Sceptically Fit

10/01/2013

Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:32

Another study on the benefits of going gluten-free.

The likely link between overeating/obesity and fructose is hitting the mainstream media.

Over at Evolutionary Psychiatry, Emily Deans looks at the effects of fructose on the brain.

Chris at Conditioning Research looks at the role ‘floor living’ has in keeping the elderly active and able.

Do you need to reset/repair/improve your metabolism? Fitness Black Book offers a guide on repairing a ‘broken’ metabolism with a focus on eating well and exercising a plenty.

Drinking red wine may increase your testosterone. More accurately, red wine reduces the amount of testosterone that is excreted from the body. Drink up!

And while you enjoy that glass – have you organised your New Year Resolutions? One suggestions is to base your resolutions on the identity you want, not simply the action.

Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps.

1. Decide the type of person you want to be.

2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

Here are five examples of how you can make this work in real life.

Note: I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to start with incredibly small steps. The goal is not to achieve results at first, the goal is to become the type of person who can achieve those things. For example, a person who works out consistently is the type of person who can become strong. Develop the identity of someone who works out first, and then move on to performance and appearance later. Start small and trust that the results will come as you develop a new identity.

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17/12/2012

Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:36

The best piece of health-related news in the last month or so: The case for Drinking as much Coffee as you want.

“What I tell patients is, if you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can,” says Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. He’s even developed a metric for monitoring your dosage: If you are having trouble sleeping, cut back on your last cup of the day. From there, he says, “If you drink that much, it’s not going to do you any harm, and it might actually help you. A lot.”

Officially, the American Medical Association recommends conservatively that “moderate tea or coffee drinking likely has no negative effect on health, as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle.” That is a lackluster endorsement in light of so much recent glowing research. Not only have most of coffee’s purported ill effects been disproven — the most recent review fails to link it the development of hypertension — but we have so, so much information about its benefits. We believe they extend from preventing Alzheimer’s disease to protecting the liver. What we know goes beyond small-scale studies or limited observations. The past couple of years have seen findings, that, taken together, suggest that we should embrace coffee for reasons beyond the benefits of caffeine, and that we might go so far as to consider it a nutrient.

A look at how naturopathy attempts to ‘treat’ prostate cancer – unsurprisingly the advice is at best effective, at worst actively harmful…

The benefits of meditating – five minutes is all it takes.

More evidence that exercise is essential for protecting the mind: exercise linked to lower brain shrinkage when ageing.

Women should lift weights – here’s why and how to do it. Weak fingers holding you back? How about some ‘round the worlds‘ to help with those lifts?

A good shoulder and hip mobility workout. And the importance of planks for hip mobility.

05/09/2012

Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 20:52

Lucky men – chocolate reduces the risk of stroke.

Men who ate the most chocolate, a weekly average of 63 grams, had a 17% lower risk of stroke compared with men who ate none. The correlation did not seem to differ depending on different types of stroke.
Meanwhile – creatine supplementation for women increases the effectiveness of antidepressents
the creatine supplementers responded earlier and better than the antidepressant alone group using a couple different scales (HAM-D and MADRS).  The creatine group had higher response and remittance rate and no higher incidence of side effects.
A look at the Gluten Sensitivity – What is it? Is it more common? Why do so many people (including me) feel better giving up wheat when they aren’t celiac?
Testing for gluten sensitivity is tough because there’s no real standard yet. You’ll notice that the recent study didn’t determine gluten sensitivity solely by running patients’ labs and looking for a certain figure; they had to painstakingly and laboriously eliminate confounding variables (like celiac) through extensive lab testing, and then run a double blind wheat challenge to see if symptoms still arose. That grand, single overarching lab test doesn’t exist, not yet anyway.

It’s conceivable that gluten could be doing damage and causing constant, low-grade inflammation without you even knowing it. This is why folks who go Primal and give up wheat and other gluten-containing grains become more “sensitive” to wheat upon reintroduction. It’s not that going Primal has suddenly made them intolerant of gluten; it’s likelier that going Primal has made them more sensitiveto their gluten sensitivity. It was probably always there, but they never knew what they were feeling until they removed it and then tried to reintroduce it.
Dr Cordain outlines the risk of legumes – damn, why must they be so tasty? Here’s hoping I can continue to enjoy them as a sometime food
Most people will probably experience few adverse health effects if these foods are occasionally consumed.  Nevertheless, some people may have immediate gastric and GI tract distress after eating legumes; others may experience transient joint pain and sinus congestion.  All legumes contain a cocktail of anti-nutrients (in addition to lectins) which potentially produce adverse health/nutritional effects.  The most common of these are saponins and phytate.  Pseudograins also are also loaded with a variety of antinutrients whose effects are dose dependent — meaning that the more you ingest, the worse are the health effects.
There is no evidence that yo-yo dieting has any lasting effect on your metabolism.
Although severe weight cyclers were, on average, nearly 20 pounds heavier than non-cyclers at the start of the study, at the end of the study the researchers found no significant differences between those who yo-yo dieted and those who didn’t with regard to the ability to successfully participate in diet and/or exercise programs. The cyclers also did not differ from the non-cyclers with regard to the impact of diet or diet-plus-exercise on weight loss, percentage of body fat and lean muscle mass gained or lost. Other physiological factors such as blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and blood concentrations of hormones such as leptin (which helps make one feel full) and adiponectin (which helps regulate glucose levels) also did not differ significantly among those whose weight fluctuated and those whose did not.

18/08/2012

Links this Week

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 12:42

An in-depth look at Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity at Hunter-Gatherer including the envy-inducing standard of care IBS sufferers received in Italy and the quality of controls.

Among those who were wheat sensitive, a high number of them tested positive on the cytomteric basophil activation test, and many also tested positive for serum IgG and IgA AGA tests. Many of these patients suffered from anemia and weight-loss. Biopsies showed eosinophil infiltration of the duodenal and colon mucosa.
, despite not having the type of villous atrophy damage associated with celiac.

There seemed to be two groups of IBS wheat-sensitive patients- those with wheat sensitivity alone and those with wheat sensitivity AND multiple other sensitivities to cow’s milk and other foods. The later group was also more likely to also have other types of allergies (non-food allergies, skin allergies, etc.) and a family history of allergies.

Acetylcholine is responsible for ahem, moving things along, so it might explain why wheat causes diarrhea in some people.

Also, it is notable that this study used wheat rather than gluten, so it might be other components of wheat like fructans that are responsible for the symptoms.

Dr Davis (of Wheat Belly) dismisses the benefit of sprouting grains.

It is folly to believe that such a process as simply allowing the seed to germinate somehow disables all the bad potential of modern wheat. It still contains the gliadin protein that clouds your thinking and stimulates appetite. It still contains glutens that disrupt intestinal health. It still contains amylopectin A that sends your blood sugar through the roof. It still contains lectins that disable the normal intestinal barriers to foreign substances. It still contains apha amylase, peroxidases, lipid-transfer proteins, and thioredoxins responsible for a variety of allergic phenomena.

An infographic on differences in sprinter’s vs marathoner’s bodies over time.

Proof that the plank is better than crunches.

There are two disadvantages to old-fashioned sit-ups and crunches. In the long term they are likely to lead to back problems because of the pressure they create on the discs between the vertebrae, and, more to the point, they are not very effective. The muscles in your midsection area are not so much meant for moving your torso, but above all to keep your torso stable when your spine is subject to tension.

Dr Loren Cordain in a discussion on the range of a paleo diet.

25/07/2012

Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:32

Can running help with skin conditions? And more evidence of the less is more approach to running.

The mainstream media is picking up on the increasing evidence that its the increase of sugar in our diet that has caused the obesity crisis. Its been posted everywhere, so I won’t comment much – low-carb diet came out best for longterm weight loss. But before you get too concerned, being skinny is more of a health risk than being moderately overweight.

Keep exercising! The evidence is mounting up that regular intensive exercise can keep your body performing like a much younger person (maybe not the fittest younger person, but still!). And if you’re afraid of the chronic cardio argument (or using it as an excuse) Jason Fitzgerald takes on the arguments against running. If you can – run outside. Running outside offers mental health benefits that running in a gym doesn’t. Don’t forget to strengthen as well as stretch to prevent ITB.

A comprehensive look at the dangers of phytoestrogens and why you should limit your soy intake.

Eating lowfat salad dressing decreases your ability to absorb nutrients from your salad.

It seems getting people to reduce their meat consumptions isn’t the ecological saviour to the planet that some people have (ardently) proposed. On the subject of unverified claims – it seems the danger of drinking while pregnant has been overstated. Fetal alcohol syndrome is real, but there’s no evidence that light or moderate drinking is implicated.

And the biggest news for all those interested in scientifically verified health news – British scientific research is to be made publically available within five years!

01/06/2012

Everyone hates bananas!

Filed under: Exercise, Personal — Tags: , — Sceptically Me @ 12:50

Ok that’s not entirely true but I was interested in the comments on this post on the merits of bananas over sports drinks. I hated bananas with a passion. I still don’t like the smell of them, although I’ve become largely indifferent to the taste. I still don’t like them. I’m aware of how good they are for  me – and their usefulness in fueling exercise.

In fact, my declining dislike has corresponded with my increasing cardio exercise ie training for a half marathon. I’m aware that as much as it seems otherwise most of the time, sometimes your body does know what it needs. About ten years ago I suddenly got a craving for bananas. I think it corresponded with a new very physically active job. For about a week I needed to eat bananas daily – then suddenly halfway through a banana – I didn’t like them anymore. I’m assuming I was low on something and needed to address it. My body wanted bananas until it had addressed the imbalance, and then the dislike-override faded.  Now that I’m planning on reducing my running and just concentrating on weight lifting, sprints and fun sports, I wonder if I’ll lose start developing a dislike of bananas again.

 

25/05/2012

Community Announcement – How Bra fitting works!

Filed under: Exercise — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:31

There is some scary sounding statistic floating around about how many women are wearing the wrong sized bra. While I think this is partly the clothing industry’s fault – keeping costs down by only producing a limited range and expecting women to fit – this has been changing over the last decade. However, many women don’t understand how bra sizing works – that the cup size is relative not absolute.

While some women are comfortable without a bra, for most women wearing an illfitting bra impacts on their ability to live an active life. I know I would never have taken up running if I was still wearing the sizing I used to be handed – two band sizes too large just because they didn’t stock any larger cups! And for larger ladies, its not just running. The discomfort of walking around is enough to limit their activities.

 

22/05/2012

Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:29

Stress can make you fat. Should we just sleep more? Is meditation the answer?

A look at the idea of sustainable agriculture and the role of subsidies. Another look at the question of is Paleo sustainable?

British tastes in breakfast cereal is moving away from highly processed and sugary. Can we move away from cereal altogether? Mark offers some conversational rebuttals that may come in handy when explaining you don’t eat grains.

A further look at the role of inflammation and mood disorders.

A look at the myths and pseudoscience in the cosmetic industry.

I don’t expect to win, yes its just about taking part and yes, races are just more fun.

Caitlin talks about why fit is a feminist issue:

But when you’ve internalized the social messages that you are weak because you are a woman, well, just existing in the world becomes a lot harder than it needs to be.  And when you pursue fitness simply so you can fit a new definition of “sexy,” you are continuing to buy into a system of thought that says women’s highest value lies in how they look to others.

I think it is critical that we feminists engage with fitness and athletics in a way that takes these things seriously and recognizes their potential to change lives for the better.  It doesn’t have to be about hating yourself and your body, nor does it have to be about embracing fascist beauty standards.  It can also be about loving your body and wanting to take the best possible care of yourself.  It can also be about rejecting the social equation that says to be a woman is to be weak and in need of protection.  It can be about redefining yourself as a creature of strength and power.

16/05/2012

Colour me Impressed

Filed under: Exercise — Tags: , , , — Sceptically Me @ 21:06

I need to fine a gym like this!

(courtesy of MissDeejers – my secret girlcrush!)

 

15/05/2012

Twenty Minutes to Spare

Filed under: Exercise — Tags: — Sceptically Me @ 21:25

How about an instant workout routine?

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