Obesity continues to be a growing problem. Over 50% of North Americans over the age of sixteen are overweight or obese. In response to the threat of obesity and its related health problems, new research is beginning to shed light on why people can't shed the pounds.
A study by researchers at Columbia University has examined the role of the nucleus incumbens on binge eating. The nucleus incumbens is a brain structure that is involved in pleasure, reward and feelings of well-being.
Researchers discovered that when rats were injected with opioids - natural pleasure hormones - they ate three times the amount of fatty foods eaten by rats not injected with the opiods. Researchers also found that the nucleus incumbens controlled feeding only after the rats had already reached a state of fullness.
For dieting bodybuilders this could mean that while appetite suppressants and feel-good supplements may reduce appetite and binge eating, they do so only after you've reached fullness.
Every bodybuilder can benefit from having an awareness of the brains function and its role in the feeding process.
Research into the role of the nucleus incumbens on the feeding process is ongoing and new research will be presented here as it becomes available.
Source: Will, Matthew J. CA; Franzblau, Emily B.; Kelley, Ann E. The amygdala is critical for opioid-mediated binge eating of fat. Neuroreport. 15(12):1857-1860, August 26, 2004.
"Clean your plate" and "Waste not, want not" are familiar phrases from a past generation that were useful in the face of food rationing and uncertainty. However, in the face of todays obesity epidemic, these expressions are doing more harm than good.
In a society where expressions like "biggie size", "upgrade", "mega portion", and "all you can eat" are commonplace, over-eating has become normal. Scientists from Cornell University believe they know why: if you put big portions in front of people, they will eat more.
While behavioral psychology has known this for years, and has recommended conditioning techniques to offset the tendency to eat more, the rest of academia is only now catching on. Since 1950 portion sizes have quadrupled, and people have been getting fatter and fatter every year. This is no coincidence.
To limit eating, one must limit the amount of food available. It follows that if less food is available, people will eat less.
Dieting bodybuilders can benefit from limiting portion sizes when leaning down. This means putting less on your plate at any one time. This will prevent any possibility of over eating.
Source: David A. Levitsky and Trisha Youn. The More Food Young Adults Are Served, the More They Overeat. J. Nutr. 2004 134: 2546-2549.
Apples are good for you. Eat fruit daily. We've all heard the advice, but how many of us actually listen? New animal research is showing that perhaps we should.
Japanese researchers have demonstrated that food containing 5% apple polyphenols increased strength by 16% and reduced organ fat by 27% in rats.
It is not clear if the research will generalize to human subjects, but the research shows promise. To be safe, and if for no other reason than improved health and antioxidant protection, bodybuilders should include a generous variety of fresh fruit in their daily diets.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun daily.
As the price of prescription medication continues to climb, more people are turning to natural, and cheaper, alternatives. Not only are natural substances often cheaper and of better quality, they are readily available and many offer the same benefits as their chemical counterparts, without the accompanying negative side-effects.
Viagra, a sex-enhancing drug manufactured by Pfizer, is popular among men and women of all ages. Not surprisingly, the success of Viagra has prompted many so-called "natural alternatives." But are these alternatives safe? Not always, according to researchers.
While some "natural" products are safe, others may not be. The dietary supplement market is unregulated, manufacturing controls are less than in the pharmaceutical industry, and contaminants can find their way into products sold for human consumption.
Often, many drugs touted as safe and natural have banned substances in them - specifically, the prescription medications that these so-called "alternatives" seek to emulate.
Before trying "natural" sex-enhancers, be sure of what you are getting, and buy only from a trusted company.
Source: 2004 Reuters Limited
Yoga: A Substitute For Exercise?
Many bodybuilders are turning to yoga to provide greater range of motion, muscular growth and flexibility. Many athletes do so under the belief that yoga is an efficacious substitute for rigorous exercise. But is it?
No. Research has demonstrated that while yoga is effective at increasing muscular ROM and flexibility, yoga has no impact on heart health, cardiovascular endurance, or weight loss. Nothing works like hard work, so get to it!
Source: Reuters Limited
The February 15th, 2004 edition of this column reported that testosterone may protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease is a condition resulting from a buildup of amyloid plaques. These neural plaques are tangled proteins, or neurofibrillary tangles, and can interfere with the transmission of neural signals. It is believed that free testosterone may help prevent cell death and protect brain function.
New research has shown that a reduction in testosterone levels may put men at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. So, be sure to see your doctor if your testosterone levels are on the decline.
Source: Gia Scafidi. University of Southern California. Androgen Loss May Lead to Alzheimer's.
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