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.

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.

11/08/2012

Should you listen to your body?

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 21:19

Its idea I struggle with as I don’t really believe that I can trust my body.  And maybe its because I had labradors as the family pet, but I don’t really buy the argument that animals naturally know how much to eat either. That said, I’m intrigued and hopeful for the ideas of the paleo diet and intuitive eating. The question is, how to get there?
If I was a more egotistocal sort, I’d be thinking the universe is answering my questions. But for whatever reason, the blogging world has been helpfully dealing with these very questions.

29/01/2012

The wonderful web – a week of links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 20:54

What a week of interesting stories:

As a long time user of lip balms and lipstick, I’ve heard the complaints – lip balm is addictive. Its seems the answer is maybe psychologically.

Opt for a plain balm with a petrolatum, beeswax, or oil-based lubricating cream, and avoid lip products that contain chemicals such as menthol, camphor, or phenol (they may irritate skin more!). One final piece of advice: Be sure to apply balm only when lips are chapped— normal lips don’t necessarily need extra moisture! One study found that when moisturizers were used on normal (a.k.a. not dry) skin, it increased skin susceptibility to irritants [3] [4]. If lips aren’t normally chapped, it may be better not to start applying lip balm at all

Conditioning Research posts on the increasing evidence linking sleep deprivation and obesity:

Observational studies have observed cross-sectional associations between short sleep duration (generally <6 h per night) and increased body mass index or obesity, prevalent diabetes, and prevalent hypertension. Some studies also reported an association between self-reported long sleep duration (generally >8 h per night) and cardiometabolic disease. A few prospective studies have found a significant increased risk of weight gain, incident diabetes, and incident hypertension associated with inadequate sleep.

While this is still to be understood, the assumption is that lack of sleep causes stress, and high cortisol levels are a cause of obesity. As some who has both struggled with insomnia and weight in the past, this is concerning – as it can become a vicious cycle. Part of my insomnia is related to restless leg syndrome and night cramps – something a paleo diet with magnesium supplements has helped alleviate. But then there are nights that you can’t turn your mind off. Seth’s blog has been running an ongoing look at the effects of Vitamin D3 supplementation and its role on sleep.

A month ago I blogged about a “stunning discovery”: Primal Girl’s sleep got much better when she took Vitamin D3 in the early morning instead of much later (afternoon or evening). Others pointed out a similar observation: Taking Vitamin D3 in the evening caused insomnia. These observations suggest that Vitamin D3 resembles sunlight in its effect on sleep: morning exposure good, evening exposure bad. Sunlight, of course, is hard to control and sometimes hard to get (which is why Primal Girl tried Vitamin D3). Sunlight is also time-consuming: it takes an hour to get one hour of sunlight. The timing and dosage of Vitamin D3 is much easier to control.

And its starting to look like the need for Vitamin D is becoming part of mainstream health attitudes (or re-becoming).

When I started looking into being healthy agave nectar featured as a healthy natural sweetener. From a vegan perspective, its also considered a good one (though it falls under the we ignore the damage it causes being harvested/grown as long as it doesn’t come directly from an animal). Food renegade looks at how unnatural, processed and unhealthy agave nectar is.

Native Mexican peoples do make a sort of sweetener out of the agave plant. It’s called miel de agave, and it’s made by boiling the agave sap for a couple of hours. Think of it as the Mexican version of authentic Canadian maple syrup. … Agave nectar is not traditional, is highly refined, and actually has more concentrated fructose than high-fructose corn syrup. It is not a “natural” sweetener. … Concentrated fructose is not found in fruit, or anywhere else in nature. When the sugar occurs in nature, it is often called “levulose” and is accompanied by naturally-occurring enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fruit pectin.  Concentrated fructose, on the other hand, is a man-made sugar created by the refining process.

The importance of removing gluten from the diet is hitting mainstream awareness even if there still is a sense that we should  be eating grains so the real problem with avoiding gluten is missing out. There’s no scientific reason to say people have to eat grains. I realise this is still a new area of study and we don’t have proof of non-coelieac gluten intolerance.

Improvements to a person’s health without gluten can be explained several ways, by placebo effect or by the fact a gluten-free diet removes other agents from the body – most importantly the poorly absorbed carbohydrates known as fructans, which may cause illness or discomfit.

Penny Dellsperger, a dietitian at Coeliac NSW, said there were significant medical risks to people adopting gluten free diets without first ascertaining whether they suffered coeliac disease. She said the symptoms could easily relate to other illnesses.

That’s the only real risk – that people get enough improvement from removing grains that they assume that’s it rather than continuing to investigate the problem and miss another issue. But that doesn’t redeem gluten.

Of course, the anti-anti-gluten argument comes from the assumption that a low-carb diet is unhealthy. We need carbohydrates, yes but even the ketosis fans eat their vegetables. But compared to the pasta and bread folks, we’re all generally much lower carb. Stumptuous reports on studies showing the importance of eating quality protein sources. While Robert Paterson asks us to look at the whole animal before saying meat is too expensive.

But speaking of carbs – just how many do you need to fuel your endurance exercise? And Strength Running offers more guidance on protecting yourself while building endurance.

But before we finish, lets take a look at the charlatans out there. Vaccines are for prostitutes, according to one acupuncturist. I suppose when your entire field is based on magical thinking, things like cancer only happen to people you think deserve it. And more evidence that the cure is worse than the disease – at least when your cure is made up without evidence as is chiropractic treatments and yoga. Sure there’s a couple of thousand years between their invention, but they both still come from a far from scientific understanding of how the body works.

24/01/2012

Day 20 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 00:16

I deadlifted 60kg! Considering that’s about 85% of my body weight, I’m pretty happy (work it out for yourself!)

A friend has been doing this challenge with me and he’s also been feeling the benefits. I’ve been far to girly to go into detail of the digestive improvements (lets just say I spent many years being told by doctors that I have IBS) but he has said that his twice-thrice weekly heartburn is gone. He’s ready to say the experiment was a success and have a beer but I think I’ll continue as strictly as possible for the next ten days. I find it interesting that even though he feels so much better he’s fully intending to drink beer again even if it causes him pain. He was even suggesting why bother giving any of it up as he’s definitely having beer. I’ve known people with other food allergies and they’ve all said that once you properly make the connection between something – no matter how tasty – and the pain/nausea it gives you, you really do stop wanting it. I wonder if he’ll feel the same way.

Me? I’m right in the middle of crazy enthusiasm for it. I’ve annoyed my family talking about how grains are evil. I don’t think any of them believe me but they are ok now that I’ve promised them I’m eating enough non-grain carbohydrates. Although I’ll also admit to being rather pleased to discover that one of the best pizza places in town does gluten-free pizza.

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