Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Silent Killer: Hypertension

by nutritionize.net

If you have ever gone to the doctor for a checkup or walked into a pharmacy you may have found your arm in a cuff experiencing a slow compression, release, and perhaps a blank look on your nurses face. I always wondered "what are they thinking? Good? Bad? What? TELL ME!" Blood pressure is a vital sign that is frequently and easily assessed, but what does it mean? When the internet age hit the technology forefront it revamped healthcare knowledge. We now have access to healthcare information at the tip of our fingers and understanding what our vitals mean is our responsibility to ourselves. We started our silent killer series with Diabetes last week and learned the precursor to it and how harmful it can be when left unmanaged, increasing your risk of heart attack. Blood pressure falls in the same boat. .. So what's the deal with it?

Hypertension HTN (High Blood Pressure)

Fact: About 74.5 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with hypertension and millions more remain unaware. It has no symptoms and, without monitoring, can silently kill you by damaging your heart and arteries.

Blood Pressure is exactly that, the pressure applied to move the blood around the body. There are two forces that play a role in causing the pressure: one which is used to pump the blood through the arteries and the other of arteries resisting the flow. The pressure is applied on the most important muscle in the body, the heart. The harder the heart has to work means the higher the blood pressure. The hearts job is to pump blood and provide oxygen to all of the muscles and organs of the body, and lucky for us the heart takes a lot of pride in its job. As the going gets tough it gets tougher but eventually the heart enlarges and weakens from being overworked, and if left unmanaged, fails! Fortunately it is preventable and reversible through LIFESTYLE changes that are completely in your control. First it's important to know the signs and symptoms and interpret the numbers.

Clinical Indicator: Systolic/Diastolic are the numbers presented to you in BP reading. As I mentioned earlier there are two forces: Systolic is the higher number representing the blood being pumped by the heart, Diastolic is the lower number representing the heart relaxing and the blood flowing back through the arteries. You are given both numbers with the Systolic always presented first over the diastolic and the metric used is mmHg (millimeters of mercury).

What is normal?

These ranges can vary by source but should be fairly close across the board; the following values are from the American Heart Association (AHA). Hypertension is the term used for high blood pressure.

Normal: <120 br="" mmhg="">
*Normal w/Diabetes: < 130/80

Hypertension is a common co-morbidity for individuals with Diabetes therefore they must closely monitor.

Pre-Hypertension: Systolic is 120-139 mmHg OR Diastolic is 80-89mmHg. This is important because even though one of the two indicators is in normal range you are still at risk.

Hypertension: > /=140/90 mmHg

I want to stress that a common misconception is that BP is related to tension, nervousness, hyperactivity, anxiety and more. This is not the case, folks that are completely calm can have high BP hence why is coined the term "silent killer". There are usually no specific symptoms however holistically if you are overweight, highly stressed, smoke, have a poor diet, or have a co-morbid condition (like diabetes)then you may be at higher risk and should monitor yourself. Unfortunately even if you have an awesome diet and lead a very healthy lifestyle your risks can still be increased due to genetics. Women and South Asians have some of the highest heart disease rates and associated risk factors.
(*The information above was extracted from the American Heart Association and the South Asian Heart Center)

Bottom line: If you want to be healthy you have to make lifestyle changes along with complying with your meds or to avoid being on meds. Nutrition therapy is a way to do just that by finding a balance between Diet and Exercise along with Meds that will enhance an individual's life experience. A major part of any medical therapy is assessment. Clinical indicators play a big role in determining how well your body is responding to the therapeutic regimen you are on.

There is a lot that can be discussed about hypertension, my goal here is to empower you with the basic information so that you can make more informed decisions and ask your healthcare provider more detailed questions. If I didn't cover something you are looking for an answer to, please post to comments or email me.

Next week… Cholesterol!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Slow the Aging Process: A How-To Guide

by Healthy Mind Fitbody

While most commercially-available “anti-aging” products are complete scams and a huge waste of money, there are several things you can do for FREE to slow down signs of aging. Here are some ideas:

-Reduce your sugar intake. A high carb/sugar diet weakens your immune system and causes wrinkles. Studies have shown that high levels of sugar in the body can be just as damaging to your skin’s appearance and health as nicotine and unhealthy exposure to UV radiation.

-Take fish oils. The Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oils help lower your blood pressure, improve your mood and maintain brain health. All three of those things are associated with longer, healthier lives.

-Eat your greens. Many of the nutrients in dark leafy green vegetables help slow aging and can even prevent age-related illness.

-Get safe sun exposure. Your body needs UVB exposure in order to manufacture Vitamin D. Vitamin D fights cancer, obesity, diabetes, builds bones, and is a general, all-around tonic for enhanced performance. 20 minutes a day of peak sunlight (during warm months) should do it.

-Drink green tea and reap the benefits. In addition to the benefits of anti-oxidants, studies have shown that green tea aids in fat-burning and lowers “bad” cholesterol levels.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rhabdomyolysis AKA Rhado

Combination of intense drill, heat, dehydration, may have sent McMinnville players to hospital

McMINNVILLE -- Doctors say a unique combination of elements -- high heat, dehydration and heavy exercise -- is to blame for sending more than a dozen McMinnville High School football players to the hospital this week.

Dr. Craig Winkler, who treated seven of the affected players, said a workout at a preseason camp run by first-year coach Jeff Kearin on Aug. 15 probably triggered the uncommon soft-tissue condition, known as rhabdomyolysis, or its more serious counterpart, "compartment syndrome."

But Winkler said he is also waiting for blood tests looking for the presence of creatine, a legal, loosely regulated and widely available bodybuilding supplement present in a number of weight-gain products that has been linked to an increased risk of sports-related injury.

"We're looking to see if there's some inciting event or some toxins that led to this massive injury," Winkler said.

Six players remained at Willamette Valley Medical Center on Sunday evening, waiting for their levels of creatine kinase, or CK, to drop. CK levels can be used to assess the severity of the condition. Creatine kinase should not be confused with the creatine supplement.

Winkler said 14 players were admitted throughout the week, although about 30 players who attended the camp were referred to the hospital to be checked out.

Three players required emergency surgery, one on both arms.

At least one parent, as well as Winkler, questioned the decision to run the players through a highly concentrated arms workout indoors and in soaring temperatures with limited access to water.

Players, with bedding in tow, arrived at the "immersion camp" Aug. 15 at the high school and were soon run through a series of push-ups and "chair dips," which work out the triceps.

Jim Cordie, father of fullback and linebacker Brent, 17, said he fears the condition will disqualify his son from joining the Army. Cordie said he is "upset and frustrated across the board" at the way the camp was run, and questions why the players were exercising inside without air conditioning on such a hot day. Temperatures outside were in the 90s.

Cordie said players have told him they were not allowed to drink water until they completed the exercises.

Winkler, who doubles as the football team's physician, also questioned the wisdom of the workouts.

Players told him "they were working out for more than 20 minutes in an enclosed room in 115-degree heat," Winkler said. "That seems pretty intense to me. From a medical point of view, I would not allow anyone to exercise at temperatures over 100."

Coach Kearin, who was at the school briefly Sunday afternoon before a meeting with athletic director Sean Burke, said the school has asked him not to comment on the incident, though noting he realizes his "silence is deafening."

He did push back against accounts of the heat. "I've seen those numbers," Kearin said. "I didn't know it could get that hot in Oregon."

Other parents and school officials were less critical of Kearin and the workout. Though acknowledging the high heat, Maryalice Russell, McMinnville School District superintendent, said there was no thermometer in the gym and that she was unsure how the players knew the temperature inside.

Brent Cordie, who had surgery on his left arm and was released Sunday afternoon, said the pain was so bad Wednesday he struggled to bend his arm to eat. He started feeling symptoms Tuesday. On Monday he was sore but not in an abnormal way.

The condition usually takes a day or two to appear after strenuous activity, doctors said.

Cordie described the Sunday workout as "tough" and "pretty intensive," saying players pushed one another to impress the new coach.

The players cycled through 30 seconds each of chair dips and push-ups, then repeated, decreasing the time of each cycle until they reached five-second intervals, then stopping to spot a partner. It was unclear how many times the cycle was repeated, although players said that by the end of the drill, which lasted longer than 20 minutes, their sweat had pooled into small puddles on the ground.

If a player wasn't working hard enough, or was slacking off, everyone would have to reset and do the exercises again, Cordie said. Players got no water until after the workouts. No one was allowed to leave until everyone was done, he said.

The hardest-working 11 players in the program get to play, he said. "I was trying to prove to the coaches I can push myself to the max," Cordie said. "I wanted to be one of the 11 on Friday night."

Doctors said the condition can be caused by physical exertion, especially when it's hot and athletes become dehydrated. Left untreated, the condition can result in kidney failure.

Winkler said he believes high temperatures and intense workouts Aug. 15 did just that, freezing up the boys' triceps muscles to where they couldn't do common activities, such as lifting a spoon to their mouths to eat.

Symptoms include muscle aches, weakness and tea-colored urine. It's rare in young athletes, but whole teams have fallen ill. In Taiwan, 119 high school gymnasts required hospital treatment for rhabdomyolysis in 2005 after a coach made them perform 120 push-ups in five minutes as a test.

Exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis can set the stage for another muscle disorder called compartment syndrome, and Dr. Mohamud Daya, an emergency medicine physician at Oregon Health & Science University, suspects that's what happened in several of the players. In compartment syndrome, fluid pressure rises to a critical level inside the sturdy membranes called fascia that enclose limb muscles in sealed compartments.

Its most notable symptom is intense pain that increases when affected muscles are stretched. The pain persists even at rest.

Urgent treatment is vital to prevent disabling injury or death. Rising pressure stops blood from supplying nerves and muscles within the fascia compartment. Tissue death can be prevented by the simple surgery that three of the players, including Cordie, received: an incision just deep enough to open the fascia to release the pressure.

"As long as you catch it early, the consequences are fairly minor," says Darin Friess, an orthopedic trauma surgeon at OHSU. Muscles and nerves can't recover if blood flow is cut off for more than a few hours.

Blood test results are due back by Wednesday, Winkler said. Although the creatine supplement has been linked to increased risk of heat-related sports injury, at least two studies have suggested it poses no significant risk.

The players have denied taking any supplement or steroid. But Winkler, who treated a number of the players, said they might have ingested it accidentally through a protein bar or power shake without realizing it.

The coaching staff was also tested as a control group, to determine whether the condition was caused by something the players ate or drank. The coaches' CK levels were normal, Winkler said.

He also said a player who was not at the camp Aug. 15 but still had high CK levels could have the elevated levels because of his summer workout regimen.

Practice for all fall sports begins today. Kearin met with Burke, the athletic director, Sunday and together scheduled the football team's first full practice for 1 p.m.

Winkler said he has advised the players he treated to go at least five symptom-free days and receive a release from their primary-care physician before taking up strenuous exercise or weightlifting. He said it's possible that the three players who had surgery could miss part or all of the football season.

For Brent Cordie, a senior, that means potentially missing his last chance to play with his teammates.

"I possibly will be out the first half of my senior year of football," he said.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


BY Diane Sanfilippo
BS, C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach
Owner, Balanced Bites Holistic Nutrition & Wellness

(Only since the 1980s- read: NEW FOOD! NEW FOODS ARE NOT REAL FOODS)

How the Rapeseed becomes the yellow colored, mild smelling oil that's on shelves in stores goes something like this:

Rapeseeds + high heat processing with hexane (a chemical solvent) = a grey, awful smelling, non-smooth oil.

> grey, awful smelling, non-smooth oil is then chemically bleached and de-gummed

> bleached and de-gummed, awful smelling oil is then chemically deodorized

> bleached, de-gummed, chemically deodorized oil is then dyed yellow and bottled in plastic

For the full process, check out this industry link. The process is actually longer than listed above, but those are the big steps. The description via this link gets into detail but the summary they provide for Rapeseed oil refining is as follows:

"The refining process involves degumming, neutralization, drying, bleaching, and deodorization. Crude oil from extraction has to be refined to obtain a high quality oil. Natural impurities of crude rapeseed oil include water, dirt, phosphatide gums, free fatty acids, color matter, odiferous and flavorous substances, natural breakdown and oxidation products of the oil itself. There are two methods for refining edible oils: alkali and physical refining."

HEALTHY OIL? HMM... What do you think?

Also, according to Mary Enig, author of "Know Your Fats," a book considered to be THE leading resource on the subject of fats and oils, Canola oil "was produced by genetically modifying the parent rapeseed so that the monounsaturated fatty acid would be oleic acid instead of another monounsaturated fatty acid called erucic acid. Erucic acid-containing rapeseed oil is considered undesirable as a food by the US and Canadian governments." And "like any highly unsaturated fat, it needs to be carefully handled as it becomes rancid very easily." The effects of genetically modified crops are still unknown, but many predict that they won't be positive as time goes on. If that's not reason enough to avoid canola oil...


Highly unsaturated fats like Canola oil oxidize VERY easily. Leave a bottle open on a counter for a week. Smell what happens. Do the same with coconut oil or even butter. Smell what happens. The chemical structure of unsaturated fats is VERY delicate. When something in their environment isn't perfect, their structure is changed easily, causing them to oxidize. This is one reason why we say that olive oil shouldn't be heated or only on very low temperatures- so that it's chemical structure can remain in tact. Once these structures are changed, the body can't use them as intended.

Coconut and other saturated fats are far more STABLE and do no chemically change when heat is applied (at least not as easily, it will take much higher heat for longer periods of time), so when they enter our bodies, they're in-tact and our bodies recognize them as what they are from nature. Oxidized or rancid oils in the body enter and cannot be biochemically understood as food. They enter and are more like a PLASTIC in the body, or a toxin. Our body does not metabolize toxins but rather STORES them - in our fat cells. This leads to inflammation. Inflammation is a key player in many chronic diseases, weight gain, weight loss resistance, general feeling of fatigue, pain and lethargy, joint pain, etc. While I recognize that canola oil's fatty acid profile is high in health-promoting omega 3s, neglecting to look beyond that one seemingly positive attribute of the oil (which becomes a moot point once the oil is oxidized, which we can see happens extremely easily) paints a false picture of this oil's true composition and function in our bodies.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Cancer cells slurp up fructose, U.S. study finds


WASHINGTON—Pancreatic tumour cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumour cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

“These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

“They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.”

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.

Politicians, regulators, health experts and the industry have debated whether high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients have been helping make Americans fatter and less healthy.

Too much sugar of any kind not only adds pounds, but is also a key culprit in diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

Several states, including New York and California, have weighed a tax on sweetened soft drinks to defray the cost of treating obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola and Kraft Foods have strongly, and successfully, opposed efforts to tax soda.

The industry has also argued that sugar is sugar.

Heaney said his team found otherwise. They grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose.

Tumour cells thrive on sugar but they used the fructose to proliferate. “Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different,” Heaney’s team wrote.

“I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets,” Heaney said in a statement.

Now the team hopes to develop a drug that might stop tumour cells from making use of fructose.

U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, researchers reported in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Masters runners need every advantage they can get--including every nutritional advantage.

The percentage of runners over age 45 has increased by more than 30 percent in the past five years. This is due in part to the fact that the sport’s retention rate is growing: the number of people who have been running for 10 years or more has also increased substantially in recent years. Nutrition is critical to running well over the long haul.

Like youth runners and women runners, older runners do not have nutritional needs that are substantially different from those of runners in general. What is different about older runners, however, is that they can’t get away with not eating properly they way a younger person might. In other words, the nutrition guidelines that are important for younger runners are even more important for older runners.

This is especially true for recovery nutrition. Older runners are more susceptible to muscle damage caused by eccentric muscle contractions (muscle contractions wherein the muscle lengthens as it contracts) and are not able to repair this damage as quickly between workouts. As I mentioned in earlier chapters, you can reduce muscle damage during running by drinking a sports drink containing carbohydrate and amino acids or protein. You can also greatly accelerate muscle tissue repair by consuming these same nutrients within 45 minutes of completing a run. But whereas a 20-year-old runner might be able to stray from these guidelines somewhat without noticeable consequences, a 50-year-old runner will almost certainly compromised his or her recovery severely.

Nutrition habits play an important role in maintaining muscle mass and strength. The older a runner gets the less he can take his nutrition habits for granted in this regard. After age 35 we tend to gradually lose muscle mass, mainly because we produce smaller amounts of anabolic hormones such as growth hormone. Adequate protein intake is essential for muscle maintenance. Research has also shown that athletes who practice correct recovery nutrition habits are better able to maintain muscle mass.

Proper nutrition alone is not enough. Unless you combine adequate protein intake with exercise, you will not succeed in slowing aging-related muscle atrophy. Running is exercise, of course, and running has been shown to delay and slow muscle loss in older runners. But to really do the job properly you must supplement your running with strength training. Again, younger runners can likely avoid strength training and not lose muscle mass. (For injury prevention, strength training will benefit you no matter what your age.) But once you pass age 35, strength training becomes truly indispensable for maintaining muscle mass– along with adequate protein intake and correct post-workout nutrition habits.

Our daily energy needs also tend to decrease gradually as we age. This is primarily an effect of a simultaneous decrease in the resting metabolic rate (RMR), which in turn is partly due to muscle loss. One reason most adults gain weight steadily throughout adulthood is that they continue to eat the same amount despite the fact that their RMR is going down. This phenomenon does not occur in runners and other endurance athletes, however. In a study at the University of Colorado, female runners and swimmers aged 50-72 had the same RMR as women aged 21-35, whereas the RMR of sedentary women aged 50-72 was 10 percent lower on average. So the bottom line is that if you stay in shape throughout your life, the amount you eat should not have to change.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Run Fast To Run Fast

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

In a study recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Norwegian researchers compared the effects of a high-volume, low intensity training regimen and a low-volume, high-intensity training regimen on various physiological parameters and on running performance in experienced male distance runners. Twenty-six runners participated in the study. For 10 weeks, half of them ran 43 miles per week at a moderate pace and the other half ran 31 miles per week, logging some of that distance at a moderate pace but much of it at approximately lactate threshold pace (which is roughly the fastest pace a fit individual can sustain for 40 to 60 minutes).

All of the runners submitted to physiological and performance testing before and after the 10-week training period. Both groups experienced significant improvements in running economy, but members of the low-volume, high-intensity group experienced much greater improvements in VO2max and velocity at lactate threshold (that is, the speed they could sustain for 40 to 60 minutes). More importantly, members of the low-volume, high-intensity group improved much more in a high-intensity run to exhaustion, adding some 301 meters to their distance covered, on average, compared to 218 meters for members of the high-volume, low-intensity group.

What does this study tell us? It tells us that you can get more out of 31 miles per week of running if some of those miles are faster than you can get our of 43 miles per week if none of those miles are fast. What this study does not tell us is that high intensity is simply “better” or more important than high volume in training for distance running. We don’t need a study to show us generally what is the most effective way to train for distance running. All we have to do is look at the training methods used by the world’s best runners. And most of the world’s best runners incorporate a moderate amount of high-intensity running into very high-volume programs. In other words, they get the best of both worlds.

Of course, most of us mere-mortal runners are neither willing nor able to run 100-plus miles per week, as most elite runners do. Therefore it is all the more important for us low-volume runners to consistently include high-intensity running in our training. It’s not always pleasant, but it provides the greatest performance “bang” for your training “buck”.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top 10 Nutritional Mistakes

Relying on the media, your doctor or even conventional nutritionists/dieticians to provide accurate nutritional information

Medical doctors—although often well-meaning-- may be the singularly least qualified persons to offer nutritional recommendations. Their education in nutrition is almost non-existent and carefully cultivated by medical schools entirely toward promotion of pharmaceutical interests. Keep in mind that somewhere around World War II medicine ceased to become a profession and became a full-blown industry. One really does not go to medical school to study health; but rather, one goes to medical school to study disease…and the treatment of the symptoms of disease by the use of drugs, surgery and (often expensive) medical intervention. Medical schools are essentially funded by pharmaceutical interests. --Not that doctors are ill-intentioned in the least, but hospitals are profit-oriented institutions…and the advice you get there may not be in your own best interest so much as the interest of the hospital or clinic (this observation was actually imparted to me in confidence by the head of a department at a major medical university). The same may unfortunately be said for many “natural health care providers” that are often as beholding to the interests of nutraceutical companies as allopathic physicians are beholding to drug companies. I do not suggest people ignore the advice of their healthcare providers, only that people be cautious, do their homework and/or seek second (if not multiple) opinions wherever possible. No one will ever care more about your health and your own best interests than you.

Conventional nutritionists and dietitian (the very people that design hospital food and school lunch programs…take a hint) are bound to the dictates of the unfounded and enormously unscientific USDA Food Pyramid. However well-meaning, these folks have been “indoctrinated” and fully trained by a complex, very corporate-driven system determined to retain considerable political and economic power.
Finally, the media on nearly all fronts are utterly bound by the interests of their advertisers: food, telecommunication and pharmaceutical industries. They literally cannot afford to be objective or tell the “truth” when millions of their advertising dollars are hanging in the balance from fast food, processed food telecommunications and drug companies.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Truth About "Before" and "After" Shots

From Diet Blog

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... well, when it comes to weight loss, nothing strikes home more than a few remarkable "before" and "after" shots.

It's the best way for promoters of weight loss pills and exercise gadgets to sell their products, right?

If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny. But, the line between real life and trick photography is very very thin, and people need to realize what's really going on.

Here's a short clip, taken from the documentary-style film, "Bigger, Stronger, Faster", which is well worth watching if you haven't seen it already:I've always thought "before" and "after" shots were fake to some degree, but I never imagined that they'd be shot on the same day -- that's so wrong!

While this may be old news to some, a lot of people don't have a clue this kind of thing goes on, so it's worth talking about.

Monday, August 16, 2010


There are two major subclasses of fat - they are saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are carbon chains with no double bonds and are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are carbon chains containing, one - (monounsaturated), or more - (polyunsaturated), double bonds in the chain. Unsaturated fats, by nature, are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are solidified through the process of hydrogenation which results in the formation of Trans fat, which is neither natural nor healthy in most cases. (For a more in-depth look at each fat type click on the links above.)

Now let's look at omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both are 'essential' fatty acids meaning that the body needs them. Unfortunately, our diets tend to be VERY omega-6 heavy and low on the omega-3 side. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc.) and grass-fed meats. The omega-3's host a myriad of benefits such as mental function, immune enhancement, inflammation control and cardiovascular health. Omega-6 fatty acids are present in high amounts in vegetable oils, nuts, flax, etc. While essential and important the omega-6's tend to be pro-inflammatory, and immune suppressive in high amounts. The ideal ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids is 1:1 or 2:1. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has most individuals coming in with a 10:1 -25:1 ratio. This ratio imbalance has been linked to many serious, deadly health effects like, heart attack, stroke, insulin resistance, diabetes, depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, Alzheimers, arthritis, obesity, accelerated aging, and many others. So, TAKE YOUR FISH OIL!!!

The omega-3's aren't the only good guys on the field though. There are other fats that have been found to have beneficial health effects also. Many of these lipids are currently being further studied to solidify their positive health implications. Here's a quick look at some of the new up and comers.

Phosphatidyl Choline is the primary fraction of lecithin (think egg yolks). Phosphotidyl choline provides a bioavailable, timed release choline source. Both choline and lecithin have properties that may aid in liver, cognitive, cardiovascular and reproductive health along with fetal development, and enhanced physical and athletic performance, (article), (article).

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are most commonly sourced from coconut. (This is why coconut is SO good for us!!) Even though these fatty acids are saturated, they are short (8-12 carbons). This results in the body absorbing and metabolizing them differently than longer chain triglycerides. MCTs may play important roles in energy delivery for athletes, weight and appetite control in those looking to get lean, and have been shown to have positive effects on immune function and heart disease prevention.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has been touted for its anti-carcinogenic properties for over 20 years. CLA has also been associated with reduced inflammatory response and cardiovascular disease as well as, increased lean body mass and reduced fat mass in overweight individuals, (article), (article). CLA is naturally present in grass-fed beef and milk from grass-fed cattle.

There you have it. The fat has been chewed. Now it's up to you to decide which fats you're going to choose.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A rainbow of chemical colors

By Culinate staff

They’re pretty, but dangerous
Back in 2009, Grist contributor Tom Laskawy penned a blog post about artificial food coloring, noting that when Britain banned such colorants, major food companies switched to natural colors without much fuss:

General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, and McDonalds all replaced the harmful dyes in their British products. Even Fanta now uses pumpkin and carrot extracts to color their soda orange in the UK. And you know what? The world didn’t end. Nor did the companies go out of business. There’s not even any indication that eliminating dyes caused price increases. In fact, no one really noticed, which begs the question of why the colors are used in the first place.

Now, Laskawy recently noted on Grist, comes an Australian study linking chemical colorings to behavioral disorders in adolescents. Sadly, the study is just the latest in a series looking at the connections between chemical dyes and hyperactivity disorders.

For a nice visual look at the problem, check out the Fooducate blog’s "poison rainbow" of chemical colors, along with a quick summary of the recent report condemning artificial food dyes as allergenic and carcinogenic as well as dodgy for kids by food-industry watchdog the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Bans can’t do it all, however, as the CSPI noted mournfully:

Back in 1985, the acting commissioner of the FDA said that Red 3, one of the lesser-used dyes, “has clearly been shown to induce cancer” and was “of greatest public health concern.” However, Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block pressed the Department of Health and Human Services not to ban the dye, and he apparently prevailed — notwithstanding the Delaney Amendment that forbids the use of in foods of cancer-causing color additives. Each year about 200,000 pounds of Red 3 are poured into such foods as Betty Crocker’s Fruit Roll-Ups and ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine frozen meals. Since 1985 more than five million pounds of the dye have been used.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Why Running is Important

posted by SICFIT Moderator on August 11, 2010, 10:13pm

Don’t avoid it… it’s good for you.

For such a fundamental thing, the ability to run seems to be an all too popular Achilles heel. And I’m not talking form or speed. Not everyone is going to look like Usain Bolt when they go from A to B, but they need to be able to get there. The limited proficiency in this area for most people.

Mostly this is do to lack of experience. Running is not rocket science but it’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s repetitive. People tend to avoid it for one or all of these reasons when they should be seeking it out. Recently I had to endure a period of 3 months without steady running due to ankle injuries: the effect was severely noticeable. I felt more out of breath and less able to concentrate during WODs than I had before. My muscular endurance was still decent, but my comfort threshold had fallen much lower. I realized that running had been a much bigger part of how I trained than I originally thought, and that if I wanted to continue to improve it would have to become an even bigger one in the future.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case. First, philosophically, running is one of the most basic means of human survival. Our ancestors had to cover distance at speed if they were going to successfully hunt, travel, or survive predators and, even though this is less of a necessity now, something about it still rings true. I don’t want to ever find myself in a position where I cannot go from here to there simply because modern technology has failed me and my natural engine isn’t up to snuff.

Second, physiologically, the response is amazing. The different types of “tired” I’ve felt during various runs is staggering. There’s interval sprinting, long distance endurance, hill climbs, running with objects, dragging weight behind, pushing a prowler, running on sand… the list goes on. Going for a run can mean any number of things, none of which involve a treadmill, and all of which challenge the body differently. Stairs feel different than hills, 10 x 100 meters feels different than 1000 meters straight. There is plenty of variety and all of it is beneficial. In fact, I find that when I’ve been doing a lot of heavy running (trails, stairs, and carrying weight especially) I breath better in non-running WODs. This is because running teaches you how to get air when you’re tired. You inevitably find a rhythm between your steps and your breath that you can efficiently maintain while working at near max capacity. This knowledge comes in handy when you hit a metcon where your ability to keep breathing is what slows you down.

Last, psychologically, running teaches you how thin the walls are between optimal and sub-optimal performance. Lifting weights you often reach a point where you literally cannot do another rep, where your muscles have actually failed and there is nothing you can do about it. At this point, your mind gets a break. It’s off the hook... on vacation. This can’t happen in running. You can always take another step therefore your head never gets a rest (incredible ironman Youtube footage notwithstanding). To get better in this discipline you have to improve your toughness. Period. And that flows over into everything else you do. I can remember the things I had to tell myself to keep running when I competed in a series of 5 mile trail races in Virginia. I say the same things now when I’m dying through a workout with deadlifts and double unders. I remember times when things went wrong, like inhaling dust or tripping up along the way. I draw on those kinds of experiences when I am failing miserably under the rings or practically drowning in the pool. Bottom line, going on hard runs in less than optimal circumstances teaches you to find ways not to quit, and that is invaluable.

Sometimes we can get too creative in finding ways to be fit when the most effective means are the most simple.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What am I missing by juicing my vegetables?

Q. I often don't get in all my servings of veggies for the day. Is juicing the veggies that I haven't eaten an effective way of taking in the extra nutrients that I need? I know I lose out on fiber, but is there anything else that I lose through the process? Thanks!

A. Along with the fiber, some nutrients may also remain in the pulp. For example, if you compare the nutritional value of one raw orange and the juice from one raw orange, you'll see that the fruit not only contains more fiber than the juice but also more vitamin C, vitamin A and calcium.

Exactly how much nutrition is left behind depends on how good a job your juice does extracting juice from the pulp. But fresh vegetable juice is still very nutritious. Even if you're missing out on some of the fiber and nutrients, I'd say it's still a whole lot better than skipping those extra servings of vegetables altogether. Keep in mind that some vegetable juices, particularly carrot and beet, can be very high in sugar. Without any fiber to slow down the absorption, these juices can do a number on your blood sugar!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Relying on superficial descriptions such as “natural” or even “organic” on labels to determine whether a food is truly healthy.

Here’s where the Food Industry gets you. They hone in on buzzwords they think will sell their product. Terms like “natural” or “organic” are useless if the product in question is loaded with sugar (organic or not) or if the product contains highly processed ingredients and /or additives. Furthermore, labeling laws designed to supposedly “protect the consumer” are dubious, at best. Learn to read the fine print in the actual nutritional analysis on the back and come to understand the ingredient lists. A good rule of thumb where packaged food is concerned is to follow the edicts of ‘The X-Files’ and “Trust No One”. If it wouldn’t look like food to someone wandering around 40,000 years ago with a loin cloth and a spear, it probably isn’t food for you, either!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Could fructose promote cancer?

Cancer, in essence, is a condition caused by cells dividing more rapidly than they should to form a clump of abnormal cells. Lots of things appear to have the capacity to trigger cancerous change in cells (some chemicals, free radical damage, radiation, for example), but once cancerous cells form, they still need feeding to survive. Cancerous tumour can develop their own blood supply, through which they can be fed vital nutrients to stay alive and proliferate.

It has been long recognised that cancerous cells tend to do well when fed glucose – a key fuel in the bloodstream. One might argue then that, as much as possible, it makes sense for those with cancer to avoid consuming foods that cause gluts of sugar in the blood stream such as sugary foods and starchy carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and many breakfast cereals.

I was interested this week to read about a study which assessed the effect of not glucose, but fructose, on cancer cell growth [1]. Fructose is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, and it also makes up half of sucrose (table sugar) – the other half being glucose. And last, but by no means least, fructose can be found in ‘high fructose corn syrup’ (HFCS), which over the last couple of decades has increasingly pervaded the Western diet.

Fructose has, until relatively recently, enjoyed a ‘healthy’ reputation on the basis that it does not lead to spikes in blood sugar. It’s been particularly recommended for diabetics for this reason. However, it turns out that fructose has the potential for quite toxic effects in the body. See here, here, here and here for some recent posts about this.

Back to cancer…

The study in question found, in summary, that feeding cancer cells fructose caused them to proliferate. Obviously, this is not a good state of affairs. The authors of the study suggest that reducing intake of refined fructose may disrupt cancer growth.

When fructose is consumed it travels to the liver. The vast majority, if not all, of it is metabolised in the liver, meaning that little or any reaches the general circulation. However, there is always the potential that uric acid might exert a considerable direct effect on the liver. We can perhaps see the potential for fructose to be directly toxic to the liver in some evidence linking its consumption with ‘fatty liver’ (a build-up of fat within the tissue of the liver).

But what about other tissues in the body?

One of the effects of fructose is to cause a ramping up of uric acid in the liver. Uric acid is, as its name suggests, acidic. And the relevance of this is that some cancer cells grow better in an acidic environment. Now, the body has processes by which it regulates the pH (acidity/alkalinity) of the bloodstream within quite a narrow range. However, there is the potential for the pH to drop (become more acidic) and this might perhaps encourage cancer growth.

I’m not aware of any evidence linking fructose consumption and cancer in the scientific literature. However, this recent study, I think, gives us another potential reason for giving fructose and high fructose corn syrup a miss.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Five Better Ways To Work Your “Core”

So if not crunches and not Swiss balls, what should you be doing to keep your midsection strong. As with all areas of fitness, I’m not a big fan of exercises that are solely intended to isolate one muscle group. I prefer to work the abs and lower back as part of the system that is the body. Focus on movements that mimic daily living and the muscles will take care of themselves. With that, here are five exercises that I feel are primo to achieving a well-functioning, strong, supportive core.

* Overhead Squats – See the girl in the picture above? You can’t do that without seriously flexing everything in your upper body. Here is an article by Dan John on why the overhead squat is important to athletics and here you can check out Becca Borawski with a nice overhead squat. Notice the maintenance of an arch in her lower back. This exercise is also excellent for flexibility.
* Deadlift – I wrote once before about the importance of the deadlift. This exercise is as basic as it gets: bend down, lock in your lower back, and pick something up. It’s primal, it’s functional. Here is a good how-to.
* Plank – This involves holding the body rigid parallel to the floor, keeping everything from shoulders to ankles in a straight line. Lauren B has a couple of videos here demonstrating several plank variations.
* L-sit – This one is rough, but really shows how deficient the abs are. The legs are held at 90 degrees to the torso, forming an L, like sitting in a chair except, uhh…without the chair. Here is a nice walk-through on how to work up to an L-sit.
* Reverse Hyper – Want to squat more? Do reverse hypers. Want to heal your injured lower back? Do reverse hypers. This exercise is king for building lower back, gluteal, and hamstring strength. Unfortunately, the device is rather expensive and most gyms don’t have one. But if you have access to a Reverse Hyper machine, use it! There is some argument about the best way to do these. I tend to agree with Eric Cressey in that the movement should be controlled (like this), not just a giant swing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Are Push Ups Necessary if You Have Access to Free Weights?

People who have trained in the gym for years often look at something like the simple push up as a beginner's exercise. I mean, why would they want to perform push ups when they can get a "real" chest workout with heavy sets of bench presses. This is a big mistake, and one that I have been guilty of. It is easy to look at the simple push up as working the exact same muscles as the bench press, but with less resistance. I would like to talk about why you should include the push up in your routine, even if you are someone who trains with free weights.

Push Ups Balance Upper Back Strength With Chest

Ever see a guy who benches too much and his shoulders are pulled forward? Or a guy with large pecs and bad back development? Well, push ups can work the upper back in ways that a benching cannot. The scapula is allowed to go through a full range of motion with push ups, but is constricted in all forms of bench pressing. When the scapula goes through its full range of motion with push ups, it fills in the area in between the shoulder blades (upper and lower trap thickness). It also develops the serratus muscle, which frame the lower chest and abs to a certain extent.

The Most Important Part of the Push Up

Ever hear this saying…"you don't know what you don't know"? I had no idea that the very top of the push up was the most important part. The scapula won't fully contract until the elbows are all the way locked out. What you need to do is push to lockout and then make sure your upper back isn't sagging down at the top. Here is a video of Zach Dechant showing proper form.

[So the lockout is important. Notice how his upper back isn't sagging downward. You want to continue to push shoulders towards the floor even at the top of the movement.]

Push Ups for Better Abs and Obliques?

So I knew that push ups worked the abs in a way that is similar to planks. Here is what I didn't know… According to Jeffrey McBride, push ups work the obliques better than side bridges. So not only do push ups work the serratus muscles, they work the obliques extremely well. These are the muscle groups which "frame" your abs. Here is a highly scientific, textbook style diagram…

[Most of us are lagging in a bit in this area. Push Ups will help tighten up this part of your midsection. Another good exercise if you want to tighten up your obliques is Renegade Rows (link to an article on this blog).]

Do You Like to Throw Things?

…well push ups will also work your "throwing muscles" much better than the bench press. This works for any sports that involve throwing…football, baseball, softball, etc.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why should we care about free radicals?

Are they that bad? Well yes and they are probably the most lethal thing of all time, and I am about to tell you why. Oxidation is a common process and the best example is seen in rusting metal that has been left out in the weather for too long. What causes this oxidation of the metal is largely oxygen. Thats right the thing we need to survive is also the most powerful destroyer. What!!! Oxygen killing us? Bare with me.

In order for our bodies to make energy they need to break down food and they do this with the help of oxygen. However, during this chemical process some of the electrons escape and become free radicals. About 5% of the oxygen that enters into our cells forms free radicals. Essentially a free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron. These free radicals WANT another electron to make the pair bond, and will get it from anywhere (see below diagram). This is called oxidation. Unfortunately, oxidation occurs in our cells and our DNA. Imagine our bodies rusting from the inside due to oxidation, and all because we have to breathe.

As a result these free radicals are constantly bombarding our cells stealing electrons. This leaves the cells and their organelles damaged. If this continues, which it obviously will because we have to breathe, damage will continue to accumulate. Damage to DNA is the worst since DNA contains instructions for the rest of the cells function. Several studies have shown that free radicals are associated with just about any disease you can name, especially the modern diseases of civilization. The best example of free radical damage is sun burn (although this is not caused by oxygen). The suns rays penetrate deep into the skin significantly increasing free radical production and leading to damaged DNA, cell proteins, and membranes. Sunburn is free radical damage turned up full volume!!!!

One major problem is sugar. Essentially a high carb diet coats the DNA and proteins with sugar, a process called glycation. What makes these glycolated proteins so dangerous is they are more easily oxidised when compared to normal proteins, and to levels that are much higher than what we would normally expect. So one way to reduce this damage is to limit your carbohydrate intake. Another way is to reduce the amount of calories you eat. If we increase our metabolism we also increase free radical production because you are taking in more oxygen. In fact it is now known that during long bouts of exercise free radical production is increased dramatically. This was tested on marathon runners and extreme athletes . Of course eating more will also increase metabolism and therefore your oxygen uptake. This may provide the basis for the huge increases in life spans observed in a wide range of animals when their calories are restricted . A low food intake tends to decrease free radical production and therefore mass destruction of cells.

The answer of course is antioxidants. Yes another name we hear lots about but have not really paid attention to. The great thing about antioxidants is that they give these free radicals an electron – neutralising them. The problem is now that antioxidant has become a free radical itself although a less dangerous one. This means that the antioxidant needs to be regenerated and it does this by borrowing from another antioxidant.

This is why we need a fresh supply of different antioxidants. Because some antioxidants will only be regenerated by other specific antioxidants. So if you only get one type of antioxidant (ie vitamin D) then you are actually not doing yourself any favours. This is because it will become a free radical itself, and with little other antioxidants around to regenerate it, it will damage your cells. Also some antioxidants may only work in certain parts of the body. For example, vitamin C is concentrated in blood plasma, connective tissues and within the cytoplasm of cells. So each antioxidant is highly comparmentalised each having its own zone of defense – like football. Thus you need a large range of antioxidants.

Plants contain thousands of these life saving antioxidants, and when you think about it its obvious why this would be. Plants sit out in the sun all day allowing the damaging suns rays to enter into their planty layers so that they can convert sunlight to energy. Well as we know the suns rays produce a huge amount of free radicals. So plants in their evolutionary wisdom have developed defenses against this free radical attack and its the antioxidants. So eating a wide range of plants will give you a whole suite of antioxidants evolved to neutralise free radical damage.

To show you how damaging free radicals can be, and how neutralising antioxidants can be, I will give you this example. When we have an infection the body sends out white blood cells. What the white blood cells do is release a whole bunch of free radicals at the bacteria and this kills it. Because free radicals are lethal. The reason the white blood cell isn’t destroyed is because it is jam packed full of antioxidants. So by eating lots of plants you are not only reducing free radical damage but also boosting the strength of your immune system against infection. Now Im going to have a fruit guilt free.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Most Common Nutrient Deficiency in the World

by Dr. Mercola

Vitamin D may become the most talked-about and written-about supplement of the decade. A huge part of the population is deficient in this essential nutrient.

Every tissue in your body, including your brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that this nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.

According to the New York Times:

“Studies indicate that the effects of a vitamin D deficiency include an elevated risk of developing (and dying from) cancers of the colon, breast and prostate; high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; osteoarthritis; and immune-system abnormalities that can result in infections and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.”

Low levels of vitamin D could account for the high incidence of several chronic diseases in the U.S. For example, he said, in the Northeast, where sun exposure is reduced and vitamin D levels consequently are lower, cancer rates are higher than in the South....ARE YOU GETTING YOUR D........