090718 Brain activation results in those addicted to food

090718 Brain activation results in those addicted to food

It comes as no surprise that if you are addicted to something there are going to be changes in brain activity that clearly shows up on brain scans. Nora D. Volkow, M.D. the director of the national Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed dopamine levels in obese adults. The results of these scans advanced the theory of potential addiction to food.

In October of 2011, researchers at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon updated the original 2001 research. They noticed during MRIs, that regions of the brain directly related to reward and the senses were brighter in obese who anticipated a chocolate milkshake more so than when they were actually drinking the milkshake. This was not the case with the MRIs of those leaner girls participating in the study.

This would indicate that people who find food to be exciting are more likely to eat more, which results in weight gain. Going back to the original research findings in October 2011, the results of the MRIs clearly show that the more you eat high-fat and high sugar foods the less your brain responds to these foods. The outcome of such a situation is a greater internal demand for these types of foods, which ultimately results in eating more to achieve the same feeling of pleasure.

At this point is important to note that not all members of the American Psychiatric Association subscribe to the food addiction theory and it has not been formally recognized as such by this association. The objective evidence that food addiction exists is presently lacking, which leads us down the road to a question of whether not the possibility of food addiction contributes greatly to the epidemic of obesity in our nation or not.

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

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

281117 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 1

281117 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell

I have communicated with and known Glenn for over 6 years now. He offers excellent advice and recommendations for healthy eating in an easily understood and  simple to follow manner. Danny M. O’Dell

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.

Leaner
Breakfast eaters are less likely to be chubby. And it doesn’t matter if you are at primary school, university or calling the shots from head office. That might be all you need to know to reach for the cereal bowl. So, why are breakfasters likely to be leaner? You can probably take a good logical guess at that yourself.

Breakfast eaters are more likely to be active and eat a decent diet for the rest of the day. No surprise there. If you are fit, you get more hungry and can’t bypass breakfast. It may also be that eating soon after arising helps regulate your appetite control hormones, normalise your blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. There is some evidence that a long fast leads to higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that may stimulate hunger and overeating.

Lifelong benefits
Breakfast doesn’t just pay dividends in the morning; it seems to give a good return on investment at the back end of life too. Breakfast skippers have a higher total cholesterol, higher LDL cholesterol (the evil one), an extra 5 cm (2 inches) of belt leather needed and, in one US study, a 21% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Smarter
It seems that with breakfast, you are more likely to meet your nutrient needs for the day. This may be because most breakfast choices are nutritious. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with nutrients like iron and folate. Milk or yogurt adds calcium and riboflavin. Add fruit or nuts and there is vitamin C, potassium, fibre, and on it goes. Miss breakfast and those two biscuits with coffee at morning tea don’t exactly make up the loss.

 

211117 Avoid Breakfast Mistakes

211117 Avoid Breakfast Mistakes

You likely know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your athletes need fuel to perform in the classroom and in their sport. Encourage your athletes to eat breakfast but to avoid commons mistakes .

Not Enough Protein – A bowl of cereal with low fat milk is good, but most people don’t drink all the milk that goes with the cereal and that amounts to eight grams of protein! A hard boiled egg, 100% whole grain toast w/ peanut or almond butter gives extra protein.

Too Little Fiber – Avoid sugary breakfast cereal options! Cereal should have at least FIVE grams of fiber, and always more fiber than sugar.

No Fat – A breakfast with no fat will make you hungry within an hour. Cereal, berries and low fat milk delivers the fat you need.

Too Late in the Day – Eat breakfast within an hour of waking

Not Enough Food – Fruit is good but not enough food for breakfast Your athletes should consume 300-400 calories.

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The science-based contents of the Washington Interscholastic Nutrition Forum (WINForum) Site and Nutrition Navigator, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. WINForum clinics are accredited by the WIAA for coaches credit hours, and promote a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low fat or fat free dairy.

141117 Are the bear claws you are eating making you as grouchy as a bear?

141117 Are the bear claws you are eating making you as grouchy as a bear?

Researchers at the University of California in San Diego have found a potential link between trans fat consumption and its effects on our behavior.

They found that the fats commonly used in commercial baking and frying operations can make people both aggressive and irritable. Not only are trans fats linked to increased heart disease, they also hinder the ability of omega-3 fats in reducing aggression and irritability our bodies.

Because of this link between the omega 3 fats, aggression and irritability, the researchers felt that eating more trans fats would tend to boost these types of negative behaviors.

Not being content with just feeling this was going to happen, they tested a small group of 945 adults by examining their diets and comparing the diets with a behavioral assessment tool. This group of adults self-reported any feelings of impatience, irritability along with a history of aggression.

The conclusion of the scientists was that the greater the intake of trans fats in these 945 adults, the greater was their aggression and irritability when closely examined against the measures of the behavioral assessment tool.

This was also a significant association when compared with other known aggressive predictive tools frequently used as testing devices.

Another study, conducted at the University of North Carolina, compared the amount of trans fatty acids in the diet and the occurrences of a stroke amongst 87,025 post-menopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79.

They found that those who were eating an average of 6.1 grams a day had a whopping 39% greater risk of having a stroke than those who ate 2.2 grams per day.

It makes sense to look at the labels on the food and eliminate trans fats from your diet. This may be difficult if you like commercially made baked goods from the grocery store or donut shops such as the bear claws and other delights. Moreover, the French fries may contain an unhealthy amount of trans fats. Sometimes life just isn’t fair is it?

311017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 3/3

311017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 3/3

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 how much 

A body mass indicator (BMI) is not the same as a body fat indicator. The BMI indicates weight compared to height and is not valid for most athletes or those who are above average in muscle density. The BMI will give guidelines to a person who is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. Being overweight is asking for trouble down the line so this must be controlled before your health begins to fail.

The common formula for BMI determination (in inches and pounds) is
BMI= (current weight expressed in pounds ÷ height expressed in inches X height in inches) X 703.

For example, a male weighing 215 pounds and standing 5’11” would use the equation numbers of BMI= (215 ÷ 71 X 71) X 703 = 29.98

The BMI gives a good indication of the amount of body fat on your body. This relationship varies depending on your age and gender. Most women will carry a higher percentage of body fat than most men will for the same BMI score. As we age, the muscle tends to atrophy due in part to a lack of use, which causes excess body fat accumulation. This does not mean if you stop exercising ‘the muscle turns to fat’ as physiologically this is an impossibility for two distinct cells to morph into different cells i.e. a muscle cell will not turn into a fat cell.

The solution

So what do you do about this turn of events in your life? The short answer is to begin to exercise, but only after speaking to your doctor about your plans. Second, find ways to reduce the stress in your life. Next, a gentle but structured exercise program is the safest way to losing your stomach fat.

If you are short of time and cannot go to the gym for a full session then do three to four ten-minute bursts of cardio throughout your waking hours on your aerobic day. On alternate days of the week do eight to ten different resistance exercises. These too can be split into shorter periods of activity spread over the course of your day.

Two days of resistance training and two days of cardio will be a good starting point towards better health. Gradually build up the intensity of your exercise sessions because intensity burns fat, not gently jogging or lifting light weights for a few sets. Get your heart rate up, breathe heavy and hard (within your target zone of course), and push the muscles into areas they have not seen in a while. In short, put something into it in order to get something out of it-like the fat in your stomach!

Try this routine out for a month and see how much better you feel at the end of thirty days.

On the cardio days do some walking, ride your bike, or even some light jogging. Remember, that when you first begin you do not have to keep up with every hot shot in the gym or on the running course. If you forget to gradually work up to it, your body will remind you of the folly of your actions the next afternoon.
Essentials of Personal Training, Baechle, T. R. and Earle, R. W. Human Kinetics 2004

Waist to hip ratio calculator: https://www.nyhq.org/diw/tools/hipcalc.html