SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER
SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER
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Gluten free diets have traditionally been recommended for those individuals suffering from Celiac Disease. Celiac is an auto- immune disease in which the body forms inflammation against the lining of the small intestine and it is prevented from absorbing gluten containing foods properly. Gluten, which is a protein, is found primarily in foods that come from grains. Therefore, people who are eating foods with grains do not absorb the nutrients from these foods and are often diagnosed with severe deficiencies in iron, fat stores and proteins.
Recently, studies have been done to show that people who struggle with excess weight may also have excess inflammation in their GI tracts. Although they may not officially have Celiac disease, their bowels may react similarly when eating foods rich in gluten. They may still absorb the nutrients but the exposure to the gluten causes excess inflammation and can lead to symptoms of bloating, a lack of fullness after eating and an increase in cravings. Decreasing gluten intake can lower the inflammation in the bowel and can help with weight loss. A recent study showed that individuals that avoided gluten containing foods – those made from grains(breads, pasta, many cookies, etc), can improve their weight loss goals significantly(greater 10%). Also, limiting gluten can improve their sense of well-being by decreasing the inflammation and can make their weight loss process easier to stick with over time.
Even though gluten-free diets seem to be the “craze” of late, some of these recent studies may shed light on the advantage for some people, with or without Celiac disease, to avoid these high gluten foods.
If you think you may be sensitive to foods rich in gluten, then it may be worthwhile to work with a dietician or your physician to come up with a gluten free meal plan that may fit your needs. At the very least, it will not hurt you, and it may end up helping with your weight loss and improving your sense of well -being. The new studies suggest, it can’t hurt to try! For more information on how Gluten Free could help you lose weight, schedule a consultation in our Far Hills, NJ office. Call today! 908-470-2235.
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There is more focus in the media on overweight or obese women than
overweight men. In the celebrity world, a woman only has to gain a few pounds
for it to be noticed. The media doesn’t focus on as much on weight issues in
men – but that doesn’t mean men have fewer weight issues. According to an
article in the New York Times, women experience discrimination when their BMI
climbs above 27 whereas men don’t experience weight discrimination until their
BMI reaches 35. Despite this, obesity rates are actually growing faster among
men than women. Surprised?
The Problem of Obesity: Does It Affect Men More Than
According to John La Puma, M.D, author of an upcoming book, “Men Don’t
Diet, Men Refuel,” there are more overweight men than women. Plus, the number
of overweight men is growing faster than the number of women. Between the years
2000 and 2008, the average BMI for men rose from 26 to 30 while it remained
stable at around 27 for women. Sixty-four percent of women were overweight or
obese during this same time period, but that number climbed to 72% in men.
Men have gradually gotten heavier over the years. According to the Journal
of Economic Perspectives, the average man weighed 168 pounds in 1960. Today he
weighs 180 pounds. Relative to women, men have greater amounts of deep belly
fat, also known as visceral fat, compared to women. That’s not a good thing
when it comes to health. Visceral fat is linked with a greater risk for heart
disease and type 2 diabetes. What’s more disturbing is men already have a
shorter average lifespan than women (76 years versus 81 for women) as it is and
the “expanding waistlines” of men nationwide isn’t doing much to help the
Male Obesity Rates Have Caught Up to and Surpassed
Men haven’t always been the more overweight sex. According to statistics
from National Center for Health Statistics, between 1999 and 2000, there were
more obese women than men. By the late 2000s, men had caught up to women and
had started to inch past them in terms of overweight and obesity rates.
Why are men these days more overweight or obese? As this study points out,
men are less focused on taking care of their health. Fewer men see their doctor
regularly compared to women and they’re less likely to see their doctor for
preventative care – but that’s not the only explanation.
Other Reasons Obesity Rates Are Growing in Men
There’s another disturbing trend that may partially explain why men are
becoming more overweight and obese. Testosterone levels in men have been slowly
declining over the years. This decline is greater than what would be expected
from aging alone. In the late 1980′s, the average 50 year old man had a higher
testosterone level than a 50 year old man in the mid 1990′s.
Why might this be? Some experts believe it has to do with environmental
factors. Men are exposed to more hormonally-active toxins like pesticides and
phthalates in plastics these days. Some of these chemicals are known to disrupt
hormones. When testosterone levels drop, insulin resistance increases, setting
off a cycle of reduced insulin sensitivity, weight gain and increased visceral
fat. Visceral fat aggravates the testosterone problem by converting some of the
testosterone to estrogen.
On the plus side, men have some advantages over women when it comes to
controlling their weight. They have a higher percentage of lean body mass,
giving them more metabolically active muscle tissue. Plus, men are usually
bigger and burn more calories at rest and with activity compared to women. Men
are also more likely to play sports and be physically active. Despite these
advantages, men apparently aren’t winning the war against obesity.
The Bottom Line?
Men are catching up with and surpassing women when it comes to obesity
rates. Despite having some advantages over women, like more muscle mass, the
numbers of men who are overweight or obese is on the rise. Men may have some
advantages when it comes to controlling their weight – they have more
metabolically-active muscle tissue – but it’s possible to override those
advantages through poor lifestyle habits. In addition, other factors like
exposure to materials that disrupt hormones may be a factor in the growing rate
of obesity in men AND women. Fortunately, we can reduce some of that exposure
by choosing organic products and by making healthy dietary choices.
For more info on Step Ahead’s weight loss programs and/or for losing weight
tips and quick weight loss guides visit our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
The New York Times. “Fat Bias Worse for Women”
Holistic Primary Care. Vol. 14. No.4. Winter 2013. “The Obesity Epidemic:
It’s a Guy Thing”
Journal of Economic Perspectives–Volume 17, Number 3–Summer 2003–Pages
StatCrunch. “Illustration of The Exercise Habits of Men and Women”
The Endocrine Society. “Testosterone Levels in Men Decline Over Past Two
Decades, Study Show”
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Exercise now and reap the benefits when you get older? That’s what a new study suggests. Sarcopenia or loss of lean body mass during the later years of life directly contributes to balance problems and the reduction in functional strength so many older people experience as they age. It also increases the risk of falling. Not only does sarcopenia make it more difficult for older
people to do the things they enjoy, it increases their risk of dying prematurely.
How are muscles affected by sarcopenia? Sarcopenia leads to a reduction in muscle size as well as a decrease in muscle quality as fat replaces some of the muscle fibers. The number of motor units that supply muscle fibers also contracts. So you lose muscle fibers and muscles become weaker and less functional. The muscle fibers most profoundly affected are fast-twitch muscle fibers activated with lifting and high-intensity exercise. Type 1 fibers, those involved in endurance exercise, are less impacted by the aging process.
Exercising During Middle-Age: Does It Protect Against Sarcopenia?
Researchers at Tokyo University recently looked at the impact of exercise on age-related sarcopenia. They collected data like gait speed, one-legs standing time and grip strength and measured skeletal muscle mass in 1,000 Japanese men and women over the age of 65. The results? Elderly men and women who had exercised regularly during middle age were far less likely to be sarcopenic relative to those who hadn’t engaged in regular physical exercise.
The Driving Forces Behind Sarcopenia
Here’s a scary statistic for you. One study showed 27% of women and 23% of men between the ages of 64 and 70 have difficulty walking and an even greater number are unable to carry around a load weighing 25 pounds. Of course, these were adults who didn’t exercise. Exercise during mid-life, especially strength-training, makes it less likely you’ll fall into this category.
Three main factors directly contribute to sarcopenia: lack of exercise, hormonal changes and inadequate nutrition, especially dietary protein deficiency. Lack of exercise is an obvious one. You start to lose muscle mass after the age of 30, but a portion of this loss can be prevented with regular strength training. As they say, “use or lose it.” Research clearly shows middle-age and older adults who resistance train maintain a higher level of strength than sedentary adults.
What about Nutrition?
You’re probably familiar with the RDA for protein – 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight and more for physically active individuals. There’s some thought that older people could benefit from higher quantities of protein than this. According to research published Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Care this amount may be enough for nutritional
purposes but not enough to prevent sarcopenia. This research suggests that older people should consume between 25 and 30 grams of protein at every meal to maximally stimulate protein synthesis. In addition, between 1 and 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be more appropriate for preserving muscle mass.
One of the best sources of protein is fish – and there are lots of reasons to add it to your diet. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a dose of four grams of omega-3s stimulated protein synthesis in older adults. Omega-3s seem to activate anabolic pathways involved in protein synthesis.
Sarcopenia and Hormones
The age-related decline in anabolic hormones, growth hormone, testosterone and IGF-1, are other factors that contribute to sarcopenia. In addition, there’s some evidence that inflammatory chemicals like interleukin-6 play a role, possibly by damaging muscle fibers. High-intensity exercise boosts testosterone and growth hormone. There’s also some evidence that creatine
supplements help to preserve muscle mass in older people. Eating a clean diet of unprocessed foods rich in natural antioxidants also helps to reduce inflammation that seems to contribute to sarcopenia, at least to some degree. So enjoy more fruits and vegetables!
Vitamin D and Sarcopenia
Vitamin D deficiency becomes more common with age – and low vitamin D levels may contribute to loss of muscle mass. A study published in Clinical Endocrinology suggests that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is important for preserving lean body mass and preventing sarcopenia. Other research has linked low vitamin D with greater risk for sarcopenia. That’s why it’s so
important to check a vitamin D level. Remember, you begin to lose muscle mass at age 30, so it’s never too early to take steps to reduce loss of lean body mass through exercise and nutrition.
The Bottom Line?
Loss of muscle strength and mass is a very real concern and one that can lead to physical limitations and a reduced lifespan. You’re one step ahead of the game if you’re strength training – but nutrition counts too. Make sure you’re getting enough protein, vitamin D and omega-3s. The good news? Resistance training during the middle years of your life may offer some protection against sarcopenia as you get older. Train hard now and be healthier now – and later.
Eurekalert.org. “Regular Exercise in Middle Age Protects Against Muscle
Weakness Later in Life”
Aging, Physical Activity, and Health. Roy Shepherd. Human Kinetics
Am J Prev Med. 2003 Oct;25(3):226-31.
Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 January; 12(1): 86-90.
J Lab Clin Med. 2001 Apr;137(4):231-43.
Life Extension Magazine. “Preventing Sarcopenia”
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