NEW Health Tips

johnnysfitohana reports and opinions are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider

 

SEPT 20

How To Run Faster

If you don’t run very fast in practice, you won’t be able to run very fast in races.

At the University of Copenhagen, Danish scientists studied experienced runners who had been running 60 miles a week at a fast pace. One group was told to cut their mileage in half to only 30 miles a week, but to run a series of around 50 to 100 yard dashes as fast as they could. The other group continued running 60 miles a week at a fast pace. Runners who ran fewer miles at a faster pace had a 7 percent improvement in their body’s maximal ability to take in and use oxygen.

Runners who did not increase their speed in practice did not improve, even though they ran twice as many miles. Jogging slowly reduces your chance of injury, but it won’t help you to run fast. You can race only as fast as you run in practice, but don’t try to run fast every day. Intense exercise damages muscles. Try to run fast once or twice a week, never on consecutive days and don’t run fast when your legs feel heavy or hurt.

When I trained seriously for marathon running, I thought that the runner who ran the most miles would be the best. I didn’t become a great runner, but I did become an expert on injuries. My patients seldom come to me with a running injury that I haven’t had.

Many top runners run more than 100 miles a week because their bodies have the genetic ability to withstand such abuse, but the vast majority of runners will never be able to run 100 miles a week without being injured frequently. Furthermore, running a lot of miles slowly will slow you in races. The ability to run fast in races depends more on how fast you run in practice than on how many miles you run each week. However, every time you run fast, your muscles are damaged and feel sore on the next day, and it takes at least 48 hours for your muscles to heal enough to allow you to run comfortably again at a very-fast pace. After every workout in which you run very fast, take the next day off or run at a much slower pace. Most top athletes plan their workouts so they run very fast only two days a week. The same principles apply to any endurance sport.

Twelfth European Track Coaches Congress Acoteias, Portugal pp10-16. RRN January, 1991

SEPT 13

How to Keep Your Maximum Heart Rate Up as You Age

Your maximum heart rate is the fastest your heart can beat and still pump blood effectively through your body. As you age, your maximum heart rate drops. This means that your heart is weaker and more susceptible to damage, and you can’t exercise as fast over distance as you could when you were younger.

How fast you can run, cycle, ski or swim over distance is limited by the time that it takes to move oxygen into your muscles. Your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, so the faster your heart can beat, the more blood it can pump to your muscles and the faster you can move. Exercise physiologists use your maximum heart rate to determine your level of fitness and guide the intensity of training. This month a study from Ball State University in Indiana shows that exercising as you age slows down the loss of maximum heart rate (Med Sci Sports Exerc, Jan, 2016;48(1):73-81). Keeping your maximum heart rate up means that your heart is stronger, which allows you to exercise faster and longer. Exercising as you age can also prolong your life and help prevent heart attacks, cancers, strokes, diabetes, overweight and more.

The Study

Nearly 650 healthy men and women, ages 18-80, not taking any heart-rate-altering medications, completed two treadmill all-out efforts at least one year apart. The older participants had lower average maximum heart rates, but those who were most fit and had the highest values had the least drop in their maximum heart rates over the year regardless of age.

How to Increase your Maximum Heart Rate

The standard Maximum Heart Rate Formula (220 – Age) is based on averages and is not accurate. You can beat these averages if you exercise effectively. Your actual maximum heart rate depends more on the strength of your legs than it does on the strength of your heart. When you contract your leg muscles, they squeeze against the blood vessels near them to pump blood from your leg veins toward your heart. When your leg muscle relax, your leg veins fill with blood. When you exercise, your leg muscles pump increased amounts of blood toward your heart. This increased volume of blood fills the heart which causes your heart to beat faster and stronger. This is called the Bainbridge reflex. The stronger your legs are, the more blood they can pump back to your heart, which causes your heart to beat faster. More on Maximum Heart Rate Formula

Maximum heart rate formulae can be used to help you plan and monitor your exercise program, but they should not be interpreted as absolute limits or goals. If you want to train to become faster by increasing your maximum heart rate, you should follow a program based on “stress and recover”. To increase your maximum heart rate, you need to become short of breath at some time during your exercise. However, when you exercise at high intensity, you damage muscles and have to allow time for them to recover. If you don’t allow muscles to recover, you can become injured and can develop an overuse syndrome in which you are exhausted and won’t be able to exercise at all.

My Recommendations

I believe that all healthy people should use some variation of a stress-and-recover exercise program, in which they damage their muscles by going a little harder and faster on one day, then feel soreness in their muscles and go much slower on the next day. When their muscles feel fresh again, they can take another intense workout. For example, a runner may warm up by going slowly and then run a little faster for 50 strides, then slow down until he recovers his breath and his muscles feel fresh, and then alternate the faster and slower runs until his legs start to feel heavy or hurt. On the next day, his muscles should feel sore and he either takes the day off or runs very slowly. He should try to set up a program in which he goes faster on one day and much slower on the next.

• A hard day means getting short of breath and feeling some burning in your muscles.

• An easy day means that you do not become short of breath and should not feel muscle soreness as you continue to exercise. If your legs feel heavy after you warm up, take a day off from exercising.

• You don’t need to know your maximum heart rate.

• You don’t need to use a maximum heart rate formula to govern your training.

• You don’t need a heart rate monitor.

• All training should be governed by how you feel.

• Never train intensely when your muscles feel worse as you continue to exercise.

Caution: People who have narrowed arteries leading to the heart can suffer heart attacks when they exercise intensely. All vigorous exercisers must learn when to back off of training because not allowing enough time to recover from hard exercise can damage your heart muscle as well as your skeletal muscles. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program or making a sudden change in the intensity of your existing program.

SEPT 7

Exercisers Should Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet

A study of 798 asymptomatic and apparently healthy master athletes (runners, cyclists, triathletes, rowers and hockey players), 35+ years old, who exercised fairly vigorously 3-7 days a week, found that 10 percent had greater than 70 percent blockage of the arteries leading to their hearts (BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 2018;4 (1):e000370). This does not mean that exercise increases risk for a heart attack. Exercise helps to prevent heart attacks, but exercise does not prevent plaques from forming in arteries. This study reminds us that even master athletes should follow a heart healthy diet.

Heart attacks are not caused by narrowed arteries. They are caused by plaques suddenly breaking off from a heart artery, followed by bleeding, and then a clot forms that suddenly and completely blocks all blood flow to a part of the heart muscle. The part of the heart muscle suddenly deprived of oxygen then dies, which is a heart attack. Exercise helps to prevent heart attacks by making plaques more stable so they do not break off as easily. However, a healthful diet, not exercise, prevents plaques from forming. Everyone should follow a heart-healthy diet, especially if you have risk factors for a heart attack such as:

• a family history of heart attacks

• chest pain

• irregular heartbeats

• a big belly (particularly if you also have small buttocks)

• high blood pressure

• high cholesterol

• high blood sugar

Amount of Exercise Does Not Determine Amount of Plaques

A group of men over 60 who had run marathons for 26-34 years and completed 27-171 marathons had plaques in their arteries in amounts that were related to their own risk factors for heart attacks and not to the number of miles or marathons they had run (Med & Sci in Sports & Ex, July 17, 2017). This suggests that plaques in arteries are not related to the amount of endurance training, but are caused by other factors such as a pro-inflammatory diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or tobacco use.

A Diet to Prevent Plaques

Master athletes burn a lot of calories, so they can be expected to eat more food than sedentary people do. If they eat a lot of sugar or a lot of meat, they can expect to have plaques in their arteries. A diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts is associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, while less healthful diets that are high in sweets, refined grains, juices, red meats and processed meats are associated with increased risk (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, July 2017; 70(4)).

How Doctors Measure Plaque Stability

A CT scan can show how stable plaques are (American Journal of Roentgenology, March 2015;204(3):W249-W260). X rays and sonograms can also show the difference between stable plaques that are safe and those that are unstable and more likely to break off to cause heart attacks. Stable plaques contain more calcium and are smoother and more homogeneous than unstable plaques. The radiologist estimates plaque stability by looking for an extensive calcification cap on the outside of the plaque, less lipid-rich areas inside the plaque, increased fibrous areas and less structural change. See Exercisers Have More Stable Plaques

My Recommendations

• To help prevent or reduce plaque formation, follow a heart-attack-preventing diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods and low in pro-inflammatory foods. This means that you should eat plenty of plants and restrict red meat, processed meats, sugar-added foods, all sugared drinks and fried foods.

• Avoid overweight

• Do not smoke

• Limit or avoid alcohol

• To stabilize existing plaques and widen your coronary arteries, try to exercise every day for at least a half hour a day. Exercising more than that may be even more protective.

Caution: Intense exercise can cause a heart attack in people with blocked arteries. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or increasing the intensity of your existing program.

 

SEPT 5

Lack of Vitamin D May Harm Exercisers

A new study in mice shows that having low levels of vitamin D may harm athletes and exercisers by limiting how long they can exercise (Aging, June 2018). Six-month old mice were put on a low vitamin D diet for one year. A six-month-old mouse is equivalent to a 25 year old human and one mouse-year equals 25 human-years. After two weeks, the mice on the low vitamin D diet developed blood levels of vitamin D under 15 ng/ml, (equivalent to low levels in humans), where they remained for the entire study. They did not lose strength, but they lost a lot of their endurance (their ability to sustain exercise). The authors believe that this implies a decrease in their ability to take in and use oxygen. The mice also lost some muscle size. This study may be important for humans because vitamin D deficiency disease is defined as less than 12 ng/ml and vitamin D insufficiency borderline disease is less than 20 ng/ml. More than 35 percent of North Americans have these low levels, particularly in the winter.

Lack of Vitamin D Associated with Muscle and Tendon Injuries

During my competitive running career, I spent more time injured than training because of wintertime muscle injuries in Boston and Washington, D.C. Many years later, I found the probable cause: my wintertime vitamin D3 blood level was below 20 ng/ml (normal for the general population is >20 ng/ml and for athletes may be >30). Since I moved to Florida nine years ago, I have not had even one wear-and-tear sports injury. I now know that people genetically susceptible to vitamin D deficiency are the ones most likely to suffer muscle weakness, injuries and poor athletic performance. Many exercisers and competitive athletes are vitamin D deficient even if they live in the sunbelt.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with:

• decreased athletic performance (Molecular Aspects of Medicine, June 2005;26(3):203-219),

• muscle weakness (Scandinavia Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Oct 2009), and

• increased risk for athletic injuries (Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, November 2009; Molecular Aspects of Medicine, December 2008; Arthroscopy, Dec 21, 2017).

Genetics and Vitamin D Deficiency

A report from the University of Toronto showed that genetic factors cause some people to develop signs and symptoms of severe vitamin D deficiency (Clinical Biochemistry, July 2009). People who are genetically at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk for injuries when they try to exercise vigorously in the winter. Lack of vitamin D can weaken muscles (Lancet, Mar 1976;20;1(7960):626-9) and taking that vitamin can correct that weakness (Aging-Clinical and Experimental Research, December 2000;12(6):455–460). Vitamin D acts directly on specific receptors in muscles to make them stronger and to help prevent injuries (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, April 2010;20(2):182-90).

How Lack of Vitamin D is More Harmful in Older People

As people age, they become increasingly susceptible to muscle weakness and falls caused by lack of vitamin D (Molecular Aspects of Medicine, June 2005). Muscles are made of thousands of individual fibers that are classified into two types: slow twitch fibers that govern endurance and fast twitch fibers that govern primarily strength and speed. Vitamin D specifically helps to maintain the function of the fast twitch strength fibers (Calcif Tissue Int, 2013;92:151–162). With aging, you lose muscle fiber; for example, the vastus medialis muscle in the front of the upper leg typically has about 800,000 fibers in a 20 year old, but only 250,000 in a 60 year old. Vitamin D slows this loss of muscle fibers, preserves muscle strength and helps to prevent falls, while lack of vitamin D increases loss of fibers, muscle weakness and falls (Pediatric Clinics of North America, June 2010).

Current Guidelines

The Institute of Medicine recommends 600–800 IU of vitamin D per day for adults and that blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D do not need to be higher than 20ng/ml (Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes, Dec 2016;23(6):440-444). Higher blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D do not make bones stronger than lower blood levels as they do not reduce levels of parathyroid hormone or bone resorption (Curr Rheumatol Rep, June 2011;13(3):257-64).

There is no proven benefit from taking doses of vitamin D >1000 IU/day or having very high blood levels (>30ng/ml). Raising blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D from 20 to 30 ng/ml with high doses of vitamin D pills increases calcium absorption by only one percent and does not increase bone mineral density or physical function, compared with placebo (Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes, Dec 2016;23(6):440-444). High doses of vitamin D can cause nausea, constipation, kidney stones, frequent urination, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeats and possibly arteriosclerosis. A study from Denmark showed that very high blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D (above 140 ng/ml) are associated with increased risk of premature death (J Clin Endocrinol Metab, Aug 2012;97(8):2644-52).

High-dose vitamin D3 supplements (70,000 IU/wk for 12 weeks) caused a significant increase of a toxic vitamin D metabolite called 24,25[OH] vitamin D, reduced parathyroid levels and decreased body responses to vitamin D (Med Sci Sports Exerc, Feb, 2017;49(2):349-356). Large doses (4000 IU/day) of vitamin D did not slow declining physical function in sedentary men over 70 (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 11/22/2016). For most people, high dose vitamin D pills (greater than 2000 IU/day) are not going to improve health and may even harm you (N Engl J Med, Nov 10, 2016;375:1817-1820).

Proposed Uses of Vitamin D for Specific Conditions

Several studies recommend vitamin D supplementation for specific populations or symptoms:

• People with generalized muscle and joint pain and blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D below 20 ng/ml (International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, 11/21/2016)

• Women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (Bone, 11/10/2016)

• People with muscle and joint pain from an auto-immune disease called lupus, who also have a positive anti-nuclear antibody titer and low blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 11/17/2016)

• Elderly inactive people who do not go outdoors; 56 studies involving almost 100,000 people over 70 showed that taking 800 IU of vitamin D pills is associated with a slightly prolonged lifespan (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, Jan 2014;10;(1):CD007470)

• Hospitalized, critically ill adult patients with hydroxy vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml (Journal of Critical Care, 11/14/2016)

• People with muscle pain from taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol, who also have blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D below 20 ng/ml (Atherosclerosis, Nov 22, 2016)

• Diabetics with high blood cholesterol (LDL over 100) and low blood hydroxy vitamin D (<20 ng/ml) (Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome Nov 22, 2016)

• Possibly long-term care residents over 70; may help to prevent respiratory infections (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Nov 22, 2016)

My Recommendations

You probably do not need to take vitamin D pills if your blood level of hydroxy vitamin D is above 20 ng/ml unless you have a condition that your doctor feels puts you at increased risk for the signs and symptoms of a deficiency. You can take up to 1000 IU/day of vitamin D pills if your blood levels are below 30 ng/ml. Most researchers and clinicians now feel that, with few exceptions, high doses of vitamin D are not beneficial and are potentially harmful. People who could possibly benefit from treating low blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D (<20 ng/ml) include those who:

• are inactive and do not go outdoors

• suffer from generalized muscle and joint pain

• are athletes with recurrent injuries and decreased performance

• have weak bones (osteoporosis)

• are diabetic, particularly if LDL cholesterol is over 100

• have an auto-immune disease

• are critically ill or debilitated

• suffer from muscle pain from taking statin drugs

I believe that sunlight offers benefits that cannot be obtained just by taking vitamin D pills, but take proper precautions to avoid skin cancer.

AUG 20

Calculate Your Fitness Age

VO2max can be used to predict a person’s risk of premature death from a heart attack. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have developed a simple way to estimate a person’s VO2max, his maximal ability to take in and use oxygen (Med Sci Sports Exerc, November 2011;43(11):2024-30).

The researchers had 4637 healthy adults, average age near 50, run to exhaustion on a treadmill and measured their VO2max (a complicated test that measures oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations). They then developed a formula that correlated very well with the subjects’ actual VO2max, based on their

* sex and age,

* exercise habits,

* resting heart rate and

* waist circumference.

VO2max Predicts Fitness Age

Now the researchers have figured out the average VO2 max for a healthy person at every age from 20 to 90 and used these numbers to calculate fitness age which predicts how long a person is expected to live. Their Fitness Calculator is available (free) at http://www.ntnu.edu/cerg/vo2max

Enter your answers to the simple questions: How often do you exercise? How long? How hard? Your age? Waistline? Resting heart rate?

The calculator quickly gives you your estimated VO2max and your fitness age.

How We Fared

Gabe at 78 had an 81 cm. abdominal circumference and a resting heart rate of 48. His estimated VO2max was 50 and fitness age was 35.

Diana at 71, had a 65 cm. abdominal circumference and a resting heart rate of 50. Her estimated VO2max was 50 and fitness age was 23.

Here is our exercise program: we exercise every day for two to three hours. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, we race flat out on a tandem bicycle for 25 miles. On the other four days Gabe does 30-second intervals with two-minute recoveries until his legs start to stiffen. Diana takes a longer ride with some intervals interspersed.  We cycle an average 150 miles per week and go to the gym 3-4 times a week to use the strength-training machines.

Vigorous Exercise Slows Aging

Studies from all over the world show that intense exercise maintains fitness. People who do not exercise lose 15 percent of their fitness per decade, those who exercise at low intensity lose nine percent, while those who exercise intensely barely lose any fitness at all.

Increasing intensity makes you more fit. If you go out and jog the same two miles at the same pace every day, you will not improve and you will not be very fit. However, if you go faster on one day, feel sore on the next day, go slowly until the soreness disappears, and then go fast again, you will become more fit on every measure of fitness, and also perform better on the tests that measure aging.

However, with increased intensity comes increased risk of injury. Before you start an intense exercise program, and before you start lifting heavier weights, running faster, jumping higher, throwing further, hitting a tennis ball harder, or doing anything that requires increased intensity, check with your doctor. The only problem with this recommendation is that the odds are overwhelming that your doctor won’t know very much about sports, training, or improving physical fitness. But you should at least check with him or her to see if you have any condition that could be aggravated by hard exercise.

AUG 14

The More Vegetables, the Better
 

Researchers followed 38,981 adults for 16 years (1999-2014) and found that those who ate the most vegetables and the widest variety of vegetables, particularly dark green vegetables, had the lowest rate of heart attacks and heart disease (Nutrition Journal, July 10, 2018;17:67). For more than 60 years, research has shown that a high-fiber diet helps to prevent heart attacks and many other diseases (American Journal of Epidemiology, Dec 1, 1987;126(6):1093–1102). Studies show that many of the impressive health benefits from eating vegetables, beans, whole grains and fruits come from the short chain fatty acids produced when bacteria in your colon ferment soluble fiber from plants.

Short-Chain Fatty Acids from Soluble Fiber
Vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and whole grains all contain fiber. Insoluble fiber passes through your body without being absorbed into your bloodstream, but breakdown products from soluble fiber can be absorbed even though humans lack the enzymes necessary to digest soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is not absorbed in your upper intestinal tract, so it passes to your colon where bacteria do have the enzymes to break it down into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs reduce inflammation to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and other life-shortening diseases (Front Microbiol, Feb 17, 2016;7:185).

The Bacteria in Your Gut
Your colon contains more than 13 trillion bacteria that help to control your immunity, digestion and just about everything that happens in our body. You have good bacteria that help to keep you healthy and bad bacteria that can make you sick. As a general rule, the good bacteria are happy to eat the same foods that you do and do not try to invade the cells lining your colon, while the bad bacteria try to invade the cells in your colon. The invading bad bacteria turn on your immunity that tries to kill them and prevent these harmful germs from getting out of your colon and into other parts of your body.

What you eat determines the types of bacteria that thrive in your gut. Soluble fiber in plants promotes the growth of the good bacteria, so when you eat lots of plants, you will have a large colony of these bacteria to convert soluble fiber into SCFAs that have immense health benefits (J Lipid Res, Sept 2013;54(9):2325-40). The good bacteria produce large amounts of SCFAs that feed the more good bacteria and help them to multiply. The SCFAs also:
• reduce inflammation
• help to lower high levels of blood sugar and cholesterol
• possibly reduce hunger
• cause your intestinal linings to produce the beneficial mucous that lines your colon to help prevent the bad bacteria from growing there.
The more vegetables and fruits you eat, the higher the stool levels of SCFAs (Gut, Nov 2016;65(11):1812-1821).

How SCFAs Help to Prevent Disease
Heart Disease: Many studies show that high-fiber diets help to prevent and treat heart disease by reducing inflammation. Your immunity helps to protect you by producing white blood cells and cytokines that kill invading germs when they try to enter your cells. As soon as the invading germ is gone, your immunity is supposed to dampen down. However, if your immunity stays active all the time, it uses the same white blood cells and cytokines to attack your own cells. It can punch holes in the inner lining of arteries to start plaques forming there to increase risk for a heart attack. A constantly active immunity is called inflammation and SCFAs help to reduce inflammation (Nutrients, 2011 Oct; 3(10): 858–876).

Diabetes: After three months on a high-fiber diet, the bacteria in the colons of diabetics changed to be dominated by the 15 known strains of bacteria that convert soluble fiber into SCFAs that lower high blood sugar and cholesterol levels (Science, Mar 9, 2018:359(6380):1151-1156). Diabetics placed on a high-fiber diet had lower fasting blood sugar levels, far lower blood sugars after eating, a greater drop in blood levels of HbA1c that measures cell damage from diabetes, and significant weight loss. Even though fruits are high in sugar, limited amounts of fruit can help to prevent and treat diabetes because their soluble fiber is converted to SCFAs (Diabetes Care, July 2008).

Colon Cancer: A high plant diet is associated with a marked reduction in colon cancer (Epidem Reviews, Jan 1, 1993;15(2):499–545). SCFAs prevent colon cancer in laboratory animals (Mutat Res, Jul-Aug 2009;682(1):39-53). Placing mice on a high-fiber diet that markedly increased SCFAs reduced colon cancer risk by more than 75 percent, but only if the mice had SCFA-producing bacteria in their guts. This study suggests that soluble fiber does not help to prevent colon cancer unless you also have lots of the good bacteria in your gut to convert it to SCFAs (Cancer Discov, Dec, 2014;4(12):1387–1397).

Obesity: SCFAs promote weight loss in animals (Diabetes, 2009 Jul; 58(7):1509–1517) and possibly in humans by decreasing fat storage (J Lipid Res, Sep 2013;54(9):2325-40.)

SCFAs from Plants, not Supplements
If SCFAs have so many benefits, why not just take SCFA supplements? Nobody has shown that SCFA supplements are an effective substitute for eating plants that contain lots of soluble fiber. SCFAs are readily absorbed throughout your entire intestinal tract, so SCFAs in pills will be absorbed in your upper intestinal tract and never reach your colon (PNAS, October 28, 2008;105(43):16767-16772). Therefore, SCFA supplements have not been shown to help colonize healthful bacteria in your colon as soluble fiber in plants does.

My Recommendations
This new study suggests that whatever else you choose to do with your diet, you should eat a large amount and a wide variety of vegetables. I believe that everyone should eat lots of plants — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and any other edible plant parts. Among their many benefits, plants help to prevent disease and prolong lives by increasing colonic bacterial production of SCFAs that reduce inflammation.

AUG 2

Preventing Kidney Stones

The American College of Physicians has just released recommendations for people who have had kidney stones (Ann Intern Med, November 4, 2014;161(9):659-667). Thirteen percent of North American men and seven percent of women suffer from kidney stones, which can be incredibly painful as stones pass from the kidneys to the outside. Those who get one stone have a 50 percent chance of passing another stone in five years.

Eighty percent of kidney stones contain calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, or both. Other stones consist of struvite, uric acid, or cystine. Surprisingly, a review of 36 studies shows that stone recurrence is not prevented by assessing the chemical type of stone or doing blood and urine chemistries other than calcium levels. Here are the current recommendations for preventing kidney stones:

• Drink enough water to make you urinate at least eight cups of urine per day. Strong evidence shows that this is the most effective step in preventing kidney stones. Do not waste your money on expensive low-mineral waters; they offer no advantage over ordinary tap water.

• Avoid soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid, which increases stone formation. Read the labels. Drinks that are acidified with citric acid (fruit-flavored sodas) are far less likely to cause stones.

• Restrict animal proteins (meat, poultry and fish); they contain purines that can bind to calcium to form stones.

• Restrict salt

• Restrict foods high in oxalates, such as chocolate, beets, nuts, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, tea, and wheat bran. Oxalates can bind to calcium to form calcium oxalate stones.

• People who have had more than one attack of painful kidney stones may want to consider taking thiazide diuretics, citrate or allopurinol. Taking all three drugs has not been shown to be more beneficial than taking just one. No data exist to show that one thiazide diuretic is better than any other. Thiazide diuretics can cause dizziness, belly cramps, fatigue, and muscle cramps. Citrates can cause belly cramps, and allopurinol can cause a low white blood cell count. Check with your doctor.

• Magnesium pills have not been shown to prevent kidney stones.

• We have no data to show that a high-fiber diet helps to prevent kidney stones, although it may.

• Check blood and urine levels of calcium. Having high blood  or urine calcium can cause kidney stones. It may also be a good idea for people with recurrent kidney stones to get a blood test called parathyroid hormone to check for a highly-curable parathyroid tumor.

july 30

Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil Pills Not Shown to Prevent Heart Attacks

A review of 79 randomized and controlled studies of more than 110,000 men and women, with or without heart disease, shows that omega-3 fats in fish oil or in cod liver oil pills, taken for one to six years, do not prevent heart attacks, strokes or deaths in general (Cochrane Review, July 18, 2018). Fish oil pills did lower triglycerides which may be healthful, but they also lowered blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol, which may be harmful.

These findings are similar to those of a study from the University of Oxford that reviewed 10 different trials of fish oil supplements on 77,917 older adults who were at increased risk for heart attacks. The fish oil pills, at doses ranging from 226 milligrams to 1,800 milligrams per day of omega-3 fatty acids, did not prevent heart attacks in people with previous heart disease or diabetes (JAMA Cardiol, Mar 2018;3(3):225–233).

Eating Fish May Help to Prevent Heart Attacks

The studies on fish oil pills did not evaluate the effects of eating fish on heart disease. Many studies have shown that eating fish lowers high triglyceride levels, and may reduce irregular heartbeats, lower high blood pressure, lower high heart rates and relax constricted blood vessels. However, several studies show that there is no evidence that eating fish more often than twice a week increases protection against heart attacks and death from heart attacks. Early reports that Eskimos who eat a lot of fish do not suffer heart attacks were seriously flawed; Eskimos actually suffer a very high rate of heart attacks. See Eskimos are Not Protected from Heart Attacks

There is no good evidence that the types of fish that do not contain omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent heart attacks. Fish that are rich in omega-3s tend to be cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, those that eat plankton in sea water or other fish that contain omega-3s. Commercially farmed fish that can be raised on corn, such as catfish and tilapia, do not contain omega-3s. Farmed fish that are fed the more expensive fish meal are good sources of omega-3s.

It is possible that eating fish helps to prevent heart attacks because the fish replaces eating red meat or processed meats, which are associated with increased risk for heart attacks. Taking fish oil pills does not provide this benefit.

Potential Harm from Fish Oil Pills

Omega-3 fatty acids are highly susceptible to oxidation that can convert them into oxidized fatty acids that increase risk for inflammation, arterial damage, heart attacks and some cancers. That could be the reason why the studies quoted above failed to show health benefits from fish oil pills. The oil used in pills is extracted from oily fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon or tuna. A study from Canada showed that during processing the oil can be exposed to air to form oxidized (rancid) fish oil (J Nutr Sci, November 23, 2015;4:e36). This study found that 50 percent of Canadian brands of fish oil pills exceeded the voluntary limits for at least one measure of oxidation, and 39 percent exceeded the international voluntary safety recommendations for total oxidation. In other studies, 27 percent of fish oil products tested in South Africa were found to have more than twice the recommended levels of lipid peroxides (Cardiovasc J Afr, 2013;24:297–302), and more than 80 percent of supplements tested in New Zealand exceeded recommended levels (Sci Rep, 2015;5:7928).

Many foods that you eat and chemicals in your body are harmless, but when exposed to oxygen, they combine with it to form harmful oxidized substances. That is why you hear so much about antioxidants that can help to get rid of the oxidized chemicals. An example of an oxidized substance that is harmful is the LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream that doctors use to predict susceptibility for a heart attack. Plain LDL cholesterol is harmless; it becomes harmful only after the fats in it are oxidized to form oxidized LDL cholesterol. See Oxycholesterol and Cholesterol

My Recommendations

• I do not recommend taking fish oil pills. There is no proven benefit and there is potential for harm.

• If you decide to take fish oil pills, test each bottle to see if the oil is rancid. Oxidized fish oil smells like stale fish, so if you cut open a fish oil capsule and it smells or tastes fishy, it is rancid and you should throw the bottle away or return it to the store. Even if you buy a brand that you trust, check each bottle because one batch can be fresh while the next batch may be rancid.

• If your doctor recommends that you take fish oil, prescription pills are preferable to those sold over the counter because the omega-3 fatty acids are more concentrated and there is a higher level of quality control for the prescription-grade oils. However, even prescription fish oil pills should be checked to make sure they are not rancid. See Check those Fish Oil Pills

JULY 18

Junk-Food AidJuly 17, 2018

A decades-long global problem has directly led to the transition of developing nations from starvation to obesity and chronic disease.

It’s well known that higher-income populations became overfat through the intake of sugar and other junk foods. But poor people who can’t afford fast-food restaurants and junk food — including those receiving foreign aid — have been quietly swept up in the overfat pandemic as well.

Recently the problems associated with Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico, especially food and water shortages and the loss of utilities, have put assistance efforts under scrutiny. Outrage has included complaints about junk food aid. But this is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

Food aid is big business for corporations, governments, and charitable organizations that supply food to the needy all over the world. So it can be a recipe for mismanagement and waste. The result is decades of funneling junk food — high sugar rations — to the poor.

White flour, sugar and vegetable oil comprise the typical rations, with refined carbohydrates often making up the majority of calories. These three most harmful ingredients quickly change metabolism to increase body fat and trigger disease. This is one factor in developing countries, dependent upon food aid, developing skyrocketing rates of overfat and chronic disease.

While this may save lives in the short-term, feeding a population high-sugar foods long-term as a dietary staple changes metabolism and genetics for future generations. The result is increased body fat, which feeds carbohydrate intolerance (insulin resistance) and chronic inflammation.

In this way food aid fuels the overfat pandemic in developing nations, triggering dramatic increases in chronic diseases — those that develop from chronic inflammation, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer. (The same can be said for those low-income or homeless people in the developed world.)

Certainly, starving families will take whatever they can get. During famines, disasters, war and other situations where food is limited, many governments and private organizations provide food aid. While some conditions are short-term disasters such as hurricane relief or military conflicts, most situations requiring food aid are long-term.

(Consider India, a country of more than 1.3 billion people. A recent study showed up to 80 percent of adults in the country are overfat. In areas of the Middle East, that rate is in the mid-90s. Up to one-third of Chinese adults may have hypertension with twice that many being overfat, defined as excess body fat that impairs health.)

The goal of food aid is to provide people with enough calories and water during time of crisis. In the worst-case situation when there is no power, this must include items that don’t require refrigeration or have short shelf lives.

A healthy cost-effective menu could be simple. Rations could include canned foods like meat, fish and vegetables (without sugar), whole nuts, some fresh fruits and vegetables (and some dehydrated), and fats like coconut oil, butter, and lard. Instead, food aid typically includes high amounts of empty calories from cookies, candy, chips, chocolate pudding, and other high-sugar junk foods. This is like living on vending machine food.

Sure, eating these foods is better than having no food at all. And in short-term tragedies it’s the quickest and easiest remedy. However, the world has the knowledge and money to do better in situations of long-term aid, and avoid planting the seeds for chronic disease.

Let’s not miss the obvious: While millions of people all over planet are without food, the world wastes enough to feed everyone. The reality is we actually could afford to feed everyone healthy food if it were not for politics and greed.

JULY 17

Blood Pressure During and After Exercise

High blood pressure puts you at increased risk for suffering a heart attack or stroke and damaging every organ in your body. Lowering high blood pressure helps to protect you from these complications (JAMA, 1970;213:1143-52). Blood pressure is at its lowest at bedtime. Your blood pressure is too high if it is:

• above 120/80 when you are lying in bed before you go to sleep at night or before you get up in the morning, or

• above 140/100 at other times.

Research more than 60 years ago showed that regular exercise helps to protect you from heart disease and premature death (Lancet, 1953;2:1111-20), and the more regularly you exercise, the greater the protection (N Engl J Med, 1984;311:874-7). Regular exercisers have significantly lower blood pressures than non-exercisers (Am J Hypertens, 1989;2:60), and those who do not exercise regularly are at much higher risk for developing high blood pressure in the future (JAMA, 1984;252:487-90).

Blood Pressure During Exercise

Your blood pressure usually rises as soon as you start to exercise and drops a little bit while you exercise at the same intensity (J Appl Physiol, 1997;82(4):1237 – 1243). However, as you continue to increase the intensity of exercise, your blood pressure usually rises higher and higher. When you run at a comfortable pace, your blood pressure can normally be 200/70. When you do a maximum-effort leg press, your blood pressure can rise as high as 480/350.

Blood Pressure Drops After you Stop Exercising

For people both with and without high blood pressure, a single exercise session lowers blood pressure for up to an hour after you finish exercising and then blood pressure returns to its previous level (Hypertension 1991;18:211-215). Having a systolic blood pressure that does not drop after you stop exercising puts you at increased risk for heart disease (Am Fam Physician, Oct 1, 1998;58(5):1126-1130). Doctors use a ratio of systolic blood pressure three minutes into the recovery phase of a treadmill exercise test divided by systolic blood pressure at peak exercise. A ratio above 0.9 means that you are at increased risk

Points to Remember

• High blood pressure puts you at increased risk for heart disease.

• Exercise helps to lower high blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

• Blood pressure generally rises after you start to exercise and drops when you stop exercising.

• After stopping exercise, blood pressure drops to its pre-exercise level.

• Having blood pressure that does not drop after you stop exercising puts you at increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. 

july13

Lack of Vitamin D May Harm Exercisers

A new study in mice shows that having low levels of vitamin D may harm athletes and exercisers by limiting how long they can exercise (Aging, June 2018). Six-month old mice were put on a low vitamin D diet for one year. A six-month-old mouse is equivalent to a 25 year old human and one mouse-year equals 25 human-years. After two weeks, the mice on the low vitamin D diet developed blood levels of vitamin D under 15 ng/ml, (equivalent to low levels in humans), where they remained for the entire study. They did not lose strength, but they lost a lot of their endurance (their ability to sustain exercise). The authors believe that this implies a decrease in their ability to take in and use oxygen. The mice also lost some muscle size. This study may be important for humans because vitamin D deficiency disease is defined as less than 12 ng/ml and vitamin D insufficiency borderline disease is less than 20 ng/ml. More than 35 percent of North Americans have these low levels, particularly in the winter.

Lack of Vitamin D Associated with Muscle and Tendon Injuries

During my competitive running career, I spent more time injured than training because of wintertime muscle injuries in Boston and Washington, D.C. Many years later, I found the probable cause: my wintertime vitamin D3 blood level was below 20 ng/ml (normal for the general population is >20 ng/ml and for athletes may be >30). Since I moved to Florida nine years ago, I have not had even one wear-and-tear sports injury. I now know that people genetically susceptible to vitamin D deficiency are the ones most likely to suffer muscle weakness, injuries and poor athletic performance. Many exercisers and competitive athletes are vitamin D deficient even if they live in the sunbelt.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with:

• decreased athletic performance (Molecular Aspects of Medicine, June 2005;26(3):203-219),

• muscle weakness (Scandinavia Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Oct 2009), and

• increased risk for athletic injuries (Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, November 2009; Molecular Aspects of Medicine, December 2008; Arthroscopy, Dec 21, 2017).

Genetics and Vitamin D Deficiency

A report from the University of Toronto showed that genetic factors cause some people to develop signs and symptoms of severe vitamin D deficiency (Clinical Biochemistry, July 2009). People who are genetically at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk for injuries when they try to exercise vigorously in the winter. Lack of vitamin D can weaken muscles (Lancet, Mar 1976;20;1(7960):626-9) and taking that vitamin can correct that weakness (Aging-Clinical and Experimental Research, December 2000;12(6):455–460). Vitamin D acts directly on specific receptors in muscles to make them stronger and to help prevent injuries (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, April 2010;20(2):182-90).

How Lack of Vitamin D is More Harmful in Older People

As people age, they become increasingly susceptible to muscle weakness and falls caused by lack of vitamin D (Molecular Aspects of Medicine, June 2005). Muscles are made of thousands of individual fibers that are classified into two types: slow twitch fibers that govern endurance and fast twitch fibers that govern primarily strength and speed. Vitamin D specifically helps to maintain the function of the fast twitch strength fibers (Calcif Tissue Int, 2013;92:151–162). With aging, you lose muscle fiber; for example, the vastus medialis muscle in the front of the upper leg typically has about 800,000 fibers in a 20 year old, but only 250,000 in a 60 year old. Vitamin D slows this loss of muscle fibers, preserves muscle strength and helps to prevent falls, while lack of vitamin D increases loss of fibers, muscle weakness and falls (Pediatric Clinics of North America, June 2010).

Current Guidelines

The Institute of Medicine recommends 600–800 IU of vitamin D per day for adults and that blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D do not need to be higher than 20ng/ml (Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes, Dec 2016;23(6):440-444). Higher blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D do not make bones stronger than lower blood levels as they do not reduce levels of parathyroid hormone or bone resorption (Curr Rheumatol Rep, June 2011;13(3):257-64).

There is no proven benefit from taking doses of vitamin D >1000 IU/day or having very high blood levels (>30ng/ml). Raising blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D from 20 to 30 ng/ml with high doses of vitamin D pills increases calcium absorption by only one percent and does not increase bone mineral density or physical function, compared with placebo (Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes, Dec 2016;23(6):440-444). High doses of vitamin D can cause nausea, constipation, kidney stones, frequent urination, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeats and possibly arteriosclerosis. A study from Denmark showed that very high blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D (above 140 ng/ml) are associated with increased risk of premature death (J Clin Endocrinol Metab, Aug 2012;97(8):2644-52).

High-dose vitamin D3 supplements (70,000 IU/wk for 12 weeks) caused a significant increase of a toxic vitamin D metabolite called 24,25[OH] vitamin D, reduced parathyroid levels and decreased body responses to vitamin D (Med Sci Sports Exerc, Feb, 2017;49(2):349-356). Large doses (4000 IU/day) of vitamin D did not slow declining physical function in sedentary men over 70 (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 11/22/2016). For most people, high dose vitamin D pills (greater than 2000 IU/day) are not going to improve health and may even harm you (N Engl J Med, Nov 10, 2016;375:1817-1820).

Proposed Uses of Vitamin D for Specific Conditions

Several studies recommend vitamin D supplementation for specific populations or symptoms:

• People with generalized muscle and joint pain and blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D below 20 ng/ml (International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, 11/21/2016)

• Women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (Bone, 11/10/2016)

• People with muscle and joint pain from an auto-immune disease called lupus, who also have a positive anti-nuclear antibody titer and low blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 11/17/2016)

• Elderly inactive people who do not go outdoors; 56 studies involving almost 100,000 people over 70 showed that taking 800 IU of vitamin D pills is associated with a slightly prolonged lifespan (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, Jan 2014;10;(1):CD007470)

• Hospitalized, critically ill adult patients with hydroxy vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml (Journal of Critical Care, 11/14/2016)

• People with muscle pain from taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol, who also have blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D below 20 ng/ml (Atherosclerosis, Nov 22, 2016)

• Diabetics with high blood cholesterol (LDL over 100) and low blood hydroxy vitamin D (<20 ng/ml) (Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome Nov 22, 2016)

• Possibly long-term care residents over 70; may help to prevent respiratory infections (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Nov 22, 2016)

My Recommendations

You probably do not need to take vitamin D pills if your blood level of hydroxy vitamin D is above 20 ng/ml unless you have a condition that your doctor feels puts you at increased risk for the signs and symptoms of a deficiency. You can take up to 1000 IU/day of vitamin D pills if your blood levels are below 30 ng/ml. Most researchers and clinicians now feel that, with few exceptions, high doses of vitamin D are not beneficial and are potentially harmful. People who could possibly benefit from treating low blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D (<20 ng/ml) include those who:

• are inactive and do not go outdoors

• suffer from generalized muscle and joint pain

• are athletes with recurrent injuries and decreased performance

• have weak bones (osteoporosis)

• are diabetic, particularly if LDL cholesterol is over 100

• have an auto-immune disease

• are critically ill or debilitated

• suffer from muscle pain from taking statin drugs

I believe that sunlight offers benefits that cannot be obtained just by taking vitamin D pills, but take proper precautions to avoid skin cancer.

july2

Heat Stroke 

Nobody should ever die of heat stroke, a rapid uncontrolled rise in body temperature that causes you to pass out. Your body sends you warning signals as your temperature rises.

In 1965, I almost died from heat stroke in an unimportant local race in Arlington, Virginia. I passed out during the race and lay unconscious for a while. I am still embarrassed by the stupidity that I showed when I ignored all the warning signs as my temperature continued to climb. First your muscles are affected, then your lungs and then your brain.

Muscles: As your temperature starts to rise, your muscles feel like a hot poker is pressing against them. It is normal for intense exercise to make your muscles burn, but hard exercise does not cause painful burning that feels like fire. Furthermore, the burning of hard exercise is relieved by slowing down, while the muscle burning of impending heat stroke does not go away when you slow down.

Lungs: As your temperature rises further, the air that you breathe feels like it is coming from a furnace and no matter how rapidly and deeply you try to breathe, you can’t take in enough air. When you exercise intensely, you can become very short of breath, but the air you breathe will not burn your lungs. Burning in your lungs, not relieved by slowing down, signals impending heat stroke. When you feel that the air is so hot that it burns your lungs, stop exercising. This sign means that your heart cannot pump enough blood from your exercising muscles to your skin so heat is accumulating and your temperature is rising rapidly. Your temperature is now over 104 degrees F. and continuing to exercise will raise your body temperature even further so it will start to cook your brain.

Brain: When heat stroke begins to affect your brain, your head will start to hurt, you may hear a ringing in your ears, feel dizzy and have difficulty seeing. Then you will end up unconscious. Your temperature is now over 106 and your brain is being cooked just like the colorless portion of an egg that turns white when it hits a hot griddle.

Mechanism

During exercise, more than 70 percent of the energy used to drive your muscles is lost as heat, so your heart has to pump the heat in your bloodstream from your hot muscles to your skin where you sweat and the sweat evaporates to cool your skin to dissipate the heat. The harder you exercise, the more heat your muscles produce. Everyone who exercises, particularly in hot weather, has to sweat to keep their body temperatures from rising too high.

Risk for heat stroke is increased by:

• any pre-existing illness

• heart disease

• use of various recreational drugs such as cocaine, and some prescription drugs

• lack of fitness

• not drinking enough fluid

• exercising for extended periods without eating

• wearing excess clothing that traps heat in your body

• not listening to your body when you feel the warning signs described above

Many cases of heat stroke during exercise occur when a person suddenly increases the intensity of exercise, such as a sprint at the end of a long distance running or cycling race, or an intense run down the field in soccer.

Treatment

When a person passes out from heat stroke, get medical help immediately. Any delay in cooling can kill the person, and you may need an expert to help decide if the person has passed out from heat stroke or a heart attack.

Carry the victim rapidly into the shade and place him on his back with his head down and feet up so blood can circulate to his brain. Once it has been established that the person is not having a heart attack, he or she can be cooled by pouring on any liquids you can find. Evaporation of any liquid cools. As you cool him, he may suddenly wake up and talk to you and act like nothing has happened. Don’t stop cooling him, because while he’s sitting or lying there, his temperature can rise again and he can go into convulsions or pass out again. He must be watched for several hours after he is revived.

Prevention

When you exercise in hot weather, stop exercising when you start to feel any of the symptoms described above and find a shady spot to recover. Stay well hydrated, but realize that too much fluid (Hyponatremia) can also be harmful. 

June 29

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia is due to lack of vitamin B12 and is characterized by progressive nerve damage that causes forgetfulness, loss of ability to concentrate and abnormal sensations such as burning, itching and loss of feeling. However, many people with pernicious anemia do not have abnormally low blood levels of vitamin B12.

A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that older people have lower blood levels of a chemical called homotranscobalamin II that carries vitamin B12 into the cells (1), so they need higher blood levels to have normal tissue levels. Since low-normal blood level of vitamin B12 do not rule out B12 deficiency, the diagnosis of pernicious anemia is often made late in the course of the disease after people have suffered permanent nerve damage. According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, two percent of Americans over 60 have low blood levels of vitamin B12 (2), but the incidence of vitamin B12 deficiency causing nerve damage in older people is much higher than that, sometimes as high a 50 percent (3,4). This means that many older people who are diagnosed with senility actually suffer from lack of vitamin B12 which can be cured by taking vitamin B supplements. Many cannot correct their B12 deficiency with diet changes, because the problem is caused by failure to absorb B12 in the intestines (5). Lack of vitamin B12 can cause heart attacks (6,7), so all people over 60 should be screened with blood tests for vitamin B12 and those with normal levels of B12 and symptoms of nerve damage or arteriosclerosis should also get a blood test called homocysteine. Almost always, those with a deficiency can a cured by taking a 1000 microgram pill of vitamin B12 once a day. They usually do not need to take injections. Low levels of B12 are also associated with stomach diseases and infections such as Helicobacter pylori

June 24

Hidden Sugars

The average North American takes in 150 to 200 pounds of sugar a year. Most of your sugar intake comes from added sugars in drinks and packaged, frozen and canned foods that you buy in grocery stores or eat in restaurants. More than 75 percent of the packaged foods in your grocery store have added sugar in them.  Many of these foods do not taste particularly sweet, so you don’t even realize that you are eating sugars.

Check These Foods for Hidden Added Sugars
• salad dressings and barbeque sauces
• yogurts including those with added fruit
• frozen and microwave meals
• canned fruit
• breakfast cereals
• breading on frozen foods and restaurant foods
• processed lunch meats, bacon and canned meats
• peanut butter and other nut butters
• ketchup
• canned cranberry sauce
• packaged diet foods
• gluten-free foods
• canned or packaged soups and sauces
• power bars, energy bars, diet bars and “health” bars
• bakery products
• soft drinks
• non-dairy milks
• fruit-flavored drinks
• many alcoholic drinks including wines

Read the List of Ingredients on All Packaged Foods and Drinks
The Food and Drug Administration requires all packaged foods and drinks to list the sugar content per serving, and to show all sources of sugar in the list of ingredients. If you see any of these ingredients, you are eating added sugars or sugar alcohols: anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carbitol, concentrated fruit juice, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, diglycerides, disaccharides, evaporated cane juice, erythritol, Florida crystals, fructooligosaccharides, fructose, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, granulated sugar, hexitol, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, inversol, isomalt, lactose, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, malted barley, maltose, malts, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, nectar, pancake syrup, pentose, raisin syrup, raw sugar, ribose, rice malt, rice syrup, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sugar syrup, white sugar, xylitol, zylose and many more.

Why You Should Limit Added Sugars
All calories are not equal. Added sugars are much more harmful than the sugars or starches in unprocessed whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Added sugars cause higher insulin and blood sugar levels that precede diabetes, metabolic syndrome and extensive cell damage, harmful fat storage, particularly in the belly, and inflammation and high blood pressure that lead to heart attacks. Killer diseases associated with high sugar intake include:

Diabetes: Added sugars, particularly in sugared drinks, cause high rises in blood sugar which can damage every cell in your body. To protect you from a high rise in blood sugar, your liver converts sugar almost immediately to a type of fat called triglycerides. Then the fatty triglyceride molecules are stored in your liver. Your liver is supposed to regulate blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream and it lowers blood sugar levels by driving sugar from your bloodstream into your liver. However, when you have fat in your liver, the fat prevents the liver from accepting the sugar from your bloodstream and blood sugar levels remain high, which leads to diabetes. See Sugar-Added Foods Increase Diabetes Risk

Heart Attacks: High rises in blood sugar can punch holes in the inner linings of your arteries. The holes bleed and clot and start to form plaques in the arteries leading to your heart. Then a plaque can break off from the inner lining of a heart artery and travel down the ever-narrowing artery until it blocks the artery completely to cause a heart attack. Diabetes is the most common known cause of heart attacks. See Sugar-Added to Foods Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Cancers: Every factor that is associated with a high rise in blood sugar is also associated with increased risk for many cancers: obesity, abdominal obesity, lack of exercise, lack of vitamin D and so forth. Normal cells feed on all foods, but cancers have damaged mitochondria so they have to get most of their energy from sugar. See A Cure for Cancer is Coming

Obesity: Almost 60 percent of North Americans are already overweight. Added sugars contribute the empty calories (calories with no other nutritional value) that are driving this epidemic of obesity. See Being Overweight Increases Risk for Premature Death

The Worst Culprit: “Fruit” Drinks
An analysis of 203 “100 percent fruit” drinks (fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies) marketed to appeal to children found that almost half of them contained at least 19 grams (almost five teaspoons) of added sugar per serving, a full day’s recommended maximum amount of sugar for a child (BMJ Open, March 23, 2016). This study was done in the UK, but the results would probably be even worse in North America. The grocery store where we shop has an entire aisle devoted to sugar-added fruit drinks. Insidious advertising and labeling has convinced parents that these drinks are a healthful alternative to soft drinks.

My Recommendations
• Neither you nor your children should be drinking beverages with sugar in them, unless you are in the midst of prolonged, vigorous exercise. Instead, drink water and eat plenty of whole fresh fruit.
• Read the list of ingredients on all processed foods that you plan to buy and try to limit or avoid those that have added sugars.

May 26

Lactic Acid is Good for You: Why Everyone with a Healthy Heart Should Do Interval Exercise

Accumulating lactic acid in your muscles makes you a better athlete, helps to prevent diseases and may even prolong your life. Athletes use a form of interval training to make themselves faster and stronger, and everyone with a healthy heart can benefit from this technique. Interval training means to exercise so vigorously that you get short of breath, slow down and when you recover your breath, you exercise intensely enough to become short of breath again. Then you alternate intense intervals and recovery until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt, and then stop the workout for the day. For example, warm up by running very slowly for five to 10 minutes, and then run a little faster until you become short of breath, slow down until you recover your breath and repeat until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt.

Intervals to Make You a Better Athlete
You cannot enlarge a muscle and make it stronger unless you damage it with vigorous exercise. When it heals, it is larger and stronger. You cannot improve your ability to take in and use oxygen unless you exercise vigorously enough to become short of breath. Interval training allows you to exercise more intensely than continuous training and therefore give you a stronger training effect by causing more muscle fiber damage and greater oxygen debts.

Intervals to Prevent Disease and Prolong Your Life
A regular exercise program helps to prevent diabetes, heart attacks, and cancers. Interval training may be even more effective in preventing heart attacks and cancers because it helps to lower high blood sugar more effectively than continuous training by making cells far more sensitive to insulin (Int J Sports Med, published online November 6, 2014). Vigorous exercise increases the number, size and efficiency of mitochondria in your muscle cells. All of the cells in your body (except mature red blood cells) have anywhere from a few to thousands of organelles, called mitochondria, that turn the food that you eat into energy. Muscle cells need a lot of energy so they have lots of mitochondria. Nerves don’t need a lot of energy to transmit messages so they need only a few mitochondria. When you exercise so intensely that you can’t get all the oxygen you need and you become short of breath, you increase the number, size and efficiency of mitochondria in cells everywhere in your body. Accumulating evidence shows that this helps to prevent overweight, diabetes, heart attacks and certain cancers. It helps to explain why exercise increases memory and nerve function. Exercise also helps to reduce the loss of mitochondria in cells that occurs naturally with aging (Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, April, 2007). See More Mitochondria for Better Athletes

How Accumulating Lactic Acid Helps to Prevent Disease and Prolong Life
Interval training has been used in all endurance sports since the 1920’s. George Brooks of the University of California at Berkeley has shown why interval training makes you a better athlete (American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, June 2006). A major fuel for your muscles during exercise is the sugar, glucose. In a series of chemical reactions, glucose is broken down step by step, with each step releasing energy. When enough oxygen is available, the glucose releases all of its energy until only carbon dioxide and water remain; these are blown off through your lungs. However, if you exercise so intensely that you can’t get all the oxygen you need, the chemical reactions stop at lactic acid which accumulates in the muscles and spills over into the bloodstream. Lactic acid makes muscles acidic and causes a burning feeling that forces you to slow down. Thus lactic acid helps to prevent severe muscle damage by slowing you down when you run low on oxygen.

When you slow down after each intense interval, you catch up on your oxygen debt, and your body uses lactic acid as its most efficient source of energy for muscles. Muscles require less oxygen to turn lactic acid into energy. So when your muscles produce lots of lactic acid, they can use this chemical for energy. This allows you to move faster and stronger for longer periods of time (Sports Medicine, Volume 36, 2006). Anything that helps muscles to break down lactic acid faster will make you a better athlete because it will increase your endurance and allow you to move faster when you are tired (Fed. Proc, 45: 2924-2929, 1986). Lactic acid can also be used by your liver to make even more sugar to feed your muscles during exercise.

How to Do Interval Training
Interval training makes you a much better athlete because it teaches your muscles and liver to use lactate for energy much faster than just doing continuous training (Am. J. Physiol, 244: E83-E92, 1983). The faster you can use up lactic acid,
• the more quickly you relieve the acid burning in muscles that slows you down, and
• the faster you can go because lactate requires less oxygen than even sugar does.

Intense exercise can cause heart attacks in people who have blocked arteries, so before you start, check with your doctor. Then pick any sport that you like. It can be riding a road bicycle or stationary bicycle, walking, jogging, dancing or any other type of continuous exercise.

Background Phase: If you have not been exercising regularly, spend several weeks exercising at a casual pace. Try to exercise every day and exercise until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt and stop. You may go for five minutes on one day, and have to take the next day off because your legs feel sore. You may have a progression of five minutes on one day, then zero on the next day, then 10 minutes, then three minutes. Gradually you should be able to work up to being able to exercise casually for 30 minutes every day and not feel sore. Then you should be able to start training.

Interval Training Phase: Warm up for five to 10 minutes and then gradually pick up the pace. As soon as your legs start to feel heavy or you start to become short of breath, slow down until your legs and breathing recover. Then pick up the pace again and slow down as soon as your legs start to burn or feel heavy or you start to breathe hard. As a general rule, most casual exercisers are better off keeping their intense intervals to less than 30 seconds because they do not suffer much oxygen deprivation to build up a lot of lactic acid over that short a time and therefore are reducing stresses on their bodies. Alternate picking up the pace and slowing down until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt and then you are through for the day. Be patient with your progress and realize that pushing through pain and discomfort can injure you. An injury will usually prevent you from being able to exercise at all. More at Interval Training for Sports

Caution: people with blocked arteries leading to the heart can get a heart attack from intense exercise. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or making a sudden change in the intensity of your program.

 

MAY 16

How Much Water Do You Need?

Do you believe that a person needs to drink eight glasses of water every day? If you do, you will spend a lot of time running to the bathroom.

Why do so many people believe this rule? The number originally came from the National Academy of Sciences of the United States Food and Nutrition Board, which publishes recommended daily allowances of nutrients. The 1945 edition of the Food and Nutrition Board recommended: “A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters (about 8 cups) daily in most instances.” This amount is based on the calculation of one milliliter of water for each calorie of food. HOWEVER, the Board also noted that most of the water you need is in the food you eat.

All foods contain water. Even the driest nut or seed has a lot of water in it. Furthermore, when food is digested, it is converted to energy, carbon dioxide and WATER. Most people can get the fluid the body needs from food, and they only need to drink enough water to prevent constipation.

When you eat, the pyloric valve at the end of your stomach closes to keep food in the stomach. Then the stomach takes fluid that you drink and food that you eat and turns the solid food into liquid. If you don’t drink enough fluid, your stomach takes fluid from your blood and adds it to the food in the stomach to create the soup. The pyloric valve will not let food pass to the intestines until this liquid soup is formed. Then the liquid soup passes to the intestines and remains a soup until it reaches your colon. Only then is the fluid absorbed to turn the soup into solid waste in the colon. If you do not have enough fluid in your body, your body extracts extra fluid from your stool and turns your stool into hard rocks, causing constipation.

A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (April 2003).shows that plain water is not needed as long as enough fluid is obtained from other drinks and food. Twenty-seven healthy men consumed one of two diets for three-day periods and were studied in a lab setting. The first diet included plain water while the second omitted it, relying on only foods, orange juice, diet soda, and coffee for fluid. None of the nine measures of hydration were affected.

A reasonable amount for a healthy human is one cup of water or any other fluid with each meal. If you have a problem with constipation you may not be drinking enough water, but if you are not constipated, you are getting plenty. You’ll also want to replace fluids whenever you sweat a lot, particularly when you exercise or in hot weather. Drink water whenever you feel thirsty, but there’s no health benefit from forcing yourself to drink eight glasses of water a day. Drinking too much water can be dangerous; see Hyponatremia. This is of particular concern if you are exercising in hot weather and fail to replace the salt you lose in sweat.

APRIL 26

5 Proven Ways that Manuka Honey Benefits Your Health

By Holly Klamer, RD

Honey has been used to treat various ailments for centuries.  Is the buzz around the health benefits of honey valid?  Scientific research has shown honey may provide some health benefits including: antibacterial, wound healing properties, aiding relief for sore throat/cough and more research is needed in honey’s role on heart disease, fighting cancer cells and diabetes risk.

Research around specific types of honeys is also relatively new in discovering specific health benefits of honey from specific regions or flowers.

 

In particular, manuka honey has received attention and research as a special type of honey that may offer some health advantages.

What makes manuka honey special? 

Manuka honey is specifically from New Zeeland.  Manuka honey is from bees that solely rely on the manuka bush (or called tea tree) to make honey, nectar and pollen.

Researchers suggest manuka honey contains special compounds from the manuka flowers that may offer additional health benefit.

Research is ongoing for the health benefits of manuka honey, but so far these are research backed ways manuka honey may benefit your health.

1. Antibacterial Health Benefits

All honey can provide some antibacterial health benefit, but the degree of antibacterial properties can vary depending on the type of honey and how it’s harvested (1).

Most of the antibacterial property from honey is associated with honey’s production of hydrogen peroxide.  This acts as a means to kill bacteria.

Manuka honey has some additional properties that may provide even more antibacterial properties.  Methylglyoxal (MG) is one property in manuka flowers that is in manuka honey that offers additional antibacterial benefit.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) (2) from the nectar of manuka flowers helps DHA convert to MG in manuka honey.

2. Rich in Antioxidants

A 2005 study (3) compared the antioxidant activity of 4 different honeys including manuka honey.

Researchers found manuka and buckwheat honey had significantly higher antioxidant activity compared to 2 other types of honey.

In addition, only manuka honey had specific activity for superoxide anion radicals.  Therefore, while all honey may provide varying amounts of antioxidants, manuka honey has been shown to provide a high level of antioxidant activity and specific activity not found in other tested honey samples.

3. Wound healing

Both honey and sugar can be used as a treatment for dressing wounds and ulcers.  Honey has the ability to draw moisture from a wound and provide an antibacterial protection for healing wounds.

Because manuka honey has higher amounts of MG, it can provide an additional antibacterial benefit for healing skin wounds.

One study (4) found the non-peroxide antibacterial activity from manuka honey inhibited growth of Staphylococcus aureus for up to 8 hours.

This suggests manuka honey may be beneficial for lowering risk for infection in wounds from bacteria Staph aureus and possibly other bacteria.

In fact, founder of Fresh Med NYC Dr. Robert Graham (5) suggests in a 2018 Health article manuka honey may also lower risk for developing an infection from potentially dangerous Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

MRSA is resistant to common antibiotics, so finding alternatives to treating antibiotic resistant bacteria strains is important for keeping these dangerous bacteria under control.

In a 2005 case study (6), the use of manuka honey was used on eight cases of leg ulceration.  The wounds were dressed weekly with manuka honey.

Researchers found after 4 weeks of treatment all eight cases were significantly improved in wound size, pain and odor.  More research is needed to clarify the relationship between manuka honey and treatment of ulcers.

An important reminder when talking about using manuka honey for wound healing is this refers to medical grade manuka honey.

This type of honey is different than the honey you may purchase for consumption from the store.  The grading system for manuka honey is the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) scale.

Manuka honey with a UMF of 10 or higher is considered medical grade.  Do not put honey on a wound or consume for any ailment before consulting with your doctor first.

4. Oral health: Can prevent gum disease and plaque

Manuka honey, like all other honeys, is a source of sugar.  Eating sugary foods and drinks are associated with increasing risk for cavities and other negative teeth disorders.

So, it may seem counterintuitive manuka honey may actually benefit oral health.  Some studies have shown it may be beneficial for preventing gum disease gingivitis and plaque buildup.

A 2004 study (7) investigated whether manuka honey with a UMF 15 level could be used to reduce plaque buildup and clinical gingivitis.

Participants either chewed a manuka honey leather or sugarless gum for 10 minutes after each meal for 21 days.

After 21 days, researchers found significant improvements in the participants in the manuka honey group for lowered plaque buildup and less gum bleeding.  No significant changes were in the gum group.

The results of this study do not suggest eating high amounts of any honey will provide oral health benefit.

The honey in this study was manuka honey with UMF 15; consuming other honey may not provide these benefits.  More research is needed.

5. Relief from some side effects of chemotherapy

According to WebMD, a committee from the National Cancer Institute suggested manuka honey may be beneficial for reducing inflammation of the esophagus associated with chemotherapy.

Manuka honey may provide relief from other side effects of chemotherapy; more research is needed.  Before consuming any type of honey while on chemotherapy, consult your physician first.

Manuka honey and health

Manuka honey has been shown from research that is may offer health benefits more than other types of honey.  Keep in mind most research studies use medicinal grade manuka honey which may not be the same as what is available for consumption from a store.

Check the UMF rating of manuka honey to ensure authenticity and potency.  Generally speaking, manuka honey with a UMF of at least 10 is considered therapeutic.

Before applying manuka honey or ingesting it, consult your doctor.  Consuming manuka honey may interfere with certain medications.

Also note consuming manuka honey still provides a source of simple carbohydrates and should be eaten in moderation of a healthy balanced diet.

 april 19

 No More Junk Miles
You can always continue to learn, no matter how old you are. I am 81 and Diana is 74. We like to ride a bike as fast as we can. I thought that I understood training, and we followed the rules we believed in, but our race times kept getting slower and slower.We know that to make muscles stronger, you have to damage them by exercising them against great force. That means your muscles have to burn at some point when you train. We know that to improve your ability to take in and use oxygen, you have to exercise so vigorously that you must become short of breath.However, every time that you exercise intensely, you damage your muscles. You know this has happened when your muscles feel tight, heavy or sore on the next day. To deal with this soreness, we followed a program of racing as fast as we could three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). On the other four days we would recover by riding 20 to 30 miles slowly, at about 10 to 11 miles per hour. But something was wrong with this program because we were gradually losing our ability to ride as fast as we had in a previous year. We were doing too many junk miles on our four recovery days each week.What Are Junk Miles?
Junk miles means adding extra miles to your training plan with no purpose other than to increase the number of miles that you ride or run each week. They are done at such low intensity that you do not become short of breath and you do not push yourself very hard. Slow riding or running does not increase your ability to take in and use oxygen and it does not make your muscles stronger.Try to Go Fast Every Day
So we changed our schedule. We continued to race in a group almost as fast as we could ride three days a week. We then started to do intervals on the other four days. Intervals mean to ride a short distance fast enough to make you very short of breath. Then you slow down until you recover your breath, and keep on alternating short fast bursts with slow recoveries until your legs start to feel stiff and heavy. Then you stop the workout for that day.Virtually all competitive athletes use some form of interval training. Training is specific and the faster you ride or run in training, the faster you can go in competition. You can go much faster in all-out short bursts than you can go in a long continuous fast ride.On some interval days, we would do 50 pedal-stroke repeats, resting between each long enough to get our breath back. Other days we would do 100 or 150 pedal stroke repeats. We never plan to do a fixed number of intervals. Instead we would stop the intervals as soon as our legs started to feel heavy or stiff, or when our legs did not recover and continued to feel tired a minute after finishing a fast interval.When Your Legs Feel Heavy, Take the Day Off
We know that you can’t go intensely every day. There are some days that you have to rest. You have to listen to your body. We usually can ride fast on our three “race days”, but we have learned that on some days we should not ride at all. The recovery interval days are the most dangerous. These are the days when you are at your greatest risk for injuring yourself. When you start a workout, your legs usually feel heavy. Then as you continue to ride, your leg muscles usually start to feel better and you can ride fast after you have warmed up. However, if your legs do not feel fresh after you have warmed up for more than 15 minutes, you should just take the day off. We never plan to take a day off, but every sixth to ninth day, my legs feel so heavy that I know we need to take the day off. Then on the next day I feel fresh again.Why Athletes May Need Some Junk Miles
Sometimes competitive athletes do include exercise at very low intensity in their programs. “Junk miles” can be useful for:
Base training: You have to exercise at low intensity before you can exercise at high intensity. If you are starting a new sport, or making a major change to your exercise program, you should start with several weeks of slow exercise before you begin the intense part of your training.
Endurance events: Some athletes do once-a-week long rides or runs just to get their bodies used to the many hours of hard racing in endurance competitions.Caution
Intense exercise can cause heart attacks in susceptible people. The people most likely to suffer heart attacks during exercise are those who do not exercise regularly. You are also at increased risk when you increase the intensity or duration of your workouts. If there is any question about your heart or other health problems, always check with your doctor.Checked  4/12/18

APRIL 15

MSM Organic Sulfur

MSM it is known in different ways: Organic Sulfur, Methylsulfonylmethane, or Methyl-sulfonyl-methane.

It is a natural product, not a drug. You can find it in many plants, raw milk and raw cheese made from pastured cows, but the soils all around the planet are sulfur-depleted due to over farming, then the plants and animals we eat are deficient in sulfur as well. Hence the need to take Organic Sulfur as a supplement. You have to make sure though, that you buy only pure organic sulfur (MSM).

MSM is a very powerful antioxidant formed of:

  • 34% Sulfur
  • 34% Oxygen
  • 26% Carbon and 6% hydrogen bonds

MSM is used for all types of chronic pain, joint inflammation, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, tendonitis, muscle cramps, periodontal disease, oral hygiene, eye inflammation, migraine, headaches, parasitic infections of the intestinal and urogenital tracts like: yeast, trichomonas, giardias.

It is also used to treat allergies, constipation, ulcers, diverticulosis, premenstrual syndrome, poor circulation, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, liver problems, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, for any lung disorders, for autoimmune disorders and for CANCER.

In the case of Cancer, MSM (organic sulfur) works as follows:

  • As an oxygen transporter.
  • To reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • To kill microbes in the blood stream.
  • To reduce lactic acid in the blood stream. ( Lactic acid causes a lot of pain in the patient)

How to prepare MSM water:

  • Start with small doses of MSM water because the stomach is not accustomed to drinking it.
  • Take a gallon GLASS jug of purified water. If you do not have purified water, take water from the faucet and leave it resting for at least an hour before you use it because MSM should not be mixed with chlorinated water at all.
  • Once you have your gallon glass jug full of the appropriate water, add 16 tablespoons of Organic Sulfur (MSM) into the gallon glass jug.
  • Wait until the organic sulfur is totally dissolved. Sometimes it takes an hour for the MSM to completely dissolve. You can shake the gallon jug from time to time to make the organic sulfur dissolve faster.
  • Do this until you finally see the crystals in the bottom of the jug have disappeared. Now you have MSM WATER.
  • Let it set at room temperature. Do not refrigerate it.


Doses of MSM WATER for adults:

The first thing you have to do is to check for allergies, so take 1 tea spoon of the MSM water from the gallon glass jug and if you do not get any rash, (some people who are allergic to Sulfa drugs may have trouble with MSM), then two hours later, you can start with the dose below.

It’s very important to do the dose just like it’s explained.

DAY 1

  • Take 4 table spoons of the MSM water from your gallon glass jug.
  • Three hours later ( after the first 4 table spoons) take 6 table spoons of MSM water.
  • Three hours later take 8 table spoons of MSM water.
  • And this is all for Day 1 because the idea here is to make your stomach accustom to taking MSM, so, taking small doses also helps in avoiding big detoxification reactions due to the massive die-off of microbes. When lots of microbes die, lots of toxins are sent to the bloodstream and it can make you very sick. To avoid getting very sick and then very scared of MSM and wanting to stop taking MSM, it is important to do the doses little by little.

DAY 2

  • Take 8 table spoons of MSM water.
  • Three hours later take 10 table spoons of MSM water.
  • Three hours later take 11 table spoons of MSM water.
  • DAY 3 AND ON GOING DOSE…
  • Take 12 table spoons of MSM water.
  • Two or Three hours later take 12 table spoons of MSM water.
  • Two or Three hours later take 12 table spoons of MSM water.
  • Two or Three hours later take 12 table spoons of MSM water.
  • You can increase the dose of MSM water everyday if you want, a dose of 44 to 64 table spoons a day is completely safe.

DO NOT GIVE MSM WATER TO CHILDREN.

You may experience some strange feelings in your head, but do not worry it is actually good because your brain is getting flooded with oxygen.

Organic sulfur is a superb cancer treatment because it grabs oxygen from water and gets it inside the cells (cancer and non-cancer)

APRIL 12
How Exercise Reduces Dementia Risk

Almost 50 percent of North Americans over 85 and 13 percent of those over 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s Assoc Facts and Figures, 2018). We know that you lose brain cells as you age, and scientists used to think that you could not make new brain cells. However, an exciting new study from Columbia University suggests that you can make new brain cells as you age, and that loss of brain function may be caused by lack of adequate blood flow and nourishment of brain cells (Cell Stem Cell, April 5, 2018;22(4):589–599).

The authors found that all age groups, from young to old, have the same number of neural progenitor cells and immature neurons that make new nerve cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that governs memory. Contrary to a previous study that showed no new nerve growth with aging (Nature, March 2018), this new study suggests that the brains of older people have progressive loss of new blood vessels with aging and with that, the loss of ability of brain cells to connect with each other. If lack of blood flow to brain cells can cause dementia, its prevention should include exercise — the most effective way to increase growth of new blood vessels. Many previous studies show that exercise:
• increases blood flow to the brain, and
• reduces risk for diabetes and obesity which can damage the brain.
This new study suggests that anything that increases blood flow to the brain may stimulate growth of new blood vessels and brain cells.

Studies Showing that Exercise Reduces Risk for Dementia
A study of 1,462 women, ages 38 to 60, followed for 44 years, showed that those who exercised regularly were one tenth as likely to suffer dementia with aging as those who did not exercise (Neurology, March 14, 2018). In another study, 6500 older people wore exercise trackers. After three years, those who exercised regularly had a 36 percent lower risk of memory loss as well as better memory and executive function (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, January 2017;49(1):47–53).

A third study of 81 older adults used VO2 max, a test of maximal ability to take in and use oxygen, to give a dependable measure of fitness. Those who were less fit had an increased rate of dementia and of losing the white matter in their brains that helps them to retain memory and make wise decisions (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dec 19, 2017;61(2):729-739). An earlier review of hundreds of articles showed that older people who exercise have far less loss of brain function with aging, less brain blood vessel damage, larger hippocampal brain size for better memory, less loss of brain tissue with aging, better spatial memory, better communication between brain nerves and improved ability to learn new facts (Mayo Clin Proc, 2011 Sep; 86(9): 876–884).

APRIL 8
Artificial Sweeteners, Obesity and Diabetes
 
Virtually all scientists agree that North Americans need to reduce their intake of sugar, but their views on artificial sweeteners are not as clear. Increasing evidence is showing that artificial sweeteners are not benign substitutes for sugar. In a new study, people who took sucralose (an artificial sweetener) for just one week developed signs of insulin resistance and diabetes, such as:
• increased cellular sugar uptake,
• increased fat formation,
• signs of inflammation and
• higher rises in insulin and triglycerides.
The overweight people in the study developed the highest rises in these markers of diabetes (The Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, March 20, 2018, Abstract SUN-071). The higher the dose of sucralose, the higher the rise in the markers of risk for diabetes. This study confirms other studies showing that the use of artificial sweeteners is associated with increased risk for obesity and diabetes (Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, Feb 23, 2017; Brit J of Nutrit, Sept 2014;112(5):725-734), even in people who are not overweight (BMJ, July 21, 2015).
How Artificial Sweeteners Affect Gut Bacteria
Several researchers have shown that artificial sweeteners can change the bacteria in human guts to raise blood sugar levels (Cell Metab, Nov 4, 2014;20(5):701-3). This study in humans confirms other studies in mice that artificial sweeteners may cause high blood sugar levels with increased risk for diabetes and weight gain by changing the bacteria in your colon (Nature, Oct 9, 2014;514(7521):181-6). Researchers showed that:
• Mice that drank water with the artificial sweeteners saccharin, aspartame or sucralose developed much higher blood sugar levels after taking sugar.
• High rises in blood sugar have been shown in many studies to increase risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, and premature death.
• Mice that drank plain water did not develop this high rise in blood sugar.
• Mice that were given antibiotics to kill most of their colon bacteria did not develop high rises in blood sugars after taking artificial sweeteners.
• Many subsequent studies show that humans who regularly use artificial sweeteners have similar changes in the bacteria in their guts and are also at increased risk for developing high blood sugar levels.
• One week of consuming artificial sweeteners changed the gut bacteria of apparently healthy humans to cause higher blood sugar levels after taking sugared foods and drinks.Other Ways Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Risk for Weight Gain and Diabetes
Artificial sweeteners may cause you to:
Burn Fewer Calories: Researchers at Purdue University reported that rats that ate yogurt sweetened with saccharin consumed more calories, gained more weight and were fatter than rats that ate yogurt sweetened with sugar (Behavioral Neuroscience, Feb 2008;122(1)). The saccharin-fed rats did not lose the extra weight that they put on after they stopped taking saccharin. The rats who were kept on saccharin had a smaller rise in body temperature after eating than those who were fed sugar, and therefore they burned fewer calories.
Eat More Calories: There is PET scan evidence that taking artificial sweeteners activates the brain’s pleasure centers, causing you to want to eat more calories. Since you don’t get extra calories in artificially sweetened foods and drinks, you have to get them from somewhere else, so you eat more of other foods (Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 10, 2013).
Have Higher Blood Sugar Levels: Obese people who have taken aspartame or saccharin within 24 hours have much higher blood sugar rises after taking sugar than those who do not use these artificial sweeteners (Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, May 24, 2016). High blood sugar levels call out more insulin and high insulin levels increase weight gain and inflammation to increase diabetes risk.My Recommendations
More than 40 percent of North Americans today have higher than normal blood sugar levels. Sugared drinks should be taken only during prolonged vigorous exercise. Artificial sweeteners are associated with higher blood sugar levels and weight gain, so I recommend avoiding them. I believe that water is the safest drink for quenching thirst. Unsweetened coffee and tea have also been shown to be safe as long as you do not take unreasonably large amounts.

 

APRIL 4

GENERAL
Try This Metabolic Diet And Lose 15-44 Pounds In 13 Days
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Even though this metabolic diet routine might seem a bit strict, if you manage to keep up with it, you can lose from 15 t o 44 pounds in only 2 weeks. Amazing, right? After the 13 days, you can go back to your usual diet, but with a new body.

During the diet, you should exclude beer, sweets, wine, and chewing gum and after the diet, you can repeat the diet, but only after six months, and then only after two years. Now, let’s take a look at the diet plan:

DAY 1
* Breakfast: a cup of coffee with half a tsp of sugar
* Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, 200 grams of cooked spinach, and one tomato
* Dinner: 200 grams of fried steak and a green salad with olive oil and lemon dressing
DAY 2
* Breakfast: a cup of coffee and half a tsp of sugar
* Lunch: 200 grams of ham and one cup of yogurt
* Dinner: same as Day 1 and a fruit
DAY 3
* Breakfast: the same as day 1 and a piece of toasted bread
* Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, a slice of ham, salad
* Dinner: medium-sized boiled celery, a tomato, a piece of fruit
DAY 4
* Breakfast: same as Day 1 and a slice of toasted bread
* Lunch: a freshly-squeezed orange or apple juice and a cup of yogurt
* Dinner: a boiled egg, a carrot, 200 grams of cottage cheese
DAY 5
* Breakfast: one carrot and lemon juice
* Lunch: 200 grams of boiled or fried salmon or trout with lemon and a tbsp of butter
* Dinner: 200 grams of steak, salad as on Day 1 and a piece of raw celery
DAY 6
* Breakfast: same as a Day 1 and a slice of toasted bread
* Lunch: 2 eggs and a carrot
* Dinner: 250 grams of chicken breast cooked or grilled and spinach salad with lemon and olive oil dressing
DAY 7
* Breakfast: a cup of sugarless tea
* Lunch: only water
* Dinner: 200 grams of grilled lamb chop and one apple
DAY 8
* Breakfast: a cup of coffee and half a tsp of sugar
* Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, 200 grams of cooked spinach, a tomato
* Dinner: 200 grams of fried steak, green salad with olive oil and lemon dressing
DAY 9
* Breakfast: a cup of coffee with half a tsp of sugar
* Lunch: half a slice of ham and a cup of yogurt
* Dinner: same as Day 1 and some fruit
DAY 10
* Breakfast: same as Day 1 and a slice of toasted bread
* Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, a slice of ham, and the same salad from Day 1
* Dinner: medium-sized boiled celery, a tomato, some fruit
DAY 11
* Breakfast: same as Day 1 and a slice of toasted bread
* Lunch: freshly-squeezed orange juice and a cup of yogurt
* Dinner: a boiled egg, a carrot, 200 grams of cottage cheese
DAY 12
* Breakfast: a carrot and lemon juice
* Lunch: 100 grams of boiled salmon with a spoon of butter and lemon
* Dinner: 200 grams of steak, spinach salad, a raw piece of celery
DAY 13
* Breakfast: same as Day 1 and a slice of toasted bread
* Lunch: 2 eggs and a carrot with lemon
* Dinner: 250 grams of grilled or cooked chicken breast, green salad with olive oil and lemon dressing
source

 

Read more: http://www.healthyfoodsolution.com/try-this-metabolic-diet-and-lose-15-44-pounds-in-13-days/#ixzz4mtoZbMR1

April 2

Why We Use Intermittent Fasting

A few years ago we became interested in all the research on intermittent fasting for various health benefits, and decided to try it ourselves. “Fasting” for various lengths of time has been shown to help prevent or treat:
• heart attacks (Research in Endocrinology, June 2014)
• diabetes (Translational Research, October 2014;164(4):302–311)
• certain cancers (Sci Transl Med, 2012;4:124ra127)
• premature death in animals (Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, May 2000;115(1–2)17:61–71)

“Intermittent fasting” does not mean complete avoidance of foods and drinks. Instead, you markedly reduce your intake of food during certain periods. The benefits of intermittent fasting can be seen as long as you significantly reduce your total caloric intake during those periods (Medical Hypotheses, 2006;67(2):209–11).

Intermittent fasting appears to work by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin and reducing an overactive immunity, called inflammation (Cell Metabolism, Feb, 2014;19(1932-7420):181–92). Various programs of intermittent fasting have been shown to:
• lower blood pressure (British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, April 2013)
• lower cholesterol and triglycerides (Am J Clin Nutr, Nov 2009;90(5):1138-43)
• reduce body fat (Int J Obes (Lond), May 2015;39(5):727-33)
• lower insulin (Am J Clin Nutr, Jan 2005;81(1):69-73)
• lower blood markers of inflammation (Free Radic Biol Med, March 2007;42(5):665-74)
• increase speed and endurance in athletes (Med Sci Sports Exerc, April 2016;48(4):663-72)

Types of Intermittent Fasting
Different researchers and authors have used different definitions of intermittent fasting for their studies, including:
• Daily limited-time fasting, such as eating only between noon and 6PM, eating three meals (morning, noon and early evening) and then fasting overnight from 6PM to 7AM, or eating only twice a day at the times of your choice
• Various combinations of fasting and non-fasting days in each week, such as fasting on alternate days, or 5:2 (five normal days and two fasting days, on the days of your choice)
• Monthly variations such as fasting five days each month
Research has not yet been able to prove that any one method of intermittent fasting is superior to other methods.

Our Version of Intermittent Fasting
We chose to follow a liberal alternate-day program of “fasting” because we can do it without keeping a calendar or making special schedules. When we have lunch or dinner dates with our friends, we let that take precedence and just skip that day or make the next day a fast day.

We eat a plant-based diet, with fish two or three times a week and occasional cheese. For breakfast every day, I eat oatmeal made with water and added raisins, and Diana eats cooked black beans. On “non-fast” days, we go out to eat our second meal between noon and 3PM, typically vegetables, salads, soups, seafood and fruits, with no limits on portion sizes. On “fast” days, we do not eat that second meal. Whether it is a fast day or not, we snack on nuts, fruits such as oranges and vegetables such as tomatoes or cauliflower, as often as we like. We know that no one can depend on will power, so we do not keep any other foods in our kitchen. We do not snack after 7PM.

Note that we eat only two meals a day on our regular days.  We decided many years ago that the three-meals-a-day pattern was just too much food for our needs and I think that is true for most people over 40, 50, 60, or wherever the weight starts to creep on.  We live in a large retirement community where we are surrounded by older people and what a sad picture it is; at least 80 percent and maybe 90 percent are overweight.  Usually our main meal is mid-day (noon-3PM) but if we are invited to join friends for dinner, we just adjust to their schedule and make our second meal “dinner” at their preferred time.

What This Program has Done for Us
After Diana’s accident two years ago, she found that she had lost more than three inches in height from compression fractures in her spine. She decided to use a strict program of intermittent fasting to bring her weight down to match her new height. She lost 15 pounds in six weeks, so where she had been 5’9″ and 135 pounds, she is now under 5’6″ and 120 pounds. I was so impressed with her results that I decided to try it myself. I am 5’10”, and after just a few months on the program, my weight had dropped from 168 to 138. See my report on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

When we reached our goal weights, we went to our more relaxed program and have since maintained our weights without much effort. Diana exercises vigorously every day even though she has severe rheumatoid arthritis, and she believes that staying active and keeping her weight down help to control the pain. I have to keep my weight low because of my genetic predisposition to store all my fat in my belly. I have very narrow hips. I had high blood sugar levels when I weighed 168 pounds, my father died of diabetes and my brother is diabetic.

Why a Fat Belly Leads to Diabetes
Storing fat in your belly, rather than your hips, increases your risk for diabetes because it shows that you are storing fat in your liver. When blood sugar levels rise too high, your pancreas releases insulin which lowers blood sugar levels by driving sugar from the bloodstream into the liver. Fat in your liver prevents the liver from accepting sugar from the bloodstream to keep blood sugar levels high. Almost everyone with a large belly and small hips already has high blood sugar levels and is at high risk for diabetes and heart attacks. In one study, intermittent fasting markedly helped decrease belly fat (Translational Research, October 2014;164(4):302–311).

Intermittent Fasting May Not Be for Everyone
Certain conditions may be complicated by fasting. Check with your doctor if you:
• are being treated for diabetes
• have low blood pressure
• take medications
• are underweight
• have an eating disorder
• are under age 14
• are pregnant or breast feeding, or may become pregnant

APRIL 1

Prostate Cancer and Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are the main cause of death in men diagnosed with prostate cancer (Circulation, Feb 4, 2016). More than 230,000 American men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Because prostate cancer usually progresses so slowly, the more than three million living American men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are at much higher risk for dying of heart attacks than they are of dying of their prostate cancer.

This is partly just statistics (heart attacks are the leading cause of death in men, and prostate cancer seldom kills), but patients also need to be told that some of the current treatments for prostate cancer can raise their risk for a heart attack. Doctors prescribe these treatments because they believe that the benefits outweigh any side effects they may cause.
1. Radiation increases risk for heart failure, irregular heartbeats and heart attacks. Women who receive radiation for breast cancer are also at increased risk for heart attacks (The Lancet, November 12, 2011;378(9804):1707-1716).
2. Chemotherapy drugs can damage the heart and peripheral blood vessels, increase risk for forming clots and raise blood cholesterol.
3. Giving drugs to block a man’s production of the male hormone, testosterone, to shrink prostate tumors increases risk for a heart attack in several ways (JAMA, Sept 22, 2015;314(12):1291 and British Journal of Urology International, March 2014). Blocking testosterone raises blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increases body fat, decreases muscle and bone, raises blood sugar, increases insulin resistance, decreases sugar tolerance and increases risk for diabetes (Am J Clin Oncol, 35(5) 2012;504–509), all risk factors for heart attacks.

My Recommendations
If you are a man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer, you should work with your doctor to decide what treatments are best for you. All men with prostate cancer should be aware that they are far more likely to die from a heart attack than from prostate cancer. Men who adopt a more healthful lifestyle after being diagnosed with cancer are less likely to have that cancer recur (Journal of Clinical Oncology, Oct 20, 2012;30:3697-3704). Whether you choose “watchful waiting” or any of the available treatments, you should do everything possible to lower your heart attack risk. Follow ABCDE, the heart-attack-preventing mnemonic:
• Aspirin if indicated
• Blood pressure monitoring
• Cholesterol management and Cigarette avoidance
• Diet and Diabetes Prevention: eat lots of fruits and vegetables; restrict sugar-added foods and drinks, red meat and fried foods
• Exercise
Also keep blood levels of hydroxy Vitamin D above 50 nmol/L and lose excess fat if overweight.

March 31

Lectin-Containing Foods are Good For You
The latest fad diet tells you to try to avoid lectin-rich foods and to buy their products that are supposed to block lectins in the foods that you eat. However, scientific studies show that eating the common foods with high-lectin content is associated with living a long life and avoiding diseases such as heart attacks, certain cancers, and diabetes (JAMA Intern Med, 2013;173(13):1230-1238). These foods include:
• legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils, peanuts)
• whole grains (wheat, rice, oats, barley and so forth)
• foods from the nightshade family (eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes)
• foods from the gourd family (squash, pumpkin, zucchini)
• many other fruits, vegetables and seedsWhat are Lectins?
Lectins are a type of protein found in all forms of life, both animals and plants, including most foods. Lectins can bind to sugars on the membranes covering cells in your body or in other foods you eat. In small amounts, they can provide health benefits, but in large amounts, they can reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients or can even be highly toxic. An extreme example is the castor oil bean, a source of the lectin, ricin, which is used as a deadly chemical weapon. Fortunately for us, our ancestors figured out (through trial and error) which plants are edible and which are poisonous. They also discovered that some plant parts needed to be cooked to make them edible (such as dried beans, grains and potatoes).Why Virtually All Plants Contain Lectins
Plants cannot run away from animals, insects or bacteria that try to eat them, so they need some other way to defend themselves. Many plants have evolved with lectins that can damage the intestines of animals and insects that try to eat them and make them sick or kill them. Lectins are found in large amounts in the seeds of plants where they prevent intestinal juices from digesting and damaging the seeds so the seeds can pass through the intestines of birds and other animals, to be dispersed on the land where they can sprout into new plants.Can Lectins Harm You?
Lectins in uncooked or under-cooked dried beans and grains can bind to the lining of your intestines to cause vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. However, proper cooking destroys or reduces the amount of lectins to prevent this harm. Lectins are absorbed very poorly, but they can enter your bloodstream to turn on your immunity to cause inflammation (Biochem Soc Trans, 1989;17:481–482; Lancet, 1998;352:1831–1832), an overactive immunity that can attack and destroy your own cells, but many other studies show that fruits and vegetables help to decrease inflammation (J Am Diet Assoc, Mar 2009;109(3):414–421). The rest of the many claims that lectins cause cancer, auto-immune diseases and other ailments are at this time unproven and unsubstantiated by adequate research.Risks of Restricting Lectins
• Trying to avoid high-lectin foods will deprive you of many foods with proven health benefits. People who eat a plant-based diet with whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables are at reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. See my report on Anti-inflammatory and Pro-inflammatory Foods.
• The most popular low-lectin diet recommends eating foods made from white flour instead of whole grains. This is harmful advice since refined carbohydrates cause high blood sugar levels and therefore increase risk for diabetes and heart attacks. North Americans suffer from an epidemic of obesity and diabetes caused by eating a diet with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
• A lectin-avoiding diet will greatly reduce your intake of soluble fiber, an important dietary component for preventing and treating diabetes and heart attacks.
• If you follow the advice of the lectin-avoidance advocates, you will spend a lot of money on their costly supplements, specialty milks, pasture-raised meats and so forth.Sensible Ways to Reduce Lectins
The same cooking process that reduces the gas-causing tendencies of beans also reduces their lectin content to a safe level. Soak the beans overnight, discard the soaking water and cover the beans with fresh water. Bring to a boil and then cook with the heat kept just under boiling until the beans are soft. Canned beans have been prepared using this process, so they are not high in lectins. Dry heat does not usually destroy lectins. Sprouted beans, grains and other seeds have low lectin counts. Green (immature) beans and peas have low levels of lectins. Standard methods of cooking whole grains in water destroy or reduce the lectins; if they are soft enough to eat, they are usually safe. Fermenting markedly reduces lectins.The nightshade family has toxic levels of lectins in the green leaves, stems and shoots, but the fruits (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers) are naturally low in lectins and are perfectly safe to eat. White potatoes should be cooked, which reduces their high lectin content to a safe level. If potatoes have green sprouts or a green tinge on the skin, they should be discarded. Sweet potatoes and yams are from a different plant family and are not high in lectins.My Recommendations
• I believe that the recommendation to avoid foods rich in lectins flies in the face of epidemiologic data that shows that people who eat the most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds are the healthiest, live the longest, and enjoy reduced incidence of diseases.
• The healthful diet that I recommend is varied, balanced and high in plants. Do not eat unreasonably large amounts of any single food.
• Follow the traditional cooking practices for dried beans and whole grains; our ancestors learned that these foods should not be eaten raw.
• The expensive supplements promoted to reduce your incidence of supposed lectin disease are not supported by adequate research, and I do not recommend using them.

march 30

Why We Use Intermittent Fasting

A few years ago we became interested in all the research on intermittent fasting for various health benefits, and decided to try it ourselves. “Fasting” for various lengths of time has been shown to help prevent or treat:
• heart attacks (Research in Endocrinology, June 2014)
• diabetes (Translational Research, October 2014;164(4):302–311)
• certain cancers (Sci Transl Med, 2012;4:124ra127)
• premature death in animals (Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, May 2000;115(1–2)17:61–71)

“Intermittent fasting” does not mean complete avoidance of foods and drinks. Instead, you markedly reduce your intake of food during certain periods. The benefits of intermittent fasting can be seen as long as you significantly reduce your total caloric intake during those periods (Medical Hypotheses, 2006;67(2):209–11).

Intermittent fasting appears to work by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin and reducing an overactive immunity, called inflammation (Cell Metabolism, Feb, 2014;19(1932-7420):181–92). Various programs of intermittent fasting have been shown to:
• lower blood pressure (British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, April 2013)
• lower cholesterol and triglycerides (Am J Clin Nutr, Nov 2009;90(5):1138-43)
• reduce body fat (Int J Obes (Lond), May 2015;39(5):727-33)
• lower insulin (Am J Clin Nutr, Jan 2005;81(1):69-73)
• lower blood markers of inflammation (Free Radic Biol Med, March 2007;42(5):665-74)
• increase speed and endurance in athletes (Med Sci Sports Exerc, April 2016;48(4):663-72)

Types of Intermittent Fasting
Different researchers and authors have used different definitions of intermittent fasting for their studies, including:
• Daily limited-time fasting, such as eating only between noon and 6PM, eating three meals (morning, noon and early evening) and then fasting overnight from 6PM to 7AM, or eating only twice a day at the times of your choice
• Various combinations of fasting and non-fasting days in each week, such as fasting on alternate days, or 5:2 (five normal days and two fasting days, on the days of your choice)
• Monthly variations such as fasting five days each month
Research has not yet been able to prove that any one method of intermittent fasting is superior to other methods.

Our Version of Intermittent Fasting
We chose to follow a liberal alternate-day program of “fasting” because we can do it without keeping a calendar or making special schedules. When we have lunch or dinner dates with our friends, we let that take precedence and just skip that day or make the next day a fast day.

We eat a plant-based diet, with fish two or three times a week and occasional cheese. For breakfast every day, I eat oatmeal made with water and added raisins, and Diana eats cooked black beans. On “non-fast” days, we go out to eat our second meal between noon and 3PM, typically vegetables, salads, soups, seafood and fruits, with no limits on portion sizes. On “fast” days, we do not eat that second meal. Whether it is a fast day or not, we snack on nuts, fruits such as oranges and vegetables such as tomatoes or cauliflower, as often as we like. We know that no one can depend on will power, so we do not keep any other foods in our kitchen. We do not snack after 7PM.

Note that we eat only two meals a day on our regular days.  We decided many years ago that the three-meals-a-day pattern was just too much food for our needs and I think that is true for most people over 40, 50, 60, or wherever the weight starts to creep on.  We live in a large retirement community where we are surrounded by older people and what a sad picture it is; at least 80 percent and maybe 90 percent are overweight.  Usually our main meal is mid-day (noon-3PM) but if we are invited to join friends for dinner, we just adjust to their schedule and make our second meal “dinner” at their preferred time.

What This Program has Done for Us
After Diana’s accident two years ago, she found that she had lost more than three inches in height from compression fractures in her spine. She decided to use a strict program of intermittent fasting to bring her weight down to match her new height. She lost 15 pounds in six weeks, so where she had been 5’9″ and 135 pounds, she is now under 5’6″ and 120 pounds. I was so impressed with her results that I decided to try it myself. I am 5’10”, and after just a few months on the program, my weight had dropped from 168 to 138. See my report on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

When we reached our goal weights, we went to our more relaxed program and have since maintained our weights without much effort. Diana exercises vigorously every day even though she has severe rheumatoid arthritis, and she believes that staying active and keeping her weight down help to control the pain. I have to keep my weight low because of my genetic predisposition to store all my fat in my belly. I have very narrow hips. I had high blood sugar levels when I weighed 168 pounds, my father died of diabetes and my brother is diabetic.

Why a Fat Belly Leads to Diabetes
Storing fat in your belly, rather than your hips, increases your risk for diabetes because it shows that you are storing fat in your liver. When blood sugar levels rise too high, your pancreas releases insulin which lowers blood sugar levels by driving sugar from the bloodstream into the liver. Fat in your liver prevents the liver from accepting sugar from the bloodstream to keep blood sugar levels high. Almost everyone with a large belly and small hips already has high blood sugar levels and is at high risk for diabetes and heart attacks. In one study, intermittent fasting markedly helped decrease belly fat (Translational Research, October 2014;164(4):302–311).

Intermittent Fasting May Not Be for Everyone
Certain conditions may be complicated by fasting. Check with your doctor if you:
• are being treated for diabetes
• have low blood pressure
• take medications
• are underweight
• have an eating disorder
• are under age 14
• are pregnant or breast feeding, or may become pregnant

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