Archive for the “Diet” Category

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These are my links for December 29th:

  • 52 ways to leave your blubber – This is the year you will resolve to ditch the diets, the “all or nothing” mentality and the “no-pain, no-gain” fitness goals. This is the year you will resolve to use common sense to eat less junk food, move more — and have fun doing it.Remember what it was like when you were a kid and you thought nothing of playing tag for hours on end? That spirit still lives. You just need to wake it up. Maybe with a high-energy hula hoop workout or Shaun T’s “Hip Hop Abs,” done in the privacy of your own home. Or by walking your dog while listening to a Dan Brown thriller. Instead of embarking on yet another diet, why not try to lose roughly 1 pound a week by creating a modest 500-calorie deficit each day. That’s easily accomplished by slashing about 250 calories from your diet (the equivalent of five Oreos) and burning about 250 calories through exercise, such as a brisk two-to-three-mile walk. You can do that easy.
  • Hope for hearing: Cochlear implants – Cochlear implants are electronic hearing devices for people with profound deafness or severe hearing loss who get no benefit from a hearing aid. There is an external part that is worn behind the ear with a microphone that picks up sounds from the environment, a speech processor and a transmitter that gets signals from the processor and turns them into electric impulses. It is attached to a receiver and electrode system which is surgically implanted into the inner ear. It’s typically done as an outpatient procedure.An implant does not restore normal hearing and is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sound so that damaged ears can hear them. Implants bypass the damage and directly stimulate the auditory nerve which then sends the signals to the brain.
  • Medicare Cuts Loom Large as ‘Cliff’ Nears – It’s looking less and less likely that Congress and the White House will strike a deal to keep the country from falling over the “fiscal cliff” next week, so physicians are preparing for a 28.5 percent cut in Medicare payments that will take effect on Jan. 1.That figure includes a 26.5 percent cut under Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) reimbursement formula and a 2 percent cut mandated by the Budget Control Act, the piece of legislation that outlined the tax increases and spending cuts that define the fiscal cliff.
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GMO Tomato

Yes, according to a new study.

For the first time, genetically engineered tomato plants produced a peptide that mimics the actions of good cholesterol when eaten, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012.

In the study, mice that ate the freeze-dried, ground tomatoes had less inflammation and reduced atherosclerosis External link (plaque build-up in the arteries).

“We have found a new and practical way to make a peptide that acts like the main protein in good cholesterol, but is many times more effective and can be delivered by eating the plant,” said Alan M. Fogelman, M.D., senior author of the study and executive chair of the Department of Medicine and director of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Researchers genetically engineered the tomatoes to produce 6F, a small peptide that mimics the action of ApoA-1, the chief protein in high density lipoprotein External link (HDL or “good” cholesterol). They fed the tomatoes to mice that lack the ability to remove low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) from their blood and readily develop inflammation and atherosclerosis when consuming a high-fat diet.

After the mice ate the tomatoes as 2.2 percent of their Western-style high-fat, calorie-packed diet, those given the peptide-enhanced tomatoes had significantly:

  • lower blood levels of inflammation;
  • higher paraoxonase activity, an anti-oxidant enzyme associated with good cholesterol and related to a lower risk of heart disease;
  • higher levels of good cholesterol;
  • decreased lysophosphatidic acid, a tumor promoter that accelerates plaque build-up in arteries in animal models; and
  • less atherosclerotic plaque.

Great news and with voters deciding California Proposition 37 (GMO food labeling initiative), it paints a more positive light on the idea of science improving the foods that we eat.

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Yes, according to a new study.

Bananas have long been a favorite source of energy for endurance and recreational athletes. Bananas are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients, and are easy for cyclists, runners or hikers to carry.

Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) has revealed additional benefits.

“We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling — bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink,” said Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty at Appalachian.

“We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas,” he said.

The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.

I know by running friend, Mary, always carries her banana on a weekly long run. She likes it and says it is easy on her stomach.

Around 100 calories or so, a banana is certainly just as good nutritionally and better tasting than a heavily sugar-laden running gel. But, I don’t know if your digestive system would like to break down the bulk during a very long run, such as a marathon though.

I would think for any run less than 10 miles or so, you should be fine.

I will give it a try and let you know.

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Perhaps yes, according to a new study regarding junk food in California schools.

Five years after California started cracking down on junk food in school cafeterias, a new report shows that high school students there consume fewer calories and less fat and sugar at school than students in other states.

The findings suggest that state policies can be successful to some extent in influencing the eating habits of teenagers. The study found that California high school students consumed on average nearly 160 calories fewer per day than students in other states, the equivalent of cutting out a small bag of potato chips. That difference came largely from reduced calorie consumption at school, and there was no evidence that students were compensating for their limited access to junk food at school by eating more at home.

While a hundred calories here or there may not sound like much, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the United States in the last four decades, and many researchers say that most children and adolescents could avoid significant long-term weight gain by cutting out just 100 to 200 extra calories a day.

“I would definitely say that 158 calories is significant,” said Daniel R. Taber, an author of the study and a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “When you combine this study with other studies on California law, the body of evidence suggests the schools in California really have made healthier changes by getting rid of things like sweets and candy bars.”

California is one of several states that have sought to reduce childhood obesity by targeting junk food in schools. A decade ago it became the first state to ban the sale of soft drinks in grade schools, and it later enacted a similar ban in high schools. Since 2007, the state has also enforced nutrition standards for “competitive foods” in schools, the snacks and foods that are not included in meal plans but that students can get on school grounds — from vending machines, for example. California law limits the amount of fat, sugar and calories that can be found in these foods.

When I attended California public schools decades ago, we never had junk food vending machines at school. We had a fruit dispensing machine.

Schools who were hard pressed for funds succumbed to the promises of money from the food and soda vendors. It is time for them to go.

There is no right to have a junk food vending machine on campus and I am glad eliminating them is having a positive impact on student’s health.

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Common energy drinks

According to a new study in General Dentistry.

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth — specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” says Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

Remember sugar is metabolized by oral bacteria to produce what?

That is right, acid.

And, so these drinks have sugar and a lot of ACID.

The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports or energy drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. In fact, the authors found that energy drinks caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks.

With a reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it is important to educate parents and young adults about the downside of these drinks. Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.

You have to consume these drinks moderately, and rinse your mouth with water and/or chew some sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow. The increased saliva helps flush the acid away from the teeth.

Also, after consuming these drinks, wait an hour before brushing your teeth (you don;t want to smear the acid directly into the teeth) – but do brush them later.

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