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020118 Boosting your insulin response with increased lean muscle mass

020118 Boosting your insulin response with increased lean muscle mass

A brief snapshot of Insulin resistance and why it is important to avoid.

This condition causes the body’s muscles, fat and liver cells to improperly respond to insulin. The pancreas makes the hormone, insulin. This hormone helps the cells take in and use glucose which in turn is a fuel used by the body to function. If there is not enough circulating insulin, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream and increases the potential for developing diabetes. It is in everyone’s best interest to have as much lean muscle mass as possible to possibly avoid this serious medical condition, especially as you get older.

One of the unwelcome conditions of aging is muscular frailty, also known as sarcopenia[1]. Without strong muscles, coordination and balance problems begin to appear. These problems may be held at bay by greater lean muscle mass. A new study reports that increasing skeletal muscle mass by as little as 10%, is also associated with an 11% reduction in the body’s resistance to insulin and a 12% lower risk of developing transitional, prediabetes or diabetes.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles look at the data and 13,644 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Since these people were involved in the study between years of 1988 to 1994, the research is somewhat old. However when the muscle mass of one quarter of the participants was compared between those with the most muscle mass and those at the bottom with the least muscle mass, those with the greatest amount of fat three muscle mass were 63% less liable to get diabetes.

After making adjustments to leave out those with diabetes, the connection between muscle mass and improved insulin resistance became even stronger. According to the study[2], “increases in muscle mass above even average levels were associated with additional protection against insulin resistance and prediabetes.”

Not only is increasing your lean muscle mass important, but also losing weight helps to improve your metabolic health. Most of us already know that the fitter you are, the healthier you are probably going to be.

[1] Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and coordination that results from the process of aging.

[2] Preethi Srikanthan, MD of the University of California Los Angeles, USA

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051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

Breakfast
Not long ago I was asked to review the science on the benefits of breakfast for a cereal company. Although it is a common truism that “breakfast is good for you” I wanted to know if it remains good advice. So I plunged into 30+ research papers to see what was agreed about the first meal of the day. Here is what I learned.

A large Australian study from last year showed that breakfast was critical for school performance, boosting both literacy and numeracy skills, independent of the socio-economic group. This backed up a review of the previous 50 years of studies in school children. There is no doubt that breakfast is necessary to help you to learn new stuff. Usually not difficult with primary school kids because they wake up hungry. It is the upper high school kids we need to convince.

Breakfast habits changing
Twenty years ago just about every young kid ate breakfast, with only some older teenagers giving it a miss, rising to 15% of 19-24 year olds being breakfast skippers. Now we have nearly 1 in 4 of upper high school students missing breakfast, in Australia at least.

Two decades ago, over three quarters of adults ate breakfast. Now barely 6 out of 10 adults regularly eat breakfast, women being better than the menfolk. Why the decline? The most common excuse is “not enough time”, in other words not enough time to pour out cereal into a bowl, add milk and consume (Gee, that’s gotta take 6 whole minutes) or plonk two slices of bread into the toaster, shave/brush hair/pack lunch while you wait, then add peanut butter. Let’s see, that’s 7.5 minutes.

But then my concept of time and food differs to most people, a fact I accept and have resigned myself to, especially since the day I saw a line of cars outside the drive-thru section of a famous takeaway at 8 am on a school day.

What if you don’t fancy breakfast?
Don’t know how you can do it, frankly. Me? I can’t do without breakfast. No breakfast and I can’t do up shirt buttons, I squeeze Heel Balm onto my toothbrush and drive into oncoming traffic. I have a court order to eat breakfast by 7.30 am or face serving jail time.

You, of course, may be able to get away with it. Can I suggest that you at least have a banana, a yogurt or one of those breakfast drinks as you leave the house? With some glucose racing through your arteries you will make better decisions. Then, when you do feel hungry, eat smart, like choose a sandwich, fruit or a smoothie and not scarf some eye-level, salty, extruded snack from the vending machine. Just the term “extruded snack” should put you off.

What does it all mean?
It means what it has always meaned. Clever people eat breakfast and breakfast eating makes you clever. The evidence is pretty over-whelming.

There are plenty of choices to kick-start the day – breakfast cereals or muesli with milk, topped with nuts or a banana (my choice), wholegrain toast with peanut butter, poached eggs and mushrooms on toast, yogurt and canned fruit and you can think of more. If you buy your breakfast look beyond the cappuccino and croissant because you are worth a lot more than that. A lot more.

Selected references:

  • O’Dea JA, Mugridge AC. Nutritional quality of breakfast and physical activity independently predict the literacy and numeracy scores of children after adjusting for socioeconomic status. Health Education Research 2012; 27 (6): 975-985
    • Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews 2009; 22: 220-243
    • Astbury NM, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of Nutrition 2011; 141: 1381-1389

241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3

241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3 

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

The why

Recent research has found that stress actually changes your nervous and hormonal systems around so they encourage fat accumulation around the waist. This type of fat is dangerous and can lead to an increase in your chances of developing hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

The October issue of Obesity Research featured a report by Swedish scientists, which found changes occurred in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal connections.  This intricate system regulates the part of the brain that controls metabolism through the adrenal gland. They also found that men with accumulations of fat in the stomach had nervous system changes that help to keep the bodily functions in balance. These researchers believe that these brain and neuroendocrine changes happen due to a life of chronic stress.

The how

One method of determining where you store your body fat is to use the waist to hip ratio formula. Take a measuring tape from your sewing room or sewing kit and measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Write this number down and then measure at the smallest circumference of your waist, just above your navel. As you measure your waist, don’t suck your stomach in, as this will give a false reading. Letting it all hang out is the best stance here.

Divide the hip number into the waist number to determine the ratio. If the number is one or above you are at an increased risk of one or more of the diseases previously listed.

The formula is Waist ÷Hip and anything less than one is good news.

More next week.

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.(1/2)

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.(1/2)

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D

According to recent research, those who have a large potbelly appear to have a higher risk of arteriosclerosis. This is the medical term for the fatty buildup on the lining of arteries that researchers now believe increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179

People who carried this “spare tire” of fat around their waists are more likely to have increased fat and cholesterol in their blood.

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

Kahn’s is not the first study to identify health hazards of potbellies. Although body fat tends to relocate to the abdomen with age, past research has shown that excess belly fat, compared to fat elsewhere on the body, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as up the chances of stroke in middle age.

In the current study, Kahn and his colleagues measured body fat distribution and screened for insulin resistance in 196 people. The authors also determined how much choesterol, fat, and apoB was present in each participant’s blood.

The average age of study participants was 53. They were all seemingly healthy, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Reporting in the January issue of Diabetes, Kahn and his colleagues discovered that people with bigger potbellies who were more resistant to insulin also had lower levels of HDL cholesterol and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol–the “bad” form of cholesterol.

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach. (1/2)

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D

According to recent research, those who have a large potbelly appear to have a higher risk of arteriosclerosis. This is the medical term for the fatty buildup on the lining of arteries that researchers now believe increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179

People who carried this “spare tire” of fat around their waists are more likely to have increased fat and cholesterol in their blood.

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

311216 Fat-the good and bad of it

311216 Fat-the good and bad of it

Just what you wanted to know entering the New Year festivities. Sometimes guilt trips work…

A key component in assessing an individual’s health and physical fitness is knowing the body composition makeup. Obesity (excessive body fat relative to body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more) and becoming overweight (Adults with BMI between 25-29.9 kg/m2 or with children being in and over the 95th percentile for their age and sex) is at epidemic proportions in the United States and the trend is gathering momentum.

Right now we are at the top of the fat list compared to the majority of the nations in the world-an unfortunate but sad fact.

Being obese brings serious health consequences and reduces life expectancy by increasing the risk of developing serious diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, aka the silent killer, type 2 diabetes, obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis and even certain kinds of cancer.

Just as too much fat in the body can cause problems, so can too little. Our body needs fat to operate in a normal physiological fashion. For example, the essential lipids such as the phospholipids are vital to cell membrane formation. The non essential lipids such as triglycerides which are found in the adipose (fat) tissue protect the body by providing a layer of thermal insulation. Fat tissue assists in storing metabolic fuel in the form of free fatty acids.

These same lipids are also involved in the storage and transport of the fat soluble A, D, E, and K vitamins and in helping to maintain the functionality of the nervous system. The menstrual cycle in females and the reproductive systems in both male and female rely on these cells, as does the growth and maturation processes of the pubescence child.

Thus, too little body fat as seen in those with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, or someone with an exercise addiction or even certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis can lead to serious physiological health related consequences.

The best option is to be in the normal range for body fat, not over or under the recommendations if you desire to have good health.

Testing the body fat levels

The previous article briefly discussed the near crisis issue of being overweight and the staggering rise of obesity in our nation. Here we are going to look behind the scenes at the testing methods that determine fat or fit.

A classification of the level of body fat relies on the standard relative body fat percentages commonly used across the world. These classifications are in turn then broken up into age, sex, and activity body fat percentages at recommended levels. Across the scale women carry more body fat than males and younger people of both sexes carry less fat than older adults. This is due to the role women have in the reproduction of our species.

What are the body composition measures used for?

Body composition measures are useful in estimating a healthy body weight and figuring out a recommended nutritional plan. Both of these components are essential in designing an exercise program that will be beneficial to the trainee. Athletes who participate in weight bracket sports such as bodybuilding and wrestling need to know their ideal weight in order to be competitive. Pediatricians and other health care professionals make note of these measurements while monitoring the growth of children and to identify those who are at risk of being under or over weight.

The population of our country is getting older and the changes in body composition are important indicators of whether the person is remaining healthy or not. In each case, the assessment of body fat helps to determine the nutritional and exercise prescription intervention strategies that play a prominent role in charting a course of action to improve health and fitness levels.

Background on the measurement procedures

The body is made up of water, protein, minerals and fat substances. Most body fat identification procedures rely upon the two component model which divides the body into two sections: fat free and the fat tissue. The fat free is made up of all the chemicals and the tissues including water, muscle and the bones. The rest is fat. The testing methods separate the water, protein and minerals from the fat and then give a percentage of lean body mass to fat mass. Stay active and healthy in your life.

240816 Eat your Raspberries

Eat your Raspberries

In a review of scientific literature, published in the January 2016 issue of Advances in Nutrition the conclusion is “Raspberries have a number of heart and brain-health protective essential nutrients.”[1]

It seems as though Raspberries contain anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and metabolic stabilizing activity. All of which are good news to those of us interested in maintaining our health.

Raspberries also have anthocyanins, a known inflammation suppressant. Additional benefits accrue from the high amounts of polyphenol in the berries. Polyphenol may help in preventing platelet buildup and reduce blood pressure too.

There is further good news for those with diabetes; “Raspberries have potential to help reduce factors contributing to metabolic syndrome, which has implications for diabetes development and overall cardiovascular and brain health” says lead author Britt M. Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS, Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of technology.”[2]

[1] DukeMedicine, April 2016, VOL. 22, No.4

[2] IBID

290216 Eating clean

290216 Eating clean

The experts at Tufts University set out the basic principles of eating clean as described in the book Eating Clean for Dummies. These are simple, common sense, guidelines that follow good dietary advice.

Start out with whole foods, preferably right from the farm that produced them. These would include such food items as whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and chemical free meat. Included in this area will be low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts (Costco sells these and they are delicious) and many varieties of seeds.

Some people believe that if the food is frozen, it detracts from the nutrients. This is not so, because by neglecting the frozen food isle in the store, you miss the great food choices such as the countless fruits and vegetables available there. Don’t forget the canned beans either. Rinse the liquid off of them first and then have at it in your salads or other dishes.

The most recommended advice from numerous sources is to avoid processed foods. This means any food with a label on it. If you actually do this, you miss out on many healthful options. For example, sugar is processed but so are the other options that are sugar such as agave syrup, fruit concentrate, or honey. The message here is to lower your intake of sugar regardless of its source.

Eating clean means figuring out what are the best options for your eating habits. Some have success grazing all day with five to six small meals during the day. Others stick to a more traditional three meals, with healthy snacks between them. Just make sure the food you eat is more nutrient dense with fewer unhealthy fats, less sugar, and lower sodium contents.

Whether you like to cook or don’t like to cook, the fact of the matter is if you cook your own food, you decide the contents. This can mean less sugar, less fat and less sodium in each meal all of which contribute to a healthier eating style. Plus you may save money too.

The last bit of advice from the experts at Tufts University is to make healthy food choice every day. Choose from the tremendous options of foods in the stores and make certain to get all three categories in your meals. These include the lean proteins found in fish, chicken, and vegetables. Stock up on whole grains of all sorts and use them in your cooking along with high fiber carbs and unsaturated fats[1].

Alter your eating habits one at a time; soon you will notice the benefits of the changes in your health and overall self-confidence.

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550

Monounsaturated fatty acids. This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

091013 Early detection of disease – screenings for men

Early detection of disease – screenings for men

The earlier a disease is detected, the better off you may be. If you begin treatment soon after finding the problem the treatment is more effective in the early stages and the greater, the likelihood is that you will avoid any complications from the disease.

There are many opinions from various medical organizations recommending different health screenings at different frequencies in your life to consider. Your personal health history, as well as that of your close relatives, will have an influence on your decision to have these tests.

Don’t waste your money on useless tests; consult with your doctor to find out the ones that may benefit you the most. The following recommendations are generally those providing the greatest information for continued monitoring of your health.

Blood pressure readings measure the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of high blood pressure advises getting this done at least every two years for anyone past the age of eighteen.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation counsels getting a bone mineral density test (BMT) at least one time for men over seventy years of age. A BMT is an Osteoporosis test that screens for brittle, weak bones leading causes of fractures in the elderly and those with osteoporosis.

Colon cancer screening tests for colon cancer or precancerous polyps. The American Cancer Society recommends the following schedule for these tests:

• At age fifty men should have tests for polyps and cancer with a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Colonoscopy every ten years
• Double contrast barium enema every five years or CT a colonography which is a virtual colonoscopy, every five years.
• Tests with the principle goal of finding cancer include:
o a yearly fecal occult blood test or a
o yearly fecal immunochemical test
• Diabetes screening tests. These check if you have high blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association these should be done every three years once you are past forty five years of age.
• The American Optometric Association advises regular eye exams along these lines:
o Ages 18-60 every two years
o Beyond age 61 every year
• Determining the fasting lipoprotein profile every five years, beginning at age twenty plus is the goal of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel. This checks the cholesterol levels in your body, which is one measure of your hearts health.
• The American Cancer Society recommends prostate screening for possible signs of prostate cancer starting at age 50. However, before jumping into the tests discuss the benefits and potential false readings with your doctor. For certain, African American’s and men with a family history of prostate cancer should be getting tested on a regular basis at an earlier date in their lives.

None of these tests are painful and there is no excuse not to be getting them on a regular basis.

270913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part five – Switching from white to brown rice could potentially lower your diabetes risk

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part five – Switching from white to brown rice could potentially lower your diabetes risk

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

Switching from white to brown rice could potentially lower your diabetes risk

Harvard researchers have made a connection between white rice consumption and the risk of developing diabetes. They found those eating the most white rice were 27% more likely to develop the disease than those who were eating less. They found this association to be the greatest, 55%, amongst the Asian populations. These same research specialists combined the results from four prior studies with a total of 352,384 participants who were followed from 4 to 22 years.

Even though the added diabetes risk of the non-Asian participants was at a borderline statistical significance of 11% it still does not bode well for eating excessive amounts of white rice. Further analysis of the statistics discovered a dose response relationship whereby the more white rice eaten, the greater the diabetes risk which rose even higher with an additional daily serving. This increased the chances of developing the disease by an additional 11%.

According to the information provided in the study white rice and brown rice are not processed the same. Brown rice, unlike white rice, retains its whole grain nutrients during the processing.

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