Posts

The Healthy Deihl: Motivation

Bill and Erin discuss motivation, and how to get yourself off the couch.  Movement is one of the keys to losing 45 pounds in 90 days, but sometimes taking that first step can be the hardest one.

Exercise Won’t Help You Lose Weight. But It Will Help You Live Longer.

How do you lose weight?  Diet and exercise.  That much has been ingrained in us since youth.  So you take up a fad diet, get a gym membership, toil away for weeks and are left wondering why the formula for weight loss does not work for you.  It turns out, you’re not so different from everybody else.  Over the past several years, studies have shown us that half of what we learned about weight loss is wrong. 

As it turns out, exercise is great for your overall health, immune system, and longevity, but it’s not so great at shedding those extra pounds.  In the end, it really isn’t all that helpful for losing weight.

One of the biggest fallacies in the advice that we receive again and again is that you can have a cheat day, if you put in extra time at the gym.  Marketing has convinced us that the sports drink we take on our morning jog, with all its calories, is of no concern, because you will just burn it off.

But the truth is that exercise only makes up a small portion of the calories you burn each day.  And those few calories are only a small part of your daily energy expenditure.

There are three parts to energy expenditure:

  • The energy used for basic bodily functions while inactive (basic metabolic rate)
  • The energy used to digest food;
  • The energy used for physical activity.

We have little to no control over our basal metabolic rate, yet it makes up the vast majority of the calories we burn.  Depending on the person, the basal metabolic rate makes up 60 to 80 percent of your daily energy expenditure, while digestion accounts for about 10 percent.  Leaving 10 to 30 percent for physical activity.  This may still seem like quite a bit, but exercise is only a portion of this.  Physical activity includes all movement, sitting down, standing up, walking around, reaching, pushing, pulling, lifting your stapler, fidgeting, and so on.

So while the food you eat accounts for 100 percent of the energy that goes into your body, exercise burns off less than 10 to 30 percent of it. That’s a pretty big discrepancy, and definitely means that erasing all your dietary transgressions at the gym is a lot harder than the peddlers of gym memberships make it seem.

It’s hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise

Using the National Institutes of Health’s Body Weight Planner — which gives a more realistic estimation for weight loss than the old 3,500 calorie rule — mathematician and obesity researcher Kevin Hall created this model to show why adding a regular exercise program is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss.

If a hypothetical 200-pound man added 60 minutes of medium-intensity running four days per week while keeping his calorie intake the same, and he did this for 30 days, he’d lose five pounds. “If this person decided to increase food intake or relax more to recover from the added exercise, then even less weight would be lost,” Hall added. (More on these “compensatory mechanisms” later.)

So if one is overweight or obese, and presumably trying to lose dozens of pounds, it would take an incredible amount of time, will, and effort to make a real impact through exercise alone.

 

Exercise can undermine weight loss in other, subtle ways

How much we eat is connected to how much we move. When we move more, we sometimes eat more too, or eat less when we’re not exercising.

One 2009 study shows that people seemed to increase their food intake after exercise — either because they thought they burned off a lot of calories or because they were hungrier. Another review of studies from 2012 found that people generally overestimated how much energy exercise burned and ate more when they worked out.

“You work hard on that machine for an hour, and that work can be erased with five minutes of eating afterward,” Hall says. A single slice of pizza, for example, could undo the benefit of an hour’s workout. So could a cafe mocha or an ice cream cone.

There’s also evidence to suggest that some people simply slow down after a workout, using less energy on their non-gym activities. They might decide to lie down for a rest, fidget less because they’re tired, or take the elevator instead of the stairs.

These changes are usually called “compensatory behaviors” — and they simply refer to adjustments we may unconsciously make after working out to offset the calories burned.

We need to re-frame how we think about exercise

Obesity doctor Yoni Freedhoff has called for a rebranding of how we think of exercise. Exercise has staggering benefits — it just may not help much in the quest for weight loss:

By preventing cancers, improving blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar, bolstering sleep, attention, energy and mood, and doing so much more, exercise has indisputably proven itself to be the world’s best drug – better than any pharmaceutical product any physician could ever prescribe. Sadly though, exercise is not a weight loss drug, and so long as we continue to push exercise primarily (and sadly sometimes exclusively) in the name of preventing or treating adult or childhood obesity, we’ll also continue to short-change the public about the genuinely incredible health benefits of exercise, and simultaneously misinform them about the realities of long term weight management.

The evidence is now clear: Exercise is excellent for health; it’s just not that important for weight loss. So don’t expect to lose a lot of weight by ramping up physical activity alone.

As a society, we also need to stop treating a lack of exercise and diet as equally responsible for the obesity problem in this country. Public-health obesity policies should prioritize fighting the over-consumption of low-quality food and improving the food environment.

ATP: Life’s Power Supply

What is energy?

Energy is a property of matter.  Matter roughly amounts to “stuff” that takes up space, such as atoms, chemical compounds and a whole lot more.  Energy is something that all matter has in some form or another.  Just as every person has a height and weight, all matter has energy.  And just as an individual’s height and weight can change, matter’s energy levels can change.  Energy is ultimately caused by the four fundamental forces of nature, electromagnetism, gravity, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

There Are Many Types of Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy of action.  Any object in motion has kinetic energy, whether it is a vehicle driving down the highway, or a single molecule vibrating and jostling around.

 Potential energy is “stored energy”.  All matter possesses potential energy in the form of nuclear, gravitational, electromagnetic and chemical energy, at the same time.

 Low-Energy Versus High-Energy Molecules

The more energy that matter has, the more it vibrates, moves around and affects the matter around it.  This is thermal energy (heat), a very common form of kinetic energy which is measured via temperature.  The less energy that matter has, the more sluggish it becomes.  It doesn’t move around as much, and it interacts with its environment less.  Molecules don’t need to have a lot high temperature to be considered highly energetic, though.  Chemical energy is energy stored in the chemical bonds between atoms and molecules.  The word “stored” is our clue that this is potential energy.  When the bonds between the atoms break, energy is released, and potential is converted to action.

How Do We Store Energy

It is by breaking these chemical bonds and unleashing that kinetic energy that we obtain the energy of life.  Adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) is the molecule that our bodies use to store and access chemical energy, by breaking it down into adenosine 5′-diphosphate (ADP).  This simple conversion of ATP to ADP releases enough energy to let us do all of the things that we do.  In fact, all of the food that you eat serves only two purposes: the acquisition of essential nutrients, and to fuel the conversion of ADP back into ATP.  ATP is considered a high-energy molecule not because it has a lot of kinetic energy, but because of its potential to release energy when it’s broken down.  This is similar to the energy that a water balloon has when held out of a third story window.  It may not appear to be a high energy water balloon, but its height from the ground gives it a high gravitational energy potential, and a great potential to ruin somebody’s hairdo.

ATP

Found within every cell, ATP provides the energy for all of the cell’s functions. Sugars delivered to the cell are oxidized, and the energy from the oxidation is used to convert ADP to ATP.  This ensures that the cell always has a supply of ATP.  It’s estimated 160+ kg of ATP is formed in the human body every day.

Strength, Flexibility, Balance & Clarity

 While plants and bacteria have their own ATP production methods, animals synthesize ATP in tiny organelles within each cell called mitochondria through a process called glycolysis.  Called “the powerhouse of the cell,” mitochondria are involved in many processes, but ATP synthesis is their biggest claim to fame.  The number of mitochondria varies depending on the organism, tissue, and cell type. Mitochondria are interesting in that their DNA is different than the DNA found in the cell’s nucleus (the DNA in the nucleus being the blueprint that gives you all of your physical traits).  Because of this, many scientists believe that mitochondria were once a type of bacteria or bacteria like organism that lived symbiotically within animal cells.  At some point, the lines between symbiotic and intrinsic blurred, giving us the powerhouses we have today.

 The most important part of ATP is the ‘TP’ portion.  Adenosine provides the framework for the phosphorous groups to attach onto, but it’s the phosphorous groups that do the real work.  They are connected by oxygens to each other, and there are additional oxygens attached to the phosphorous atoms.  Oxygen ions commonly have a negative charge, and under normal body conditions, this is the case for the oxygens in ATP.  Just as opposite charges attract, like charges repel each other.  In this way, what we call chemical energy can be traced back to one of those four fundamental forces, electromagnetism.  The high potential energy within ATP stems from electromagnetism causing these oxygens to repel each other.  This is a molecule that wants to break apart.  Just like the gravity tugging at that water balloon you hung out the window, there is a lot of potential energy here.

 If one phosphate group is removed, converting it to ADP, the negative charge pushing the molecule apart is reduced, making it much happier.  Just cutting one group releases about 7.3 kilocalories per mole (30.6 kJ/mol).  This is roughly the amount of energy contained in a peanut.

 Just as a rechargeable lithium ion battery stores energy for your electronics, ATP stores energy for you.  The ATP powers you by losing a phosphorous group, then you “recharge” it with food oxidized in the mitochondria. The oxidation of glucose operates what’s called TCA cycle or Krebs cycle to provide energy for the conversion of ADP to ATP.

 Low-Energy versus High-Energy People

The difference between low energy and high energy people is in how efficiently they’re converting ADP into ATP.  When we are less active, our metabolisms slow, causing us to store more calories as fat and reducing our body’s efficiency in converting ADP back into ATP.  This inefficiency, gives us less useable energy, making us less active and setting us upon a vicious downward spiral.  High-energy people perform this ATP cycle more efficiently, burning glucose and other food sources at a higher rate, thereby giving them more available energy at any given moment.  These high energy people are the ones that always seem to be three coffees deep, are always on the move and are affecting the world around them.

People Are Full of Energy

If all matter has energy, and we are massive collections of matter, then common sense dictates that we’re full of energy.  Even the most unhealthy, overweight and sluggish people are filled to the brim with energy.  Our bodies maintain an average temperature of 98.6-degrees.  Imagine sitting outside on a 98.6-degree day and you’ll start to realize just how much power we have inside of us.  This thermal energy is a byproduct of chemical reactions, but rather than just being “wasted energy”, many of our bodily processes require that we maintain this temperature.

On top of all the thermal energy already present, there is considerably more chemical energy waiting to be unleashed.  Fat cells are essentially our body’s way of storing energy.  When you think about it, some of us have way too much energy that we’re just not putting to use! Those fat cells around our midsections are patiently awaiting the day we burn them to produce more ATP.  They are a long-term fuel storage solution.  Without a spark to ignite that fuel, they’ll just keep clinging uselessly to our bellies.

 Become a High-Energy Person

Over two out of every three adults is overweight.  That means more than 66% of us have too much fuel, and not enough fire.  So how do we ignite those fuel stores, jumpstart our metabolisms and become the high-energy people we want to be?  Let us introduce you to D-ribose.  A sugar (like sucrose, fructose, glucose, and lactose), D-ribose is a powerful precursor for ATP.  Unlike most sugars, however, D-ribose does it without the downsides of lactic acid production or the toll common sugars take on our livers, eyes, capillaries and bodies as a whole.  D-ribose works with magnesium and L-carnitine within your cells’ mitochondria to convert ADP to ATP rapidly and efficiently.  Just like in high-energy people.

  Why Not Take a Pure ATP Supplement?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as taking an “ATP supplement.”  ATP is not stable enough to last in supplement form.  Remember, those oxygen atoms are trying to tear the phosphate groups from the adenosine backbone.  ATP is not the long term storage solution that fat cells are.  It’s not even as stable as carbohydrates.  This is why we eat fats, carbs and proteins for energy, rather than living off of adenosine triphosphate.  Anybody who tries to sell you ‘pure ATP’ is either sorely misinformed or attempting to con you out of your money.  After all, we now know that it is ATP’s instability that makes it such an excellent energy source!  It’s for this reason that our bodies can’t store ATP long-term, and it is also why we cannot supplement with ATP directly.  Indirect supplementing through ATP precursors is the surest way to boost those energy stores!

    Why you need nutritional supplements for the rest of your life

     

    If you think you may not need dietary supplements, read this. It could change your health for the rest of your life.

    Finally, after more than 50 years, leading medical journals now recommend all adults take multivitamins. Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association have concluded that:

      • “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone”
      • “Inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.”
      • “Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and B12, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteoporosis and bone fracture; and low levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, E and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases.”
      • “It appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

    A large body of research has clearly demonstrated that the nutrients found in dietary supplements reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve quality of life, and increase longevity.

    Here are selections of reasons why you cannot depend on food alone for all of the nutrition you need to stay healthy.

    Reason #1: The average American is overfed and undernourished. It’s no secret. Just look around you. Most people are gaining weight. Even kids are overweight these days. You or someone you know has a chronic disorder of some kind.Losing weight

    If you’re like most Americans, you’re consuming fabricated convenience foods high in calories but low in food value (nutrition). This type of diet leads to “subclinical” or marginal deficiencies that lead to vague health complaints such as nervousness, listlessness, recurring minor infections, general aches and pains, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and just not feeling right.

    A large body of research has demonstrated that most Americans are not getting what they need from their diet. For example, in one recent U.S. Dept. of Agriculture survey of 20,000 people, not a single person was consuming adequate levels of all the vitamins and minerals. In this study, the percentages of Americans were found to be deficient as follows: 90% in vitamins. B6, 75% in magnesium, 68% in calcium, 57% in iron, 50% in vitamin A, 45% in vitamin B1, 41% in vitamin C, 34% in vitamin B2, 34% in vitamin B12…. and the list goes on.

    There are literally hundreds of medical studies to suggest it’s a virtual certainty that you and every member of your family are deficient in one or more essential nutrients.

    Reason #2: Soil depletion. Modern mass-production agriculture depletes nutrients from the soil without replenishing them. The application of synthetic fertilizers stimulates the growth of beautiful-looking plants. However, the nutrient content is missing.

    So when you bite into that healthy salad or slice of whole-wheat bread, you’re getting less nutrition today than from the identical foods grown in the same soil fifty years ago.

    Reason #3: Commercial food processing. Much of the food you eat is processed in one way or another. When foods are processed, they are exposed to heat, light, oxygen, or drastic change in temperature or humidity. This exposure causes the destruction of vital but fragile nutrients. Examples of processing include baking, extruding, milling, grinding, boiling, cooking, recombining, spray drying, etc.Food in a store

    Reason #4: Food storage and transportation. All foods deteriorate as they age. This is a problem for the food industry, because many foods are shipped over great distances. Therefore chemicals are added to preserve foods and give them a longer “shelf life”. Unfortunately, in spite of chemicals, the nutrient content of foods decline over time, even though they may look the same.

    Even fresh fruits or vegetables may be sprayed, gassed or fumigated in order to make them look “ripe” and “fresh”. So what looks healthy isn’t necessarily as healthy as you may think.

    Reason #5: Preparation and cooking of foods. Many people eat out or bring something home from the market that is already cooked. Even if you prepare your meals at home, most of your food is probably cooked, not raw. Here’s the problem: the more you cook a food, the less its nutrient value.

    Of course, there are some foods, such as grains and dried legumes that you have to cook because they’re inedible when raw. You’re obviously not going to eat a bowl of raw rice. However, if you overcook rice, you lose nutrients.

    Reason #6: Home storage of food. Have you looked in your refrigerator lately? How long has that head of lettuce been in there? What about those leftovers from three days ago? Refrigeration does slow down the deterioration of food, but it certainly does not stop it. As every day goes by, whatever is in your refrigerator is losing its nutritional value.

    Some people will eat something out of the refrigerator that is three weeks old, or something from the pantry that is a year old. By this time, some vital nutrients have been completely lost.

    Reason #7: Food irradiation. Exposing foods to gamma rays, x-rays or other radiation extends their shelf life by destruction of microorganisms, inhibition of sprouting, and delay of ripening. Some meats, chicken, and vegetables are irradiated. Foods served in restaurants or schools may be irradiated. The problem with irradiation is that vital nutrients, especially antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, are destroyed. There’s no label to tell you if a food has been irradiated.

    Reason #8: Pesticides in foods. A pesticide is a poison. A little bit of pesticide will kill a bug. A lot of pesticide will kill you. Most foods contain pesticides. Even organic produce contains pesticides, although a lot less than regular produce. Pesticides may be applied to the soil, to the growing plant, or to the food while in storage or shipment.

    Keep in mind that you can’t see, smell or taste these pesticides. So you have no way of knowing if what you’re eating contains pest poisons. But your body knows. Some pesticides can accumulate in the body and cause problems. Your body has to deal with the problem by expending valuable vitamins and minerals to detoxify and try to eliminate these poisons.

    Reason #9: Genetically modified foods. Millions of acres of genetically modified corn, cotton and potatoes have been planted in the U.S. (Cotton is mentioned here because cottonseed oil is found in many processed foods, and cottonseed meal is fed to cattle.) These foods, which are now in our food supply, have been engineered to produce a naturally occurring pesticide that is supposedly toxic only to insects. There are no long-term human studies to indicate that genetically modified foods are safe. However, rats fed genetically modified potatoes had increased intestinal infections, reduced immunity, and reduced weight of intestine, pancreas, kidneys, liver, lungs and brain. Since you may be unknowingly consuming genetically modified or irradiated foods, you would need dietary supplementation to offset the invisible but potentially negative effects of such foods.

    Reason #10: Environmental pollution. We dump nearly six billion pounds of chemicals into our environment every year. While Pollutionsome of it ends up in our food, much of it is in our air and water. If you breathe air and drink water, you are ingesting chemical pollution. Medical research has clearly established that environmental chemicals contribute to degenerative diseases.

    You have no choice but to eat food, drink water, and breathe air. Therefore, you will need dietary supplements to help you process and detoxify the pollution entering your body every day.

    Reason #11: Bioaccumulation of pollution in animal foods. There are certain “persistent” pollutants that tend to accumulate in any living thing, whether animal or plant. The higher up the food chain, the greater the accumulation. Take swordfish for example. Swordfish is known to have high levels of mercury, a toxic metal.

    The problem starts when small baitfishes eat organic material that contains mercury. They metabolize the organic material but retain the mercury. Small predatory fish then eat the baitfish, thus inheriting their accumulated mercury. The more bait fish they eat, the more mercury they accumulate. Finally a swordfish comes along and eats a bunch of small predatory fish, and picks up a load of mercury. So a big swordfish can gather a lot of mercury over time. But the swordfish is not the end of the chain. You are! You eat the swordfish, and now all that accumulated mercury is stored in “your” body.

    Swordfish is only one example out of hundreds. Here’s the point. You’re at the top of the entire food chain on earth. Therefore, you unknowingly accumulate heavy metals and chemical pollutants, which are proven to be detrimental to your health. If you consume animal foods, you need dietary supplements to help you handle the pollutants they contain.

    Reason #12: “Energy” pollution. Energy pollution invisibly burdens your body. The form of energy pollution you’re familiar with is radioactive fallout, like that from nuclear testing in Nevada, which caused an increase in cancers downwind from the test site. Another, less well known form of energy pollution is altered magnetic fields’ from electrical motors and circuits, and all kinds of energy transmissions (microwave, radar, cell phone, etc.). Not only can energy pollution destroy or damage cells directly, but also it causes a stress reaction in the body, which leads to hormonal imbalances. For example, energy pollution reduces your levels of melatonin, an essential hormone. Once again, dietary supplements are a method to assist your body to compensate for another type of pollution from which there is no escape.

    Reason #13: Genetic weaknesses. Each of us is genetically and biochemically unique. But none of us is perfect. We all have some kind of genetic weakness. For example, you might have a genetic abnormality in methionine metabolism called homocystinuria (methionine is an amino acid required to make your body function). In this case, taking large doses of vitamin B6 is a way to compensate for this weakness. There are hundreds if not thousands of possible genetic abnormalities. Many of them can be minimized with dietary supplementation.

    Reason #14: Chronic Stress. “Stress” occurs when your body has a “fight or flight” response to any situation. Most of the time, you’re not aware of it. Stress can come from anywhere at any time. It could be a barking dog, a disagreeable boss, a car that needs repair, an unpaid bill, a relationship that isn’t working, or living alone or Anything at all. You become so accustomed to stress that you consciously tune it out – but your body doesn’t.

    When stress is repeated over and over, it is called chronic stress, which seriously depletes your body of energy and vital reserves. Chronic stress produces hormones that have a long-term weakening effect on your body, which accelerates the aging process and leads to chronic degenerative disease. Supplements reduce the detrimental effects of chronic stress.

    Reason #15: Your lifestyle. How you behave may increase your need for supplementation. For example, smoking or drinking alcohol to excess dramatically saps your reserves of vital nutrients. In both cases, dietary supplementation is not an option – it’s a requirement.

    On the other hand, if you’re an avid mountain climber or high-performance athlete, you use up nutrients faster than the average person. The same is true if you work in a physically demanding occupation. Your performance will be improved with dietary supplementation.

    Reason #16: Weak digestion. Heartburn, bloat after eating, burping, or gas may suggest you have an impaired ability to digest your food. If you can’t digest your food, it can’t be absorbed into your body. Supplementary digestive aids may be indicated.

    Reason #17: Getting older. Medical studies have proven that you lose your digestive power, as you get older. By the time you’re “elderly”, you have a serious problem that can only be corrected by supplementation.

    In addition, studies have shown that many elderly people eat less well than they did in earlier years. In this case, dietary supplements can augment an otherwise inadequate diet.

    Reason #18: Teenager. It’s no secret that adolescents eat and drink things that are very unhealthy, i.e., “junk food”. This is no way to nourish a maturing body. Most teenagers need dietary supplementation.

    Reason #19: Chronic disease or disorder. It doesn’t matter what the disorder is. It could be arthritis, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, eczema, PMS or anything else. Specific dietary supplements can help almost any disorder.

    Reason #20: Medications. Americans consume an astounding quantity of prescription and over-the-counter medications. However, nothing in your body operates in isolated compartments – everything interacts with everything else in some way. Many drugs interact with supplements, or cause an increased need for them. For example, women on birth control pills may have an increased need for vitamin B6. People on Glucophage need more calcium, B12 and folic acid. The list is endless. So if you’re on medication, consult with one of our physicians to determine the specific supplements you need.

    Reason #21: Pregnancy. Your requirement for nutrients undergoes a big shift when you become pregnant. It’s to your and your baby’s benefit to take supplementation to reduce your risk of a miscarriage or pregnancy complications, and to have a healthier baby.

    BOTTOM LINE: Because of worldwide pollution and degradation in the quality of our food supply, it’s hard to imagine anyone who will not need nutritional supplements for the rest of his or her life. In addition, many people have health problems, a lifestyle, or special situations where supplements are advisable.