Category: Sugar

The Secret to Great Abs

Admit it: half the reason we all watch Lost is because the main characters are just so great looking. They all have those ripped abs and defined arms that every guy and gal wants. Guess what? It’s not as tough as you’d think to look like Kate or the Doc (oops…lest I start yet another “which guy for Kate” debate, Sawyer, too). The big myth about getting a sleek, jelly-free belly is that you have to do endless stomach exercises. Hence the never-ending procession of rollers, riders, crunchers and other fitness gimmicks that never give you the washboard you want. You cannot roll, twist, or squeeze your way to a sexy stomach, no matter what the infomercials tell you. Here’s why: you already have abs! They might not be as developed as the dude on the cover of Men’s Health, but you already have abs. The problem is that fat is covering them up. Get rid of the fat, and your abs will show up just fine. Believe me, they are there. Doing stomach exercises is important for further developing those muscles and building core strength (more on that in a moment), but the best thing you can do as far as your torso is concerned – not only for improving confidence, your looks, and your comfort with your body, but your health – is to shed fat. Midsection fat is the most harmful kind of fat to your health and is a critical indicator of stress. Flex your stomach – even if you’re a couch potato, there’s a little muscle there. Now, if you are flexing and you can still grab abdominal fat in your hand, that’s exactly how much is surrounding your precious internal organs – and that’s a dangerous thing. Fat on your backside? Not so much. So by all means, crunch away – but your middle will actually get bigger if you don’t simultaneously shrink the fat. Spot toning without overall fat reduction is the wrong approach to getting flat abs, but it’s what most people do. (And notice, nothing changes much, and we all have to suffer through yet another magic abs infomercial with way too much spandex.) I’m a big proponent of taking care of your torso, not so you can look like a Lost extra (though that’s not a bad thing), but because a healthy middle means reduced chances of obesity (duh), diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and sleep problems. I’ll be bringing you tips on cutting fat in upcoming posts, but here’s a quick suggestion: cut out all refined carbs, sugar and alcohol for two weeks. I guarantee you’ll see a major reduction in bloat and midsection fat. Although excess calories are what adds the poundage, sugar is the culprit that goes right to the gut. It’s incredibly difficult to have a spare tire if you are primarily getting your calories from protein and produce. Be sure to check in tomorrow when I’ll be posting a discussion I recently had with Russ Suchala, … Continue reading “The Secret to Great Abs”

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And This Is What I Call a Deal-Breaker

I’m sure you’ve heard the headlines about Orlistat, the obesity drug, being approved for OTC use. What you may not have heard about are the side effects of this fat-blocking drug. Orlistat, which will still be distributed by Rx as Xenical for morbidly obese patients, will now be sold as Alli in drugstores nationwide. A magic pill it ain’t, Apples. I have a big (pardon the pun) problem with this drug, for several reasons. 1. How It Works I have no doubt that Alli is going to fly off the shelves faster than bananas in a monkey farm. People want to lose weight without making changes, and that’s the unfortunate truth. Some of us are lazy; some are depressed; some don’t have the information; and like children believing in Santa, many simply want to believe in a magic cure. These folks are the ones GlaxoSmithKline is banking on. Drug companies love a sucker. Alli “works” (and even this is highly debatable) by blocking fat absorption. This is problematic, to put it lightly. First of all, fat does not make you fat. The human body was meant to operate in a fat-burning metabolic state. Whether you believe in God or cite Darwin or both, there’s absolutely no disputing this fact. The advent of grain agriculture is a new thing for humans, relatively speaking, and the transition from a flesh-and-vegetable diet to a grain-and-sugar diet has humans suffering in a glucose-burning state. The side effects of this high-sugar diet are horrendous: inflammation, heart disease, depression, insomnia, diabetes, mental degeneration, aging, obesity and cancer. Do you still really want to block fat? People I coach are shocked when I put them on a higher-fat diet because mainstream wisdom still worships at the altar of low-fat. Know what happens? Infections clear, cholesterol drops, energy increases, anxiety dissipates, skin glows, and the pounds melt away. Second, reducing fat deprives your body of vital nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, which all need fat to metabolize. Blocking fat means you can’t properly absorb critical nutrients, which is why Alli has to be taken with a multivitamin to offset some of the damage. 2. The Law of Unintended Consequences: Oily Stools? Alli is available under conditional approval. This is the same FDA approval stamp that got us into the HRT and Cox-2 disasters. How many thousands of women suffered from breast cancer and how many people had heart attacks as a result of these reckless approvals? Conditional approval. As I mentioned the other day in an update on the FDA’s drug woes, conditional approval is a process by which the FDA essentially allows the burden of safety to rest with drug companies. (Yes: more often than you want to know, the FDA lets pharmaceutical companies begin marketing and selling a drug before lengthy testing has been conducted.) This tacit trust is just super-duper for drug companies eager to sop up years of product development costs with fast cash, but I’m stumped as to how this is beneficial for actual … Continue reading “And This Is What I Call a Deal-Breaker”

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Clickativity Scene

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites 1) Gosh, thanks, Labelman! The FDA has created an interactive online tool to help people better understand the Nutrition Facts Label. Visitors to the site learn to “Make Your Calories Count” with the help of Labelman. Yes. The program helps explain percentages, serving sizes and caloric information. The Nutrition Facts Label has been criticized virtually since its introduction. The label is perhaps misleading to some because it is based upon a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, which is much more than many people, especially women, need to consume. Additionally, nutritional percentages are somewhat misleading. A candy bar may “only” have 20% of one’s daily recommended saturated fat intake, but that doesn’t make a candy bar healthy. The big problem with this percentage standard is that the actual product may be ridiculously high in fat, sodium or sugar, but appear to be “low” compared to the total daily limit. For example, a soda may contain about one-eighth of the recommended daily sugar for a 2,000-calorie-consumer. But soda is nothing more than sugar water and is therefore one of the worst things you can put in your body. Cynics in the health industry point out that this “percentage” comparison standard, which does not actually reflect the individual merit of the product, almost encourages unhealthy eating habits. We’re not sure how helpful a guy named Labelman could be, but we want to know why the standards are what they are, anyway. Who says 160 grams of carbohydrates a day is desirable? Is saturated fat really so terrible if it’s properly balanced with health fatty acids like Omega-3? And how about serving sizes – who really only drinks 8 ounces of something or eats 7 chips? Discuss, Apples. 2) Seven Ways, Same Result The New England Journal of Medicine released a study today that says newer tests are not appreciably better at predicting heart attacks than standard tests. Now, if you run a Google search for this story, you’ll find that they are all suspiciously alike – even newspapers in India are running the same lines. What that means? A press release or a statement from NEJM, most likely. (Yes, this happens all the time.) The study of some 3,900 people found that testing for CRP, homocysteine and other substances (considered the new rock stars in heart disease treatment) aren’t much better at predicting heart problems than a good old cholesterol or blood pressure test. This study reveals some interesting things. Let’s read between the lines. It doesn’t necessarily mean that CRP or homocysteine tests are bad; it simply means that obvious factors are enough to determine risk. Guess what those obvious factors are? Even the conservative NEJM discusses them: However, the standard risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, advanced age, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and diabetes — proved to be just as accurate when it came to predicting heart disease. Testing cholesterol is still a great way to go, not because cholesterol is bad (like mainstream … Continue reading “Clickativity Scene”

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