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For March 23, 2017

  • Nutraceuticals lead wave of new food research
    Nutraceuticals lead wave of new food research
    From Medical Correspondent Linda Ciampa

    (CNN) -- Many U.S. food manufacturers are betting on the success of new foods supplemented with vitamins or minerals. These food products are known as functional foods or nutraceuticals and while they have some running to the market, others are concerned about too much of a good thing.

    When Scott Adams, the creator of the cartoon strip Dilbert, couldn't find nutritious fast food, he went back to the drawing board. He came up with the Dilberito, a burrito sprayed with 100 percent of all the vitamins and minerals a person needs in a day.

    "It's just three minutes in the microwave, it's hand held, it works with a busy lifestyle," Adams said.

    The Dilberito joins hundreds of other so-called nutraceuticals or functional foods which are now the leading trend in the U.S. food industry.

    Some new ones to look for are salmon burgers with 50 percent more omega 3 fatty acids, chewing gums with calcium, and cookies with antioxidants and cakes with fiber.

    "What we've done is we've fortified some of the traditional indulgent goods so people can have the foods they really want without feeling guilty," said Moira Watson of the Watson Foods Company.

    But these vitamin and mineral supplemented foods have some wondering about overexposure to nutrients.

    "We have a committee now looking at both coming up with dietary reference intakes which will include upper levels for iron, for vitamin A, for zinc and some of the other trace elements," said Allison Yakes of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

    Just an ounce of Total brand cereal and one Dilberito provide 200 percent of the recommended daily allowance for iron. For some, that could be dangerous.

    According to Mark Kantor of the University of Maryland, "It's a very small segment of the population, but they have a genetic tendency to accumulate too much iron in their system. Iron is one of those minerals that once we take it in, it's hard to get rid of it, it stays with you."

    With more functional foods entering the market, scientists advise eating them in moderation.i They say it's hard to measure how much active ingredient functional foods really have, and they cannot fully duplicate the benefits of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

    Still, food manufacturers are focusing a lot of attention on these foods, and American consumers are buying them. It is estimated sales of these designer foods will top $17 billion next year.

  • How To Win The Battle Of The Bulge
    How To Win The Battle Of The Bulge


    Despite the daily medical warnings about the possible health effects of excess bodyfat, Americans are mostly concerned with their cosmetic appearance, especially the abdominal area. This preoccupation with the old spare tire has lead to the boom in the sale of the many abdominal exercise contraptions that promise to give you washboard abs. Still, Americans have gained an average of 10 pounds in the last decade--so much for the abs of steel.

    What we are learning about losing visceral abdominal fat (VAT), or the old spare tire, is that it is easier to put on than get off. Studies have shown using obese women that for every kg of bodyfat lost, there is a 2-3% reduction in VAT when they used dieting alone. The role of exercise alone is conflicting as VAT in women appears to be resistant to exercise-induced weight loss, while significant results have been seen in men who exercise. The combination of diet and exercise was not different to that of diet alone in either men or women.

    Dietary supplements may be able to enhance a person's ability to lose weight. Nothing is better to help with taking off pounds than diet supplements containing ephedrine and caffeine. The combination of these two compounds helps increase metabolism and decrease appetite. It also increases fat loss and decreases muscle loss. These compounds can reduce lipogenesis, which further prevents fat accumulation. One added benefit of these compounds is that they help maintain serum HDL levels during weight loss.Although some reports on the safety of these two compounds have been the subject of controversy, ephedrine has been used safely for more than 5,000 years as a herbal dietary supplement. When used responsibly, these two compounds are safe and efficacious allies in helping people lose weight in combination with exercise and diet.

    Since the FDA-approved weight loss drugs Fen-Phen and Redux have been voluntarily recalled due to their causing heart-valve defects and pulmonary hypertension, overweight people need a safe and natural alternative to aid in weight loss. As the best way to lose weight is to avoid consuming excess calories and keeping active, supplementation with thermogenic herbs will help ensure that the body turns up the metabolism to help burn away those excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.

    Ross R., Effects of diet and exercise-induced weight loss on visceral adipose tissue in men and women, Sports Med1997; 24; 55-64.

  • When Working Out Makes Your Weight Increase
    When Working Out Makes Your Weight Increase

    The Best Ways to Track Your Weight

    (Prevention, September 1999)

    QUESTION: I'm 39 years old and have noticed that my weight is going up, but my measurements are the same. I exercise -- walking and weight lifting -- an average of four to five hours a week. What's going on?

    ANSWER: The scale is not always the best way to assess your weight, especially if you exercise. How much you weigh can vary greatly during a typical day, and for women, it can change depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Better ways to keep track of your weight are by how your clothes fit or by measuring your arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs -- as it sounds like you are doing. If your measurements are not increasing along with your weight, you probably have nothing to worry about.

    The most likely reason for the increase in weight is that you're building muscle from your weight-lifting workouts. Compared to fat, muscle weighs about 22% more. But it's much more compact, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a similar amount of fat -- and looks a heck of a lot better. Another bonus: Muscle burns about 15 to 25 times more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more you can eat without gaining weight.

    If the weight gain continues and you notice that your clothes are getting tighter, take a look at your diet. No matter how much you exercise, if you are eating too many calories, you'll gain weight. A packet of M&M's has more than 300 calories, which can quickly override the calories you'd burn during a typical walk. Keep it up and the scale will start to inch up. You don't have to be eating junk food for that to happen either. Even large portions of healthy foods can cause you to gain weight. If your eating is under control but you're still gaining, check with your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing to the weight gain.

  • New Skinny on Weight Control
    New Skinny on Weight Control

    How much should you exercise to maintain your weight loss?

    Originally featured in:


    After you lose weight, how much exercise do you need to keep it off?

    80 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (walking between 2.2 and 3.7 mph, playing softball, golf or table tennis) a day or 35 minutes of vigorous activity (jogging, active dancing, tennis) a day.

    That's according to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin at Madison who followed 33 women, ages 20-50, for one year after they had lost at least 26 pounds.

    This amount of exercise -- the 80 minutes of moderate or 35 minutes of vigorous activity a day -- which the study found necessary for maintaining weight control is much higher than the half hour a day of moderate intensity activity generally recommended to promote health. The researchers suggest that, if you want to try it, the most practical approach is to alternate vigorous exercise one day, moderate the next.

    But don't take these numbers as gospel. "It's a good study," Says John Foreyt, Ph.D., a leading obesity researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "But it's one study. Many people are able to maintain their body weight with less exercise [than this]." While physical activity is a must to keep off weight, he says, those who maintain a weight loss often figure out for themselves how much they can eat and how long and hard they must exercise. It varies from person to person.

  • Recent, not past, physical activity lowers death risk
    Recent, not past, physical activity lowers death risk

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- Even if you've been a couch potato all your life, starting regular exercise may still help you live longer, according to results of a study published in the November issue of the American Heart Journal.

    "We found that recent physical activity levels are much more important predictors of overall mortality than are distant levels of physical activity," reports a team of researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles, the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Sepulveda, California, and Boston University in Massachusetts. The researchers, led by Dr. Scott E. Sherman of the Sepulveda Veterans Administration, studied the records of 2,372 men and women from the Framingham Heart Study, which began in 1948. Participants had estimated their physical activity at assessments during two time periods: 1956-1958 and 1969-1973.

    For this study, the investigators looked at overall mortality and at the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the 16 years following the second evaluation. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease when the follow-up period began.

    The men and women who had reported being most active at the second assessment were about 39% to 42% less likely to die over the follow-up period than those who reported being least active, after age and other factors were accounted for. Activity levels reported during the distant past -- the first evaluation -- did not predict later risk of dying.

    Sherman's team also looked at the relationship between activity level and cardiovascular disease, but these results were not as clear. Distant activity seemed to be related to a lower rate of cardiovascular disease in men, but to a higher rate in women. "There is no obvious explanation for why this should be so," the authors note.

    The researchers add that this study does not provide information about how much exercise is needed to produce these benefits. They conclude, however, that "for sedentary patients, it may never be too late to start exercising."

  • What to Look for in a Running Shoe
    What to Look for in a Running Shoe

    Picking the Shoe That Best Meets Your Needs

    (MSNBC Health, August 1999) � Walk into most athletic shoe stores and you�ll be confronted with a dizzying array of choices. Besides the huge range in prices for a decent pair of running shoes � from $70 on up � each shoe company offers its own cushioning system: Asics, for example, has Gel; Nike gives you Air; adidas protects the feet with Adiprene; Saucony has a grid system; and Brooks uses hydroflow. How do you choose the right shoes for your feet?

    THOUGH IT�S TEMPTING to simply get the best buy or choose a shoe based on looks, it�s worth the effort to buy a shoe that fits your foot properly to avoid injuries. And if you already have foot problems, like high or flat arches, bunions or tendonitis, you�ll need a shoe that offers proper protection.

    Your first stop should be a specialty athletic shoe store, where experts will carefully evaluate your feet and stride � either by observing you on a treadmill or as you run up and down an aisle in the store � to determine which shoe fits you best. �Running is a very tough sport that�s hard on the body. If you�re going to run, you should look at half an hour spent at a specialty running store as preventing lots of problems later, like Achilles tendonitis, planter fasciitis and soft tissue injuries,� explains Peter Fleming, manager of Runner�s Roost, a shoe store in Boulder, Colo. He�s worked in specialty running stores for nearly 20 years. Fleming also has been running for 15 years at the top international level on both track and road, and holds a number of British national records.

    If you�re fortunate enough to have a quality store close by, take your current shoes with you, so the salesperson can examine the wear patterns. A good salesperson should ask you a series of questions, including your actual and planned mileage and past/current injuries. Next, the salesperson should study your stance while you are barefoot to determine if there�s any rolling of the ankles or feet. Fleming also looks to see if the customer has narrow feet, high arches, fallen arches, bunions or injuries.

    You�ll also want to discuss running surface � dirt, asphalt, concrete or track � since these help determine how much cushioning you�ll need. If you run indoors, you may not need a pricey cushioning system that a runner who�s pounding the pavement may need. And if you won�t be running outside, you don�t need to spend extra money on high-tech materials that are waterproof.

    The salesperson should also put you in a completely neutral shoe � one that doesn�t have a lot of supportive features � and watch you run up and down an aisle or on the treadmill. This brings out any deficiencies in stride, like pronation (feet rolling in) or supination (rolling out), and will help determine how much and what type of support you need.


    Armed with this information, the salesperson should have you try out at least three different shoes made by three different companies for potential matches. �I use the �three F�s� philosophy: function, fit and feel,� says Fleming. �I work on determining what function the shoe needs to provide (in terms of support). The fit and feel are up to the customer.�

    Making sure the shoe fits
    • Make sure the arch fits well. It should feel like it's hitting the right spot, around the center of your arch, rather than rubbing on either end. It should fit the contour of your feet. Some brands will match your contours; some won't.
    • Forget the idea of size. If you think you're a size 9, you could fit into anything from a size 8 to 10, depending on the brand. It's worth being measured in the store whenever you buy shoes. Foot size increases over time, sometimes by as much as two shoe sizes. This is especially true after pregnancy.
    • If you have blisters or if the shoe doesn't provide enough arch support, consider getting an insole. They come in a wide range of prices and can make the fit more comfortable and effective.
    • There should be about a thumbnail's width from your big toe to the front of the shoe. You should be able to wiggle your toes in a proper-fitting shoe.
    • Women don't have to buy women's shoes; buy what works best for your foot.

    If you have a foot problem, be sure to take that into consideration. Dr. Paul Stone, a podiatrist and runner in Denver who treats NFL players, ballet dancers and runners of all levels, offers this checklist if you have the following:

    • Bunions. These are a structural deformity in which the bone behind the big toe pushes out, causing joint swelling. People with bunions need a wide forefoot in their shoes to accommodate the jutting bone. Good brands for bunion sufferers: Saucony, Asics, New Balance, Brooks and Turntec. People with bunions tend to have flat feet and pronate, but cannot wear straight-lasted shoes. The last is the shape of the outer sole, or bottom, of the shoe; it is either straight, semi-curved or curved.
    • High arches. People with high arches tend to have rigid feet and supinate � they land on the lateral side of the foot when running. Avoid shoes with a lot of motion control, because the rigid structure of the feet already provides too much motion control. Look for light, curve-lasted, very flexible shoes with good cushioning in the heel and forefoot. Stone especially likes Asics shoes for this problem.
    • Flat arches. People with flat feet tend to have overly flexible feet and pronate � they land on the medial side of the foot during running. Low-arched pronators need straight-lasted, motion control shoes with a stiff heel counter. The heel counter is a structural component of the shoe which promotes foot stability. Flat-footed people with bunions, however, must have semi-curved lasted shoes.
    • Planter fasciitis. No specific shoe recommendation; orthotics are the usual remedy for this (arch strain). You can visit a sports medicine physician, podiatrist, orthopedist, physical therapist or athletic trainer for recommendations on orthotics.
    • Achilles tendonitis. This requires high-heeled/steeply ramped shoes with lots of heel cushioning, such as the Nike Air Triax, Nike Air Max or similar Reebok models.

    Of all the cushioning systems currently available, Stone is partial to Asics Gel. He says it provides excellent cushioning and is more durable than any other systems he�s seen. Nike Air is good, but the air bladders tend to lose their resilience, as does the Reebok system, he says. For �neutral� runners � who don�t pronate or supinate excessively � Stone likes Saucony, which are well-constructed and durable, as well as the Nike Air Pegasus.


    If you�re tempted to buy a pair of cross-trainers for running, don�t. Cross-trainers are good for working out in the gym or walking, but never for running, says Stone. They�re too heavy and rigid. Let a shoe designer explain:

    Pam Stevenson designs outdoor footwear for the French-based company Salomon, and while at Nike helped design Olympic gold medal-sprinter Michael Johnson�s gold-colored Nikes. Shoe design takes about a year and a half from conception to release, and involves hundreds of hours of testing, drawing and gathering opinions from shoe users on what feels good or bad about the models being designed.

    The first task in designing athletic footwear is to understand the activity that shoe will be used for, explains Stevenson. In a running shoe, for example, impact needs to be dispersed from the heel to avoid stress fractures. In aerobics, where a large percentage of activity is performed on the balls of the feet, cushioning in the forefoot is more critical.

    Running is very linear, while aerobics or basketball is a side to side motion, so support is needed in different places. Proper support in your shoes will assist biomechanics and help you avoid overuse injuries.


    It depends on how much activity you�ll be doing and what types of problems you have, such as pronation or flat feet. If you run less and don�t have problems, you can spend less. If you have some problems, you�ll want to spend a little more because you�ll need some extra features, like heavy-duty motion control shoes. If you�re just starting out, don�t have major problems and don�t know if you�ll stick with running, start with an entry-level shoe priced around $70.

    Better running shoes are priced at $80 to $95. Above $95, you�re looking at shoes with top-end cushioning, better materials (more breathable, durable, waterproof) and unique lacing systems. If you don�t run that much, or won�t be running outdoors, you don�t need to spend this much. If you get hooked on running, you may want more durable shoes with fancier lacing systems.

    You can spend less than $70, but Fleming warns that since most specialty stores don�t go that low in price, you may not get the service and advice and could end up buying the wrong type of shoe, which could lead to injuries. Many people find a brand that works well with their feet and stick with it. Some people want a certain brand because they�re popular or they like the look. Fleming urges you to buy with an open mind. �Every brand has a different fit. For example, Saucony is popular with women because of the narrow heel and wider forefoot. Nike is popular with people with narrow feet � but there are variations within brands. I like to suggest they try a couple more, to make sure it�s the right shoe.�


    Replacing shoes at the right time is just as critical as buying the right pair. The rule of thumb is that shoes last for about 500 miles. But some people run �very light� while others may not. That means that two people using the same make of shoe may get anywhere from 350 to 500 miles out of that pair. Indications that it�s time to replace your shoes include:

    • Large creases on the midsole.
    • Knee or quadriceps (front thigh) pain, or if you�re developing lower leg pains you haven�t experienced before.
    • If you get a new shoe and after four months you start to get knee pain or old injuries flair up, that�s a good sign that your shoes are starting to wear.

    Buy your new shoes about three weeks before you get rid of your old ones, and switch off between the two to break the new ones in. If you�re a serious runner, it�s good to have two pairs and alternate between them to extend shoe life. And remember: Wearing your running shoes as a casual walking shoe breaks the shoe down quickly. Consider wearing a different pair of shoes for day-to-day casual use.

    Want more information on running and shoes? Check out the Runner�s World Web site. You�ll find shoe reviews and advice on how to determine what type of shoe you need and what kind of foot you have. You�ll find loads of information on training and stretching, too, as well as the latest news in the world of running.

    If you don�t have a quality running store nearby, nearly every major shoe company has a Web site, as well as links to retail outlets. Also check out Road Runner Sports, a retail web site that offers discounted shoes and advice on how to pick out the right shoe.


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