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.

26481606576_c6e17ce2d5_b

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.

Reference

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John Oliver Bitch Slaps the Sugar Industrial Complex

For years & years & years, health nerds like me have used websites like this to:

  1. inform the public about the health problems caused by the over-consumption of sugar, and
  2. shame the processed food industry into cutting back on added sugars

And for years & years & years, most “normal” people never heard our tiny online cries from the health & fitness wilderness. The fact is, no one likes to be told that everything we eat is bad for us…especially from a bunch of health nazis with six-packs and personal trainers.

But recently, the mainstream media has (finally) caught on to what us health nazis have been saying…that processed foods loaded with extra sugar (and chemicals & crappy fats) are really, really bad for us.

And it’s not just the news networks and the documentary filmmakers. It’s political comedians like John Stewart, Stephen Colbert & John Oliver…

And this is fantastic news for the health of the nation…and really, really bad news for processed food producers who pump loads of extra sugars (and chemicals and crappy fats) into their products.

Because when a guy like John Oliver can…

  1. make you laugh out loud, while
  2. getting you really pissed off at the Sugar Industrial Complex (aka Big Food…aka the people who sell food in boxes with lots of ingredients that no one can pronounce)

…you can bet that a lot more “normal” people are going to get the message.

And as they say, laughter is the best medicine.

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LEPTIN

Is Leptin Gene Therapy the Future of Weight Loss?

Every year, millions of “weight loss” dollars are spent by pharmaceutical companies in the search for a drug that can prevent and/or reverse obesity. And every year, billions of “weight loss” dollars are spent by consumers on supplements, gym memberships, pills, potions & lotions.

Unfortunately, every year…almost all of that money is wasted as obesity rates creep higher & higher…pushing up the number of people with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.

But what if instead of looking for a drug or a vitamin or a diet or a workout…the solution to obesity was genetic therapy?

  • What if there was a way to reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc thanks to a combination of leptin genes and a “safe” adeno-associated virus delivered to you via an IV injection?
  • What if researchers were already working on this?
  • What if the research has already seen success in lab mice studies?

Would that get you excited about a scientific cure for obesity & it’s related lifestyle diseases?

Assuming you answered yes to the above question, I will continue with a brief overview of the science for all you weight-loss geeks.

LEPTIN

A Very Brief Overview of the Science

  • Researchers use adeno-associated viruses as a vehicle to deliver leptin into your body
  • The virus/leptin combo is injected into test subjects (mice) via an IV
  • The nonpathogenic virus infects the host’s cells with the leptin gene
  • The expression of the leptin gene is played out over a long period of time
  • Unlike a direct injection of leptin into the host’s brain, the adenovirus delivery method circumvents the “normal” leptin resistance feedback loop

Allowing for a sustained drop in appetite, a sustained drop in food consumption, a sustained drop in body-fat, reduced blood sugar levels, reduced triglyceride levels, improved glucose tolerance, etc, etc, etc…

What does this mean to YOU?

Unfortunately not very much right now. All of this research is being conducted on mice…meaning that you shouldn’t expect to get an anti-obesity injection from your doctor anytime soon.

Still, as a health & fitness nerd, this science is pretty darn cool. If you think so too, pass it on.

Public interest via social media, means more attention via mainstream media, which means an increased chance that someone / some company with deep pockets will fund additional research.

And additional research can’t help but speed up the process and maybe, just maybe…we’ll have a safe & effective treatment for obesity & it’s related diseases.

And that is pretty darn cool too.

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Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks – good idea, bad idea???

Last Friday, California’s State Senate Appropriations Committee voted (5-2) to pass a measure requiring distributors of bottled or canned sugary drinks to put a warning label on their beverage container.

SB1000 would require a warning label to be placed on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories in every 12 ounces.

Not too surprisingly, America’s soda pop producers were not amused. The California Beverage Association issued the following statement.

“We agree that obesity is a serious and complex issue,” the group said in a statement, calling the proposed bill “misleading” claiming that “just 6 percent of calories in the average American’s diet come from soda, fruit, sports and energy drinks, compared with 11 percent in sweets and deserts. Moreover, it said most calories are consumed in the form of fats, oils and starches in food”.

Translation: We agree that our product is crap and directly contributes to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer, but…we’re not as bad as the guys who sell candy bars, potato chips, pizza, etc.

What happens next?

  • SB1000 requires a majority vote of the full Senate before it can become law. That vote is scheduled to occur in the next two weeks. In the meantime…
  • Supporters of the bill (California Medical Association, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the California Black Health Network and supporting Senators) will issue public statements supporting the bill and it’s health & financial benefits.
  • Critics of the bill (California Beverage Association) will defend their position on health promotion, question the effectiveness of warning labels and raise the issue of potential job losses due to the cost associated with placing warning labels on their products.

Will the Bill become Law?

Who knows?  Going up against the processed food industry is no easy task. Pepsico and Coca Cola have lobbied and defeated previous labelling and “soda tax” bills in states across the nation.

Still, proponents of the bill are hopeful. California’s Democrats hold a super-majority in the Legislature and are traditionally more supportive of this type of motion.

Will the Warning Labels Have Any Effect?

Once again…who knows?

In a recent study,  researchers concluded that if the USA had adopted cigarette package warning labels in 2012 (when Canada enacted tobacco labelling legislation), the number of adult smokers in the USA would have decreased by 5.3–8.6 million by 2013….meaning that there would have been 5.3–8.6 million Americans with a reduced chance of dying from lung cancer.

Health warnings on cigarette packages saved lives in Canada and would have saved lives in the U.S. of A. And that sounds like a pretty darn good return on investment.

So….is it really such a jump in logic to assume that health warnings on sugary drinks would also reduce consumption of said sugary drinks…thereby improving American rates of insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cancer???

Are all Warning Labels equally effective?

After looking at Canada’s gnarly anti-smoking images, I started wondering if California’s proposed sugary drink warning label….

…will be as effective?

Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

Will a text-based warning be as effective as pictures of cancerous lungs and impotent cigarettes?

Methinks that California’s legislators need to go back to ye olde Photoshop drawing board and bedazzle their warning labels.

Let’s see if we can come up with something better

Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

Nothing like a little parental awareness (guilt?) to help spark better shopping habits.

Somehow, I doubt that Pepsi will re-work their logo to create this custom sugary drink warning label.

If morbid obesity isn’t a strong enough warning, how about neuropathic foot ulcers and leg amputations???

obesity-warning-fruit-juice

There is nothing like a juice box full of chemicals & high fructose corn syrup to show that you don’t give a shit about your kid.

What do YOU think?

  • Are warning labels on sugary drinks a good idea?
  • Is a text-only label as effective as labels with scary pictures?
  • Can you come up with any better labels?
  • Would you like to see these labels where you live?
  • If so, would you be willing to email your gov’t representative RIGHT NOW and tell them that you want warning labels on sugary drinks?

Reference

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Is Magnesium a Cure for Insomnia and Restless Legs?

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of clinical conditions including hypertension, myocardial infarction, cardiac dysrhythmias, coronary spasm, premature artherosclerosis and diabetes.

It is also used as a treatment for angina, asthma, gall stones, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, glucose intolerance, diabetes, hypoglycemia, fatigue, fibromyalgia, prevention of hearing loss, kidney stones, leg cramps, migraine, osteoporosis, PMS, prostate issues and INSOMNIA.

And according to government data, 68% of Americans do not consume the recommended intakes of magnesium and 19% of Americans do not consume even half of the recommended intakes.

Not good….and up until 5 years ago, that was me.

Until I was introduced to magnesium supplements during a health & fitness trade show.

A rep for Natural Calm gave me a bunch of samples and while I sleep pretty well, I did notice an immediate effect on my sleep. My mind stopped obsessing over what I did or didn’t do that day or what I had to do tomorrow. Just calm.

And it made me wonder…could something as simple as magnesium be a cure for insomnia?

Since then, I have had no qualms recommending this product to clients & friends who are having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or just getting their busy minds to quiet so they can relax.

A mug of their lemon flavor drink about an hour before bed does the trick for me every time.

And recently, while searching for a natural treatment for a friend with neuropathy in both legs, I found a bunch of research about magnesium oil helping to relieve muscle spasms, tension and various forms of neuropathy – pain, restless legs, itching, tingling, etc.

Google also told me that Natural Calm makes a magnesium oil.

So, I emailed the fine folks at Natural Calm and told them about my friend and they sent me a bunch of samples – Magnesium Oil & Gel. (being a blogger can have its perks)

And knock on wood, it’s been a great success. Applied on her legs after a  hot bath and just before bed, my friend has seen a significant reduction in pain, tingling and restlessness.

Conclusion

I was a fan before trying the oil…and I am an even bigger fan now.

So, if you think that supplementing with magnesium may be helpful to you, I can honestly & wholeheartedly recommend both the Natural Calm drink and their Magnesium Oil.

NOTE – You can buy Natural Calm and Magnesium Oil at these links

NOTE #2 – I would love to hear about your experiences (good or bad) with magnesium.

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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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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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

Brainwashed to be Fat?

I am a big believer in people accepting personal behavior for their own actions…. and in-actions.

Regarding obesity, while a large percentage of obese people do live with conditions (genetic, environmental, financial) that increase their odds of porking out, we can’t ignore the fact that most obese people make horrendous choices when it comes to the food they eat.

But what if you knew that…

  • Large food companies use psychological techniques designed to brainwash us into eating specific products?
  • And that the foods they’re convincing us to buy have contributed directly to the lifestyle diseases that are bankrupting our healthcare systems?

  • And what if you knew that government subsidies have artificially lowered the costs of some foods?
  • And that those artificially inexpensive foods are the main ingredients in those very high-profit / high-obesity foods you are being brainwashed to purchase.

Would it annoy you to know that we’ve combined the worst of free market principles…

  • Companies using psychological manipulation to drive sales

…with the worst of government intervention

  • Billion dollars of subsidies leading to a rapid decline in the health of citizens and exploding healthcare costs.

Would that annoy you?

see-no-evil-speak-no-evil-h

Or have you been brainwashed too?

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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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.

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

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

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.

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

 

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.

.

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

.

Reference

 

Live Near Junk Food = Eat Junk Food : Live Near Health Food = Eat Junk Food

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, living in a neighborhood loaded with junk food restaurants makes it more likely that you will eat a lot of junk food.

Surprised?

Probably not.

For years now, nutrition “experts” have been telling us that people who live in “food deserts” in which healthy food is difficult to find are doomed to a life of pizza, cheetos, soda, type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity.

As a result, the U.S. federal government has made it one of their priorities to increase access to healthy “real” food in these target neighborhoods. And by priorities, I mean spending big piles of tax dollars.

The idea  is that we spend some money in the short term to:

  1. Eliminate food deserts
  2. Improve the health of people living in food deserts, thereby
  3. Improving their productivity, quality of life, income, thereby
  4. Raising tax revenue, thereby
  5. Getting a positive return on the initial investment of tax dollars

Too bad this same AIM study couldn’t find a similarly strong relationship between the consumption of healthy food (fruit, vegetables, etc) and people who live in neighborhoods loaded with supermarkets.

After crunching the data, the researchers concluded that “there is some evidence for zoning restrictions on fast food restaurants within 3 km of low-income residents but suggest that increased access to food stores may require complementary or alternative strategies to promote dietary behavior change.”

Because it’s not enough to build supermarkets and stock them with healthy food.

People eat junk food because they believe that the short term benefits outweigh the long term costs.

And until that belief is changed, junk food producers will continue to make a ton of money and our population will continue to get fatter and more diabetic. 😦

What to do, what to do, what to do….

Here’s what I think

What about you?

.

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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Beverage Industry Bitch Slaps the Soda Tax

California Assemblyman Bill Monning’s proposed soda tax bill just got punched square in the face by America’s beverage (soda) lobby.

http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/static/flash/embeddedPlayer/swf/otvEmLoader.swf?version=&station=kgo&section=&mediaId=8093555&cdnRoot=http://cdn.abclocal.go.com&webRoot=http://abclocal.go.com&configPath=/util/&site=

And that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Because as Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

In this battle between junk food producers and anti-obesity advocates, the involvement of politicians has moved this fight from the “ignore” and “laugh at” stages directly into the “fight” stage.

Unfortunately for supporters of Assemblyman Monning’s Soda Tax bill, the American beverage lobby can afford to spend huge quantities of money & political influence while the anti-obesity advocates could only afford some sugar packets & scotch tape.

It reminds me of that classic battle between Bugs Bunny & “The Crusher”…with scrawny ole Bugs Bunny playing the part of the anti-obesity advocates, while “The Crusher” stands in for the soda lobby.

If I remember my history correctly, didn’t skinny little Bugs Bunny end up winning that fight?

.

Raspberry Ketones & Weight Loss

Raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that is responsible for the heavenly aroma of red raspberries. And according to this Planta Medica study, it’s also a potent fat burner.

raspberry ketones

Tested on a group of portly lab mice, it was discovered that raspberry ketone increased both the expression and secretion of adiponectin. This is important because adiponectinis a protein hormone which modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism. Past research into adiponectin has shown that your levels of adiponectin are inversely correlated with your body fat percentage

  • Higher adiponectin = lower levels of body fat.

During this latest study, this theory was re-affirmed as the formerly fat lab mice melted off a ton of body-fat. And if weight loss isn’t enough, higher levels of adiponection have been shown to control the metabolic derangements that may result in type 2 diabetes,obesity, atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome.

As a result of all of this, the researchers concluded that Raspberry Ketone “holds great promise as an fat-burning, health-improving herbal medicine.

Conclusion

Expect to see Raspberry Ketones included in more & more fat burner supplements. .

Reference

Got Fat? – Get Tangerines

Image: Brent Ramerth aka barfooz

An interesting new study (University of Western Ontario) has isolated a substance found in tangerines that “not only prevents obesity, but also offers protection against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes”.

The substance – a flavonoid called Nobileton, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Nobiletin also helps to lower cholesterol levels and some studies indicate that it may improve impaired memory loss and treat acne.

In this particular study, two groups of mice were fed a typical “western” diet – high in sugar & fat.

The placebo group became obese and showed all the signs associated with metabolic syndrome:

  • elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
  • high blood levels of insulin and glucose
  • and a fatty liver

Conversely, the Nobileton mice experienced no elevation in their levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin or glucose, and gained weight normally. In addition, their insulin sensitivity improved, and their livers remained healthy & fat free.

In longer term studies, Nobileton has been shown to protect these mice from atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque in arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Unfortunately, even if Nobileton turns out to be an effective weight loss supplement for human, it’s going to be a long, long, long time before a drug comes on the market.

Until then, we’re stuck eating tangerines….delicious, juicy tangerines.

Reference

Obese Teens and their Hidden Metabolic Abnormalities

In addition to all of the social, mental & emotional crap that goes along with being a fat teenager, researchers have found that even when obese teens ‘feel’ healthy, blood tests show that they are likely to have high levels of:

And it gets worse – high levels of inflammation, insulin resistance and homocysteine means that the process of developing heart disease has already begun to happen.

The Study

Researchers compared the diets and blood test results of 33 obese youths (ages 11 to 19) with 19 age-matched youths of normal weight.

Blood tests revealed that the obese teens had:

  • C-reactive protein levels almost ten times higher than controls, indicating more inflammation in the body.
  • Insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, with greater amounts of insulin needed to keep blood sugar levels normal.
  • Homocysteine levels 62 percent higher than controls. High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are related to greater heart disease risk.
  • Total glutathione levels 27.9 percent lower than controls, with oxidized glutathione levels 125 percent higher. A higher ratio of oxidized to non-oxidized glutathione indicates oxidative stress, an imbalance in the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them. Oxidative stress leads to more inflammation and an increase in blood vessel damage and stiffening.

“Looking at the numbers you would think these children might feel sick, but they did not. They are apparently feeling well, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface.”

Conclusion

Don’t assume that your kid is going to grow out of his or her ‘baby fat’.

Obesity is a medical symptom telling you that their body is not working as well as it should be.

A diet that is high in calories and low in nutrition sets off a whole bunch of metabolic processes that often lead straight to obesity…and inflammation and insulin resistance and heart disease.

So, stop being their friend…and start being a parent.

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FYI – this is the diet your kids are supposed to be eating.

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Reference

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New York City vs Sugar

New York’s Department of Health has released another anti-obesity PSA designed to reduce your consumption of sugar.

And just like their previous PSA, it’s pretty gross.

So here’s my question for you:

Will ads like this get you to cut back on your soda, sweet tea, frozen coffee, fruit punch, energy drinks, etc, etc, etc???

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This is Why You Need to Take Astragalus

Astragalus Membranaceus has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine.

And even though us Westerners are a few thousand years late to the game, our scientists are working hard to get us up to speed.

In particular, an interesting study just came across my desk which showed how a decoction of the dried root of the Astragalus plant was very effective in:

  • reducing body weight
  • improving insulin sensitivity, and
  • improving the severity of fatty liver disease

Which is kind of a big deal considering that excessive body weight, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease is fast becoming the new normal in North America and Europe.

So, I decided to do a little more research into Astragalus and it’s effect on insulin sensitivity et al.

And I found a pile of research.

Research which showed how Astragalus was effective at:

  • boosting immune system function – cold, flu, infection, fever, allergies
  • reducing hypertension via a diuretic effect
  • eliminating free radicals
  • improving cardiac function
  • improving chronic fatigue
  • improving heart function
  • improving kidney function
  • improving symptoms of asthma
  • improving stomach ulcers
  • reducing inflammation
  • improving your body’s ability to handle stress

as well as…

  • reducing body weight
  • improving insulin sensitivity, and
  • improving the severity of fatty liver disease

All with no chance of toxicity.

Which is kind of important when you start messing around with herbs and roots.

So…where can you get this Astragalus stuff?

Functional Amino Acids for Better Health

Functional amino acids are being investigated by researchers for their ability to regulate key metabolic pathways and improve human health, growth, development and reproduction.

Building upon current animal research, Dr. Guoyao Wu recommends “nonessential amino acids be provided to humans to prevent chronic disease.”

For example, it is known that the amino acid arginine helps to prevent obesity.

“Currently in the U.S., more than 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese,” he said. “Globally, more than 300 million adults are obese and more than 1 billion are overweight. Also, a large number of children in the U.S. and other countries are overweight or obese. The most urgent needs of new research in amino acids and health are the roles of functional amino acids in the treatment and prevention of obesity and its associated cardiovascular dysfunction.”

In addition to arginine, studies have shown that leucine has a strong effect on insulin response as well as sparing muscle during periods of caloric restriction.

Unfortunately, researching the many potential health benefits of amino acids is not a priority for Big Pharma.

They can’t slap a patent on arginine or leucine, so what’s the point of spending the big bucks.

Too bad for us.

Reference

Mainstream Medicine is Insane

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

If this definition is true, then I have to conclude that mainstream medicine is insane.

Insane because even though our modern lifestyle is the single biggest threat to our health and vitality…our medical experts keep dispensing the same tired lifestyle advice.

  • Low intensity cardio 2-3 x per week
  • Reduce your calories
  • Eat less fat

And yet, as a species, we keep getting fatter and weaker and sicker.

All the while, there are outlier theories producing amazing results….while being ignored and/or disparaged by the  “experts”.

  • New dietary theories
  • New psychological theories
  • New pharmacological theories
  • New exercise theories
  • New spiritual theories

And while most of these new theories will most likely turn out to be just as ineffective as our love affair with everything fat free, aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice by not investigating each of them with an open yet critical mind?

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The Science behind Spare Tires and Thunder Thighs

Attention Lazy Bastards

According to Dr. Leslie Alford, regular exercise is the second most important thing that you can possibly do to avoid dying from:

In a meta-analysis of the current research, Dr. Alford found that “how long people live and how healthy they are depends on a complex mix of factors, including their lifestyle, where they live and even luck.”

“Individuals have an element of control over some of these factors, including obesity, diet, smoking and physical activity.”

So, unless you enjoy looking like crap, feeling like crap, enduring chemotherapy treatments and most likely dying waaaayyyy to early, get off your couch and do some exercise.

And FYI, the number one most important lifestyle change is to quit smoking. Especially when you exercise.

 

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All Hail the Heart Attack Grill Diet

You’ve got to respect the folks at the Heart Attack Grill.

At least they can admit that their food comes complete with a side order of “sudden weight gain, repeated increase of wardrobe size, back pain, male breast growth, loss of sexual partners, lung cancer, tooth decay, liver sclerosis, stroke, and an inability to see your penis.”

And while Ronald McDonald prepares to defend the health benefits of his Happy Meals in a court of law, the geniuses behind the Double Bypass burger step up and corner the moral high ground in the junk food industry.

And if you’re lucky enough to weigh over 350 lbs, you Eat for FREE!!!

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Belly Fat = Type 2 Diabetes = Too Much Carbs

Most days, I enjoy sifting through the latest research into weight loss, health, fitness, etc… But not today.

Today I read a study that dooms Mr. Balloon Belly here to a lifetime of popping diet pills and undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

The Research

In this study, researchers used an MRI machine to determine each participant’s level of belly and liver fat along with a blood test to determine insulin sensitivity.

Then, they put all 243 of the test subjects on a nine month lifestyle intervention program which reduced fat intake to a maximum of 30 percent of total calories (including less than 10 percent in the form of saturated fat) and had them engage in moderate physical activity such as walking for at least three hours a week.

Eat less (fat) & move more….classic.

The Results

The patients who started with the most belly fat & were the most insulin insensitive and who were most at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes did the worst on this lifestyle intervention program.

“The participants who improved their health status as a result of diet and exercise started out with lower baseline levels of abdominal and liver fat.”

Their Conclusion

The researchers concluded that patients with a high level of belly fat & a high level of insulin insensitivity were unlikely to ever be successful at improving their situation with lifestyle modification.

Ever.

Ergo…to lose weight, they would need the help of pharmaceuticals and/or weight loss surgery.

My Conclusion

The lifestyle modification plan used in this experiment is crap.

If you want to improve insulin sensitivity, you don’t modify fat intake…you modify carbohydrate intake.

  • Carbs = sugar
  • Too much sugar = insulin insensitivity
  • Insulin insensitivity = belly & liver fat
  • Insulin insensitivity = type 2 diabetes

So, before the medical community tells Mr. Balloon Belly that he is doomed to a life of gastric bypass and anal leakage, perhaps they should retire their old school food pyramids and learn something from us non-experts.

 

Thus endeth the rant…thanks for listening.

Reference

Drew Carey goes low carb - loses weight and reverses his type 2 diabetes

Drew Carey: Low Carb Celebrity Sex Symbol

Drew Carey goes low carb - loses weight and reverses his type 2 diabetes

According to People magazine, Drew Carey has dropped 80 lbs and reversed his Type-2 diabetes since starting a low carb diet back in January.

That’s 80 lbs in 7 months….or just over 11 lbs per month.

And no more diabetes.

How did Drew Carey Lose Weight?

“No carbs,” Carey says. “I have cheated a couple times, but basically no carbs, not even a cracker. No bread at all. No pizza, nothing. No corn, no beans, no starches of any kind. Egg whites in the morning or like, Greek yogurt, cut some fruit.”

hmmmm…yogurt & fruit. That doesn’t sound very low carb.

Sounds more like a healthy, sensible, totally achievable Mediterranean style of diet to me.

He snacks on fruit, and for dinner he’ll have grilled chicken and steamed vegetables and water. “I don’t drink anything but water,” he says. “No coffee, no tea, no soda.”

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Equally important, he says, is keeping up his workouts. His secret: “Lots of cardio. About 45 minutes of cardio, at least 45 minutes of cardio. I’ve been kind of lazy like lately, so I’m not doing it 6 days a week, but I will be for this next month.”

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All this discipline has gotten Carey from a size 44 pants to a 33-34, with his goal to lose another 10 lbs. and shrink to a size 32.

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“I like being skinny,” says Carey. “I was sick of being fat on the camera. Really, I just got sick of it. Once I started losing weight, again, like once I started dropping a couple pant sizes, then it was easy ’cause once you see the results, then you don’t wanna stop.”

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Once you see the results, then you don’t wanna stop.

Wise words, from a wise man……Drew Carey…..low carb celebrity sex symbol and weight loss motivator extrordinaire.

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deep fried pizza is super high in omega 6 fatty acids

Omega 6 Fatty Acids ….and the Genetic Obesity Timebomb

deep fried pizza is super high in omega 6 fatty acids
Original Image: http://fxcuisine.com

Back in the day, your ancestors used to eat

  • Meat -i.e  beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, etc…
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Seed Oils
  • Water

Today, in addition to deep fried pizza,  we eat oodles of:

  • Processed meat
  • Processed vegetables…mostly deep fried potatoes of some variety
  • Processed fruit – mostly juice
  • Processed seed oil
  • Processed grains
  • Processed corn
  • Processed sugar
  • Next to no fiber
  • Next to no enzymes
  • and gallons and gallons of sugary soda

The result: An increasingly unhealthy & overweight population that would get it’s collective butt kicked by our ultra-fit Paleo ancestors.

And, according to the latest research, one of the worst aspects of our modern diet is our imbalance of Omega 6 fatty acids to Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids ….and the Genetic Obesity Timebomb

According to this latest study, eating a diet that is high in linoleic acid (omega 6), and low in alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3) will result in the genetic inheritance of obesity & insulin resistance.

In other words…Continue eating those deep fried pizzas and your kids will be born fat & insulin resistant.

The Science

In this study, the researchers exposed several generations of male and female adult and young mice to a modern “Western” style diet high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3 fatty acids, and then assessed the consequences of such a lipid environment in the human diet.

The test diet had an Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio of 28:1.

With no other restrictions, the mice were allowed to go about their business. And four generations later, with no additional interference from the researchers, the great-great grandmice were compared to their ancestors.

And the comparison didn’t go well.

  • the researchers saw a gradual increase in fat mass over the four generations
  • they also observed the onset of  insulin resistance….
  • the expression of inflammatory genes associated with obesity, and….
  • the development of type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion

In a genetically stable population, exposure to a “Western” diet (high in Omega 6 : low in Omega 3) results in the emergence of transgenerational obesity, insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and a higher likelihood of becoming diabetes.

the human in the movie wall-e were victims of their own diet - they should have gone paleoSo, where do we go from here?

Option 1

  • Optimize your Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio by going Paleo

Option 2

Option 3

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Reference

too many hours sitting down has be proven to shorten your life span - get off your butt and move

Sitting on your butt is going to kill you

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but…a new study tells us that the time you spend sitting on your butt is shortening your life.

Yep. You heard right.

  • Watching tv
  • Surfing the net
  • Driving your car
  • Working at your desk
  • Even reading your favorite blog – Health Habits

All of these activities are killing you.

get-up-and-run-get-off-your-ass1

According to the researchers, being physically active doesn’t make up for all those hours spent sitting on your butt.

The Research

Researchers analyzed survey responses from 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) who had no history of cancer, heart attack, stroke, or emphysema/other lung disease enrolled in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention II study in 1992.

They examined the amount of time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality between 1993 and 2006.

They found that more leisure time spent sitting was associated with higher risk of mortality, particularly in women.

  • Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 % more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day.
  • Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18 % more likely to die than those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day.

Associations were stronger for cardiovascular disease mortality than for cancer mortality.

And while being physically active didn’t eliminate the effect of all those hours of sitting, when they compared the combination of excessive sitting with a lack of physical activity, the picture looked even worse.

  • Women and men who both sat more and were less physically were 94% and 48% more likely, respectively, to die compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.

So…Let’s Recap

Women

  • With exercise, women who sit were 37% more likely to kick the bucket
  • Without exercise, that number jumps to 94%

Men

  • With exercise, male couch potatoes were 18% more likely to croak
  • Without exercise – 48% more likely

And why do they think that sitting on our collective keisters is so bad for us?

“Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates,” said Dr. Patel. “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”

Conclusion

Get off your butt and move around a little

Reference

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Resveratrol & Weight Loss

Resveratrol is currently being studied for its effect on increasing lifespan, preventing cancer, preventing diabetes, preventing inflammation, improving cardiovascular function, protecting the environment and guaranteeing world peace. (not sure about the last two)

As if that wasn’t enough, this phytoalexin is also being  touted as a potent weight loss agent.

Back in 2008, I wrote about the research being done by the researchers at Sirtis. At that point, the research was pretty much theoretical. Exciting, but a long way away from showing up at your pharmacy/health food store.

However, less than 2 years later, researchers have found that a 4 week program of resveraltrol supplementation (in doses of 200mg/kg/day) was able to increase satiety, decrease caloric intake by 13% and increase resting metabolism by 29%.

True, this research was conducted on lemurs…and the doses tested would require a 200 lb man to swallow 18,000 mg or 90 x 200mg capsules per day…at a cost of approximately $60 per day….but at least they’re getting closer.

Who knows, in another 2 years, they could have a product ready for the shelves that doesn’t require a second mortgage.

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21st Century Disease

Back in the olden times, humans died of scarcity.

Scarcity of:

  • Food (starvation)
  • Medical Knowledge (infant mortality, germs, viruses, infections, etc)
  • Cleanliness (germs & cooties)
  • Technology (hunting dinner could quickly turn into being hunted for dinner)

Luckily for us, our ancestors were hard workers and developed strategies for solving most of these problems.

  • Food (agriculture)
  • Medical Knowledge (Gregory House M.D.)
  • Cleanliness (washing your hands with soap)
  • Technology (food production, medicine, transportation, etc)

Unfortunately for us, our hard working ancestors may have been just a little too smart for our own good.

In our desire to live longer & better, some of our “lifestyle improvements” have turned around and bit us squarely on the butt.

We have gotten so good at:

  • Food (calories) production
  • Labor saving devices (automobiles, microwaves, roombas)
  • Entertainment
  • Information delivery (computers, internet)
  • and so on…

That we are now dying due to excess:

sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Scientists call this condition by a host of different names – Metabolic Syndrome, syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, Reaven’s syndrome, and CHAOS (Australia).

I prefer the name 21st Century Disease.

Despite the different names, the scientists all agree that this “syndrome”  is caused directly by the very lifestyle that our ancestors worked so hard to create.

Ironic, ain’t it?.

Note – It’s obvious that there is a still lot of scarcity in the world. It just doesn’t happen to most of us. Without getting all preachy, there are lots of ways we can share some of our abundance with others who weren’t born into abundance. One of my favorites is Kiva.

A Warning to all Sugar Junkies

 

And that’s not good.

That means that 44% (or 135, 082, 882) of the American population is insulin resistant……And why is this such a big deal?

It’s a big deal because, according to this new study, when you (or someone you love) is insulin resistant, your arteries are unable to receive the signal that prevents the buildup of fatty plaques that can cause them to harden. (see atherosclerosis)

And considering that atherosclerosis is responsible for many of diabetes’ worst complications— heart disease, stroke, leg amputations and death….perhaps you should cut back on the cereal and toast and fruit juice and sandwiches and pasta and soda and chips and…

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Reference

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world

But when you feed your kids like this ↑ or like this ↓…you’re not being a good parent.

And because we have let our kids (and ourselves) eat like this, they have to deal with…

  • Skyrocketing childhood obesity rates
  • Adult-onset Diabetes renamed as Type 2 Diabetes because so many kids are afflicted by it
  • An increase in childhood Type 1 Diabetes
  • 40% of their obese friends having fatty liver disease

And if that wasn’t enough, new research has uncovered that their arteries are stiffening.

Stiffening of the arteries….in children.

And in case you didn’t know…stiff arteries are a hallmark of atherosclerosis, a typically adult condition in which blood vessels become clogged.

Like this

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Obesity Deathmatch: Jamie Oliver v.s. the Colonel

In a recent episode of South Park, Eric Cartman is faced with his worst nightmare….the public banning of all KFC restaurants in the State of Colorado.

And according to the Colonel, Cartman can thank British celeb-chef Jamie Oliver for this assault on the Mecca of Chicken Fat.

It’s an all out war between the Colonel and Jamie Oliver.

But now, the Colonel has Eric Cartman on his side….and things don’t look good for Jamie Oliver and his Food-Revolution Alliance.

And they only get worse for Oliver as Cartman joins forces with the Colonel and becomes a Scarface-esque KFC dealer….supplying Coloradoans with their daily fix of popcorn chicken, biscuits & gravy.

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By the end of the show,

  • Chef Oliver has been defeated,
  • his bylaws overturned
  • and KFC restaurants have been re-branded as Medicinal Fried Chickens
  • due to the discovery that fried chicken is a cure for cancer.

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And everyone lives happily ever after…except that they’re all grossly overweight and suffering from type 2 diabetes.

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THE END

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Is Paleo Eating the Cure for Diabetes?

In a study published last year, researchers wanted to see if a Paleo-style diet would be helpful to Type 2 Diabetics.

The study included 13 patients with type 2 diabetes (3 women & 10 men)

Over two consecutive 3 month periods, the test subjects ate either:

  1. A Paleolithic diet based on lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, root vegetables, eggs and nuts, or
  2. A Diabetes diet designed in accordance with dietary guidelines

Researchers looked at numerous variables to determine the effectiveness of both diets. These variables included:

  • changes in weight,
  • waist circumference,
  • serum lipids,
  • C-reactive protein,
  • blood pressure,
  • glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c),
  • and areas under the curve for plasma glucose and plasma insulin in the 75 g oral glucose tolerance test.

At the end of the study, the Paleo diet produced superior results in the following variables:

  • lower levels of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c)
  • lower levels of triacylglycerol
  • lower diastolic blood pressure
  • lower body-weight
  • lower BMI
  • lower waist circumference
  • and higher mean values of high density lipoprotein cholesterol

CONCLUSION:

Over a 3-month study period, a Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a Diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.

QUESTION

So, how come the ADA is still telling diabetics to eat whole grains and low-fat dairy.

In fact, why is the ADA advocating low-fat anything? Dietary fat lowers GI/GL

Type 1 Diabetes: The New Lifestyle Epidemic

You can’t watch the news today without hearing about the “obesity epidemic”.

In fact, recent research has shown that obesity is a bigger health threat than smoking.

But wait, it gets worse.

Now, we learn that our lifestyle has lead to an unprecedented increase in the rates of  Type 1 Diabetes.

According to medical journalist Dan Hurley, “the incidence of type 1 diabetes is now twice as high among children as it was in the 1980s, and 10 to 20 times more common than 100 years ago.”

While rising levels of type 2 diabetes are well known (and typically linked to increasing obesity), the corresponding rise in type 1, or “juvenile,” diabetes has rarely if ever been described in the news media, despite a substantial body of scientific evidence.

While widely accepted by leading diabetes researchers, the increase in type 1 has as yet received scant attention from leading diabetes advocacy organizations.

Scant attention???

I had no idea that the rates of Type 1 Diabetes had increased one iota.

Did you?

Hurley thinks that “the media has given so little coverage to the rise of type 1 because it simply doesn’t fit with the conventional wisdom that it’s supposed to be a super-rare disease caused by a genetic predisposition. Obviously, genes haven’t changed, so something in our environment or lifestyle has.”

Hmmmm, ye olde genetics vs epigentics debate.

And, once again, it looks like lifestyle is kicking some genetic butt.

But, what is it about our lifestyle that has caused this spike in Type 1 Diabetes?

In his new book, Diabetes Rising, Hurley examines five leading scientific hypotheses that offer an explanation:

  • The “accelerator hypothesis,” which asserts that the rising weight and height of children over the past century has “accelerated” their tendency to develop type 1 by putting the insulin-producing beta cells in their pancreases under stress.
  • The “sunshine hypothesis,” which holds that the increased time spent indoors is reducing children’s exposure to sunlight, which in turn reduces their level of vitamin D (the “sunshine vitamin”). Reduced levels of vitamin D, and reduced exposure to sunshine, have each been linked to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes.
  • The “hygiene hypothesis,” which holds that lack of exposure to once-prevalent pathogens results in autoimmune hypersensitivity, leading to destruction of the body’s insulin-producing beta cells by rogue white blood cells.
  • The “cow’s milk hypothesis,” which holds that exposure to cow’s milk in infant formula during the first six months of life wreaks havoc on the immune system and increases the risk to later develop type 1.
  • The “POP hypothesis,” which holds that exposure to persistent organic pollutants increases the risk of both types of diabetes. “

The book cites recent studies which show that back in 1890, the reported annual death rate from diabetes for children under the age of 15 was 1.3 per 100,000 children in the United States. “Because any death due to diabetes in those days had to be caused by what we now call type 1, researchers consider the 1.3 per 100,000 figure to be a rough estimate of the yearly incidence of new cases at that time,” Hurley writes. “In Denmark, the rate was fairly similar, about 2 per 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. From that baseline, things took off.

By the mid-1980s, the yearly incidence of new cases of type 1 had jumped to 14.8 per 100,000 children in Colorado.

By the opening years of the 21st century, the incidence rate in six geographic areas of the United States, as measured in a new study run by the CDC, had climbed to 23.6 per 100,000 among non-Hispanic white children.

The rates were 68 percent higher than those reported in Colorado in the 1980s, and more than twice as high as reported in Philadelphia in the 1990s.”

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Well, that doesn’t sound very good.

Click HERE for articles about diabetes.