

Alexes Daquinag, Ph.D., the study’s first author, said “In obesity, you have an overgrowth of white adipose tissue. It is made of adipocytes (fat cells) and one way to stop obesity is to target the progenitor cells — adipose stem cells.”

Adipose stem cells
Adipose Stem Cells

The researchers also noted that delta-decorin interacts with another protein called resistin on the surface of adipose stem cells.

“The decorin-resistin connection is particularly interesting because both decorin and resistin have been previously implicated in Type-2 diabetes and other inflammation-related disease,” Kolonin said.

So, not only are they looking at a treatment for obesity…they’re looking at treating all of the nasty inflammation related diseases plaguing our society

“The next step will involve preclinical tests to see if we can develop the identified peptide into compounds that target these adipose stem cells,” Kolonin said. “By depleting the adipose tissue progenitors, we may be able to provide long-term control of white fat.”

Conclusion

As a big health & fitness geek, this kind of research makes me giddy like a little school-girl.

However….we have to remember that this research is highly experimental and even if they do eventually find an effective stem cell treatment for obesity et al, that treatment is probably decades away.

Until then, you’ve got diet & exercise.

 

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What is MGmin LDL Cholesterol & why does it want to kill you?

What is MGmin LDL cholesterol?

  • MGmin LDL is a version of LDL that has been modified by methylglyoxal (MG)
  • MG is a potent arginine-directed glycating agent that is formed due to high blood sugar and related inflammation
  • As a result, the plasma concentration of MG is increased 2x to 5x in patients with diabetes

But you’re not diabetic…so this doesn’t matter to you.

Or does it?

  • According to this study, minimal modification of LDL by MG decreases the particle size of pre-existing LDL cholesterol (similar to that of sdLDL) and….
  • makes them stick together (increased aggregation) and….
  • makes them stick to the walls of your arteries.

And that ain’t good.

Because if you take a whole bunch of small, dense LDL particles, bunch them together and then glue them to the inner wall of a coronary artery, you end up with:

  • narrowed arteries
  • reduced blood flow
  • increased chance of rupture
  • increased chance of blood clots
  • increased chance of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • increased chance of heart attack and
  • increased chance of death.

And that, most definitely, ain’t good.

So, where do we go from here?

  1. The researchers will continue researching in an attempt to discover treatments that could help neutralize MGmin LDLs harmful effects on patients’ arteries.
  2. You, however, are not a scientist. Your job is to cut back on the pizza & donuts and download my FREE Ebook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

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Reference

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