Friday, April 29, 2011

Brown fat. More on body fat essentials.

Fat. We all hate the word and everything associated with it. But we all need Fat. Our bodies need it. Last year, we posted an article on  what our body fat essential should be. Today, we come back to the subject. This is Jungle Miami's post. Enjoy it and feel free to share your thoughts. We appreciate it.

Brown Fat: A Fat That Helps You Lose Weight?

By Alice Park
April 8th, 2009

For most people, fat is a burden. It doesn't really matter whether it appears as cellulite on our thighs or cholesterol in our veins — we just don't want it.

But it turns out that our bodies also make a unique form of fat tissue that behaves remarkably unlike any other: rather than storing excess energy, this fat actually burns through it.

It's called brown fat (as opposed to the more familiar white fat that hangs over belt buckles and swings from the backs of arms), and a series of papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirm for the first time that healthy adults have stores of this adipose tissue, which researchers hope to study further as a potential new weight-loss treatment.

Until now, only rodents and human newborns have been known to have any significant deposits of brown fat, so called because of its abnormally high concentration of dark-colored mitochondria, the engines that sustain cell activity. The primary purpose of brown fat is to regulate body temperature: the mitochondria-packed cells are designed to burn high quantities of sugar, the body's fuel, and release that energy as heat — a mechanism that newborns, fresh from the warm confines of the womb, rely on to keep them toasty.

As people age, however, the body becomes more adept at regulating temperature, so brown-fat stores shrink and white fat starts to emerge. (From a biological perspective, brown fat is also highly inefficient, since cells don't need heat to run; rather, they use ATP, another chemical produced by mitochondria.) Adults with appreciable amounts of brown fat are usually those who have certain types of cancer or hyperthyroidism, conditions that stimulate the growth of brown fat.

But Dr. Sven Enerbäck at the University of Göteborg in Sweden has shown, using the latest imaging technologies, that healthy adults retain a sizable amount of brown fat in the front and back of the neck. (That was a surprise, since in rodents, the depots tend to be along the back, around the shoulder blades.) Enerbäck and his team studied five patients and confirmed, using genetic analysis, that the cells around the neck were indeed brown fat.

In a sense, scientists have known this for years. While scanning patients with positron emission tomography (PET), an imaging technique often used on cancer patients to detect the spread of tumors, scientists have long noted the excess activity of brown-fat cells in their images. They just didn't realize what they were looking at.

Since PET picks up glucose-burning activity in cells, hot spots on PET scans of cancer patients generally indicate actively growing tumors. But after doing biopsies, doctors found that hot spots in the neck of most of their patients weren't cancerous at all. These turned out to be brown-fat deposits.

"We set forth to actually pinpoint whether the PET glucose-uptake areas corresponded to true brown-fat tissue, and I think we more or less proved the case," says Enerbäck, who found that those mystery cells in the neck expressed the same proteins as brown fat.

Identifying the presence of brown fat is one thing, but activating it to burn more glucose is another. Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, including Enerbäck's, confirmed that brown-fat cells become more active in the cold — that is, when study participants needed to boost their body temperature. Enerbäck saw increased activity when he plunged one foot of each volunteer into an ice bath while in the scanner. In a separate study, scientists at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands also saw upticks in brown-fat activity in subjects who had been chilling in a 16�C (61�F) room for two hours. (PET technicians have also long known that putting patients in warmer rooms tends to keep that bothersome extra activity from showing up on their images.)

But before we all turn our thermostats down or consider joining the Polar Bear Club, can brown fat actually cause weight loss? Brown fat may indeed shift the balance of calorie intake and expenditure — allowing a person to burn more calories with the same amount of consumption — without the chore of going to the gym or sweating through a workout. "We have very few interventions aimed at increasing energy expenditure," says Dr. Franceso Celi, a clinician at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. "And here we have a tissue that works exactly with the purpose of burning energy." On the basis of animal models, researchers calculate that 50 g of brown fat — less than what the scientists in the current series of papers documented in their volunteers — could burn about 20% of an average person's daily caloric intake.

Electrommicrograph of Brown Fat
 In a third study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that leaner people tended to have more brown-fat deposits than overweight or obese individuals. Interestingly, women were twice as likely as men to have active brown fat, according to the study, conducted by Dr. Ronald Kahn and his colleagues at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Still, the findings don't necessarily mean that activating brown fat leads to a trimmer waist. For one thing, the body is especially good at maintaining equilibrium, which is why a boost in calorie-burning can often trigger a hunger signal and prompt people to eat more to make up for the loss. And even if drug companies could find a way to activate brown fat safely, that excess activity could throw off other metabolic systems and damage your health. After all, the people who have the most active brown fat so far are those with cancer and hyperthyroidism.

Copyright © 2011 Time Inc. All rights reserved.



Time Magazine's Article

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top 10 Fat Burning Superfoods.

At Jungle we love to eat. However not all foods have great nutritional properties. Today we are posting an article about 10 top fat burning superfoods. Read all about it. Enjoy.

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 26th, 2011

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware that some foods make it really difficult to lose weight. Why? These foods create their own self-sustaining cravings, a fact all too well-known to anyone who’s ever found herself consuming six bowls of cereal while watching reruns of Friends.

Processed carbs — like cereal, desserts, pasta and bread, potato chips — play havoc with your blood sugar, the appetite centers in the brain, and, ultimately, your waistline.

But some foods do just the opposite, packing a ton of nutrition into a relatively small number of calories while filling you up at the same time. Plus, every one of them has the added advantage of stabilizing your blood sugar, making it far less likely that you’ll go on a waist-busting binge.

Make these 10 superfoods part of your daily diet and watch the fat burn and pounds come off!

 1) Glorious Grapefruit…

Remember the old “grapefruit diet?” Turns out there may actually be something to back up grapefruit’s reputation as a fat fighter.

In a study from the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla1, researchers studied the effect of grapefruit on weight loss and found that eating half a grapefruit before meal actually helped people drop weight. The researchers studied the effect of grapefruit capsules, grapefruit juice, and real grapefruit. All three seemed to help, but the folks eating the real grapefruit got the best results.

The mechanism isn’t completely understood, but the results speak for themselves. As an added benefit, grapefruit contains cancer-fighting compounds like liminoids and lycopene, and red grapefruit has been shown to help lower triglycerides.

Plus, half of a grapefruit has just 39 calories!

2) Sensational Sardines…

I call sardines one of the greatest health bargains of all times, and it’s definitely a boon to anyone wanting to lose weight. Why? Let me count the ways!

First, it’s loaded with protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar, makes you feel full (and less like overeating), and helps stimulate metabolism. Second, it’s a great source of omega-3’s, which boost mood and strengthen the cardiovascular system, not to mention making hair, skin and nails look better!

Third, sardines are convenient, easy to find, and cheap! And because they’re very low on the food chain, they’re remarkably free of contaminants.

3) Great Pumpkin…

You may only know this vegetable for its central role in Thanksgiving celebrations, but it’s one of the great weight loss foods of all time.

Plain old canned pumpkin is absolutely loaded with fiber — each ½ cup serving has a whopping 8 grams and only a mere 40 calories. Dozens of studies confirm that high fiber intake is associated with a host of health benefits, not the least of which is weight management.

And here’s the deal: it’s the easiest food in the world to prepare. You can sweeten it with some xylitol (or erythritol), sprinkle it with blood-sugar lowering cinnamon, throw in some nutmeg and some nice healthy almonds, and make it into one of the best-tasting weight loss treats around. It’s filling and delicious.

4) Glorious Grass-Fed Beef…

I’ll be honest with you — meat is a great weight loss food, but it’s hard to recommend it when it so often comes with a nice unwanted helping of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones. Get grass-fed and avoid the problems while getting all the terrific benefits. (Hint: Buffalo burgers are a good alternative if you can’t find grass-fed beef).

Higher protein diets are associated with weight loss for a variety of reasons. Protein stimulates the metabolism, helps you feel fuller longer, and helps decrease the desire to overeat.

High-protein breakfasts are one of the best weight loss tricks in the book (try a buffalo burger for breakfast sometime and see what I mean!). And grass-fed beef has demonstrably higher levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and lower levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6’s — a big plus for hard training athletes2.

5) Bountiful Berries…

Berries are one of those non-controversial items that virtually every nutritionist agrees on. They’re on everybody’s and anybody’s list of superfoods.

They assist in weight loss in a number of ways. They’re very low in calories, very rich in nutrients, high in fiber and, best of all, have a very low in impact on your blood sugar.

Research confirms that blueberries especially deserve their growing reputation as that their brain food — feeding blueberries to rats actually slows their age-related mental decline3. Blueberries contain pterostilbene, a plant compound recently shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Their ORAC value (antioxidant rating) is the highest of any fruit.

Tip: Try them frozen with a little almond milk and a sprinkling of almond slivers. They taste like sherbet!

6) Nuts About Nuts…

Nuts should be a staple of your weight-control diet. I realize this piece of advice may be contrary to much of what you’ve heard about nuts being “fattening,” but nonetheless it’s absolutely true.

While nuts are high in calories and probably shouldn’t be eaten by the fistful, a very substantial number of important studies have demonstrated that regular inclusion of nuts in the diet lowers the risk for coronary heart disease by double digits4. Other research shows positive effects on the risk of dementia, stroke, and diabetes.

And the current evidence is clear that a moderate intake of nuts doesn’t cause weight gain5. In the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest epidemiological studies, frequent nut consumers were actually a bit thinner than those who didn’t indulge. The “magic” amount seems to be about five ounces a week, or 1 to 1.5 ounces about five times a week.

7) Great Guava…

Among the superfoods of the world, guava is a sleeper. With a taste that’s been described as “part strawberry part pear,” one cup of this vitamin-rich, low-calorie fruit contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber, a well-known aid to weight control (not to mention digestive health).

And in one widely used test of antioxidant power, guava scored second only to blueberries. Plus, guava contains lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant also found in tomatoes.

8) Kickin’ Kale…

Kale is a member of the Brassica family, vegetable royalty that boasts cabbage and broccoli among its relatives. It’s rich in potent cancer fighting substances called indoles, and loaded with bone-building vitamin K.

Kale also contains sulforaphane, a powerful nutrient that helps the liver detoxify carcinogens and other toxins. Kale has the highest antioxidant rating of any vegetable and is ridiculously low in calories.

Try it tossed with olive oil, a few dried cranberries and some pine nuts.

9) Eggs-actly Right…

Eggs are the protein source against which all others are judged. They’re also one of the best weight control foods on the planet.

Research has shown that choosing eggs for breakfast helps people manage hunger while lowering calorie consumption throughout the rest of the day6,7,8. And, for goodness sake, stop with the egg-white omelets — they’re so 1980s. The yolk is loaded with good stuff like lutein, the superstar of eye nutrition and choline, which helps support brain function.

The little bit of fat in the yolk contributes mightily to the feeling of sustained fullness and satisfaction. Don’t be afraid of it!

10) Blood-Sugar Busting Beans…

Fiber is the secret weapon in weight-control. It fills you up, slowing the entrance of sugar into the blood system and preventing the blood sugar spikes that frequently lead to hunger and cravings. Fiber also normalizes bowel movements, helps maintain bowel health, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, and aids in weight loss.

And no food on the planet supplies as much fiber as beans, logging in 12–17 grams a cup. They are also a great source of protein, typically providing 12–17 grams per single cup.

Beans are also a fabulous source of antioxidants. Research on the areas of the globe where people routinely live to 100 in vibrant good health showed that beans were a staple in the diets of all four of the areas studied (known as “The Blue Zones”).

Truly Super Foods…

It’s no small coincidence that the same foods that help you control your weight happen to be the same ones that confer a wide spectrum of health benefits. Rather than focusing on what not to eat, try building your diet around the foods mentioned here.

The only “side effect” of this weight loss plan is a major improvement in your overall health and well-being.







6-Ratliff, J et al. Macronutrient composition of breakfast influences plasma glucose, satiety hormones and caloric intake in the next 24 h in adult men. Presented at Experimental Biology 2009. Supported by the Egg Nutrition Center.

7-Vander Wal JS, et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. IJO. 2008;32(10):1545-51.

8-Leidy, HJ et al. The incorporation of a protein-rich breakfast on appetite sensations and subsequent food intake in “breakfast-skipping” adolescents. Presented at Experimental Biology 2009. Supported by SAH Research Award, KUMC.


Editor’s Note: This article is a guest post from Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, also known as The Rogue Nutritionist, a nationally known expert on weight loss and nutrition.


Natural Health Sherpa  Article's Webpage

Friday, April 22, 2011

Do you want to boost your metabolism?

At Jungle Miami we train the HIIT ( High-Intensity Interval Training) Way.  New evidence shows the phenomenal metabolism boost HIIT training can give you. Enjoy our post today.


April 15, 2011

Incorporating high-intensity interval training can help build muscle, speed weight loss

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Exercisers seeking a greater bang for their workout buck should consider high-intensity interval training, according to an expert presenting today at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 15th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.

Michael Bracko, Ed.D., FACSM, said high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can boost metabolism and accelerate weight loss. During HIIT, a person consumes more oxygen than in slower, distance exercise, which can increase post-exercise metabolism. Research has shown one session of HIIT can burn calories for 1.5 - 24 hours after exercise.

“The real advantage of HIIT versus distance training is that you can get the same benefits – such as fat loss, improved muscle cell function, increased oxygen consumption and improved anaerobic capacity – but you don't have to exercise as long,” said Bracko.

HIIT divides a workout into two speeds – intense and rest – and alternates them for a defined period of time. For example, a person could alternate 60 seconds of walking and 60 seconds of sprinting for 25 minutes. HIIT is not limited to running, however. It can be done biking, skating, weight-lifting, stair-climbing and more.

“I do sprint intervals with my dog,” said Bracko. “I throw a stuffed duck, she chases it, and I chase her. It's a blast!”

This type of exercise is not right for everyone. While HIIT is safe for most people – from healthy adults to patients with coronary heart disease – it does come with an increased risk of injury and may not be safe for some.

“HIIT can be crazy hard, and it’s not for everyone,” said Bracko. “Always warm up for a long time before starting the intervals. If you have an injury, or if you have not been cleared to exercise, please do not begin a HIIT program until those are resolved.”

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 40,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.



Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition's Site

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Apple A Day"

Apples. We hear of the incredible properties of it all the time. Our Jungle animals love apples as well. Today we thought we bring you a lot of information on the delicious fruit. "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away". Apples are Juungle Miami's subject today. Grab an apple and read all about it.

Advice Rooted in Science

ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2011) — Everyone has heard the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." We all know we should eat more fruit. But why apples? Do they contain specific benefits?

According to Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University, apples are truly a "miracle fruit" that convey benefits beyond fiber content. Animal studies have shown that apple pectin and polyphenols in apple improve lipid metabolism and lower the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Arjmandi's most recent research is the first to evaluate the long-term cardioprotective effects of daily consumption of apple in postmenopausal women.

The results of this USDA-funded study will be presented at Experimental Biology 2011 on April 12 in Washington, DC.

This study randomly assigned 160 women ages 45-65 to one of two dietary intervention groups: one received dried apples daily (75g/day for 1 year) and the other group ate dried prunes every day for a year. Blood samples were taken at 3, 6 and 12-months. The results surprised Dr. Arjmandi, who stated that "incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months- they experienced a 23% decrease in LDL cholesterol," which is known as the "bad cholesterol." The daily apple consumption also led to a lowering of lipid hydroperoxide levels and C-reactive protein in those women.

"I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about 4%," Arjmandi said. Yet another advantage is that the extra 240 calories per day consumed from the dried apple did not lead to weight gain in the women; in fact, they lost on average 3.3 lbs. "Reducing body weight is an added benefit to daily apple intake" he said. Part of the reason for the weight loss could be the fruit's pectin, which is known to have a satiety effect. The next step in confirming the results of this study is a multi-investigator nationwide study.

There is frequently some truth behind our common expressions, and in the case of 'an apple a day,' Dr. Arjmandi has shown that nutrition science backs up the expression. "Everyone can benefit from consuming apples," he said.

This research was performed by Drs. Sheau C. Chai, Shirin Hooshmand, Raz L. Saadat, and Bahram Arjmandi, Florida State University.



What's New and Beneficial About Apples

The phytonutrients in apples can help you regulate your blood sugar. Recent research has shown that apple polyphenols can help prevent spikes in blood sugar through a variety of mechanisms. Flavonoids like quercetin found in apples can inhibit enzymes like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase. Since these enzymes are involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, your blood sugar has fewer simple sugars to deal with when these enzymes are inhibited. In addition, the polyphenols in apple have been shown to lessen absorption of glucose from the digestive tract; to stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin; and to increase uptake of glucose from the blood via stimulation of insulin receptors. All of these mechanisms triggered by apple polyphenols can make it easier for you to regulate your blood sugar.

Even though apple is not an excellent source of dietary fiber (it ranks as a "good" source in our WHFoods Rating System), the fiber found in apple may combine with other apple nutrients to provide you with the kind of health benefits you would ordinarily only associate with much higher amounts of dietary fiber. These health benefits are particularly important in prevention of heart disease through healthy regulation of blood fat levels. Recent research has shown that intake of apples in their whole food form can significantly lower many of our blood fats. The fat-lowering effects of apple have traditionally been associated with its soluble fiber content, and in particular, with its fat-soluble fiber called pectin. What we now know, however, is that whole apples only contain approximately 2-3 grams of fiber per 3.5 ounces, and that pectin accounts for less than 50% of this total fiber. Nevertheless, this relatively modest amount of pectin found in whole apples has now been shown to interact with other apple phytonutrients to give us the kind of blood fat lowering effects that would typically be associated with much higher amounts of soluble fiber intake. In recent comparisons with laboratory animals, the blood fat lowering effects of whole apple were shown to be greatly reduced when whole apples were eliminated from the diet and replaced by pectin alone. In summary, it's not fiber alone that explains the cardiovascular benefits of apple, but the interaction of fiber with other phytonutrients in this wonderful fruit. If you want the full cardiovascular benefits of apples, it's the whole food form that you'll want to choose. Only this form can provide you with those unique fiber-plus-phytonutrient combinations.

The whole food form of apples is also important if you want full satisfaction from eating them. Researchers have recently compared intake of whole apples to intake of applesauce and apple juice, only to discover that people report less hunger (and better satiety, or food satisfaction) after eating whole apples than after eating applesauce or drinking apple juice. But especially interesting was an additional finding about calorie intake following apple consumption. When healthy adults consumed one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, their caloric intake at that meal decreased by an average of 15%. Since meals in this study averaged 1,240 calories, a reduction of 15% meant a reduction of 186 calories, or about 60 more calories than contained in a medium apple. For these researchers, "getting ahead" in calories with a net reduction of 60 calories was a welcomed outcome of the study, and an extra benefit to their study's primary conclusion-the importance of whole apples (versus other more processed apple forms) in helping us manage our hunger and feeling more satisfied with our food.

Scientists have recently shown that important health benefits of apples may stem from their impact on bacteria in the digestive tract. In studies on laboratory animals, intake of apples is now known to significantly alter amounts of two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine. As a result of these bacterial changes, metabolism in the large intestine is also changed, and many of these changes appear to provide health benefits. For example, due to bacterial changes in the large intestine, there appears to be more fuel available to the large intestine cells (in the form of butyric acid) after apple is consumed. We expect to see future studies confirming these results in humans, and we are excited to think about potential health benefits of apple that will be related to its impact on bacterial balance in our digestive tract.

Apples belong to the Rose family of plants and are joined in that family by a wide range of very popular foods, including apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, and almonds. Foods in the Rose family are simply too diverse in their nutrient value to allow for any one single recommendation about the number of servings that we should consume from this family on a weekly basis. However, when focusing specifically on apples, several anti-cancer studies show daily intake of this fruit to provide better anti-cancer benefits than lesser amounts. So there may be some truth to that old phrase, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away!" Still, we don't recommend that everyone eat one apple on a daily basis, given the wide variety of available fruits and the nutritional uniqueness of each type. But we do recommend that everyone eat at least 2-3 whole fresh fruits per day, or the equivalent of 2-3 cups' worth of fresh fruit. Within this framework, if apples are a type of fruit that you strongly prefer, there would be nothing wrong with consuming one on a daily basis, and you may get some special health benefits by doing so.

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Apples provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Apples can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Apples, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Apple's Amazing Polyphenols

In the past five years, no area of apple research has been more dynamic than the area of apple polyphenols. The balance of these phytonutrients in apples is far more unique than many researchers previously suspected. In terms of flavonols, quercetin is the primary phytonutrient found in apples, and it's far more concentrated in the skin than in the pulp. Kaempferol and myricetin are also important apple flavonols. Chlorogenic acid is apple's primary phenolic acid, and it's found throughout the pulp and also in the skin. If apples are red, it's because of their anthocyanins, which are largely restricted to the skin. When an apple is more uniformly red in color, or when its red color is deeper in hue, it's because there are more anthocyanins. In terms of catechin polyphenols, epicatechin is the primary nutrient found in apples. The flavonoid phloridzin accounts for 98% of the flavonoids found in the apple seeds. The total polyphenol contents of apples range from about 1-7 grams/kilogram of fresh pulp, but this ratio gets much higher in the skin, underscoring the special value of apple skins for deriving optimal polyphenol benefits from this fruit. In fact, in animal studies, there is a very commonly used standardized apple extract called standardized apple peel polyphenol extract, or APPE.

You might wonder why apples end up with such an amazing array of polyphenols. In this context, it's fascinating to see that recent research studies show polyphenols to be the favorite mechanism used by apples to protect themselves from UV-B radiation. Cells in the skin of apple that conduct photosynthesis are especially sensitive to UV-B light from the sun. Many of the polyphenols in the skin of apples can actually absorb UV-B light, and thereby prevent UV-B from damaging the photosynthetic cells in the apple skin. Polyphenols, then, are like the apple's natural sunscreen.

It is also interesting to note that the amazing polyphenol content of apples is related to their easy browning when sliced open or bruised. Inside the cells of apple skin and pulp are enzymes called polyphenol oxidases, or PPOs. When the cells of the apple are sliced through or physically damaged when an apple is dropped, the PPOs start oxidizing the polyphenols in apples, and the result you see is a browning of the damaged apple portion. It's important to handle apples delicately in order to protect their health-supportive polyphenols! (Also in this context, it's worth mentioning that damaged apples not only turn brown from the oxidation of their polyphenols, but they also start releasing relatively large amounts of ethylene gas that can pose a risk to other undamaged apples. This phenomenon is why people say that "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch." Once again, the problem of ethylene gas from apple bruising or other damage underscores the importance of handling this amazing fruit with tender loving care and removing any damaged apples from groups of apples stored in bulk.)

Antioxidant Benefits

Since most of the polyphenols in apples function as antioxidants, it's not surprising to see so many health benefit studies focusing on the antioxidant benefits from apple. Particularly strong is the ability of apples to decrease oxidation of cell membrane fats. This benefit is especially important in our cardiovascular system since oxidation of fat (called lipid peroxidation) in the membranes of cells that line our blood vessels is a primary risk factor for clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and other cardiovascular problems. Apples' strong antioxidant benefits are also related to their ability to lower risk of asthma in numerous studies, and their ability to lower risk of lung cancer. In addition to their unusual polyphenol composition, apples also provides us with about 8 milligrams of vitamin C. While that amount is not a lot, it's still important, especially since the recycling of vitamin C in our body depends on the presence of flavonoids and apples do an amazing job of providing us with those flavonoids.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The cardiovascular benefits of apples are well-documented in research studies, and they are closely associated with two aspects of apple nutrients: their water-soluble fiber (pectin) content, and their unusual mix of polyphenols. Total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol are both decreased through regular intake of apples. In some studies, "regular intake" has meant apple intake very close to the level of one whole fresh apple per day. As mentioned earlier, the strong antioxidant composition of apples provides us with protection from possible oxidation of fats (called lipid peroxidation), including fats found in the bloodstream (like triglycerides) or fats found in the membranes of cells linking our blood vessels. Decreased lipid peroxidation is a key factor in lowering risk of many chronic heart problems. Recent research has shown that the quercetin content of apples also provides our cardiovascular system with anti-inflammatory benefits. (Our blood levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, are reduced following consumption of apples and researchers believe that the quercetin content of apples is the primary reason for this drop in CRP.) What a fantastic combination of cardiovascular benefits from such a widely available and delicious fruit!

Benefits for Blood Sugar Regulation

This area of research on apple benefits is relatively new, but it's already awakening the interest of an increasing number of food scientists. At many different levels, the polyphenols in apples are clearly capable of influencing our digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, and the overall impact of these changes is to improve regulation of our blood sugar. The impact of apple polyphenols on our carbohydrate processing includes:

Slowing down of carbohydrate digestion. Quercetin and other flavonoids found in apples act to inhibit carbohydrate-digesting enzymes like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase. When these enzymes are inhibited, carbohydrates are broken down less readily into simple sugars, and less load is placed on our bloodstream to accommodate more sugar.

Reduction of glucose absorption. Polyphenols in apples clearly lower the rate of glucose absorption from our digestive tract. Once again, this change lessens the sugar load on our bloodstream.

Stimulation of the pancreas to put out more insulin. Getting sugar out of our bloodstream often requires the help of insulin, a hormone produced by the beta cells of our pancreas. By telling the beta cells of our pancreas to produce more insulin, the polyphenols found in apple can help us clear more sugar from our blood and keep our blood sugar level in better balance.

Stimulation of insulin receptors to latch on to more insulin and increase the flow of sugar out of our bloodstream and into our cells. In order for sugar to leave our bloodstream and enter our cells (especially our muscle cells), insulin receptors on those cells must bind together with the insulin hormone and create cell changes that will allow sugar to pass through the cell membrane and into the cell. (Muscle cells, for example, continuously need this uptake of sugar from the bloodstream in order to function.) Polyphenols in apples help to activate the muscle cell insulin receptors, and in this way, they help facilitate passage of sugar from our bloodstream up into our cells. Once again, the result is better blood sugar regulation in our body.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

Although some preliminary results show apple benefits for several different cancer types (especially colon cancer and breast cancer), it's the area of lung cancer benefits that stand out in the apple research. There are numerous studies involving vegetable/fruit intake and risk of lung cancer. The number of subjects in these studies numbers into the high hundreds of thousands. Although many research studies show an impressive ability of overall fruit and/or vegetable intake to lower lung cancer risk, very few individual fruits show up as protective against lung cancer. Except apples! It's really quite remarkable how apples have been one of the few fruits to demonstrate this unique relationship with lung cancer risk reduction. (Interestingly, this same phenomenon has to some extent also been present in research on asthma.) Researchers aren't certain why apples are so closely associated with reduction of lung cancer risk. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits are definitely involved here, but they don't fully explain why apples are such a standout in this health benefit area. We look forward to future research that will help shed light on this unique capacity in apples.

Anti-Asthma Benefits

Like the lung cancer benefits of apples, the anti-asthma benefits have been somewhat surprising to health researchers. Multiple studies have shown apple intake to be associated with decreased risk of asthma. However, in some cases, the study findings have been even stronger. In one study, apples showed better risk reduction for asthma than total fruit-plus-vegetable intake combined! (That comparison might seem like a contradiction since fruit-plus-vegetable intake would clearly include apples. But in this particular study, it turned out that apples were not routinely consumed by fruit-plus-vegetable eaters, such that researchers could separate out a small group of study participants who regularly ate apples and could compare this group to other study participants who regularly ate fruits-plus-vegetables but did not include apples among their fruits.) Like the anti-cancer benefits of apples, apples' anti-asthma benefits are definitely associated with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients found in this fruit. However, there is very likely to be something else going on as well since apples appear to be a truly standout fruit in this regard.

Other Health Benefits

While not as developed as research in other areas, preliminary health benefits of apples have also been established for several age-related health problems, including macular degeneration of the eye and neurodegenerative problems, including Alzheimer's disease. In animal studies, prevention of bone loss has also been an area of investigation, particularly related to the phloridizin content of apples.


Apples are a crisp, white-fleshed fruit with a red, yellow or green skin. The apple is actually a member of the Rose family, which may seem strange until we remember that roses make rose hips, which are fruits similar to the apple.

Apples have a moderately sweet, refreshing flavor and a tartness that is present to greater or lesser degree depending on the variety. For example, Golden and Red Delicious apples are mild and sweet, while Pippins and Granny Smith apples are notably brisk and tart. Tart apples, which best retain their texture during cooking, are often preferred for cooked desserts like apple pie, while Delicious apples and other sweeter varieties like Braeburn and Fuji apples are usually eaten raw.


The apple tree, which originally came from Eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, has spread to most temperate regions of the world. Over the centuries, many hybrids and cultivars have been developed, giving us the 7,000 varieties in the market today.

Apples have long been associated with the biblical story of Adam and Eve, although there is actually no mention that, in fact, the fruit in question was actually an apple. In Norse mythology, apples were given a more positive persona: a magic apple was said to keep people young forever. Apples' most recent appearance in history occurred in the 1800s in the U.S., when Johnny Appleseed-a real person named John Chapman-barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles, planting apple trees that provided food and a livelihood for generations of settlers.

How to Select and Store

Look for firm fruits with rich coloring. Yellow and green apples with a slight blush are best. Your preference for a sweeter or more tart fruit and whether you plan to enjoy your apples raw or cooked will guide your choice of variety. Just remember that Red and Golden Delicious are among the sweetest apples. Braeburn and Fuji apples are slightly tart, and Gravenstein, Pippin, and Granny Smith apples are the most tart, but retain their texture best during cooking.

In the northern hemisphere, apple season begins at the end of summer and lasts until early winter. Apples available at other times have been in cold storage or are imported from the southern hemisphere.

Whole apples are a much better nutritional choice than apple juice. Not only are whole apples richer in dietary fiber, but the current processes of juicing seem to drastically reduce the polyphenolic phytonutrient concentrations originally found in the whole fruit.

Apples can be stored for relatively long (3-4 months) periods of time. Cold storage at low refrigerator temperatures (35-40F/2-4C) is able to help minimize loss of nutrients. In addition, it's helpful to maintain some moisture in the cold storage area, for example, by inclusion of damp cheesecloth in the crisper bin of a refrigerator. Over a period of time involving months, there is loss of total polyphenols from apples, including both flavonoid and non-flavonoid polyphenols. However, valuable amounts of polyphenols (and all other nutrients) remain. In some food traditions, cold storage of apples over the winter months is still counted on as a key part of dietary nourishment from fruits.

You've no doubt heard the saying, "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch." Well, research studies agree. An apple that has been bruised from being dropped (or that has been damaged in some other way) will start to release unusual amounts of ethylene gas. This ethylene gas can pose a risk to other apples that have not been damaged and greatly decrease their shelf life. For this reason, it's important to handle apples with tender loving care, and also to remove any damaged apples from groups of apples stored in bulk.

How to Enjoy

Tips for preparing apples

The skin of the apple is unusually rich in nutrients, and even if the recipe you've chosen requires peeled apples, consider leaving the skins on to receive the unique benefits found in the skins. Ideally, of course, choose organic apples to avoid problems related to pesticide residues and other contaminants on the skins. If you cannot obtain organic apples, and you are willing to accept some level of risk related to consumption of residues on the apple skins, we believe that it can still be a good trade-off between nutrients and contaminants if you leave the skin of the apple intact and eat the apple unpeeled. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse the entire apple under a stream of pure water while gently scrubbing the skin with a natural bristle brush for 10-15 seconds.

To prevent browning when slicing apples for a recipe, simply put the slices in a bowl of cold water to which a spoonful of lemon juice has been addedFor use in future recipes, sliced apples freeze well in plastic bags or containers.

There's an important loss of nutrients that usually occurs when apples are processed into applesauce, and an even greater loss when they are processed into juice. Some types of processing are easier on nutrients than others, but in general, apple sauces require boiling of apples and apple juices require some extraction of pulp. In all cases, the more apple that can be retained, the better the resulting nourishment. Processing can take a special toll on polyphenols. We've seen recent studies where only 10% of the flavonols and 3% of the catechins from the original apples remained present in the processed apple juice, Even chlorogenic acid (one of the more stable polyphenols in apples) tends to be decreased by at least 50% during the processing of whole apples into juice.

Obviously, there are exceptions to these generalized findings. For example, it is possible to put whole apples into a powerful blender and consume the resulting juice. In this case, very little if any of the nutrients are lost. However, this type of blending is not used in the commercial production of apple juice. Commercial apple juices are typically either "clear" or "cloudy." Clear apple juices have the vast majority of the apple pomace (pulpy apple solids) removed. Cloudy apple juices typically retain some of these pulpy solids because even though the pulpy solids have been removed from the juice through pressing and filtering, they are added back in at some designated level. When purchasing apple juice, always choose cloudy juices if possible.

Apples and Pesticide Residues

According to the Environmental Working Group's 2010 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides," apples are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of apples unless they are grown organically. Individuals willing to accept some level of pesticide-associated health risks may decide to consume non-organic apples. Under those circumstances we recommend thoroughly rinsing the entire apple under a stream of pure running water while gently scrubbing the skin with a natural bristle brush for 10-15 seconds.

If you do purchase non-organic apples, you may want to ask your grocer about the kind of wax used to protect the apple's surface during storage or shipping. Carnauba wax (from the carnauba palm tree), beeswax, and shellac (from the lac beetle) are preferable to petroleum-based waxes, which contain solvent residues or wood resins.

Nutritional Profile

Apple polyphenols are standout nutrients in this widely loved fruit. These polyphenols include flavonols (especially quercetin, but also kaempferol and myricetin), catechins (especially epicatechin), anthocyanins (if the apples are red-skinned), chlorogenic acid, phloridizin, and several dozen more health-supportive polyphenol nutrients. Apple is a good source of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin, and it's also a good source of vitamin C. Apple nutrients are disproportionately present in the skin, which is a particularly valuable part of the fruit with respect to its nutrient content.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.


Aprikian O, Duclos V, Guyot S et al. Apple Pectin and a Polyphenol-Rich Apple Concentrate Are More Effective Together Than Separately on Cecal Fermentations and Plasma Lipids in Rats. J. Nutr., Jun 2003; 133: 1860 - 1865. 2003.

Auclair S, Chironi G, Milenkovic D et al. The regular consumption of a polyphenol-rich apple does not influence endothelial function: a randomised double-blind trial in hypercholesterolemic adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Aug 4. [Epub ahead of print] 2010.

Barbosa AC, Pinto MD, Sarkar D et al. Varietal Influences on Antihyperglycemia Properties of Freshly Harvested Apples Using In Vitro Assay Models. J Med Food. 2010 Sep 27. [Epub ahead of print] 2010.

Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria CM, Whelton PK. Dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Sep 8;163(16):1897-904 2003.

Boyer J and Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004 May 12;3(1):5. 2004. PMID:15140261.

Carrasco-Pozo C, Gotteland M and Speisky H. Protection by apple peel polyphenols against indometacin-induced oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage and cytotoxicity in Caco-2 cells. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2010 Jul;62(7):943-50. 2010.

Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92. 2004. PMID:15197064.

Consumers Union of United States, Inc. Do you know what you're eating? An analysis of US government data on pesticide residues in foods. Consumers Union of United States, Inc. Edward Groth III, PhD, Project Director, Charles M. Benbrook, PhD, Consultant, Public Service Projects Department, Technical Division. Feb 1999 1999.

Cutler GJ, Nettleton JA, Ross JA et al. Dietary flavonoid intake and risk of cancer in postmenopausal women: The Iowa Women's Health Study. Int J Cancer. 2008 August 1; 123(3): 664-671. 2008.

Dai Q, Borenstein AR, Wu Y, Jackson JC, Larson EB. Fruit and vegetable juices and Alzheimer's disease: the Kame Project. Am J Med. 2006 Sep;119(9):751-9. 2006. PMID:16945610.

Davis PA, Polagruto JA, Valacchi G, Phung A, Soucek K, Keen CL, Gershwin ME. Effect of apple extracts on NF-kappaB activation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2006 May;231(5):594-8. 2006. PMID:16636308.

Flood-Obbagy JE and Rolls BJ. The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal. Appetite. 2009 April; 52(2): 416-422. 2009.

Graziani G, D'Argenio G, Tuccillo C et al. Apple polyphenol extracts prevent damage to human gastric epithelial cells in vitro and to rat gastric mucosa in vivo. 2005 February; 54(2): 193-200. doi: 10.1136/gut.2004.046292. 2005.

Hanhineva K, Törrönen R, Bondia-Pons I et al. Impact of Dietary Polyphenols on Carbohydrate Metabolism. Int J Mol Sci. 2010; 11(4): 1365-1402. 2010.

Holderbaum DF, Kon T, Kudo T et al. Enzymatic Browning, Polyphenol Oxidase Activity, and Polyphenols in Four Apple Cultivars: Dynamics during Fruit Development. HortScience, Aug 2010; 45: 1150 - 1154. 2010.

Huxley RR, Neil HAW. The relation between dietary flavonol intake and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies,. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, 904-908. 2003.

Kern M, Tjaden Z, Ngiewih Y, Puppel N, Will F, Dietrich H, Pahlke G, Marko D. Inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor in apple juice extract. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Mar 9;49(4):317-328 [Epub ahead of print] 2005. PMID:15759309.

Kovac, A, Skendrovic Babojelic, M, Pavicic, N et al. Influence of harvest time and storage duration on "Cripps Pink" apple cultivar (Malus x domestica Borkh) quality parameters. Ciencia y Tecnología Alimentaria, Vol. 8, Núm. 1, mayo, 2010, pp. 1-6. 2010.

Licht TR, Hansen M, Bergström A et al. Effects of apples and specific apple components on the cecal environment of conventional rats: role of apple pectin. Microbiol. 2010; 10: 13. Published online 2010 January 20. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-10-13. 2010.

Puel C, Quintin A, Mathey J, Obled C, Davicco MJ, Lebecque P, Kati-Coulibaly S, Horcajada MN, Coxam V. Prevention of bone loss by phloridzin, an apple polyphenol, in ovariectomized rats under inflammation conditions. Calcif Tissue Int. 2005 Nov;77(5):311-8. Epub 2005 Nov 16. 2005. PMID:16307390.

Setorki M, Asgary S, Eidi A et al. Effects of apple juice on risk factors of lipid profile, inflammation and coagulation, endothelial markers and atherosclerotic lesions in high cholesterolemic rabbits. Lipids Health Dis. 2009; 8: 39. 2009.

Solovchenko A and Schmitz-Eiberger M. Significance of skin flavonoids for UV-B-protection in apple fruits. J. Exp. Bot., Aug 2003; 54: 1977 - 1984. 2003.

Van Der Sluis AA, Dekker M, Skrede G. Activity and concentration of polyphenolic antioxidants in apple juice. 1. Effect of existing production methods. J Agric Food Chem 2002 Dec 4;50(25):7211-9 2002.


Florida State University

The ScienceDaily  story was compilled by staff from materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Science Daily

World's Healthiest Foods


Disclaimer: This post or blog is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Study Shows That Only 3 Meals A Day Are Better Than 5 Meals A Day!

It's common knowledge that if you want to lose weight you need to eat five or six small meals a day. But what if we're wrong about that? A new study shows that that adding protein, not increasing frequency may be the strategy that helps you feel fuller. Check out Jungle Miami's post today:

Three Square Meals a Day Paired With Lean Protein Help People Feel Full During Weight Loss

ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — Eating fewer, regular-sized meals with higher amounts of lean protein can make one feel more full than eating smaller, more frequent meals, according to new research from Purdue University.

"We found that when eating high amounts of protein, men who were trying to lose weight felt fuller throughout the day; they also experienced a reduction in late-night desire to eat and had fewer thoughts of food," said Heather J. Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri who was a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue for this study.

"We also found that despite the common trend of eating smaller, more frequent meals, eating frequency had relatively no beneficial impact on appetite control. The larger meals led to reductions in appetite, and people felt full. We want to emphasize though that these three larger meals were restricted in calories and reflected appropriate portion sizes to be effective in weight loss."

The findings are reported in this month's issue of Obesity. This research was funded by the National Pork Board and the American Egg Board, and additional support was provided by the Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research Center and National Institutes of Health's Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

"Our advice for people trying to lose weight is to add a moderate amount of protein at three regular meals a day to help appetite control and the feeling of fullness," said Wayne W. Campbell, Purdue professor of foods and nutrition. "Egg and lean pork products are good sources for protein, and if they are incorporated at meals when people do not normally consume protein, such as at breakfast and lunch, they may prove to be a nice strategy to control weight; promote satiety, which is the feeling of being full; and retain lean tissue mass, which is essential for people as they age."

Leidy said men were studied because they tend to eat more meat and are not studied as often as women. Twenty-seven obese and overweight men were divided into a high-protein group and a normal-protein group. They all consumed a calorie-restricted diet for 12 weeks -- which was 750 calories less than their normal diet -- an average of about 2,400 calories per person. The amount of protein varied between each group.

The normal-protein diet was composed of 14 percent of energy from protein, 60 percent from carbohydrate and 26 percent from fat, and the high-protein diet had the same amount of fat but 25 percent of energy from protein and 49 percent from carbohydrate.

For example, the normal-protein group's main sources of protein at a breakfast would be sausage made from vegetable proteins. In comparison, the main source for the high-protein group would be sausage, also made from vegetable proteins, as well as an egg substitute and Canadian bacon. The high-protein diet specifically included 25 percent of total protein intake from pork and 15 percent from egg products. Both sources helped contribute the amino acids and nutrients people need daily, Campbell said. This amount of protein for the high-protein group was estimated at 200 calories per meal.

Another difference between the groups is that the normal-protein diet did not include proteins from flesh foods such as meat.

Beans, legumes and soy products also are high sources of protein, but they are not as prevalent in Americans' diets as dairy and meat products, Campbell said. About 40 percent of the protein Americans consume comes from meat products such as pork, chicken, beef and fish, and another 5 percent comes from eggs and egg products.

"The studies have not been done to show the superiority of these proteins with comparable quantities consumed," he said. "What our studies are showing is that by increasing protein in the diet with these food products, the benefits of higher protein intake are noticeable."

Eating frequency also was tested because it is a common belief that eating more frequent, smaller meals a day can lead to weight loss. One of the reasons for this belief is that older studies suggest people who are overweight and obese tend to eat fewer meals.

"As a result, the idea was that fewer, larger meals were contributing or encouraging overconsumption and resulting in obesity and that the people who were more successful with weight control were eating smaller, more frequent meals," Campbell said. "But our findings turn that on its head. There also seems to be a growing consensus that these other dietary habits may not be accurately reported because obese and overweight people tend to conceal how frequently and how much they eat."

Eating frequency was determined starting at week seven for three days. Participants consumed the same amount of calories but with a different distribution: three times a day by eating every five hours or six times a day eating every two hours. The large meals were about 750 calories each. The smaller meals consumed every two hours were estimated at about 375 calories each. Participants also recorded their feelings about hunger and feeling full on a time-stamped electronic device every waking hour.

"First, although we found that daily hunger, desire to eat and preoccupation with thoughts of food were not different between the normal- verses higher-protein groups, the higher-protein group experienced greater fullness through the day," Leidy said. "Second, we had more individuals struggle with complying with consuming six meals a day, specifically, of those in the study who were not compliant, 90 percent were specifically unable to follow the six-meal-a-day eating pattern. People told us anecdotally that they couldn't stop work to eat a meal, even if it was small."

It also is important to note that the more frequent meals were literally the main meals split in half, and the participants were not snacking, she said.

"The definition for a snack can vary, but it is usually accepted to be under 250 calories and between meals," Leidy said. "Unfortunately, many people easily exceed that today when they combine oversized soft drinks and large portion sizes."

This study also follows an acute clinical study conducted in a laboratory setting by the same researchers that was published in Obesity in September. In that study, they found that higher protein intake promotes satiety and challenged the concept that smaller, more frequent meals increases the feeling of fullness.

Other research by Leidy and Campbell have shown that restricted-calorie diets high in protein also help retain lean body mass as people lose weight, which is critical for older adults, Campbell said. However, a loss in bone density for postmenopausal women was linked to eating high protein from meat sources.

"Unfortunately, older people are not immune to the obesity epidemic, and they also are likely to lose muscle as they age," Campbell said. "The combination of overweight, over fat and under muscle is not a good combination for health or quality of life. One of the themes of our research group is to help adults successfully age, and we would like to evaluate the effectiveness of a higher-protein diet with these types of food in this age group while also monitoring key aspects of long-term health such as metabolic syndrome, which includes blood pressure and glucose and cholesterol levels."

The most recent article was co-authored by Purdue doctoral student Minghua Tang, postdoctoral research associate Cheryl L.H. Armstrong and undergraduate student Carmen B. Martin.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Do you think you sleep long enough? Think again. The statistics on the subject are showing, that people sleep a lot less than they should. Today we bring you everything related to sleep, except the bed.  Since it is a long reading, perhaps it will help you catch some z's in between. Good for you. Sleep. This is Jungle Miami's post today.

Why We Sleep

Scientists have yet to determine exactly why people sleep. However, they do know that humans must sleep and, in fact, people can survive longer without food than without sleep. And people are not alone in this need – all mammals, reptiles and birds sleep.

Scientists have proposed the following theories on why humans require sleep:

Sleep may be a way of recharging the brain. The brain has a chance to shut down and repair neurons and to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to lack of activity.

Sleep gives the brain an opportunity to reorganize data to help find a solution to problem, process newly learned information and organize and archive memories.

Sleep lowers a person’s metabolic rate and energy consumption.

The cardiovascular system also gets a break during sleep. Researchers have found that people with normal or high blood pressure experience a 20 to 30% reduction in blood pressure and 10 to 20% reduction in heart rate.

During sleep, the body has a chance to replace chemicals and repair muscles, other tissues and aging or dead cells.

In children and young adults, growth hormones are released during deep sleep.

When a person falls asleep and wakes up is largely determined by his or her circadian rhythm, a day-night cycle of about 24 hours. Circadian rhythms greatly influence the timing, amount and quality of sleep.

For many small mammals such as rodents, sleep has other particular benefits, as it provides the only real opportunity for physical rest, and confines the animal to the thermal insulation of a nest. In these respects sleep conserves much energy in such mammals, particularly as sleep can also develop into a torpor, whereby metabolic rate drops significantly for a few hours during the sleep period. On the other hand, humans can usually rest and relax quite adequately during wakefulness, and there is only a modest further energy saving to be gained by sleeping. We do not enter torpor, and the fall in metabolic rate for a human adult sleeping rather lying resting but awake, is only about 5-10%.

More than 20% of Americans are shift workers who work and sleep against their bodies’ natural sleep-wake cycle. While a person’s circadian rhythm can not be ignored or reprogrammed, the cycle can be altered by the timing of things such as naps, exercise, bedtime, travel to a different time zone and exposure to light. The more stable and consistent the cycle is, the better the person sleeps. Disruption of circadian rhythms has even been found to cause mania in people with bipolar disorder.

"Sleepiness" cannot easily be quantified although such tests can be useful in getting some grip on it. Four common tests are used to measure and quantify effects of stimulants and symptoms of disorders.

Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) – time to get to sleep

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test(MWT) – time to get to sleep

Wilkinson addition test – cognitive test

Digital symbol substitution – cognitive test

The two-phase model provides some guidance as to why people get sleepy – duration of prior waking and place in the circadian cycle.

Sloth as a sin

The "seven deadly sins" formulated by the mideaval monks included Sloth. The Bible in Proverbs 6:9 includes the line: "How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep?" But a more nuanced understanding of sloth sees it as a disinclination to labor or work. This isn't the same as the desire for healthy sleep. On the contrary, a person can't do work without rest periods and no one can operate at top performance without adequate sleep.

The Puritan work ethic can be adhered to and respect still paid to the sleep needs of healthy humans. It is wrong to see sleep as a shameful activity.

Sleep and the athlete - psychomotor vigilance

Psychomotor vigilance performance is important to athletic performance. Sleep experts use the word “vigilance” to roughly describe alertness and ability to do mental tasks. The vigilance is influenced by sleep’s homeostatic process. You can think of this process causing a build-up of pressure for sleep during wakefulness and a dissipation of pressure during sleep. The body’s circadian rhythm process produces a waxing and waning of pressure for wakefulness throughout the day.

This skill involves reaction time and sustained attention. It is needed for not only sports performance but also everyday activities such as driving. It is highly sensitive to sleep loss, often experienced by athletes on road trips, particularly after they cross multiple time zones.

When athletes aren’t getting enough sleep, these two processes cause performance to deteriorate progressively, modulated within days by further performance reductions at night and relative improvements during the daytime. As the homeostatic pressure for sleep builds up higher across prolonged wakefulness, the rate of dissipation of that pressure during subsequent sleep is enhanced exponentially, so that even brief periods of sleep provide significant performance recuperation. Nevertheless, sleep restriction practiced on a chronic basis induces cumulative performance deficits of the same order of magnitude as observed during total sleep deprivation. There are also considerable individual differences in the degree of vulnerability to performance impairment from sleep loss.

Variations in sports performance may reflect normal ebb and flow of biological rhythms. Marked differences between time of training and time of competition also may dent an athlete's performance. Studies have shown that when athletes are allowed to sleep until "slept out," their mood, energy level, and sense of well-being increase. Does the well-rested athlete have a "secret" advantage? The value of sleep is hardly a secret.

Elite athletes often suffer problems due to domestic or occupational schedules that do not permit normal sleep schedules and to rapid travel across multiple time zones (jet lag). Endurance athletes often have a problem with immuno-suppression and chronic reduction in sleep can contribute to this. Indeed, even in non-athletes, sleep deprivation can suppress the immune system.

A related and largely unresolved question is the effect of exercise on sleep quality in regular people (non-athletes).

Conincidentally, sleep expert David Dinges has developed a "psychomotor vigilance test" to help organizations keep tabs on people in highly critical jobs.

Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think

Chronic Sleep Deprivation May Harm Health

By Michael J. Breus, PhD
WebMD FeatureReviewed by Stuart J. Meyers, MD

Not sleeping enough and not sleeping well is not OK. As a matter of fact, there is quite a price to pay. It may surprise you to learn that chronic sleep deprivation, for whatever reason, significantly affects your health, performance, safety, and pocketbook.

There are many causes of sleep deprivation. The stresses of daily life may intrude upon our ability to sleep well, or perhaps we trade sleep for more work or play. We may have medical or mental-health conditions that disrupt our sleep, and be well aware that we are sleep-deprived.

However, it is critically important to realize that sleep deprivation is very often due to unrecognized sleep disorders. After a typical night's sleep, you may not feel restored and refreshed and be sleepy during the day, but be totally unaware that you are sleep-deprived or have a sleep disorder. You might think, "It's just the stress of work or the kids," or you might have "always felt this way" and had no idea that you should feel differently. This lack of awareness compounds the consequences, because so many people remain undiagnosed for years.

That said, let's look at the consequences of sleep deprivation.

In the short term:

Decreased Performance and Alertness: Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.

Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability -- your ability to think and process information.

Stress Relationships: Disruption of a bed partner's sleep due to a sleep disorder may cause significant problems for the relationship (for example, separate bedrooms, conflicts, moodiness, etc.).

Poor Quality of Life: You might, for example, be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show.

Occupational Injury: Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.

Automobile Injury: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

The good news for many of the disorders that cause sleep deprivation is that after risk assessment, education, and treatment, memory and cognitive deficits improve and the number of injuries decreases.

In the long term, the clinical consequences of untreated sleep disorders are large indeed. They are associated with numerous, serious medical illnesses, including:

High blood pressure

Heart attack

Heart failure



Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Mental impairment

Fetal and childhood growth retardation

Injury from accidents

Disruption of bed partner's sleep quality

Poor quality of life

Sleep Statistics-
National Sleep Foundation  

Versus the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, American adults are sleeping an average of seven hours per night

One in three adults get 6.5 or less hours of sleep nightly

62% of American adults experience a sleep problem a few nights per week

43% of adults say they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their daily activities a few days a month

Overall, employees estimate that the quality and quantity of their work is diminished by about 30% when they are sleepy

Nearly one quarter (22%) of young adults are occasionally or frequently late for work due to sleepiness versus 11% of 30 to 64 year olds

13% of young adults admit to occasionally/frequently falling asleep at work

55% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 report that they "wake unrefreshed"

The percentage of young adults suffering from significant daytime sleepiness (33%) rivals that of shift workers (29%)

63% of tired drivers turn to caffeine and only 22% of drivers pull off the road to rest when drowsy

51% of all US adults reported they have driven while drowsy during the past year

24% of 18 to 29 year olds admitted to dozing off at the wheel at some point within the last year

Drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 car crashes annually

68% of adults say that sleepiness interferes with their concentration and makes handling stress on the job more difficult



Sleep article's Webpage

Sleep and athlete Article's link

Sleep Stats Webpage

Friday, April 1, 2011

How To Be A Dick (In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)

Here at Jungle Miami we teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to everyone.  But sometimes people don't know the etiquette involved when participating in a class.  Our Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor, Marcel Gonzalez, turned me on to this article from the weblog "The Gentle Art".  It's about how not to act while taking a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.

How To Be A Dick
Here’s my list of some of the ways to be a real Dick when grappling.
  1. Make every roll feel like the finals at Mundial. ALWAYS bring your A game. Unless you roll hard all the time you aren’t progressing.
  2. Don’t bother washing your gi. In fact, keep it in a ball in your bag. That way when you put it on it’s already wet. Nothing like grabbing a guy with a cold wet gi.
  3. Always leave your gi pants at home. Grapple in your top and shorts. Sambo style! When you do that don’t forget to grab the other guys pants legs for all your passes.
  4. Always beat down new guys. That way they know the power of BJJ right away. They need to know how effective it is.
  5. If you know a cool counter to what the teacher is showing be sure to show it RIGHT AWAY. Especially when the instructor is talking. That way you can look cool. By the way, every technique has a counter.
  6. Always use full resistance in class. Especially when in learning stage. If your partner is learning an armbar for the first time you need to give them full resistance so that they know how that feels. Don’t let them get it!
  7. If you are about to get subbed switch into coach mode. Coach your partner through the rest of the technique. That way you get credit for HIS sub.
  8. If you get tired in a roll wait until you are in a bad position to stop.
  9. When you get tapped by a bigger guy always tell them after the roll “Dang, you are strong!” That way you can blame their win on their strength instead of their technique.
  10. Keep track of everyone you’ve tapped, what you used to tap them, and when it happened. Relive those moment with your classmates before every class.
  11. Gun after everyone who is higher rank than you. That way you can put a notch on your belt for tapping out a higher belt.
  12. When you get a tap immediately jump up and do a victory dance. Make sure everyone in the room knows.
  13. Drop in and out of class as you see fit. Don’t bother to do the warm ups. If the material doesn’t look cool to you be sure to pull your buddy out of class and grapple on the side of the mat while class is going on. ALWAYS do this if class is covering something you’ve learned already. Review is for white belts.
  14. Along those same lines, always show up late. That way you don’t have to even bother with warm ups.
  15. When you have a visitor in from another gym you MUST put a beat down on them. That’s the only way they will know how good your gym is. It is your job to uphold the reputation of your gym.
  16. Nobody minds if you roll with open sores. Go ahead and grind that scab in my face. I don’t mind at all.
  17. Long fingernails are a great sparring weapon. Don’t cut them. Toenails either.
  18. Small joint locks are your secret weapon. Grab and twist fingers. Do it hard and fast.
  19. Don’t tap! Doesn’t matter that the arm is totally straight and you can hear the tendons ripping. You might still get out! Your pride is worth it.
  20. Slam on all submissions hard and fast! That way you get twice as many. Doesn’t matter that your partner won’t have time to tap until it’s too late. This is BJJ. If you don’t want to get hurt then take up yoga or TKD.