Research Recap – Oct 2015

Looking at the last week in October, it’s no wonder people don’t know what to eat anymore. Monday gave us the WHO report that processed meat is carcinogenic and red meat ‘probably’ carcinogenic, while Friday shared a review from the Lancet that low-fat diets don’t work for weight-loss.

Fortunately, there’s only one study you need to pay attention to there, and I uncovered the serious flaws in the other one here. If you’re new to the blog, I also recommend reading up on why low-fat diets don’t work for heart disease, and why trying to follow them is actually one of the reason’s obesity has reached record levels.

As mentioned earlier this week on Twitter, I’m anticipating a rebuttal from the low-fat diet gurus, and the health organizations many of them are unfortunately associated with, along the lines of:

Our diet may not work, but it’s still best for the heart.”

Which clearly isn’t true at all.

But let’s stay on topic!  Here’s the research recap for October:

Nutrition

Scientists get closer to recommending a ketogenic diet for autism, with this review study. The evidence was ‘insufficient,’ but ‘looked promising.’

Higher intakes of meat, dairy, fish and shellfish are associated with higher vitamin B-12 levels. While the National Osteoporosis Foundation releases review discussing the importance of a nutrition plan with plenty of protein (and vitamin D) in maintaining a healthy skeleton with age.  Conclusion – Make Meat Mandatory!

Regular wine consumption is still looking like an outlier when it comes to health and performance. As 224 participants drank a glass of wine every night with dinner for a year and reduced biomarkers for the metabolic syndrome.  The best part is, this was in Type 2 Diabetics following a Mediterranean Diet. Imagine if they didn’t have diabetes and followed Live It NOT Diet!

Somewhat obvious, but researchers in the journal Health Education and Behavior found a relationship between what’s on your counter and how much you. Based on observations in 200 American kitchens.

Why am I sharing this?

Because it shows that completely removing these foods from your home is necessary for success. AND because those with cereal on their counter were an average of 20lbs heavier; compared to those with cookies, at 8lbs.

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Which fits quite nicely with this study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston showing that ‘Everything in moderation advice’ leads to poor metabolic health, and this one showing that sugar reduction rapidly reduces obesity in children regardless of calories.

Fitness

Cardio continues to be a HORRIBLE method for getting fit. With 78% of subjects losing no weight running 4 times a week for a total of more than 50 miles…and 11% gaining!!

While just 8-10 minutes of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) 3 times per week is effective for improving cardiovascular risk markers in teenagers.  As lead author on the study, Dr. Bert Bond, commented:

“We may have more success in encouraging teenagers to dedicate a shorter time to improving their health by performing high-intensity exercise.”

These researchers at the University of Michigan understand the importance of regular activity breaks through the day, as they’re prescribing 2-5 min breaks throughout the day to keep kids healthy and happy.

Lifestyle

Stress releases a hormone called corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) in the brain that turns on the production of the amyloid proteins that increase Alzheimer’s.  The Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Hospital is currently doing a clinical trial that hopes to figure out how to remove these amyloid plaques.  Using a PET (positron emission tomography) that has been shown to identify them in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease 10-20 years before the initial symptoms of the disease.

Can you catch-up on sleep on the weekend? It appears you can, but based on the potential damage during the week outside of ‘biomarkers’ it’s not recommended. Decreased insulin sensitivity and testosterone, and increased cortisol and ghrelin for most of the week isn’t getting you any closer to your goals.

Making an effort to stand-up more during the day continues to display promising health benefits. With researchers from the University of Queensland (Australia), finding lower blood glucose (2%) and triglycerides (11%), and higher HDL cholesterol, for those standing an extra 2 hours.  Which is quite the coincidence, as this study (also from October) found that the a sit-to-stand workstation makes office workers stand at least 60 minutes per day than their seated counterparts.

How much would otherwise go to sitting?  80% of the working day!!

Mindless tasks like dishwashing appears to bring similar benefits as meditation. Guessing other household chores would have the same effect – ironing, cooking, cutting the grass, cleaning bathrooms?

Psychologists in the journal PNAS show that infants are more likely to resort to habits when they’re under stress. Something many of us adults can relate to when it comes to diet and exercise. Solution? Reduce stress and set new habits!

Late night bedtimes are STILL bad for your body comp. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley tested adolescents between 1994 and 2009 and found an average BMI increase of 2.1 for each hour of sleep lost.  Interestingly, the differences in sleep duration, screen time and exercise did not seem to impact the results. Although researchers did find that those staying up late tended to consume more fast food. High ghrelin and low leptin?

Along the same lines, scientists observed a remote tribes in Namibia and Tanzania to see if hunter-gatherers actually sleep longer.  Surprisingly finding that they didn’t (approx. 6-7hrs), and actually went to bed well after the sunset. HOWEVER, they did notice that the tribesman slept 1hr extra in the winter, and dedicated more than actual sleeping time to the sleeping process. Winding down and being lazy (in complete darkness without electronics) for approximately 8hrs.

Health & Longevity

Gut bacteria continues to present itself as the key to optimal health. With evidence from Science Translation Medicine reporting higher asthma rates in children missing specific beneficial bacterial strains in the first 100 days of life.  And new evidence from Penn State establishing a link between gut bacteria and the way the liver processes fat.  Affecting blood sugar, blood pressure and body fat, and establishing overall risk level for diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Elephants rarely get cancer, and scientists are saying it’s because of more anti-cancer genes that encode the tumor suppressor p53. Which do a much better job killing damaged DNA cells so they can’t develop into cancer.

Psoriasis and depression appear to be linked, according to new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dermatology issue.  Based on what we know about these conditions and their relation to the gut (gut-brain and gut-skin axis), I’d wager that both are originating there.

Nothing new here, but worth sharing as it shows the ultimate impact of the greedy governments and mixed-up medical associations. This analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine shows an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in obese children between the ages of 19 and 3!

The American Heart Association journal, Circulation, has uncovered an association with high leptin levels and cardiovascular disease. Driven by the stimulation of the aldosterone secretions from the adrenal glands. In general,  leptin is thought of as the satiating hormone, but similar to insulin, our cells can become resistant to it. This is why (like insulin) obese individuals have A LOT more of it but seem to be just as hungry (the cells feel starved). The reason the connection with aldosterone/heart disease is very interesting, is because it makes you what else ‘high leptin’ and ‘leptin resistance’ is affecting.

Medication & Supplementation

Last month, there was new evidence that calcium supplementation does a horrible job keeping bones strong and preventing fractures. And this month, we learn more about the dangers of calcium supplementation and build-up in the kidneys. similar to the arteries. For better bone health the formula is protein + vitamin D + resistance training.

Research in the International Journal of Obesity finds an association between childhood antiobiotic use and weight gain throughout life.

More evidence that blood pressure medication is pretty much useless.  Because it’s not the problem, it’s the symptom!

Children born in the UK in the summer appear to become healthier adults. With researchers hypothesizing that it’s because of extra sunlight (vitamin D) in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Along with uncontrollable factors in the external environment, oxidation continues to be the greatest threat to our DNA. Although preventing it seems to be a better approach than trying to counteract it with antioxidants. As evidenced by the progression of lung cancer in the past, and as evidenced in this new study from the University of Gothenburg with skin cancer. Boosting the tumors ability to metastasize.

As discussed in an article for T-Nation this past week, melatonin is the opposite of cortisol. We’re supposed to be up and somewhat stressed during the day (cortisol) and winding down in the evening (melatonin). And here’s some new evidence that melatonin before bed improves sleep and resets your circadian rhythm. BUT as discussed in the article, precursors to melatonin are preferred, and ‘behaviors’ that make you secrete your own melatonin are recommended:

  1. Reduce Electronic Use or Block Blue Light
  2. Avoid Caffeine, Exercise & Excess Stress at Night
  3. Clear Your Mind & Take Magnesium

Stay Lean!

Coach Mike


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