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For October 27, 2016

  • Does Blood Type Affect Diet Choices?
    Does Blood Type Affect Diet Choices?

    December 16, 1999

    The Medical Tribune

    Q: Does a person's blood type indicate the type of diet he or she should follow?

    A: No. You may have heard of a diet based on the idea that blood type indicates whether your genetic ancestors were hunters, farmers or nomads. This in turn tells you whether you should eat meat, chicken, dairy foods, etc. Supposedly, eating appropriately for your blood type helps control weight while preventing cancer and other health problems. Although reports of such a diet may include vague references to someone's "research," no research supporting such claims has appeared in a scientific journal where it could be reviewed by experts.

    Any weight loss that results from such a diet is probably due to the menus prescribed by the diet. These menus often contain calorie levels that are quite low, and many foods are restricted. Most experts agree that long-term weight control is best achieved by unrestricted access to a variety of foods, with emphasis on portion control, nutritional balance and regular exercise.

    As for cancer prevention, a landmark report from the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans is the best approach.

    Copyright 1999 Medical PressCorps News Service. All rights reserved.

  • 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.

  • The Supermeal
    The Supermeal

    Remember how Mom always used to warn you "Skip breakfast and you're asking for a tidal wave of neuropeptide Y two hours after lunch"? Okay, maybe she didn't put it so technically. But she undoubtedly said that breakfast is the most critical meal of the day.

    Nutrition researchers, of course, reached the same conclusion long ago. Skipping breakfast, they found, can slow your metabolic rate. In fact, studies from the Mayo Clinic show that breakfast eaters burn up to 150 more calories per day than do those people who don't eat breakfast. Also, "eating breakfast is a good way to short-circuit after-lunch cravings," says Dr. Wayne Callaway, a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic. Researchers have found that when underfed lab rats are finally given a meal, levels of neuropeptide Y -- the neurotransmitter that triggers the snacking impulse -- skyrocket, causing the animals to binge even though they're full. And studies of schoolkids have shown that skipping breakfast can turn your thinking to mush. Breakfast truly is, as the Zulus call it, indlakusasa, or the "strength meal." Here are some simple ways to maximize its benefits.

    Follow the 25 percent rule. Breakfast should account for at least a quarter of your daily calories, says Callaway. Some men do better by dividing the day's allotment into thirds, while others prefer a breakfast-lunch-dinner ratio of 30-40-30. No matter which pattern works best for you, he says, if you can adhere to it for three weeks, your appetite will naturally "lock on" to the routine. How much food are we talking about? Consider this example: If a 30-year-old man weighs 160 pounds, stands 5 foot 10, and works out regularly, he'll burn about 2,640 calories a day. He could eat 2 pieces of whole-grain toast with a teaspoon of margarine and 2 tablespoons of honey (322 calories); 1 cup of Wheaties with a half-cup of skim milk (144 calories); 5 strips of bacon (163 calories); 1 banana (116 calories); 1 cup of coffee with whole milk (20 calories); and 4 ounces of orange juice (56 calories). The total: 821 calories, or 31 percent of his daily fuel requirement.

    Eat carbs first. When you sleep, your body is in a fasting state; to fuel metabolism and brain function, it uses carbohydrates stored as glycogen. So when you wake up, "your body still has plenty of fat to burn, but what you don't have is very many carbohydrates," explains James Hill, Ph.D., the associate director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado in Denver. Refuel with a breakfast that is high in carbohydrates -- whole-grain cereal and toast or a bagel, plus a piece of fruit. Choose whole grains. High-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates contain more nutrients than refined, processed ones do, and they'll make you feel fuller for longer periods. Select whole-wheat toast, hot oatmeal, or a cold cereal, such as bran flakes or shredded wheat, with at least five grams of fiber per serving.

    Have some java. Caffeine increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters involved in mental acuity, says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a cognitive-science researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wurtman, the author of Managing Your Mind & Mood Through Food, calls caffeinated beverages "probably the most potent mind-alerting component of breakfast." Just a cup or two should do the trick.

    Catch a protein lift. Wurtman believes that a breakfast delivering at least an ounce of protein can enhance mental function by providing the brain with tyrosine, a chemical necessary for alertness. You can get that from one cup of yogurt or from a two-egg omelet.

    By: Jim Thornton

    Originally featured in Men's Journal

  • Snack Your Way to Better Health
    Snack Your Way to Better Health

    Snacking Well May Slow Aging

    (Prevention, September 1999) � Do you love to snack? That could pay off as you grow older. According to a recent study done at Tufts University in Boston, when healthy older women (average age 72) ate meals of 250, 500, and 1,000 calories, only after the 250-calorie "snack" did their blood sugar and insulin do what they're supposed to do -- rise, and then return rapidly to normal. But after even moderate 500- and 1,000-calorie meals, blood sugar and insulin stayed high for up to 5 hours. (In young women, those levels quickly returned to normal.)

    Does it matter? Yes. Experts think high blood sugar may set the stage for damage to collagen and DNA, which could accelerate signs of aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, and cataracts. High insulin is a known risk factor for heart disease.

    What you can do: Instead of eating three regular meals, or a light breakfast and lunch and a big dinner, enjoy five to seven minimeals of about 250 calories throughout your day. Though we need more studies, this could give women a new weapon against aging. And men? So far, they're untested (Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, July 1998).

    Here are some good, healthy examples of minimeals (On a 1,500-calorie diet, you can enjoy six minimeals such as these):

    7:30 am
    1 c raisin bran
    1 c skim milk
    hot tea
    250 cal

    9:30 am
    1 c orange juice with calcium
    1/2 whole wheat bagel
    2 tsp light cream cheese
    250 cal

    12:30 PM
    veggie burger
    whole wheat hamburger roll
    1 Tbsp. mustard
    10 sweet red pepper strips
    sliced tomatoes, lettuce
    250 cal

    3:30 PM
    1 c instant lentil soup
    220 cal

    6:30 PM
    dinner salad:
    1 c bulgur
    2 c mixed veggies
    2 Tbsp. vinaigrette dressing
    270 cal

    9:30 PM
    1.5 oz reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
    1 sheet rye crispbread
    255 cal
  • 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.

  • Does It Matter When I Exercise?
    Does It Matter When I Exercise?

    (MSNBC) It�s true that studies have suggested the body functions more efficiently at different times of the day. Some reports, for instance, have shown that the body�s processes are slowest in the morning. Others have found that in the afternoon, strength and aerobic capacity are greatest, suggesting that it might be best to exercise at this time.

    However, there are two basic principles to exercise that are even more important: If you�re both consistent and patient with your training, you�ll reap the benefits, says Joel Friel, author of �The Cyclist�s Training Bible� and �The Triathlete�s Training Bible.�

    Friel, an exercise science expert, points out that studies done in the past several years have shown that important aspects of a person�s workout are not affected by time of day, such as how long you can go before exhaustion. Perceived effort remains the same throughout the day, too, meaning a workout doesn�t feel harder in the evening than it would in the morning.

    Other factors play a part as well. Pollution is heavier in the afternoon, which may affect your breathing. So running, cycling and other outdoor activities done in the early morning or after the evening rush hour may be better. The hot afternoon sun may also be a factor that makes early morning or evening exercise a better choice.

    The bottom line, says Friel, is that it�s most important to find what time of day works best for you and to commit to a fitness routine. So if exercising at night works best because you work full-time, stick with it.


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