Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sugar, not just salt, linked to high blood pressure

Here at Jungle Miami, we believe in eating foods as natural as possible.  We eat oranges instead of drinking orange juice.  We eat real meat and not deli meat.  We do this because for the last 40,000 years, this has been our diet; and only in the last hundred or so have we been eating things like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegatable oil, and enriched bleached flour.  We believe that undoing 40,000 years of nutrition has a very bad impact on our health.

Below, is yet another example of how the modern diet may not be the most healthy diet.  Sure, it's easy to drink soda, and eat empanadas, but at what cost?

Sugar, not just salt, linked to high blood pressure
By Amanda Gardner,

( -- Eating too much sodium can push your blood pressure into the danger zone. Now, researchers are reporting that eating too many sweets--or drinking too much soda--may have a similar effect.

People who consume a diet high in fructose, a type of sugar and a key ingredient in high-fructose corn syrup, are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a new study.

Drinking 2.5 cans or more of non-diet soda per day--or consuming an equivalent amount of fructose from other foods--increases your risk of hypertension by at least 30 percent, the study found. What's more, the increased risk appears to be independent of other dietary habits, including sodium, carbohydrate and overall calorie intake.

The study, which appears in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, focused on foods containing high-fructose corn syrup and other added sugars, such as soda, fruit punch, cookies, candy and chocolate. (Although fructose occurs naturally in fruits, the researchers excluded them because they contain other nutrients that are difficult to measure.)

"High-fructose corn syrup is very prevalent," says Dr. Michel Chonchol, M.D., the senior author of the study and a blood pressure specialist at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, in Aurora. "If you go to grocery stores, it's everywhere."

Chonchol and his colleagues analyzed the diet and blood pressure readings of more than 4,500 U.S. adults with no history of hypertension. The data used in the study was collected in nationwide surveys over a four-year period by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and also included information on health measures such as physical activity and body mass index.

The researchers estimated each person's fructose intake using detailed diet questionnaires and nutrition information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average fructose intake was 74 grams a day, an amount roughly equivalent to that found in 2.5 cans of soda.

People who consumed more than the average amount were more likely to have high blood pressure than people who consumed less, the researchers found. Above-average fructose intake increased the likelihood of having blood pressure above 140/90 and 160/100 mmHg by 30 percent and 77 percent, respectively. (Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or below, while anything above 140/90 is considered high.)

Hypertension can affect the health of blood vessels and is a leading risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease, and other ailments.

The findings don't prove that fructose actually causes hypertension, however. Although the researchers took various health factors and dietary habits besides fructose intake into account, it's always possible that other, unknown factors explain the apparent link between fructose and hypertension, says Dr. Cheryl Laffer, M.D., an associate professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in Temple.

The study "doesn't tell us anything about causation," she says. "People who have high blood pressure may eat more fructose. It can go either way."

One important drawback of the study is that the participants reported their own diets based on memory, which makes the estimates of fructose intake less accurate.

But the study's limitations don't mean that people should feel free to go on sugar binges, Laffer says. "I wouldn't discourage people from eating less fructose, because we have evidence that high fructose [consumption] is not particularly good for you," she says.

Animal studies have linked fructose consumption to higher blood pressure, for instance, and a study published earlier this year in the journal "Circulation" suggested that cutting back on sugar-sweetened beverages may lower blood pressure.

In a statement, the Corn Refiners Association, a trade group representing manufacturers of high-fructose corn syrup, said that Chonchol and his colleagues were drawing "inaccurate conclusions about fructose." The association challenged the authors' estimate that 2.5 cans of soda contain about 74 grams of fructose, and also highlighted the inaccuracies of diet surveys that rely on memory.

"The risk of hypertension from fructose is not a matter of concern for the overwhelming majority of Americans," the association stated.

Chonchol and his colleagues acknowledge that more research is needed to confirm a link between fructose and hypertension.

It's still unclear how fructose might affect blood pressure, for instance. One theory is that fructose might make the body absorb sodium more readily, Chonchol says. Fructose intake may also increase levels of uric acid, which has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure.

Copyright Health Magazine 2010

Calling All Couch Potatoes!

At Jungle Miami we are always talking about the benefits of walking. We found this interesting article on the subject. We hope you enjoy it and can get something from it. We definitively did.

Walking Boosts Brain Connectivity, Function
31 August, 2010.

A group of "professional couch potatoes," as one researcher described them, has proven that even moderate exercise - in this case walking at one's own pace for 40 minutes three times a week - can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat declines in brain function associated with aging and increase performance on cognitive tasks.

The study, in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, followed 65 adults, aged 59 to 80, who joined a walking group or stretching and toning group for a year. All of the participants were sedentary before the study, reporting less than two episodes of physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more in the previous six months. The researchers also measured brain activity in 32 younger (18- to 35-year-old) adults.

Rather than focusing on specific brain structures, the study looked at activity in brain regions that function together as networks.

"Almost nothing in the brain gets done by one area - it's more of a circuit," said University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute Director Art Kramer, who led the study with kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley and doctoral student Michelle Voss. "These networks can become more or less connected. In general, as we get older, they become less connected, so we were interested in the effects of fitness on connectivity of brain networks that show the most dysfunction with age."

Neuroscientists have identified several distinct brain circuits. Perhaps the most intriguing is the default mode network (DMN), which dominates brain activity when a person is least engaged with the outside world - either passively observing something or simply daydreaming.

Previous studies found that a loss of coordination in the DMN is a common symptom of aging and in extreme cases can be a marker of disease, Voss said.

"For example, people with Alzheimer's disease tend to have less activity in the default mode network and they tend to have less connectivity," she said. Low connectivity means that the different parts of the circuit are not operating in sync. Like poorly trained athletes on a rowing team, the brain regions that make up the circuit lack coordination and so do not function at optimal efficiency or speed, Voss said.

In a healthy young brain, activity in the DMN quickly diminishes when a person engages in an activity that requires focus on the external environment. Older people, people with Alzheimer's disease and those who are schizophrenic have more difficulty "down-regulating" the DMN so that other brain networks can come to the fore, Kramer said.

A recent study by Kramer, Voss and their colleagues found that older adults who are more fit tend to have better connectivity in specific regions of the DMN than their sedentary peers. Those with more connectivity in the DMN also tend to be better at planning, prioritizing, strategizing and multi-tasking.

The new study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine whether aerobic activity increased connectivity in the DMN or other brain networks. The researchers measured participants' brain connectivity and performance on cognitive tasks at the beginning of the study, at six months and after a year of either walking or toning and stretching.

At the end of the year, DMN connectivity was significantly improved in the brains of the older walkers, but not in the stretching and toning group, the researchers report.

The walkers also had increased connectivity in parts of another brain circuit (the fronto-executive network, which aids in the performance of complex tasks) and they did significantly better on cognitive tests than their toning and stretching peers.

Previous studies have found that aerobic exercise can enhance the function of specific brain structures, Kramer said. This study shows that even moderate aerobic exercise also improves the coordination of important brain networks.

"The higher the connectivity, the better the performance on some of these cognitive tasks, especially the ones we call executive control tasks - things like planning, scheduling, dealing with ambiguity, working memory and multitasking," Kramer said. These are the very skills that tend to decline with aging, he said.

This study was supported by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Copyright: Medical News Today


Main News Category: Neurology / Neuroscience
Also Appears In: Alzheimer's / Dementia, Seniors / Aging, Sports Medicine / Fitness,

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Jungle Way--High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Here at Jungle Miami we believe in high-intensity training; not because we are cruel, but because we know the benefits of it.
Our Jungle Bootcamp Classes are 45-minutes long,  combining Kettlebell Lifts, Rope Waving, Strap Training, Indian Club Swinging, with body weight training. We do make you work hard but you will enojy the fun so much you will come back for more.  Read below to understand why this is the Jungle Way.

All About High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
by Ryan Andrews, March 8th, 2010.

What is high intensity interval training?
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is when you alternate between high and low intensity exercise(s) or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.

For example, a short sprint up a flight of stairs followed by a walk back down is interval training. Or a set of burpees followed by bodyweight rows.

If you’ve ever participated in HIIT, you know that alternating body weight conditioning exercises for 15 minutes can be a lot more challenging than a walk around the block.

Why is high intensity interval training so important?
It’s physiologically impossible to sustain maximal intensities during exercise for an extended amount of time. This is because of how our bodies use fuel.

Let’s say I tell you to go outside and run as fast as you can for 20 minutes.

Stage 1 – Phosphocreatine

OK! The first 10 to 20 seconds are going great! You’re sprinting like the wind! That’s because you’re using a high-intensity energy source known as phosphocreatine.

Stage 2 – Lactic acid and anaerobic glycolysis

After about 20 seconds, your phosphocreatine start to run low, and anaerobic glycolysis would predominate. At this point, more lactic acid would be produced and used as a fuel source.

You’re still be running as hard as you can, but you’d be slowing down, and your lungs are working overtime.

If you were a member of the Canadian Olympic Hockey team or an elite speed skater, you could probably maintain this for up to 10 minutes. But those who are not well conditioned would need to slow down and even stop. If this is your first time off the couch, you might even consider throwing up, thanks to the change in blood pH levels.

Well, it looks like the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 20-minute sprint challenge: FAIL.

So why can’t you work at maximal intensity for an extended amount of time?

Oxygen: The molecule that makes the magic

One reason is the supply and demand of oxygen when working so hard.

Nature is full of trade-offs. In this case, we trade efficiency for intensity.

When you work at a lower intensity (such as during a brisk walk), aerobic metabolism predominates.

Your body uses oxygen to break down carbohydrate and fat for energy. This is very efficient, but you can’t work at top speed. With aerobic metabolism, you gain efficiency but lose intensity. Evolutionarily, this would be useful for traveling long distances while foraging for food or water.

On the other hand, when you work at a higher intensity (such as sprinting), anaerobic metabolism predominates.

Your body can’t get oxygen to where it needs to go fast enough. This is very inefficient, but it lets you produce short bursts of speed or high energy — very handy when you’re running away from a sabre-toothed tiger or a rock-wielding Grok.

So, we have these two systems, both of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. What if we could have our cake and eat it too? (Or, in this case, lose the fat we gained by eating the cake in the first place.)

Enter HIIT.

With HIIT, you alternate short bursts of very intense exercise (such as 10-20 sec of sprinting) with periods of lower intensity (such as 1 min of walking).

The higher intensity periods create a metabolic demand that is very effective for long-term fat loss and overall conditioning.
The lower intensity periods let you recover and use the aerobic energy system.

In addition, hormone release during exercise depends on exercise intensity.

Gentle movements such as yoga, tai-chi, or a pleasant stroll outside can lower stress hormones.

But when you approach 85 to 95% of VO2max, growth hormone, testosterone, endorphins, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), cortisol, and aldosterone all increase. These hormones all have effects on body composition and anabolism.

What you should know about HIIT
Exercise can range from gentle movements to maximal efforts. HIIT and heavy weights can elevate stress hormones.

Most every high intensity physical activity is a state of “crisis” in the body. It endangers oxygen supply to tissues, increases body temperature, reduces body fluids and fuel stores, and causes tissue damage.

Intense exercise creates endocrine and defense reactions that are similar to those elicited by low blood oxygen, high blood carbon dioxide, acidosis, high body temperature, dehydration, low blood sugar, physical injury and psychological stresses.

Hormonally, your body basically freaks out. Then it brings out the big guns to deal with the problem. High intensity exercise stresses the body so much that it’s forced to adapt.

As Nietzsche gasped during a 20-rep squat set, “That which does not kill me makes my quads bodacious.” (It makes more sense in German.)


HIIT is excellent for:

losing body fat (while retaining lean body mass)
strengthening the cardiovascular system
developing sport-specific energy systems (e.g. training for that Olympic hockey team)
developing “work capacity” (i.e. the ability to tolerate a high level of intensity for a longer period)
improving fat and carbohydrate oxidation in skeletal muscle
developing “mental toughness”
making you a badass
challenging the fast twitch muscle fibres — the fibres that are great for strength, power and looking buff
HIIT is extremely efficient. It lets you get a bigger training effect with less time spent. And compared to a 45-minute jog, 5 min of HIIT is a lot easier on the joints.

How to do HIIT
There are many ways to do HIIT. All you need to remember is the basic principle: Alternate short bursts of very high intensity with periods of recovery/low intensity.

The longest 4 minutes of your life: The Tabata study

One of the most famous studies of HIIT is known as the Tabata study. In this study (see abstract below), subjects performed rowing intervals: 20 sec of ultra-fast rowing alternated with 10 seconds of relaxed recovery rowing, for a total of 8 intervals, or 4 minutes.

At the end of the study, participants showed a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity along with a 14% increase in V02max. Pretty impressive!

The “Tabata protocol” — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off — has become one of the most common methods of doing HIIT.

Weighted circuits

Using resistance exercises can be a very effective method of doing HIIT.

To use resistance training, choose compound exercises that are good “oxygen suckers”, such as:

kettlebell swings or snatches
jumping squats
Combo exercises are also good choices. For instance:

do a pullup, drop down, do a pushup, jump back up to the pullup bar for another pullup, and so on
hang clean + front squat + overhead press
dumbbell snatch + wrestler’s sprawl
You can also combine resistance exercises with “cardio” type exercises.

For example

alternate a set of dumbbell swings with 100 m sprints
sprint up a hill, then do a fast set of pushups at the top
carry a heavy sandbag for speed
Customizing HIIT for your goals

You can mix up your HIIT choices to avoid overtraining and overuse injuries, and to keep things fresh and interesting.

If you’re a competitive athlete who needs energy systems work for your sport, incorporate some sessions of sport-specific HIIT work. For example:

sprints for soccer players
jumps for volleyball and basketball players
heavy bag intervals for boxers
You can also vary the length of your intervals.

High intensity intervals can last anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds
Low intensity recovery periods can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute or more
If you’re new to HIIT, opt for shorter high intensity periods and longer low intensity periods.

And note: “high intensity” means “high intensity for YOU”. If you’re a beginner, a fast jog or uphill walk for 10 seconds is a better start than trying to handle an all-out sprint workout.

Don’t forget: Perform an adequate warm up and cool down when performing HIIT.

Further resources
How to do interval training
Interval training – are you doing it?
Lots of conditioning options…
Training the energy systems

For extra credit
The benefits of HIIT are exercise specific. If you do squat jumps and running, you get better at squat jumps and running.

You can maximize your HIIT performance by using non-competing exercises. Instead of doing split squat jumps alternated with squat jumps, which use the same muscles, you could pair up body weight rows and squat jumps.

With really intense bouts of exercise, the body’s energy requirement can increase 2 to 20 fold!

During the first 1-2 hours after intense exercise, your body’s energy requirements remain high.

So what is high intensity? Well, during your next sprint, envision a crazy grizzly bear chasing you. That should suffice.

HIIT will not only improve body composition, it may extend your life. The Harvard Alumni Health Study, a 4-year study of more than 17,000 men, found that only vigorous – not moderate — exercise reduced risk of death.

The Gymboss is a handy timer for interval workouts.

Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Department of Physiology and Biomechanics, National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan

Talanian JL, et al. Two weeks of High-Intensity Aerobic Interval Training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. J Appl Physiol 2007;102:1439-1447.

Perry CG, et al. High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2008;33:1112-1123.

Tremblay A, et al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. 1994;43:814-818.

Yoshioka M, et al. Impact of high-intensity exercise on energy expenditure, lipid oxidation and body fatness. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001;25:332-339.

Borer KT. Exercise Endocrinology. 2003. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL.

Tremblay A, et al. Effect of intensity of physical activity on body fatness and fat distribution. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;51:153-157.

Burgomaster KA, et al. Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint intervals and traditional endurance training in humans. J Physiol 2008;586:151-160.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ligament injuries. A nightmare. There is hope though...

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)Injuries are fairly commun. You don't have to be an athlete to get a ligament, muscle or a tendon tear. They are all difficult to repair and on top of it we know that in time we will likely develop some form of Osteoarthritis in the affected area. There is hope though, according to this new study. Since the population suffering from these types of injuries is so large, it would not far fetched to assume that new approaches, less invassive and more effective therapies will be incorporated into the different choices one can think of, when trying to rehab them. At Jungle Miami we constantly hear horrific stories Related to ACL injuries, so this piece of news is indeed welcome.

ACL Injury, Lubricating The Knee Cartilage May Prevent Osteoarthritis in some

07 Aug 2010  

An injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is fairly common, especially among young athletes. While it can often be corrected through surgery, the injury can lead to increased risk of developing degenerative joint diseases, including osteoarthritis (OA). The problem is that fluid in the knee joint, which lubricates the cartilage, is impacted by the trauma of the injury and begins to deteriorate. A new study from Rhode Island Hospital researchers identifies options for restoring that lubrication to potentially prevent development of OA. The study is published in the August 2010 edition of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism and is now available online ahead of print.

The study was led by Gregory Jay, MD, POhD, an emergency medicine physician and researcher at Rhode Island Hospital. Jay says, "We know that acute ACL injury is a significant risk factor for the development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. We also know why that occurs, due to the degeneration of the fluids in the joint and cartilage and joint instability, among other things. Our goal for this study was to determine an effective way to counter that process to prevent the development of OA."

The most movable joints in the body, known as synovial joints, contain synovial fluid (SF). This fluid acts as a lubricant to reduce friction between cartilage in the joint during movement. Following a traumatic injury to the ACL, SF concentration of the natural lubricant, lubricin, in the injured joints is significantly lower in those joints than in the healthy, uninjured joint.

The goal was to identify biologic methods to address the loss of lubricin. In their study, they used animal models with torn ACLs to test three types of fluids that could be injected into the joints and could serve as a substitute for the lost SF. The first was human synoviocyte lubricin that was created in a culture and then purified to be injected into the injured knees. The second is recombinant protein, with a change in the genetic make-up of the cell so that it makes a molecule of interest. The reasoning behind using a recombinant protein is that if it is commercialized, that is likely how it will be manufactured. The third was lubricin from human SF that would otherwise be discarded. The human SF is then purified before injection, and because it is more closely aligned with the natural lubricin, it represents a positive control in the study.

Through their study, the researchers report three key findings. Jay, who is also a professor of emergency medicine and engineering at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University says, "First and foremost, we found that you can limit cartilage deterioration. This is evident by using a well-accepted OA biomarker which shows that the breakdown of cartilage collagen type 2 and recovered in the urine has been muted by treating the knee joint with lubricin." The human synoviocyte lubricin was the most effective form in this experiment, however, the recombinant form also had a good degree of success.

Second, the study results indicate that when lubricin is placed back into the traumatized joint, it encourages the joint to make its own lubricin. Jay explains, "We found that you are limiting deterioration of the joint endogenously by the greater secretion of the lubricin molecule. Basically, by placing the lubricin there, it encouraged the joint's normal activity to produce this molecule."

Jay, who is also a physician with University Emergency Medicine Foundation in Providence, stresses that this study is important for another reason. "This is a huge advance over the existing technology of viscosupplementation injections. The concept was good, but the chemistry isn't there to support it." Jay continues, "When viscosupplements were approved as devices in the 90s, it was thought then that hyaluronic acid used in this treatment was tied to joint lubrication because it was viscous. We now know that joint lubrication has little to do with viscosity. We are inventing a new type of joint lubrication strategy: Tribosupplementation, taken from the Greek, meaning to wear or to rub" "

Jay notes, "Viscosupplementation is a $500 million per year device market that just doesn't work particularly well. Past studies by us and others indicate this. We now need a paradigm shift in how we are thinking about preventing and treating arthritic diseases."

Jay and his colleagues believe the study findings represent that paradigm shift. Jay says, "We found that lubricin may prevent the fundamental process that can lead to OA following an ACL injury. It is a promising biologic candidate since it is a replacement for a normally occurring glycoprotein. This is very germane to the health care bill, which supports the creation of new therapeutic biologics." Biologics are important and their development is encouraged because they are very specific and have low toxicity profiles, meaning they are better for patients in terms of better results with fewer complications.

Jay concludes that this and related papers are key to future treatment of joint trauma. "In the peri-injury period following joint trauma, joint surfaces are vulnerable to enhanced wear. This study is pointing us in the right direction, and has shown that this can potentially be mitigated by simply reintroducing the joint's natural lubricant." He continues, "We are confident that further studies will perfect the technology and this will be the way that joints will be treated in the future to prevent OA."

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Other researchers working with Jay include Braden C. Fleming, Ling

Nancy Cawley Jean
Article URL:

Main News Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology

Also Appears In:  Bones / Orthopedics,  Sports Medicine / Fitness,

Article website

Friday, August 6, 2010

The latest on the obesity war front.

At Jungle Miami we continuously talk about the health risks of being overweight or obese. The truth is that losing weight and/or staying in shape is not that hard to do. Being overweight or obese not only impairs us from performing at our best, but it can also put a dent in our self esteem. It all becomes a vicious circle.
You are not happy because your weight is bringuing you a whole bunch of problems? Get moving right now. That's a start. The information is out there, consult with your physician, take baby steps. For some persons, 5 minutes of daily walk is an incredible achievement. We can not procrastinate on this one though for the implications of not taking action are far to great to ignore.
Exercising and trying to eat smartly are not only the perfect combination, but it should also be the long term choice if we really want to compete in today's world. We simply have to squeeze in the time so that a daily workout routine, with it's rest days included of course, becomes an integral part of our daily lives. Obesity (once again) is our subject today.

Obesity Rates Keep Rising, Troubling Health Officials
Article's website

The New York Times
Published: August, 3rd, 2010

Americans are continuing to get fatter and fatter, with obesity rates reaching 30 percent or more in nine states last year, as opposed to only
three states in 2007, health officials reported on Tuesday.

The increases mean that 2.4 million more people became obese from 2007 to 2009, bringing the total to 72.5 million, or 26.7 percent of the population. The numbers are part of a continuing and ominous trend.

But the rates are probably underestimates because they are based on a phone survey in which 400,000 participants were asked their weight and height instead of having it measured by someone else, and people have a notorious tendency to describe themselves as taller and lighter than they really are.

“Over the past several decades, obesity has increased faster than anyone could have imagined it would,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issued a report on the prevalence of obesity. Obesity rates have doubled in adults and tripled in children in recent decades, Dr. Frieden said.

If the numbers keep going up, he added, “more people will get sick and die from the complications of obesity, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.”

The report estimates the medical costs of obesity to be as high as $147 billion a year, and notes that “past efforts and investments to prevent and control obesity have not been adequate.”

Researchers blame the usual suspects: too little exercise and too much of the wrong kind of food, which means not enough fruits and vegetables and too many high-calorie meals full of sugar and fat, like French fries, soda and other sweet drinks. Children do not get enough exercise during the school day; Dr. Frieden noted that even in gym classes, students are active for only about a third of the time.

A 5-foot-4-inch woman is obese if she weighs 174 pounds, as is a 5-foot-10-inch man who weights 209 or more, according to the disease centers. Both would have a body-mass index, or BMI, of 30; that index is calculated from height and weight, and scores of 30 or over are defined as obese.

The nine states with obesity rates of 30 percent or more are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia. The highest rate, 34.4 percent, was in Mississippi.

People over 50 had higher rates of obesity than those who were younger. The aging of the population may account for some of the general increase in obesity, but not all of it, said Dr. Heidi Blanck, chief of the disease centers’ obesity branch of the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

Non-Hispanic black women had the highest obesity rate, 41.9 percent. Over all, blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to be obese, and the more education people had, the less likely they were to be heavy.

Only Colorado and Washington, D.C., had obesity rates under 20 percent. Researchers are not sure why. Dr. William Dietz, director of the nutrition, physical activity and obesity division, said that Colorado had spent money from a state lottery on biking and walking trails and that many people were using them. The state seems to have “a culture of physical activity,” he said.

Dr. Dietz said the relatively low prevalence of obesity in Washington was harder to explain, particularly because the area has a large black population.

He said one explanation may be that many residents ride the subway; studies have shown that compared with people who drive, those who use public transportation tend to be thinner because it involves more walking. In addition, Dr. Dietz said, there is evidence of above-average fruit and vegetable consumption, and higher rates of breast-feeding, both of which are linked to lower rates of obesity.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

To eat or not to eat? That is the question.

The latest thing Jungle Miami is bringing to you is about eating, or not, before exercise, and it's effects on fat-loss. I personally used to train on an empty stomach and had 2% body fat. Maybe they're on to something?

Getting rid of fat. Latest study
By Maria Cheng
Associated Press
Thurs., June 3, 2010

LONDON - Running on empty may not be such a bad idea after all.

Though many athletes eat before training, some scientists say that if you really want to get rid of more fat, you should skip the pre-workout snack.

Several studies suggest exercising while your body is low on food may be a good way to trim excess fat. In a recent paper, European researchers found that cyclists who trained without eating burned significantly more fat than their counterparts who ate.

Muscles usually get their energy from carbohydrates, which is why athletes like Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps scarf down enormous amounts of food before a race. But if you haven't eaten before exercising, your body doesn't have many carbohydrates in reserve. That forces it to burn fat instead, scientists say.

"When you exercise (after fasting), your adrenaline is high and your insulin is low," said Peter Hespel, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Leuven in Belgium. "That ratio is favorable for your muscles to oxidize (break down) more fatty acids." Hespel said that people who exercise without having eaten burn more fat than they would if they had grabbed a bite beforehand.

In a study published in April, researchers at the University of Birmingham and elsewhere assigned seven people to cycle three days a week, followed by an intense session an hour later without eating. Another seven people followed the same regimen, without the instruction to fast.

Though members of the group that didn't eat performed worse on the intensive training, they burned a higher proportion of fat to carbohydrates than the group that ate. The results were published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

In a 2008 study, Hespel and colleagues tested the effects on men who did endurance training without eating versus those who ate. In the athletes who hadn't eaten, the researchers found a spike in the amount of proteins needed to process fat, meaning their bodies had been primed through fasting to burn more fat.

Hespel recommends people do this kind of training before breakfast, since eating carbohydrates interrupts the process of metabolizing fat for about six hours afterward.

Breaking down fat quickly
Though he and colleagues have primarily studied the effects of exercising without eating in young, healthy people, he thinks the method could also help people with problems like diabetes. Because exercising without eating produces muscles that are better at absorbing glucose — which is important for preventing diabetes — Hespel theorized the strategy would also help diabetics control their insulin levels.

Other experts said that even though people may burn more fat this way, it is mostly fat within the muscles that will be lost and won't make a big difference to people trying to lose weight.

"When you exercise (without eating), fat is broken down more quickly in the muscle," said Andrew Greenberg, director of the Obesity and Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University. "You may enhance how you burn the fat in the muscles, but it doesn't affect your overall body fat," Greenberg said. He said more intense exercise may prompt the body to burn more fatty acids in other regions of the body, but that a lot of training would be required to see a big difference.

For recreational athletes interested in maximizing their exercise regimen, some experts recommend a regular training session where you deliberately do not eat beforehand.

"Science is finally catching up with what smart runners have always known," said Ron Maughan, a professor of sport, exercise and health sciences at Loughborough University in Britain. "If you have a long, hard run without breakfast once a week, that hard run will train you to burn fat," he said. "And for the rest of the week, have plenty of carbohydrates so you can train hard."

Maughan cautioned against doing too much exercise on an empty stomach. "That might help you get very good at burning fat, but you won't be very good at whatever exercise it is you're doing," he said. "Without enough fuel, you won't get the intensity of training you need to get improvements."

Potential pitfalls
Others were more skeptical and said people shouldn't exercise without having at least a small snack first.

"I think it's actually a pretty bad idea," said Dr. Alexis Chiang Colvin, a sports medicine expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York who has worked with professional football and hockey teams.

"If your blood sugar is low, you could wind up getting dizzy and you might not be able to exercise as well as if you were well-nourished," she said. Colvin recommended having something small like a banana before training. She also warned the strategy might make people more prone to injury and that eating was important so the body would have enough nutrients to recover from a bout of exercise.

Hespel acknowledged the method wasn't for everybody and that aside from the pain of struggling through an exercise session while hungry, there are other potential pitfalls.

"When you postpone breakfast to exercise, it is possible you might eat more afterwards," he said. "People exercising (without eating) need to respect all the normal strategies of weight control like not overeating."

Daniel Kobbina, a personal trainer who also runs a martial arts school in London, said the method requires discipline — but it works.

"If you train on an empty stomach, you'll see that six-pack a lot sooner," he said.