FDA’s plan to cut excess salt draws sharp criticism, unlikely supporters

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration released a draft voluntary guidance for the food industry aimed at phasing out excess salt in processed and commercially prepared food over a span of 10 years. The move, which health experts say could save thousands of lives, has drawn mixed reactions from the food industry.

Source: FDA’s plan to cut excess salt draws sharp criticism, unlikely supporters

I think the Salt Institute’s opinion should be taken …with a grain of salt. 😉

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When Weightlifting Belts Are Necessary, and When They’re for Show

Weightlifting belts can be fantastic and boost your performance, but they’re very commonly misunderstood, and often misused. Let’s break down what weightlifting belts do and when you’ll really benefit from wearing one.

Source: When Weightlifting Belts Are Necessary, and When They’re for Show

You don’t need to splurge on a $100+ belt, but please don’t go for the velcro belts and think you’re doing yourself any good. A leather belt should be extremely uncomfortable and stiff the first few times you use it, but after a month or so will be nicely broken in.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

In Japan, soaking in natural hot springs is a treasured pastime that’s steeped in thousands of years of tradition, and during my stay there, I visited a few. The experience opened my eyes (and pores) to a world of good-feeling benefits, many of which (but not all) are backed by a plethora of research.

Source: The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

I think heat is part of the stress relief.  It doesn’t have to be a hot spring – a warm blanket/etc can do wonders.  Wrapping up in one, insulating ourselves from what’s around – it’s a physical barrier.

‘Fat But Fit’ May Be A Myth

One of the most controversial ideas in medical science today is whether people can really be fat and fit. That is, is weight in itself a marker of health — or simply a suggestion of a person’s physical fitness?

Source: ‘Fat but fit’ may be a myth, researchers say

You’re probably wondering: Obviously it isn’t bad to work out, but is exercising while people are overweight an issue until there is fat loss? Is it not beneficial at first?

A lot of studies have indeed concluded that exercise is beneficial in terms of the later risk of disease. Physical activity have various positive effects on the body and it is most likely beneficial for individuals no matter their body fat percentage. However, analyzing fitness (as we have done) does not account for exercise that does not alter fitness level. Lastly, it is important to highlight the limitations of this study; it is merely an attempt to show an association, and the researchers did not intend to demonstrate causality. Further research is needed!

Spinal Cord Injuries Lead to a Very Odd (But Serious) Risk

People who get serious spinal cord injuries have to adjust to a lot. That may be why, in the first year after their injuries, they are at serious risk for a potentially fatal condition called autonomic dysreflexia. Autonomic dysreflexia shows that the body can take itself down if its signals are ignored.

Source: Spinal Cord Injuries Lead to a Very Odd (But Serious) Risk

First signs are profuse sweating above your level of injury. Then chills with goose bumps, and very cold clammy skin. If its something like a clogged tube, that can be very dangerous. The bladder unable to empty itself makes the autonomic dysreflexic symptoms worsen.

Timing Your Blood Pressure Meds Right Might Prevent Diabetes

In surprising new research, experts report that the timing of taking your blood pressure medicine could have a big impact on whether or not you develop type 2 diabetes.

Specifically, the Spanish researchers found that taking blood pressure medications at bedtime rather than waiting until morning may cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half.

Source: Timing Your Blood Pressure Meds Right Might Prevent Diabetes

Controlling blood pressure is one of the main goals in the care of diabetics. The ultimate disease processes that kills people in diabetes is atherosclerosis which then leads to coronary artery and peripheral arterial disease. It also leads to chronic renal insufficiency (bad kidneys, basically – that’s why diabetics tend to end up on dialysis), retinopathy, and arguably contributes significantly to vascular dementia and stroke. Any number of those consequences of diabetes can be fatal.

So, then, if we can prevent atherosclerosis in the first place, we can prevent many of those downstream consequences. That’s why it’s important to control things like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and activity level in patients with diabetes. Using that logic, it makes sense that this would be helpful to someone who already has diabetes as well (and for similar reasons).

That said, there is a link between nocturnal hypotension and ischemic optic neuropathy. So you may reduce your diabetes risk, but you may increase your risk of vision loss. The theory is the low blood pressure at night time leads to such low perfusion of the optic nerve that it is irreparably damaged. As a result, physicians may recommend the opposite of this study. I should point out this is anecdotal evidence from other doctors. Large scale studies proving this link have not been performed.  See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3721361/

It’s also been found that taking your aspirin at bedtime is more effective.

How Being Dehydrated Affects Your Mind and Body

If you’ve ever worked for awhile in the beating sun, you might know what it feels like to be dehydrated. What’s going on inside your body?

Source: What Happens To Your Body When You’re Dehydrated?

There have been many articles debunking how much water an individual needs per day.  I chronicled my experience a while back.

8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda

You’ve decided to give up diet soda—good idea! Maybe you weren’t hitting your weight-loss goals or couldn’t stomach that long list of ingredients anymore. Or perhaps you heard one too many times that it’s just not good for you.

Whatever the reason, eliminating diet soda from your diet will improve your health from head to toe. Research on diet soda is still in its infancy, but there’s enough out there to identify what you can look forward to when you put down the can and cool down with an unsweetened iced tea instead.

Source: 8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda

Sorry, but soda/pop is one place I will not consider the diet alternative.  Simply due to taste – most just prompted me to drink water instead (for the best anyway, but not for Big Soda/Pop).

The aspect of weight loss because of coming off diet soda/pop isn’t that surprising.  It’s often suggested that we consume more because we’re under the impression the food/beverage is healthier so we can consume more. As the joke goes: I’ll have the extra large burger, extra large fries, and …a diet soft drink.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

…A chemist by training with a doctoral degree in food science, Behnke became Pillsbury’s chief technical officer in 1979 and was instrumental in creating a long line of hit products, including microwaveable popcorn. He deeply admired Pillsbury but in recent years had grown troubled by pictures of obese children suffering from diabetes and the earliest signs of hypertension and heart disease. In the months leading up to the C.E.O. meeting, he was engaged in conversation with a group of food-science experts who were painting an increasingly grim picture of the public’s ability to cope with the industry’s formulations — from the body’s fragile controls on overeating to the hidden power of some processed foods to make people feel hungrier still. It was time, he and a handful of others felt, to warn the C.E.O.’s that their companies may have gone too far in creating and marketing products that posed the greatest health concerns.

Source: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

It’s an incredibly long read about the various ways the food industry worked to make products more appealing.  The “vanishing caloric deficit” is said to be present in Coca-cola, that you can drink lots without feeling full.  That’s besides the desire to have more…

How Does Lung Capacity Increase?

Alveoli are the sites in our lungs where oxygen moves from the air to the blood stream.  You can do things like smoking, which damages the alveoli to give you bigger open spaces with less surface area. Less surface area means less efficient. Things like diabetes, or high blood pressure, can cause the space between the alveoli and the blood vessels to increase, making it harder for oxygen to diffuse across and decrease efficiency.

You can’t increase alveoli/surface-area because your lungs are already packed full of them. Thus, you can’t decrease diffusion distance because the space is already as thin as it can be. You can’t increase total volume of your lungs because their size is limited by your ribcage.

The best you can do is just avoid things that make them worse. However, you can increase efficiency of the cardiovascular system which works with the lungs.

There are other things that effect the total picture of “increase stamina” such as increasing stored glycogen in the muscles or increasing one type of muscle fiber and decreasing another type of muscle fiber that is better suited to the activity you are performing (such as for long distance running you will increase Type 1 muscle fibers and decrease Type 2 muscle fibers).

TLDR: Your body becomes more efficient. The blood cells that carry oxygen work better after doing cardio for a while.

How does compare to trying to increase time you can hold your breath?

Holding your breath isn’t the same as cardio. You feel the need to breathe when you have too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in your system, instead of not enough oxygen.

You can train your mind to ignore higher levels of CO2 to pretty absurd degrees.  Another trick is to hyperventilate 3 times before holding your breathe. This rids your body of more CO2 than usual, allowing you to hold your breath for a longer amount of time.

Your lungs never really expand past peak capacity, your body simply uses the air more efficiently.