Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why Runners Can't Eat Whatever They Want


Saturday, March 29, 2014

How Do You Stave Off a Cold?

by Walter Green

1. Get Sufficient Sleep
2. Wash Your Hands Often
3. Don't Smoke or Drink
4. Get Steamed Up and Moving
5. Eat Chicken Soup
6. Get More Sunshine or Vitamin D

  • Vitamin C: The jury is still out on Vitamin C's role against colds; a review of studies with 11,000 total participants found 200mg or more of vitamin C a day didn't reduce the risk of getting a cold, though it reduced the duration by just a few hours.P
  • Echinacea: Likewise, studies are mixed for echinacea, possibly due to differences in the echinacea plants used and their preparation. The largest study of echinacea found a placebo worked as well as the herb for preventing a cold.P
  • Zinc: A recent review of 15 studies did find zinc lozenges or syrup can shorten colds by one day if the person takes the zinc within 24 hours of getting cold symptoms. However, the quality of the studies has been questioned and further research is still needed. Duvauchelle points to a meta-analysis published in Oxford's "Clinical Infectious Diseases" medical journal; over 14 placebo-controlled studies of zinc combatting the common cold, 7 showed positive effect and 7 showed no effects.P
  • Saline nasal spray: Can provide relief from congestion, but won't make a cold disappear or keep from invading your body.P
  • Over-the-counter cold medications and antihistamines: As with saline spray, they might make you feel better, but won't prevent a cold or shorten how long a cold lasts.P
  • Antibiotics also don't work on colds, because a cold is a virus while antibiotics only work on bacterial infections.P
  • Increased exposure to people with colds: I wondered if doctors and other people who are often around sick people (e.g., teachers) build up their immunity by exposure, but Dr. Adalja said, not really. There are too many variants of the cold virus that you couldn't really build your immunity to all of them.   Read More at

  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

    4 Things Astronauts Can Teach You About a Good Night’s Sleep

    by Eric Barker

    So NASA started doing some serious research.

    3 Big Insights On Sleep

    They quickly realized a few things:

    1) You’re a slave to external cues

    Without light, darkness and other contextual signals, your ability to regulate sleep times can be a mess. Via Bold Endeavors: Lessons from Polar and Space Exploration:
    Lacking the normal circadian cues of daylight and darkness, individuals, when permitted, tend to become desynchronized; that is, they retire to bed at a later hour and remain awake longer each night.

    2) Your body doesn’t naturally stay on a 24hr cycle

    Without something to rein it in, you’ll work off a 25.4 hour day. This drift compounds and eventually your sleep cycle can totally spin out of control. Via Bold Endeavors: Lessons from Polar and Space Exploration:
    If the individual is isolated without access to any time cues, however, the sleep/wake cycle and body temperature rhythms drift toward later times each day and are expressed in free-running periods of 25.4 hours; at this rate an individual’s sleep/wake cycle could drift nearly 10 hours per week in the absence of diurnal cues… In extreme cases, an individual can cycle completely around the clock.

    3) You’re not very good at judging sleep quality

    You may think sleeping with the lights on doesn’t affect you, but it does. And you won’t necessarily notice your reduced performance the next day, either. Via Bold Endeavors: Lessons from Polar and Space Exploration:
    …it is a folklore belief that all people adapt to regular sounds and are not affected by noises perceived during their sleep. In fact, the sleep of most people is disturbed by even the most regular sounds; for some individuals, the quality of sleep can be reduced without conscious recognition or complete awakening.
    This info is more valuable than you think. Why?

    We’re All Astronauts Now

    As John Durant points out in his fascinating new book, The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health, due to modern technology, we’re all living more like astronauts now. Via The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health:
    Today our bodies have become thoroughly confused by the artificial signals of modern life. Light is no longer a cyclical function of the sun, but of always-on indoor lights, TV screens, and computer monitors. Temperature no longer follows a dynamic cycle of cooling at night and warming during the day but sits at a static level set by the thermostat. Human chatter and social interaction used to follow a natural ebb and flow, but now we are more likely to live and sleep in isolation from real people, even while we have 24/7 access to artificial people (faces on TV, voices on the radio). Then, after utterly confusing our circadian rhythm, we try to take back control with stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) and depressants (alcohol, sleeping pills). Is it any wonder that a third of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived?
    Maybe you think this doesn’t affect you — or at least not much. You’re wrong. Remember #3 above. Research done on non-astronauts has shown the same thing. After 2 weeks of 6 hours of sleep a night, you’re legally drunk:
    …by the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk.
    But what did the chronically sleep deprived say when asked how they felt? “It’s not affecting me.Even 14 days into the study, they said sleepiness was not affecting them. In fact, their performance had tanked. In other words, the sleep-deprived among us are lousy judges of our own sleep needs. We are not nearly as sharp as we think we are. So if you are having reduced performance due to sleep issues, you may not be aware. This is a problem. So what answers did NASA come up with?

    What You Need To Do

    In the past I’ve rounded up sleep research and documented my own sleep-hacking experiments. Let’s add some astronaut knowledge. Given you probably don’t have to deal with the thruster jets of Skylab waking you up or the sounds of the hull of your ship expanding and contracting, I’ve edited the recommendations down to four points:
    • Maintain a consistent schedule, even on weekends. Keep in mind the “free-running” problem. Your body will push later if given the chance.
    • Take an hour to wind down before bed. Yes, you’re busy. But your time is not more precious than an astronaut’s. So take the time to wind down.
    • If you don’t have strong day/night cues, add them. Get sunlight in the morning. Dim the lights at night. Turn electronics off as bedtime approaches or use an application like f.lux.
    • Keep your bedroom dark, cool and free from noise. Even if you think “the light doesn’t bother you” or “the noise isn’t that bad” it can still reduce sleep quality.
    Durant offers another solid piece of advice I follow myself: forget the alarm clock in the morning; set an alarm to remind you to go to bed at night. Via The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health:
    A useful technique is setting an alarm clock—not to wake up, but to get ready for bed. Set an alarm for an hour before bedtime. When it goes off, finish up any work on the computer, turn off the TV, turn off any unnecessary lights, and start to wind down for the day.
    This prevents you from cheating yourself on sleep and allows you to wake up naturally.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    An Athlete's Guide to Inflammation: What to Eat and What to Avoid


    Any athlete who pounds his or her body week in and week out with PRs, 1RMs, triples and doubles, sprints, long weekend runs, and the list goes on, is inflamed in some way. These activities all have a profound impact on the body. Not only do they initiate increases in strength, muscle growth, and increased endurance, but they also increase the amount of inflammation in the body. This inflammation could be from stress and the subsequent cortisol release into the body, the swelling of joints, or the breaking down and building back up of muscle protein.
    This inflammatory response in most cases will be the result of micro-traumas affecting muscles, connective tissue, joints, and bone. These micro-traumas are what allow your body to adapt and withstand a similar workout in the future. In fact, regular exercise can even help an athlete adapt enough to lower the level of inflammation in the body. But without the proper level of nutritional support or knowledge of the foods that could cause you inflammation issues, you could be fighting an uphill battle.


    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    100-year-old LELAND McPHIE

    Leland McPhie, 100, attempted to clear the bar at a practice during the USA Track and Field Masters Indoor Championships.
    By Stan Grossfeld

    100-year-old LELAND McPHIE leaves his cane behind and practices at the USA Track and Field National Masters Indoor Championships held at the Reggie Lewis Center. Although he did not clear the bar in his three official attempts, he became the oldest man to attempt a high jump at an indoor track meet, March 15, 2014 — “I just thought, I’ve got to go faster but I haven’t run before. That’s the first time I tried to jump in seven years. I had a mild stroke a few years ago and the doctor wouldn’t let me run. Then I had cancer and I was out of commission for quite a while. I feel all right. I think if I practiced four or five more times I could have made it. I’m learning all over again what to do. I was trying to get up some speed — part of me cleared, [but] I didn’t know how my legs would move or anything. No, I wasn’t happy. I was hoping I’d clear the bar at least once. I jumped 6-feet tall — 6-2 in college [at San Diego State]. Less than a month ago I had my physical with my heart doctor. I said, ‘Doc, how much more can I go?’ And he said 10 or 15 more years. I think I can do better by practicing. On my high jump, I can go higher after I get my form down

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Every Other American Has Risk Factors for this Disease


    Heart Disease is still the number one disease in the United States. 49% of us have at least one risk factor associated with the disease:
    • high blood cholesterol
    • high blood pressure
    • smoking
    • excess weight
    • diabetes
    • physical inactivity
    February was national heart health month, and March is national nutrition month. The right food is a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the risk of getting a heart attack. It may seem a bit overwhelming to change years of bad habits, but nobody says you have to make all these changes all at once.
    Here are a few small steps to a healthier you:
    • add one vegetable a day to your meals
    • use half a teaspoon less of sugar to sweeten your coffee / tea
    • cook one more meal at home this week compared to last week (eat out less)
    • Change your sandwich bread from white to whole grain
    • take a 30 minute walk every day. You can break it down to 10 minutes, 3 times a day
    • Swap your OJ, and eat a piece of real fruit
    • Stop smoking (OK, this is not a small step, but nonetheless, try reducing the daily cigarette count)
    • Share your desert with a friend
    • Read the nutrition label and ingredient lists of products you are buying
    What steps are you taking to improve your heart health?

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Increase Bone Strength with These Exercises

    by thorin klosowski
    We know that high-impact exercises help strengthen the bones, and it's good to start working on that strength training as soon as possible so you'll be nice and strong in your old age. The New York Times has a few suggestions for exactly how to do that. P
    Put simply, increasing bone density when you're younger means you'll be able to get around better in older age. Here are a few ways to do it according to The New York Times:P
    Sprinting and hopping are the most obvious and well-studied examples of high-impact exercises. In one recent study, women ages 25 to 50 who leaped like fleas at least 10 times in a row, twice per day for four months, significantly increased the density of their hipbones.

    A 2005 study of adult female athletes, for instance, found that those participating in the highest-impact sports, including volleyball, hurdling, squash, soccer and speed skating, had denser bones than those competing in weight lifting. But the weight lifters did have healthier bones than those in the no-impact sports of bicycling and swimming...

    Walking may be sufficient, if it's speedy. In the large-scale Nurses' Health Study of more than 60,000 postmenopausal women, those who walked briskly at least four times per week were at much lower risk of hip fractures (an indirect but practical indicator of bone health) than the women who walked less often, more slowly, or not at all.P

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Military-Style Training: Is Running With a Weight Vest Effective?

    One way to change up your cardio training is by taking a note from the military and adding weight to your locomotion. Using weighted vests or backpacks to increase intensity to a standard flat or uphill walk can add a twist to your training. The performance effects of loaded walks were examined in a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
    The participants in the study were either college or military students. They first performed a timed run of about three miles. The treadmill test included back-to-back three-minute sessions with gradually increasing speeds or grades. The tests were completed in a random order over a few weeks and under the following conditions:
    • Unloaded
    • 22-lb vest
    • 22-lb vest with another 22-lb backpack on top of it
    • 22-lb vest with an additional 44-lb backpack
    First is the obvious result: performance running outside correlated positively to performance on the treadmill. In other words, if you’re in shape outdoors, you’re probably in shape indoors as well. However, the treadmill test was measured to exhaustion, and so the varying loads affected this correlation. This means that the factors influencing performance were somewhat different (albeit related) in the heavier load treadmill tests.
    Body mass did not correlate with performance on the treadmill with one exception: when donning the 66-lb vest and backpack combo, bigger participants performed better. This fact reflects the increased degree of strength and body mass required to haul that much weight around. It was especially true for the female participants, whose lighter bodyweight created a larger drop in performance as weight was added.
    The researchers noted that this particular sample didn’t have a large range of body sizes, and thus there wasn’t a big difference in aerobic performance between participants, even on the unloaded tests when controlled for bodyweight. However, speculatively, the larger a person is, the better they will tolerate larger loads, but the slower they will perform unloaded, and vice versa.
    The increasing weight also reduced pulmonary (lung) performance, which paralleled the reduction in aerobic performance. This probably occurred for a few reasons. The increasing load primarily affected aerobic performance, but it did increase the anaerobic demand of the exercise while reducing the time it took to reach exhaustion. This combination meant lower pulmonary function was required. Another point not to overlook, was that lung function could have been repressed by the actual load creating pressure on the upper body.
    This study may lend some new ideas for training. The smaller an individual is, the lower the range of loads they should use for various running, walking, hiking, and similar tests. The larger a person is, the greater the range they can work with, but the slower they are likely to perform with no load at all. For military personnel, the three-mile run is a good test for overall performance, and will even give information relevant to loaded marches. However, keep in mind that it accounts for only about 42% of the variance in performance on the heaviest loads for men, and thirty percent for women. No matter who you are, give this training a shot and see how you stack up to a soldier’s fitness.  

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Are Bodyweight Exercises Alone Enough?

    So yes, a smart bodyweight program can rival the best barbell training, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. These guys aren’t just mindlessly doing progressively greater numbers of pushups, pullups, and air squats. If you want to get as strong as possible, just doing more reps won’t cut it. You need intelligent progression.
    Read more:

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Junk Food Mind Control


    Think you’ll always pick chocolate over a bag of chips? Don’t be so sure. Researchers have found that if they can get people to pay more attention to a particular type of junk food, they will begin to prefer it—even weeks or months after the experiment. The finding suggests a new way to manipulate our decisions and perhaps even encourage us to pick healthy foods.  

    “This paper is provocative and very well done,” says Antonio Rangel, a neuroeconomist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who was not involved in the new study. “It is exciting because it’s a proof of concept that a relatively simple intervention can have this long-lasting effect.”

    Economists who study decision-making had previously found that, when deciding between multiple items, people tend to let their gaze linger on the things that they end up choosing. This observation has motivated companies to pursue flashy packaging to attract consumers’ eyes. Tom Schonberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas, Austin, wondered whether people’s preferences could be changed before being faced with such a decision by training their brains to pay more attention to certain items.
    His first task was figuring out what kind of junk food people preferred. He and his colleagues recruited more than 200 university students and set up an auction-style program that asked them how much they were willing to pay for 60 different kinds of snacks, from M&M’s to Fritos. Then, the participants went through a 30- to 50-minute computer training program that showed photos of foods that the participants had already rated. When some treats appeared on the screen, a short tone would play and signal the subject to press a button as fast as possible. When other treats popped up, the computer remained silent and the subject refrained from pressing the button.
    After the training session, Schonberg’s team gave the subjects a new test, asking them to choose between two foods. Two-thirds of the time, the participants chose a snack that had been associated with a sound during training, even if they’d rated the food equal or slightly lower than the other food in the pairing in the initial auction. Moreover, when the researchers repeated the auction, the participants were willing to pay more than they'd bid previously for the items that had been accompanied by a sound and button-press, Schonberg and colleagues report online today in Nature Neuroscience.

    When the researchers brought the subjects back as much as 2 months later, they found that the altered preferences remained: Subjects were still more likely to choose an item that had been associated with the tone during training. “The novelty here is that, without any external rewards or incentives, we’ve managed to influence people’s values and choices over a long time period,” Schonberg says.

    How the training affects parts of the brain associated with decision-making isn’t yet known. Waiting for a beep and pressing a button requires high levels of attention, Schonberg says, and it’s likely that demand teaches someone to favor certain items they see while completing the task.
    The results don’t just hold lessons for advertisers trying to sell junk food, but also suggest a way to alter people’s behaviors to make them healthier, says Nathaniel Daw, a computational neuroscientist at New York University in New York City who was not on Schonberg’s team. “It’s one thing to do this with different types of junk food,” he says. “But could you do this to drive people away from Snickers bars and get them more interested in kale?”

    He cautions, however, that—at least so far—the effects of the training are relatively small. It can’t make someone like something that they previously disliked. (Kale, anyone?)
    Schonberg’s team is now pursuing ways to make the effect last even longer, and studying how well the training works to alter preferences of items other than junk food.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Gut Microbes Respond within Days to Major Diet Changes

    You are what you eat, and so are the bacteria that live in your body.
    Microbiologists have known for some time that different diets produce different gut flora, but new research indicates that the changes take hold with startling quickness. Bacterial populations shift measurably in the first few days following a big shift in what we eat, according to a recent study.

    Researchers assigned volunteers to two diets—one based on animal products such as meat, eggs and cheese and one based on vegetables. Almost immediately the gut microbiome responded. The animal diet, for instance, curbed the numbers of microbes that break down carbohydrates from plants and boosted levels of organisms that can tolerate bile, which helps to digest fats. “What we thought might take days, weeks or years began to happen within hours,” says Eugene Chang, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, who did not contribute to the study.

    The rapid changes could have been very useful for ancient humans, notes study co-author Lawrence David, an assistant professor at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. A forager's diet could vary widely based on what food sources were available, and the microbiome's ability to adapt would ensure maximum nutrient absorption. David and his colleagues published their findings in Nature. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

    The microbes may not be uniformly beneficial, however. Subjects eating animal products saw a significant uptick in Bilophila wadsworthia, a bacterium known to contribute in mice to colitis, or inflammation of the colon. But David cautions that it is too soon to advocate for specific dietary changes. “We're anticipating that people will try to draw conclusions about which diet is better from this,” David says. “And we want to address that it's very difficult to come to any health-related judgment based on this study.”

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Older adults: Build muscle and you'll live longer


    New UCLA research suggests that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition — and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI — is a better predictor of all-cause mortality.
    The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, is the culmination of previous UCLA research led by Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant clinical professor in the endocrinology division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, that found that building muscle mass is important in decreasing metabolic risk.
    "As there is no gold-standard measure of body composition, several studies have addressed this question using different measurement techniques and have obtained different results," Srikanthan said. "So many studies on the mortality impact of obesity focus on BMI. Our study indicates that clinicians need to be focusing on ways to improve body composition, rather than on BMI alone, when counseling older adults on preventative health behaviors."
    The researchers analyzed data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, conducted between 1988 and 1994. They focused on a group of 3,659 individuals that included men who were 55 or older and women who were 65 or older at the time of the survey. The authors then determined how many of those individuals had died from natural causes based on a follow-up survey done in 2004.
    The body composition of the study subjects was measured using bioelectrical impedance, which involves running an electrical current through the body. Muscle allows the current to pass more easily than fat does, due to muscle's water content. In this way, the researchers could determine a muscle mass index — the amount of muscle relative to height — similar to a body mass index. They looked at how this muscle mass index was related to the risk of death.
    They found that all-cause mortality was significantly lower in the fourth quartile of muscle mass index compared with the first quartile.
    "In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death," said Dr. Arun Karlamangla, an associate professor in the geriatrics division at the Geffen School and the study's co-author. "Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass."
    This study does have some limitations. For instance, one cannot definitively establish a cause-and-effect relationship between muscle mass and survival using a cohort study such as NHANES III. "But we can say that muscle mass seems to be an important predictor of risk of death," Srikanthan said. In addition, bioelectrical impedance is not the most advanced measurement technique, though the NHANES III measurements were conducted in a very rigorous fashion "and practically, this is the best situation possible in a study of this size," she noted.
    "Despite these limitations, this study establishes the independent survival prediction ability of muscle mass as measured by bioelectrical impedance in older adults, using data from a large, nationally representative cohort," Srikanthan and Karlamangla write, adding that BMI's association with mortality in older adults has proven inconsistent. "We conclude that measurement of muscle mass relative to body height should be added to the toolbox of clinicians caring for older adults. Future research should determine the type and duration of exercise interventions that improve muscle mass and potentially increase survival in (healthy), older adults."
    The research was funded by NIH/NIA grant P30 AG028748.
    The UCLA Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, part of the department of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, provides consultative, diagnostic and therapeutic services for the full range of endocrine problems. The division has complete diagnostic and therapeutic capability, in association with members of the divisions of general surgery and vascular surgery and the departments of neurosurgery, ophthalmology and radiology.
    The UCLA Division of Geriatrics, within the department of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, offers comprehensive outpatient and inpatient services at several convenient locations and works closely with other UCLA programs that strive to improve or maintain the quality of life of seniors. UCLA geriatricians are specialists in managing the overall health of people age 65 and older and treating medical disorders that frequently affect the elderly, including falls and immobility, urinary incontinence, memory loss and dementia, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. As a result of their specialized training, geriatricians can knowledgably consider and address a broad spectrum of health-related factors — including medical, psychological and social — when treating their patients.

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    8 Things Your Pet Shouldn’t Eat READ MORE

    1. Chocolate

    Why: Stimulates the nervous system and the heart.

    2. Grapes, Raisins

    Why: Damage the kidneys.

    3. Garlic, Onions

    Why: Damage red blood cells, causing anemia.

    4. Xylitol

    (Found in sugarless gum.)

    Why: Causes increased insulin secretion, resulting in lower blood sugar levels.

    5. Alcoholic Drinks

    Why: Depress the nervous system.

    6. Raw Yeast, Bread Dough

    Why: Forms gas in the digestive track; fermentation of yeast causes alcohol poisoning.

    7. Macadamia Nuts

    Why: Cause muscle and nervous-system problems.

    8. Avocados

    Why: Contain persin, which damages the heart muscle.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Vitamin D increases breast cancer patient survival, study shows

    Breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are twice as likely to survive the disease as women with low levels of this nutrient, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers in the March issue of Anticancer Research READ MORE

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    10 Articles to Improve the Performance of Your Hamstrings

    Improving the strength and function of your hamstring muscles can go a long way. For athletes of many sports, from the strength sports through to cycling and running, the hamstrings tend to be a problematic area. Strengthening the hamstrings is crucial to performance in these sports and even more importantly, to injury prevention. Here are ten articles to guide you through how to make the most of this underrated muscle group.

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Sunday, March 9, 2014



    In my opinion, the scientific literature as a whole, including animal and human studies, suggests rather consistently that potatoes can be a healthy part of a varied diet for most people, and they probably do not generally promote digestive problems, fat gain, or metabolic dysfunction.  Nevertheless, I wouldn't recommend eating nothing but potatoes for any length of time. If you do choose to eat potatoes, follow these simple guidelines:
    • Don't eat potatoes that are green, sprouting, blemished, or damaged
    • Store them in a cool, dark place. They don't need to be refrigerated but it will extend their life
    • Peel them before eating if you rely on them as a staple food
    Enjoy your potatoes!

    Read More

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Is It Dangerous to Eat Meat Before Age 65?


    Is it dangerous to eat meat if you’re between 55 and 65? Will eating lots of meat then suddenly become healthful after you turn 65?
    This is the somewhat confusing conclusion that some researchers drew from a new American questionnaire study:
    As usual, we have to take sensational headlines with a substantial pinch of salt. This was just a food questionnaire that was sent to some thousand Americans, and the researchers then looked at statistical associations with diseases.

    Uncertain Association

    As regular readers know, one can’t prove causation by correlating statistics from questionnaire studies. Only ignorant or sensationalism-driven journalists believe so. Unfortunately these two groups seem to constitute the vast majority of all journalists.
    On subsequent examination, it turns out that at least 80% of similar findings in uncertain questionnaires are incorrect – see table 4 in the excellent review Why Most Published Research Findings are False.
    So a more scientifically correct headline would be “There is a 20 percent chance that meat quadruples the risk of cancer for people under the age of 65 and reduces the risk for older people.” Not as enticing.
    The statistical correlation between meat-eating and disease in people under 65 in the U.S. may just as well be due to the fact that meat consumption there is associated with eating junk food, smoking, lack of exercise, less vegetables and in principal any unhealthful lifestyle you can think of.
    What, in all of these unhealthful lifestyles, is the cause of disease ? Statistics cannot prove this.

    IGF-1 and cancer

    Therefore, there are good reasons to ignore the study. But I guess that there’s still some truth behind it. Scientists report that protein (high-quality animal protein in particular) may raise levels of the hormone IGF-1, which stimulates cell division. High levels of IGF-1 may in the long run increase the risk of cancer.
    What they don’t mention is that carbohydrates also increase levels of IGF-1, at least as much. Particularly bad carbohydrates in greater quantities radically raise IGF-1 levels. The only thing you can eat that doesn’t significantly increase levels of IGF-1 is fat.
    The logical conclusion is that any variation of a low-carbohydrate diet with moderate amounts of protein (and enough fat) is the healthiest in the long run – at least to keep IGF-1 low while still feeling great. How much protein? The amount you need to feel good, feel full and stay strong and healthy. What is this concept called? LCHF.
    The really ambitious may add intermittent fasting for maximum effect.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    The Relation Between Rest Interval Mode and Duration in Sprint Training


    Sprinting is the key to field sports like football, hockey, and soccer. Plays are won or lost based on a player’s ability to execute a sprint faster than his opponent. So naturally, sprint training is an important topic in coaching. If we can figure out the best way to train sprints, then perhaps we can perform better on the field and ultimately win more games.

    A group of researchers tackled this problem in the latest issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. They asked, “What is the best way to rest between sprints during training to ensure maximum performance?” Some studies have shown that passive rest, or not moving during rest periods, is superior. Others have shown that active rest, which is when an athlete maintains motion at a very slow and easy rate, is superior. The research team devised a study to test whether the length of the rest interval affected the best way to rest.

    The researchers recruited ten male recreational athletes to study. The men were generally in their mid- to late twenties and had spent about seven years in their respective sports. The men were asked to perform a thirty-second sprint on a stationary bike. The researchers tested four different conditions:

    • 45 seconds rest with passive recovery
    • 45 seconds rest with active recovery
    • 180 seconds rest with passive recovery
    • 180 seconds rest with active recovery

    The results were surprising. The researchers found that the optimal mode of recovery (active or passive) depends on the length of the rest interval. In the case of 45-second rest intervals, passive recovery was the winner. The sprinters maintained higher peak power, especially in the early sprints, with passive rest. In the case of 180-second rest intervals, active recovery was the winner. In this case, the cyclists stayed on the bicycle and kept moving the pedals at a slow pace. This paid off with higher power outputs, especially during the later sprints.

    Why this difference? Well, we don’t know exactly. The researchers theorized that active recovery may interfere with the first stage of phosphocreatine regeneration. This would explain why passive recovery was beneficial for short rest intervals. Active recovery does a better job of removing cellular waste products like hydrogen ions. This is primarily accomplished through greater blood flow caused by the motion of active recovery. The sum total of this effect provided an advantage for active recovery during the longer, 180-second rest intervals.

    So next time you’re designing a program that involves sprint training, consider whether active or passive recovery is optimal. Better performance in training means better performance on the field, so it could be the difference between making a big play or chalking up a loss

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Don't Store Your Tomatoes in the Fridge

    by Ria Misra

    Researchers in France recently undertook an analysis of just was happening to the volatiles in tomatoes stored at room temperatures, versus tomatoes in cold storage.

    When stored at 68 degrees fahrenheit, they found that a ripe tomato not only maintained existing volatiles, it actually continued to produce more. In other words, the tomato's flavor just kept on getting more and more tomato-y.

    When stored at 39 degrees, however, volatile production didn't just stop, existing volatiles actually began to break down. What's more, the loss in volatiles wasn't equal across the board — it was targeted. Different volatile compounds import different kinds of flavor notes. The volatiles associated with the notes typically described as "grassy" or "green" in tomatoes took an especially hard hit, which is why that "fresh picked" flavor is the first to go when a tomato sits in your refrigerator.

    The loss in flavor is not purely a chemical problem, though — there's also the texture of the tomato to worry about. It turns out that, for a sensitive fruit like a tomato, temperatures don't necessarily  need to drop below freezing
    in order to be damaging. Anything below 50 degrees can put the tomato at risk of a chilling injury, the symptoms of which include softening and pitting. The end result? A spongy, flavorless tomato.


    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Prescription 2014: Stronger Immunity


    Nobody wants to be slowed down by a cold, flu or any host of infectious diseases we hear about in the news or meet firsthand in our daily lives. But, finding reliable information about natural ways to bolster immunity isn’t always easy. Conventional doctors are often clueless, and anecdotal remedies from family and friends can certainly be hit-or-miss. Fortunately, there really are some scientifically proven changes you can make to your diet, lifestyle and supplement regimen that can strengthen your resistance to communicable diseases.

    Let’s begin with something most of us do several times a day: eat. A review in the December 2013 issue of Frontiers in Immunology reveals that one of the best ways to support immune function is via the gut. That can be accomplished by eating more foods and/or taking supplements containing prebiotics such as fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin and probiotics, including Bifidobacterium sp. and Saccharomyces bolardii. Kefir, kimchi and yogurt are several cultured and fermented foods which up your intake of these beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and beneficial bacteria promoters (prebiotics). In addition, two recent studies report that eating cranberries and strawberries stimulates the proliferation of immune cells that protect against viral infections and shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms.

    Many people are justifiably skeptical about immune boosting claims made by supplement manufacturers. I want to single out a few evidence-based supplements that can be taken with confidence. The first is a daily multivitamin containing 30 milligrams of zinc. New research indicates that zinc supplementation enhances the activity of monocytes – a type of white blood cell that is vital to an active immune response. To be sure, zinc has long been associated with immunity. However, of late, it’s fallen out of favor because of mixed findings in trials evaluating the efficacy of zinc lozenges versus the common cold. Nevertheless, ensuring adequate dietary and/or supplemental zinc is a wise approach that can be safely utilized over the long term. Another supplement worthy of consideration is beta glucan, an extract derived from baker’s yeast. 250 mg daily of Wellmune WGP, a patented beta glucan extract, has been shown to increase mucosal immunity and reduce the number of cold and flu symptom days in high-risk individuals.

    Any holistic approach intent on establishing and maintaining a robust immune system should take into account the mind-body connection. To that end, making time to laugh out loud and reducing stress by getting or giving yourself a massage enhances resistance to infections. And, perhaps most impressively, much of the published research has focused on populations that are highly susceptible to infections, such as cancer patients. I also highly recommend spending a little extra time in so called “green spaces” (gardens, nature reserves, parks, etc.) whenever you need immunological improvement. This last tip comes directly from a recent review appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper in question explains that a variety of immune related disorders are likely influenced by a decline in the amount of time we spend in nature. It’s a highly plausible theory. So, go take a hike! Smell the roses! Go on a walk with a funny friend! Get outside, laugh and stay well!

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    Not being able to fall asleep

    by thorin klosowski

    When you're laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wondering why on earth you're still awake, your brain goes to all kinds of weird places. One of the best ways to get to sleep is to calm down and focus your thinking on something that isn't the fact you're still awake.

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