Archive | August, 2009

No Wonder We Are Confused About Exercise

28 Aug

I am not surprised to see why so many of us have no clue on the supposed benefits of exercise. The Time magazine article regarding exercise and the lack of weight loss is one example that adds to our confusion. Overweight doctors, strength coaches, fitness and medical professionals that smoke on their break certainly do not help. Then there are those within the medical community that boast about not exercising or watching what they eat, as if to pound their chest like Donkey Kong and say, “See! Look at me! I don’t do that stuff and I’m perfectly fine!” To each their own. Everybody does have the right to live their life the way they want, but, health and fitness professionals are like role models of the professional athletic world: what they say and how they behave does affect the rest of the community that sees them.

Health professionals have more of an intimate relationship with their patient/client than a professional athlete. This is one reason why they are trusted more than a professional athlete, not only because of their educational background.

Then there are the “Investigative Reporters” the media has that have little to any experience researching science and publish work about the effects of eating one high-fat [and high-carbohydrate] meal on our blood on a major news network, and claim it is the fat that affects us so badly. Thank goodness for the rebuttal. But do you think as many people saw the news report as they read the rebuttal? The first article had doctors making conclusions from the results, but they certainly appear to be misinformed, according to the rebuttal and a number of studies. What do they teach in med school about nutrition? Answer: Very little.

I know we have more questions than answers to the effects of exercise on nutrition and vice versa. However, we should be more careful on how we as health and fitness professionals conduct ourselves and what we say to our patients/clients. Also, the media needs to have a review board for their “scientific reports” that they publish as being “informative”, when they may actually be creating more confusion and spreading greater mis-information. After all, even a scientific journal article written by a scientist undergoes scrutiny with a his own work prior to being published in a journal. Journal articles have a smaller audience than the television. For the sake of integrity, wanting to spread the facts and create a healthier nation, what should have greater scrutiny?

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Poor High-Fat Diet Studies

16 Aug

It is because of poor high-fat diet studies like this that high-fat diets get such a bad rep. Another study has found that those studying a ketogenic  (one that will create ketones in the body) or high-fat diet is not accurate unless it lasts for at least  2-3 weeks. Studies that are a shorter length of time have not effectively allowed the body to convert from using glucose to ketones as energy. Therfore, studies like the previous mean little.

Although the evidence is still slim with the many variations of dietary regimes athletes have, the Brazilian Olympic Wushu (kung-fu) team eats a high-fat diet. It is nice to see that even elite level athletes can eat a high-fat diet and still perform at an elite level.

In Response to Time Magazine Article: “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin”

11 Aug

My belief that media more often muddies that water, rather than clarifying it, is continually reinforced.  This month, Time magazine featured an article stating that not only will exercise not make you thin, it may make you fat.  The reasons given were that people often feel hungrier after exercise so they tend to eat more and that people tend to reward themselves with food.  While there is some truth here, the article is more than a little misleading.

To her first point that exercise makes people feel hungrier. . . good, it should!  This means these people are working at an intensity and for a duration great enough to deplete their glycogen, or energy, stores.  Not altogether different from the body’s need for fluid replacement on a hot day, the body requires that energy, or calories, be replaced.  There is a whole science, referred to as nutrient timing, dedicated to what to eat and when to eat it in order to ensure the body functions optimally.  Proper nutrient timing, along with good food choices, aids the body in  the oxidization of fat as a fuel, the ability to recover from exercise bouts and other stresses, and performance.  To oversimplify all of this to ‘exercise makes you hungry therefore it makes you fat’ is simply sensationalism.

As to people rewarding themselves with food, this has more to do with psychology than it does with exercise.  The vast majority of people in this country, fat or thin, have extremely poor eating habits for a number of documented reasons not the least of which is their psychology surrounding food.  As the author of the Time article points out, it is fact that our population is exercising more and it is a fact that our population is getting fatter.  What is left out of this equation is what has occurred in our diet.  I’ll give you an example, many years ago, low fat diets were all the rage so the food industry responded by creating lowfat or nonfat alternatives of their ‘junk food’ items.  Following the conventional wisdom of the time and being the good consumers we are, people began substituting their poor nutritional choices with low fat versions of those nutritional choices.  In some studies I read, they argued that people actually ate more of the low fat food because it wasn’t bad for them.  I’m not advocating eating only food that’s good for you but I am suggesting that junk food is junk food, no matter how you slice it, it’s not good for you.  This is only one example of the justifications people give for eating poorly.  Treating yourself to excess food, or junk food, because you exercised ‘so you deserve it’ is yet another example.  No matter how people justify the choices they make, exercise is not to blame.

In the American College of Sports Medicine’s press release responding to the TIME Magazine article, John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM said, “The statement ‘in general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless’ is not supported by the scientific evidence when there is adherence to a sufficient dose of physical activity in overweight and obese adults.” Jakicic chairs a committee on obesity prevention and treatment for the ACSM and helped write an ACSM Position Stand on strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Jakicic continues, “There is strong evidence from the majority of the scientific literature that physical activity is an important component for initial weight loss.”

Dr. Eades commentary on an ABC news report

3 Aug

Watch the video before reading the commentary.

It’s a shame the ABC news report was more popular than Dr. Eades’s commentary. His commentary would shed a lot of needed light in the nutrition industry.