Making the Case for Eating Fruit By SOPHIE EGAN

20130801-062848.jpg

Experts agree that we are eating too much sugar, which is contributing to obesity and other health problems. But in the rush to avoid sugar, many low-carb dieters and others are avoiding fruits. But fresh fruit should not become a casualty in the sugar wars, many nutrition experts say.

Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that sugar consumed in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat. In a recent perspective piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association, he cited observational studies that showed that increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.

Whole fruits, he explained, contain a bounty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients, and their cellular scaffolding, made of fiber, makes us feel full and provides other metabolic benefits. When you bite into an apple, for example, the fruit’s fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose, the main sugar in most fruits. But fiber is not the full story.

“You can’t just take an 8-ounce glass of cola and add a serving of Metamucil and create a health food,” Dr. Ludwig said. “Even though the fructose-to-fiber ratio might be the same as an apple, the biological effects would be much different.”

Fiber provides “its greatest benefit when the cell walls that contain it remain intact,” he said. Sugars are effectively sequestered in the fruit’s cells, he explained, and it takes time for the digestive tract to break down those cells. The sugars therefore enter the bloodstream slowly, giving the liver more time to metabolize them. Four apples may contain the same amount of sugar as 24 ounces of soda, but the slow rate of absorption minimizes any surge in blood sugar. Repeated surges in blood sugar make the pancreas work harder and can contribute to insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes.

“If we take a nutrient-centric approach, just looking at sugar grams on the label, none of this is evident,” Dr. Ludwig said. “So it really requires a whole foods view.”

Read more here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/making-the-case-for-eating-fruit/?_r=1&

Are You at Risk for Silent Heart Disease? by: Cindy Kuzma

20130724-065055.jpg

Better rush to shrink that gut. The more years of young adulthood you spend obese, the greater your risk of coronary artery calcification—early, “silent” heart disease with no symptoms—in middle age, says a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In fact, each extra year of obesity between ages 18 and 30 boosts your risk by 2 to 4 percent. Though you don’t notice it, the calcification predicts your risk of future heart problems.

“While 2 to 4 percent per year doesn’t seem very high, this risk adds up over many years and therefore becomes more and more substantial over time,” says study author Jared P. Reis, Ph.D.

Read the rest here: http://news.menshealth.com/are-you-at-risk-for-silent-heart-disease/2013/07/23/

The Skinny on Losing Weight While Fattening Your Wallet by Angela Brandt

20130723-204517.jpg

While the thought of squeezing into a bikini or taking your shirt off at the pool might be enough to prompt some review of the extra pounds you’re carrying around, the impact that being overweight has on your pocketbook is an even better reason.

Obese and overweight people have higher living expenses. To compound the problem, heavier women tend to earn less than slimmer counterparts. Also, being overweight can contribute to higher health care and insurance costs.

Losing pounds could easily save you hundreds — even thousands – of dollars. That should halt any rationalizing that you’re too broke to get fit.

Most of us know what it takes to lose weight: Train, say your prayers, take your vitamins — wait, those are Hulk Hogan’s words. Exercise and proper nutrition are a good start, though.

I’m not fat – I’m big-boned
Odds are you’re overweight. That’s not an insult – just a fact. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 69 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.

Even more startling: If the current trajectory continues, 50 percent of us will be obese by 2030.

If there’s any question if you’re normal, overweight or obese, enter your weight and height here.

Underweight — BMI is less than 18.5.
Normal weight — BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
Overweight — BMI is 25 to 29.9.
Obese — BMI is 30 or more.

Now that you have your body mass index number, let’s do a little math regarding tonight’s dinner.

I can’t afford to eat healthy

Read more at http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/07/23/the-skinny-on-losing-weight-while-fattening-your-wallet/#7vbgMDZWvXzxb5v3.99

Bad’ carbs stimulate brain region involved in addiction – by Sharon Kirkey

20130630-095559.jpg

Boston Children’s Hospital researchers who scanned the brains of men after they drank milkshakes containing rapidly digesting, highly processed carbohydrates found the men experienced a surge in blood sugar followed by a sharp and sudden crash four hours later.

That plummet in blood sugar activated a powerful hunger signal and stimulated the brain region considered ground zero for addictive behaviour.

“We showed for the first time that refined carbohydrates can trigger food cravings many hours later, not through psychological mechanisms — a favourite food is just so tasty, you need to keep eating — but through biological effects” on the brain, said lead author Dr. David Ludwig.

The study was small and focused exclusively on men. As well, the notion of food addiction is highly controversial and “vigorously debated,” the team writes.

Still, the findings suggest that limiting foods high in highly processed, “high glycemic index” carbs such as white breads, white bagels, white rice, potatoes and concentrated sugars could help overweight and obese people control the urge to overeat, they said.

The research was inspired by the work of renowned University of Toronto researcher Dr. David Jenkins, who, in 1981, together with colleagues, first proposed the concept of the glycemic index — a measure of how fast, and by how much, foods raise blood sugar and insulin levels.

In the new study, the Boston team wondered whether the sudden rapid surge then crash in blood sugar from eating high GI foods could directly affect the brain.

“Overweight people, by definition, overeat. They’re consuming too many calories to keep themselves at a healthy body weight,” said Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Despite many people’s best efforts they’re unable to stick to a reduced calorie diet over the long-term,” he said. People tend to regain whatever weight they lost, “and then some,” after six months or a year.

“We wondered whether that could, in part, be driven by changes in brain function caused by refined carbohydrates.”

Earlier studies have shown that tasty, high-calorie foods can trigger the pleasure centre in the brain, raising the notion of “food addiction.”

But Ludwig said those studies typically compared “grossly different foods,” such as cheesecake versus boiled vegetables.

His team performed functional MRI brain scans — machines that capture the brain at work in real-time — on 12 overweight or obese men aged 18 to 35 after they consumed two liquid test meals that looked and tasted identical, and contained the same amounts of calories and carbohydrates.

The only difference was that one shake contained fast-digesting, high-GI carbs, the other slow-digesting carbs.

After the high GI liquid meal, blood sugar surged initially, but then crashed four hours later. The men not only reported greater hunger, their MRI scans also showed intense activation in the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain involved in reward and craving.

“Humans need food to survive,” Ludwig said. “But in the last few decades, our food supply has been transformed by highly-processed, hyper-palatable food products.” As a result, the glycemic load of the typical diet has risen substantially, he said.

“Our research suggests that some of these foods might hijack the reward systems of the brain and produce symptoms related to addiction.”

The study appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Currently, about 62 per cent of the Canadian adult population is overweight, and the heaviest weight classes are growing the fastest.

skirkey@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/sharon_kirkey

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/touch/story.html?id=8598082

Top 10 Fitness Trends in 2013

The top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2013 are:

1.Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals: This claimed the top spot in 2013 for the sixth consecutive year. Fully accredited education and certification programs for health/fitness professionals are on the rise.

2.Strength training: Remaining in the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row, this trend is important for men, women, young and old to improve or maintain strength.

3.Body weight training: This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey. Body weight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable.

4.Children and obesity: With nearly 1 in 3 children ages 10-17 considered overweight or obese, childhood obesity continues to be a serious public health problem. A growing number of commercial and community-based programs are teaming up with schools to fight the obesity epidemic.

5.Exercise and weight loss: Incorporating diet and exercise is of growing interest among fitness professionals. More fitness programs are offering everything from meal planning to onsite nutritionists to regular lessons on nutrition.

6.Fitness programs for older adults: The baby boom generation is growing older and living longer. With this group typically having more discretionary money and time than others, fitness programs for older adults will remain a strong trend for 2013.

7.Personal training: As more professional personal trainers become certified, they are more accessible and available in a wide variety of settings from corporate wellness programs to community-based programs to medical fitness programs.

8.Functional fitness: Functional fitness uses strength training to improve balance, coordination and endurance so participants can do their daily activities without stress. Often, this program is created for older adults.

9.Core training: Core training stresses strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, thorax and back. It typically includes exercises of the hips, lower back and abdomen, all of which provide support for the spine and thorax.

10.Group personal training: This trend, fueled by the economic downturn, allows the personal trainer to provide individualized service catered to groups of two to four people. This allows groups to have a discounted rate, while still giving the trainer a full schedule of clients.

SOURCE: American College of Sports Medicine annual survey completed by 3,346 health and fitness professionals worldwide.

http://www.natureshealingfoods.com/the-blog/13-exercise-weight-loss/100-top-10-fitness-trends-getting-back-to-basics.html