Nov 18

Sugar and Health

For most of the history of humanity man ate a diet of wild game and natural vegetation including some seeds, nuts, and fruit during certain sea-sons. In our era, with the advent of processed foods, mankind’s diet has undergone a radical change. People are eating foods that never existed in nature before, foods which the body was never designed to utilize. The result is that the heavy consumption of refined sugar, and refined flour products too, has led to serious health problems for those who regularly eat them. Today 65% of Americans are overweight, and 27% are clinically obese. Even children are starting to show more and more symptoms of this growing health problem. Diabetes is starting to appear more frequently in the very young. When we look at the diet of the typical American, it is easy to see how this has happened. The average American each year consumes 125 pounds of sugar in the form of 300 cans of soda, 200 sticks of gum, 18 pounds of candy, 50 pounds of cakes and cookies and 20 gallons of ice cream. I want to make clear just how much sugar is found in the sodas people are drinking each day. There are 7 to 8 teaspoons of sugar in some form, in the average soda drink. If you have a soda at lunch, one as a snack in the afternoon, one with your dinner, and one as you watch TV or go out for a final snack later in the night, you have consumed 28 spoonfuls of sugar. Americans are also consuming too many foods which are made from highly refined flour, which act just like sugar in the body, such as pasta, bread and cookies and cakes. In addition to all the many obvious sources of sugar in the typical American diet, sugar is used as an inexpensive additive to improve the taste of many items in which the producers in order to increase profits use cheaper inferior ingredients or use less expensive ingredients. Among these items, you may have guessed, because they taste so sweet, are ketchup, and jams and jellies, which really should have no added sugar and should be made primarily from the fruit. Fruit flavored drinks and fruit flavored yogurts, and especially, sweetened canned fruit have unnecessarily large amounts of sugar in some form in them. But it is also surprising how much sugar, unhealthy sugar, is found in items like peanut butters, bread, soups, pickles, mustard, canned dishes like baked beans, and salad dressings. Even American’s general idea of proper cui-sine contributes to this problem. Making potatoes a staple at almost every meal has been an additional negative health factor. Potatoes, among all other vegetables, are the one of the most likely to affect the body in the same way as refined sugar. A surfeit of carbohydrates in any form will lead to gaining weight and eventual obesity, but it is sugar in all its forms, and refined flour in our diets that do the most harm. They lead to a fast rise in blood sugar, which causes the pancreas to produce a large amount of insulin to lower our blood sugar quickly, because high blood sugar is dangerous to our health. Unfortunately, this strong dose of insulin makes the blood sugar drop below our normal level and makes us feel down in mood. In order to compensate for this psychological effect, we are driven by cravings to seek an immediate repeat of our ingestion of sugar to again raise our blood sugar to make ourselves feel better, and so the cycle continues on and on. This results in our taking in more calories than are necessary to supply energy to the body. The end result is overweight and eventual obesity. The high amounts of insulin also have other deleterious effects.

Nov 18

The Fundamentals of Bodybuilding for Beginners

You may have made the decision to join within the growing number of body builders these days, now what? I bet, you are wandering what and how. Beginner physique builders have a lot of factors to understand ahead of securing a health club membership. I need to tell you, there are several things that require to be thought to be ahead of starting any physique constructing workout.

Kind of Exercises

Essentially, body builders have gone into two diverse varieties of exercises, the isolation and compound. Isolation workouts concentrate on distinct muscles and even muscles although compound exercises operate on supporting muscles and the over-all strength gain. Generally depending on a specific body builder’s special needs, these workouts are intentionally combined to obtain greater body shape. At initial, it could be a compound workout followed by isolation exercising for sculpting these muscles into its desired shape. However, in some circumstances, it might be the other way about.

Muscle Composition

It can be a should that bodybuilders must have much more muscle mass than fats. Fats need to be burned off 1st before gaining muscles. Even so, excess weight training is just not sufficient to dissolve fats. So that you can lose body fat you need to engage in aerobic exercises along with other cardiovascular exercises. Don’t forget, you can never ever shed excess fat on a certain region only such as stomach location. It is impossible simply because aerobics and other cardiovascular exercises operate on every single portion of the body. However, greater muscle mass can constantly burn off far more fats. Calorie intake can’t stay away from body fat achieve, but with appropriate blend of aerobics and weight training, body fat acquire will be lessened. Therefore, these two essential factors must be worked out evenly.

Repetition Technique

Also referred as pyramid method, it pertains for the quantity of repetition a specific excess weight coaching should must attain the desired outcome. Normally, beneath 5 repetitions can enhance strength but lesser muscle although 5 to 10 repetitions can enrich muscle growth. However, ten to 15 repetitions promote endurance. It really is very simple to start with lighter weights as well as lower repetitions then boost the heaviness and repetition as you progress.

Steroid

With the popularity of body constructing, everyone would like to obtain an incredible physique much less the intense workout and disciplined habits. It can be with this phenomenon that steroids were utilized by bodybuilders to achieve faster outcomes. In fact, these drugs had been used to preserve the body shape with out the need for intense operate out. Anabolic steroids are classified as class III schedule drugs. That implies it really is dangerous on the body in the extended run. Steroids cannot be prescribed to bodybuilders as it really is opposed for the law. In reality, these illegal drugs can be bought on a street or world wide web. Human steroids including anadrol, anavar, sten, and veterinary steroids like norandren 200 and laurabolin had been among the popular steroids utilized by some skilled bodybuilders.

Clothing and Gears

Unless you might be in private fitness center, it really is encouraged that you simply put on shirts as a respect to other gym members. Proper clothing must allow freedom of motion and not restrict the body. Similarly, gears for example hand gloves are also encouraged for beginners. Frequently overlooked, these gears are crucial to protect the hand from minor scratches and direct impact of lifting weights.

Body creating had grow to be so well-liked that there exists an increasing number of physique developing enthusiasts. Beginners need to be knowledgeable on some factors which might be part of this activity in preparation to their coaching.

Nov 18

Why Athletes Turn to Steroid Alternatives

Among amateur and semi-professional bodybuilders, steroid use has traditionally been viewed as a double edged sword. One school of thought eschews the use of performing enhancing substances, while another has held them up as the key to rapid muscle mass gain.

Many high school physical education teachers inform their units on weightlifting with an ominous warning about the dangers of anabolic steroid use. Yet, young athletes see their idols — from baseball players to bodybuilders — using performance enhancing substances. The obvious question is: how much of that fame and achievement stems from the athlete’s natural ability — and how much came from the aid of performance enhancing substances?
The Internet and Steroid Sales

In 1991, possession of anabolic steroids without a prescription was made a federal felony in the United States. By the mid- to late-1990s, the proliferation of the Internet as a global marketplace meant a proliferation of steroids and steroid alternatives on offer from countries where anabolic steroids were still legal without a prescription.

Proponents of steroid alternatives claim that a number of substances that are not directly related to synthesized, or anabolic steroids offer many of the benefits of anabolic steroids — an increase in muscle mass and a metabolism geared toward burning fat — but without detrimental effects of anabolic steroids. A short list of those negative side effects includes hormonal imbalances, liver damage and elevated “bad” cholesterol.

Even so, professional athletes have turned to steroids — legal or otherwise — to build muscle and attain a competitive edge. And the world watches.

There is no worldwide standard on what qualifies as an “illegal” substance in the sport of competitive bodybuilding, for example. Instead, substances prohibited by regulatory authorities vary between bodybuilding federations. Illegal anabolic steroids and substances known as prohormone and diuretics are believed to be widely used by professional bodybuilders and are generally banned by natural bodybuilding organizations.
Another School of Thought

As the name implies, natural bodybuilding associations focus on physical fitness and nutrition in order to achieve a level playing field for body shaping enthusiasts. Often, these associations open their competition to related forms of body aesthetics, such as figure, female physique, junior level and physically challenged categories. Some organizations conduct their own drug screening regimen for participants. In an effort to make their policies clear, many of these federations choose to include a list of banned substances on their Web pages. These may or may not include products known generically as steroid alternatives.

Steroid alternatives can be found in over-the-counter compounds in most health and drug stores. Yet they are not all labeled — or created — alike. The products the U.S. Food and Drug Administration listed in its Warning Letter to American Cellular Laboratories Inc., in the summer of 2009 include “TREN-Xtreme,” “MASS Xtreme,” “ESTRO Xtreme,” “AH-89-Xtreme,” “HMG Xtreme,” “MMA-3 Xtreme,” “VNS-9 Xtreme,” and “TT-40-Xtreme.” The FDA states that these products claim to contain steroid-like ingredients but in reality contain synthetic steroid substances that are unapproved since they are not generally recognized as safe and effective. The Administration also says that the products are misbranded because the label is misleading and does not provide sufficient directions for use.

Products in the steroid alternative category are not without their own risks. And they will likely come under increased scrutiny by federal regulators as individual products send up red flags. Yet the fact that the market exists speaks to a collective desire among athletes to see fast results in muscle mass, strength, and stamina — a desire that outweighs the risks.

Nov 18

The Facts About Wavy Maize Supplements

A few years back a bunch of studies supported the concept that both the timing and type of carbohydrate athletes used could have positive effects – for both aerobic and anaerobic oriented athletes. Since then there has been a rush to find the “best” pre and post workout carb source. As is typical for the bodybuilding/fitness industry, a new “miracle” carb source burst onto the market almost monthly promising muscle growth second only to an Anadrol* enema, but I digress… The point being, there’s been a great deal of information, misinformation, and down right disinformation, regarding these “amazing miracle anabolic” carb sources. The pinnacle of which, is Waxy Maize Starch (WMS), but before we get to that, let’s back up a second to recap why the focus on these carb sources.

A Brief History…

The basic concept goes like so: Most people are aware that nutrient timing is as important as nutrient composition. In other words, it’s not just what you eat, but when you eat it that gives optimal results. As the man said, “Timing is everything.” Consuming the right nutrients at the right time can have positive effects on body composition, which can equal more muscle and less body fat as well as improved performance.

Following an intense exercise session, there’s a “metabolic window” – so to speak – where the body preferentially shuttles glucose, amino acids, and other nutrients, into the liver and muscles via both insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent transport mechanisms. Translated, this means your body will shuttle carbs and protein into the tissues you want (muscle) instead of storing them as fat after a workout. So far so good…

To carry the analogy further, the metabolic window doesn’t stay open indefinitely, so you need to take advantage of the opportunity while it lasts.

A number of studies have found that a post-workout drink containing high-GI carbs** is highly anti-catabolic. Adding protein to the mix – depending on the protein – has an additive effect with the two working synergistically to create an anabolic environment that’s superior to either nutrient alone.

Obviously there’s a great deal more to it, but the above is intended as a quick recap of the concept vs. an exhaustive review on the topic.

Back to Waxy Maize Starch (WMS)

So with the above brief summary of why the big interest in various carb sources pre and or post workout, we can focus for a moment on WMS. WMS has been pushed heavily as an optimal carb source with sellers claiming superior effects to other common carb sources such as maltodextrin and dextrose. Claims of faster glycogen resynthesis after tough workouts “rapid absorption” and faster gastric emptying, are the common claims made by those selling WMS. I’m sure people have also seen claims about “high molecular weight, low osmolality” and other fancy terms being thrown around also. So is any of this true, or have people been fed another over hyped poorly supported bag of goods? Let’s see…

“Just The Facts Ma’am”

One major claim of WMS is “rapid glycogen” storage after exercise compared to other carbs. One study compared WMS to dextrose, maltodextrin, and a “resistant”*** starch. 8 male cyclists were put through a workout designed to deplete their glycogen stores**** so their muscles would be primed for glycogen storage as mentioned above in the “Brief History” section. Furthermore, after feeding them these various carb sources – at 24 hours after the glycogen depleting workout program – glycogen levels were essentially the same between the WMS, dextrose, and malto. In fact – although not statistically significant – dextrose was the best of the bunch in this study for getting glycogen levels back up after the exercise protocol (1) which is what athletes should strive for after tough workouts.

Another big claim of WMS is as a pre workout carb source, but is it any better than, say dextrose? The answer appears to be NO. Ten well trained, elite male cyclists were given either WMS, dextrose, resistant starch (RS), or placebo, and their ability to sustain endurance work after ingesting these carb sources and placebo tested. Performance during prolonged endurance exercise is related to the ability to maintain blood glucose levels via glycogen storage and ingested carbs before and or during the exercise. So, these researchers wanted to see which of these carb sources consumed pre-exercise would maintain performance during prolonged exercise. That is, which carb source would fuel the greatest amount of work in the final 30 minutes. First, they gave the cyclists (at separate times) each of the carbs (about a 75 gram dose) 30 minutes before their 2-hour ride. The blood glucose and insulin response from dextrose was 3 times higher in the first 15 minutes; at 30 minutes glucose was still over 1.5 times higher while insulin remained 3 times higher. Then they did their exhaustive ride. The study found dextrose and WMS similar (although dextrose still had a slight edge) in their ability to maintain performance with RS and placebo being less effective (2). Again, WMS did not show itself to be anything special and slightly less effective then good old dextrose. This also is the first study (of several-see more below) to show WMS to be low glycemic and low insulinemic (low insulin spiking).

“So Why All The Hype, Will?”

So at this point the reader is thinking “then why all the hype over Waxy Maize, Will? Where is all this info coming from about this carb source being so great if it’s not so great?!” I feel your pain and will answer your questions! This is where things get more interesting.

The Real Deal…

A carb source that has an optimal pre and post workout profile for the resynthesis of glycogen after tough workouts, fast gastric emptying, and improved performance, has a high molecular weight and low osmolality and should spike blood glucose and insulin levels post workout. Studies suggest the best of the bunch for this purpose is a patented carb sold under the name Vitargo. What sellers of WMS have unknowingly (some might suspect knowingly…) done is use the data and claims from Vitargo and applied them to WMS, as if the two were interchangeable, with some getting the impression WMS is just a generic form of Vitagro, which is not the case. For example, sellers of WMS claim it’s absorbed rapidly, increases glycogen stores quicker than other carb sources, and improves performance (similar to Vitargo), but the studies that exist do not support that (or show the opposite…) and or simply don’t exist to support it as the studies above clearly demonstrate. What does exist, however, are studies showing Vitargo to have these effects. As I said, it appears sellers of WMS have “pirated” the studies actually done on Vitargo as if they were interchangeable carbs sources, when they are not. As already shown, WMS is, at best, about equal to maltodextrin and dextrose, or inferior to those carb sources, depending on which study you read. For example a study just completed -and soon to be published- out of Purdue University, found WMS had a 3 times lower glucose response compared to maltodextrin, and a 3 times lower insulin response, and even 2 times lower than white bread! (3) So even white bread appears to be a superior post workout carb source than WMS if one is looking to spike glucose and insulin levels, which leads to enhanced rates of glycogen storage and anti-catabolism. It’s interesting to note that WMS has been shown to have such a slow and steady effect on glucose and insulin levels, scientist now routinely refer to it as “slow digesting” or “low glycemic.”

So What Of Vitargo?

Vitargo is an interesting starch carbohydrate with some interesting properties. A study published in 2000 compared Vitargo to maltodextrin plus sugars and their respective effects on glycogen storage after an exhaustive exercise protocol and found Vitargo to be far superior to malto/sugars for rapidly replacing muscle glycogen levels both two and four hours after the exercise sessions (4). By “far superior” I mean 70% better over the 2 hour period, which is no small amount.

A follow up study published in 2008 found similar effects, but with some additional twists in support of Vitargo as a unique carb source. This study found that Vitargo was superior for performance during a subsequent bout of maximal exercise just 2 hours after glycogen-depleting exercise. In a nut shell, on three randomized visits 8 guys were put through an exercise protocol designed to use up a bunch of their stored glycogen (ergo, they were glycogen depleted), and then fed 100g of either Vitargo, malto/sugars, or flavored/artificially sweetened water as control. They waited 2 hours and tested their performance (ability to do “work”) via a 15 minute high intensity time trial test on a cycle ergometer and found the group that had been fed the Vitargo right after the prior workout 2 hours before had superior performance for the second high intensity trial. This makes perfect sense; if Vitargo rapidly replaces glycogen levels in muscle and the liver, the person will be able to perform better during their next exercise session, especially if those bouts of exercise are within the same day. If glycogen levels are not boosted back up by the next exercise session, performance will suffer. As the authors of this study summarized well:

“Limiting factors to post-exercise muscle glycogen re-synthesis following carbohydrate feeding include the amount, timing, and form of carbohydrate administered, the rate of gastric emptying and intestinal absorption of the ingested carbohydrate, glucose storage and output by the liver, and muscle glucose transport and oxidation.”

Translated, it’s not as simple as just the carbohydrate’s glycemic rating or whether it’s a “simple” or “complex” carb. There are a lot of other factors involved and science has come a long way in understanding what those biological factors are.

Gastric emptying rates are another important issue to athletes as the faster it leaves the stomach the faster it enters the intestines where it is digested and absorbed. Fast gastric emptying and digestion means the faster glucose levels, insulin spikes, and subsequent glycogen storage and enhanced post workout anti-catabolic action, not to mention no one enjoys having a drink sloshing around in their stomach during or after a workout. It’s just unpleasant and if it’s sloshing around in your gut it’s not doing squat for your muscles! A 2000 study compared the gastric emptying rates of Vitargo to a carb source derived from maize starch and found Vitargo “significantly” faster emptying rate from the stomach, which would partly explain why Vitargo appears to replenish depleted glycogen levels so quickly when compared to other carb sources.

Nov 18

Using Herbs for Hot Flashes

We’ve all heard the term “hot flashes”, unless we’ve lived under a rock, or are too young to pay attentino to such health woes. Hot flashes are typically associated with the period in life where a woman goes through what is called perimenopause, and then menopause.

This is the time of life for a woman where her menstrual cycle slows down, and eventually stops. There is also a profound hormonal shift in the body which lowers the levels of the signature female hormone estrogen in the body.

This dip in estrogen and subsequent increase of other hormones in the body causes several shifts that result in body changes which unfortunately involved discomfort and many times emotionally trying times. A big part of this landmark shift is something that has been medically and popularly coined as “hot flashes”. Hot flashes are pretty much exactly what they sound like.

They are periods of time, varying in their length, where the body suddenly feels extremely overheated. Have you ever been in a highly stressful situation, or been put on the spot? There is a high likelihood that you felt something like a hot flash, with instantaneous sweating, a possible feeling of nausea and the sense that your body was suddenly “on fire”.

The only problem is, menopausal and perimenopausal hot flashes tend to not only last longer and occur more frequently than the dubious uncomfortable situation we’ve all been in, and they also have some additional side effects that are even scarier if you’re not sure what’s happening to you. This is exactly the reason why so much attention has been focused on this symptom of menopause.

Women find this uncontrollable and unpredictable aspect of the life changing period to be alarming, and of course they seek ways to reduce them or even eliminate them.

There are some supplements on the market currently that are stocked on the shelves of popular drug stores and grocery stores, but what do they have in them that helps hot flashes, and can also aid in offsetting the other symptoms of menopause and the accompanying hormonal imbalance?

Many times the primary ingredient you will see in natural menopausal relief supplements are herbs and botanicals which contain a compound called soy, or soy isoflavones. These natural plant chemicals can gently mimic the effect of estrogen in a woman’s body, and can help to replenish the effects of this hormone in the female body.

This is the reason they are used in herbal medicine to help diminish or help eliminate hot flashes, as well as alleviate other unpleasant symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.

Along with soy, there are a variety of other estrogen-mimicking compounds that are found in nature’s herbs that are commonly used in modern day hormonal control supplements as well as dating back thousands of years for women who suffered from various side effects of estrogen deficiency.

Evening primrose oil is a very popular herb used to quell hot flashes. Evening primrose oil has long been used, sometimes in conjunction with other herbs, to remedy hot flashes by helping to restore balance in the body.

Nov 18

Selenium Deficiency

There are many vitamins and minerals essential to the diet that we don’t quite get enough off for some reason or other. In the case of Selenium it’s possible to be eating a proper diet with lots of fruits and veggies and still not get enough Selenium because it isn‘t present in high enough amounts.

Selenium enters the food cycle via plants. So it can be present in plants or meat but the amounts of Selenium in either depends on how much of the mineral is in the soil.

In some places of the world Selenium in the soil is very low, such as China. Selenium in the crops grown in China is so low that the average daily intake is around ten micrograms per person. Now we only require about sixty micrograms. To get an idea of how little of the nutrient we require in our diet compare the milligram to the microgram. There are one thousand micrograms in one single milligram! A flea weighs more than our daily requirement of selenium at ¾ of a milligram. Yet it is still possible not to get enough Selenium in your diet! There has been a connection made between low Selenium intake and health diseases.

In China a health problem called Keshan Disease has developed in those with Selenium deficiency for much of their lives. Its present particularly in women and children. Keshan Disease is signified by cardiomyopathy, which is a weakened and enlarged heart. The condition usually develops after the Selenium deficient contract a specific virus. The disease is prevented by the supplementation of Selenium to their diet in salt.

There have also been correlations made between cancer and Selenium deficiency. The incidence of skin cancer is higher among people who live in parts of the United States with low Selenium content in the soil. Selenium supplementation has been tested as a way of preventing the reoccurrence of skin cancer in volunteers. It didn’t reduce the chances of developing more melanomas but it did have the affect of reducing the occurrence and deaths of all types of cancers overall.

Areas with low amounts of Selenium in the soil have also been shown to have a correlation to a higher incidence of viral infections. This connection seems to include a variety of viral illnesses, from a stronger harder to fight form of influenza to peak incidences of HIV/AIDS.

Low Selenium intake can also lead to muscle cramps, goiters, recurrent miscarriage, and congenital deficiency of the thyroid hormones.

You usually don’t need to worry about Selenium deficiency if you live in an area with a wide variety of produce that comes from many parts of the world and you are a healthy individual. There are many conditions which can result in Selenium deficiency though. These are; AIDS, gastrointestinal disorders, poor nutrition, and those people receiving food intravenously.

If you do decide to supplement your diet with Selenium, remember to keep your daily intake to sixty milligrams as Selenium can be toxic in higher levels.