Researchers Find a Link Between Excess Dietary Sugar and Breast Cancer

 

Researchers at the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center have found an alarming link between high amounts of dietary sugar and an increased risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs.

And we’re not talking crazy-no-one-would-ever-eat-that-much-sugar levels of sugar consumption

In the study, the researchers found that lab mice who ate sucrose (table sugar) comparable to levels of the typical Western diet showed increased tumor growth and metastasis.

Previous research have shown this link between dietary sugar consumption and breast cancer development…with inflammation thought to be the cause.

In this new study, the researchers were able to identify sugar’s effect on enzymatic signaling pathway known as 12-LOX and a related fatty-acid called 12-HETE which is causing the cancer growth.

“The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved,” said co-author Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine. “We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”

Cohen added that the data suggested that dietary sugar induces 12-LOX signaling to increase risks for breast cancer development and metastasis.

What does this mean to you?

  1. This science is brand new, so there is no need to freak out and ban all sugar from your home.
  2. Even though it’s early days for this research, we have seen other studies linking excess sugar consumption and cancer, so while you probably don’t need to purge all sugar from your diet, it may be a good idea to at least limit your sugar consumption.
  3. Maybe avoid the Breast Cancer Sugar Cookies.

Reference

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John Oliver Bitch Slaps the Sugar Industrial Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because when a guy like John Oliver can…

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

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

And as they say, laughter is the best medicine.

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Truvia is NOT Stevia…but it is a fantastic insecticide

Wait a second. How can Truvia be safe for me to eat and yet it kills fruit flies like Dexter Morgan on crystal meth???

According to study authors Sean O’Donnell and Daniel Marenda, “during an examination of the effects of commonly used non-nutritive sweeteners on the longevity of Drosophila melanogaster (aka the Fruit Fly), they discovered that erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, was toxic when ingested by fruit flies as compared to similar concentrations of nutritive sugar controls (sucrose, corn syrup) and other non-nutritive sweeteners.”

  • In their study, they found that fruit flies raised in tubes containing Truvia (see above), lived for an average of 5.8 days.
  • The average fruit fly lives 45 to 60 days.

They also found that Truvia-fed flies had difficulty in climbing up a small vial, indicating impaired motor function.

The problem, the team discovered, lies in an ingredient present in Truvia but not in the other six sweeteners: erythritol, a commonly used food additive approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

This is the same erythritol that has been found to be safe for rats, dogs, humans, etc in previous studies referenced by the fine people at Coca-Cola and Cargill.

What does all this science this mean???

  • If you’re a fly, this is bad news.
  • If you’re a human who hates fruit flies buzzing around the bananas on your kitchen counter, it’s good news. According to the science, we now have evidence that erythritol baits could be used as effective insecticide against fruit flies.

However, if you’re a consumer of food products containing Truvia, you have a choice to make.

One of the core assumptions of modern toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” Drinking a glass of water is good for you – Drinking a barrel of water is toxic to you. Conversely, the most acutely lethal toxin known to science is the botulinum toxin – the same toxin used millions of times around the world to get rid of wrinkles.

Based upon this assumption (and the safety studies mentioned previously), Erythritol, and by extension Truvia, is…

  1. Safe to humans
  2. Deadly to fruit flies

However, not every scientist in the world believes in the infallibility of “the dose makes the poison.”

  • Some scientists question whether doses that are “safe for human consumption” are equally safe for babies in the womb.

For example, this study found that a dose of atrazine (a commonly used herbicide) 20,000 times lower than the lowest level known to affect adult frogs caused 20% of tadpoles to become hermaphroditic in adulthood.

And it’s not just the effect of toxins on our little frog babies. Not all toxins follow the “normal” monotonic curve in which the response to a dose of toxin increases with the size of the dose. Some toxins respond as per the non-monotonic curves pictured below.

For example, this study found that lower doses of BPA (bisphenol A) can have larger impacts upon the proliferation of prostate tumors in adult male humans than higher doses. Weird but true.

At the end of the day, what does all of this mean to you???

  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol?
  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
  • Should you buy a jar of Truvia and leave it open in your kitchen to kill fruit flies?

Me?

  • I would rather drink water
  • If I had to choose a calorie-free sweetener, I would choose stevia over Truvia
  • I would also advise all potential parents to follow my lead.

What about you?

  • What do you think of the research?
  • Do you consume Truvia?
  • Will you continue to consume Truvia?

Reference

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Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

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

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

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

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

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

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

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

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

Reference

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Celsius: The First Healthy Energy Drink?

What comes to mind when I say: ENERGY DRINK?

Personally…. I think of the idiot frat boys who live two blocks down the street from me who like to pound Red Bulls & vodka on a Wednesday afternoon and do stupid stuff on their skateboards

I also think of this article – Do Energy Drinks Improve Athletic Performance and Promote Weight Loss?

So….when the folks at Celsius contacted me about trying out some samples of their product, my initial & immediate response was to say “no thanks” and get back to work.

However….in their email, they mentioned that their product was “natural”. And when I think of “energy drinks”, I don’t think natural. I think chemicals and artificial sweeteners and the aforementioned idiot frat boys and gym rats and people who don’t give a crap about their health.

Which probably makes a ton of sense from a business perspective.

But what about us health & fitness geeks?

There are some afternoons when my energy is drained from long hours of work and my brain is having a tough time writing blog posts that don’t suck swamp water.

On days like that… I can really use a dose of liquid energy. But I want that energy drink to be healthy & chemical free.

So I checked out the Celsius ingredients:

As you can see, Celsius contains the 3 big “energy drink” ingredients – Caffeine, Taurine and Glucuronolactone.

However, unlike their competitors, Celsius also contains:

  • Ginger extract,
  • Green Tea leaf extract,
  • Your daily dose of Vit C and,
  • A whole whack of B Vitamins

Equally important to me were the ingredients that weren’t included:

Instead of that crap, Celsius sweetens it’s drinks with sucralose and/or stevia.

Based on all that, I decided to give up my afternoon espresso for a week to beta-test some Celsius samples.

And after seven days of taste testing…. and it turns out that I like this stuff.

  • It definitely gave me a mid-afternoon boost,
  • Without any jitteriness
  • It tasted pretty good – some flavors better than others
  • No afternoon coffee breath

Conclusion

Celsius markets to people who:

  1. Want the buzz of an energy drink,
  2. Is “proven” to reduce body-fat, and
  3. Is HEALTHY.

And while I’m not too blown away by the -100 calorie claim, I can honestly say that Celsius provides:

  1. A very un-jittery boost in energy,
  2. Tastes pretty darn good,
  3. Has a bunch of useful micronutrients
  4. Isn’t full of harmful chemicals

And because I love you guys so much, I talked the Celsius rep into doing a giveaway of a bunch of Celsius product. Stay tuned for the details.

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

I Have a Bad Case of Bread Head :(

Last night was my wife’s birthday.

As part of the celebration, I agreed to make a decidedly non-Paleo meal consisting of the following:

  • Her favorite pasta recipe that I used to make for her in my pre-Paleo days.
  • Homemade garlic pan bread swimming in butter
  • Caesar salad
  • Wine
  • Caramel Crunch ice cream

Needless to say…I awoke this morning with a brutal case of “bread head”.

  • A thumping headache stretching across my forehead
  • Stuffed sinuses
  • Achy joints
  • Puffy eyes and face
  • And a craving for starchy carbs that you would not believe

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Beware the BREAD HEAD!!!!!

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

What is MGmin LDL cholesterol?

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

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

Or does it?

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

And that ain’t good.

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

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

And that, most definitely, ain’t good.

So, where do we go from here?

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

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Reference

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THOR vs Dr Pepper

Q: Whaddaya get when you combine an Asgardian superhero with an unfortunate Hollywood product placement agreement?

A: You get an obese superhero with depressed testosterone levels, Type 2 diabetes and an unquenchable thirst for Dr Pepper.

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Reference

Beverage Industry Bitch Slaps the Soda Tax

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

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

And that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Carbohydrates and Chronic Kidney Disease

Studying data collected from 2600 participants, researchers have found that:

  1. A diet high in “energy-dense, nutrient-poor sources of carbohydrates” results in a significantly increased risk of incident chronic kidney disease.
  2. Conversely, the higher your intake of cereal fiber, the lower your risk of CKD.

So, once again, we have scientific proof that eating a diet of pie, donuts, cake, cookies, pizza, chips, nachos, soda, bread, ice cream, etc…results in your health going down the toilet.

And just in case you have any loved ones who thrive on this sort of  Homer Simpson-esque diet, keep in mind that many people are not diagnosed with CKD until they lave lost much of their kidney function and that there is no cure for CKD.

Untreated, it usually progresses to end-stage renal disease.

Many people are not diagnosed with chronic kidney disease until they have lost much of their kidney function.

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. Untreated, it usually progresses to end-stage renal disease.

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Reference

New York City vs Sugar

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

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

So here’s my question for you:

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

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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.

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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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Starbucks Trenta is a Breakthrough in Human Obesity

Starting May 3, Starbucks is finally getting serious about their commitment to America’s obesity epidemic.

After realizing that their 700 calorie Venti Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha wasn’t enough to push their customers into a higher obesity bracket, Starbucks executives committed an unprecedented amount of time and money into an attempt to create an even larger receptacle for their iced beverages.

And luckily for America’s gastric bypass surgeons, all of that time and money has paid off….with the creation of the new Starbucks Trenta.

  • The Trenta weighs in at a staggering 31 ounces
  • Is unfortunately being made available only for iced coffee, iced tea and iced tea lemonade drinks
  • Is 7 ounces or 29% larger than the current size champeen – the Venti (24 oz cold / 20 oz hot beverages)
  • Raises the calorie count of the Iced peppermint White Chocolate Mocha from 700 up to 904

Virtually ensuring that Starbucks will finally be able to challenge McDonalds for the title of Biggest Culinary Contribution to Worldwide Obesity.

Yay.

And just in case you can’t properly imagine what 31 ounces of iced coffee looks like, the fine folks over at the National Post have prepared the following infographic.

The Trenta is just slightly larger than the size of the average adult human stomach.

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But have no fear….after 3 or 4 Trentas, your stomach will stretch out to accomodate the increased volume.

Yay again.

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NoteSome of you may find it a tad ironic that while writing this post, I have been sitting in a Starbucks drinking a mug of Starbucks coffee (Verona to be exact). To be clear, I love Starbucks coffee. I love the baristas at my local Starbucks (Bloor & Bathurst). I just wish they would stick to making coffee and leave the belly-busting dessert drinks to McDonalds and Dairy Queen.

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Soda Tax v.s. Corn Syrup Subsidy

In a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers have concluded that imposing higher taxes on soda and other sweetened beverages will:

  1. Generate a lot of money for government
  2. Have minimal effect on weight loss for the middle class and,
  3. Have almost no weight loss effect on either those consumers in the highest and lowest income brackets.

Regarding the tax income side of the equation, the researchers estimated that if the federal government were to impose a sales tax that raised the price of sugar sweetended beverages (SSBs) purchased by 20 percent, this would generate about $1.5 billion per year in tax revenue in the U.S.;

If they imposed a tax that raised prices by 40 percent, this would generate $2.5 billion per year, at a cost to the average household of about $28.

And what would America’s soda drinkers get for their $1.5 to $2.5 billion?

According to Dr. Finkelstein et al, results of the study showed that due to the high likelihood of consumers switching from SSBs to other beverages, the effect on total calories consumed would be negligible.

A tax that raises SSB prices by 20 percent generates a daily average reduction of 6.9 calories. Over the course of a year, this equates to a weight loss of no more than 0.7 pounds per household member.

A 40 percent tax would reduce daily calories by 12.5 calories and generate annual weight losses of up to 1.3 pounds per person per year.

The researchers also found that nearly all of the weight losses were generated from middle income groups.

“Higher income groups can afford to pay the tax so they are unaffected, and lower income groups likely avoid the effects of the tax by purchasing generic versions, waiting for sales, buying in bulk, or by other cost-saving strategies,” Finkelstein said.

However, he notes that there may be a secondary benefit of the tax, even for lower income households, if the revenue is used to fund obesity prevention efforts.

Hmmmm, now that may be an idea.

The tax itself may be ineffective in reducing obesity, but if it funds more effective weight loss programs, we may be on to something.

Of course, it still means a new federal tax of between $1.5 and $2.5 billion.

And no one likes new taxes.

But, what if instead of a new tax, the government were to reduce/eliminate the subsidies they give to the farming industry which cause the price of high fructose corn syrup and traditional sugar to be artificially low?

And what if they took all of that corn syrup/sugar subsidy money and redirected it towards healthier food choices and public parks and walkable neighborhoods and public school phys ed programs and…?

What we would/could end up with is:

  • Soda being sold at fair market prices
  • Junk food being sold at fair market prices
  • Healthy food being sold at artificially lowered prices
  • Greater access to healthy lifestyle choices
  • More livable neighborhoods
  • Healthier children
  • Reduced national obesity
  • and No New Taxes

So, what do you think?

Soda taxes or a repeal/reduction of the pro-junk food agriculture subsidies?

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Reference

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5 Minutes of Pleasure

What would you give up for 5 minutes of pleasure?

  • Your pride?
  • Your quality of life?
  • Your self-esteem?
  • Your health?

And before your imagination crawls completely down into the gutter, the 5 minutes of pleasure that I am discussing is of a gustatory nature.

I am talking about the visceral lust some people have for their favorite food(s).

Whether their desire is for something sweet or savory, a lot of my clients come to me with an appetite that is completely out of control. And even though their love for cake and cookies and pizza and chocolate has resulted in a fist-full of doctor’s prescriptions, they continue to be slaves to their culinary 5 minutes of pleasure.

Whether their desire for food is caused by stress or low self-esteem or their crappy day at work or one of the other bazillion reasons we use as an excuse to soothe our feelings with food, the result is the same.

  • The food tastes really good,
  • But, we eat it too quickly,
  • So we grab some more,
  • And eat that too quickly,
  • Etc….

Then, thanks to the wonders of our bodies, we get a nice little endorphin rush from the sugar in our food/drug of choice and our crappy day at work doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Unfortunately, in a very short period of time, that endorphin rush wears off and the memory of our crappy day comes rushing back…except now, we also feel extra crappy for having inhaled an entire large pizza.

(Disclosure – pizza was my former food/drug of choice)

So, I ask you again…

What would you give up for 5 minutes of pleasure?

  • Your pride?
  • Your quality of life?
  • Your self-esteem?
  • Your health?

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Belly Fat = Type 2 Diabetes = Too Much Carbs

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

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

The Research

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

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

Eat less (fat) & move more….classic.

The Results

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

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

Their Conclusion

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

Ever.

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

My Conclusion

The lifestyle modification plan used in this experiment is crap.

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

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

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

 

Thus endeth the rant…thanks for listening.

Reference

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

Drew Carey: Low Carb Celebrity Sex Symbol

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

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

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

And no more diabetes.

How did Drew Carey Lose Weight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

“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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Fructose = High Blood Pressure

According to this study, people who eat a diet high in fructose (aka 93% of America), are at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Analyzing data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the researchers studied 4528 adult Americans with no history of high blood pressure.

Median fructose intake was 74 grams of fructose per day, corresponding to 2.5 sugary soft drinks each day.

After adjustment for demographics, comorbidities,physical activity, total kilocalorie intake, and dietary confounders such as total carbohydrate, alcohol, salt, and vitamin C intake,those test subjects with a fructose intake of more than 74 grams per day were much more likely to have higher blood pressure levels.

In fact, the heavy fructose users were:

  • 26% more likely to have a BP of 135/85
  • 30% more likely to have a BP of 140/90
  • 77% more likely to have a BP of 160/100

And remember, 120/80 is supposed to be a normal BP reading.

Conclusion

If you’re trying to lower your high blood pressure, cut back on the fructose.

And while you’re at it, don’t think that replacing fructose (HFCS – corn syrup) with plain ole’ cane sugar is much better for your BP..

A Warning to all Sugar Junkies

 

And that’s not good.

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

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

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

.

Reference

Sugar doesn't cause obesity…

…according to Andrew Briscoe, the president and chief executive of the Sugar Association Inc., in an interview with Reuters.

Mr. Briscoe feels that “sugar is being unfairly blamed for obesity problems in the United States at a time when per capita consumption of sweeteners has declined over the past decade.”

“Sugar is not part of the problem,” he said.

And with that statement, we have apparently entered the portion of the interview where Mr. Sugar starts looking for Mr. Scapegoat.

Luckily for Mr. Sugar, he always has Mr. High Fructose Corn Syrup hanging around.

  • Did you know that less than 5 percent of all U.S. sugar deliveries go to the beverage industry?
  • And did you know that the consumption of HFCS in 2008 stood at more than 5.0 million metric tons in 2008
  • That’s nearly 15 times more HFCS than sugar used in beverages

So, there you go.

  • Obesity isn’t caused by sugar
  • Obesity is caused by HFCS
  • Sugar is completely innocent
  • Sugar is good for you
  • Keep buying lots and lots of sugar
  • and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain
mango-shake health nutrition fitness healthhabits food

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Back in the olden days, workout nutrition consisted of a quick run to the water fountain between exercises.

Then came Gatorade.

Then, we were introduced to the magic 20 minute post-workout window of time.

We were told that if we chugged down a  carb/protein shake immediately after working out, we would:

  1. Shift our metabolism from a catabolic state (muscle damaging) to an anabolic state (muscle building) .
  2. Reduce post exercise muscle soreness
  3. Get bigger, stronger, leaner, faster, etc…

And there was (and still is) a lot of scientific research to back up this belief.

As a result, every gym put in a “smoothie bar” and we all chugged down some pretty gross post-workout protein shakes.

But wait, it doesn’t end there, we’re just getting started.

Researchers began to study whether pre-workout carb/pro nutrition might be even more efficient than post-workout carb/pro nutrition.

And their research showed that it was.

mango-shakeAs a result, instead of one post-workout shake, I was now drinking half my shake pre-workout and finishing the rest post-workout.

I thought I had it all figured out.

Not quite.

The next scientific breakthrough discovered that while a combined carb/pro shake pre-workout worked wonders, a carb free protein meal didn’t work near as well.

And that was fine with me. Those heavy pre-workout protein shakes were sloshing around in my stomach and slowing down my workouts.

RECAP

At this point:

  • Carbs before workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & pro before workout good, but made Doug’s tummy upset
  • Carbs during workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & Pro (Amino Acids) immediately post workout – GOOD

In a nutshell, the theory is that:

  1. Carbs raise your insulin levels, increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption.
  2. Your workout inflicts micro-damage on your muscles.
  3. Your muscles are now screaming for nutrition to re-synthesize newer/stronger/faster muscles.
  4. Then you throw a bunch of protein/amino acids into the mix

And voila, your body recovers faster & more efficiently from your workouts.

End of story, right?

Not yet.

In the past few years, I have been reading more about improving anaerobic endurance during workouts by supplementing with beta alanine or bicarbonates. And while the research shows mixed results, I have personally and professionally seen impressive gains in endurance during some pretty intense HIIT & HIRT workouts.

Since adding these supplements into the mix, I have been able to push some very intense workouts well past the dreaded 45 minute mark.

.

So, what does all of this mean?

.

It means that for best results, I recommend:

  • Eating a combined pro/carb meal (real food) 1 to 2 hours before working out
  • Drinking a mid-workout beverage containing…a high GI carb like maltodextrin, BCAAs, creatine, bicarbonates and/or beta alanine.
  • Drinking a post-workout shake containing carbs and a fast digesting protein (whey isolate).

Keep in mind this is a best case scenario type of peri-workout nutrition program.

Most of you aren’t going to want to spend the money on all of this stuff.

So, if cost is an issue, I would recommend

  • Eat the pre-workout meal as described above.
  • Drink watered down orange juice during your workout. BCAAs & Creatine if you can afford them.
  • Post-workout shake as described above.

Personally, I have tried 3 different workout beverages with sugar/BCAAs/Beta Alanine/Bicarb and have found that Biotest’s Surge Workout Fuel to be the most effective. It costs approximately $1.10 per serving.

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BTW – peri means around or about…so in this case peri-workout nutrition means nutrition around your workout

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I look forward to hearing your feedback. Workout nutrition is a hotly debated topic amongst all of the “experts” out there on the interweb.

My skin is thick, don’t hold back.

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You Will NEVER Drink Soda Again

 

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This is what happens when Health Habits doesn’t eat healthy

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday.

Instead of going out to a restaurant, I offered to cook one of her favorite meals:

  • Vegetable lasagna with 4 types of cheese
  • Garlic bread dripping with butter
  • Caesar salad
  • Ice cream for dessert
  • and a bottle of pinot grigio to wash it all down

veg lasagna

Mmmmmmm good…seriously. It tasted great. I make a really good lasagna.

However, this morning…

I feel like crap.

  • No energy
  • My sinuses are all stuffed up
  • Headache
  • Bloated – my wedding ring feels like it’s be soldered onto my finger
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach rumblin’ & grumblin”
  • I am craving carbs like crazy
  • And my face is all puffy…I have “bread head”

Bread Head…dammit!!!

Fatwashing is the new Greenwashing

thierry henry play 4 life pepsico

Frank Lampard and Thierry Henry are the celebrity faces of a new anti-obesity ad campaign being launched by Pepsi.

Anti-obesity & Pepsi?

That’s an odd combination

soda obesity nyc

I always thought that soda helped to cause obesity.

But, if Pepsi wants to help me lose weight and get fit, then they must be one of the good guys…and therefore, I must drink more Pepsi

MUST DRINK PEPSI….MUST DRINK PEPSI….MUST DRINK PEPSI….

Nooooooo!!!!!!!

Help….I’ve think I have just been fatwashed by Pepsi

frank lampard play 4 life pepsico

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In Defense of Farmers

photographer: Alia Malley
photographer: Alia Malley

In my hometown of Toronto, Michael Pollan is a hipster gOD.

His mantra to Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. is spoken with reverence by those Torontonians with a social conscience and enough disposable income to live organic, green and sustainable.

And it isn’t only Toronto. From what I have heard, this new breed of Agri-Intellectuals can be found in every city in North America and beyond.

In fact, according to the most recent census data, Agri-Intellectuals are America’s fastest growing ethnic population.

And that’s great for Michael Pollan’s book sales.

But, not so great for conventional farmers.

And they’re starting to get a little pissed off.

omnivores delusion

This past July, farmer Blake Hurst penned this article.

In the article, Mr Hurst disputes a number of the anti-Big Ag arguments raised by Michael Pollan and other Agri-Intellectual deities.

He reminds us that “farming has always been messy and painful, and bloody and dirty. It still is. This is something the critics of industrial farming never seem to understand”.

He goes on to say that “farmers have reasons for their actions, and society should listen to them as we embark upon this reappraisal of our agricultural system.

“I use chemicals and diesel fuel to accomplish the tasks my grandfather used to do with sweat, and I use a computer instead of a lined notebook and a pencil, but I’m still farming the same land he did 80 years ago, and the fund of knowledge that our family has accumulated about our small part of Missouri is valuable”.

And everything I know and I have learned tells me this: we have to farm “industrially” to feed the world, and by using those “industrial” tools sensibly, we can accomplish that task and leave my grandchildren a prosperous and productive farm, while protecting the land, water, and air around us”.

Please note that this is only a small portion of the article. Please read the rest.

And when you do read the article, keep in mind that way back in 1995, farmer Hurst asked congress to end crop subsidies. At that time, Hurst was quoted as saying that “government farm programs have fleeced taxpayers and stifled farmers’ ingenuity and profits”.

This is not a man content to sit back and let the government nor the Agri-Intellectuals tell him how to do his job.

And he’s not alone.

Last Thursday, Michael Pollan was invited to speak about his book, In Defense of Food to an audience of 8000 at the U of Wisconsin.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Michael Pollan at the U of Wisconsin“, posted with vodpod

Amongst that 8000 were 200 In Defense of Farming protesters.

Luckily, it was all very…civilized.

Dammit.

(media hates civilized protests)

On Friday, the protest continued when the U of W held a panel discussion involving Pollan, a U of W student and two farmers.

I can’t find any video of the event, but according to this review of the panel discussion, the U of W student took the position of Big Ag and went right at Pollan.

She covered the typical Big Ag talking points:

  • America has the safest, most abundant food supply in the world.
  • Global food production needs to double by 2050 if we are going to feed everyone.
  • She said that 99% of Wisconsin’s farmers are family farmers.
  • And she called Pollan “polarizing”

Pollan responded by:

  • commending one of the farmers on his innovations and said that he would love to come and visit his farm.
  • saying that he doesn’t think the world should have only one type of farming. He used the phrase “Let a hundred flowers bloom,” meaning: the more diversity in farming, the better. Let’s try everything and only through that will we see what works best.
  • Pollan went on to say that critique is not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s not necessarily an attack. He said that he’s critiquing the system, not the farmers, and he made the analogy that in our national critique of the health care system, we aren’t criticizing the doctors.
  • He said that in fact, much of his critique is directed at the people who buy the food from the farmers and process it before selling it to the consumer.
  • He also said that the interests of agribusiness is often at odds with the interest of farmers. In fact, agribusiness exploits farmers and squeezes them off the land.

Conclusion

North American food production is becoming an even more important topic as we attempt to climb out of the global recession and hope to reverse current trends in obesity and healthcare.

Now if only the policymakers can act half as civilized as Michael Pollan & the folks from In Defense of Farmers.

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Get Fit and Save Money

frugal food and fitness

The “experts” say that low income families have higher levels of obesity because “healthy” food is too expensive.

I say….B.S.

You can eat healthy on a small budget.

  • This free ebook from Kerry Taylor shows you how to eat healthy and save money.
  • This post from Mark’s Daily Apple shows you how to eat a paleo-style diet on the cheap.
  • The Eat Well guide helps you find healthy and affordable foods in your neighborhood (Thanks to the Healthy Irishman for putting me onto this resource)
  • Fitness magazine has a ton of money-saving, healthy dinner recipes – Buddha Stir-Fry $3.04

stir fry recipe

  • McDonalds does not – Big Mac combo $5.29

big mac combo

  • Kathy’s Healthy Food on a Budget blog is another fine resource
  • Jimmy Moore shows you how to eat low carb on a budget (sorry about the singing)

And what about the government’s involvement in the cost of healthy food?

government food subsidies

Billions of your tax dollars being spent on farm subsidies, and with less than 1% goes to America’s fruit & vegetable farmers…is it any wonder that a salad costs more than a Big Mac?

But, there is hope.

image: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
image: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

New York City is planning to “offer zoning and tax incentives to spur the development of full-service grocery stores that devote a certain amount of space to fresh produce, meats, dairy and other perishables”.

The plan — which has broad support among food policy experts, supermarket executives and City Council members, whose approval is needed — would permit developers to construct larger buildings than existing zoning would ordinarily allow, and give tax abatements and exemptions for approved stores in large swaths of northern Manhattan, central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, as well as downtown Jamaica in Queens….read more

So, there you go…no more excuses.

  • You can eat healthy while on a budget.
  • And if you want to save even more money, tell the senior levels of government how you would like to see your tax dollars spent (or not spent) on farm subsidies.
  • And then tell your municipal governments to create bylaws like NYC.

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Just in case America isn’t fat enough…

taco bell fourth meal

As the debate over President Obama’s healthcare proposal rages on, Taco Bell continues to give Americans exactly what they crave….melty, crunchy, spicy and heart attack inducing.

I especially love the tagline at the end…

taco bell it's not just food fourth meal

Of course, I would change it just a little bit.

taco bell not real food

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Soda Tax = Tax Grab

coca cola coke

It looks like my prediction of a American Soda Tax may soon come true.

According to ABC News, “several of the nation’s leading health experts are calling for a tax on soda as a means of curbing America’s obesity-epidemic”.

But wait, here’s the good part:

Their paper, appearing in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, calls for a tax on “sugar-sweetened” drinks in order to reduce the consumption of the drinks and lower health costs as well as fund government-run health programs.

FUND GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH PROGRAMS

“A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is really a double-win,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a co-author of the paper and director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital, Boston.

“We can raise much-needed dollars while likely reducing obesity prevalence, which is a major driver of health care costs, the paper states.

“Ultimately the government needs to raise more money to cover the deficit, and in terms of ways of raising that revenue, a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is really a no-brainer.”

So, there you go.

Just like I said here, the government will take advantage of America’s Obesity Epidemic™ and introduce a soda tax in order to help reverse the defecit.

But will it help reduce the nation’s obesity problem?

According to the latest research, small tax increases will have little effect on behavior.

On the other hand, big tax increases should do the trick. Especially for America’s poor.

So, there you go, just like I predicted:

5 Bucks for a Can of Coke

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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.

Here Come the Soda Tax

jones-soda-orange-you-glad-for-change-obama-label

Last month, I predicted that America will soon be paying 5 bucks for a can of Coke.

And it looks like that prediction may be coming true.

In an interview with Men’s Health magazine, President Obama was asked “would he consider so-called sin taxes, on soda and other sugar-laden products, or on activities that sabotage the health of the masses?

His response:

I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring,” the president says. “There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else. Obviously it’s not the only factor, but it is a major factor.”

But even the most powerful man on the planet needs to keep an eye on what’s politically feasible:

“Obviously there is resistance on Capitol Hill to those kinds of sin taxes,” he says. “Legislators from certain states that produce sugar or corn syrup are sensitive to anything that might reduce demand for those products. And look, people’s attitude is that they don’t necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that.

It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people’s health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful.”

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OrangeGladObamaSomehow, I don’t think that this is the type of change that the people at Jones Cola had in mind when they came up with their Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola to commemorate the inauguration of President Obama.

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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!!!

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5 Bucks for a Can of Coke?

coca cola coke

Yep.

You heard it here first.

$5 for a can of Coke.

And I’ll tell you why:

  1. America is fat…really fat
  2. American media keeps telling Americans to be afraid because they are soooo fat.
  3. American politicians tell the media that they are concerned that so many Americans are fat.
  4. And according to the laws of physics, Media fearmongering + faux Politico concern = Gov’t Intervention

But, what kind of intervention?

  • Public service announcements?
  • A national exercise program?
  • A subsidy on broccoli?

Nah, all of those options cost money.

What we need is an anti-obesity plan that actually makes money for the government.

six packBecause we all know that the government needs money. Between the recession and rising unemployment and the war(s) and the potential cost of President Obama’s healthcare reform package, the feds are strapped for cash.

So, how can the gov’t raise big wads of money in order to give America a collective six-pack?

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Simple.

Taxes

More specifically, sin taxes on the food and/or behaviors that lead to obesity.

But what should we tax?

What we need is a nutritional villain

How about trans fat?

No, that won’t work. Bad PR and gov’t bans have pretty much killed off trans fats.

We need something new.

How about this?

According to the American Heart Association:

  • High intake of added sugars is implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Added sugars and solid fats in food, as well as alcoholic beverages are categorized as “discretionary calories” and should be eaten sparingly.
  • Most American women should consume no more than 100 calories (25 grams) of added sugars per day. That is equal to the amount of sugar in 2/3 of a single 12 oz /355 ml bottle of Coke.
  • Most men, no more than 150 calories (38 grams). That is equal to the amount of sugar in one 12 oz /355 ml bottle of Coke
  • Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet.

And there we go. We have our villain

Sugar

And since we get most of our added or non-naturally occurring sugar from soft drinks, look for a big gov’t/NGO/media push for a sin tax on soft drinks.

Mark my words people.

5 Bucks for a Can of Coke

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Why Do I Gain Fat On My…???

  • Why do I gain fat on my belly?
  • Why do I gain fat on my legs?
  • Why do I gain fat on my arms?
  • Why do I gain fat on my love handles?
  • Why do I gain fat on my muffin top?
  • Why do I gain fat on my booty?

Just about every day I am asked some version of this question.

People generally understand why they have gained extra body fat in general…

  • they eat too much processed food,
  • they can’t find time to exercise,
  • they watch too much tv, etc.

But when it comes to figuring out why they have been packing it on a specific part of their body, they have no idea…

Luckily for them, I have a pretty good idea WHY.

It’s HORMONES

  • Different hormones for different areas.
  • Hormones that cause belly fat
  • Hormones that cause love handles
  • Hormones that cause “man-boobs”

So, as a public service, I am posting these two Body-Fat Maps to help you determine your own particular hormonal imbalance.

Ladies first…

Body-Fat Map - Female woman

Now the gents…

Body-Fat Map - Male

Alright…so now you know what your personal problem areas say about your hormone balance or imbalance as the case may be. Maybe you need to look at your growth hormone…maybe you need to be concerned about insulin.

What Do You DO NOW?

Q.  How do you fix the problem?

A.  Start by visiting Page 2

Hormones, Problem Areas and Your Body-Fat Map

We all have problem areas. No matter how healthy you eat or how hard you exercise, certain spots on your body do not want to give up their fat.

It could be your granny-arm triceps or your love handles or that darned muffin-top.

fat tricep     muffin top

But, no matter where your problem area is, I can tell you why you have it. It’s HORMONES. And while some hormones cause belly-fat, other hormones cause flabby arms.

And that’s a good thing. Because at least that points us in the right direction and allows us to devise a fat-loss plan tailored to your specific problem area.

So, as a public service, I have put together these 2 Body-Fat Maps to help you determine your own particular hormonal imbalance.

Ladies first…

Body-Fat Map - Female woman

Now the guys…

Body-Fat Map - Male

So, now you know what your problem area says about your hormone balance…what’s next?

How do you fix the problem?

1. Understand that your hormones are responsible for your personal fat-distribution patterns.

  • For example, women with an excessive percentage of fat on the back of their arms are likely to have elevated insulin levels or low DHEA levels.
  • Men unlucky enough to be lugging around a generous set of man-boobs are likely to have high levels of estrogen (often combined with high insulin and low testosterone)

2. Take a long hard look at your body, identifying your personal fat-storage locations. 

3. Use the Causes lists to identify your personal causes for your hormone imbalance.

4. Use the Solutions listed below to fix your imbalances

 

High Insulin

Causes

  • Eating too much over-processed, nutrient deficient carbohydrates – fast food, frozen dinners, pop, fruit drinks, sugary foods, processed diet foods…you know. Crap.
  • Eating too little protein – real protein, not processed McNugget protein
  • Eating too little fat – real fat, not trans-fat
  • Not enough fiber in your diet – no need for supplements, you should get enough protein from fruit & veg
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Not enough exercise
  • Excessive exercise to the point of muscle wasting
  • Steroid based medications
  • Poor liver function
  • Environmental toxins
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Aging – sorry about that one

Solutions

  • Diet – Sugar/Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Medierranean
  • Botanical – Cinnamon, Chromium – talk to your naturopath
  • Increase consumption of fiber
  • Increase consumption of fish oils
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Reduce exposure to toxins & improve liver function – talk to your naturopath
  • Sleep
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Testosterone

While not very common in men, it affects about 10% of women

Causes

  • Increased production by the adrenal glands
  • Polycystic ovaries caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Low Estrogen. Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production, so anything that decreases estrogen levels beyond the norm is going to increase the testosterone to estrogen balance

Solutions

  • Stress management = lowered cortisol = reduction in adrenal production
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Pharmaceutical – Troglitazone and Metformin – talk to your doctor
  • Botanical – Saw Palmetto – talk to your naturopath
  • Estrogen replacement – bio-identical or conventional – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Testosterone

Causes

  • Aging
  • Damage  to the testicles
  • Radiation
  • Testicular or Pituitary tumors
  • Serious viral infections
  • Vasectomy
  • Various genetic conditions – Klinefelter’s, Kallmann’s, Prader-Willi syndromes and Myotonic Dystrophy

In addition to these causes, there are a variety of lifestyle causes. These include:

  • Obesity…it’s a vicious circle – low test causes obesity and obesity causes lowered test…sorry
  • Exposure to pesticides
  • Exposure to hormones used in factory farm meat and poultry production. These hormones act like Estrogen in your body, and…
  • Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production, so anything that increases estrogen levels beyond the norm is going to negatively impact testosterone production
  • Phthalates (found in soap, cosmetics and plastics) are another estrogen like compound that suppresses testosterone.
  • Alcohol…especially beer
  • Temperature – boxers v.s briefs
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcotics

Solutions

Female

  • Diet – Dump your low-fat diet and increase your healthy fats
  • Botanical – Tribulus – talk to your naturopath
  • High Intensity exercise
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Male

  • Diet – Dump your low-fat diet and increase your healthy fats
  • Botanical – Tribulus – talk to your naturopath
  • Pharmaceutical – Aromatase blockers and/or testosterone, anabolic steroids – talk to your doctor and/or your lawyer…see Manny Ramierez
  • High Intensity exercise
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Estrogen or Estrogen Dominance

Causes

  • Pregnancy & menstrual cycle fluctuations
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Obesity – obesity causes high estrogen which causes obesity…
  • Poor diet – processed foods, a high fat diet, a high sugar diet, excessive caffeine, low levels of magnesium and B6
  • Birth control pill
  • Exposure to hormones used in factory farm meat and poultry production. These hormones act like Estrogen in your body, and…
  • Phthalates and other xenoestrogens (found in soap, cosmetics and plastics)
  • Low testosterone
  • Impaired liver function
  • Poor digestion
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of sleep

Solutions

  • Stress management
  • Improve your diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean/increase your fiber
  • Reduce your exposure to hormones and xenoestrogens
  • Improve liver function – talk to your naturopath
  • Get more sleep
  • Exercise more
  • Pharmaceutical – Testosterone – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Estrogen

Causes

  • Aging – Menopause
  • Premature failure of the ovaries
  • Surgical menopause
  • Unmanaged high levels of stress
  • Smoking
  • Low-fat diets
  • Extremely low body-fat

Solutions

Female

  • Estrogen replacement – bio-identical or conventional – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Cortisol

We all have stress in our lives. The problems begin when we can’t handle the stresses that are thrown our way. That is when stress starts negatively impacting our health. Chronic elevated levels of corisol is just one symptom of that impact.

Causes

  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress

Solutions

  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Reduce intake of stimulants
  • Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Growth Hormone

Causes

  • Aging
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating before bed
  • Sleeping with lights on

Solutions

  • Don’t eat before bed
  • Sleep in the dark
  • High Intensity exercise – low intensity (ie cardio) has little effect
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Supplements – GHB and the Amino Acids Arginine, Lysine and Ornithine – talk to your doctor/naturopath
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low DHEA

Causes

  • Aging
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress

Solutions

  • DHEA supplements – talk to your naturopath
  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Reduce intake of stimulants
  • Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Progesterone

Causes

  • Lack of ovulation
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Low levels of luteinizing hormone
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excess prolaction

Solutions

  • Progesterone cream – talk to your doctor/naturopath
  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Note

I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on tv. So, if you think something is out of whack with your hormones, go and get them checked.  That doesn’t mean that you have to take the drugs that your doctor is probably going to push on you. But, at least you will have the info to make your best decision.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. If I don’t feel confident about my ability to answer it, I will try and convince an “expert” to weigh in.

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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PediaSure…a source of complete and balanced nutrition for our kids?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite treats was chocolate milk.

nestle quik nesquik

A great big glass of milk (whole milk, not skim) with a heaping tablespoon of Nestle Quik.

mmmmmmmmmmmmm good. I can almost taste it now.

True, it wasn’t the healthiest choice of beverage for a growing boy, but like I said, it was an occasional treat, and all of the good stuff in the milk helped to make up for the overdose of sugar in the chocolate milk powder.

Well, things certainly are different today.

Today, good old fashioned chocolate milk has been re-placed, re-packaged, re-formulated and re-branded as PediaSure.  And PediaSure is being marketed to parents as the pediatrician recommended choice for your child’s nutritive needs.

Ahhhh, wasn’t that adorable. The poor little kid doesn’t like broccoli or chicken or waffles. But she sure likes her PediaSure.

And that’s okay, because PediaSure is “a source of complete balanced nutrition…for healthy growth”.

And it’s pediatrician recommended.

You can trust me, I'm a doctor
You can trust me, I'm a doctor

Okay, let’s forget about the pediatrician recommended thing for a moment.

Let’s try to be objective and look at the ingredients.

Here is a little chart I put together comparing PediaSure and my childhood addiction, chocolate milk.

Sorry about the fuzzy image. Click on the pdf link below for a clearer image
Sorry about the fuzzy image. Click on the pdf link below for a clearer image

PediaSure vs Chocolate Milk-pdf

Note – I included a whole milk and a reduced fat chocolate milk in the comparison because I realize that no one drinks whole milk anymore because of the fear of cholesterol. And I am glad I did. It provided an interesting observation.

PediaSure v.s Chocolate Milk

Here are some of my observations:

  • PediaSure is higher in calories than both of the chocolate milk samples.
  • The higher calories is due primarily to a higher fat content
  • The higher fat content is a design feature of PediaSure. PediaSure is fortified with  life’sDHA by Martek Biosciences Corporation. DHA is an Omega3 fatty acid that has been shown to support brain development.

In fact, PediaSure ran another commercial highlighting the supplemental DHA in their product.

Here is some more info on life’sDHA. Feel free to scroll down if the details are too geeky for you.

LifesDHA_logolife’sDHA™ from algae is a vegetarian source of DHA. It’s produced, from start to finish, in an FDA-inspected facility with controls in place to ensure the highest quality.

Martek’s microalgae are grown in fermentors that range in size from 80,000 to 260,000 liters. The algae are then harvested and processed to extract the DHA-rich oil. The finished product is a clear, amber-colored oil rich in DHA.

And as my regular readers already know, I am a big fan of DHA and Omega3s in general. There are lots of health benefits to supplementing your kid’s diet with Omega 3s.

Back to PediaSure v.s Chocolate Milk

  • All 3 samples have the same amount of protein
  • The reduced fat chocolate milk has the lowest amount of fat calories (duh!)
  • And it has replaced those fat calories with sucrose

But most important….

  • PediaSure has far and away the highest amount of Omega6 fatty acids

and when we look at their Omega6 to Omega3 ratios, we see that:

  • PediaSure has a 10.6 : 1 – Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio, while
  • Whole milk chocolate milk has a 1.7 : 1 – Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio

And, as I have said before, having a diet with a high Omega6 : Omega3 ratio, is a bad, bad thing.

As well, it should also be noted that organic milk (or pre-factory farm milk) has been shown to have 71% more Omega3 fatty acids than conventional milk. Just some food for thought.

Here are a couple of studies – Study 1, Study 2

So, what does all of this mean?

  1. In my opinion, PediaSure is inferior to whole milk chocolate milk when it comes to feeding your kids.
  2. Kids don’t like broccoli. Never have, never will. But instead of giving up on feeding real, healthy food to your kids, go to your library and take out this book.
  3. Monkey see, monkey do. If you are eating junk for dinner, how are you ever going to convince your kids to eat healthy?
  4. Even if chocolate milk is healthier for your kids than PediaSure, please remember that it is not a wonder-food. It’s a treat…like dessert.

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And please, please, please – pass this article on to anyone you know who has kids and is feeding their kids PediaSure.

Childhood obesity is higher than ever before….and if we’re at the point where laboratory designed chocolate milk is actually being sold as a healthy option for our kids, we have really lost our way.

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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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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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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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The Future of Fast Food

veggies-french-fries-vegetables

A new study, published in the Millbank Quarterly, looked at the impact that government taxes and subsidies might have upon the growing trend of obesity in the United States.

Based upon their research, “nontrivial pricing interventions might have a measurable effect on Americans’ weight outcomes, particularly those of children and adolescents, low-SES (socio-economic status) populations, and those most at risk for overweight.

Even though they would have only a small impact on individual behavior, such interventions could have a large impact at the population level when applied broadly.

And what do they mean by nontrivial pricing interventions?

The empirical evidence supports a multipronged approach, especially for children and adolescents, of changing relative prices by both taxing less healthy, energy-dense foods and subsidizing healthier, less-dense foods.

Aaahhh, taxes and subsidies = nontrivial pricing interventions

The Justification for Increased Taxes and Subsidies

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The researchers found that the price of junk food and sugar had a large effect on adolescent and adult rates of obesity.

Well, that makes sense. How many chubby little kids can afford a $29.95 Happy Meal.

As well, subsidies of fruits and vegetables were also estimated to improve children’s and adolescents’ weight outcomes.

Cheaper fruits & veg…why didn’t I think of that.

And finally, this price sensitivity was found to be strongest with overweight and low-SES children.

And it just so happens that low-SES kids have higher rates of obesity than their Richie Rich schoolmates.

So, there you go.

It’s all about the kids. The poor little fat kids.

fat_kid

Of course, it’s the fat parents of those poor little fat kids who are going to have to foot the bill.

And dammit, Americans don’t like taxes.

or, do they?.

Currently, state taxes on sodas and various junk foods are relatively low, and no state or local government has used these taxes to promote healthier eating and reduce obesity.

See, cheap subsidized corn + low “food” taxes = more Extra-Value meals per citizen.

But wait….

The same was generally true for state cigarette taxes before the public became aware of the health
consequences of smoking
, when cigarette excise taxes were only a few cents per pack and revenue generation was their primary purpose.

uh, oh…

But as evidence accumulated about the health and economic consequences of tobacco use and as research demonstrated the effectiveness of higher taxes and prices in reducing tobacco use, governments have increasingly used these taxes to promote public health.

Inflation-adjusted state cigarette taxes more than tripled, on average, from 1982 to 2007, contributing to a more than 160 percent rise in average cigarette prices during this period.

In turn, these price increases have been credited with driving most of the recent declines in adult smoking prevalence.

Dammit!

The days of Big Gulps and Super-Size-Me are just about over.

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Powell et al. Food Prices and Obesity: Evidence and Policy Implications for Taxes and Subsidies. Milbank Quarterly, 2009; 87 (1): 229 DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00554.x

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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Loneliness worse for your health than smoking and obesity

Picasso - the old guitarist
Picasso - the old guitarist

According to the research of Dr. John Cacioppo, loneliness has a major impact on your overall health – both mental and physical.

In his research, Dr. Cacioppo employed brain scans, monitoring of autonomic and neuroendocrine processes, and assays of immune function to test the influence that social connection has upon our health. His research showed how our perceptions, behavior and physiology are strongly affected by a loss of that connection.

In fact, Dr. Cacoppo’s research has shown that loneliness can cause:

  • an increase in your blood pressure

  • an increase in your level of stress and cortisol production

  • a negative impact on your immune system

  • an inability to get a good nights sleep

  • an increased level of depression and anxiety

  • an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease

  • a reduction in your will to exercise

  • an increase in your cravings for comforting foods high in processed carbohydrates

  • an increase in caloric consumption

  • an increase in alcohol consumption

  • an increase in the consumption of a variety of drugs…both legal and illegal, and…
  • a feeling of sadness that feeds upon itself, causing even more isolation and an even greater sense of loneliness.

These finding were presented by Dr. Cacioppo at the most recent conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

According to Dr. Cacioppo, “healthwise, the difference between a lonely person and a popular person was akin to “a smoker and a non-smoker”.

“That stunned all of us, myself and all my colleagues in terms of the effects it had,” he said. “It shows just how powerful it is.

“Loneliness lowers the ability to control yourself. It is really easy after a bad day to have a second scotch and a third to get some comfort.”

Dr. Cacioppo’s research has led him to believe that our need for connection can be traced back through our evolutionary roots.

In order to survive in the past, humans needed to bond to rear their children. In order to flourish, they needed to [increase their levels of altruism and cooperation].

Just as physical pain is a prompt to change behavior, such as moving a finger away from the fire, loneliness evolved as a prompt to action, signaling an ancestral need to repair the social bonds.

The problem of social isolation is likely to grow as conventional family structures die out, said Dr. Cacioppo.

People are living longer, having fewer children later in life and becoming increasingly mobile around the world.

Surveys also show that people report significantly fewer close friends and confidants than those a generation ago.

All of this adds up to more loneliness and more health problems because of that loneliness.

According to the good doctor, we need to realize that “human beings are simply far more intertwined and interdependent—physiologically as well as psychologically—than our cultural prejudices have allowed us to acknowledge”.

And if we don’t address our very real need for connection, we are risking our own psychological and physiological health.

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“If you want to go fast,” says an African proverb, “go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

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reference

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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