Study: Former Biggest Loser Contestants’ Metabolisms Are Wrecked, Leading to Weight Gain

Contestants lost hundreds of pounds during Season 8, but gained them back. A study of their struggles helps explain why so many people fail to keep off the weight they lose.

Source: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

Two individuals, each of the same size/weight, but one who had lost a substantial amount of weight to arrive there, end up with significantly different resting metabolisms, such that it becomes impractical to maintain the weight loss.  The alternative for those people is to devote substantial amounts of time to exercise to maintain caloric burn rates that counter their abnormally low metabolisms.  That’s part of the lifestyle change – crash/fad diets do not work for the long term.

How Crickets Help Explain One of Schizophrenia’s Biggest Mysteries

For a long time, people with schizophrenia have reported feeling as though their thoughts and actions were controlled by an outside influence, and people didn’t understand why. One experiment, involving crickets, may have shed some light on the neurology behind that feeling.

Source: How Crickets Help Explain One of Schizophrenia’s Biggest Mysteries

It’s interesting how much detail the article goes into for the sake of explaining why we [generally] can’t tickle ourselves.  There’s an experiment that was demonstrated on QI about placing your hand next to a fake one, and someone else brushing the fake hand.  After a minute (or less for some), people reported feeling the brush strokes on the fake hand.

The Benefits of Fiber (And How to Know You’re Getting Enough)

Years ago I remember lamenting (and writing somewhere) that I was fairly sick of reading research papers on how eating more fiber was good for people, how it was time for nutritional science to move into relatively more interesting things than a topic that had literally been beaten to death.

Thankfully, soon thereafter leptin was discovered and nutritional researchers could start looking at things more interesting than why eating high-fiber vegetables were good for you (a nutritional tidbit that I file under the ‘Grandma was right’ category).

Even so, there is still some confusion regarding fiber out in the world of nutrition regarding fiber.  And boring or not, it’s a topic worth clearing up.  So today I want to take a fairly comprehensive look at dietary fiber, what it is, what it does in the body, how it impacts on things like body composition (and health to a lesser degree) and finish by looking at some (admittedly vague recommendations).

Source: Fiber – It’s Natures Broom

Fibre can be your friend if you want to avoid hemorrhoids. Bananas, rice, dried plums (prunes) 4 lyfe!

Too much of a good thing is… not so good. Don’t try increase your fiber intake too fast (too furious?), unless you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. You’ve been warned.

Compassion: Changing the World and Ourselves

…what if recognising our shared humanity was more than just a sentimental ideal? What if consciously practising kindness could change the wiring of your brain and make you live longer?

This is neuroscience’s latest frontier – a growing body of research that shows compassion could be the key to improved health, happiness and longevity.

Brain imaging reveals that exercising compassion stimulates the same pleasure centres associated with the drive for food, water and sex.

Other studies show it can be protective against disease and increase lifespan.

Source: Changing the world and ourselves through compassion

Interesting read, but light on the science.

And you have nice hair!

Sorry, but I don’t believe altruism exists.  Doing something compassionate to be seen as such is in fact selfish.  And I’ve seen compassion make people rather myopic, sneering at what they’d label as socialism – social programs to support the aftermath of their political views.

How to Drink Without Messing Up Your Weight Loss

Alcohol isn’t commonly thought to be a “healthy” part of a weight loss program, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink or two without screwing up your progress.

First let’s talk about why we’re even addressing this topic. Considering that drinking inhibits fat loss and adds excess calories, wouldn’t it make sense to forgo it altogether?

If this is possible for you, great. There’s no shortage of articles on how alcohol physiologically hurts your efforts.

But weight loss isn’t just about physiology. If it were, everyone would be able to just “eat less, move more” their way into skinny jeans. In reality, your environment is just as important as your physiology to weight loss, and there are few things as native as alcohol. It has played a central role in almost all cultures since neolithic times, and there’s even evidence to suggest that it played a key role in human evolution.

Source: How to Drink Without Messing Up Your Weight Loss

Reminder: Alcohol is addictive, laden with empty calories, and socially complex. Be careful™.

Study: Serious Cycling ‘Keeps You Young’

A study of fit amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

The 81 male and 41 female participants underwent extensive tests of their heart, lung, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hormonal functions.

Their reflexes, muscle and bone strength, and oxygen uptake were also measured, as well as mental ability and general health and well-being.

The results showed that among the cyclists the effects of ageing were far from obvious, with younger and older members of the group having similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

Source: Serious cycling ‘keeps you young’

Funny – I heard something similar about running.  So I figure some form of cardio exercise is good.

Study: Run to Stay Young

Running may reverse aging in certain ways while walking does not, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds. The findings raise interesting questions about whether most of us need to pick up the pace of our workouts in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Walking is excellent exercise. No one disputes that idea. Older people who walk typically have a lower incidence of obesity, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and longer lifespans than people who are sedentary. For many years, in fact, physicians and scientists have used how far and fast someone can walk as a marker of health as people age.

But researchers and older people themselves also have noted that walking ability tends to decline with age. Older people whose primary exercise is walking often start walking more slowly and with greater difficulty as the years pass, fatiguing more easily.

The good news for people who don’t currently run is that you may be able to start at any age and still benefit, Dr. Ortega said. “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t take up running until they were in their 60s,” he said.

Source: Run to Stay Young

Distance running does not come naturally to me.  I was a 100 m sprinter in school.  There’s some debate that sprinters are an oddity, because hunting would have suited distance runners along with some physiology clues.  Some still use subsistence hunting, where you don’t catch your prey – you just run it to the point of its exhaustion.  Me?  I’d be making myself useful picking berries and other resources…

Running is probably the easiest, cheapest sport to get into.  But not everyone knows how to run properly, which the article does not mention, and leads to injuries.  For new runners, I really suggest at least taking the occasional clinic if not joining a running group.  It helps motivation to have people to run with and you’re safer too.  But technique critique and improvement are what will minimize injuries when you’re like me.

I still run …but only when chased 😉