070119 Control your eating by applying Paretos’ law, Hara Hachi Bu and other techniques 1/2

070119 Control your eating by applying Paretos’ law, Hara Hachi Bu and other techniques 1/2

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist living in the late 1800’s, discovered that eighty percent of the land in Italy was owned by twenty percent of the citizens. Briefly, Pareto’s law states that eighty percent of the resultant effects come from twenty percent of the involved parts. In the case of food it’s that piece of pie or cake that is calling your name after you’re already full. That’s the twenty percent you don’t really need to eat.

This law seemingly applies to many facets of everyday life, including eating. In Okinawa they have adapted a similar concept into their eating habits by leaving twenty percent of the food on their plate. Called Hara Hachi Bu this traditional eating plan places a heavy emphasis on fruits, whole grains, soy foods, fish and vegetables.

The health benefits of not eating twenty percent of the food are decreased heart disease rates along with stroke and diabetes levels that are lower than in the U.S. With obesity epidemic in our culture it stands to reason that by not eating 100% of the food on the plate we would lower these risks.

171218 Obesity 2/2

171218 Obesity 2/2

Obesity poses a serious threat to our health and occurs when the overall amount of calories consumed exceeds the calories expended. Per the accepted definition, obesity is an excessively high proportion of body fat in relation to lean body mass on an individual.

If your child is between two and five years old and they are overweight or worse yet, obese, there is sufficient reason to be taking additional health related to steps to reduce their body fat.

Consult with your pediatrician and work together to stabilize and then reduce the level of body fat in your child. The suggestions may include a healthier diet with an ample selection of fruits, grains, milk, vegetables, and non-sugary fruit drinks along with exercise or physical activity.

You can start by going to the USDA MyPyramid site here at http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/resources/mpk_close.pdf to see for yourself what a healthy diet consists of for your child.

Help your child grow healthy and live a life that is not consumed by potentially avoidable medical problems.

191118 The signs of metabolic health

191118 The signs of metabolic health

One of the best signs of a person’s metabolic health is the size of their waistline. When the first thing someone notices about you is your gut, then you have a health problem. A larger waistline is indicative of this deeper lying visceral fat.

For those of you considering liposuction, this procedure makes only cosmetic changes. It removes the subcutaneous fat but does nothing about the deep fat surrounding your organs.

Since one of the criteria for the metabolic syndrome is a big waist, it may be helpful to know what is considered to be a big waist. For men, a waistline over 40 inches is excessive and for women this number is 35 inches. Anything over these two numbers is too much and predisposes that person to the metabolic syndrome.

121118 Carbohydrates, triglyceride levels and the size of your waist

121118 Carbohydrates, triglyceride levels and the size of your waist

The modern American consumes approximately fifty percent of their daily calories from carbohydrate sources. These high carb diets signal the liver to create more of the previously mentioned Triglyceride rich particles. If the diet includes more than sixty to sixty five carbohydrates then this process increases.

Diets that are high in sugar, fructose being the main cause of the problem, raise the triglyceride levels and in turn stimulate production of triglyceride particles that are rich in very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).

As this substance goes through the bloodstream it loses some of the triglycerides, which eventually ends up as cholesterol loaded with a high concentration of LDL. We know that approximately sixty to eighty percent of the cholesterol coming into the artery wall is from LDL, the rest comes from Chylomicrons and VLDL.

Doctors and research scientists also know that people with high levels of LDL are at an increased risk for a heart attack and that lowering these levels can reduce the same risk. As of now, they do not have the research data to confirm whether lowering the level of triglycerides will do the same thing.

They do know that having both, high levels of LDL and triglycerides, is a heart attack in the making. Women with high triglyceride numbers seem to have a stronger link with heart disease than men do with the same numbers. Why this predictor is not valid for men is unknown at this time.

 

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

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

 

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.

171017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? (1 of 3)

171017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky?

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.

Losing weight can oftentimes help prevent these diseases from occurring. As you begin your self-examination, two potential areas of concern rise to the top of the list: ‘Fat location’ and ‘Fat surplus’. Fat storage locations in the body are a leading predictor of things to come.

The where

An ‘apple shaped’ (android obesity) body style carries the weight around the waist and will present more health risks than will be a ‘Pear shaped’ (gynoid obesity) or one who carries the weight around their hips. Most overweight males carry their weight around their stomachs. This is not good, but there are ways to tell where you are carrying a predominant amount of your fat in case you haven’t noticed yourself in the mirror. “There is a positive correlation between the abdominal fat content and the waist circumference measurement”. All of the fat clings like glue to your organs; it just hangs around in there doing nothing but harm.

101017 Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

101017 Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

A survey of 3 million Americans, conducted by the RAND Corporation in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and subsequently published online in the International Journal Of Obesity found that more than 6.6% of adult Americans are now 100 or more pounds overweight! This is an increase of almost 4% (3.9%) from the year 2000.

The cost of healthcare is more than doubling with the epidemic of severe obesity in our nation. Obesity increases the frequency cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and other chronic and mostly preventable diseases.

When will this stop?