Applied Bodybuilding Research: The Latest News - 09-23-03!

Learn how to finally drop the extra pounds, all about usnic acid, if it is too late to change your eating habits, if you are a binge eater, if you should buy supplements from your local grocery store, if your herbal fat burner is safe and much more...
Note: Do YOU know of new studies that have come out recently & we don't have them? Send me an E-mail!

Want To Drop Some Pounds?

Drink MRP's! Meal Replacement Powders are convenient and they often taste great.

With modern technology, protein products of the past are gone forever. No longer tasting like plaster of paris, modern day meal replacement powders are fortified with vitamins and minerals and often taste like deserts.

Aside from taste, they are very convenient and studies have shown that people using MRP's lose significantly more bodyfat than those who do not use them.

SOURCE: Obes Res., 9 (suppl 4):3125-3205-2001.

Usnic Acid: Good, Bad, Or…

Ugly. Really ugly, according to researchers. Usnic Acid is a substance currently sold and promoted as a weight loss product.

Usnic Acid (sodium usniate) was a substance promoted by the late bodybuilding guru Dan Duchaine, and it was originally thought to inhibit tumor growth, as well as inhibiting the growth of other deadly diseases. Currently, United States law allows for the sale of usnic acid as a "dietary supplement" because it is found naturally in tree moss.

The only problem is that it is very unsafe. In fact, like DNP, the dose required to burn optimal fat is the dose that will kill you! This is one product that you want to steer clear of. Buyers beware.

SOURCE: Vet Hum Toxicol 28:574-575, 1986.

Is It Too Late To Change Your Eating Habits?

Many older adults believe that changing their dietary habits would offer little benefit to their life, due to their advanced age. Emerging research has, tentatively, cast doubt upon this belief.

A recent study conducted on fruit flies has demonstrated that a low-calorie diet consisting primarily of whole foods (fruits, vegetables, lean meat, etc.) has a profound impact on the longevity and the quality of life of the fruit fly. While this may be unsurprising, what is surprising is that the study also reveals that the benefits of a low-calorie diet have an immediate impact upon the health of the organism, regardless of age.

Fruit flies are commonly used as laboratory specimens because of their short lifecycle. This short lifecycle allows scientists to observe rapid changes over the various stages of the organism's life. Not only that, but findings made on fruit flies have also been shown to apply to human beings in many cases, thus making fruit flies one of many ideal laboratory specimens.

Anecdotal evidence from the Orient and elsewhere has confirmed the benefits of a low-calorie diet that focuses on eating whole foods. More recently, bodybuilders have seen the benefits that this type of diet can bring. Regardless of age, persons eating as bodybuilders eat notice an immediate impact upon their health. Once again, it appears though science is catching up to bodybuilding.


Binge Eating: Do You Do It?

The obesity epidemic in North America is on the rise. According to recent statistics, 61% of adults in North America are either obese or overweight. Why is this so?

Contrary to whatever the media psychologists may claim, behavior is a multi-determined event, and often causal (x à y) relationships can not be established. More often than not, correlation is the only "conclusion" that one can reach when discussing behavior. For many people, obesity may be positively correlated with diabetes, carbohydrate addiction, poor eating habits learned from the home, and for some food may serve as a comfort, providing relief when the stresses of the environment become to great to psychologically process. In this sense, food functions as a drug.

Typically, emotional binge eaters consume vast quantities of processed sugars. The glucose provided by these foods supply the brain with quickly usable energy. The sugar in foods triggers specific hormonal and neurological changes and reactions in the body. Researchers know that sugars alter brain chemistry, stemming the tide of stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol, and encouraging anabolic hormones like insulin.

Thus by eating carbohydrate rich foods the "blues" can be temporarily thwarted. It is also well established that dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is linked to feelings of pleasure and reward. A recent study has found that by looking at food, dopamine levels in the dorsal striatum are raised (Beckman, 2002). Although causation is difficult to grasp and establish, this does not mean that persons who binge eat are free of the consequences of this maladaptive behavior.

SOURCE: Beckman, L. (2002, October). Understanding the urge to eat. Psychology Today, p.22.

Should You Buy Supplements From The Store?

No, at least if you value your health, according to recent findings. A recent uncontrolled study sponsored by the American Institute for Cancer Research had researchers visit three dozen health food stores, posing as a person whose mother has breast cancer. The researcher, operating under the cover story, solicited advice from workers in the health-food stores visited.

The findings showed that although the employees of the health food stores were more than willing to recommend THIRTY-THREE different supplements for the SAME condition, a full 68% of the employees didn't bother to ask what medical treatment the "mother" was receiving for her life-threatening illness! Anecdotal evidence would seem to support these findings, and this phenomenon is perfectly understandable. As soon as a business shifts its focus to dollars instead of people, the focus is sales, instead of sensibility. As people continue looking for ways to make a quick buck by selling anything at any cost, store clerks will say almost anything to clear space on store shelves and to earn approval from their chain of command.

The key to making a correct purchase is KNOWLEDGE. It is not enough to make recommendations - one must give explanations and provide consumers with resources, so that they may make an informed decision. has an extensive FAQ Product Database. This database provides accurate knowledge, and is updated frequently with the latest scientific research, so the consumer can have peace of mind when making important health decisions. respects the intelligence of our customers and friends. It's too bad that the clerks in the other stores don't - or WONT - do the same.

Source: Collins, Karen R.D. (2003). Use caution in health food stores.

Is Your Herbal Fat Burner Safe?

Lately, there has been much controversy surrounding the safety of Ephedra based products. The research on the safety of Ephedra is well-established, and the conclusion is that it IS safe, if consumed by adults free from preexisting medical conditions, and if dosage guidelines are adhered to. For more information on this, refer to last weeks issue of this column.

Recently, the attack on herbal weight-loss supplements has also targeted two other products: Chaso and Onshido. These two products are sold in the Orient, and a chemical analysis showed that they contained the banned drug Phen (N-nitroso-fenfluramine; one half of the phen-phen duo). Several people died from taking these two products, and they were quickly removed from the market. So, it's a buyers market and you can't always be sure that what you are getting is safe. Fair enough.

While it may be true that "health" products of Asian origin are of dubious quality (Chaso, Onshido, Chinese Creatine, etc), Congress and pressure groups will still use this example as evidence that the American supplement industry needs "regulation." The argument, most likely, will be that to save the children from apocalypse, we have to act as a surrogate brain for millions of tax-paying North Americans, who need the government to protect them from - God forbid - their constitutionally enshrined right to make a free choice based on the free reason of their minds.

It is our view that places like Vermont, New York and Washington, need to worry first about their heroin, crack and prostitution problems (Vermont, New York and Washington, respectively) before they attempt to distract the public from the real issues by attacking a scientifically proven safe substance. Furthermore, instead of looking for ways to put millions of honest, hard working, Americans out of work (by banning ephedra and related products), perhaps the political establishment should focus on creating jobs, so that economic opportunities are available to all.

Last time we checked, the fat-cat millionaire lawmakers in Washington were elected to create jobs for the people they represent; they were NOT elected to make more work for themselves while their constituents starve because of poor fiscal management, and shoddy job performance.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2003;139:488-492

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