Okay, this seems like one of those chicken/egg arguments but it’s not just a pointless philosophical question.
I believe Gary Taubes was the first to impress this as an important point.
Taubes went out of his way to underline that the hormonal changes that occurred in people who became obese led to them becoming more inactive.
Play a word association game with the word diabetes and most people will probably say sugar.
While this association is strong in the popular imagination much of the prevailing healthy nutritional theory seems to suggest that it is obesity that is the more important link.
This prevailing wisdom has long made the claim that all calories regardless of the food group are equal and it is just eating too many of them which makes us fat and puts us at risk of getting diabetes.
This theory has been under review for a number of years and the challenges are starting to add up.
A new epidemiological research study provides fresh evidence that sugar may be an independent risk factor for diabetes, even taken on a calorie by calorie basis compared to other food groups.
Researchers at the Stanford Stanford University school of medicine, the University of California Berkeley and the University of California San Francisco examined the relationship between the availability of sugar and the rates of diabetes in 175 countries in the last decade.
According to research director Dr. Sanjay Basu the data seemed to indicate that not all calories are equal in terms of diabetes risk. In other words since we take in our nutritional intake from three different food groups sugars ( all carbohydrates break down into sugars), fats and proteins Dr. Basu suggests the intake of calories as sugars poses a stronger risk for getting diabetes than an equal number of calories derived from fats and proteins.
The study suggested that for every extra 150 calories of sugar that was made available per person per day the prevalence of diabetes in the population concerned increased by 1% even when you took into account all other well-known independent risk factors for diabetes like obesity, physical activity, calories from other food groups and social economic factors.
The duration of time that the population was exposed to high levels of sugar also showed up in the relationship with increased rates of diabetes.
Does Sugar Consumption Cause Diabetes?
Since this is an epidemiological study it cannot be said to to prove sugar causes diabetes. To test this assertion there needs to be testing in a rigorous scientific way which in this case is really difficult to prove because it involves potentially causing harm to patients which is understandably not allowed by any scientific protocols.
The fact that the study looked at data over time did add to its strength. Studies taken at one point in time make it difficult to make any inferences about causal relationships.
This study adds to a growing body of evidence that sugars have a much stronger relationship to diabetes than was previously assumed.
With regard to the study I think most people are already ahead of the curve and know that sugars are a food group that they need to reduce as much as they can.
Further studies will go a long way toward changing conventional wisdom so that people do not have deal with the inner conflict that comes from so many mixed messages about what is best to achieve optimal health.
More commonly seen in men excess belly fat is a potential killer. Studies have shown that an accumulation of fat in the abdominal area can have serious long-term consequences for our health. Rather than dwell the negative, however, we think you should consider the benefits of losing belly fat.
1. Having excess belly fat is an independent risk factor for heart disease and diabetes, which is another way of saying that health professionals consider it a major strike against your overall health profile much like smoking, or a family history of illness are considered notable factors.
While you can’t change your family background you can stop smoking and you can change your diet and take up exercise to lose that belly fat. As your belly fat disappears so does this particular independent risk factor. Think of it as your own medical intervention.
2. There is a correlation between too much fat around the belly and lower levels of testosterone. Lower levels of testosterone are in turn associated with a lack of libido and sometimes with outright impotence. Regular resistance training and cardio along with a sensible diet will pack a double punch: help get rid of the paunch which will then naturally elevate testosterone and the exercise itself will also boost the levels of this male hormone.
3. Getting rid of your belly will improve your self-image. As much as we hate to to admit it we do judge people on appearance. It’s easy to say looks don’t matter and it’s the person inside that is really important but the truth is that people mostly exist in a social context and our well-being whether we like it or not is measured by how others perceive us. Getting rid of belly fat will change the way people look at us for the better and this will simply reinforce the personal sense of satisfaction derived from how we have succeeded in improving ourselves.
4. A recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers has outlined that losing belly fat can improve the quality of our sleep. Researchers found that subjects who lost abdominal fat had improved scores on a sleep quality assessment test called the Hopkins Sleep Survey.
This latter factor is a critical new finding. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with a host of medical problems ranging from the psychological such as depression to the organic like heart disease and diabetes
Did you know that green tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Across Asia in countries such as China and Japan green tea is a centuries old staple in the local diet. More recently many scientific studies have brought to light the benefits of green tea; its potential to protect us against many diseases and even extend our life expectancy.
Here are 10 benefits to drinking green tea.
1. Green tea contains only half as much caffeine as coffee which allows you to consume it without some of the undue affects of drinking coffee
2. Scientific studies have demonstrated that Green tea limits the growth and propagation of cancer cells . There may be some correlation here between the lower rates of cancer in countries such as China and Japan where there is heavy consumption of green tea.
3. Green tea increases the metabolism which is ideal if you’re looking to lose weight.
4. Green tea may provide protection against diabetes.
5. There are some ongoing studies that are looking into the anti-aging effects of green tea consumption
6. Green tea can prevent the emergence of arthritis. The antioxidant in green tea may play a role in blocking the enzymes that attack bones . Green tea has been claimed to alleviate symptoms of pain associated with arthritis as well.
7. Green tea may act like aspirin does to thin the blood to prevent the clotting which can potentially lead to strokes. Green tea may do this without some of the negative side effects of aspirin.
8. Green tea can halt the growth of harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestine, stimulate the growth of useful bacteria and protect against infections from harmful bacteria like E. coli.
9. Green tea may lower cholesterol and relax the arteries and thus provide protection against cardiac diseases
10. Because green tea contains fluoride it can prevent cavities and dental disease.
With all these benefits it’s about time that we started to incorporate green tea into our diets. Just remember not to drink it is too hot and you’re on your way to enjoying the benefits of this remarkable average
In a previous article we learned how exercising moderately may be better for achieving weight loss results than long exercise sessions.
Moderate exercisers according to the results of the study felt less hungry and as a result did not eat as much and also had more energy over the course of the day.
The heavy exercisers lack of activity after exercise appeared to discount the benefits of their lengthy exercise sessions.
Another study conducted at the University of Queensland and published in the British Journal of sports medicine reinforces the findings that a lack of activity is bad for your health.
The Queensland researchers conducted a survey of 12,000 Australian adults. Specifically people were asked how much TV they watched every day which was a good indicator of how much time they spent sitting.
Analyzing the data with all the resources at their disposal the researchers found a link between inactivity and mortality, i.e. how long they lived. According to the research extended periods of inactivity correlated with shortened lifespans.
The researchers then came to a a startling conclusion that every hour of television watched after the age of 25 shortened lifespans by more than 20 min.
This is, intended as a preliminary study but it does point out in a practical terms the risks of not moving around and being active.
The unfortunate reality is, however, that many people work jobs that require that they sit at desks for extended periods of time.
There is no way around this when you are thinking about your own livelihood.
However, there are ways you can break up the periods of inactivity with exercise.
Apart from a moderate exercise session everyday you can also remind yourself to get up and walk around your workspace for a few minutes for every half an hour of inactivity at the desk.
When you are home sitting behind a computer, listening to music or watching TV you could do five push-ups after every hour of inactivity.
It’s a good idea to climb a flight of stairs in your home after every half hour to hour of inactivity.
A big tip is hold yourself down in the downward dog yoga position for 1 min. for every half an hour that you have been resting in a sedentary state.
These are just 4 suggestions but you can do anything that suits your mood. The important thing is to just do any kind of activity that feels natural for you such as doing housework putting out garbage, going outside gardening, or shopping.
One of the reasons that the French attribute to their relatively svelte physiques is that they walk everywhere and are busy with local chores, shopping, gardening and housekeeping.
The take away ideas should be that you do enough exercise in a formal way to stimulate your heart get the blood pumping but not so much that you feel exhausted and sit around the rest of the day.
Then, you need to remind yourself to stay active when you might fall under the hypnotic spell of popular media.
Everyone is aware that weight loss requires both a change in diet and an exercise program to be really effective. However, determining the exact balance between the two is more complicated than most people realize.
A new study reveals that working out less may be a more effective way to lose weight due to the complex interplay of appetite and activity.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen examined this question with a study using a group of mildly overweight young men.
These individuals were separated into three different groups. The control group or reference points were inactive and made no changes in their behavior during the course of the 13 week study.
The second group exercised briefly on a daily basis until they had burned 300 calories. The individuals in the third group were required to exercise until they had used up 600 cal, considerably more than those in the second group.
No limitations were placed on how much food the subjects were allowed to eat. With the use of sophisticated equipment the general activity level of the men in each group was measured after they had worked out.
At the end of the 13 week study the control group predictably showed no weight loss.
The real surprise lay in the group that lost the most weight. It turned out that the men who had only burned 300 cal a day lost more weight, on average 7 pounds over the course of study than the heavy exercisers who lost on average 5 pounds.
The differences seemed to run contrary to common sense until other information was brought to light. It turned out that the light exercisers were more active after working out and consumed less calories than the heavy exercisers who remained relatively inactive because of what was assumed to be a greater level of fatigue.
The most interesting finding from this study seems to be the previously underplayed role of appetite and diet in weight loss plans.
In this study the two comparison groups differed drastically in their exercise programs and yet the group that exercised less showed more weight loss.
Experts often advise people to stay within their limits when they are training. The results in this study seem to be clear. Working to the point of exhaustion or in general over-training will leave you in an inactive state of recovery and also stimulate your appetite to a greater after the workout.
If your goal really is to lose weight you would be better served by exercising moderately so as not to stimulate your appetite to a degree that would negate all of your gains during the exercise.
What is the one change you can make in any lifestyle that will quickly show weight loss results?
Public health officials there have been under fire for implementing a policy that forbids the sale of super-sized sugary drinks in restaurants and movie theaters.
For critics this public health move seems like too much intervention and infringement on personal freedom.
Of course, the beverage industry has been predictably vocal about the new rules.
While there may be some outrage among some quarters the New York Times reports in an excellent story that there is increasing research to support this health policy change.
Two randomized clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the link between consumption of sugary drinks and obesity in children
As the story underlines approximately 2/3 of all Americans are classified as obese. Unfortunately the demographic data also indicates that up to one third of all children also fall under this definition.
Obesity among the very young is troubling as it may suggest that long-term obesity levels in the general population will continue to rise.
One of the trials conducted at the Boston Children’s Hospital looked at the differences in obesity in randomly assigned subjects in a group of 224 overweight children when given sugary beverages compared to sugar-free drinks.
The other trial carried out by researchers at VU University Amsterdam examined differences in obesity in a randomly assigned group of 641 children that were given either sugar or sugar-free beverages in identically labeled containers.
This study was double-blind which means that the researchers were unaware of which containers contained the sugary drinks to reduce the tendency of bias that can sometimes occur without researchers even being aware.
Both studies showed increased levels of obesity among the children that received the sugary drinks.
The debate that followed the publication of the studies is more interesting to examine.
Beverage industry professionals with clear vested interests downplayed the findings by suggesting that such changes were not long-term.
This gave the perfect ammunition for Dr. David S. Ludwig, lead author of the Boston study to respond with with renewed vigor for the importance of public policy that targets and regulates the sale of sugary drinks to create, in effect, an environment where children are not tempted by choices that are not good for their long-term health.
Dr. Martijn B. Katan of the Dutch study probably had the best line in the article.
“When you change the intake of liquid calories, you don’t get the effect that you get when you skip breakfast and then compensate with a larger lunch,” Dr. Katan said. “You skip the sugary drink and never notice it, which means that this is a less painful way of losing weight.”
The sugary drinks we consume really are an indulgence. Cutting them out will not in any way affect your nutritional intake.
If you consume sugary drinks regularly and would like to lose weight, reducing if not altogether substituting them with sugar-free drinks will be the easiest thing you can do to start losing weight.
A study currently available in the archives of internal medicine underlines the value of staying fit in middle age.
Researchers looked at the medical records of 18,670 participants in what was known as the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study
Sifting through the more than 250,000 files built-up over a 40 year period and that included Medicare claims up to the age of 85 researchers found that those people who had increased fitness levels at middle age also tended to have a 20% reduced risk of developing such chronic diseases as congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s’ disease and colon cancer to name three of the most common maladies afflicting the aged.
There have been studies in the past that have suggested that fitness per se does not actually prolong life expectancy; however, this new study reemphasizes what fitness experts have been saying all along, that fitness will improve the quality of your life.
In this case the research seems to be showing that while you cannot stay the inevitable you can push chronic diseases further back to the later stages of life.
In this study people who were classified as being in poor physical shape in middle-age tended to suffer chronic diseases at a younger age than those who stayed in good cardiovascular shape.
This study adds real dimensions to the phrase quality of life. For people who are familiar with the problems of poor health in a family member for example, quality of life is not just a flip term. Being free from illness and able to enjoy all aspects of your life is one of the greatest gifts we can enjoy.
The study suggested that these results were equally open to those who decide to take up sport later in life. In other words it’s almost never too late to start improving your fitness.
A good introduction to fitness is through walking. It’s the easiest, least stressful exercise that you can do except perhaps for tai chi but that requires some learning.
Walking is good for those who might be embarrassed by gym culture. You can break up your walk into shorter intervals at different times of the day and you don’t have to really change into any special outfits.
You can throw variation into your workouts when you feel stronger by climbing flights of stairs or walking up Hills.
If you’re more ambitious you can progress to other types of cardiovascular exercise like jogging, cycling, climbing or swimming to name a few well-known examples but it is better to just go out and do an activity that you enjoy to foster consistency rather than forcing yourself to follow the latest trends.
We’ve all heard that yo-yo dieting is bad for us and most of us probably just assumed that it was true.
People who jumped from one fad diet to another had an effect on their bodies that was similar to starvation, the body hung on to its reserves, the metabolism slowed down and then when it was no longer possible to live up to the unreasonable demands of the diet the weight returned, only now the metabolism had been irreversibly damaged.
People who cycled their weight in this way up and down, were led to believe that the effects would be lasting.
Surprisingly the above scenario had never really been put to the test until now.
A new study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, published online in the journal Metabolism, was conducted with 439 Seattle women aged 50 to 75 and compared weight loss performance in different ways.
The subjects included three groups, women who were classified as having lost 20 pounds on at least three occasions, those having lost 10 pounds no less than 3 times before and a group that had never undergone any deliberate weight loss.
These women were randomly assigned to 4 testing protocols three of which performed either a diet alone, an exercise program alone, or a combination of the two. The final group did nothing to serve as controls i.e reference points.
A History of Yo Yo Dieting Does Not Appear to Slow Down Your Metabolism
The results showed that the women that had had a history of yo-you dieting fared no worse than the women who had never dieted.
In other words the researchers found was that there was no significant difference between the rates of weight loss between the so-called normal subjects and those that had had a history of yo-yo dieting.
This is truly great news for a very large number of people who might’ve been led to believe that because they had cycled their weight so many times before they had somehow damaged themselves and would no longer be able to lose weight and get fit like others who had never dieted.
It is believed that more than half of the U.S population is obese and almost half of all women in the country are presently on some form of diet.
What this means is that millions of women and men who have tried to lose weight only to gain it back again can now rest assured that their attempts were steps in the right direction and despite the subsequent weight gain they can try again until they find something that works.