Tuesday 30 May 2017

10 forms of fitness wealth

A valuable exercise I have learned as being a part of the Todd Durkin mastermind group is the 10 forms of wealth. This is a circle that has 10 categories that you evaluate every month and list a scale of 1-10 on each. The scale may change from month to month depending on what you are concentrated on but you evaluate each ten, each month. 
It is also a good idea to put 1-3 action steps on each that can enhance we characteristic. When you see a category that is out of whack, create action steps to help it, if it's a concentrate point. Here are the 10 forms of wealth. 
10 Forms of Wealth ... 
Spiritual/Inner Self
This is about inner peace and feeding yourself the personal nourishment you need. Taking 10-15 minutes a day to give gratitude to what you are thankful for. This could be church, it could be meditation, it could be whatever you want it to be. Dig deep inside. 
Physical Health
Your health is the true sign of wealth. Are you feeding your with movement to make your body better? Are you exercising? Your physical will always make your mental better. 
Mindset is everything...literally everything. How you approach life mentally defines your success. Are you confident in your endeavors? Personal or professional? 
Are you spending enough time with your kids or your spouse? Are there any relationships that need attending too? 
Are you where you want to be professionally? What is holding you back from achieving your goals? Do you hate your job? Are you working too much? Not enough? 
Are you saving money? Are you investing money? Do you need to pay off debt? 
Circle of Genius/Social
You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If you want to get ahead in life, spend time with people who make you better. People who push you. People who believe in you. If you have negative people surrounding you, leave them behind. 
Are you having fun? Are you doing something that is out of your comfort zone?
If you're married are you spending quality time with your spouse? If you're single are spending time dating or spending time with your significant other? Can you spend more time with your kids?  
What are you giving back to the universe? Charity work? Community work? Are you leading the people who need lead? As we said last week, I feel like this is the most valuable currency in life and will define how you are remembered.

Saturday 20 May 2017

How Harmful Are Processed Foods ?

The average American eats around 130 pounds of wheat flour per year, and around 65 pounds of added sugar. This begs the question: how bad are processed foods for your health?

Now this is a trick question, we’ll just say that up front. But it’s also a very important question. 

Humans have processed their foods for thousands of years, in order to save the time and tedium of chewing tough meats and overly fibrous plants. Basically, we’re not cows, and we don’t really have the stomach or jaw to be chewing all day long.  

And while our ancestors ate a lot more unprocessed food than we do, some also supplemented their diets with flour on occasion. Flour! 

Around ten million years ago, our ape ancestors developed an enzyme to metabolize alcohol, which could be naturally found in rotten fruit. A few million years later, these occasionally drunk apes gave rise to humans who purposely processed (via fermentation) plants into beer, wine, and other alcohols. Fermentation of milk allowed for yogurt production stretching at least as far back as ancient India 6,000 years ago. Overall, fermentation provided not just a tangy new flavor and a bit of a buzz in some cases, but also a great way to process foods into a more well-preserved form. Other processing methods are also an integral part of human history, such as the widespread practice of curing meats. 

Processed foods are not new, they just make up a much larger part of our diet. Modern methods of processing differ from our ancestors as well - with less fermentation, more flour or other ultra-processing, and more monoculture (hello, corn and soy domination!). 

The overall health impact of processed foods is really hard to pin down, because there are so many different kinds of foods processed in different ways. So let’s start with an easily quantified harm of processing … allergens. 

Everyone knows that allergies on the rise, which is terrible for those affected (especially kids) who at risk of dying from even tiny amounts of allergens, especially peanuts.  

Unfortunately, highly processed food made in factories is at higher risk for contamination with allergens. For example, over 80% of oat samples in one study were found to be contaminated with gluten, and factories are not always careful about controlling peanut exposure. 

Outside of allergens, other risks are much harder to pin down. Processed red meat has been labeled a carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and various processed foods have been linked to a bunch of conditions … from instant noodles linked to eczema in Korea, to ultra-processed foods linked to worse cardiovascular profiles in Brazilian children. 

But what does that really mean? Most of that evidence is observational, since you can’t do a randomized trial that assigns people to eat junk food for years, and then check how bad their health gets. So we’re limited to using that evidence to generate hypotheses, and then trying to understand the mechanisms behind what happens in our bodies.  

For example, acellular carbohydrates like flour and processed sugar may predispose people to chronic disease (if eaten in large amounts) due to energy density and possible gut impacts. Large amounts of meat cooked at high temperatures can increase cancer risk through compounds like heterocyclic amines. And so on, and so on. 

The bottom line is that processed food is not inherently harmful, for two distinct reasons. First is that “processed food” isn’t one monolithic thing. Frozen mashed sweet potatoes are technically processed, but their health effect will be much different than deep fried Oreos. Second, chronic disease is nearly always dependant on dose: having cake on yours and your friends’ birthdays is different than eating donuts every day. 

The most prudent way to assess the risk of processed food is combining observational evidence with some some mechanistic evidence. In other words, do humans who eat varying amounts of this processed food develop disease? If so, do the mechanisms make sense for the processed food impacting physiological mechanisms that cause disease? 

To rephrase the takeaway: sugar isn’t evil, nor is flour or cured meat or other processed food. But we humans are not robots, and some people can’t stop themselves from eating too much processed food, in effect eating their way into shorter lifespans caused by chronic conditions. It’s wise to be aware of both the evidence and your personal food habits and triggers for overeating junk food.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Diet news :What to believe.

From national newspapers to personal blogs, nutrition articles are everywhere. But such a constant stream of information can make it difficult for readers to distinguish reliable research from weak studies and sensational headlines. Nutrition research is complex, and is often oversimplified by the media. Writers may report on a single preliminary study that is unverified by additional research, or highlight a study because it contradicts current health recommendations – the goal being an attention-grabbing headline. A quick research reality-check:
•Research is an ongoing process, with a steady stream of new studies published every month. Because dietary recommendations are made based on the best science available at that time, guidelines may change as new research becomes available.

•Contradictions between published research papers may occur. They are an inevitable and healthy part of the scientific process.

•Not all scientific studies are created equal. Some study types are more reliable than others.

•Newer studies are not necessarily more reliable than older studies.
What’s missing from the increasingly fast-paced media world is context. Diet stories in the news often provide little information about how the newly reported results fit in with existing evidence on the topic, which may result in exaggerating the new study’s importance.The research process may seem confusing to the public, as contradicting studies occasionally arise. However, when viewed in the proper context – something often overlooked in media coverage – readers can look behind the headline and decide whether a research study is reliable or not. 

Here are seven questions that serve as a “reliability radar” to help determine which health and nutrition news stories are worth your time. 

7 Questions to help put health news in context 

1.One of the most crucial things to keep in mind is how does a given study fit into the entire body of evidence on a topic? What is the weight of the evidence? 

2.Is the story reporting the results of a single study? A single study is rarely influential enough to warrant that people change their behaviors based on the results. It is important to consider how that study fits in with other studies on the topic. Some articles provide this background, but sometimes you may need to do more digging on your own. 

3.How large is the study? Take note of the study’s sample size, as large studies often provide more reliable results than smaller studies. 

4.Was the study done on animals or humans? Many important studies have been carried out on animals, but to best understand how food and nutrients affect human health they must be studied in humans. 

5.Did the study look at real disease endpoints, such as heart disease or osteoporosis? Chronic diseases, like heart disease and osteoporosis, often take many decades to develop. To avoid waiting that long, researchers will sometimes look at markers for these diseases, like narrowing of the arteries or bone density. However, these markers don’t always develop into the disease. 

6.How was diet assessed? Some methods of dietary assessment are better than others. Good studies will be able to show sound methodology. 

7.What type of study is it? Study types fall into different categories, including cohort studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, case control studies, and animal studies. The Department of Nutrition’s Dr. Frank Hu sums up why some study types are considered more reliable than others:

“The “gold standard” is randomized clinical trials of dietary interventions on hard endpoints such as cancer and heart disease. However, such trials are often infeasible due to high cost, low long-term compliance, and potential ethical issues. In the absence of evidence from such trials, the strongest study design would be well-designed prospective cohort studies, in which a large number of healthy participants are followed for years or decades for disease outcomes. Cohort studies are usually superior to retrospective case-control or cross-sectional studies, which are prone to biases due to recall of dietary factors and selection of control participants. Animal studies can help understand disease mechanisms but the results may not apply to humans. Smaller human dietary intervention trials on intermediate biomarkers such as blood glucose or cholesterol can also help to illuminate biological mechanisms, and evidence from such trials is complementary to that from large cohort studies. In the end, combined evidence from several types of studies—prospective cohort studies and human intervention trials in particular—can be used to inform dietary guidelines and policies. Summarizing evidence using meta-analyses or systematic reviews can be helpful, but meta-analyses should be conducted with caution and interpreted in light of the totality of the evidence.”

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Intermittent Fasting: Another Diet Fad, or Yo-Yo Dieting With Benefits?

Intermittent fasting (IF), also known as alternate day fasting (ADF), has been touted as a weight loss method by celebrities and the media. It is a means of reducing calories by restricting one’s intake for several days each week, and then eating regularly the rest of the days, rather than focusing on permanent caloric restriction. Proponents of IF claim that adherence and flexibility are greater, compared with traditional calorie restricted diets.
Although fasting and severe calorie restriction for weight loss have traditionally been frowned upon by registered dietitian nutritionists because of a negative impact on metabolic rate, some newer research suggests that intermittent fasting may have benefits not only for weight loss, but also for health and aging. As a result, books and diets such as The Fast Diet, The Every-Other-Day-Diet, the 5:2 Diet, and The Alternate-Day Diet  have popped up to give consumers some guidance on this new method of dieting for weight loss and health. 
Are there rules for alternate day fasting? 
There are no official recommendations for alternate or intermittent fasting. Research on voluntary abstinence of food and drink stems from studies on the effects of religious fasting, as in Ramadan, as well as laboratory studies on animals, and some observational studies on smaller groups of individuals, all of which use different methods of fasting. Of the intervention studies that have been conducted, the following methods of fasting were used:
•Alternate day fasting – fasting days, with no calorie foods and beverages, are alternated with ad libitum food and beverage days.
•Modified fasting – subjects consume 20-25% of caloric needs on 2 scheduled, nonconsecutive fasting days each week, and alternate with regular eating the remaining 5 days of the week.
•Time-restricted feeding – fasting intervals lasting between 12-20 hours, alternate with regular eating. There is often one late afternoon meal. 
In most of the research studies, subjects could eat ad libitum, or up to their recommended calorie level on the non-fast days, but the types of foods consumed were not restricted.  
Weight loss and metabolic findings 
Although research is scant, it does suggest that all forms of IF contribute to weight loss. In a recent review of 6 studies, researchers determined that IF resulted in an almost 9% mean weight loss in overweight or obese subjects, after 6 months of the program. Further weight loss of 8.2% was seen in the following month on maintenance. Of interest, researchers noted that compared with traditional calorie restriction for weight loss, the attrition rates for the IF studies were significantly lower, at only 20% (Hankey et al., 2015).  
The effect of ADF on weight loss does not appear to be associated with the macronutrient distribution of the diet. In a study on 32 obese individuals who were fed a diet of either 25% or 45% of calories from fat, and alternated with fasting days, both groups had similar results for weight loss and reduced waist circumference (Klempel et al., 2013).  
Periodic fasting is usually associated with weight loss diets; however, the research has turned up other potential benefits as well. These include improvements in metabolic markers such as insulin, glucose, and triglyceride levels, as well as a reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol particle size. In addition, there have been reductions in visceral fat and inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), adiponectin, leptin, and brain-derived neutrotophic factor. The improvements in these markers suggest that IF or ADF may be helpful in reducing the risk for metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or even cancer.  
While IF or ADF can help individuals achieve weight loss and improve their metabolic markers, the same can be said for traditional calorie-restriction that promotes weight loss. It is important to note that studies that compared traditional continuous energy restriction against intermittent fasting found similar results for both groups. Based on current evidence, it does not appear that any form of fasting is superior to continuous calorie restriction for weight loss or metabolic improvements.  
Additional reported health benefits 
In addition to the above studies on weight loss and metabolic benefits, IF is being explored for potential benefits on brain aging, and even as a method of expanding healthy life, although most of this research is on lab animals. Human intervention studies have found that IF improves pulmonary function and reduces inflammation in subjects with asthma. In children with epilepsy, IF combined with the traditional ketogenic diet reduces seizures. These studies suggest that IF or ADF may offer an alternative or synergistic method of treatment for these and possibly other conditions.  
The bottom line 
The exact mechanism for some of the benefits of IF is uncertain, but it may be that IF helps to synchronize circadian rhythms, which affect hormones and other metabolic regulators. Evidence from studies on shift workers shows that disruptions in circadian rhythms can impact weight gain, and increase risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Whether this is the case, or simply, that the structure of an IF program limits late night eating, without an “all or nothing” or calorie counting approach, IF and ADF may be beneficial to those individuals who have struggled unsuccessfully with traditional calorie restricted diets. Certainly, more long-term research is needed, but it appears that there is no harm or negative consequences to IF, and potentially much benefit if it can be sustained.  


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