The Nine Causes of Obesity

Paleo Diabetic

Isn’t obesity simply caused by eating too much and exercising too little, both due to lack of discipline and willpower?

Science writer David Berreby has an article at Aeon suggesting it’s way more complicated than that. Even if we do eat too much, why do we? Some quotes:

And so we appear to have a public consensus that excess body weight (defined as a Body Mass Index of 25 or above) and obesity (BMI of 30 or above) are consequences of individual choice. It is undoubtedly true that societies are spending vast amounts of time and money on this idea. It is also true that the masters of the universe in business and government seem attracted to it, perhaps because stern self-discipline is how many of them attained their status. What we don’t know is whether the theory is actually correct.


As Richard L Atkinson, Emeritus Professor of…

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Aging: What’s Happening to My Muscles?

cool post, click link for references and to visit the web page Aging: What’s Happening to My Muscles?

Scientists who study aging have been telling us for years that we can expect a loss of muscle mass as we get older. We’re simply destined to lose muscle fibers, especially type II fibers – the fast twitch ones (Deschenes, Iannuzzi-Sucich, Karakelides, Proctor, Short, Wilkes). We are told to expect about a 40% to 50% loss by age 80 (Doherty, Faulkner, Karakelides, Lemmer). Depressing for someone of my advanced age (69).

Several more recent studies, however, are now concluding that the changes with aging reported in such research are largely the result of disuse and not as much due to the ravages of age as previously believed (AAgaard, Maharam, Melov). How is it that science is finally coming to this conclusion? By measuring what’s happening with older masters athletes who continue to compete and comparing them with young athletes and with the oldsters’ sedentary age peers.

For example, Wroblewski compared athletes aged 40 to 81 in a cross-sectional study and found that although body fat increased with age, quadriceps muscle mass and strength were similar across all ages. All of the subjects, regardless of age, trained four or five times weekly as runners, swimmers, cyclists or triathletes. Use it or lose it. Right?

Of course, the confounding element in cross-sectional studies such as this is that the older athletes may have self-selected. In other words, perhaps they didn’t maintain their muscle mass because they were athletes, but rather they were athletes because they maintained their muscle mass. Those who couldn’t maintain muscle mass with age may have quit their sport or never even started such strenuous activities. So the research still leaves us wondering.

It could be inevitable that you will eventually lose some muscle, but it may be insignificant for decades if the more recent research is to be accepted at face value. The most common reason given for this happening is a decrease in the body’s production of anabolic (muscle- and tissue-building) hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor. But then exercise is anabolic also – it may help us hold onto muscle as we get older by slowing the demise of these hormones (Arazi, Kraemer, Cadore).

The accompanying pictures of the cross-sectional areas of three people of different ages illustrate this belief (Wroblewski). These MRIs compare the thigh muscles of two male triathletes at ages 40 and 70 with those of a sedentary 74-year-old male. Note the atrophied muscles and surrounding fat on the thighs of the sedentary man and how similar the muscle mass of the two triathletes are regardless of age. Is this what we can expect? These pictures made the rounds on the internet about a year ago and lend support to the idea that remaining active throughstrenuous exercise may well be the best thing you can do to hang on to your muscle mass as you age.


One of the authors of this study believes that aging accounts for only about 30% of the decline in athletes (Wright), whereas most cross-sectional studies of sedentary older people place 50% to 70% – or more – of the blame on age alone. Could exercise keep your muscles young?

A couple of recent, unique studies from the University of Western Ontario lend support to the “use it or lose it” concept (Power, Power). The researchers counted the number of motor units in both young and old subjects. A motor unit is a group of muscle fibers activated by a single nerve in the spine. With aging (or is it disuse?) those nerves die and their associated muscle fibers atrophy. And so we lose muscle size, strength and power. This has been known for quite a long time with aging rats. But how about with people? The initial Power’s study done in 2010 was the first to examine this phenomenon in humans.

Basically, the researchers found that we’re quite similar to rats in this respect. Runners in their 60s had about the same number of motor units in their tibialis anterior (a shin muscle) as runners in their 20s. But when they counted the motor units in sedentary but healthy people also in their 60s the scientists discovered the inactive older folks had 35% fewer motor units than the same-age runners. Essentially, the old runners had young leg muscles.

The Canadian researchers logically wondered if this finding meant that all the muscle motor units in an aging runner’s body were maintained, or just the running-related motor units? So in a similar follow-up study they counted motor units in the biceps brachii (upper arm) of aging runners, young runners and aging sedentary. They found that the older runners had about 48% fewer motor units than the young runners and about the same as the older sedentary. Apparently, exercise does not maintain muscles unless they are strenuously trained. So there is now little doubt – use it or lose it. Right?

But, again, could this result could be the consequence of who the subjects were? After all, it was a cross-sectional study. The subjects may have self-selected. People who maintained their motor units may have continued to compete into old age while those who didn’t maintain them dropped out of sport at a much younger age. I wish we could take a look at some longitudinal studies of aging to see if these results hold true when athletes are followed for several years. Unfortunately, such research is lacking.

So it still comes down to opinion. Mine is that the existing research is probably accurate and that while aging has some affect on muscles mass, the greater cause of the decline is more than likely lack of use – an increasingly sedentary lifestyle as we get older. I see this even in master athletes. The older they become, the less strenuous their training.

In the next post I’ll take a look at sport science’s somewhat depressing view of aerobic capacity (VO2max) and aging. Then we’ll move on to what I think the solutions may be for maintaining (or even improving) muscle mass, VO2max and performance as we get older. I know some won’t like my conclusions. Everyone is entitled to an opinion when we have little in the way of data.

Brain amoeba found in tests of water supply where boy died in Louisiana

Brain amoeba found in tests of water supply where boy died in Louisiana

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba, which causes a generally fatal brain infection, was found in St. Bernard Parish's water supply.

(CNN) — Tests of a Louisiana parish’s water supply confirmed the presence of a rare amoeba blamed for last month’s death of a 12-year-old boy.

The state’s Department of Health & Hospitals said Thursday theNaegleria fowleri amoeba, which causes a generally fatal brain infection, was found in tests of St. Bernard Parish water conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

The water is safe to drink, state officials said, although they continued to caution against getting water in the nose, the route the amoeba takes.

The parish water supply came under suspicion because its chlorine levels were low. Chlorine kills the amoeba, said state Assistant Health Secretary J.T. Lane.

Lane said the parish, along the Gulf Coast southeast of New Orleans, began flushing water lines with chlorine last week, a process that will continue for several weeks until chlorine levels reach recommended levels.

A Florida boy who had played in a ditch while visiting St. Bernard Parish contracted amoebic meningoencephalitis and died last month. Tests of his home found the Naegleria fowleri amoeba.

Officials say less than 1% of patients survive the infection. But 12-year-old Kali Hardig survived after contracting the amoeba in July, possibly at a Little Rock, Arkansas, water park.

Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

Eating for health isn’t extreme; it’s essential

Link to article and web page Eating for health isn’t extreme; it’s essential

We live in a toxic environment. Even the good ole’ fresh country air isn’t what it use to be. Not long ago I was riding my bike in a nearby rural county, and a crop dusting plane flew overhead and began spraying a cornfield in the distance. I turned around to avoid the residue, but then the plane circled and came my way to spray another field.

I grew up on a farm, and one of the highlights of summer was creating makeshift rafts to float in flooded soybean fields after a heavy rainfall; giving no thought to the poisonous, chemical run-off from the fields that would’ve been in the water.

Even suburban housing additions are full of toxins as chemicals are applied to well-manicured lawns. And, of course, cities have their own set of poisons floating around in the air; not to mention the toxic foods that many of us may have eaten since childhood. Our bodies have been, and will continue to be inundated with toxins in one way or other; unless one has the privilege of living on a pristine island in Utopia.

And that’s one of the many reasons why it’s essential for all of us to fully embrace the nutritarian diet-style.

Every bite of food that we put into our mouth counts.

Although certain chemicals can damage the body, repair can most likely happen if we are healthy and not continually exposed to them.  Therefore, it’s crucial that we eat right and minimize our exposure to toxins and chemicals.

But it takes a firm and radical commitment.

“It takes more than moderate changes to wipe out the cellular damage that happens earlier in life.”   Dr. Fuhrman

We must turn a deaf ear to the naysayers that incorrectly and ignorantly believe that eating for health is extreme. And we must consume nutrients that build up our immune system, cleanse chemicals and toxins, and protect against disease.

Following Dr Fuhrman’s nutritional protocol 100% to prevent the growth of cancer cells and disease is not extreme; it’s essential.

Here’s to optimal health to all!

High-glycemic foods may fuel addictive cravings

full article with references High-glycemic foods may fuel addictive cravings

For most people, hunger is not the only factor that influences eating behaviors, and some have more difficulty regulating their food intake than others. Scientists have proposed the excessively sweet, salty, and/or fatty (“highly palatable”) foods common in the standard American diet can produce addiction-like effects in the human brain, driving loss of self-control, overeating, and weight gain.1, 2 In fact, the behavioral and neurobiochemical characteristics of substance abuse and overeating are quite similar, and the idea of food addiction is becoming more widely accepted among scientists.3-6

Dopamine is a brain chemical that is involved in motivation, pleasure and reward. The dopamine reward systemhas been shown to be involved in overeating behaviors in animals, and the effects are similar to those of drug dependence.7 Studies on brain activity in humans have provided preliminary evidence supporting the idea that overeating alters the dopamine reward system, which then acts to drive further overeating. Substance abuse is known to reduce the numbers of dopamine receptors (called D2 receptors) in the brain, and this is thought to underlie the tolerance associated with addiction – over time, greater amounts of the substance are required to reach the same level of reward because the reward response has been reduced. Similarly, in the context of food addiction, reduced numbers of dopamine D2 receptors have been reported in obese compared to lean humans, and the dopamine reward response becomes diminished over a period of weight gain.8-11 The dopamine reward response is also reduced among women with bulimia compared to healthy women.12 Frequent consumption of ice cream was shown to reduce the reward response in adolescents.13 Together, these studies imply that overeating results in a diminished dopamine reward response, resulting in a constant cycle of overeating and a progressively worsening addiction to low-nutrient, highly palatable foods.

White bread

One new study investigated the relationship between the intensity of the blood glucose response to a certain food and the degree of activity in a reward-related region of the brain. Overweight and obese men were given either a high-glycemic index (GI) or low-GI shake (identical in number of calories and macronutrient distribution), and cerebral blood flow was measured four hours after the meal. The high-GI meal resulted in higher ratings of hunger and greater activation of the right nucleus accumbens, a brain region involved in pleasure, dopamine reward, and addiction.14 This study implies that the size of the blood glucose spike produced by a food correlates to the size of the addictive drive it produces in the brain.

This study provides more support for avoiding refined, high-glycemic foods, such as sugars, white flour products, white potatoes and white rice, because foods with a high glycemic load can promote cravings, possibly in part via the dopamine reward system, especially in those suffering with food addiction and struggling to lose weight.  Whereas beans’ low glycemic load promotes satiety, and according to this new research, would reduce the potential for activating reward centers and producing addictive cravings making them the preferred carbohydrate choice.

Nutrition and Mental Health

click for link  Nutrition and Mental Health

The link between mental health and nutrition is an often overlooked one. Good nutrition can reduce the risks of developing a depressive disorder.

Studies have found that people who eat a diet of whole foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-quality proteins – show a reduced risk of developing some types of mental health problems. Consuming foods high in selenium, calcium, and magnesium can help with memory and stress relief, while folic acid and other B vitamins can relieve depression and fatigue.

It’s important to remember that while whole foods can reduce the chances of developing some types of mental health problems, a depressive disorder needs to be treated by a doctor. Good nutrition and exercise is only part of the whole.

The infographic below shows the details on the link between nutrition and health and has recommendations for the types of food to increase in the diet.

The Nutrition of Mental Health

Wheatgrass Turns Gray Hair Back to Its Natural Color

link to article Wheatgrass Turns Gray Hair Back to Its Natural Color

Gray hair: The ultimate telltale sign of aging. Approximately half of all 50-year-olds are at least 50% gray. Try as you may to postpone the inevitable with expensive, foul-smelling and messy dyes, the battle against gray is predictable… gray is pretty much the undefeated champion. Or is it?

Regular consumption of the young grass of a common wheat plant can recolor those grays so that you can enjoy your lush, natural color well into your senior years. And it doesn’t just stop at the gray. This young cereal grass slows down the entire aging process by rejuvenating your cells, detoxifying your body, fighting tumors and tightening loose and sagging skin.

Gray Isn’t Just a Sign of Age

The age-old healing system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) links hair pigmentation to the quality of your blood and the strength of your kidneys. According to TCM, gray doesn’t mean old as much as it points to weak kidneys and blood.

Made up of 70% chlorophyll, wheatgrass, from the wheat plant triticum aestivum, restores the health of your kidneys and blood.

Chlorophyll helps to strengthen, build and oxygenate the blood. It is remarkably similar to hemoglobin, a compound that carries oxygen to the blood. Once consumed, chlorophyll is transformed into blood. It then transports nutrients, such as oxygen, to your cells, tissues and organs, rejuvenating, protecting and strengthening.

Renowned nutritionist, Dr. Bernard Jenson, discovered that wheatgrass and other green juices high in chlorophyll are nature’s best blood builders. In his book Health Magic Through Chlorophyll From Living Plant Life, he cites several cases in which he was able to boost red blood cell count in a matter of days simply by having patients soak in a chlorophyll-water bath. Consuming wheatgrass and other green juices regularly has been proven to boost red blood cell count even more rapidly.

Beyond Beautification and into Total Body Health

Wheatgrass is made up of an impressive array of nutrients that reinforce and rejuvenate everything from our cells and tissues to our organs and bodily systems. In addition to its 70% chlorophyll makeup, wheatgrass contains 17 essential amino acids, 90 minerals, 13 vitamins and 80 enzymes. Prominent research scientist Dr. Earp-Thomas says that,”15 pounds of wheatgrass is the equivalent of 350 pounds of carrots, lettuce, celery and so forth.”

Wheatgrass delivers an impenetrable line of defense against disease. An all-natural and powerful detoxifier, wheatgrass protects the liver and purifies the blood by neutralizing toxic substances such as cadmium, nicotine, strontium, mercury and polyvinyl chloride.

Fact: Cancer cells cannot develop in oxygen rich environments!

Detoxifying is the first step. From there, wheatgrass takes the offensive as a proven anti-cancer agent that stops tumors in their tracks.

Wheatgrass is an abundant source of liquid oxygen. Boosting the production of red blood cells and increasing oxygen in the blood helps fight cancer cells because cancer cannot survive in such alkaline rich environments.

A recent study published in the journal Mutation Research pitted chlorophyll against beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and E. Chlorophyll had a greater anti-cancer effect than all the other nutrients. Wheatgrass truly is total body nutrition in one gulp!

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Grow your own wheatgrass in just 10 days

Wheatgrass smoothies and more recipes