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.

Reference

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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

 

LEPTIN

Leptin Resistance and the Search for a Magic Fat Pill

Leptin resistance is one of the hottest topics for scientists looking to develop an anti-obesity pill.

In a new study, a group from Australia have finally discovered how leptin resistance actually happens.

According to lead author, Tony Tiganis, “our bodies produce leptin in response to increasing fat deposits. Acting on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, leptin instructs the body to increase energy expenditure and decrease food intake, and so helps us maintain a healthy body weight.”

 

Unfortunately, “the body’s response to leptin is diminished in overweight and obese individuals, giving rise to the concept of ‘leptin-resistance’. In this new study, we’ve discovered more about how ‘leptin-resistance’ develops, providing new directions for research into possible treatments.”

And it’s this possibility of a possible treatment that has the weight-loss world all a-twitter.

Two proteins are already known to inhibit leptin in the brain and Professor Tiganis’ team have discovered a third. In mice, this third protein becomes more abundant with weight-gain, exacerbating leptin-resistance and hastening progression to morbid obesity. The study showed that the three negative regulators of leptin take effect at different stages, shedding light on how obesity progresses.

“Drugs targeting one of the negative regulators are already in clinical trials for Type 2 Diabetes, however, our research shows that in terms of increasing leptin-sensitivity in obesity, targeting only one of these won’t be enough. All three regulators might need to be switched off,” said Professor Tiganis.

The study showed that high fat diet-induced weight gain is largely prevented in genetically-modified mice when two of the negative regulators are deleted in the brain.

“We now have to determine what happens when all three negative regulators are neutralised. Do we prevent high fat diet-induced obesity?”

What Does This Mean To You?

If you’re waiting for a magic anti-fat pill…not a whole lot. It will be years before a pill is ready for the market…if ever.

However, if this research has piqued your interest about your own level of leptin resistance…read on my friend.

Short Term Fasting and Leptin

Keeping in mind that this research is in it’s infancy…..there are a couple of studies which show that short term fasting (when accompanied with reduced levels of glucose and insulin) causes serum leptin levels to drop regardless of body-fat changes.

They suggest that insulin, glucose, sugar, carbs, pizza & soda play a significant role in the regulation of leptin release….leptin resistance…. and ultimately obesity.

If future research confirms this, this means that short-term fasting diets combined with reduced carb consumption may turn out to be a pretty awesome way to fight obesity.

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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

DIET WAR – Dr. Oz vs Gary Taubes

Yesterday the low-carb blogosphere was abuzz with talk of the interview Dr. Oz conducted with one of their heroes – Gary Taubes.

Gary Taubes - aka The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says Is Wrong

And all around those blogs,  a lot of the talk focused on their belief that Dr. Oz was unfair to Mr. Taubes.

The low-carbers felt that while Gary presented a logical, science-based argument in favor of a reduced carb diet, Dr. Oz served up a plateful of USDA diet platitudes topped with a big hunk of cheesy tv theatrics.

For example, in an attempt to demonstrate/discredit low carb dieting, Dr. Oz had a camera crew follow him around for 24 hours of low-carb eating.

Here’s what Dr. Oz’s ate:

  • Breakfast – 2 fried eggs + 2 sausages
  • Snack #1 – pork rinds
  • Lunch – salad with chicken & bacon
  • Snack #2 – pepperoni & cheese sticks
  • Dinner – a massive steak & green beans (yum)

Eerily reminiscent of the Atkins Diet induction phase n’est-ce pas?

And after the audience finishes laughing at Dr. Oz’s jokes about the origins of pork rinds, Mehmet reports his findings to Mr. Taubes.

Dr. Oz reports that:

  • His breath turned stale
  • He felt nauseated
  • He had headaches
  • He was constipated
  • And was irritable

Doesn’t make low-carb sound very good does it?

But wait…it’s not over yet. Thinking that he has Taubes on the proverbial ropes, Dr. Oz attempts to knock him out…. by asking Taubes to submit to a cholesterol test.

Oooooooohhhhhh

Cholesterol and a low-carb diet.

That’s gotta hurt.

Kind of a cheap shot considering that:

  1. Dr. Oz knows that while Taubes thinks that the total cholesterol test is a waste of time.
  2. He also knows that his audience thinks that lowering your total cholesterol is vital for good health.

And considering that audience approval is the ultimate prize in this Diet War, Dr. Oz makes Taubes look like a bit of a kook in the eyes of his audience.

And is officially declared the winner.

Or is he?

According to low-carb guru Jimmy Moore (Livin La Vida Low Carb), sales of both of Taubes’ books have been going through the roof all day.


Almost as if some of Dr. Oz’s loyal low-fat viewers were cheating on him…or maybe just a low-carb curious.

Personally, I think it’s like Gandhi said:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

From what I can see, Gary Taubes has just reached stage #3.

To reach stage #4, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Gary asks Dr. Oz for a follow-up show
  2. 2 months prior to the show, they both take a complete set of (agreed upon) diagnostic tests
  3. After completing the blood tests, Dr. Oz goes on a 4 week low-carb diet designed by Taubes, while
  4. Taubes goes on a 4 week low-fat diet designed by Dr. Oz
  5. They run the tests again
  6. They go back to their own diets for another 4 weeks, and
  7. Repeat the tests a third time
  8. Present the results live on Dr. Oz’s show.

So, whaddaya think…will Dr. Oz go for it.

Probably not, but wouldn’t it be interesting?

Here’s a link to his Facebook page – post a link to this article and see if he responds.

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Here’s a youtube video of the show – no idea how long Dr. Oz’s lawyers will let it stay up

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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?

The Dreaded Kraft Dinner Hangover

I did something really stupid yesterday.

It was just one of those days where I was:

  • short on time
  • running low on healthy food
  • hungry as a bear
  • and in a bad mood (crappy day, don’t even ask)

As a result of my crappy day, my stress levels were sky high and my serotonin levels were down in the dumps.

As a result of that, I began to have a wicked craving for carbs and was experiencing a generally crappy mood which also caused a craving for a great big dietary hug from Mom.

So, in a moment of emotional weakness, I ripped open a dusty old box of Kraft Dinner from the pantry.

And I ate that glow in the dark orange, mushy, creamy, full of chemicals, pasta slop.

And I loved every spoon/shovelful.

Unfortunately, for the rest of the evening I was craving carbs like a heroin junkie craves heroin.

And this morning, I woke up with everything aching…my head, my back, my muscles feel stiff and sore and I am still craving carbs and feeling generally like crap.

So, what did I do to get rid of my Kraft Dinner hangover?

  1. Exercise – at 4:30 this morn, I woke up and did 30 minutes of joint mobility and muscle flexibility exercises. Nothing too intense – just working the stiffness out of my body
  2. While exercising, I drank a serving of Athletic Greens
  3. I also choked down a Vitamin B Complex pill and another herbal adaptogen product to help get my hormones back in order.

The result:

At 6:30 this morning, I started writing this post and…

  • my headache is gone,
  • my craving for carbs is 82% gone,
  • my muscles feel normal – not optimal, but okay.

.

Overall, I feel 91% less crappy and ready to go train another 6 clients.

Conclusion

Just Say No to Kraft Dinner

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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.”

.

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.

.

“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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Losing weight isn't as simple as "eat less & move more"

Every day, I scan the news for breakthroughs in health / fitness / obesity / etc.

And just about every day, I run into some “expert” who informs the rest of us that permanent weight loss is as simple as “eat less and move more”.

Today’s post is for that “genius”.

eat less move more

 

In today’s study, researchers looked at the role of gut hormones and the hypothalamus in appetite regulation and obesity.

And I don’t know about you, but when I look at the diagram below and I try to figure out the complicated relationships between the following hormones, neurons, peptides, receptors and neural pathways, I start to believe that appetite control (and in extension – obesity) may be a bit more complicated than “eat less and move more”

gut hormones and appetite control

 

How about you?

Can you see why pharmaceutical companies have never been able to find a successful weight loss drug?

There are so many different factors at play, it’s almost impossible to pin down that one magic bullet solution.

gut hormones and their effect on food intake and body weight

 

For example, a few years back they thought that if they could increase your levels of leptin, your appetite would disappear and obesity would be a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, they soon found out that a large percentage of overweight people already had high levels of circulating leptin. Unfortunately, like a type 2 diabetic with high levels of insulin, all of the leptin in the world isn’t going to work properly if the leptin (hormone) receptors won’t allow the leptin to do it’s work.

See, I told you it was complicated.

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Obesity Isn't A Disease…It's Only A Symptom

I read an interesting study the other day.

In this study, the researchers argued that when it comes to Metabolic Syndrome (hypertension, dyslipidaemia, glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, central adiposity {big belly}, high blood sugar) obesity may actually be a good thing.

Here’s why.

  • Metabolic Syndrome is a result of our Standard American Diet
  • The S.A.D. combination of too many calories and the over-consumption of sugar + fat-centric meals causes…
  • An increase in the secretion of insulin. When this happens on a regular basis, we end up with…
  • hyperinsulinemia, which…
  • Causes the expression of the lipogenic transcription factor SREBP-1c and its target enzymes and so on and so on and so on until we end up with Metabolic Syndrome and all of the wonderful ailments I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?

And the first thing that your doctor is going to tell you if she suspects you have Metabolic Syndrome is to lose weight.

As if obesity is the cause of Metabolic Syndrome….But, it ain’t.

  • We know that our bodies respond to our Standard American Diet by increasing the amount of circulating insulin.
  • This leads to an increase in body-fat.

Common sense tells us that this is bad.

These researchers disagree….

  • They propose that this new body-fat delays, rather than causes, the metabolic syndrome induced by chronic caloric surplus.
  • They argue that subcutaneous fat in general exerts a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. Subcutaneous fat is the body-fat that exists between your muscles and your skin – we’re not talking that solid “beer belly” kind of fat.
  • This “healthy” type of adipose tissue is genetically determined and has a strong sexually dimorphic component as well. Females, at any given body mass index, are protected against insulin resistance more than males.

And if we prevent insulin resistance…we prevent Metabolic Syndrome.

To test this hypothesis further, the researchers bred obesity resistance mice with with db/db mice, which normally become obese and develop severe metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) by the age of 8–10 weeks.

  • They ended up with some mice who stayed lean despite their voracious appetites.

Unfortunately, these mice developed Metabolic Syndrome in 4 weeks instead of the typical 8-10 weeks.

The researchers concluded that body-fat is a normal response designed to permit stockpiling of fuels while simultaneously protecting our lipid-intolerant organs.

  • Metabolic syndrome appears only after the storage capacity of the adipocyte compartment has reached a maximum, at which point a gradual accumulation of ectopic fatty acids begins.

NOTE – Ectopic means “not where it’s supposed to be”. It accumulates in the abdominal region (beer belly), the liver, muscle tissue including the heart, the pancreas, and perhaps in lipid-rich deposits in the arteries.

Obesity should therefore not be regarded as a pathology or disease, but rather as the normal, physiologic response to sustained caloric surplus without which the advent of metabolic syndrome is accelerated.

Conclusions

  • Obesity isn’t a disease
  • It’s a symptom of another disease – Metabolic Syndrome
  • It’s better to have squishy, subcutaneous fat than the big, hard beer belly kind of fat

My Suggestion

Stop thinking of obesity as a health issue unto itself. If obesity is a result of something else, you need to know what that cause is and then take action to reverse the problem.

You can start by dumping the Standard American Diet and replace it with a Paleo Diet for the 21st Century

NYC Declares War on Soda

soda obesity nyc

New York City’s public health officials opened a new front in their struggle against high-calorie beverages on Monday, unveiling a new ad campaign that graphically depicts globs of human fat gushing from a sideways drink bottle.

Mmmmmmmm….I could rally go for a great big glass of globby liquified human body-fat.

The Lazy Man’s Guide to Getting Ripped

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a potential client.

  1. He told me that he would love to get fit, but he just doesn’t have the time.
  2. He’s just too busy with work, kids, internet porn, etc…
  3. B.S.

He’s not busy…he’s lazy. And he’s not alone.

According to the WHO, there are 3.6 billion lazy guys sitting on couches all around the world.

And the trainer who can help those lazy buggers transform their lazy asses from….

FAT TO FIT

…is going to be rich. Filthy…Stinking…Rich

So, here we go. The lazy man’s guide to getting ripped….or as I like to call it – My ticket to becoming filthy, stinking rich.

(BTW, this story is based on a real client. We have been training for one week. He has already lost 5 lbs.)

DIET

Meal # 1 – Breakfast

  • 1 Tbsp of Fish Oil
  • 3 medium sized Apple or Pears
  • 3 fried or hard boiled Eggs
  • Water or Tea
  • 5 grams of Leucine

Meal # 2 – Morning Coffee Break

My client works in an office. Each morning, he has a mandatory group meeting. Coffee & pastries are served.

  • 1 Coffee (with cream)
  • 15 Almonds (brought to work in a little Ziploc baggie)
  • Water

Meal # 3 – Lunch

Big Salad – consisting of

  • Salad Greens (pre-washed, pre-chopped)
  • 1 can of tuna or salmon, or 3 more hard boiled eggs, or leftover meat from last night’s dinner
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice or Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 5 grams of Leucine
  • Water

Before our hero goes to bed at night, he rips open the bag of greens and dumps it into the tupperware container. Same goes for the protein. In the morning he pours in the oil, lemon juice & salt and pepper. Come lunch time, he shakes the container and presto he has his Big Salad

Meal # 4 – Afternoon Snack

  • 1 Coffee (with cream)
  • 15 Almonds (brought to work in a little Ziploc baggie)
  • Water

Meal # 5 – Workout Nutrition

Meal # 6 – Dinner

  • Another Big Salad or steamed vegetables prepared with a microwave steaming bag
  • BBQ – steak or chicken or fish or pork or lamb or….
  • 5 grams of Leucine
  • 1 Tbsp of Fish Oil
  • Water

TRAINING

I have designed a training program specific to his needs, injuries, muscle imbalances, etc…

But the basic design of the program is:

  • 3x per week total body HIRT workouts
  • 2x per week HIIT/Cardio workouts on his stationary bike
  • 1 x per week active rest – long walks with his wife, soccer with the kids, etc…
  • Dynamic stretching at each workout designed to correct imbalances & prevent injuries

THE RESULTS

As I mentioned above, the client has lost 5 lbs in the first week. And while that certainly is good news, what really excites me is the fact that he has been perfect on his meal compliance.

He said that it was easy…EASY!!!

Related Posts

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Your Omega 3 Prescription

By this point, you should already know that you need more Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet.

The question is: how much?

  • A teaspoon of fish oils?
  • A tablespoon?
  • 3 pills?
  • or a great big slab of smoked salmon?

Well, according to this study, researchers believe that “a 200 mg dose of DHA per day is enough to affect biochemical markers that reliably predict cardiovascular problems, such as those related to aging, atherosclerosis, and diabetes”.

This study is the first to identify how much DHA is necessary to promote optimal heart health.

The Study

To determine the optimal dose of DHA, the researchers examined the effects of increasing doses of DHA on 12 healthy male volunteers between ages of 53 and 65. These men consumed doses of DHA at 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg per day for two weeks for each dose amount, with DHA being the only omega-3 fatty acid in their diet. (No EPA)

Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each dose and at eight weeks after DHA supplementation stopped. The researchers then examined these samples for biochemical markers indicating the effects of each dose on the volunteers.

They found that supplementation with only 200 mg/d DHA for 2 wk induced an antioxidant effect.

They concluded that “low consumption of DHA could be an effective and nonpharmacological way to protect healthy men from platelet-related cardiovascular events”.

Conclusion

If this study is correct, you need only 200 mg of DHA per day to reap the cardiovascular benefits of the Omega 3 fatty acid DHA.

And how do you get 200 mg of DHA?

Recipe for a Fat Man

Matt McClain - Rocky Mountain News
Matt McClain - Rocky Mountain News

Reading the comments from my last two posts (here and here), I was struck by the very strong, yet very different opinions about the cause(s) of obesity.

Some people believe in ye olde Calories in vs Calories Out theory, while others believe in the power of insulin while others blame their DNA.

So, I raise the question….Is there a one size fits all cause / 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 list of the factors that I think influence human obesity.

Feel free to comment/criticize or add to the list

Determinants of Obesity

bigfatburger.

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

Your Body

Your Life

Physical Activity

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that influence obesity.

I didn’t even get into all of the bleeding edge obesity research.

The search for an obesity cure never ends. Just today, there were two new obesity discoveries (here and here). Tomorrow, there will probably be two more.

But for now, I think we have enough on our plate.

BTW, feel free to critique or add to the list.

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If you like what you see here, click here for updates

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Related Posts

SuperFood: Beet Root

An interesting new study shows that drinking beet root juice boosts your stamina and could help you exercise for up to 16% longer.

The theory is that the nitrate contained in beet root juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.

And while the researchers are not yet sure of the exact mechanism that causes the nitrate in the beet root juice to boost stamina, they suspect it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

In fact, drinking beet root juice reduces oxygen uptake and improves endurance better than any other known means, including training.

Including training! Obviously, this is big news for endurance athletes.

beetroot

The Science

The researchers gave the test subjects 500ml per day of organic beet root juice for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests, involving cycling on an exercise bike.

On another occasion, they were given a placebo of blackcurrant cordial for six consecutive days before completing the same cycling tests.

After drinking beet root juice the group was able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes, which is 92 seconds longer than when they were given the placebo.

Beet root supplementation resulted in a 19% reduction in the amplitude of the pulmonary O2 response during moderate cardio exercise

As an extra added bonus, the group that had consumed the beet root juice also had lower resting blood pressure. (systolic pressure dropped 6 mmHg)

This blood pressure benefit was also found in a 2008 study.

In that study, researchers discovered that within 1 hour of drinking 500ml of beet root juice, volunteers experienced a drop in blood pressure, with the peak drop 3 to 4 hours after ingestion.

Some degree of reduction continued to be observed until up to 24 hours after ingestion.

Researchers showed that the decrease in blood pressure was due to the chemical formation of nitrite from the dietary nitrate in the juice. The nitrate in the juice is converted in saliva, by bacteria on the tongue, into nitrite. This nitrite-containing saliva is swallowed, and in the acidic environment of the stomach is either converted into nitric oxide or re-enters the circulation as nitrite.

The peak time of reduction in blood pressure correlated with the appearance and peak levels of nitrite in the circulation, an effect that was absent in a second group of volunteers who refrained from swallowing their saliva during, and for 3 hours following, beet root ingestion.

This research suggests that drinking beet root juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple, effective and inexpensive way to reduce blood pressure and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Conclusion

If you are interested in:

  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Reducing your risk of heart disease
  • Increasing your aerobic endurance
  • and making you cardio sessions feel much, much easier

Drink your beet juice.

And if you can’t get your hands on some fresh beet root juice, there are a number of GreenFood/SuperFood/Antioxidant drinks that have beet root powder as an ingredient.

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PEDF: The link between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes?

Stereoscopic model of pigment epithelium-derived factor derived from the crystal structure
Stereoscopic model of PEDF

Link between obesity and diabetes discovered

Researchers at Monash University (led by Associate Professor Matthew Watt), have discovered that fat cells release a novel protein called PEDF (pigment epithelium-derived factor), which triggers a chain of events and interactions that lead to development of Type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr. Watt:

  • When PEDF is released into the bloodstream, it causes the muscle and liver to become desensitized to insulin. The pancreas then produces more insulin to counteract these negative effects
  • This insulin release causes the pancreas to become overworked, eventually slowing or stopping insulin release from the pancreas, leading to Type 2 diabetes.
  • It appears that the more fat tissue a person has the less sensitive they become to insulin. Therefore a greater amount of insulin is required to maintain the body’s regulation of blood-glucose.

Our research was able to show that increasing PEDF not only causes Type 2 diabetes like complications but that blocking PEDF reverses these effects.

In fact, after blocking the secretion of PEDF in test subjects, the body was able to return to being insulin-sensitive and therefore did not need excess insulin to remain regulated.

This research may be a significant breakthrough in explaining the reasons why obesity triggers the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

Until now scientists knew there was a very clear pattern and had strong suspicions that a link existed between the two conditions, but our understanding of the chain of events that are caused by the release of PEDF shows a causal link, Dr. Watt said.

Type 2 diabetes patients will benefit knowing the two conditions are linked.

We already know that weight-loss generally improves the management of blood glucose levels in diabetes patients.

Researchers can now move forward knowing this link exists and can begin to design new drugs to improve the treatment of Type 2 diabetes….

pedf lifestyle

…or perhaps, instead of looking for a cure for this completely preventable lifestyle disease, we could throw some cash at health promotion and/or disease prevention.

fit lifestyle equation

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High Carb Diet = Heart Attack

IHOPs Butterscotch Rocks Pancake....mmmmmm distended brachial arteries
IHOPs Butterscotch Rocks Pancake....mmmmmm distended brachial arteries

For the first time in medical history, researchers have been able to visualize what happens inside our arteries before, during and after eating high carb foods.

And it ain’t a pretty sight.

Looking inside the arteries of students eating a variety of foods, Dr. Michael Shechter ( Tel Aviv University visualized exactly what happens inside the body when the wrong foods for a healthy heart are eaten.

He found that foods with a high glycemic index resulted in distended brachial arteries for several hours.

Dr. Shechter continues:

Elasticity of arteries anywhere in the body can be a measure of heart health.

But when aggravated over time, a sudden expansion of the artery wall can cause a number of negative health effects, including reduced elasticity, which can cause heart disease or sudden death.

So, let’s recap:

High GI foods (bread, sugar, desserts, pop, pizza, cereal, 99% of the food sold at any fast food restaurant…) leads to distended brachial arteries which can lead to heart attacks which can lead to death.

The Science

Using 56 healthy volunteers, the researchers looked at four groups.

  1. Group One ate a cornflake mush mixed with milk,
  2. Group Two ate a pure sugar mixture,
  3. Group Three ate bran flakes,
  4. Group Four was given a placebo (water).

Over four weeks, Dr. Shechter applied his method of “brachial reactive testing” to each group. The test uses a cuff on the arm, like those used to measure blood pressure, which can visualize arterial function in real time.

The results were dramatic. Before any of the patients ate, arterial function was essentially the same. After eating, except for the placebo group, all had reduced functioning.

Enormous peaks indicating arterial stress were found in the high glycemic index groups: the cornflakes and sugar group.

“We knew high glycemic foods were bad for the heart. Now we have a mechanism that shows how,” says Dr. Shechter. “Foods like cornflakes, white bread, french fries, and sweetened soda all put undue stress on our arteries.

We’ve explained for the first time how high glycemic carbs can affect the progression of heart disease.”

During the consumption of foods high in sugar, there appears to be a temporary and sudden dysfunction in the endothelial walls of the arteries.

Endothelial health can be traced back to almost every disorder and disease in the body.

It is “the riskiest of the risk factors,” says Dr. Shechter.

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So how come my doctor tells me to eat cereal for breakfast?

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Sadly, Mikey never made it past his 25th birthday.

Damn you Life brand cereal, damn you.

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The Atkins Diet for Vegans

flintstone ribs

Quick…What comes to mind when I say… Atkins Diet?

  • Steak?
  • Bacon?
  • Ribs?

How about textured vegetable protein?

Textured_Vegetable_Protein

Or, smoothies made from vegan protein powder?

rice protein vegan

Well, according to this research, test subjects who followed a “low-carbohydrate (26% of total calories), high–vegetable protein (31% from gluten, soy, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and cereals), and vegetable oil (43%) plant-based diet” for 4 weeks, saw improvements in blood cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors…including weight loss.

In comparison, the control diet (a high-carbohydrate lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (58% carbohydrate, 16% protein, and 25% fat)), produced improvements in weight loss but little change in the other heart disease risk factors.

Conclusion

A Vegan-Atkins diet is superior to a high carb, Lacto-Ovo, low-fat dairy, whole grain diet.

Question

Is a Vegan-Atkins diet superior to:

  • a traditional “Fred Flintstone” Atkins diet?
  • or a Paleo style diet based on animal protein, fruits & vegetables?
  • or a Mediterranean style diet?

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Lack of Sleep = Weight Gain

sleep garfield

Did you get 8 hours of sleep last night?

According to some new research, sleep restriction results in:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased food cravings
  • Decreased food consumption, and
  • Increased bodyweight

What???

Sleep less…Eat Less…Weigh more???

The Science

The study involved 92 healthy individuals (52 male) between the ages of 22 and 45 years who participated in laboratory controlled sleep restriction. Subjects underwent two nights of baseline sleep (10 hours in bed per night), five nights of sleep restriction and varying recovery for four nights. Nine well rested participants served as controls. Food consumption was ad libitum (subjects had three regular meals per day and access to healthy snacks, and during nights of sleep restriction subjects were given a small sandwich at one a.m.).

Results indicate that people whose sleep was restricted experienced an average weight gain of 1.31 kilograms (2.9 lbs) over the 11 days of the study.

Conclusions

I am sorry to say that there are no conclusions. The researchers have no idea what happened.

The researchers had hoped to see a link between sleep deprivation and an increased craving for carbs.

When that didn’t happen, they had to scramble. here’s what they came up with:

  • Lack of sleep may result in less activity (not measured), and
  • “the ability to snack for longer due to reduction in time spent asleep might have influenced the weight gain”. (and yet their measurement showed a reduction in caloric consumption)

My Conclusion/Assumption

I think that if the researchers had done some blood tests pre and post experiment, they would have seen some interesting changes.

Anyone who suffers from insomnia knows that lack of sleep has a huge impact upon both your physical and mental state of health.

I would have been curious to see the changes in levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc along with insulin and various other obesity related hormones/brain chemicals.

Maybe next time.

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This research was presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies

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My Unconscious Mind is Making Me Fat – Part 3

emotional eating chocolate

In Part 2 of this series, I tried to back up my belief that our unconscious minds make us fat with some science.

In case you missed it, here’s the Cliffs Notes version:

  • Our Western Diet is high in sugar, fat & salt
  • A diet high in sugar, fat & salt over-stimulates our reward centers and causes us to…
  • Seek out more and more sugar, fat & salt

In essence, this Un-Holy Trinity of processed food ingredients is an addictive substance.

Just like drugs or alcohol or sex.

So, what do we do about it?

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The Plan

Step 1

Mental Strategy

Whether you know it or not, your brain is constantly searching for the answers to questions…all sorts of questions…Why am I so fat?…What smells in here?…Why would she wear those shoes with that dress…..

What we need to do is to harness the power of our own personal Google search engine by asking it better questions.

Better questions lead to better answers.

Better answers leads to better assumptions about yourself.

And better assumptions lead to better actions.

And better actions leads to success.

And I know that this all sounds like a bunch of self-help, new agey blah blah blah, but I have seen it work time and time again.

It is one of the main reasons successful personal trainers have successful clients.

Because they have helped clients lose weight and get fit in the past, they assume that all of their clients will lose weight and get fit. And then they go and lend that confidence to their clients…and eventually, the client accepts that the trainer is right and starts assuming that they too will lose weight and get fit.

And then they go out and do it.

And this is how you’re going to do it.

1. Ask yourself what you want.

Lose weight, get fit, be healthy, have lots of energy, see my abs, see my toes, live to 100, firm up my arms, run a marathon, shrink my butt, get a bigger butt, etc…

2. Write down these “wants” in the form of a question. But, most importantly, write that question as if you have already achieved the goal.

  • Why am I fit?
  • Why does my butt look so great in my jeans?
  • Why can I run a marathon?
  • Why do I have so much energy?
  • Why does everyone find me so damn sexy?

3. Don’t actively try and answer the questions. Just ask ’em.

Ask these questions often and just let your unconscious mind start working on finding the answers.

4. Start taking actions based on the assumptions raised by your questions.

This is the hard work – changing your diet, exercising more, getting enough sleep, etc…

The Plan

Step 2

Dietary Strategy

Your body functions best on a diet of non-processed protein, non-processed fats and non-processed carbohydrates.

The less processing the better.

  • Your Mom’s “homeburger” is better than a Big Mac
  • An orange is better than orange juice
  • Grass feed beef is better than corn fed beef
  • Roast chicken is better than McNuggets

and don’t pretend that you don’t already know this stuff.

Because we both know that you do.

And even though your unconscious mind is forcing your body to crave junk, consciously, you know that stuff is bad for you.

This is what’s good for you.

  • Beef, chicken, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, etc…unprocessed, organic if possible
  • Vegetables…unprocessed
  • Fruit…unprocessed
  • Nuts & seeds – not fried in oil
  • Water

Now, how you transition from eating junk to eating healthy is up to you.

Some people prefer to do it gradually…cut out the McDonalds first, then cut out Subway, then cut out the “microwave-ready” meals and eventually they end up with a diet that is good for them

Other people like to dive right into the deep end. Throw out all of the junk and re-stock the pantry with healthy stuff.

It’s up to you, but I would recommend the second option. It’s just like tearing off a band-aid. It hurts more at first, but it’s over with much quicker.

Note – for this article, I am not going into much detail about the diet. I will be doing that next week. But, if you can’t wait, take a trip through the archives.

The Plan

Step 3

Exercise Strategy

There has been a bunch of research done showing that exercise stimulates the same reward centers in the brain as food or drugs or sex. In these studies, the type of exercise was shown to be irrelevant. You will receive the same benefit whether you walk, do yoga, play softball or take up weight lifting.

And considering that you are going to be facing a big enough challenge with your dietary changes, I would suggest that you choose an activity that you might actually enjoy.

In a perfect world, I would have you do a variety of exercise in order to improve all of the aspects of your physical fitness.

But, for now, finding a workout buddy and going for a brisk walk each night is a great start. If you’re extra motivated, stop every now and then and do some push-ups or partner assisted bodyweight rows. If you’re extra-extra motivated, throw in some short bursts of  jogging/running/sprinting during your walk.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting a variety of exercise videos that you can do in the great outdoors.

The Plan

Step 4

Emotional Strategy

This may be the most difficult part of the plan for some of you.

GUILT

During this process, you are going to screw up. Guaranteed.

You’re going to give in to temptation and demolish a bowl of ice cream or a bag of potato chips.

And you know what, it doesn’t matter. One meal (even one really big meal) isn’t the reason why we gained the weight in the first place.

And one meal isn’t going to derail your efforts to lose the weight.

But, if you beat yourself up about it, you WILL be more likely to wallow in that guilt. And if you wallow, you are much more likely to slip again and again and again….until you eventually give up altogether.

So, when you give in to the lure of the Golden Arches…ENJOY IT!!!

Don’t worry about the calories. Don’t skip breakfast the next day. Don’t go to the gym and run on the treadmill for 2 hours.

You’re human. You screwed up. The world didn’t end. Start over.

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As well, I would also recommend people take a look at including some form of Mindfulness Meditation in their program. It’s an unbelievably powerful practice that has been shown to have numerous health benefits.

However, I also know that a lot of people think this stuff is a load of crap. No way, no how are they going to meditate…mindfully or not. Up to you.

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My Unconscious Mind is Making Me Fat – Part 2

smore brownies
s'more brownies: the food network

Your conscious mind is a super-powered tool in the fight against obesity.

image: http://www.superman-picture.com
image: http://www.superman-picture.com

When used correctly, your conscious mind can give you the ability to be:

  • faster than your neighborhood pizza delivery man
  • more powerful than your addiction to chocolate, and
  • able to turn down seconds on dessert…even if it’s that double chocolate cake that your mom makes with the extra thick icing and…..

….well, you get the point.

fat supermanSo, why is it that most of us look nothing like Six-Pack Superman, and more and more of us are looking a lot like the Two-Ton Superman?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Like Superman was helpless against kryptonite, in today’s society, when it comes to obesity (and related diseases – diabetes, heart disease & cancer), your conscious mind is just as helpless against your unconscious mind.

But fear not super-dieters, there is hope.

With the help of some lifestyle changes, you too can defeat your unconscious mind.

And I’m going to tell you how to do it.

double fried french fries: Guy Fieri
double fried french fries: Guy Fieri

1.     Homeostasis v.s. Reward

In nature, you don’t see too many fat animals.

In civilized society, you see lots of fat animals – cats, dogs, humans.

What’s the difference?

In a nutshell, it comes down to a battle between the reward system of your brain and the homeostatic system of your brain.

The homeostatic system of your brain tries to keep things static. Calories in v.s calories out. Everything balanced. Not too fat, not too thin.

The reward system is all about pleasure.

The reward system is all about eating a slice (or two) of deep fried cheesecake in order to make yourself feel better about that bad day at work…or getting dumped by your girlfriend…or the stressful commute…or….well, you get the point.

deep fried cheesecake: Paula Deen
deep fried cheesecake: Paula Deen

For the sake of brevity, I am not going to go into the science behind this battle. And there is a LOT of science…involving brain research, nervous systems, the G.I. tract, hormones, neurotransmitters, proteins, DNA, epigenetics, etc…

If anyone really, really wants to read about the science, shoot me an email at dr.healthhabits@gmail.com

Chicago style "deep dish" pizza
Chicago style "deep dish" pizza

So, what’s the deal with the Reward System?

The reward system is designed to help you seek out pleasurable things like food and sex and food.

Without that drive, nothing ever gets done and the human race ceases to exist.

However, the reward system can (and has) be manipulated to make us crave things that aren’t necessarily good for us…like sweet potato pie with whipped cream on top.

sweet potato pie: the food network
sweet potato pie: the food network

And while sweet potato pie isn’t inherently bad for you, I think most of you would agree that a diet based on sweet potato pie and mashed potato skins and caramel pecan sundaes is a quick and easy way to get fat.

mashed potato skins: Rachael Ray
mashed potato skins: Rachael Ray

And that is precisely how the reward system overwhelms your homeostatic system.

With food that stimulates the reward system and makes you feel good….temporarily.

And just like any other pleasure-seeking junkie, your reward system is constantly trying to get you to repeat those behaviors that give you pleasure.

So, even if your homeostatic system is telling you to stop eating, your reward system overrules it, and you say yes to that second or third piece of pie.

caramel pecan sundaes: Barefoot Contessa
caramel pecan sundaes: Barefoot Contessa

And the food manufacturers know all about this stuff.

They know exactly how to create meals that will maximally stimulate the reward center and keep you eating and eating and eating.

fried chicken: Paula Deen
fried chicken: Paula Deen

Their secret?

The un-holy trinity of processed food:

  • Sugar

  • Fat

  • Salt

double chocolate gooey butter cake: Paula Deen
double chocolate gooey butter cake: Paula Deen

These three ingredients are the cornerstone of just about every great meal that you have ever had.

lasagna: the Neelys
lasagna: the Neelys

Think about it…

  • Sweet, buttery, ooey gooey cake, or
  • A thick slice of cheesy, meaty lasagna, or
  • Crispy, crunchy, sweet & salty onion rings
onion rings: Guy Fieri
onion rings: Guy Fieri

Getting hungry?

I know I am.

Even as I write this sentence, my reward system is pulling up memories of past meals and setting into motion some very physical symptoms of hunger.

Now, imagine if I was at a restaurant with all of the smells and sounds and sights that the food industry uses to keep you coming back for more.

and finally...a brownie pizza by Paula Deen
and finally...a brownie pizza by Paula Deen

Well, that’s enough for today.

Stay tuned for Part 3.

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Grilled Wild Shrimp and Veg

Grilled Wild Shrimp & Veg

Barbecue season is here! In the States this weekend is a holiday weekend celebrating Memorial Day, which also marks the beginning of summer. That means it’s time to fire up your grills. I love manning the grill. To kick off summer recipes I’ve decided to do a very simple grilled platter of shrimp and veg. If you saw my last post with shrimp you’ll recall why I’m a fan of shrimp–a four oz. serving supplies 23.7 grams of protein for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat. Perfect for getting my body into that mankini.

Serves 4

RECIPE:

20 medium wild shrimp (peeled & deveined) – skewered, 5 on each skewer
2 tbsp fresh rosemary – chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro -chopped
1 lemon – zested
1/4 tsp chili flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
1 garlic clove – minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Toss all above ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and coat. Once coated, assemble 4 skewers with 5 shrimp on each. Set aside.

Fresh lemon or lime

Preheat barbeque or indoor grill pan.

1 zucchini – halved lengthwise
1 yellow squash – halved lengthwise
1 Japanese eggplant – halved lengthwise
1 portabello mushroom
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Once all veggies are cut and marinated, grill each piece for 4-5 minutes each side. When veggies are grilled and cooked through, remove and cut each into thirds for serving.

Grill each shrimp skewer for 3-4 minutes each side until pink in color, firm to the touch and cooked through.
Give the skewers a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and you’re good to go. Welcome to summer!

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.

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Mediterranean Chicken

Oregano Chicken

A perfect fit for a low-carb lifestyle, olives are loaded with healthy monounsaturates. In general, these fats are considered to be healthier as compared to the others. They have the same amount of energy, but they reduce blood cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk to the heart. The juice of the olive, otherwise known as olive oil, acts to keep cholesterol from sticking to our artery walls and is a delicious source of antioxidants. Olives also contain polyphenols, which is what gives them their taste and aroma. Research indicates that polyphenols may have antioxidant characteristics with potential health benefits such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. This would explain why people living in Mediterranean countries, where consumption of relatively high amounts of fat is prominent, tend to have far lower rates of cardiovascular disease than in countries like the United States where similar levels of fat consumption are found.

RECIPE:
Serves 4 (with leftovers)

1 whole chicken, portioned (2 breasts, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white wine
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced
6 oz oyster mushrooms
1/4 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

Oregano Chicken DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Preheat skillet on medium high heat for one minute. Season each chicken piece with S&P. Add olive oil to pan, sear chicken for 2-3 mins each side, until golden brown. Once browned, remove to a roasting tray. Deglaze saute pan by adding the white wine and scraping all the caramelized bits from bottom of pan for 30 seconds. Add wine mixture to chicken along with all remaining ingredients.

Cover roasting pan with foil, pop in preheated oven for approx 1-1 1/2 hours. Check chicken after one hour to see if chicken is fork tender otherwise cook for the additional 30 mins.

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.

THEHEALTHYIRISHMAN.COM

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Ryan Seacrest and Jamie Oliver take on America’s Obesity Epidemic

jamie oliver ryan seacrest

Attention America!!!!….celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Ryan Seacrest have teamed up to take on America’s obesity epidemic.

In their new reality tv series, chef Jamie Oliver will travel to America’s fattest cities and “find ways to use nearby resources to improve local eating habits”. It’s kind of like the Biggest Loser, but with more cooking and less sweating.

 

According to the Hollywood Reporter,the series is loosely inspired on Oliver’s acclaimed school lunch project in the U.K., where the chef set about to improve kids’ nutrition. His effort to improve one school’s offerings, documented in the 2005 series “Jamie’s School Dinners,” shamed educators into passing new measures to ban certain junk foods.

Seacrest said he talked about school lunches during a segment on his KISS FM morning radio show and was struck by the amount of listener response. Then he heard Oliver was looking to bring his public service campaign stateside. The resulting ABC show will not only tackle a city’s schools, but workplaces and other avenues for change.

“I couldn’t do what I do in terms of my schedule if I didn’t eat right and exercise right,” Seacrest said. “As a kid I was chubby, and I’m a firm believer that the fuel we put into our body results in a healthy lifestyle. Jamie’s going to come over here, roll up his sleeves and use the resources of each town to help condition living habits to make it a better and healthier place.”

At this time, ABC has committed to 6 episodes of the Seacrest produced show.

The target city has yet to be chosen. Perhaps they will chose from one of the cities ranked by Men’s Fitness as the 10 Fattest Cities in America.

  1. Miami, FL
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. San Antoni, TX
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. New York, NY
  6. Houston, TX
  7. El Paso, TX
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. Charlotte, NC
  10. Louisville-Jefferson, KY

But, then again, I’m sure that there are lots of cities all across America that could use a Seacrest/Oliver weight loss makeover. And seeing as this show is still in the pre-pre-production stage, perhaps an organized email campaign could bring Jamie Oliver and his low-fat skillet to your town.

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The status-quo is broken…We need a new model for burning fat and getting fit

For decades, we have listened to the nation’s health experts tell us:

  • what to eat,
  • what not to eat,
  • how much to eat,
  • how much exercise we need,
  • what type of exercise we need….

And, after all of that advice, we have become a nation world afflicted with runaway obesity, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, etc…

And yet, when we want to improve our health or reduce our waistlines, we still turn to the experts.

Why?

Everyday I meet people who are trying to get into shape. For years, they have been trying to follow the rules laid down by the experts.

  • They followed the food pyramid
  • They cut the fat out of their diets
  • They did their 20 minutes of fat-burning cardio
  • They choked down their egg white omelettes
  • They ate their fiber

And they watched their backsides get wider and their blood pressure rise higher and higher.

  • It’s time for a change.
  • The status quo is broken.
  • The top-down approach doesn’t work.

But with the technology available today, we don’t need to rely solely on that expert advice from up above. We can connect those people who are desperate to transform their bodies with those people willing to help. We can create a tribe of people devoted to health, fitness and each other.

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10 more reasons to love High Intensity Interval Training

  1. HIIT was better than the standard  multidisciplinary approach (exercise, diet and psychological support) at helping overweight kids reduce their cardiovascular risk factorsHere’s the study
  2. HIIT can prevent cardiac death in type 2 diabetic individuals. Here’s the study
  3. HIIT should be a required treatment for all Metabolic Syndrome patients. 16 weeks of HIIT training significantly reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease, in terms of improved VO2max, endothelial function, blood pressure, insulin signaling, and plasma lipid composition. Here’s the study
  4. HIIT substantially improves insulin action. Say bye-bye to type 2 diabetes & metabolic syndrome. Here’s the study
  5. HIIT increases levels of HDL cholesterol – that’s the  good cholesterol. Here’s the study
  6. HIIT improves the HRR (Heart Rate Recovery – a measure of how quickly your heart returns to normal post-exercise)) in already well-trained cyclists. Here’s the study
  7. HIIT drastically improves cardiovascular function (V02max) in patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Here’s the study
  8. Interval training produced a 302% greater increase inV02max when compared to a long, slow distance training protocol. Here’s the study
  9. HIIT significantly improved the aerobic fitness of a group of prepubescent children (aerobic fitness measured by peak oxygen consumption and maximal aerobic velocity) Here’s the study
  10. HIIT improves the erectile function of hypertension patients  Here’s the study fellas

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The Top 12 PREVENTABLE Causes of Death

According to a new study by Harvard public health researchers, the leading preventable risk factors for premature death in the United States are:

  1. Smoking: 467,000 deaths.
  2. High blood pressure: 395,000 deaths.
  3. Overweight-obesity: 216,000 deaths.
  4. Inadequate physical activity and inactivity: 191,000 deaths.
  5. High blood sugar: 190,000 deaths.
  6. High LDL cholesterol: 113,000 deaths.
  7. High dietary salt: 102,000 deaths.
  8. Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids (seafood): 84,000 deaths.
  9. High dietary trans fatty acids: 82,000 deaths.
  10. Alcohol use: 64,000 deaths.
  11. Low intake of fruits and vegetables: 58,000 deaths.
  12. Low dietary poly-unsaturated fatty acids: 15,000 deaths.

bad-habits-causing-death-both-sexes

This study is the most comprehensive look at how diet, lifestyle and various other chronic disease risk factors contribute to mortality in the U.S.

And it produced some interesting observations:

  • Smoking is responsible for approximately 20% of all deaths in the U.S.
  • High blood pressure is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths
  • Obesity + physical inactivity = 407,000 deaths per year ≈ 17% of all deaths
  • High blood pressure kills 5x as many women as breast cancer
  • 70% of the alcohol related deaths happened to men…way to go guys
  • High blood sugar killed 3x as many people as alcohol
  • 2/3 of the deaths attributed to high blood sugar, obesity and high blood pressure occurred in only 10-33% of the overall population.
  • 1,051,000 deaths can be attributed to poor dietary choices. That’s 45% of all deaths.

Maybe you should print this out and stick it to your fridge.

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You Drink Pop = You Get Fat


image: Rodrigo Dantas
image: Rodrigo Dantas

Science is finally catching up with common sense.

A new study shows that sugar-sweetened beverages (pop, fruit drinks, fruit punch, energy drinks, slurpees, or any other high-calorie beverage sweetened with sugar) have a stronger effect on obesity than any other beverage as well as any type of solid food.

The Science

The researchers tracked the dietary habits of  810 men and women aged 25-79 years old via food logs.

Beverages were divided into 7 categories:

  1. Sugar-sweetened beverages or SSBs
  2. diet drinks (diet soda and other diet drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners)
  3. milk (whole milk, 2% reduced-fat milk, 1% low-fat milk, and skim milk)
  4. 100% juice (100% fruit and vegetable juice)
  5. coffee and tea with sugar (sweetened with sugar)
  6. coffee and tea without sugar (unsweetened or sweetened with artificial sweeteners)
  7. alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits, and other alcoholic drinks).

Results

At the end of the 18 month long study, researchers found that:

  1. a reduction in liquid calorie intake was significantly associated with weight loss at both 6 months and 18 months
  2. the weight-loss effect of a reduction in liquid calorie intake was stronger than that of a reduction in solid calorie intake
  3. a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage intake was significantly associated with weight loss at both 6 and 18 months
  4. no other beverage type was associated with weight change

Conclusion

The first and most successful step to losing weight is eliminating all sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet.

Period.

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Here's why you NEED aerobic exercise

Let’s face it. Cardio is boring. Running laps around a track or pedaling away like some spandex wearing gerbil…..Boring.

But,according to the authors of this new study, “your personal aerobic fitness is not something you will see in the mirror but it is an important predictor of your long-term health,”

“The most important part of physical activity is protecting yourself from diseases that can be fatal or play a significant role in increasing the risk factors for other metabolic diseases.”

The Study

fattyliver
Fatty Liver

For years, we have known that poor aerobic fitness is associated with obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. This new study adds another serious condition to the list – non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

The study also suggests that the resulting liver problems play a crucial step developing obesity-related illnesses. In fact, the study authors think that “Fatty liver disease will be the next big metabolic disorder associated with obesity and inactivity.”

So, to test the link between aerobic fitness and fatty liver disease, the researcher bred a strain of genetically unfit rats. These couch-potato rats could only run an average of 200m compared to over 1500m for the average fit rat.

Leaving both strains of rats to their own devices, the researchers noticed that at 25 weeks, the unfit rats showed clear signs of fatty liver. “By the end of their natural lives, the rats’ livers had sustained damage including fibrosis (the precursor to cirrhosis) and unexpected cell death”.

In contrast, the ‘fit’ group enjoyed heathy livers throughout their lifespans – despite the fact that neither group was getting any real exercise.

The team’s findings provide the first biochemical links between low aerobic fitness and fatty liver disease, and have lead the authors to suggest that NAFLD could potentially be treated or prevented by a suitable exercise program.

Conclusion

  • Aerobic exercise is boring
  • Aerobic exercise prevents fatty liver disease
  • You don’t want fatty liver disease, so
  • Get movin’

How to Carbo-Load without Eating any Carbs

spaghetti-head

According to a study published in the Journal of Physiology, it is possible to reap some of the athletic performance rewards of a carbo-load without actually eating any carbs.

The Science

Previous studies have shown that the presence of carbs in your mouth activates regions of the brain that can improve athletic performance.

The primary aim of this study was to see how “rinsing the mouth with solutions containing glucose and maltodextrin, disguised with artificial sweetener, would affect exercise performance”.

The secondary aim was to identify those regions of the brain activated by the sugars and artificial sweetener. A functional MRI (fMRI) machine was used to map the brain.

The Test

Prior to completing a cycling time trial, the eight volunteers rinsed their mouth out with a solution of glucose or maltodextrin or a placebo solution containing the artificial sweetener saccharin.

After the rinse, they hopped on their bikes and pedaled as hard and as fast as their legs could go.

Results

  • In study 1A, test subjects “completed a cycle time trial significantly faster when rinsing their mouths with a 6.4% glucose solution compared with a placebo containing saccharin.”
  • The corresponding fMRI study (1B) revealed that oral exposure to glucose activated reward-related brain regions, including the anterior cingulate cortex and striatum, which were unresponsive to saccharin.
  • In study 2A, cyclists who rinsed with the maltodextrin solution once again outperformed their saccharin-swilling brethren.
  • The second neuroimaging study (2B) “compared the cortical response to oral maltodextrin and glucose, revealing a similar pattern of brain activation in response to the two carbohydrate solutions, including areas of the insula/frontal operculum, orbitofrontal cortex and striatum”.

Conclusions

The results suggest that the improvement in exercise performance caused by the carbo-rinse may be due to the activation of brain regions believed to be involved in reward and motor control.

The findings also suggest that there may be a class of so far unidentified oral receptors that respond to carbohydrate independently of those for sweetness.

What does this mean to you?

  • One of the primary benefits of cardio-vascular training is that fat is the primary choice of fuel.
  • This is why cardio training is one of the most popular weight loss tools.
  • However, a lot of trainees hurt their own cause by carbing up prior to a cardio session.
  • Carbo-loading before a cardio session impairs the use of body-fat as fuel.
  • It shifts you from being a fat-burner to a carb-burner
  • However, because of this study, you can have the best of both worlds. The performance boosting effect of carbs combined with optimum fat burning.

Yay!

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Journal of Physiology

Obesity: Insulin trumps Genetics

I have said it before and I will say it again. Genetics isn’t Destiny. Even when it comes to obesity.

And if you don’t believe me:

Purdue University scientists have uncovered evidence that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat, depending on subtle variations in how the cells process insulin.

They said identifying the precise mechanism responsible for fat storage in cells could lead to methods for controlling obesity.

Although other studies have suggested certain “fat genes” might be associated with excessive fat storage in cells, the Purdue researchers confirmed such genes are expressed, or activated, in all of the cells. Yet those cells varied drastically — from nearly zero in some cases to pervasive in others — in how much fat they stored.

Their findings indicate that the faster a cell processes insulin, the more fat it stores.

It’s the insulin…it’s the insulin…it’s the insulin.

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Spinach Stuffed Sole with Moules Jus

Stuffed Sole with Mussels

Good Friday (today) for us good Catholics means a day of fasting, eating only one full meatless (no animal flesh) meal on this day. Well, I might be a mediocre Catholic then, since eating is what I do best. Lucky for me fish & seafood are considered meatless, which is why growing up we only ate fish on Fridays during Lent. Did you know that’s why McDonald’s created the Filet-O-Fish? Not that I advocate eating such a thing! Instead, I push for healthy fresh fish, packed with omega-3 fatty acids. If you’ve read HealthHabits’ Omega 3s – Why you need them and How to get them, you know how important omega-3’s are for your health. Paired with fresh veg you’ve got one nutritious Good Friday.

RECIPE
Serves 4

4 Pacific Sole filets (rated Eco-OK so eat in moderation)

Filling recipe:
1 zucchini – diced
1 yellow squash – diced
2 cups uncooked baby spinach
S&P
1/2 lemon – zested
Begin by preheating saute pan on medium heat for 1 minute. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and saute zucchini and squash for 3 minutes approx or until soft. Once soft add spinach and saute along with veg for 1 minute or until spinach is cooked. Add lemon zest. Taste and season with S&P. Let cool.

To assemble: Lay the sole filets on a clean surface. Place a spoonful of the cooled filling in each and roll ensuring the filling stays within. Use toothpicks to keep the filets closed.

Moules Jus: (mussel juice)
1 lb mussels
1/2 cup white wine
2 roma tomatoes – diced
1/2 cup fresh fennel – diced
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Before cooking mussels ensure all the shells are closed. Throw away any opened shells. Preheat saute pan on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add mussels and very carefully add the remaining ingredients. Cover with lid and cook mussels for 1-2 minutes until all the shells have opened. Remove pan from the heat. Remove all the mussels and discard any unopened shells. Place the stuffed sole filets in the mussel juice in the same pan and return to medium heat with lid on. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile as fish is cooking, remove the mussels from the shells and return to the pan along with the sole.
Once fish is cooked through, place in bowl along with some mussels and spoon tomato broth over fish.


Stuffed Sole Filets

Hope you guys enjoy this and give it a go. Don’t be afraid. If you have any requests or questions, please leave a comment! To see more of my recipes and learn about me and my healthy food philosophies head over to thehealthyirishman.com.

.The Healthy Irishman Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

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How the Free Market makes you FAT and why “Big Food” likes it that way

Why are more and more of us getting fatter and fatter?

Is it…

or

Is it because “Big Food” wants us to be fat?

Now, before someone labels me as a conspiracy theorist, hear me out…

  • Food producers earn more profit from processed foods – i.e potato chips v.s. potatoes
  • Processed foods (high calorie, high glycemic index and low nutrient value) increase your appetite
  • Your increased appetite causes you to eat more food
  • And when you eat all of the food in your house, you have to rush out and buy more food
  • And the food producers make more money

And, there’s nothing wrong with that…It’s a free market

Or, is it?

According to Dr. Peter Ubel, in his new book – Free Market Madness – food producers spend a lot of money learning why you buy the things that you buy.

In some supermarket today, an anthropologist is wandering the aisles watching how you shop, observing whether your eyes roam the shelves from top to bottom or bottom to top, and measuring how long you linger in front of display cases if you have toddlers in tow.

The simple fact is, you know less about your own shopping behavior than the people running the stores that you shop at.

Because of this, is it any wonder, that people have purchased themselves into debt, with the American citizenry demonstrating a negative savings rate in recent years?

And is it really surprising that our hospitals are teeming with people whose diseases are a result of smoking, drinking, and overeating?

Western-style democracies pride themselves on freedom: freedom to assemble, freedom to elect legislators, and freedom to interact in the marketplace. Indeed, capitalism and democracy seem to go hand in hand.

But freedom to choose is accompanied by the freedom to make bad choices.

And in the current marketplace, filled with companies that make a practice of studying human behavior, freedom too often leads to harm and misery.

(and obesity and type 2 diabetes and fatty liver and hip replacement surgeries and gastric bypass operantions and…)

Proctor & Gamble owns multimillion-dollar functional (fMRI) MRI machines, which enable the company to visualize which part of your brain “lights up” when you view its products.

Psychology and sociology PhDs leave academia to work for industry or Madison Avenue, where they can employ their knowledge of human behavior in the service of selling consumer goods.

We might think that we’re impervious to television ads or supermarket sales schemes.

But marketers and sales experts know more about our behavior than we do, and they know how to influence us without our awareness.

So, how do you defeat all of the psychological tricks that the food producers and marketing gurus are throwing at you?

  1. Before you go to the supermarket, decide what food you NEED. (if you’re confused about which foods you NEED, here’s a cheat sheet – vegetables, non-processed protein, fruit, non-inflammatory fats, spices, herbs)
  2. Write out your food list.
  3. And then stick to that list

That’s it.

Note – If you are interested in learning more about how the free market isn’t as free as you think it is, check out Free Market Madness by Dr. Peter Ubel. Amazon Indigo Barnes & Noble

HIIT v.s. Type 2 Diabetes

hiit-vs-type-2-diabetes

In this study, researchers have shown that “only a few minutes of high intensity interval exercise, performed over two weeks, significantly improves glycemic control in sedentary young adults”.

the very definition of sedentary
the very definition of sedentary

In contrast, previous studies have shown that:

  • Long term (2-16 months) aerobic exercise programs have produced mixed results. While there were improvements in the insulin profile, the same can’t be said for the blood sugar profile. This indicates only a partial improvement in insulin action.
  • Long term strength training programs (hypertrophy style programs) produced results similar to the cardio programs.
  • Walking based interventions have also be unsuccessful with groups trying to prevent the risk factors of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

The Science

The HIIT effect on blood sugar and insulin response
The HIIT effect on blood sugar and insulin response

The low volume, high intensity interval training utilized in the current study significantly reduced both glucose AUC (area under curve) by (-12%) and insulin AUC by (-37%), with a sustained improved insulin action until at least day three after the last exercise session.

And these improvements required a minimal time commitment from the test subjects.

The HIIT Program

  • 2 weeks in duration
  • 6 workouts (3 per week)
  • 17-26 minutes per workout
  • 2-3 minutes of sprints per workout
  • Average caloric burn – 250 per workout (note – the researcher only measured caloric burn during the session – there was no mention of EPOC)

In comparison, the long term cardio programs I mentioned earlier required the test subjects to spend hours on an exercise bike, sweat out between 2000 to 3000 calories per week…and still receive inferior results.

So let’s compare:

HIIT Workout

  • Less time spent exercising
  • Better results

Cardio Workout

  • More time spent exercising
  • Inferior results

Conclusion

HIIT workouts produce significant improvements in glycemic contol and are a superior method for helping sedentary people improve their glycemic control.

Translation: HIIT kicks some serious Type 2 Diabetes butt.

Period.

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Stop Counting Calories

  • They say that a calorie is a calorie.
  • They say that to lose weight, you need to reduce your calories.
  • They say that a calorie of a delicious, yet tiny cheese-burger is equal to a calorie of blueberries or filet mignon or butter or…..

They are WRONG.

They are wrong, because at a very basic level, your body is a collection of billions of individual cells working together to keep their world (that world is you) running in tip-top shape. And at that very basic level, whatever you choose to eat and drink has a profound impact upon the health of those cells.

And when you eat or drink foods that do not provide the nutrients that those cells need, they complain. They complain to the cells in charge of making you hungry.

And at first, those cells in charge of making you hungry ignore the complaints of those nutrient-deficient cells. But, as time goes by and more and more cells show up to complain about the Slurpees and pizza slices that you keep feeding them, the “make you hungry” cells get off their butts and get to work.

And, when they are motivated, those cells are very, very good at their jobs. And when they are very, very good at their jobs, you WILL get hungry. And you WILL give in to that hunger.

Resistance is futile….You can count all the calories that you want.

Your willpower is no match for the hormones and brain chemicals and various other Weapons of Excessive Hunger that your body will unleash upon itself.

The Solution?

  • Stop thinking about calories
  • Start thinking about nutrients.
  • Stop sacrificing the health of your heart and brain at the altar of your taste buds
  • Don’t buy another diet book or fat burner

And start eating the foods that you know are good for your body.

 

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Fat Britannia

fat-britannia

Back in the 90s, the U.K. was Cool Britannia.

No longer.

Today, I re-brand the U.K. as Fat Britannia.

cool-fat-britannia

And before any of you Brits start dropping F-Bombs and trying to head butt me through your computer, give me a chance to prove my point.

Fat Britannia: The Proof is in the Pudding…and chips and curries and…

According to the new EuroAspire survey,

  • Britons at high risk of heart attack are ‘in denial’ and ignoring doctors’ advice to change their lifestyle.
  • More than three-quarters are obese or overweight – with dangerously big stomachs – and most smokers have refused to give up.
  • More than half have out-of-control blood pressure and 40 per cent have high cholesterol levels.
  • Two out of three refuse to accept they are more at risk than other people their age – despite being given warnings by their GP and lots of prescription drugs.

This means they have a one in five chance of suffering a fatal heart attack unless they change their lifestyle.

But, they’re not changing their lifestyles.

  • Almost 80 per cent of those who were smokers at the time had not given up despite smoking being a major cause of heart disease.
  • Four out of five high risk patients were overweight or obese with dangerously large waists containing deposits of abdominal fat that raise the chances of diabetes and heart problems.
  • Two out of five patients said they did not exercise and had no plans to do so.
  • Around half had diabetes, including seven per cent whose condition was detected when they were taking part in the survey and having various tests.
  • 57 per cent of patients had raised blood pressure despite three-quarters of them being on anti-hypertensive drugs.
  • And last but not least, 40 per cent of patients had high blood cholesterol, even though the UK uses more statin drugs than any other European country except Italy.

And still, they continue to live in denial.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they did not think their risk of heart disease was higher than a person in the general population of the same age and sex, including 16 per cent who thought it was lower.

Note: ALL of these people have been told by their doctors that they ARE at high risk of dying because of their lifestyles.

Professor David Wood, an expert in cardiovascular medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, said the survey raised concerns that many Britons were in denial about their heart health.

“This is high risk population, diagnosed by their GPs and started on treatment”.

“They should be managed much more rigorously and their lifestyle should be changing”.

Should be changing…but it isn’t.

And here’s where it gets interesting…for me at least.

Do the non-fat Brits have a moral/fiscal responsibility to help/coerce/force the fat Brits into changing their obesity-inducing lifestyles?

  • Do we have the moral obligation to look after others who can’t or won’t look after themselves?

When it comes to mental health issues, we have already accepted that obligation.

  • The Mental health Act of 1983 instructed British doctors to force feed anorexics over the age of 18.

It should be noted that, for force feeding to occur, the anorexic patient must be shown to be incapable of making rational decisions about their condition.

So, is it rational to live in a manner that causes:

And what about the cost of obesity to the rest of society?

  • Does the British taxpayer have to sit back and watch their taxes skyrocket as obesity drives up the cost of their nationalized health care spending?

Around the world, governments have taxed and legislated cigarette smokers almost to the point of extinction.

cigarette-taxes

Why not obesity?

So, here’s my question to you?

What do we do to stop obesity?

  • Tax it to death?
  • Free gym memberships?
  • Legislate it to death?
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle?
  • Subsidize health food?
  • Free weight loss surgeries?
  • Nothing, it’s none of our damn business?

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A Better Way to Health and Weight Loss

In yesterday’s post, I talked about how our Western diet and lifestyle has caused an explosion of obesity, diabetes and various cardio-respiratory diseases.

I also talked about how the health experts of the last 50 years have continued to feed us the same advice even in the face of our growing obesity and chronic disease epidemic.

And after looking at all of that data, I wondered: why do we continue to listen to these experts with their food pyramids and low fat diets and aerobic exercise programs?

We must be insane.

Albert Einsten once said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

And that’s what we have been doing. The same advice year in and year out. Even as we get fatter and fatter…we listen to the same advice.

I ended yesterday’s post by saying that there had to be a better way. Here’s my idea.

A Better Way to Health and Weight Loss

In the past few years, web 2.0 technology has allowed large groups of people to collaborate and combine their talents to develop new technology, carry out a specific design task , or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data.

This phenomena has a variety of names: crowdsourcing, open source, collective intelligence, wikinomics, social commerce and crowdcasting.

Examples of this activity include:

So, what does this have to do with losing weight and getting fit?

  • Imagine if you could harness the collective intelligence and experience of each and every dieter, obesity expert, personal trainer, weight loss guru, bariatric doctor, psychiatrist, behavioral therapist and obesity researcher.
  • And imagine if you could direct all of that intelligence and experience towards finding a better solution to our twin dilemmas of obesity and chronic disease.

Instead of an environment where snake oil salesmen and government approved health experts sell false hope to the fat and desperate, imagine an environment where all concerned parties can come together to find a solution.

I know, I know, it sounds a little socialist to me too. But, in fact, we are already seeing the first steps toward this concept.

Websites like SparkPeople have created massive communities of people interesting in getting fit, lean and healthy. And those communities are getting larger by the day.

If you look at the numbers, SparkPeople sees 2.1 million American viewers per month.

sparkpeople-data

By comparison, my teeny tiny little blog sees almost 40,000 Global viewers per month.

healthhabits-visits-per-month

Obviously, SparkPeople is doing something right. In fact, they’re doing lots right. But, they’re not perfect.

Earlier today, I entered an imaginary client into their system

The client was a 255lb. man who wanted to lose 40 lbs. He was also concerned about type two diabetes and hypertension.

This is what they recommended:

  • A diet high in starchy carbs & low in fat
  • A bodybuilding style resistance program
  • A moderate cardio-vascular program
  • Stretching at the end of the workout

Same old, same old. Repeating the same diet & fitness advice that hasn’t been working for decades.

Can someone please stop the insanity!!!

  • Where’s the HIIT training?
  • Where’s the Paleo or Mediterranean or Zone eating philosophies?
  • Where’s the mental/emotional strategies designed to keep people from breaking their diets or skipping their workouts?
  • Where’s the discussion of supplements?

I don’t think that the folks at SparkPeople have any idea of what their site could be.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? Any website gurus out there eager to build a kick ass health and fitness community/wiki?

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Fat AND Healthy?

Image: Threadless: The Last Piece
Image: Threadless: The Last Piece

Fat and Healthy? Well, sort of.

According to a new study, these sumo wrestlers have got a great reason to fight for that last piece of sushi.

Researchers have found that diets rich in Omega 3 fatty acids helped to protect their obese test subjects from the liver damage and insulin resistance that goes hand in hand with their bulging waistlines.

More specifically, it was two specific Omega 3s – protectins and resolvins—that provided the protective effects.

In the study, the researchers studied four groups of mice with an altered gene making them obese and diabetic.

  • Group One was given an Omega-3-enriched diet
  • Group Two was given a control diet.
  • Group Three was given docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Group Four received only the lipid resolvin.

After five weeks, blood serum and liver samples from the test mice were examined.

The mice given the omega-3-rich diet exhibited:

And all of improvements were due to the formation of protectins and resolvins from omega-3 fatty acids.

Conclusion

If you are fat, you need to increase your consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Man Eats Wild - Bear Grylls gets his Omega 3s
Man Eats Wild – Bear Grylls gets his Omega 3s

 

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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore
2-4 Servings
Chicken Cacciatore, in its most traditional form, uses the dark meat of the chicken which is fattier but has more flavor. Nowadays a lot of chefs choose to use a combination of white and dark but in my version I only use the chicken breast as it’s lean protein. The meat is cooked until it literally falls off the bone.
When finished, the dish can be served alone or over either rice or pasta.

RECIPE:
2 x 8 oz skinless chicken breasts on the bone
½ x red pepper, thinly sliced
½ x green pepper, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or as much as you can handle)
1x 28 oz. tin chopped tomatoes
1x lemon, zested
1 cup chicken broth
2 x tbsp olive oil
1x bouquet garni (oregano, thyme, bay leaf)
S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS:
In large soup pot, saute peppers in 1 tbsp olive oil over med-low heat for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, saute for 1 minute.  Add chopped tomatoes, chili flakes, bouquet garni & broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium low heat.
Meanwhile, cut chicken breast in half and season with a pinch S&P on both sides. Preheat medium sauté pan on high heat for 2 minutes.  Once hot, add 1 tbsp olive oil and sear breasts until golden (3 minutes each side). Add to tomato sauce. Partially cover with lid and cook until chicken is very tender (falling apart), approx. 1 hour.
Just before serving add fresh lemon zest and season with S&P to taste.

TIP: Cooking the Cacciatore for too long tends to result in creating a pile of little pieces of chicken which end up having to be fished out of the stew and looses the overall appearance. Not to be confused with the picture below–that’s for the vegetarians.

Seitan Cacciatore

For all of you vegetarians I tried the recipe with Seitan and substituted veg. for chicken broth.
Seitan is made from wheat and has has little in common with flour or bread. Also known as “wheat meat”, “wheat gluten” or simply “gluten”, seitan becomes surprisingly similar to the look and texture of meat when cooked, making it a popular meat substitute. Seitan is also high in protein, making it a popular protein source for vegetarians. To my surprise it worked great although I’d recommend cooking it for 20 minutes longer to absorb the flavor.

Let me know how you get on with this recipe. If you have any requests or questions, please leave a comment! To see more of my recipes and learn about me and my healthy food philosophies head over to thehealthyirishman.com.

The Healthy Irishman Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

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Zucchini Wrapped Wild Halibut

Zucchini wrapped Halibut

This is one for all you healthy romantics who want to make a big impression. Though this recipe isn’t difficult you may need to put on your patience cap. Believe me, it looks harder than it really is,   but the ‘wow’ factor will definitely earn you brownie points.

Serves 4

RECIPE:
4 x 6oz portions wild halibut
2-3 large zucchini – thinly sliced lengthwise 1/8″ thick
1/2 lemon – zested
S&P
olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Begin by washing and drying the zucchini. Top and tail them and very carefully slice them lengthwise either with a sharp knife or, as I have, a Chinese mandoline. You can pick one up in an Asian market or a kitchen/home supply store. It’ll make this task a lot easier. Once all the zucchini are sliced, set aside.

Lay the fish on a cutting board and season with S&P and sprinkle of lemon zest. Rub the seasonings into the fish very gently.
To assemble halibut:

On a clean surface lay 4-5 zucchini slices, slightly over lapping and parallel with each other. Place seasoned halibut on one end perpendicular, across the zucchini. The idea here is to wrap the fish in the zucchini. Fold one end of the zucchini under the fish and roll the halibut over thus keeping the halibut neatly wrapped so that the ends of the zucchini overlap each other making that side the bottom.

Preheat large non-stick pan on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Holding the halibut securely, lay the bottom of the fish in the pan first. The objective here is to seal the bottom thus fastening the zucchini around the halibut. Sear for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Gently flip fish over on all sides until nicely browned. Remove to foiled oven tray.

Preheat oven to 420F.
To finish, pop fish in oven for 4-5 minutes to cook through.

This can be done slightly ahead of time and refrigerated until your significant other arrives, just be sure to remove the fish from the fridge 1 hour head of cooking so it comes up to room temperature.

Serving suggestion:
Saute French Beans and for a little added spice, try some wasabi mash potatoes. Make mash as usual and add enough wasabi paste to your own personal taste. Don’t go nuts with it as you’re having a romantic evening, use with caution.
Now that you’ve made the big splash, why stop there? Go for the gold with some Chocolate dipped strawberries.

Let me know how you get on with this recipe. And if you have any requests or questions, please leave a comment! To see more of my recipes and learn about me and my healthy food philosophies head over to thehealthyirishman.com.

The Healthy Irishman Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup: Now with 33% More MERCURY

homer-donut-high-fructose-corn-syrup-mercury

I am almost starting to feel sympathetic for the folks over at the Corn Refiners Association.

cornFor years and years, we (the government) have been encouraging them to find new markets for their highly subsidized product. And boy oh boy, they have done a heck of a job.

Just look at all of the different products that are “hooked on corn”.

And how do we repay them for their ingenuity?

I’ll tell you how:

By bitching and complaining about HFCS and it’s links to obesity and depression and diabetes and high blood pressure and dementia and Alzheimer’s and coronary artery disease and anxiety and…..

What a bunch of spoiled babies!

It’s not like they found mercury in the HFCS.

Ooops

They just found mercury in the HFCS.

The Story

washington-post

Study Finds High Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

Wednesday, January 28, 2009; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

Mercury is toxic in all its forms.

Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered.

We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

And what do the “corn people” have to say in rebuttal?

MERCURY STUDY OUTDATED; BASED ON DISCONTINUED TECHNOLOGY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2009

CONTACT: Audrae Erickson, President
(202) 331-1634

WASHINGTON, DC – The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) today challenged the relevance and accuracy of information published by Environmental Health asserting that certain tests found measurable levels of mercury in high fructose corn syrup.

This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance. Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances,” stated Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association. “For more than 150 years, corn wet millers have been perfecting the process of refining corn to make safe ingredients for the American food supply.”

“It is important that Americans are provided accurate, science-based information. They should know that high fructose corn syrup is safe,” continued Erickson. “In 1983, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally listed high fructose corn syrup as safe for use in food and reaffirmed that decision in 1996.”

“High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets FDA’s requirements for the use of the term ‘natural.” Erickson said.

Hmmmm

That seems odd.

The Washington Post tells the world that High Fructose Corn Syrup is loaded with toxic mercury and all the Corn Refiners Assn. can say in their defense is that “This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance“.

It APPEARS to be based on outdated information?

That doesn’t sound very positive, does it?

It’s almost as if they didn’t want to come right out and say that HFCS is 100% Mercury free.

Now, why wouldn’t they want to say that?

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HIIT Training: The Cure for Insulin Resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Disease and Obesity?

Art by Bill Hall - billhall.com
Art by Bill Hall - billhall.com

It’s official:

HIIT training is AWESOME!!!

Researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland have concluded that:

The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only 250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects  is  remarkable.

This novel  time-efficient  training paradigm can  be  used  as  a  strategy  to  reduce  metabolic  risk  factors  in  young  and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere  to  time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.

And for those of you that don’t know, here are the risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome that HIIT training is so effective at reducing:

  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen)
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar)
  • Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood)
  • Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)

People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes.

It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it.

And I am 100% sure that you don’t want it.

metabolic-syndrome

So, what do you need to do?

  1. Go to your doctor and get checked out – Max intensity sprints combined with a sky high B.P. is just asking for trouble.
  2. Go through my HIIT resources
  3. Find an exercise bike, set of stairs, outdoor track or even a carpeted area in your home to do burpees
  4. Schedule 3 x 15 minute HIIT workouts per week
  5. Get HIITing

And I am serious about the doctor. I don’t mean to sound like your mother, but a visit to your doctor at least once a year for a check-up is a very, very, very good idea.

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References

HIIT Training: The Cure for Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity?

It’s official:

HIIT training is AWESOME!!!

Researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland have concluded that:

The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only 250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects  is  remarkable.

This novel  time-efficient  training paradigm can  be  used  as  a  strategy  to  reduce  metabolic  risk  factors  in  young  and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere  to  time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.

Art by Bill Hall - billhall.com
Art by Bill Hall – billhall.com

And for those of you that don’t know, here are the risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome that HIIT training is so effective at reducing:

  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen)
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar)
  • Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood)
  • Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)

 

People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes.

It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it.

And I am 100% sure that you don’t want it.

metabolic-syndrome

So, what do you need to do?

  1. Go to your doctor and get checked out – Max intensity sprints combined with a sky high B.P. is just asking for trouble.
  2. Go through my HIIT resources
  3. Find an exercise bike, set of stairs, outdoor track or even a carpeted area in your home to do burpees
  4. Schedule 3 x 15 minute HIIT workouts per week
  5. Get HIITing

And I am serious about the doctor. I don’t mean to sound like your mother, but a visit to your doctor at least once a year for a check-up is a very, very, very good idea.

References

Is Your Diet Making You Stoopid?

big-bowl-of-stupid

New research shows that type 2 diabetics suffer from impaired cognition.

More specifically, type 2 diabetics show significant impairment in the areas of:

  • Executive Functioning, and
  • Speed

executive-functionExecutive Functioning

Executive function refers to the business of making decisions and carrying them out, as when one is deliberately trying to solve a problem.

Executive functions include identifying problems, making decisions, planning, staying focused on a task, adapting flexibly to changing situations, controlling impulses, and regulating emotions and behavior.

Executive functions are important for moment-to-moment activities, and for activities that take place over longer periods.

Example:

Let’s say a typically overweight type 2 diabetic reads about this study and decides that he/she had better do something about their condition.

So, they decide to change their diet and get back into shape.

In order to solve this weight loss / health problem, they need the “executive function” part of their mind to co-ordinate all of steps required for a successful transformation.

  • Identify Problems – Their diet has resulted in diabetes and impaired brain function.
  • Making Decisions – Do they want to change?
  • Planning – What do they need to do to cure their type 2 diabetes? Research & plan implementation
  • Staying focused on a task – Most New Year’s Resolutions have already been broken.
  • Adapting to changing situations – What happens when weight loss stops?
  • Controlling impulses – Can you resist your sugar cravings?
  • Regulating emotions and behavior – Sugar withdrawal is not a pretty sight. Think “temper tantrum”

rubiks-cubeSpeed

Speed refers to, well…speed.

How…fast…can..you…think?

Conclusions

According to the researchers: “Speed and executive functioning are thought to be among the major components of cognitive health.”

With Type 2 diabetes a growing concern among adults of all ages, but especially those above age 30, lead researcher Roger Dixon recommends that we:

  • Check the cognitive status of people with more advanced or severe cases
  • Ensure that diet and medications are effectively employed in all early diagnosed cases; and
  • Enact possible cognitive monitoring or training programs for people with diabetes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new cases of diabetes nearly doubled in the past decade, with nearly one new case for every 100 adults between the years 2005 and 2007.

And if that wasn’t bad enough…

Diabetes is a known risk factor for late-life neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Although the deficits detected in the current sample were not clinically significant, they appear (according to subsequent research by the authors) to foreshadow additional deficits. Only further study would reveal whether it’s possible to “connect the dots” between mild early deficits in speed and executive function, and later signs of a progressive cognitive impairment.

donutsMy Recommendations

  • Stop eating processed carbs
  • Stop drinking processed carbs
  • Eat real food

For more specific tips, take a look at the links below.

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Your Anti-Senility Prescription

senility

This post is for everyone out there with a loved one over the age of 50.

.New research shows that our lifestyle choices (nutrition and physical activity) have a powerful effect on age related cognitive health.

Translation: Senility is mostly preventable with diet and exercise.

And guess what?

The same lifestyle choices that have created an epidemic of obesity in the Western world are also responsible for much of the dementia in today’s senior citizens.

Here’s the science:

Study #1

Researchers from the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain found that maintaining steady blood sugar levels, even in the absence of disease (diabetes, metabolic syndrome) is an important strategy for preserving cognitive health.

For many of us, senior moments are a normal part of aging. Such lapses in memory, according to this new research, can be blamed, on rising blood glucose levels as we age.

Whether through physical exercise, diet or drugs, our research suggests that improving glucose metabolism could help some of us avert the cognitive slide that occurs in many of us as we age,” reported lead investigator Scott A. Small, M.D.

Although it is widely known that the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease cause damage to the hippocampus, the area of the brain essential for memory and learning, studies have suggested that it is also vulnerable to normal aging.

Until now, the underlying causes of age-related hippocampal dysfunction have remained largely unknown.

In previous studies, Dr. Small et al had discovered that decreasing brain function in the dentate gyrus region of the hippocampus is the main contributor of normal age related cognitive decline.

In this new study, researchers used medical imaging devices to “help us better understand the basic mechanisms behind hippocampal dysfunction in the aged.”

Their research looked at measures that typically change during aging, like:

  • rising blood sugar,
  • body mass index,
  • cholesterol and
  • insulin levels.

The research found that decreasing activity in the dentate gyrus only correlated with levels of blood glucose.

“Showing for the first time that blood glucose selectively targets the dentate gyrus is not only our most conclusive finding, but it is the most important for ‘normal’ aging- that is hippocampal dysfunction that occurs in the absence of any disease states. There have been many proposed reasons for age-related hippocampal decline; this new study suggests that we may now know one of them,” said Dr. Small.

Conclusion

Control your blood sugar and prevent senility

How?

Read this and this and this and this.

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Study #2

In this study, researchers found that as we age, a slow, chronic starvation of the brain appears to be one of the major triggers of Alzheimer’s disease.

When the brain doesn’t get enough glucose, “a process is launched that ultimately produces the sticky clumps of protein that appear to be a cause of Alzheimer’s”. During this process, a key brain protein (eIF2alpha) increases the production of an enzyme which, in turn, flips a switch that produces the sticky clumps of protein.

And what causes this reduction in blood glucose to the brain?

Cardiovascular Disease

And how do we prevent cardiovascular disease?

But don’t take my word for it.

“This finding is significant because it suggests that improving blood flow to the brain might be an effective therapeutic approach to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s,” said Vassar, a professor of cell and molecular biology at the Feinberg School.

A simple preventive strategy people can follow to improve blood flow to the brain is getting exercise, reducing cholesterol and managing hypertension.

“If people start early enough, maybe they can dodge the bullet,” Vassar said.

For people who already have symptoms, vasodilators, which increase blood flow, may help the delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain. It also is possible that drugs could be designed to block the eIF2alpha protein that begins the formation of the protein clumps, known as amyloid plaques.

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  1. EurekAlert
  2. EurekAlert

Insulin, Insulin, Insulin

It’s official:

Hell has frozen over.

The MSM (Main Stream Medical) Community has actually come around and agreed that diet and lifestyle changes have been successful in preventing Type 2 Diabetes in high risk populations.

  • Not DRUGS.
  • Diet and Lifestyle.

And wait, it gets better.

They are also beginning to realize that anti-hyperglycemic medications (designed to improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes) may not be the cardiovascular superstars that their manufacturers make them out to be.

sugar-lips

That realization is growing thanks to research like this:

Effect of a Low–Glycemic Index
or a High–Cereal Fiber Diet on Type 2 Diabetes

David J. A. Jenkins, MD is the man credited with developing the Glycemic Index.

The goal of his new study was to assess the effect of a low–glycemic index diet in an adequately powered study of patients with type 2 diabetes controlled by oral medications with HbA1c concentrations between 6.5% and 8.0%. At these levels, a reduction in glycemia and associated risk factors for diabetes complications are likely to be observed more clearly.

He selected a high–cereal fiber diet treatment for its suggested health benefits for the comparison so that the potential value of carbohydrate foods could be emphasized equally for both high–cereal fiber and low–glycemic index interventions.

And here are the low-glycemic-vs-high-fiber-diet-menus.

These are the only differences between the two diets:

  • High Fiber v.s Low Glycemic
  • Weetabix v.s Red River cereal
  • Whole wheat bread v.s Quinoa bread
  • Margarine v.s Peanut butter
  • Cantaloupe v.s orange
  • Brown rice v.s Spaghetti, al dente
  • Grapes v.s. Apple
  • Baked potato v.s Lentils
  • Margarine v.s Tomato sauce
  • Whole wheat toast v.s Finland rye pita

The Results

Dr. Jenkins was most interested in the dietary effects on A1c blood levels (A1c reflects long term blood glucose levels)

After 6 months, the low GI group lowered their A1c by 0.50% while the high fiber group lowered it by only 0.18%

Additionally, The low GI group saw an increase in their HDL (the “good” cholesterol), while the high fiber group saw a decrease.

Their conclusion:

In patients with type 2 diabetes, 6-month treatment with a low–glycemic index diet resulted in moderately lower HbA1c levels compared with a high–cereal fiber diet….or in English

Low-glycemic index diets may be useful as part of the strategy to improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes taking (glucose-lowering) medications

My conclusion:

It’s the insulin, stupid.

  • Control your insulin and you regain some control over the chronic diseases and conditions so many of our neighbors are plagued with – obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc…
  • Control your insulin by controlling your carbohydrates.
  • Control your insulin by following a Mediterranean style diet or a Paleo / Caveman diet or an Atkins / low carbs diet.
  • Or, control your insulin by replacing processed foods with natural, home-made versions.
  • Or, control your insulin by eating less bread
  • Or…

 

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Is Sugar Addictive?

Researchers from Princeton University have found that SUGAR is ADDICTIVE

The Research

Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction.

They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal.

His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture.

i love sugar

“If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts,” Hoebel said. “Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviors in sugar-bingeing rats in a number of ways.”

The Sad, Sad Story of Dr. Hoebel’s Sugar Addicted Lab Rats

As part of his experiment, Dr. Hoebel got a bunch of lab rats hooked on the white stuff. They would binge on that sweet powder like it was going out of style.

Then Dr. Hoebel would take away their sugar for a prolonged period of time….the bastard.

Then, like any good pusher, he returned with a brand new supply of that junk. And the rats went nuts. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. Their motivation for sugar had grown.

“In this case, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder,” Hoebel said.

And it gets worse. He got them drunk.

The rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function.

These functions served as “gateways” to other paths of destructive behavior, such as increased alcohol intake. And, after receiving a dose of amphetamine normally so minimal it has no effect, they became significantly hyperactive.

The increased sensitivity to the psychostimulant is a long-lasting brain effect that can be a component of addiction, Hoebel said.

Dr. Hoebel’s research has been submitted to the Journal of Nutrition for publication.

And the rats are serving time for the break and enters they committed in order to feed their addictions. Dr. Hoebel; I hope that you are proud of yourself.

But seriously, SUGAR is ADDICTIVE

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Mainstream Medicine Is Starting To Wake Up

fat-belly
NOT a self portrait

Yesterday, media outlets around the world ( here, here and here) discussed a new scientific study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,  which reaffirmed the notion that a large waist can almost double your risk of premature death.

This shouldn’t come as news to anyone who takes an active interest in their health.

Us health nuts have known for years that visceral fat is a killer.

Because of this, I usually just skim these articles to make sure that I am not missing any new breakthroughs.

Surprisingly, in this case, I did find something interesting.

But it wasn’t the research.

It was the response to the research.

I noticed two things:

  1. The Main Stream Media can be pretty stupid, and
  2. Doctors have drastically improved their understanding of how our lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition, thoughts and feelings) impacts our health

So, why do I think that the MSM is stupid?

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To explain this, I need to tell you a little story.

Yesterday afternoon, a client of mine asked me if I had heard about this new study which claimed that having love handles doubled your risk of premature death.

Love handles?

I told him that he was be mistaken.

Belly fat or visceral fat is bad news.

But love handles?

love-handles-vs-visceral-fat

Love handles may not look very sexy, but they aren’t a killer.

But he was pretty adamant and pointed me to this BBC headline:

Love handles’ raise death risk

Whoops, the BBC screwed up.

The study looks at waist circumference and visceral fat, not love handles.

Love handles, in colloquial or slang speech, are a layer of fat that is deposited around a person’s midsection, especially visible on the sides over the abdominal external oblique muscle. They are called “love handles” because they provide a soft place to rest one’s hand while one’s arm is around a person, or perhaps because they can serve as places to hold on while copulating.

So, before anyone else starts thinking that their love handles are out to get them:

Love Handles: Squishy / Not a Killer

Visceral Fat: Less squishy / Big Time Health Risk

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Interesting Observation # 2

Doctors have drastically improved their understanding of how our lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition, thoughts and feelings) impacts our health.

Just check out this video.

What I want you to notice is the doctor’s closing statement.

As he discusses treatment options for patients with a large waist (caused by visceral fat), he says:

“We can ask them to consider exercising more, reducing their carbohydrate intake, taking more fruit and vegetables in their diet, and by that way, we can help them reduce the risk and live longer and happier.”

He doesn’t say:

He says:

And considering that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates, I think it’s fair to assume that the good doctor is telling us to reduce our consumptions of GRAINS.

Tell me it’s not true.

Eat less bread, corn, pasta and rice…how will I ever survive?

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