Lately a lot of debate in the fitness/health industry has been about diets. High protein, low carbohydrate? Low carbohydrate, low-fat? High-fat, zero carbohydrate? Atkins diet? Greenwich diet? Weight watchers diet? Slimfast diet? The zone diet?
With all of the confusion, it is no wonder that some people are up trying every diet fad, hoping that the latest will be the holy grail that finally keeps the weight off for good.
Researchers may finally have the answer: low energy intake.
A study in the American journal of clinical nutrition has revealed that calorie intake determines weight loss more so than any other factor.
The study ran for 16 weeks and had 60 obese individuals participate. The implications for bodybuilders are clear when attempting to lose bodyfat.
Bodybuilders should decrease caloric intake when attempting to lower body fat, but increase protein intake and decreasing fat and carbohydrate consumption. "Weight loss" is not the same as fat loss, and bodybuilders should be concerned with the latter.
SOURCE: Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:31-9.
Isoflavones: No Good For Lowering Blood Presure!
It has been commonly thought that supplementing with isoflavones can help lower blood pressure, and thereby prevent hypertension. Including soy protein in the diet was one way to get isoflavones.
Recent studies by Nestel et al. (1997) and Hodgson et al (1999) have shown that isoflavone supplementation on its own has no measurable impact on blood pressure.
Consumption of soy protein has many health benefits, not the least of which is the slowing of cancerous breast tissue development and the slowing of prostate cell growth.
While some bodybuilders scorn soy protein, it should be included in a high protein diet; industry propaganda notwithstanding.
Vegetarianism Takes Another Hit!
Vegetarianism amongst the general population (and even bodybuilders) is on the rise. Why? We think it has something to do with Mad Cow and an environmentalist agenda.
Nevertheless, research has recently indicated that one-fourth of vegetarians and 80% of vegans suffer from iodine deficiency.
This number is staggering. Iodine deficiency is a condition that can lead to many health problems, not the least of which is thyroid enlargement (goiderism). Beef is a dietary source, rich in iodine.
This study highlights the need for bodybuilders (and people in general) to eat meat (and not just extra spinach).
Next time you are in a resteraunt, order a steak without guilty feelings!
Fat: Brain Food!
Fat. To many, fat is a bad word, and something to be avoided at all costs. Research has shown that avoiding fat may come at a higher cost than most realize.
A study in Italy has shown that mono-unsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, etc) are associated (when consumed) with improved attention span, and an improved ability to comprehend information.
While some fats are bad, not all fats are bad. The so-called "good" fats should be consumed generously. Flax, olive and the omega fatty acids stimulate the endocrine system, thus leading to an increase in lean muscle tissue.
When dieting, poly-unsaturated fatty acids should be avoided while mono-unsaturated fatty acids should be used as a tool for lean muscle preservation.
So, contrary to common myth, salmon will not make you fat. It is a great source of protein and may make you smarter!
Can Olive Oil Contribute To Liver Health?
Bodybuilders who use anabolic agents may be subjecting their livers to potentially toxic substances.
Typically, milk thistle is used after a cycle of steroids because of its ability to help regenerate the liver.
Scientists have discovered that olive oil may be usefull for encouraging liver regeneration. A study conducted by turkish researchers has shown that an olive oil / soybean oil combination has the ability to regenerate liver cells in adult rats.
Humans are not rats, but the study holds promise for bodybuilders. Bodybuilders should consume a diet that is relativley high in good fats, getting fats from sources like nuts and seeds, flax and, of course, olive oil.
At he very least, if furhter research shows that olive opil does not regenerate the liver in humans, bodybuilders can rest assured that they are getting enough good fats to maximize natural anabolic hormone levels.
ECA: Its Safe!
Recently, diet pills containing ephedra have been the focus of sharp criticism from lawmakers and the general public.
With the death of Mr. Steven Belcher in 2003, the fight over ephedra intensified.
On one side of the argument lawmakers and citizens groups arguethat ephedra is a scourge that is harming young people, while the supplement industry argues that when used responsibly, ephedra is safe.
So who is right?
A study conducted at Columbia University found that over a six month period, subjects taking an ECA supplement lost an average of 10 pounds, while heart rythms, blood pressure and other factors remained unchanged.
Despite the evidence that ephedra based diet pills are safe, it looks like lawmakers will listen to pressure groups and believe apocolyptic scenarios instead of looking at the cold, hard, scientific facts.
Int J Obesity 26:593-604, 2002.
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