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HOW ACCURATE ARE CALORIE COUNTS ON FOOD LABELS?

HOW ACCURATE ARE CALORIE COUNTS ON FOOD LABELS?
13 Jan

Q.  How accurate are the calorie counts on nutrition facts labels? What about the nutrition information at restaurants? Is anyone checking them for accuracy?

A.  Consumers are often surprised–and dismayed–to learn that the information on nutrition facts labels is not nearly as accurate or reliable as they imagined.   Part of this is built into the system.   The FDA allows manufacturers and packagers a surprisingly wide margin of error–the information can be off  by 20% in either direction and still be in compliance.   For example, if the nutrition facts label says that a food contains 300 calories, it may actually contain anywhere from 240 to 360 calories.And, of course, sometimes the labels are out of compliance.  Although it would technically be up to the FDA (in the case of packaged foods) and the states (in the case of restaurants) to enforce the laws, you can imagine that the budget for spot-checking the accuracy of this information is fairly small.  When errors come to light, it’s usually due to independent investigations.READ MORE

BONE DENSITY SHARPLY ENHANCED BY WEIGHT TRAINING, EVEN THE ELDERLY

BONE DENSITY SHARPLY ENHANCED BY WEIGHT TRAINING, EVEN THE ELDERLY
13 Jan

Bone Density Program George Kessler DO PC,

As people reach old age, osteoporosis is a major determining factor in quality of life. In Healing Moves, Dr. Mitchell and Carol Krucoff write, “Age-related declines in muscle and bone mass … can lead to frailty and fracture — the primary reason older adults wind up in nursing homes.” If you don’t want to spend your later years resting in a nursing home, losing your independence and draining your or your family’s financial resources, you need to do something to remain independent. According to numerous studies and aging manuals, that “something” is strength training, an activity known to increase bone mass and thus decrease the possibility of osteoporosis.
Postmenopausal women are especially prone to osteoporosis because they lack estrogen. Most women know this and begin to take calcium supplements to ward off the debilitating disease. Calcium supplements are important, but according to Kathy Keeton’s book, Longevity, they are not enough. Not only does your body need magnesium and other nutrients to assimilate calcium into your bones

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8 SIMPLE MEDITATIONS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

8 SIMPLE MEDITATIONS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
12 Jan

By EMMA HAAK PREVENTION
Meditation sounds so easy: Just sit still for as long as it takes to let your mind go blank, and feelings of negativity or distress will drift away. But who has such limitless time? And can one generic exercise really relieve all the ways we get overwhelmed? We asked three meditation gurus to confront these nagging questions. The result: 8 simple meditations to change 8 common, troublesome mind-sets in just 10 minutes. Get ready to solve the problems in front of you, one breath at a time.
Your Issue: “I feel stressed from the minute I get to the office until the minute I leave.”
Your Meditation: A traditional Tibetan technique called sky-gazing meditation. Look out the window, relax your whole body, and let your gaze expand into the spaciousness of the sky. Repeat the ahhh sound silently—it’s the most open sound you can make, and it amplifies the feeling. Let your attention go, and sit for a few minutes. If you’re not near a window (or worry people will think you’re daydreaming), sub your computer screen for the sky and rest your attention on the perimeter of your monitor instead. —Dean Sluyter, natural meditation expert and author of the new book Natural Meditation: A Guide to Effortless Meditative CONTINUE READING

SCIENCE MAY GET SIDELINED IN ARTIFICIAL TURF DEBATE

SCIENCE MAY GET SIDELINED IN ARTIFICIAL TURF DEBATE
11 Jan

This guest post is from Science News chemistry and environment writer Beth Mole.

The news and Internet are lush with worrisome reports about synthetic turf: Your child’s playground might be teeming with toxic chemicals. The city park could expose her to noxious dust. And if her soccer team plays on the fake fields, she could get cancer.

Largely absent from many of those popular reports, however, is data. For years, scientists have been digging into artificial turf, which swaps blades of grass for plastic and soil for rubber crumbs to make a low-maintenance green space. So far, most studies have found that artificial fields pose little to no health risk.

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RECORD YOUR WORKOUT. MEET YOUR GOALS. FITBIT CHARGER HR

RECORD YOUR WORKOUT.  MEET YOUR GOALS. FITBIT CHARGER HR
16 Oct

 

  • SEE PROGRESS

    View your progress and analyze your trends with
    easy-to-read charts and graphs

  • RECORD WORKOUTS

    Log workouts, see a monthly exercise calendar, & use MobileRun to track run stats and map routes

  • SHARE + COMPETE

    Invite friends and family to share stats, send cheers
    & taunts, & compete on the leaderboard

  • LOG FOOD

    Log food fast with a barcode scanner, calorie
    estimator, meal shortcuts & expanded food database

  • EARN BADGES

    Get goal progress notifications & celebrate
    fitness milestones with badges

  • SLEEP BETTER

    Set sleep goals, review sleep quality
    & see weekly sleep trend graphs

DOES EXERCISE CHANGE YOUR BRAIN?

DOES EXERCISE CHANGE YOUR BRAIN?
03 Sep

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS  NYTIMES

At the age of 93, Olga Kotelko — one of the most successful and acclaimed nonagenarian track-and-field athletes in history — traveled to the University of Illinois to let scientists study her brain.

Ms. Kotelko held a number of world records and had won hundreds of gold medals in masters events. But she was of particular interest to the scientific community because she hadn’t begun serious athletic training until age 77. So scanning her brain could potentially show scientists what late-life exercise might do for brains.

Ms. Kotelko died last year at the age of 95, but the results of that summer brain scan were published last month in Neurocase.

And indeed, Ms. Kotelko’s brain looked quite different from those of other volunteers aged 90-plus who participated in the study, the scans showed. The white matter of her brain — the cells that connect neurons and help to transmit messages from one part of the brain to another — showed fewer abnormalities than the brains of other people her age. And her hippocampus, a portion of the brain involved in memory, was larger than that of similarly aged volunteers (although it was somewhat shrunken in comparison to the brains of volunteers decades younger than her).

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT RUNNING SHOES

CHOOSING THE RIGHT RUNNING SHOES
29 Aug

By

Many runners may be wearing the wrong shoes for their particular stride or the right shoes that were chosen for the wrong reasons, according to a new scientific review about running shoes and injury risks.

The study helpfully concludes that there is a reliable, scientifically valid way for each of us to pick the right running shoes, but it’s so simple that most of us ignore it.

The connection between running shoes and running injuries is surprisingly controversial and, from a scientific standpoint, unsettled.

Most of us who run have heard that we should choose our shoes based, for the most part, on two broad technical criteria.

The first is whether and how much our foot pronates, or rolls inward as we land. Orthopedists, coaches and runners long have believed that over- or under-pronation contributes to the risk of running injuries and should be controlled using particular types of shoes.

More recently, impact force, or the pounding that we experience with each stride, has also been getting plenty of attention, especially in relation to barefoot running and the question of whether we should wear shoes at all. Some barefoot-running proponents claim that running without shoes or in minimal, slipper-like models somehow changes impacts and substantially reduces the risk for injuries.

But Benno Nigg, the lead author of the new review, and his colleagues were skeptical. An emeritus professor of kinesiology at the University of Calgary in Canada and one of the world’s foremost experts on biomechanics, Dr. Nigg wondered whether science really supports the idea that the right shoes can alter and fix someone’s running form and lessen injuries.

So for the new review, which was published last week in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr. Nigg and his colleagues trolled through decades’ worth of studies about running injuries, shoes and their relationship.

It soon became clear to the researchers that most of our beliefs about running injuries and shoes are, in fact, myths.

Pronation, for instance, does not seem to be a problem requiring correction. In the one large-scale experiment studying pronation, almost 1,000 novice runners, some of whom pronated and some of whom did not, were given the same running shoes and followed for a year.

At the end of that time, many of the runners with normal feet and form — who did not overpronate — had become injured, but a much smaller percentage of those who overpronated had been sidelined.

Dr. Nigg and his colleagues write in their review that this finding suggests “that a pronated foot position is, if anything, an advantage with respect to running injuries.”

Similarly, they found little evidence that forcefully striking the ground causes injuries or that changing or removing your shoes alters those impacts much anyway.

Perhaps most unexpected, running shoes designed to somehow “fix” someone’s running form turned out often to be ineffective and even counter-productive. In a series of studies, when military recruits were assigned running shoes meant to control their particular level of pronation, those soldiers were as likely, or even more so, to sustain running-related injuries than soldiers given shoes at random.

But if shoes are chosen for the right reason, they can reduce injuries, Dr. Nigg and his colleagues concluded after parsing all of the relevant studies.

And the right reason does not involve pronation control or impact forces.

What matters, the researchers conclude in their review, is comfort.In one study from 2001 (overseen by Dr. Nigg), researchers asked soldiers to try six shoe inserts, which varied in terms of cushioning, arch height, heel shape, thickness and other variables. The soldiers were asked to pick the one insert that felt the most comfortable to them and wear that insert inside their shoes during their subsequent military training. A separate group of soldiers wore standard footwear as controls.

After four months, the soldiers wearing the shoes fitted with inserts that felt comfortable to them had a much lower incidence of injury than those wearing standard shoes.

This finding makes scientific and common sense, Dr. Nigg said. Our bodies are actually “very good judges” of how each of us should move and run, he said. When we ignore or fight our bodies’ natural movement pattern, he said, such as by trying to control pronation, the risk of injury rises.

Instead, he said, we should pay close attention to our body’s opinion about running shoe options.

“Try on four or five pairs,” Dr. Nigg said. Jog around the store or the block in each.

“People can usually tell right away which shoe feels the most comfortable,” Dr. Nigg said. “That is the one to choose.”

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EXERCISE MAY REVERSE AGE-RELATED BONE LOSS IN MIDDLE-AGED MEN

EXERCISE MAY REVERSE AGE-RELATED BONE LOSS IN MIDDLE-AGED MEN
21 Jul

University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:Researchers have found that certain types of weight-lifting and jumping exercises, when completed for at least six months, improve bone density in active, healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass. These exercises may help prevent osteoporosis by facilitating bone growth, according to a new study.

Men gradually lose bone mass as they age, which puts them at risk for developing osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones weak and prone to breakage. Nearly 2 million men in the U.S. have the condition, and 16 million more have low bone mass, studies have shown. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that certain types of weight-lifting and jumping exercises, when completed for at least six months, improve bone density in active, healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass. These exercises may help prevent osteoporosis by facilitating bone growth, according to the study published in Bone.”Weight-lifting programs exist to increase muscular strength, but less research has examined what happens to bones during these types of exercises,” said Pam Hinton, an associate professor and the director of nutritional sciences graduate studies in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. “Our study is the first to show that exercise-based interventions work to increase bone density in middle-aged men with low bone mass who are otherwise healthy. These exercises could be prescribed to reverse bone loss associated with aging.”

Hinton and MU colleagues Peggy Nigh and John Thyfault studied 38 physically active, middle-aged men who completed either a weight-lifting program or a jumping program for a year. Both programs required participants to complete 60-120 minutes of targeted exercises each week. The participants took calcium and vitamin D supplements throughout their training programs. The researchers measured the men’s bone mass at the beginning of the study and again at six and 12 months using specialized X-ray scans of the whole body, hip and lumbar spine.

The researchers found the bone mass of the whole body and lumbar spine significantly increased after six months of completing the weight-lifting or jumping programs, and this increase was maintained at 12 months. Hip-bone density only increased among those who completed the weight-lifting program.

Hinton said the study results do not indicate that all kinds of weight lifting will help improve bone mass; rather, targeted exercises made the training programs effective.

“Only the bone experiencing the mechanical load is going to get stronger, so we specifically chose exercises that would load the hip and the spine, which is why we had participants do squats, deadlifts, lunges and the overhead press,” Hinton said. “Also, the intensity of the loading needs to increase over time to build strength. Both of the training programs gradually increased in intensity, and our participants also had rest weeks. Bones need to rest to continue to maximize the response.”

Throughout their training programs, participants rated pain and fatigue after completing their exercises. The participants reported minimal pain and fatigue, and these ratings decreased over the year. Hinton said individuals who want to use similar training programs to improve bone density should consider their current activity levels and exercise preferences as well as time and equipment constraints.

“Individuals don’t typically have to know they have heart disease, high blood pressure or prediabetes to start exercising — they do it as prevention,” Hinton said. “Similarly, individuals don’t have to know they have osteoporosis to start lifting weights. The interventions we studied are effective, safe and take 60-120 minutes per week to complete, which is feasible for most people. Also, the exercises can be done at home and require minimal exercise equipment, which adds to the ease of implementing and continuing these interventions.”

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