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For May 29, 2020

  • Fat Loss in a Bottle
    Fat Loss in a Bottle

    Here are some nutritional supplements on the market that can help your weight-loss process along.

    Originally featured in: Men's Fitness May, 1999

    It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but thermogenesis could be the secret to losing your love handles.

    Literally meaning "the creation of heat," it involves cranking up the calorie- and fat-burning processes in your body. While exercise and diet are the keys, many of us are genetically limited as to how much fat we can burn.

    This is where modern science comes to the rescue: There are nutritional supplements on the market that can help the process along. The products discussed below won't work without a sound weight program and plenty of cardio, but they might be worth a try.

    Citrus aurantium

    This fruit, also called "bitter orange," contains a naturally occurring fat-burner called synephrine. Citrus aurantium can increase your body's ability to burn fat and may exert a mild hunger-suppressant effect. It has only recently been introduced in supplement form and should be widely available toward the end of the year.

    "Citrus aurantium is the ideal fat-loss aid for guys who have plateaued in their workout programs," says Douglas Kalman, RD, director of clinical research at Peak Wellness, a Greenwich, Connecticut�based health-care facility. The latest study performed at Peak Wellness on citrus aurantium showed no signs of potential side effects. Stay tuned.

    7-keto DHEA

    You've probably heard of DHEA, a hormone-replacement therapy that some guys use to gain muscle mass and lose body fat. Unfortunately, DHEA is not very effective in guys under 35, and it's associated with some nasty side effects, including prostate enlargement, acne and premature baldness.

    Earlier this year, an altered version of DHEA was introduced. It's called 7-keto DHEA, and research indicates that it works by preventing your metabolic rate from dropping when you're on a calorie-restrictive diet.

    Kalman believes 7-keto holds great promise. "When individuals diet to lose body fat, their progress stops after a period of a few weeks," he says. "This version of DHEA can prevent this without the hormone-like side effects."

    Caffeine and ephedra

    These two controversial stimulants are thermogenic on their own but have an even greater effect on fat loss when combined. They are added to several ready-made drinks or pills found in health-food stores, sometimes referred to by their respective herbal names, guarana and ma huang.

    The problem, again, is side effects. Overuse of caffeine and ephedra has been associated with increased heart rate, insomnia, nervousness and even death. "Scientific studies have shown that [the combination] works, but I'm not crazy about the potential for side effects," Kalman says. If you're on antidepressant medication, ephedra is not an option.


    A recent study demonstrated that as little as 6 grams of pyruvate per day can enhance fat loss and increase muscle mass in guys who exercise regularly and follow a reasonably low-fat diet.

    "I like this one because it basically has no side effects, it's all natural, and data shows pyruvate can not only effect fat loss, but can make you exercise harder and longer," says Kalman.


    Yohimbine is a natural substance derived from the bark of two African trees. It is a potent vasodilator that first became popular because it increases the blood supply to the penis. In fact, yohimbine was the pre-Viagra impotence treatment for millions of men around the world.

    Yohimbine also increases levels of norepinephrine, which has a marked effect on fat utilization by the body. However, it may cause stimulatory-type reactions such as dizziness, irritability, headaches, anxiety and increased heart rate.

    "The side effects are pretty common," says Kalman. "Also, it can have negative interactions with antidepressant medications." If yohimbine strikes your fancy, stick to the prescription brand Yocon, or make sure over-the-counter varieties declare that they are standardized for yohimbine activity. Ask your doctor before trying it.

  • Headaches: Your Nutrition Prescription
    Headaches: Your Nutrition Prescription

    (Phys, August 1999) - Eliminating tyramine-containing foods is the first line of treatment for migraine headaches. If headaches persist after following a tyramine-free diet, then other foods thought to aggravate the condition should be eliminated one at a time to determine the source of the problem. This type of elimination diet should be monitored closely by a physician and/or a dietitian.

    For other headaches, you should avoid CAFFEINE-containing beverages, alcohol, and tobacco smoke; eat frequent, small, NUTRIENT-dense meals throughout the day; and obtain regular and adequate sleep. Finally, effective coping skills are also helpful to reduce the stress associated with headaches. Make sure your diet contains at least recommended dietary allowance levels of all VITAMINS and MINERALS. chronic trouble with headaches should be reviewed by a physician.

    Additional information on services and educational materials can be obtained from the National Headache Foundation (www.headaches.org) and the American Council for Headache Education (ACHE) (www.achenet.org).

  • Can Diet Spot-Reduce Bodyfat
    Can Diet Spot-Reduce Bodyfat
    Originally featured in: Muscle & Fitness

    Written by: Jose Antonio, PhD, CSCS, Adjunct Health & Science Editor

    Should we eat more fat or not? Numerous books tout the benefits of eating more fat, particularly monounsaturated fat; others claim that fat is the archenemy of a lean physique. The answer really depends on your goals. Read on to see what I mean.

    In a study conducted at the University of Melbourne, Australia, researchers examined the effects of a fiber-rich, high-carbohydrate, low-fat (HCLF) diet and what they called a modified-fat (MF) diet high in monounsaturated fat on the distribution of bodyfat in 16 non-insulin-dependent diabetics (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or NIDDM).

    The most common type of diabetes, NIDDM is characterized by impaired insulin action. That is, these diabetics usually don't have a problem with insulin production, but the insulin they do produce doesn't seem to cause the appropriate response in peripheral tissues. For instance, they have difficulty transporting glucose in the blood to skeletal muscle.

    So what problems are related to NIDDM? Because it's associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, it obviously needs to be managed. You can decrease this risk in two fundamental ways - yep, diet and exercise.

    Dietary Recommendations
    In this study, the six male and 10 female subjects were prescribed two three-month diets with a one-month washout period in between. Both diets contained the same number of calories but differed in macronutrient content. The HCLF diet included 50% of daily calories from carbohydrate, 25% from protein, 24% from fat and 1% from alcohol; the MF diet included 41% of daily calories from carbohydrate, 22% from protein, 36% from fat and 1% from alcohol. About 50% of the fat supplied in the MF diet came from monounsaturated sources (such as olive oil). Both diets were low in cholesterol.

    Interestingly, both groups lost nearly identical amounts of fat, with slight but insignificant losses of lean body mass despite the marked difference in amount and type of fat consumed. This agrees with the idea that the caloric deficit, not the composition of those calories, is the important factor affecting fat or weight loss.

    Yet the picture isn't that simple. The HCLF group lost most of its fat in the lower body (legs and glutes) while the MF group lost the same relative amounts of fat from both the upper and lower body. The ratio of upper- to lower-body fat changing toward a greater distribution of fat in the upper body (including the abdomen) in the HCLF group is important because increased levels of abdominal fat seem to be more problematic with regard to cardiovascular disease and insulin regulation than hip or thigh fat.

    So does this mean you should start eating more fat?

    Well, if you're a non-insulin-dependent diabetic who doesn't exercise, perhaps you should follow the MF diet suggested in this experiment. But people who do exercise, especially bodybuilders, may not have a problem with insulin regulation. In fact, their muscles are typically quite insulin-sensitive. Following a diet that's high in fat (more than 30% of daily calories) certainly isn't needed to help regulate levels of bodyfat, since truncal obesity isn't a major problem with bodybuilders or athletes in general.

    Eating to lose weight is much different from eating to gain muscle mass. Bodybuilders should consume adequate carbs (to replenish muscle glycogen used during exercise) and protein (to provide the necessary building blocks for muscle growth), but do they need the added fat? I think not. Yes, bodybuilders attempting to gain mass need to consume calories above that needed to maintain weight.

    That is, to gain weight, you need to get those extra amino acids and glycogen from your diet. Of course, using androgenic steroids, insulinlike growth factor-1, growth hormone or other anabolic substances changes the entire equation. If you're training drug-free, however, you need to consume calories in excess of your daily expenditure to gain weight.

    Yet you could speculate on some interesting points concerning this study. Looking at weight loss in a normal, nondiabetic person, let's assume that this individual is cutting calories to lose weight (mostly fat, presumably). Let's continue to assume that a diet made up of predominantly more fat, especially monounsaturated fat, leads to a proportional loss of fat from both the upper and lower body, and that this same individual could lose proportionately more fat from the lower body as a result of a low-fat, high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet.

    This has interesting implications for women who typically have a difficult time losing lower-body fat. Would the high-carb, low-fat diet be a better choice? What about men who may have more difficulty losing upper-body fat? Would they be better off eating a reduced-calorie diet that's relatively high in fat and lower in carbs? The idea is intriguing: Specific diet plans for regional fat loss!

    Nonetheless, keep in mind that diet should be tailored for very specific purposes and for specific populations. Don't give the bodybuilder a diet that's good for the diabetic, and don't give the endurance athlete a diet that more closely meets the needs of the strength-power athlete. Perhaps men and women will respond differently, as well. One diet, like one shoe size, doesn't fit all.

  • Fat in America
    Fat in America

    �Breaking Bioethics� on our expanding waistline

    (By Glenn McGee, Ph.D. SPECIAL TO MSNBC) � Aug. 25 � It is always diet season in America, always time to squeeze into a dress or swimsuit. Americans are more overweight than any people of the world, and infinitely more obsessed about it. Ads for liposuction clinics keep local magazines afloat. And everyone knows someone who takes a diet drug, or who took fen-phen, or who abuses diet, herbs, exercise or laxatives in pursuit of a better body.

    MEN TOO are dieting in record numbers to meet an ever-more-fit male standard for health. And recent studies reveal that even young American children experience the throes of anorexia and bulimia, and more and more parents worry early about the fat baby. Discrimination against the obese has been documented so many times that litigation for it has become commonplace.

    We spend more than $10 billion annually on dieting, which fails to accomplish long-term results more than 99 percent of the time. Imagine a society that spends 300 times more on weight loss than on prenatal care, 1,000 times more on weight loss than on housing the homeless, and 6,000 times more on it than on physical education in our public schools.

    How we see our expanding waistline says a lot about us as a society. Being fat is expensive � food costs money, sedentary behavior is inefficient and reports continually document the long-term health risks of obesity. We could debate the fact that society as a whole supports the health cost of any of our risky behaviors � driving too fast, drinking alcohol, living on hurricane swept coastline. But who among us would pass a sin test for health insurance?


    It is almost the year 2000 in the nation that boldly goes west. We are a people that explore, a people that welcome struggle, a people that think on our feet. We are the society that mastered technology and converted it into products and powers. But, as David Shenk chronicles in his exceptional new book, �The End of Patience: More Notes of Caution on the Information Revolution,� the technologies that seem to liberate us can create their own prison. Our lives are lived through virtual-this and artificial-that. We don�t go west to surf anymore. We do it from the sofa in Jersey. Most Americans get their exercise riding a stationary bicycle � a bike ride that never goes anywhere.

    Philosopher William James said human beings need the �moral equivalent of war.� When we are at peace, we rot. James said we need a struggle against an enemy and an urgent goal to keep us alive. His words inspired F.D.R. to create the CCC, an agency that built much of the nation�s new infrastructure of dams and bridges by putting Americans to work. His words inspired John F. Kennedy, who mentioned them in creating the Peace Corps. It is time for the moral equivalent of war. We are a people whose disease is not our obesity, but our lack of inspiration.


    Ours is a generation of geek heroes, men and women who changed the world by inventing plastic boxes that think for us. The Web you are surfing is the world we have created in their image. We want to live in that world but with the body of Mr. Atlas, the guy who kicks sand on Bill Gates at the beach.

    Get real. Weight loss is a stupid goal for virtually all of the American population. Weight loss has to be a byproduct of a change in the way we see life and living. It is time to put some of our diet money into innovative new ways to flourish that use our bodies and our minds. Our nation needs a new volunteer effort, to clean up the streets and build houses and fight fires and teach little kids to play soccer. The answer is surprisingly simple: advertising. Here�s the ad: LOSE 10 POUNDS NOW WITH UNIQUE HAMMER AND NAIL METHOD. The weight we lose might just be the chip on our shoulder.

    Glenn McGee is an associate director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His most recent book is �Pragmatic Bioethics.�

  • Study to test benefits of DHEA
    Study to test benefits of DHEA

    (MEDICAL TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE, July 27 1999) Researchers are hoping to untangle the truth about DHEA, a controversial supplement available in health-food stores that has been blasted as snake oil by some physicians and heralded as a breakthrough by others.

    DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a steroid hormone that is produced in abundance by the adrenal glands during youth and early adulthood. Production of DHEA starts to decline in the late 20s and dwindles to about 5 to 10 percent of its peak level by the age of 80. Studies have shown that supplemental DHEA may decrease joint pain and fatigue, slow the aging process, bolster the immune system, lift depression and help prevent heart disease, cancer and obesity.

    But many of these studies have been criticized for restricting research to animals, examining only a limited number of participants or failing to compare the results with placebo. Now researchers at the University of California at San Francisco say they hope to present more conclusive evidence of DHEA�s effectiveness, or lack of it, as well as its level of safety.


    Researchers led by Dr. Louann Brizendine, a professor of neuropsychiatry, plan to enroll more than 100 middle-aged and older men and women who will take placebo or DHEA for six months, after which the researchers will evaluate the impact on mood and memory. DHEA and placebo will then be suspended for one month; next, the DHEA group will receive placebo for six months and the placebo group will receive DHEA.

    �We won�t be able to discuss our findings for about a year, but we think our results will have more credibility than some of the earlier studies,� said Janine Marinos, a psychologist who will be testing participants� memory skills.

    Much of the skepticism surrounding DHEA comes from its status as a dietary supplement, an ambiguous classification that frees manufacturers from many of the regulations that products classified as drugs must follow. This means that a dietary supplement�s quality control and advertising claims do not come under the same scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration as prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Many dietary supplements stress the �natural� quality of their products, a description that some doctors believe patients misconstrue as meaning safer and better.

  • Use Sun Screen, Get Skin Cancer?
    Use Sun Screen, Get Skin Cancer?

    Sunscreens give false sense of security

    (MSNBC News, Aug. 3 1999) � In findings that will be debated from the sunny beaches of Maui to the snowy slopes of Aspen, new research shows that high-SPF sunscreens may have a deleterious effect � giving people a false sense of protection and causing them to stay out in the sun longer than they otherwise would.

    IN A NEW study of vacationers aged 18 to 24, those who sun-worshipped using SPF 30 spent 25 percent more time under the rays than those who used SPF 10. A sunscreen�s SPF, or sun-protection factor, indicates its ability to delay sunburn. SPF 30, for example, allows a person to stay in the sun, burn-free, 30-times longer than he or she would using no sunscreen.

    Sunscreens are promoted as a defense against skin cancer, too. However, a number of studies have linked the use of sunscreen with a rise in skin cancer that has occurred over the past few decades. An analysis of 16 epidemiological studies showed that in many cases, the more sunscreen a person used, the higher the chance he or she developed skin cancer, according to Dr. Marianne Berwick, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Epidemiological studies do not show cause and effect, only an association between two or more factors.

    �This does not mean that using sunscreen raises the risk of skin cancer,� she emphasized, � just that people who use a lot of sunscreen may have one or more other characteristics that raise their risk.� In general, the people most likely to consistently use sunscreen are those who are fair-skinned, for example, Berwick said. Such people, who are normally sun sensitive, may start to feel safe under a layer of lotion, she said, exposing themselves to more sun than they should.

    Melanoma cases have doubled in 20 years in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., melanoma diagnoses rose 2.7 percent each year from 1990 to 1996.


    In the new study, researchers led by Dr. Phillipe Autier divided the vacationers into two groups: 42 who were given five tubes of SPF 30 sunscreen, and 44 who were given SPF 10. None knew which SPF he or she had received, and the researchers provided no instructions on how to use the sunscreen. While on vacation, each subject kept a diary on sun exposure and sunscreen use.

    Autier, of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, and colleagues found that while both groups spent about the same amount of time on vacation, the SPF 30 group averaged a total of 72.6 hours in the sun, compared with 58.2 hours in the SPF 10 group. Because the SPF 30 group had greater sun exposure, both groups reported the same number of skin-reddening or sunburn episodes � 159.

    The findings are reported in the August 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Despite the success of sunscreens in reducing skin cancer in animal experiments, they have yet to do the same in the general public, Autier�s team noted.

    In Autier�s study, participants used, on average, only 20 percent of the lotion they received. If they had applied the sunscreen properly, the researchers reported, the subjects would have gone through three to four times that amount. According to Berwick, fair-skinned, blue-eyed and light-haired people are at high risk of skin cancer and should minimize your time in the sun. Darker-skinned people, on the other hand, may be able to enjoy their time in the sun with more impunity than previously believed.


    The best strategy against skin cancer, said Dr. Frank Gasparro of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, is avoidance. �But since we can�t live in caves, coming out only at night, it�s very appealing to put our faith in something that can we can put on our skin.�

    Because childhood sun exposure is the primary risk factor for developing melanoma in adulthood, protecting kids from ultraviolet rays is particularly important, according to Karen Emmons, an associate professor of health and social behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

    Day camps and child-care centers should provide kids with shaded play areas, she said, and parents should make sure children wear hats and avoid intense sunlight as much as possible.

    The Medical Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

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