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For August 30, 2016

  • The effect of drugs on the body's ability to burn body fat and glucose.
    The effect of drugs on the body's ability to burn body fat and glucose.

    Most people forget that any medication, or drug, you take affects your entire body. Some medications increase appetite and food cravings, especially for sweet foods. In contrast, other medications reduce appetite and result in weight loss. Drugs alter taste, mood, ability to digest food, ability to burn fat and ability to maintain a normal workout.

    How medications affect nutrients in the body is complicated and poorly understood. For example, some drugs mimic the shape of, and are mistaken for vitamins, so they block any real vitamins from participating in metabolic reactions. Some bind to a nutrient and limit its absorption or, because a drug can reduce the time that food is in the intestine it can limit the absorption time of nutrients.

    Chromium picolinate has generated a lot of interest in the strength building environment because limited research shows that moderate increases in chromium picolinate might maintain or even increase muscle mass while fat is lost. Although chromium is essential in protein and carbohydrate metabolism and thus may participate in muscle growth and function, there is no evidence that these "anabolic" effects are significant. In fact, the study that precipitated interest in this product was conducted on six college male body builders. The study has not been replicated and it's mostly media hype, not research or statistical data that supports the strong sales of this compound that is readily available in diets that are high in green, leafy vegetables.

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  • Mountain Biking - 12 Tips for Handling the Hills
    Mountain Biking - 12 Tips for Handling the Hills

    Mountain biking injuries are increasing along with the soaring popularity of the sport. Nearly 50,000 mountain bikers were injured in 1995, a big increase from the previous year. However, there's no reason to be intimidated by mountain biking. Dr. Edward R. Laskowski, co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., says using common sense and learning a few new skills are all that's needed to enjoy off-road pedaling without injuries.

    "They say you never forget how to ride a bike and it's true � the neuromuscular program of bicycling is retained from childhood," Laskowski says. "In mountain biking, we just have to hardwire a different set of skills into that program for use in off-road situations."

    Here are some things to do that will enhance both your safety and fun:

    1. Helmets � It's not just a theory that helmets save lives and prevent serious head injuries � it's a scientifically proven fact.

    2. Common sense � Now that your head is protected by a helmet, use the brain underneath the helmet to avoid dangerous circumstances. Practice off-road riding skills on easy terrain before you rattle up and down the challenging stuff. Always ride in control, and walk your bike through terrain that looks too risky. Yield to and be respectful of other trail users. Be careful not to spook animals, especially horses, which can kick you or throw their rider.

    3. Equipment � Make sure the bike frame is the right size for you. A bike shop can help if you have questions. Always check the brakes and other components for damage before you begin riding. Take along repair equipment and learn how to make basic repairs in the field such as fixing a flat tire.

    4. Cadence � Use your gears to keep a cadence between 80 to 100 rpm. "Certainly this will be variable depending on the steep climbs and descents that you encounter, but generally a cadence of 80 to 100 rpm is less stressful to the knee because it doesn't involve a lot of grinding torque," according to Dr. Laskowski. "When you pedal in the 40-, 50- or even 60-rpm range, it produces a fair amount of sheer force on the knee." A cycle computer with a cadence meter is a helpful device to track your pace and training progress.

    5. Shifting � Lower gears make it easier to pedal; higher gears make it harder. Learn how the gear combinations between the chain ring (at the pedals) and the freewheel (at the rear wheel) make it easier or harder for you to pedal. Part of the fun of mountain biking is anticipating changes in terrain and shifting accordingly. "It's a good trick to shift to a lower gear ratio as you descend to the bottom of a hill so you don't have to start the uphill in too high a gear, which can stress your knees," Dr. Laskowski says. "The same concept works as you approach a descent. You don't have to shift immediately toward your highest gear. You can notch it up gradually as your cadence permits."

    6. Descents � On a steep descent, get out of the seat and put your weight over the back wheel to improve your balance.

    7. Climbs � It's OK to get out of the seat and rock the bike back and forth a little as you pedal up a hill. However, too much rocking � or pedaling in too high a gear � is inefficient and hard on the knees.

    8. Cornering � Don't begin braking while turning. Brake gradually to a safe speed before you go into the corner.

    9. Braking � The front brake usually has about twice as much stopping power as the rear brake. Applying the front brake suddenly during a steep descent can send you over the handlebars. Instead, use both brakes simultaneously and gradually.

    10. Skidding � Applying the back brake hard can put you into a skid. This robs you of control of your bike and may cause damage to the trail.

    11. Obstacles � Pick a path and focus on it. Learn the skill of "lofting" (pulling up on your handlebars) and shifting your weight back to get your front wheel over obstacles like rocks, logs and bumps.

    12. Wilderness safety � Hiker's rules apply. It's easy to get lost when you're having fun on a bike. Tell others where you're going to ride. Take a map, compass or Global Positioning System (GPS), first aid kid, plenty of water and appropriate clothing.

    Copyright 1995-1999, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

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  • Wrap it Up: Delicious Ways to Save Time and Cut Calories
    Wrap it Up: Delicious Ways to Save Time and Cut Calories

    Meal Makeover

    (Prevention, September 1999) � Wraps are the latest sandwich sensation -- all thanks to health-conscious Californians, who have turned eating on the go into an art form. So, next time you go for a boring, condiment-heavy sandwich for lunch, reach for a wrap instead.

    The availability now of a variety of soft flatbreads such as tortillas, lavosh (or lavash), naan and others is key. These unleavened breads are often made with whole grains and are turning up in savory flavors like spinach, sun-dried tomato, chipotle chili and garden herb. With fewer calories than two pieces of traditional sandwich bread, tortillas are thin and pliable. For the recipes that follow, we've used large wrappers (about 10 inches for the tortillas) to make one sandwich per serving. If you prefer, you can use smaller wrappers and make two apiece.

    Use these recipes as starting points for your own creations. Once you master the art of wrapping, you'll appreciate how ideal these fast-fix sandwiches are for satisfying meals in a snap.

    Here is one example of a great wrap recipie:

    Sunshine Burritos

    Frozen potatoes, jarred salsa, and jalapenos make this a super-easy breakfast dish. For variety, spread prepared guacamole on the tortillas in place of the salsa or add some sliced avocado when assembling the wraps. Fat-free liquid egg substitute works fine for the filling; use about 1 cup and eliminate the milk.

    2 c frozen Potatoes O'Brien
    2 eggs
    2 egg whites
    2 tbsp skim milk
    1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/2 c prepared salsa
    2 lg whole wheat tortillas
    2 Boston lettuce leaves
    1/2 c chopped tomatoes
    2 tbsp pickled jalapeno pepper slices

    1. Coat an 8-in. nonstick frying pan with vegetable cooking spray. Add 1 c potatoes and saute until lightly browned.

    2. In a sm bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, and milk. Stir in cilantro, pepper, and 1/4 c salsa. Pour half of the mixture over the potatoes. Cook over med-high heat until eggs are set; use a spatula to let any uncooked egg reach the bottom of the pan.

    3. Spread 1 tortilla with 2 tbsp of remaining salsa. Slide eggs onto tortilla. Top with half of the lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Roll tightly and serve immediately.

    4. Repeat to make a second burrito. Serves 2.

    Diet Exchanges: Milk 0.1; Vegetable 0.4; Fruit 0; Bread 3.3; Meat 1.4

    Nutritional info: Cal 314; Fat 8.2 g (23% of cal); Sat fat 1.6 g; Chol 213 mg; Fiber 9.8 g; Pro 16.9 g; Carb 53.1 g; Sodium 770 mg

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  • Protect Your Shins from Shin Splints
    Protect Your Shins from Shin Splints

    Six Ways to Prevent Shin Splints

    (Prevention, September 1999) � You don't have to let a shin splint, a common injury in walkers and runners, slow you down. Rest, ice, and ibuprofen (or other pain relievers) are fine for easing the pain once it occurs, but this six-step plan can prevent it.

    1. Evaluate your workout. If you recently increased the speed or intensity of your walk or run, you may have overdone it. Ease off a bit, then progress gradually. Increase only one component (speed, frequency, or duration) of your routine at a time.

    2. Loosen up. Tight calf muscles can contribute to shin pain, says Jeff Young, MD, of Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. To stretch these muscles, stand on a step facing the staircase, with the back half of your right foot hanging over the edge and your knee straight. (Your left foot should be entirely on the step.) Slowly let your right heel drop until you feel your calf stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Stretch each leg three or four times. Then try the same stretch with your knee slightly bent.

    3. Strengthen your hips. Shin pain can be caused by overpronation, in which the foot rolls in too much as you walk or run. Strong hip muscles can help prevent this. Side-lying leg-lift exercises -- with a twist -- are great for strengthening these muscles, says Dr. Young. The twist is to do some with your toes pointing down and then some with your toes and knee pointing up. This works the hip muscles at different angles. Work up to three sets of 10 leg lifts with each leg, three or four times a week. When this becomes easy, you can add light ankle weights for greater strengthening.

    4. Target your shins. Stand near a wall or chair for balance and slowly raise your toes and the balls of your feet as far off the floor as possible. Hold for 3 seconds. Work up to three sets of 10 lifts, three or four times a week.

    5. Rub away pain. A deep-tissue massage can release tightness in this area. A certified massage therapist can perform this -- and also teach you how to give yourself one.

    6. Buy new sneaks. If you walk or run regularly and your sneakers are more than six months old, you probably need new ones. The lack of support and cushioning in old shoes can contribute to injuries like shin pain. To get the right shoe for your foot type, go to stores that specialize in walking or running shoes. Some may employ certified pedorthists, trained in fitting shoes.

    If pain persists for more than two weeks or if it frequently recurs, see your doctor.

    Quick Tip: Walking or running on a sloped road or slanted track can also cause shin pain; alternate your direction every other lap to compensate.

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  • Weekly weightlifting improves elderly strength and performance
    Weekly weightlifting improves elderly strength and performance

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- Lifting weights as little as once a week can increase strength and functional performance in individuals aged 65 to 79 years.

    In people over 65 years, resistance training "is now recognized as a safe and effective method for strength development and an important contributor to maintaining independence and enhancing physical capabilities," according to Dr. Dennis Taaffe from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues. Their report is published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

    The investigators assigned 19 women and 34 men to one of four 24-week regimens: three sets of eight muscle strength exercises once, twice, or three times weekly, or continuation of usual activity alone.

    All three exercise groups increased their muscle strength -- ranging from 37% to 42% during the 24-week program -- significantly more than the control group (4%), the report indicates. The exercise groups also experienced an increase in lean body mass compared with the controls without an increase in fat mass.

    Interestingly, the team found no difference among the three exercise groups for upper body, lower body, or whole body strength.

    As tests of physical function, the exercise groups all performed more quickly in rising from a chair and in toe-to-heel backward walking for 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) compared with the control group, according to the results.

    Thus, "participation in resistance exercise twice, or even once, each week achieves substantial strength gains similar to those accomplished in a standard 3-day per week program, and these gains are accompanied by improved neuromuscular performance," the investigators conclude.

    "As declining muscle strength and balance promote falls and fracture in older adults, we suggest that a high-intensity progressive resistance training program of only one session per week may prove useful in reducing the risk of falls and, hence, fracture," Taaffe and colleagues propose.

    Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1999;47:1208-1214.

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  • Cutting Fat Wisely
    Cutting Fat Wisely

    From: Living Better Features

    Quality may matter just as much as quantity when it comes to consuming fats. In fact, diets with a higher percentage of fats -- if they are the right kind -- can actually be better for you than their lower-fat counterparts, according to a recent report issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) and published in the September 14, 1999, issue of the journal Circulation.

    Make sure you include healthful fats in your diet by stocking your kitchen with olive, canola and peanut oils -- examples of monounsaturated fats. The AHA's recommendation is that no more than 30 percent of your calories come from fat. But a diet rich in these monounsaturated fats, according to the September report, can help lower the risk of heart disease -- even if your fat intake somewhat exceeds 30 percent.

    Take a good look, too, at how much of your diet includes saturated fats -- fats that come from animal and dairy sources and some plant oils, such as coconut and palm oils. These can increase your cholesterol level and should be avoided.

    One of the study's authors is Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D. -- a distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University and a member of the AHA nutrition committee. Her study suggests that a fat intake as high as 35 percent can still be healthy -- but she stresses that this is only true if the fats are monounsaturated.

    The AHA also recommends that saturated and polyunsaturated fats should make up less than 10 percent of your calorie intake, and that monounsaturated fats should make up no more than 15 percent.

    All Fats Are Not Created Equal

    Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) help lower LDL cholesterol, the kind that can build up on arterial walls and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, says Kris-Etherton, even if they make up as much as 35 percent of your calorie intake. But a diet high in saturated and polyunsaturated fats, even if kept within the 30-percent limit, can lower HDL cholesterol -- the kind that helps protect against heart attacks -- and can raise the level of triglycerides, the chemical form of most fat in the body.

    Still, a diet high in MUFA can have drawbacks. "When people start adding olive oil and other rich sources of monounsaturated fats, maybe they'll run the risk of adding too many calories to their diet," Kris-Etherton says. But she adds that a high-MUFA diet may be a good alternative to a diet that severely restricts fat, for people who can maintain a healthy weight while on it.

    "We have to figure out which diet is going to work best for different people," Kris-Etherton says. "It doesn't have to be a low-fat diet for everybody. What is nice about all of this is now we have another option in the prevention and treatment of heart disease."

    Healthy Choices

    No matter how healthy you are, make sure you don't consume too many saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels, says Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University and member of the AHA nutrition committee. To decrease saturated fats, buy lean cuts of meat and take advantage of low-fat and nonfat dairy products.

    "It may not be exactly what you want, but you can make the substitution and not feel deprived," Lichtenstein says.

    It's in the Calories

    While Americans have somewhat decreased their saturated fat intake, they have more than made up for the calories in carbohydrate consumption, says Lichtenstein. As a result, the nation is getting heavier, opening the door for health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, which are associated with increased weight.

    Lichtenstein explains that avoiding weight gain means taking every calorie into account, remembering that "fat-free" or "low-fat" does not mean "calorie-free." And keeping track of how many of those calories you expend, rather than just how many you consume, is also important in maintaining a healthy weight.

    "Some people get so focused on fat that they forget total energy intake," Lichtenstein says. She adds that regular exercise, which allows you to eat more without gaining weight, has been shown to reduce a person's risk of heart attack.

    However, these heart-healthy changes shouldn't be viewed as a quick fix. "This type of lifestyle modification isn't like a course of antibiotics," she says. "You don't do it for 10 days and forget about it. It's OK to occasionally skip your morning exercise routine or have prime rib, but this approach has to be for the long term."

    1999 WebMD. All rights reserved.

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