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For March 23, 2019

  • Alcohol Can Add Inches and Pounds
    Alcohol Can Add Inches and Pounds

    Nutrition Notes Discusses the Alcohol-Weight Connection

    (MSNBC Health, October 1st 1999, By Karen Collins, R.D.) � While we often think of alcoholics as skinny, recent research suggests that for most people alcohol adds inches around the waist. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that people served alcohol before a meal ate more than subjects given nonalcoholic drinks.

    IN A study of 52 men and women of various body sizes, subjects were all served the same food at a weekly lunch, but allowed to eat as much as they wanted. When they were served beer or wine before lunch, they ate more than when they were given juice, water or other nonalcoholic drinks. After drinking alcohol, people ate faster, longer and had a greater tendency to continue eating after their hunger was already satisfied.


    Studies have found that when people eat more food at one point in the day, they normally compensate by eating a little less than usual later on. In this study, that didn�t happen. Subjects took in about their usual number of calories through the rest of the day, making their total calorie intake higher on the days they drank alcohol before a meal. The study didn�t last long enough to see whether these extra calories would cause weight gain. If this habit were continued on a regular basis, however, weight gain would not be surprising.

    This recent study is supported by a variety of other reports linking alcohol with increased calorie consumption. Researcher Richard Mattes of Purdue University reported that people do not compensate for the extra calories in alcohol by eating less. In fact, they actually tend to eat more. In a review of 42 studies on this subject, Mattes found that in addition to the increase in calorie intake from alcohol itself, food intake increased by an average of 84 percent of the calories consumed as alcohol.

    Does just a drink or two seem too inconsequential to really make a difference in your weight? If you were to drink two 5-ounce glasses of dry wine each day, that would amount to an extra 73,000 calories per year, and a probable yearly weight gain of about 20 pounds. Two cans of beer daily could likewise amount to an extra 109,500 calories and 31 pounds of weight gain per year.


    A study in France found that even without weight gain, increased alcohol consumption was linked with increased waist girth. This is a concern since a large body of research suggests that extra weight distributed around the waist may pose special health risk.

    In weighing the pros and cons of alcohol, research on the impact of alcohol on eating is strong enough to become part of the equation. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be limited to no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two standard drinks per day for men because excess alcohol has been linked with increased risk of some cancers.

    Karen Collins is a registered dietitian with the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

  • Study Gives Overweight Adults Hope For Health
    Study Gives Overweight Adults Hope For Health

    For years, being overweight was among the worst health stigmas � and with good reason. To be obese � medically classified as being at least 20 percent above your �ideal� body weight � was associated with a lack of self-discipline, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. It was considered �common knowledge� that extra poundage � plain and simple � would always lead to an early grave.

    But does it?

    While being overweight is certainly a health risk, a recent study suggests that the odds of dying of cardiovascular disease may be linked more closely to fitness than to fatness. In the March 1999 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers report that overweight men who were physically fit (as measured by performance on a treadmill) were less likely to die of all causes, including heart disease, than men who were lean but unfit.

    �Overall, it�s better to be lean than to be fat, because fatness is still an independent risk factor for cardiac disease as well as many other diseases,� says Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at its Bayview Medical Center. �But among those who are fat, the handful who are fit seem to have a good degree of protection from death from various causes.�

    Specifically, the study followed nearly 22,000 men aged 30 to 83 years for an average of eight years. They were broadly categorized by cardiovascular fitness level (fit or unfit) and body weight (lean, normal or obese). Regardless of their body weight, those who were fit had lower death rates. In fact, unfit lean men had more than twice the risk of dying of all causes than obese men who were physically fit.

    The results of this study are encouraging for those who exercise regularly and achieve fitness, but are still overweight. Although body weight is determined mainly by how much you eat and exercise, genetics can play a part. Some people will never be thin, even if they exercise daily. Nevertheless, these people will still be better off in terms of better health, a better quality of life and a lowered risk of death.

  • Exercise Your Right to be Flexible
    Exercise Your Right to be Flexible

    Reach For Your Health!

    (PHYS, September 1999) � When it comes to fitness regimens, stretching usually comes in a distant third � behind aerobics and strength training � probably because it isn't directly associated with weight loss or dramatic changes in appearance. Yet without a good stretch, all your hard work at the gym would not be complete. Stretching before and after physical activity will not only help prevent injury, but can also improve sports performance by increasing your range of motion and improving your coordination.

    Even if you aren't going to get a full workout, spending twenty minutes a day stretching can have a wonderful effect on your general well-being. Stretching now will also help you avoid some of the unpleasant hallmarks of aging, such as decreased flexibility, poor balance and stiff joints. Regular stretching will free your body of muscular tension, improve circulation and enhance muscle tone. Best of all, stretching makes you feel good.

    Before you begin stretching, read the tips below to learn how to get the most from your exercise.

    Stretching Do's and Don'ts:

    • Stretch as often as you can � three to five times a week is recommended.
    • Remember to stretch after you work out. Many people think stretching is only necessary before exercise, but stretching afterwards is essential to avoid cramping, tightness and reduced range of motion.
    • Warm up for three to five minutes prior to stretching. A warm-up is any continuous movement that increases your body's core temperature, such as going up and down the stairs a few times or riding a stationary bike.
    • Breathe slowly and deeply throughout each stretch. Calm breathing will help relax you and your muscles and facilitate safe, effective stretching.
    • Focus on the muscles being stretched and hold each stretch for at least ten to thirty seconds, or five to six full breaths. Repeat each stretch three to five times.
    • Don't bounce. Bouncing can force the joints past their natural range of motion, causing sprains of the ligaments or tendons. Instead, focus on stretching to a point where you feel a mild tension. If the tension goes away after ten to thirty seconds of holding the stretch, adjust your body ever so slightly until you feel a mild tension again, and hold for ten to thirty seconds.
    • Most importantly, stretching should feel good. Never go beyond the point of feeling a mild tension in your muscles. If the tension is uncomfortable, you are overstretching and should ease up slightly.
  • 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.

  • Obesity Can Cut Your Life Short: Study
    Obesity Can Cut Your Life Short: Study

    But black women are exceptions to the trend

    (MSNBC Health BOSTON, October 6th 1999) � A study of more than 1 million Americans provides the most convincing evidence yet that simply being overweight can cut your life short.

    THE STUDY, the largest ever done on obesity and mortality, found that overweight people run a higher rate of premature death. And this was true even among people who didn�t smoke and were otherwise healthy during their middle years. The study, conducted by the American Cancer Society and published in Thursday�s New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed earlier research showing that heavier people face a higher risk of death, but also found that the trend did not apply to black women.


    �The evidence is now compelling and irrefutable,� said Dr. JoAnn Manson, a Harvard University endocrinologist and preventive-health specialist. �Obesity is probably the second-leading preventable cause of death in the United States after cigarette smoking, so it is a very serious problem.� The study found an especially clear association between excess weight and a higher risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. And unlike a similar study last year that suggested being overweight is less of a problem as people grow older, this study found many more deaths among overweight people of all ages, especially those over 75.

    More adults and children are overweight than ever before, with 55 percent of American adults weighing more than they should � 150 pounds and up for a 5-foot-5 woman and 174 pounds for a 5-foot-10 man. �The message is we�re too fat and it�s killing us. We need to come up with ways as a society to eat less and exercise more,� said American Cancer Society epidemiologist Eugenia Calle, lead author of the study.

    Manson said, �It�s going to take a coordinated campaign to turn this around, at the community level, at the environmental level, with changes in the food industry and marketing industry, having more bike paths and sidewalks.�


    Black women were found to be the only exceptions to the rule. The study found the most obese black women did not have a significantly higher risk of premature death than slender black women. That poses a fascinating scientific riddle, said June Stevens, a University of North Carolina professor of nutrition. �Although I had seen this in several other studies, I wasn�t ready to believe it was true,� she said. �Now I�m thinking maybe this is true, and we need to figure out why.�

    Still, Stevens and Manson said the study probably understates the risks of obesity for black women. They pointed out that slender, non-smoking black women have a higher risk of death to begin with than their white counterparts, probably because they have less access to health care than white women and more undetected disease. That makes it appear that weight alone doesn�t play a big role in death rates among black women. �It would be really unfortunate if we became more complacent about obesity in blacks than in whites,� Manson said.


    The researchers studied 201,000 U.S. adults who participated in the national Cancer Prevention Study II from 1982 through 1996. The researchers calculated each subject�s body mass index, or BMI, a ratio of weight to height, and tracked them for age and cause of death. The results were adjusted for age, education, physical activity, alcohol use, marital status, use of aspirin as a blood-thinner, consumption of fats and vegetables and use of estrogen supplements.

    Among healthy, non-smoking white men and women and black men, the researchers found a gradually increasing risk of death beginning with a BMI of 25, which is 150 pounds for a 5-foot-5 woman and 174 pounds for a 5-foot-10 man. The heaviest white men had a death rate that was 158 percent higher than the rate for men overall who were not overweight, and the rate among black men was 35 percent higher. Among the heaviest white women, the death rate was 100 percent higher.

    The lowest death rates were among men with a body-mass index of 22.0 to 26.4 and among women with an index from 20.5 to 24.9. For a 5-foot-10-inch man, that translates to a weight range of 150 to 180 pounds. For a 5-foot-2-inch woman , the weight range would be 109 to 133 pounds. The more a person�s weight deviated from that range, the higher the death rate.

    The research also found that being too lean can increase the risk of an early death, especially from heart disease. But it was not clear whether their low weight was a cause or an effect of disease.

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

  • Stress management.
    Stress management.

    When you're in stressful situations, be they physical, mental, or emotional, your adrenal glands secrete special hormones to help you through the stress. These hormones include epinephrine (also called adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. They prepare your body to handle stress by speeding up the heart to increase cardiac output, constricting blood vessels to the gut while enlarging those to the muscles, and dilating pupils dilate to give us a better look at whatever we're confronting. They stimulate the liver to release its glucose stores for quick energy. Fat depots are induced to liberate free fatty acids for fuel. Stress hormone release produces a heightened state of awareness which helps us think more clearly and quickly.

    The good thing about these hormones is the way they prepare the body to run away from danger. The potential bad effect is that many normal body functions are subverted in order to meet the demands of flight. Under stress, the body requires extra energy in order to meet these demands. Amino acids that are supposed to be used for tissue growth and repair can be burned as one source of energy.

    If the stress is emotional rather as well as physical, you have a medical time bomb. With constant stress, there is a constant perversion or re-routing of amino acids. Instead of supplying fresh material to grow hair, make antibodies, and rebuild heart muscle, amino acids are removed from tissues, travel to the liver, then go to muscles to be burned up as flight fuel.

    A heart attack in someone under constant stress is more likely to be lethal. Invading bacteria from a cut are less likely to be mopped up by the white blood cells. The immune system is less hardy. Muscle wasting is more likely. People, training hard for athletics, are more likely to tip over into the overtraining syndrome.

    What we need is a drug that will encourage our adrenal glands to make more stress hormone when we really need them, but none for the routine occurrences that we perceive as stressful. You will be pleased to know that such a drug is available although it has not been sanctioned by the American Medical Association, released by the Food and Drug Administration, or approved by the surgeon general. The drug is called exercise and you don't need anyone's permission to use it.


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