Today, I will play the role of DJ…
These three articles (summaries below) have been the highlights of my health and fitness oriented reading this summer. They touch on hot topics that women care a lot about. I hope you enjoy the highlights that I’ve included in this post.
If you’re digging for even more juicy details, I encourage you to read the full articles from One Medical, WebMD and PT on the Net (links below).
Now, let the mixing and scratching of today’s burning topics begin…
- “Clean labeling” involves reducing the number of ingredients in processed foods and making the names of the ingredients easy to read, understand and pronounce.
- Food companies – not the FDA – now determine which ingredients are safe to use in their products. “GRAS” or “generally recognized as safe” is a term the FDA used while evaluating new or reinvented ingredients. In 1997, the FDA handed over this screening process to companies since there were industry complaints that they were taking too long to approve ingredients. In short, this means that companies can rush to put items in foods (they want to make a profit, after all) without thorough testing and due diligence.
- One clean label fix that companies commonly turn to is replacing ‘high fructose corn syrup’ with ‘fructose.’ The former is a mixture of two sugars; fructose and glucose (same ingredients found in table sugar). Even though fructose sounds like a better, simpler option, the name is deceiving; it actually has MORE sugar than high-fructose corn syrup!
- “Some scientific evidence suggests that calories from fructose are more easily stored as fat than glucose. And fructose may also raise levels of harmful blood fats more than glucose does. The fear is that eating too much fructose may set the body on a path to obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes.”
- A full 10 years after ‘trans fats’ were required to be listed on food labels, they have been formally declared by the FDA as not meeting GRAS standards (the public was notified in June, 2015). These fats negatively impact cholesterol levels (raising the bad kind and lowering the good kind), and, yet, they were included in foods and have been suspected to contribute to obesity-related deaths.
- Companies are struggling to find a healthy replacement for trans fats and have not found conclusive evidence to support that alternatives are safe. These include palm oil and interesterified fats, which consists of fats that have undergone this kind of processing, for example: soybean oil.
- Many consumers have become cautious of cured meats because of nitrates (linked to cancer and heart disease) and, thus, food companies have sought to rid their labels of the stuff. Only problem…how to preserve freshness and color? Answer: Celery Extract. This is now on the ingredient labels of many “uncured, organic” meat products. The issue? In spite of sounding more consumer-friendly, celery extract is apparently full of nitrates.
WellnessWinz’s Perspective: Try to stick to unprocessed foods as best you can. Don’t think you’re a failure because you can’t cook from scratch all day, every day…if ever! Just try to make modifications in your diet to allow for more wholesome foods.
- Many “performance” or “functional” drinks get a bad reputation because of sugar content, but that’s not the only issue….
- Many vitamin-enriched beverages contain 2-3x as many nutrients as required for the average adult.
- Over 50% of Americans consume multivitamins and/or dietary supplements. A recent study found that these individuals were already getting substantial nutrition from their food alone.
- The Institute of Medicine has found that many people are exceeding the safe limits of nutrient intakes. For example, antioxidants are very popular additives (and they’re important to the body too), but overdoses can cause major health issues.
- Shocker: A large study examining 6,000 heart disease patients found that those patients given folic acid and B12 on a daily basis had higher mortality and cancer rates over a period of seven years.
WellnessWinz’s Perspective: This article is from my doctor’s office, One Medical, and I completely agree with their statement “It’s important to talk to your health care provider about any vitamins or supplements you’re consuming regularly, including fortified beverages.” Many of us like to think that we’re doing ourselves a favor by taking lots of supplements and drinking protein shakes with added vitamins and minerals, but, as this article suggests, there may be more to the story when we tinker so much with mother nature…
Estrogen vs Progesterone
- Estrogen deficiency (caused by irregular or missing periods due to intense training) is the most significant risk factor for osteoporosis in women who exercise.
- The first half of a woman’s monthly cycle is more dominated by estrogen, while the latter half is when progesterone takes over. Although each woman is unique, in general, the most energized workouts are possible during times when estrogen is highest.
Estrogen and Exercise
- Easy to moderate workouts may help alleviate physical discomfort associated with PMS and menstruation, and may even lift a woman’s mood, when estrogen is low.
- A woman may have greater strength gains if she trains more heavily during the estrogen dominant phase of her cycle. This is due to how estrogen and progesterone impact the body’s ability to recover from workouts and build muscle.
- In general, women use less carbohydrates (glycogen) and protein to fuel submaximal exercise when compared to men. A woman’s body recruits more energy from fat to delay fatigue.
- Progesterone is catabolic (i.e., it breaks down molecules for energy), thus, it’s important during high-progesterone weeks to eat adequate protein before and after a workout to help the body recover and build muscle.
WellnessWinz’s Perspective: If this is information overload, don’t let it stress you out! Instead, simply listen to how your body feels each day and week as you exercise. On the flip side, if you’re really looking to maximize your training potential, you may consider tinkering with your workout schedule according to some of these facts.
Yours in health and wellness,