Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Exercise is a LOT better than this suggests….

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Tuesday, 6-26-2007

Exercise is a LOT better than this suggests….

I saw a comic a few days ago that really got my attention. It suggested that even though exercise helped you live longer, you had to spend as much time working out as the extra time you lived. (One hour of working out produced living an hour longer.)

I wouldn’t want to be the health insurance company for the people who thought that was about right or thought it was funny – or for that cartoonist for that matter.

This comic makes three hidden assumptions. That exercise is always a pain to do. That it doesn’t really influence longevity that much. And, that there’s nothing else to think about when it comes to exercise.

Each of these assumptions is wrong. And, the last one is spectacularly wrong.

1. People who believe exercise is always a pain to do are wrong.

There are actually studies that show that people who really know how much good exercise does for them & how much horrible problems not exercising would cause them -- not only find it less of a pain to exercise, they actually get more benefits from it than people do who don’t know the benefits of exercise.

(My guess is that’s because they do it with more enthusiasm & effort & either do more of it or did more of it before the experiment the study was based on began.)

Sure, there are times that exercise seems more like an extra chore or feels harder to do than you’d like.

But there are quite a number of other effects or experiences of exercising that are actually quite enjoyable. For example, exercises often wakes you up or boosts your energy better than strong coffee.

In the morning some days, you can get out of bed feeling like you need someone with a crane to help you because you are that sleepy & groggy. I’ve often found that on such days my early morning short workout totally zaps that feeling; & I feel wide awake for several hours afterwards. Once the effect of the exercise wears off, then I need my caffeine fix.

Similarly, I’ve worked out in the evening on days I feel like phoning a crew with a stretcher to pick me up after work & take me home to bed. But once I get in the gym & do even ONE brisk set, I feel normal & awake with no extra effort. And, that extra alertness lasts until after I have dinner & a glass of wine later in the evening.

Similarly, a really vigorous exercise where you breathe hard can clear your mind & feel good once you recover.

And, when you are done with a vigorous exercise session, you often feel a kind of afterglow from the extra blood & warmth in your muscles.

In addition, when you find yourself getting stronger or setting new records it’s very gratifying & a considerable ego boost.

And, you also feel better as you see positive changes in your body when you look into a mirror.

Lastly, this comic implies that only working out increases longevity & that other exercises or activities you enjoy don’t count.

Some people like to cook. Some people like to garden. Some people like to dance. Some people like to ride horses. Some people like to swim or surf. Some people like to hike in beautiful places. All these things are also exercise & increase your health & longevity much more than sitting on the couch watching TV.

(You do have to be careful doing some of these like horseback riding or surfing to get more longevity out of doing them. But some people really enjoy them; & they ARE exercise activities also.)

2. Exercise tends to increase longevity more than the time it takes to do it – by itself. But it also increases longevity even more by eating right; not smoking; & otherwise taking care of your health AND exercising regularly.

Then consider this. Exercise helps to prevent heart disease, cancer, & type II diabetes. And, some of these things can kill you off rather quickly and at an age 20 or 30 or even 40 years sooner than you would otherwise live.

The average person who exercises several hours a week may only live 15 years longer. But you might be one of the people who would live more than 20 years longer or much more instead.

Why take that chance?

3. But the most important wrong assumption is the last one.

It’s simple. People who exercise live better—a LOT better. And, the older they get the more that’s so.

They have far fewer diseases like heart disease, cancer, & type II diabetes. And, if they do get them, they are decades older when they do.

They look better. They enjoy sex more & more often.

They resist stress better. They get less depressed.

They stay mentally sharp as they get older. They think better & remember better.

And when they do get older they are still mobile & capable & able to live independently.

If they make money by the time they are older or retire, they can travel to interesting places instead of just going to the doctor’s office or the hospital or a nursing home.

As a result, they not only live longer they live enjoyable lives MUCH, MUCH longer. Say they live 15 years longer. They likely will live enjoyable lives 30 or 40 years longer.

Why go without exercise?

It’s well worth it even on the days it feels like too much work. And, once you learn how to do it well or by doing activities you enjoy, it’s enjoyable enough to exercise even that feeling is rare.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

New Accuracy requirements for supplements….

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Monday, 6-25-2007

New Accuracy requirements for supplements….

News online late last week had two stories on this -- one from AP & one from Reuters.

I’ve often wondered myself if some of the least expensive supplements have the amount of their ingredients stated on the label. Some tests of several supplements from different companies each claiming to have a certain amount of a kind of particular supplement have indeed found that some do have the ingredients in the amounts stated; but many contain much less. I was told by someone in the industry that supplements from the major companies usually do contain the ingredients in the amount stated. But I’ve thought for a long time that it would be nice to be able to know for sure.

And, I have read that some supplements, particularly those from outside the United States, have been found to have real drugs in them. So far, I simply haven’t considered taking supplements from outside the United States for that reason. Supplements have a very good track record of being side effect free. But quite often drugs do not. Even worse, some drugs can have dangerous interaction effects; & some people are allergic to certain drugs. So, it’s really important to know if you are taking a specific drug for several reasons.

So, I was mostly pleased to see this news story that these things will happen soon.

Most of the major companies will likely just be a bit more thorough in the record keeping they are already doing of tests that insure their products have what they are supposed to have. And, they have been selling supplements that have only the stated ingredients. But they may have some price increases at first to cover the extra record keeping or more frequent testing they may need to do.

Second, smaller & newer companies will have to begin testing their supplements & keeping detailed records. And, their prices will very probably go up.

The good news is that the companies that have been making supplements that are ineffective due to too little of the ingredients in them or that are possibly unsafe from adding drugs will either make good supplements or stop making & selling any. Their prices will very likely also go up if they continue in the supplement business.

Could this new law wind up over-controlling supplements later through expanded but much less desirable functions being added to it at a future time? Possibly.

But, in the current version, the trade off of the small & mostly temporary price increases for the real reassurance that the supplements you buy have enough ingredients to work & contain no dangerous drugs seems well worth it to me.

Here are some excerpts from the AP version of the story:

FDA issues new safety rules for vitamins

By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 22, 8:28 PM ET

WASHINGTON - For the first time, manufacturers of vitamins, herbal pills and other dietary supplements will have to test all of their products' ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it is phasing in a new rule that is designed to address concerns that existing regulations allowed supplements onto the market that were contaminated or didn't contain ingredients claimed on the label.

Last year, the agency found that some supplements contained undeclared active ingredients used in prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction. In the past, regulators found supplements that didn't contain the levels of Vitamin C or Vitamin A that were claimed.

If, upon inspection, the FDA finds that supplements do not contain the ingredients they claim, the agency would consider the products adulterated or misbranded. In minor cases, the agency could ask the manufacturer to remove an ingredient or revise its label. In more serious cases, it could seize the product, file a lawsuit or even seek criminal charges.

Dietary supplements — pills, liquids or other products — are a $22 billion industry.

Most companies already test their raw ingredients, said Steve Mister, president and CEO for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association representing about 65 manufacturers.

"This raises the bar so that all have to comply," Mister said.

The new rule goes into effect Aug. 24 and will have a three-year phase-in that gives smaller manufacturers more time to comply. Even the largest of the manufactures won't have to comply until June 2008.

The rule applies to all domestic and foreign companies that manufacture, package and label supplements for sale in the U.S. It requires them to analyze the identity, purity and strength of all the ingredients that go into their products before they are distributed.

It also includes requirements for record keeping and handling consumer complaints.

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, called the rule a good step toward improving consistency in the ingredients that go into supplements.

Congress limited the Food and Drug Administration's oversight of vitamins and other dietary supplements in 1994. The new rule is a product of that law, meaning that the rule took nearly 13 years to develop.

"The final rule will help ensure that dietary supplements are manufactured with controls that result in a consistent product free of contamination, with accurate labeling," said Dr. Robert E. Brackett, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.” “

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lose fat & type II diabetes with 3 kinds of exercise

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Tuesday, 6-19-2007

Lose fat & type II diabetes with 3 kinds of exercise….

1. Do the kind of exercise that boosts your metabolism, burns fat, & slashes insulin resistance & keeps doing it up to 39 hours AFTER you do it.

2. Do a little bit of exercise several times a day. That not only makes it easier to fit in exercise into your day, it too helps keep up your metabolism for more hours each day than just doing your exercise in one session. Even a few extra sessions of 5 to 10 minutes each week will help.

3. Do moderate & lower intensity exercise for bigger chunks of time if you possibly can.

1. Do the kind of exercise that boosts your metabolism, burns fat, & slashes insulin resistance & keeps doing it up to 39 hours AFTER you do it.

Here’s an excerpt from an email from Jon Benson, author of Fit Over 40.

The summary is that research shows that the right kind of strength training increases your metabolism & calories burned for up to 39 hours after you stop exercising.

(Disclosure: I am currently an affiliate for the Fit Over 40 book as I think it helps people who read it. But I would have included this info even if I wasn’t.)

"Burn Bodyfat While You Snore?"
Date: 6/12/2007 7:11:19 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: newsletter@fitover40.com

This is a longer article than usual. Read it if you want to find out how you literally can
burn bodyfat while you snore... ...even if you do not snore at night!

Your Freee Weekly Newsletter from Jon Benson and Fit Over 40

Sent by permission only For more info-- http://www.fitover40.com/aff/iehealth

“A recent study presents us with some great news when it comes to burning bodyfat.

Ready for the conclusion?

> Weight training is far superior for burning body fat and elevating metabolic rate post-exercise than any other exercise.

If ever you wanted to start training with weights, or if you have been doing endless cardio with no results, this article is for you.

Note: I cover exactly how to make weight training simple and time-efficient in
Fit Over 40.

Read more here -- http://www.fitover40.com/aff/iehealth
The Study

A body mass study conducted by The Human Performance Laboratory at The University of Wisconsin demonstrated that weight training of a specific variety and rep scheme elevated metabolic rates (measured though VO2 max)
for thirty-nine hours.

That means you would be burning more bodyfat even when you are asleep at night. Pretty cool,isn't it?

In comparison, the average forty-minute cardio session elevates the metabolism for only a few hours post-exercise.

That is thirty-nine full hours of being able to consume more food without gaining bodyfat, all things being equal.

For the record, no other form of exercise comes close to doing that in as short a period of time as targeted weight and/or resistance training.

This degree of post-exercise calorie burn is close to the levels seen in marathoners.

This is nothing new to avid weight-trainers, but it may be news to a lot of you. This is
especially enlightening if you have a fear becoming muscle-bound if you venture into
the weight-room area of your gym.

The Specifics

The study focused on repetitions and exercises. Certain protocols delivered the greatest results when it came to post-exercise calorie burn.

True elevation of metabolic rate did not occur if weights were too heavy, involving exercises that were done for less than six repetitions.

Even more illuminating is the fact that metabolic elevation was not significant if the weights were too light. This was defined as any exercise that took over twelve repetitions to complete.

The thirty-nine hour elevation in metabolic response was caused by a workout which
stimulated the larger muscles. This involved compound weight-training movements such as squats, rows, bench presses, and curls.

The ideal way to do this is not with machines, Pilates, or baby dumbbells, but with free weights. Exercises should be targeted in the eight to twelve repetition range for maximum fat-burning metabolic effect…..”

“The nutrient calculation for post-workout recovery was determined to be significant, especially in comparison with more moderate forms of exercise.

This means more food is required to repair the body, and the metabolism once again is elevated.

The body mass study did not address the metabolic spike with proper post-workout nutrition, however frequent feedings that are sufficient in protein and moderate in carbs have clearly demonstrated a significant metabolic increase.

The Application

Heavy weights for lower repetitions is not an ideal strategy for post-exercise caloric burn. This would factor into the reasons why powerlifters develop strength but very little definition.

The "lighter weights, higher repetition" strategy, and its failure to produce results, is probably more important to most of us who want to use weights to
sculpt our physique.

Lighter weights for higher reps is not an effective strategy for fatburning. Yet this is the protocol that many trainers use for individuals wanting to quote-unquote "tone" their muscles.

This is also the preferred strategy for many female weight trainees who have been told that heavier weights would build too much muscle.

The post-exercise caloric burn is what really pays the dividends when it comes to fatburning.

Exercise by itself burns only a marginal amount of calories during the session itself. When used in conjunction with a smart mealplan, this can be a
very powerful fatburning tool.

However, bear in mind that even an intense workout, one that may burn five hundred calories or more, can be offset by a single modest-calorie meal.

The Conclusion

The bottom line is weight training rules when it comes to sculpting the body and earning the greatest post-exercise dividends.

Like a good investment, a brief but targeted weight training routine conducted just two or three times per week can produce rewards that are both short-term and exponentially powerful.

When combined with a fat-burning nutrition plan and stress-reducing exercise (such as yoga, walking, or Pilates), the rewards are greater still.


Jon Benson
Creator, Fit Over 40


Here is the challenge you probably face:

how to actually "do" weight training.

I understand. That is why I developed the 15-Minute Ultimate Workout Plan.

You get this plan for freee when you get The Fit Over 40 Success For Life Kit.

I include it in audio and printed format.

15 minutes...that is all you need to get all of the metabolic fatburning benefits!


The other point that Jon makes elsewhere is that the 6 to 12 repetitions need to be progressive.

If you get to the point where you can easily do several more than 12 & just do 12, you won’t get the effect -- or get it nearly as much. Increase the weight to the very next level next time you do the workout. And, if that’s still too easy, increase it until you can only do 5 or 6. Then focus on doing at least 6 in good form. Once you do that, add repetitions one at a time as you are able until you can again do 12.

Yes you do get to the point where you have to work at it. And the last one or two reps can be hard or you may find you can’t quite do the last one. The great news is that those are the reps that make you stronger & trigger this fat burning effect.

The other important point is that this effect also includes a dramatic improvement in insulin resistance. And, for those hours, you will be far more able to keep your blood sugar low enough for good health.

How effective this is varies some from person to person with how hard they workout & their individual heredity. But some people have literally turned off type II diabetes by simply eliminating high glycemic & junk foods & doing this kind of strength training.

The rest of the people may have to continue on drugs. But they will be far healthier & their blood sugar readings will be much more desirable or even totally normal -- when, with the drugs alone, they were not.

Another point: You can do well for your health & strength doing two nonconsecutive days of strength training where you do both leg exercise & upper body exercise in the same session.

But if fat loss or controlling high blood sugar levels are important to you, here’s a way to get this effect all week long.:

Do upper body strength training on three days & then on the days off from that, every other day, do three days of leg strength training. On Monday, Weds, & Friday for upper body & Tues, Thurs, & Saturday for legs for example.

These may be the same three hours total you would spend doing both upper body & leg exercises together for one hour 3 days a week. But by doing about half an hour six days a week, the sessions are shorter AND you get more fat burning & metabolic effect.

Similarly & with similar results:

2. Do a little bit of exercise several times a day. That not only makes it easier to fit in exercise into your day, it too helps keep up your metabolism for more hours each day than just doing your exercise in one session. Even a few extra sessions of 5 to 10 minutes each week will help.

Separate research has shown that a few minutes of exercise several times a day is more effective for boosting your metabolism than the same total all done at the same time.

And, in fact I know one woman with type II diabetes that got excellent blood sugar control doing exactly that.

She does just five minutes of freehand squats & pushups & situps before leaving the house in the morning & a mid-morning exercise walk of about 10 or fifteen minutes. And, she does a longer walk at lunchtime some days. And she only gets to the gym for strength training two evenings a week for half an hour each time.

And, the combination has given her such good blood sugar control her doctor is impressed.

Your schedule may be different. But the other thing that makes this such a great way to go is that you can fit it into almost any schedule since each bit of exercise can be as short as you need for it to be.

3. Do moderate & lower intensity exercise for bigger chunks of time if you possibly can.

Humans have been on earth for hundreds of thousands of years & our preceding ancestors for several million years more before that.

And, until about 80 to 120 years ago, almost everyone who wasn’t sick in bed got in several walks each week of two to seven miles each.

So, it should hardly be surprising that people who get at least one or two such walks (or do such relatively easy to moderate exercise) every week tend to have better health & be less fat than those who never do. And, they have higher metabolism & blood sugar control.

This can be extremely challenging to do in addition to doing strength training & all the rest of your schedule. But if you can add it, it will help.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

READ labels at the grocery store--save your health

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Monday, 6-18-2007

READ labels at the grocery store to save your health ….

Here are two examples. And, the second example includes some new ways to watch for one of the most health damaging ingredients & why to do so.

1. I was at my Dad’s house for Father’s Day yesterday. My mom had bought some liquid chocolate fudge topping made by a major food company.

But she cannot see well. I like chocolate & fudge. And, it was a special occasion. So, I read the label in hopes that the worst ingredient it had was sugar or butterfat or both.

OUCH !! No such luck.

I will NOT voluntarily eat anything with high fructose corn syrup. And this topping had that instead of sugar.

But, there was a MUCH worse ingredient in it. Instead of butter, it had FULLY hydrogenated vegetable oil. (This made it possible for the company to claim no transfats & claim saturated fat content instead.)

Unfortunately, as we covered in an earlier post, fully or totally or 100 percent hydrogenated vegetable oil is like transfats on steroids. It’s as bad or worse for building up plaque in your blood vessels as the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils & their transfats; but it’s also been found to cause the insulin resistance that leads to type II diabetes.

Using 100 percent hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient instead of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is like trading out rat poison for cyanide.

Neither ingredient belong in food you sell the public. But this new ingredient, 100 percent hydrogenated vegetable oil, is much worse.

So, if the transfat reading on a food is other than zero, don’t buy it or eat it. And, no matter what kind of hydrogenated vegetable oil it lists as an ingredient, if you find that term in the list of ingredients, don’t buy it or eat it. And, that’s still true even if the transfats listed are zero—as it was in this case.

2. Day before yesterday I bought a kind of curry spice at the store that has a taste I’ve liked. And, I DID check out the label.

However, today in my Early to Rise email in its health article, I found that the ingredient listed I was unfamiliar with but didn’t know to be bad & so gave it the benefit of the doubt was really MSG. It seems that ingredient term, autolyzed yeast, was a much less known way of stating that it contained MSG. I already try to avoid buying any food with MSG.

But the article goes much farther & lists several more reasons to avoid MSG than I knew before.

So, this spice I had planned to use several times a week on my dinner will go back to the store for a refund.

The article below was from the Saturday, 6-16-2007 Early to Rise email.:

Exposing (and Evading) Grocery Store Fat Traps

By Shane Ellison, M.Sc.

My wife recently pigged out on beef jerky. What was supposed to be light, healthy snacking turned into an all-out eating binge. Her ravenous consumption of the stuff made me think it must be an especially good brand. I was in a hurry when I bought it at my local health food store - and that's where I messed up big time. Ignoring the label, I was caught by the number one grocery store fat trap - which was the cause of my wife's abnormal appetite.

A grocery store fat trap is nothing more than a scheme designed by food manufacturers to make you eat more of something that you think is healthy. These foods and food additives are fat fertilizer. They are great for a company's bottom line, but really bad for your "bottom."

Right before she threw her head back to dump the last crumbs of the beef jerky into her mouth, my wife turned the bag over to read the fine-print ingredients. She gasped, "Why the hell did you buy this! It's loaded with high-fructose corn syrup!"

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is fat fertilizer on steroids. And she knows it. A very fit mom, she keeps her lean and muscular build by avoiding grocery store fat traps.

HFCS transforms people into eating machines. Once consumed, it sets into motion a chemical cascade that begins with spiked insulin and ends with feel-good molecules known as "endorphins." Intoxicated by artificial feel-good, the brain is unable to sense overeating and demands more, more, more - and the excess calories get stored in your body.

I've even heard of kids accidentally taking bites out of their fingers when under the influence of HFCS. Worse yet, many children who overindulge in Frankenfoods that contain HFCS and other sugars eventually become diabetic.

From beef jerky to bread and even spaghetti sauce, HFCS has infiltrated most processed foods and turned them into fat traps. Avoid this ingredient at all cost!

But that's not the only trap lurking in grocery stores.

"Fat-free" labels

These hoodwink millions of unsuspecting victims, and have been a goldmine for the food industry since 1993. The obese seek out this label in hopes of waking up skinny. It never happens - but that doesn't stop them from getting ensnared over and over again. I can hear the rationale: "It just seems so plausible. I'm fat, so I should eat fat-free foods." Wrong.

After the fat is removed, sugar is added. Sugar is great if you're at a birthday party, but that's it.

Like HFCS, it is nothing more than fat fertilizer and a heart attack waiting to happen. Look for it listed as sucrose, dextrose, or cane sugar on the labels of your favorite foods. Then buy something else - like an all-natural food high in healthy fat.

Healthy fat - which you can find in grass-fed beef, seeds, nuts, avocados, and eggs - is essential for proper growth, development, and the maintenance of good health. It provides your body with vital energy, without causing you to gain weight. In sharp contrast to carbohydrates, sugar, and trans-fats, healthy fats tell your body to burn fat and make you feel fuller quicker. Add them to your grocery list.

Artificial sweeteners

This trap gets most weekend warriors. "Energy" bars, protein powders, and sugar-free goodies - each and every one of them is loaded with drugs disguised as sweeteners. The widespread belief that these nicely packaged foods and drinks are good for you is a perfect example of how marketing strategies supersede medical science and common sense.

Artificial sweeteners make your body lose its natural ability to count calories. If athletes cannot distinguish between proper eating and overeating caused by artificial flavors, they will never reach their fat-loss or muscle-building goals, period. Exercise becomes a waste of time.

Artificial flavors include sucralose (Splenda), aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, and neotame.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has several aliases you should be on the lookout for, including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein, autolyzed yeast, and hydrolyzed oat flour.

This white, crystalline amino acid is made in a lab and then added to meat products and most canned or packaged foods to "enhance flavor." One small problem: It doesn't have any flavor. It just enhances overeating - and the food manufacturer's bottom line.

Once consumed, this fat fertilizer not only spikes insulin, it also lowers the hormones that ward off obesity, premature aging, and diabetes: IGF-1 and human growth hormone. And if that's not enough to scare you off, it can be damaging to brain cells too.

Consider the shocking findings by German scientists who recently warned that their country should abandon the use of MSG at once. Why? They found that pregnant mothers consuming this fat trap were giving birth to children who were insulin-resistant.

Apparently, fetuses can be doomed to overeating for life, thanks to neuronal damage caused by Mom's MSG-eating habit. The damage was most prevalent in a specialized group of nerve cells in the medulla oblongata, thalamus, or hypothalamus - the areas of the brain that control proper eating and metabolism. This might be one explanation for the drastic increases in childhood obesity worldwide.

Some things are worth dying for. Fat traps are not. If you want to live thin and slim, be alert to these common grocery store fat traps. You might have to dedicate some extra time to carefully reading food labels... but you'll never fall victim to them again.

[Ed. Note: Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison has an MS in organic chemistry and firsthand experience in drug design and synthesis. He is an internationally recognized authority on therapeutic nutrition. His AM-PM Fat Loss Discovery e-book shows how he personally beat obesity and insulin resistance in 90 days. To pick up your copy, click here.]

>>> This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com/.

I don’t find them to be perfect. But most of their health articles are excellent.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

2 people eat same breakfast. One dies & one lives.

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Friday, 6-15-2007

2 people eat same breakfast. One dies & one lives ….

It really can happen. Here’s why & how to be the one that lives & stays healthy.

(My original title was 2 men eat the same breakfast. And, I do write it that way. But it’s now beginning to be known that women are as at risk of heart attack & related diseases as men are. In fact, their risk may be higher in some ways once they pass menopause.

Whole Foods Market has an excellent free handout on Women & Heart Disease that I recommend you read if you are a woman or have women in you life you care about.)

The common breakfast foods in this post are steak & eggs.

Let’s say each person eats a six ounce steak & two fried eggs for breakfast or brunch.

Here’s why the results can be so different.:

1. Their health status is different.

2. The quality of their food is different.

3. They eat different things with their food.

1. Their health status is different.:

The man who dies could be someone who smokes & believes that he will succeed in not getting lung cancer from it. He even could be right. Many people who smoke don’t get lung cancer. But what he doesn’t know is that everyone who smokes damages their cardiovascular system & disables their natural defenses against heart attack, stroke, & more. So, he hasn’t quit. And, his homocysteine is over 16.0 & his blood vessels are so choked with plaque that a small clot will cause a heart attack or stroke. He doesn't know what it is & has never had it tested. Smoking has also given him high blood pressure he doesn’t know he has because he has never had it checked. It’s 178 over 105.

He also eats too much fatty meat from animals penned up & fed grains, including his steak today. So he’s eaten too much omega 6 oils, too little omega 3 oils. His HDL cholesterol is quite low, 36, as he’s also not gotten that tested; he doesn’t take any supplements that raise it; & he never exercises. His LDL cholesterol is over 180; he also doesn’t know that as he has never had it tested; & he takes no supplements to lower it.

Even worse, because he eats so many refined grains & no vegetables to speak of & never exercises, his HBA1C reading is 9.3; he has type II diabetes; & he doesn’t know it as he’s never had his blood glucose or HBA1C tested -- & he hasn’t yet had symptoms that he saw a doctor about. He also doesn’t know that this increases his risk of heart attack by more than double or that it’s one of the causes of his high blood pressure.

The man who lives got lucky & never started smoking or he did & found out what its real risks are to his cardiovascular system & quit.

He knows he has desirable blood pressure because he has it measured every so often. It tends to average about 116 over 65. When it’s taken at his doctor’s appointments, he always asks what the reading was. He exercises regularly, eats a lot of vegetables every day & some whole fruit or real fruit juice every day; & he has found & uses a way to physically relieve stress & uses it almost every day. He also takes several supplements that keep blood pressure down, notably including 200 mg a day of CoQ10.

He knows his homocysteine level as he has that tested every so often. And, because he doesn’t smoke & takes several supplements that lower it, it’s tended to be about 8.0.

He has high LDL readings of over 70 as he exercises regularly, including strength training; takes supplements that increase it; & drinks one or two glasses of red wine most days. His LDL is around 100 as he takes sterol supplements & eats many foods with sterols or soluble fiber every day. And, he gets both tested every time he gets his homocysteine level tested.

But there’s more:

2. The quality of their food is different.

The man who dies eats meat several times a day. So, to be able to afford it, he buys his meat from stores & restaurants that serve only meat from animals penned up & fed grains. That’s the cheapest kind to get. But eating it often harms your health.

And, that’s the kind of steak he has today. It’s loaded with omega 6 oils from the grain; it’s quite fatty from the cow that it’s from getting stuffed with grain while it was penned up; & it’s also high in saturated fats.

The man who lives eats beans & nuts & nonfat dairy & wild caught fish & seafood for most of his protein intake. He only has beef a few times a month. So he only eats beef that is grass fed only & never penned up to be fattened.

That’s the kind of steak he is eating today as he’s found & patronizes an upscale restaurant that serves it. It isn’t cheap. But he only eats it a few times a month so he finds it affordable. It’s a bit chewier & more strongly flavored than the grain fed beef. It’s more like wild game. But it has some omega 3 oils & very little omega 6 oils. It’s quite lean. And the fat it does have is low in saturated fats.

3. They eat different things with their food.

That also makes a surprising difference.

The man who dies has his steak & eggs with French fries that were fried in an oil high in omega 6 oils. He has his eggs fried in butter. And, he has a piece of white bread, refined grain, toast with jam that has high fructose corn syrup as its sweetener. Then he has a large caffeinated soft drink with it.

The man who lives has onions sautéed in extra virgin olive oil on his steak. And he has his eggs fried in extra virgin olive oil also.

He has a small bowl of strawberries & one of peeled & sliced kiwifruit. And, this being a brunch, he has a glass of a sparkling red wine.

The result is the man who dies has extra saturated fat that acts like sludge in his blood vessels which aren’t up to the job & dies of a massive heart attack within hours of eating his brunch.

The man who lives has very little sludging in his blood vessels. But they can handle it. And his body disposes of it efficiently. And he lives several decades more in good health.

Ask yourself:

What kind of message are your food & health practices sending your heart?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Powerful new way to protect your life & health ….

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Monday, 6-11-2007

Powerful new way to protect your life & health ….

Can you imagine driving a loaded semi truck on a busy freeway without being able to see out of the windows?

If people did that, it would be no surprise to find a rather high rate of serious accidents. And, it would be also no surprise that some or most of the accidents killed or severely injured the driver.

Until recently, this has been the case with people & their health. Even worse, for most people it still is.

I know of a woman who had a heart attack recently. And, as far as I know, neither she nor her husband had any clue she was at risk for one.

I met another woman who didn’t know she had type II diabetes until she suddenly found she couldn’t see well enough to drive or read.

My Dad has survived three heart attacks through extremely good luck & good medical care. And, even though his Mom died of a heart attack, he didn’t know he was at immediate risk for one until the first one happened to him.

This is no longer necessary. These conditions take years to develop usually. And, the more knowledgeable doctors & other people who want to help people avoid such surprises, now know about them. There are key blood tests for quite a few risk factors which show such events are on their way unless the risk factors are reversed.

Even better, we’re now beginning to know how to move these indicators from undesirable or dangerous readings to much safer or desirable levels.

In addition, not only can this often be done without drugs, many of the things you can do to reverse bad readings on one of the key indicators will also improve others as well.

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning, you’ve seen this information before here. But the woman I spoke of who had a heart attack, had her heart attack quite recently.

So, it seemed to me to be important to highlight how important these tests are.

Gradually, we are developing more accurate & specialized blood tests for developing health problems.

But the main ones we cover today are already known to address many of the risks well enough to give you superb protection from bad health surprises if you move each of them into the desirable zone.

1. For men, most doctors know that LDL cholesterol levels of over 160 are a significant risk factor for heart & other cardiovascular diseases.

There is some controversy as to how low your LDL reading should be. Many doctors think 100 is low enough while some who treat people with serious cardiovascular disease think below 80 or even 70 or below is better. Some other experts in preventing disease believe that below 120 is good enough if the more important indicators are in the desirable range. My own conclusion is that most people should aim for about 100 & that it’s likely that almost everyone should be at 120 or below. In may opinion, that includes women of all ages.

The good news is that eating a health enhancing diet, at least some regular exercise, & some key supplements, notably, sterol supplements, niacin, & inositol hexaniacinate can get most people to that level without drugs.

People with readings far above 160 or who already have severe cardiovascular disease my also need statin drugs. And I know of at least two cardiologists who normally use supplements with their patients prescribe statins for those kinds of patients – at least initially.

2. We are now beginning to find that HDL cholesterol levels are even more important. If excess LDL is like unpicked up garbage in your blood vessels, normal HDL is like garbage collectors. So, if you have enough HDL, even higher levels of LDL may be safe.

In fact, high levels of HDL tend to go with substantially increased longevity. Women tend to have higher readings than men. But for both men & women, it’s desirable to have LDL of over 60. And, it’s important to keep your HDL above about 45 if you possibly can.

We’ve done posts on some of the many things that increase HDL levels. But the most important seem to be regular, vigorous exercise, niacin & or inositol hexaniacinate, choline, chromium, &, particularly for men, regular light or moderate drinking of red wine, all seem to increase HDL.

Extra virgin olive oil as your main source of fats & oils helps. And, getting enough omega 3 oils also seems to help.

3. Blood glucose tests.

There are two main ones: fasting blood glucose & HBA1C. Fasting blood glucose is like a snapshot that tells you what your level is right then. And, because it’s the reading from the sugar on your red blood cells that tend to live about 60 to 90 days, HBA1C is an even more important measure. HBA1C tells what your average glucose level was for every day over the last 60 to 90 days.

These two tests are critical to get regularly. If your blood glucose begins to be too high it tends to get worse. And, if it gets & says too high or higher, it ruins your circulation with all sorts of horrible results. The doubling of risk of heart attack for men & the quadrupling of risk for women for heart attacks, are just the tip of the iceberg. Excessively high blood sugar & the vascular damage it causes do a whole list of horrible things to you.

So, do yourself a favor, & get these two tests soon. (Women are particularly at risk for problems in this area. But, today, so are many men.)

For fasting glucose, 99 or a bit lower is desirable. And, 110 or over consistently is not.

Over about 120 or 130 is classified as type II diabetes.

For HBA1C, the desirable range is at about 5.8 or a bit below. 6.0 or higher is not good. 6.1 & higher is now classified as type II diabetes.

Lowering bad readings on these tests without drugs is doable, particularly if you take strong action when the higher readings first show up. But high glucose is so dangerous, if your readings are much higher than the 120 & 6.1 listed above, your doctor will likely prescribe drugs. However, even with the drugs, you are only likely to be safe if you still do the nondrug things to lower high glucose readings.

These include:; eating controlled amounts of whole grains or none; likely eliminating rice & white potatoes, regular exercise almost every day or every day; totally giving up soft drinks & hardly ever eating refined grains; eating very little or no sugar; & eating more vegetables of all kinds than most people do plus eating health OK protein foods & oils almost every day instead.

Two supplements that seem to help are chromium polynicotinate & alpha lipoic acid. And, I’ve read that magnesium & cinnamon supplements may also help.

4. Homocysteine. High levels predict early death, cardiovascular disease, accelerated aging, & all kinds of mental decline.

What’s high? According to the more knowledgeable prevention oriented doctors I’ve read, 9.0 or higher. And, even the less informed doctors are beginning to know that 12.0 & higher is bad news.

The 6.0 to 8.0 levels typical of healthy teens & young adults are the desirable range. Since homocysteine levels tend to increase as you get older, a more realistic target range for older people is the lower end of the 7.0 to 8.9 range.

Cigarette smoke raises homocysteine significantly. So staying totally away from it is critical.

Other things that lower it are eating a lot of green vegetables & other plant food with high levels of folic acid; taking 800 micrograms or more of folic acid each day; getting at least 30 to 75 mg of vitamin B6 (100 mg or more of B6 is not a good idea); & getting 500 micrograms to 1,000 of vitamin B12. Taking a decent multivitamin & a decent B complex supplement in addition can also help. But avoid running your total B6 intake above 100 as doing so seems to cause nerve problems.)

And, if those two things don’t do the job, 500 mg a day of N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) &/or daily supplements with TMG or betaine may well do the job. (Betaine hydrochloride is too acid for many people & also seems to work less well.)

We’ve covered 5 tests here: LDL & HDL cholesterol; fasting glucose; HBA1C; & homocysteine.

There are about a dozen more that it’s important to test for: triglycerides, C-Reactive Protein, various blood clotting factors, & more.

But it’s absolutely critical to your health to get these 5 tests initially; take strong corrective action if they are out of the desirable zone; & to get follow up tests to see if the corrective actions are working well enough – or to get the tests every year or so to be sure they stay where they should be even if they were in the desirable range initially.

Why subject yourself to horrible health surprises when you can see if they are coming & steer out the way?

With these tests you can do exactly that.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Warning: Soft Drinks May Seriously Harm You….

Welcome to our health & self help blog.

Focus on Your Health:

In it we post health commentary & reviews of books, eBooks, & other things that improve or protect your health or which enable you to live longer, to be more prosperous, & to be more effective. We do posts on staying healthy; preventing disease; aging more slowly; weight loss; exercise; nutrition; & news in medicine.

Today's post: Monday, 6-4-2007

Warning: Soft Drinks May Seriously Harm You….

(This headline was in a recent NewsMax.com email from their Health Alerts email newsletter. See below for more info on them & how to subscribe if you like.)

And, this is in addition to the fact that drinking either regular or diet soft drinks will make you fat if you do it more than a few months & drink them more than a handful of times a month. (Most people who drink soft drinks at all drink more than that each week. And, many drink that many each day.)

Here is their article:

“Warning: Soft Drinks May Seriously Harm You

You may want to think twice before you sip another soft drink: research reported in the UK's Independent newspaper says a common preservative used in fizzy drinks can switch off essential parts of DNA. The preservative may bring on premature aging and trigger diseases associated with old age.

The problem preservative is sodium benzoate, commonly used for many years by the $160 billion worldwide soft drink industry. Sodium benzoate, derived from benzoic acid, prevents mold in drinks like Coca-Cola, Oasis, Dr. Pepper, etc., and is also used in pickles and sauces.

Alarm bells have already been ringing about it, because it's been discovered that when it's mixed with vitamin C in soft drinks, it creates the carcinogenic substance benzene. Now UK Professor Peter Piper of Sheffield University has sounded an even louder alarm — his experiments show that benzoate damages DNA in the energy-producing mitochondria of cells.

"These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether," Piper said. "The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it — as happens in a number of diseased states — then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA—Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing."

The World Health Organization, the Food Standards Agency in the UK, and the US Food and Drug Administration all say that sodium benzoate is safe. Professor Piper, however, says that FDA tests are out of date.

"The food industry will say these compounds have been tested and they are completely safe," Piper said. "By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago."

Here are my comments:

This effect is many times worse than this article suggests if this information is correct.

Mitochondrial damage can make you too tired to have a decent life. It can directly cause heart failure. And, a recent discovery suggests that mitochondrial damage is one of the more significant causes of all cancers.

This means that if drinking soft drinks has this effect over time in most people, drinking soft drinks may be more dangerous than smoking if you live long enough or overdo soft drinks that much.

And, if this effect is small in most people, or doesn’t affect some people, there is no guarantee you or any particular person will be in the lucky category.

So, if you haven’t already given up soft drinks completely or cut them back to about once a month or less to save your waistline from adding fat, our suggestion is to do it to protect your health for this new reason.

It literally may save your life or make your last years healthy ones when they otherwise would have been lived in dreadful & worsening health.


About the NewsMax.com Health Alerts:

They do a nice job of emailing out some health news that may be important to you.

I don’t think they are perfect. But they mostly seem to be pretty good. And, they are quite current on their health news coverage.

I’ve not bought any of the advertised health products or information in the emails. So I cannot give you any feedback on those.

However, unless you are a right-wing, conservative Republican, I do not recommend their other non-health news coverage.

If you are though, you will probably like it.

To sign up for their NewsMax.com Health Alerts (or their non-health coverage if you like), go to:


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