Bad eating habits can affect everyone – even avid runners

running at sunrise

Conventional wisdom says you can pretty much eat whatever you want if you’re an avid runner, as your body is burning off all of the excess calories. But is that really true? New research now suggests that avid runners need to pay attention to their diets as well when it comes to the potential for heart disease.

As a 10-mile-a-day runner, Dave McGillivray thought he could eat whatever he wanted without worrying about his heart. “I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything,” said McGillivray, who is 59.

But a diagnosis six months ago of coronary artery disease shocked McGillivray, a finisher of 130 marathons and several Ironman-distance triathlons. Suddenly he regretted including a chocolate-chip-cookie recipe in his memoir about endurance athletics.

“My first reaction was, I was embarrassed,” he said.

As race director of the Boston Marathon, McGillivray is a high-profile exhibit in a growing medical case against the devil-may-care diets of many marathoners. Their high-mileage habit tends to lower their weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, leading them (and sometimes their doctors) to assume their cardiac health is robust regardless of diet.

“‘I will run it off’—that attitude clearly prevails among the marathoners themselves, almost sometimes to an arrogance,” said Paul Thompson, a veteran marathoner who is chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital.

A growing body of research shows the error of that thinking. A study published in the current edition of Missouri Medicine found that 50 men who had run at least one marathon a year for 25 years had higher levels of coronary-artery plaque than a control group of sedentary men. A British Medical Journal study published this year compared the carotid arteries of 42 Boston Marathon qualifiers with their much-less active spouses. “We hypothesized that the runners would have a more favourable atherosclerotic risk profile,” says the article. As it turned out, that hypothesis was wrong.

Many assumed that extreme-endurance sports could help prevent heart disease, but now the research suggests this extreme activity may actually cause problems.

We should be careful of course to jump to conclusions after several studies, but certainly this raises questions and challenges old assumptions.

It also brings us back to some common sense notions that moderation in diet and excercise can be the best combination. Pushing anything to the limit – whether its your diet or your activities, can lead to risks.

Spices and hot sauces can replace salt in your diet

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For many people, salt is a huge part of their diet, and cutting back can be very difficult. Unfortunatley, when battling heart issues or high blood pressure, cutting back on sodium intake is critical.

The firts step is identifying all the foods in your diet loaded with sodium. You might be shocked as to how many foods, particularly procressed foods and breads, are loaded with sodium. Things like soups are obvious culprits.

Then you need to consider how much salt you use with cooking. And this is one of the toughest adjustments for people, as salt makes food taste great.

But there are alternatives. This article has the excellent suggestion of using spices and hot sauces to augment the flavor of foods.

I’ve been using hot sauce for years. It works great with many dishes, and soup happens to be one of them. A bland lentil soup for example can taste incredibly good with some chili pepper sauce. Even with canned soup, you can buy the low sodium options and then splash in some hot sauce to make it taste better.

So educate yourself, but also be open to new flavors. You cna eat healthier but also make things more delicious.

People eat more when they’re together

woman having upscale lunch

Married people are more prone to obesity. That’s one of the negative health realities of marriage, though there are positives as well. In trying to understand why this is so, here’s an interesting nugget from a recent article.

People eat more when they’re together. A 1992 study that asked participants to record their food consumption for a week found that eating with one companion increased meal size by 41 percent compared with eating alone, while breaking bread with six or more people increased an individual’s caloric intake by a whopping 76 percent. Other studies have found somewhat more modest increases, but the effect is remarkably consistent.

Why do we eat more when we eat with others? It may be a result of social norms. Communal meals tend to last longer than eating solo, and people who sit in front of food can’t resist eating it. Another possible explanation is our habit of mimicking our dining companions: When they take a bite, we take a bite. More people means more cues to eat. The habit may, alternatively, lie deep in evolutionary history. Chimpanzees and marmosets spontaneously share food, probably to help form social bonds. From the innocent, altruistic act grew a regrettable human custom. Perhaps you feed (and feed, and feed) your spouse to strengthen your marital bond, even if you’re ultimately shortening its duration.

Think about your own eating habits. You might be able to make a real difference in your food consumption and overall health just by being more conscious of who you eat with and how often you do that. Finding more opportunities to eat alone can potentially have significant results!

Difference between the DASH and Paleo Diet

fruit and vegetables

Knowing that the diet industry is a billion dollar business, it is hard to sometimes trust which diet plan is the best one to take on. Every diet plan out there says it is the best one. But how can that be true. As we all know, it is impossible for them all to be the best, plus, each person is a unique human being with their own needs and inspiration.

There are two diets out there, though, that have done plenty of good for many people wishing to lose weight: the DASH Diet and the Paleo Diet. These two diets have things in common and aspects that differ. Keep reading to learn more.

The Paleo Diet

Developed on the belief that we should be eating like they did in the Caveman Era, the Paleo Diet (also known as the Paleolithic Diet) is all about consuming that which Mother Nature gave us directly. For example, if the cavemen back in the day could have fished it, foraged it, or hunted it, chances are you are allowed to eat it on the Paleo Diet. Foods such as fish and grass-fed beef as well as gatherable foods like vegetables, nuts, roots and fruit are allowed. What’s not allowed? Pretty much anything that is of today’s way of eating is off the list. Things like whole grains, beans, dairy, salt, oils and refined sugars are a definite no-no.

Why is it believed that this is a good way to fight the bulge and obesity-related diseases? Experts have come to understand that the processing of our food in our agricultural society is not good for the body. In fact, some believe that we as humans were never meant to consume things like bread, donuts, or cake. A possible concern of the Paleo Diet is the overeating of lean meat which could be an issue for people that have heart problems.

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet

This diet is considered by the U.S. News and World Report to be the Best Diet of 2012. That is pretty amazing considering all of the diets out there, so there must be something impressive with this way of losing weight and getting healthier.

Considered to be the diet of choice for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as well as the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association, the DASH Diet has experts on its side. One of the main reasons this might be the case is because the DASH Diet is not really a diet…it is a change in life for the better. Created to assist people with increasing their cardiovascular health, the diet doesn’t stop you from living. Instead, it has minimal restrictions and is basic to do, helping people integrate it into their life with ease.

The main diet consists of eating plenty of vegetables and fruit along with low or nonfat dairy, whole grains, nuts, beans, lean poultry, meat and fish as well as whole grains. What to stay away from consists of red meat, refined sugar drinks and salt.

Bio

Kishana Sainte writes on fitness, health & lifestyle, as well as diet and weight loss articles on behalf of MyDocHub.com, a trusted online doctor reviews and medical information website.

Workout programs and losing weight

women in workout class

There are many good reasons to add workout programs to your daily routine. The best reason involves improving your health of course, and that should always be the top priority when trying to craft a workout program that’s best for you. Other reasons usually have to do with appearance and losing weight. For many of us, that’s usually the biggest motivator, unless of course we’re dealing with a health crisis like high blood pressure that forces us to become focused on our health.

As you consider different workout options, you need to be honest with yourself about what exactly you want to achieve, and that will help you make better decisions.

But, choosing workouts is only part of the process. When considering your health and your weight, your diet can be just as important, if not more important, than your workout routine. The harsh reality is that for many people, exercise will not make them thinner. The fact is that many people end up eating more when they exercise. Perhaps they want to rewards themselves, or maybe the workouts make them hungrier. So while they might be getting healthier, these people who don’t consider diet and start eating more might actually gain weight.

For many of you, hearing this may be frustrating, but you have to understand that there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to weight loss. Drugs are a bad idea, and niche diets just don’t last.

The key is developing a sound plan that includes exercise along with a rational, sustainable diet plan that feeds your hunger but also helps you keep the pounds off.

So, when considering workout options, keep in mind that there’s much more to consider. For example, a daily walking routine, combined with a sensible approach to reducing your sugar intake makes a ton of sense. Also, replace processed foods and white flower bread with more fruits and vegetables and whole grain products is also a great idea. Take a more holistic approach, and you’ll be much more successful in achieving your weight loss goals.

How to Get Killer Abs Cooking with Coconut Oil

couple with tight abs

Summer is almost upon us, and if you’re like me, you’re staring at yourself in the mirror asking, “Am I ready?” For a woman wearing a bikini, the abdomen is one of the most important parts of the body. After all, the whole reason you’re reading a two-piece is because you are comfortable showing a little skin.

The difference between a nice, toned set of washboard abs and even a small accumulation of fat can mean the difference between jumping into that beach volleyball game, or maybe the arms of that guy you have been crushing on since last fall.

Fortunately, one of the easiest parts of the body to work out is the abdomen. You can achieve washboard abs in less than a month with a proper workout regimen, and there are tons of effective workouts out there. That said if you want to elevate your approach to a whole new plateau of physical results, you might want to give coconut oil a try.

Why Consume a Fatty Oil to Eliminate Stomach Fat?

It’s simple, actually.

In 2001, Harvard researchers said that diets moderate in (good) fats are actually more effective for weight loss results in the long run than diets that are low in fat.

Coconut oil is one of, if not the best known oil to use when it comes to keeping rolls off your stomach because the degree to which it is comprised of medium (as opposed to long) chain fatty acids. Lauric acid is one of these medium-chain triglyceride acids, and comprises about 50% of coconut oil. Lauric acid absorbs straight into the small intestines, and require less energy and fewer enzymes to metabolize as opposed to long-chained counterparts. To put this into perspective, 98% of all other fats we eat are long-chained, so to find a medium-chain triglyceride is relatively rare.

Lauric acid actually has antiviral properties as well.

Putting the Science to the Test

A study published in the journal Lipids had the following findings: a small group of obese women who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil a day for 12 weeks saw their waistlines shrink, while women who consumed the same amount of soybean oil experienced no such change.

Comparing Different Types of Cooking Oil

If you are looking for a quality resource when it comes to all the different types of cooking oils out there, I suggest taking a look at the complete comparison chart of all known cooking oils, hosted over at Cooking Rules.

Simon is a writer and content specialist who is addicted to being on the front page of anything. A graduate of Dalhousie University, he specializes in using the em dash too often. Currently, Simon rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada. Check out a recent example of his work here.

New Study Suggests That Belly Fat Is Worse Than Obesity For Your Heart Health


Free Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is generally used to assess overall fitness, however, a new study has found that weight concentrated around the middle can be more harmful than obesity itself.

The waist to hip ratio is proving to be a better predictor of heart disease and other illness than BMI alone.

Participants were divided into six groups based on which of the three BMI groups they fell into, and whether they had a normal or high waist-to-hip ratio. Men whose waist measurement was 90 percent or more of their hip measurement were considered to have a high hip-to-waist ratio. The same was true of women; those with waists that were 85 percent of their hip size were classified as having a high hip-to-waist ratio.

Participants with normal BMI but a high waist-to-hip ratio had the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, and the highest risk of dying from any causes among the six groups.
The risk of cardiovascular death was 2.75 times higher, and the risk of death from any cause was 2.08 times higher among normal-weight people with “central obesity,” compared with normal-weight people who had a normal waist-to-hip ratio.
“The high risk of death may be related to a higher visceral fat accumulation in this group, which is associated with insulin resistance and other risk factors,” said study researcher Dr. Karine Sahakyan, also of Mayo Clinic.

Men can be highly susceptible to accumulating belly fat and inactivity, poor diet and stress contribute to visceral fat.

Keeping your abs toned and your middle “whittled” is the best way to avoid disease and keep your heart strong.

The 5 Must Have Supplements for Your Health

It’s not easy to eat right all the time and even if you are you may not know that consuming fruit, for instance, with protein will inhibit your bodies ability to absorb the nutrients you are ingesting.

Taking certain supplements will help to insure that you are getting the nutrients you need everyday.

Bioavailability and absorption are two important factors when it comes to sufficient intake of micronutrients. For example, oxalates are a chemical found in tea. While herbal teas are good for you, this chemical can limit the bioavailability of several nutrients, like iron and calcium. Tea has become as much a staple in many diets as coffee or water – meaning your body may not be benefiting from your “perfect” diet.

Another common example is consuming milk with a meal containing eggs – it is highly unlikely you will absorb much of the calcium in the milk. Iron, found in eggs, binds calcium in the intestines, limiting absorption. Ideally, these two micronutrients should be consumed three hours apart, but do you really have time for that much planning and fretting?

Supplements, however, do not replace healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

Choose those supplements which are designed to address our specific needs and you can achieve optimal health and benefits for your body and mind.

Struggling with Weakness or Fatigue?

Don’t let these feelings get in the way of your fitness goals. Instead, get your iron levels checked. Low-iron or iron deficiency anemia can lead to a host of symptoms including: tiredness, low-motivation and poor circulation.

Sugar issues getting more attention

This recent story on 60 Minutes is raising more awareness on the health issues surrounding sugar. We need to wake up as a nation.

A Primer On Frozen Desserts

Love ice cream but hate the calories?

There are some great frozen treats which offer a lot of flavor without all the fat and calories.

Scoop up the info and learn the facts about your frozen favorites and see where a few substations can keep your fitness on track.

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