Friday, May 29, 2015

You've Got the Golden Touch

Need a quick distraction? Open up today's Funny Friday in full screen and place your finger in the middle.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

When It Comes to Lifestyle Change, Timing Matters

Great ideas don't always share great timing.

One of the questions I ask during my first visit with a patient is,
"Looking at your life - time, stress, health, work, home, kids, mood, etc. - is now a good time to try to affect change?"
I think it's an important question because sometimes life justifiably gets in the way of great intentions.

Given lifestyle change requires planning, concentration, organization, and effort, and given those qualities are at times realistically challenged by real-life, sometimes it might be better to not set yourself up for struggle, and instead, respect reality and wait for reality to settle down before embarking on the road to change.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Future of Exer-Gaming Looks Magically Bright

Currently, exer-gaming has been pretty much a fizzle when it comes to actual exercise. Gamers burn a precious few calories playing the games and the consoles have been shown to gather dust soon after purchase.

I'm guessing though, with the rise of augmented reality the future of exer-gaming will be bright indeed and I'm betting too, Magic Leap will be a major part of it.

Magic Leap does look like magic. In brief, the company, which recently received half a billion dollars in funding from Google, Qualcomm, and Legendary Pictures, and no, that's not a typo - half a billion dollars, is working on what might as well be magic. It's a headset that beams virtual images directly onto your retina so as to augment the reality of what you're seeing in the world around you.

Not sure what that means?

Have a peek at this YouTube trailer of what wearing a Magic Leap might be like:

Now picture the marriage of this technology, kids, and parkland. Whether it's running around within a first-person shooter, or playing baseball in your local diamond Magic'ed up to look like Fenway Park, or trying to score a goal on a virtual Martin Brodeur, or playing the world's coolest game of laser tag - I can't wait to see what's in store.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"The Duff" - 2015's Popular, Horrifying, Fat Shaming Teen Movie

I don't horrify easily.

And yet The Duff horrifies me. It's a teen movie that has grossed over $33 million and it's about "the duff".

What's a "duff"?

It's the, "designated ugly fat friend" of a pretty, popular, girl.

No, I'm not kidding.

Here's the trailer, which for the record, has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube,

Maybe the movie somehow manages to not teach girls to hate themselves, but given I was alerted to the movie's existence by a high school teacher who informed me that the term had made its way to their school's hallways and lunchroom, I'm guessing not.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

If Gandhi Took a Yoga Class

Probably the title of the post should read, "if hugely irreverent and free with the swear words Gandhi took a yoga class", as that's pretty much the set up for today's Funny Friday.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Money Laundering, Food Industry Style?

I'm betting many nutrition, medical, and health professionals would be uncomfortable giving a talk sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association (the high-fructose corn syrup lobby).

But what if the talk wasn't sponsored by the Corn Refiners, but rather by something that sounded like a medical institute? Optically being a speaker for what sounds like a medical institute would sure look a heck of a lot less like something a person like me might suggest is a conflict of interest.

A few months ago I came across this symposium held at the American Society of Nutrition's (ASN) most recent Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting. The symposium was all about how misunderstood sugar is - a conclusion that no doubt would be welcomed by the high-fructose corn syrup promoting Corn Refiners Association, so when I saw that it was a "Sponsored Satellite Symposium" I figured it must have been sponsored by them.

Except it wasn't.

Instead it was organized and sponsored by the Rippe Lifestyle Institute. But I did recognize the name Rippe, as James Rippe is a man who at one time was reported to take home a $41,000 monthly retainer from the Corn Refiners Association. Looking to his Lifestyle Institute, it reports partnerships with Kraft, Coca-Cola, Welch's, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, General Mills, McDonald's, Kellogg's, Orville Redenbacher, Hunt's, and yes of course, the Corn Refiners Association.

David Despain, a health journalist, happened to be at Rippe's Institute's sponsored symposium. According to him the symposium included breakfast and was attended by roughly 50 people. According to the ASN's sponsorship page, symposia run sponsors between $15,000 and $50,000 (and I imagine that cost doesn't include breakfast).

So, taking a conservative estimate at costs, and including breakfast, Rippe's Institute likely spent tens of thousands of dollars to tell 50 people that sugar was a-ok. This of course leaves me wondering how spending that kind of money on a grand total of 50 people would be worth the Institute's while, which in turn makes me wonder if their sponsorship was just a novel means to money/conflict-launder the Corn Refiners' agenda?

(Oh, and just as a by the by, this particular symposium appears to have been approved for continuing professional education credits by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.)

[Note: Original post had also stated that symposia was hard on artificial sweeteners - have changed post to reflect fact that I was mistaken therein and talks were in fact, in anything, pro-NNS]

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You Almost Certainly Don't Need to Replenish Your Electrolytes

The sport drink industry is a massive one. Estimated at nearly $7 billion in 2012 (and it was growing), the industry preys in part on the notion that because our sweat is salty, we need to replace it, and to replace it quickly.

But do we?

A study published way back in 1991 tried to answer that question.

The researchers took 8 cyclists and ran them through 6 gruelling hours of intermittent cycling in an 86°F room of 50% humidity, and kept their intensities at 55% of their VO2 Max. Each cyclist repeated this exercise 3 times on 3 separate occasions and 3 separate conditions. Once with no water or sports drink, the next time with just water, and lastly with just a sports drink where in both the water and sports drink treatments both were provided in quantities sufficient to replenish their volume of losses to sweat. The cyclists would cycle for 13 minutes, and then take a 2 minute break during which their heart rate, rectal temperature, and their perceived exertion were measured. Blood was drawn at the 15 minute mark and at hours 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to measure plasma sodium and plasma aldosterone.

The results were striking and easy to describe.

Simply put, if the study is to be believed:

1. You don't need to hydrate yourself at all during non-dramatic bouts of exercise. Certainly if you're thirsty, that's your sign to drink, but if you're not thirsty, probably no need. In this experiment's case, when drinking nothing, these cyclists DID have to stop the experiment short, but only after a long 4.5 hours of cycling (where the experiment was stopped short due to a marked rise in core temperature, heart rate and perceived exertion).

2. Unless you're exercising vigorously for longer than 6 hours straight, you don't need a sport drink to replenish your "electrolytes", because in this study, there was no difference in plasma sodium levels between the water drinkers and the electrolyte drinkers even after 6 hours of heavy-duty exercise!

I asked my friend Alex Hutchinson, author of the fantastic Which Came First Cardio or Weights his thoughts on the matter and he put it rather succinctly,
"electrolytes are irrelevant in the vast majority of situations".
So definitely don't ignore your body's cues and do drink to satisfy any thirst you might have when you're exercising, but if your exercise isn't extreme and it's less than 6 hours in duration, you probably need never "replenish" your electrolytes.

[And just as a reminder of what's in most sport drinks, below is my homemade Powerade video from a few years ago]

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mislabelling Physical Activity a "Vaccine Against Obesity" Carries Risk

"By having regular physical activity including sports and non-sport activity, movement, and not to be sedentary, it's the best vaccine against obesity"

- Jean-Michel Borys, Director EPODE European Network, at Coca-Cola funded "Together We Move" summit.

And yet, study after study after study demonstrate that even heroic amounts of exercise seem to at best lead people to gain weight slightly more slowly, and certainly not to lose.

In kids a 10 fold difference in objectively measured daily activity did not protect again obesity, nor did the vast majority of all RCTs involving school PE in three separate meta-analyses (1, 2, 3).

In adults there was no amount of exercise that prevented weight gain in nurses in the Nurses Health Study over a 13 year period, nor was there an amount of exercise able to prevent gain in this 20 year CARDIA study, nor in this 33 year long Norwegian study.

I asked Dr. Borys two weeks ago on Twitter if he could provide me with some evidence that would support his very strong, and very Coca-Cola friendly, statement.

I have yet to hear back.

Exercise is the world's best drug, it's just not a weight loss drug, and saying that it is does a disservice to both exercise and weight loss.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Stories: Optogenetics, Yogi Berra, and Fact Resistance

John Colapinto in The New Yorker on the breakthrough in optogenetics (and also what optogenetics is).

Dave Kaplan in the Wall Street Journal with an incredible story of kindness and Yogi Berra.

Andy Borowitz, also in The New Yorker, describes the alarming rise in fact resistant humans.

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