Should celebrities endorse soft drinks filled with sugar?

More and more studies are teaching us how too much sugar in our diet can lead to serious health issues, including conditions like obesity. This has triggered all sorts of policy debates with the Mayor of New York banning large soft drinks while others argue that the government shouldn’t get involved. Both sides have a point but with so much of our federal budget tied to health care costs we all need to consider these issues, while also looking in the mirror and asking ourselves whether we consume too much sugar.

Soft drinks in particular are a huge source of excess sugar in our diets, and now even stars like Beyonce are feeling some heat around this issue. For example, “The Center for Science in the Public Interest wants Beyonce to turn her back on her $50 million deal with Pepsi because the sugary drink is associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.” That’s quite a bit a money to turn down, and I guess she could only focus on Diet Pepsi, but in many ways this controversy illustrates how far we have come with awareness on this issue. I doubt Beyonce will end her deal, but now there is some PR price to be paid when a celebrity gets behind these types of products.

Of course, we need to do more than just cut down on sugar to improve our diet and our health, though it would be a great start for most people. It’s important to find healthy foods as a substitute for things like sugar and fat that we want to reduce. Another approach involves taking vitamins and supplements like the ones found at Predator Nutrition to round out what you consume as well.

It is encouraging, however, that the feedback we’re getting from commercials might be balanced a bit by the loud voices explaining the health risks of things like sugar along with the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.

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.

More Vitamin D information

We’ve had many discussions on this site about the benefits of vitamin D, and the topic has been getting much more press over the past several years. The benefits are significant, as the reduced risk of fracture is just one benefit of vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which is its main biological function. It also helps in the absorption of calcium and protects against osteoporosis and osteomalacia (hardens bones and teeth), against hypertension (high blood pressure), against cancer and against several autoimmune diseases and rickets in children. New research in the New England Journal of Medicine is out on the reduced risk of fracture in the elderly, concluding that it takes a daily dose of at least 800 international units (IU) to consistently prevent broken bones. Doses at this level were found to reduce the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent and other breaks by 14 percent while lower doses didn’t have any effect. Meanwhile the studies also suggest that too much calcium in the range of more than 1,000 mg per day can weaken the benefit.

As supplements like vitamin get more popular with more research results, more and more people are shopping for them online as the costs can add up. You can save a ton of money by doing your research and shopping around online on sites like Puritan’s Pride as opposed to walking into the first drugstore you find. There are many great online stores with significant discounts, and you can save money by using these Puritan’s Pride coupon codes.

Naturally, you should be consulting with your doctor as well, though keep in mind that many doctors will not address issues like supplements unless you bring up specific questions. One new study, however, makes all of this more difficult when it comes to vitamin D. Unfortunately, current testing methods for vitamin D levels are not very accurate. The main problems is that there is no official standardization for vitamin D testing, and “a single blood sample sent to 10 different labs could return 10 different test results.” Fortunately there is an effort to correct this problem but for the moment you need to keep this in mind when you get tested by your doctor.

Ray Lewis and the importance of diet in sports

Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

USA Today has a great profile of Ray Lewis leading up to this weekend’s playoff game. Lewis has had an incredible NFL career, and in this article we see why. He’s always been known as a workout warrior, but here we see how obsessive he is about his diet as well.

Stamped “P.M.,” the bag is filled with multicolored vitamin supplements. Before noon, the iconic Baltimore Ravens linebacker already had consumed a protein shake, egg whites, an apple, 2 gallons of water and a similar bag of “A.M.” supplements.

Lewis, 36, is explaining why he believes he has survived 16 NFL seasons — and still is playing at a Pro Bowl level as the Ravens prepare for Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans— in such a physically demanding sport.

In addition to a relentless year-round conditioning regimen and aggressive therapy for the toe injury that sidelined him for four games this season, Lewis estimates he swallows 50 pills a day.

Then the veteran, hardly ready to declare this playoff run a prelude to retirement, reaches into the briefcase to show off his afternoon snack — another apple.

“I’m watching these guys, with their cheeseburgers and stuff,” he says. “And you’re going to compete against me? Even if you’re younger and faster, your fuel won’t let you beat me.”

His obsession for healthy eating is, well, notorious in the Ravens locker room.

“His diet is so ridiculous, even the people around him have to adjust,” linebacker Terrell Suggs says. “It’s crazy. Last week, I’m eating a bag of chips, and he throws ‘em away.”

Lewis is a fish-and-vegetable man who hasn’t touched pork in 12 years and has eaten beef twice during that span. He also doesn’t drink soda or eat bread or sugar — except for scant exceptions. Like his cheat snacks, Twizzlers and Gummy Bears. “To keep living life,” he says.

I remember watching Chad Ochocinco several years ago describing how he ate mostly at McDonald’s. He was young and he could easily burn the fat and calories. Now he’d be wise to read this article and start emulating Lewis, as Chad isn’t the same player he was several years ago. Diet is a critical part of health and performance!

As we get older, we have to be more careful about what we eat. We don’t need to be obsessive like Ray Lewis since most of us aren’t pro athletes. But if you really was to get ripped, then you have to have the same devotion. Match your diet to your goals!

BEWARE: Big pharm and big brother want to take over the supplement industry

Our government, which is getting bigger and bigger, is continually trying to take away the rights of us citizens. Being consistent, the government has taken hold of several industries over the last few years to no benefit, and is now set its sights on the supplement industry. The FDA, a sheep in wolves clothing, is claiming they’re interest in taking over the supplement industry is public safety. However, government statistics show that supplements are basically benign, especially when compared to prescription drugs. Not to mention the outstanding natural health benefits associated with supplement intake.

If the government gets their way, they and the pharmaceutical industry know the supplement industry companies won’t be able to afford the FDA’s drug trial process. Most supplement companies will go out of business if supplements, which includes vitamins, are treated as drugs under the new regulations; drug companies like Merk, Pfizer and others will step in and take over.

Drug companies are not in the business of building health. It is in their best interest to have as many unhealthy people as possible. Its so important that big pharma spends more money on ads than it does on research (twice as much). It’s a marketing driven industry, trying to convince people they have an affliction and the drug companies have the answer.

Is it any wonder why there have been so many drug recalls associated with so many deaths. Perhaps if big pharma spent more on research, and the FDA did their job, many people wouldn’t have lost their lives needlessly. And this is who we’re supposed to put our trust in running our supplement industry?

Taken from Mercola.com:

Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011, introduced at the end of June by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) is trying to treat vitamins as if they are drugs, allegedly to “improve the safety of dietary supplements,” which implies that supplements must be a major safety hazard to begin with. Durbin’s bill goes hand-in-hand with new FDA regulations that amend the definitions for new dietary ingredients (NDI’s), and together, they can threaten your health and freedom of choice, and further serve to strengthen the fatally flawed paradigm of health and medicine.

An estimated 106,000 hospitalized patients die each year from drugs that, by medical standards, are properly prescribed and administered, and an estimated two million more suffer serious side effects.

How does the safety of supplements compare?

In 2001, 84.6 percent of all substances implicated in fatal poisonings were pharmaceutical drugs, according to that year’s American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) report. This compares with 0.8 percent for all dietary supplements combined, even including substances such as dinitrophenol, a dangerous (and illegal) substance banned in 1938, as well as the central nervous system stimulant Ma Huang (Ephedra). ONE drug alone, the anti-asthma drug theophylline, which was responsible for 15 deaths that year, amounted to 66 percent more than all the available dietary supplements combined.

According to CDC mortality data for 2005, prescription drugs killed more than 33,500 people that year, second only to car accidents. That same year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 27 deaths that were associated with dietary supplements

Legal DRUGS are killing massive numbers of people, not vitamins and supplements. Unfortunately, one reason for all these drug deaths could be the lax way the FDA “regulates” the drug industry by not requiring that all serious events in a trial be made public:

“When a clinical trial that is undertaken by drug companies shows that a drug has serious side effects, there is no law that says that study has to be published or made public in any way,” Dr. Dean says in her book.

Vioxx is a perfect example of a product that was approved without having published all the clinical studies where serious events that resulted in the deaths of over 60,000 people were discovered.

What’s obvious is that the number of people taking supplements and vitamins is continuously growing. It’s a $60-billion-a-year industry, and the drug industry wants a piece of that pie, as evidenced by drug giant Pfizer, which recently announced that it’s going into the supplement business to counter some of the losses from its blockbusters that are soon going off-patent. The FDA is apparently on-track to protect its client’s vitamin and supplement interests by proposing the new policy it slipped in just before July 4.

What can you do? Go HERE and get involved.

Hydroxyl Methylbutyrate (HMB) for strength and getting lean

HMB has been widely publicized and has been one of the more popular supplements for over a decade. HMB is a metabolite of the branch chained amino acid leucine. With claims like increased strength, muscle size, recovery and fat oxidation, it sounds too good to be true. In fact, a publisher of a very successful magazine referred to using HMB akin to using the anabolic steroid deca durabolin. Unfortunately, the claims made about HMB don’t seem to hold up in the research.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, performed a met-analysis of 9 studies. The analysis was comprised of 394 subjects between the ages of 21 and 25. Some of the subjects had training experience and some didn’t.

The major findings of this meta-analysis are that HMB supplementation results in a small, beneficial increase to overall strength in untrained lifters but has a negligible effect on trained lifters. Furthermore, in untrained lifters, HMB results in a small to possibly moderate increase in lower-body strength, but it has only a negligible effect on upper-body strength. In contrast, all strength outcomes are insignificant in trained lifters. In both trained and untrained lifters, the effect of HMB supplementation on body composition is negligible.

In my view HMB is a waste of money. The only gains made were small strength gains in untrained individuals? Why would any researchers analyzing a supplement, looking for strength or lean body mass gains, use untrained individuals? They are going to make gains, especially in the first few months, just by working out. I’m amazed at how so many studies are poorly performed and yet, are still published.

Testosterone’s time sensitive side effects

Low testosterone (T) symptoms may include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fewer sexual thoughts, mood problems, fatigue, loss of muscle, poor concentration, sleep disturbances, and fewer morning erections. Low T is also associated with several chronic medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

Men who get treated for low T have a very positive experience. The changes in appearance and mental state can be very profound. Interestingly, these positive changes associated with T therapy, have been found to occur at different times. A study from the University of Koln in Germany analyzed the relationship of time following administration vs. the effects on sexual functioning and mood on forty subjects. Researchers found sexual thoughts and fantasies occurred within weeks of initiating T therapy. Total number of erections rose steadily and peaked at 9 weeks. Ejaculations per week steadily rose and plateaued over 12 weeks. Depression decreased gradually and leveled off at 6 weeks. Mental concentration improved within the first 3 weeks, but overall mood did not improve until weeks 6 – 9.
The Aging Male 2009, 12: 113-118

Glutathione, the antiaging secret

Have you ever heard of glutathione (pronounced; gloota-thigh-own)? Neither has almost anyone else. Many researchers say it’s probably the most important substance we require to stay healthy. Many go as far to say it’s the secret to prevent aging. So where’s Oprah, and the rest of the media? A quick search of the term “glutathione” on PubMed.gov reveals 94,117 scholarly articles, reviews and abstracts.

Present in every cell of our body, glutathione levels just might be one of the best biochemical markers there is; the higher your glutathione levels are the healthier you will be. Glutathione deficiency is found in almost all patients with extreme illnesses, e.g., cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, liver disease, diabetes and more. In fact, researchers are concluding glutathione deficiency may play a role in patients with schizophrenia. In cerebrospinal fluid of drug-free schizophrenic patients, a significant decrease in the level of total glutathione was observed as compared to controls. EJN

Glutathione’s importance to a properly functioning immune system has been shown in many studies. According to Dr. Gustavo Bounous, “The limiting factor for the proper activity and multiplication of our lymphocytes (white blood cells) is the availability of glutathione”.

Every day our bodies are exposed to stress, pollution, infection, drugs (illicit or licit) and alcohol, poor diet, infections and injury, which drain our bodies of glutathione; this depletion leaves our bodies susceptible to high levels of oxidative stress, which leads to aging, disease and eventual death. I predict that concern about glutathione levels will eventually be on par with other preventative health issues.

Health Benefits of Acai Berry Supplements

Acai (pronounced AH-sigh-EE) is a palm tree that can be found in South American and Central America. Countries such as Brazil and Belize are rich in acai. Other names for acai include acai extract, assai, assai palm, acai fruit, acai palm, cabbage palm, Euterpe oleracea, Amazon acai, Amazon acai berry, and of course, acai berry.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acai contains chemicals that are antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation). According to some research, acai has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Because the berries of the tree have such a high level of antioxidants, they are used to make medicine, supplements, powders, and drinks. The berries can be used in foods and they are also eaten whole.

Many people use acai berry supplements to improve arthritis, lower cholesterol, and improve general health. They are also used to promote weight-loss and they are used in anti-aging creams, shampoos, and conditioners. There are few studies to support the benefits of acai berry, but studies do demonstrate the protective properties of antioxidants.

So far, there are no studies to suggest that acai berry is dangerous. At the same time, there are no studies to support how it might interact with other supplements, herbs, or prescription medications. It is also unknown if acai berry supplements are safe for pregnant women. The issue is not acai berry, it’s the way it may be processed, the amount contained per capsule, if the supplements are made from pure acai, or if the supplements contain other substances or chemicals. Because of this, doctors recommend getting the antioxidants you need from food.

If you prefer acai, it’s best to eat the berries raw or make your own homemade juice as most store bought juices contain loads of sugar or additives. The problem is, finding raw acai outside of South or Central America can be tricky. Use your favorite search engine to seek out importers. It might be expensive, but if you want to enjoy the benefits of raw acai berries, this is your best bet.

Other Foods that Contain Antioxidants

Antioxidant substances include beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, poultry, and fish. Some of the most antioxidant rich foods include:

-Red Beans
-Kidney Beans
-Russet Potatoes
-Black Beans
-Artichoke Hearts
-Pecans
-Black Plums
-Dried Prunes
-Pinto Beans
-Sweet Cherries
-Cereal (oats, barley)
-Cabbage
-Hazelnuts
-Spices (cinnamon, cloves, oregano, cayenne pepper)
-Apples

Antioxidants can also be found in some meats, such as beef. For more information about acai and other antioxidants, visit Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Is Taking Fiber Supplements Risky?

If you’re healthy, taking a daily fiber supplement isn’t risky. Fiber supplements are only dangerous if you are on medication or if you have intestinal problems. Some doctors also believe that fiber supplements can be harmful if you have diabetes. Fiber supplements can aggravate intestinal conditions, they can decrease the absorption of medications, and according to some doctors, they can reduce blood sugar levels. For healthy individuals, however, a daily fiber supplement has a number of benefits.

It is estimated that only 5 percent of Americans get enough fiber in their diets. Although fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes are the best sources of fiber, in some cases, access to these foods is limited. Food deserts are a reality and thanks a shaky economy, many families just can’t afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. In these cases, an inexpensive alternative such as fiber supplements may be the only option.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a daily fiber supplement can help normalize bowel function, maintain bowel integrity and health, lower blood cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss. Some studies show that fiber may also help prevent colorectal cancer.

If you don’t think you’re getting enough fiber through healthy foods, consider taking a supplement. Before you choose a supplement, it is important to understand the different types of fiber.

Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don’t dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

When purchasing a fiber supplement, be sure to read the labels to make sure you’re taking the right kind for your individual needs. The three types of supplements are psyllium, methylcellulose, and polycarbophil.

Psyllium bulks up the stool by breaking down in the gut. Here, it becomes a food source for the bodies beneficial “good bacteria.” This process makes the stool easier to pass. Psyllium can be taken every day. Brand names include Metamucil, Fiberall, Hydrocil, Konsyl, Perdiem, and Serutan.

Methylcellulose is made from plants and it is non-fermentable. This type of fiber creates a softer stool. Brand names include Citrucel, Citrucel Clear Mix, Citrucel Food Pack, Citrucel Lax, and Citrucel SF. This type of fiber can be taken every day.

Polycarbophil is also plant-based and it absorbs water in the intestinal tract. This helps create a bulkier and softer stool. Brand names include Equalactin, Fiber Lax, FiberCon, Fiberlax, Fibernorm, Konsyl Fiber, Perdiem Fiber Caplet, Mitrolan, Fiber Laxative, Fibertab, Polycarb, and Fiberall Tablets. This type of fiber is usually used to treat IBS, constipation, and diverticulosis. If used long-term, it may cause bloating.

For more information about fiber, visit MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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