Bad eating habits can affect everyone – even avid runners

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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.

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