Drinking More Water Can Lead to Weight Loss

It’s always been known by health experts that drinking water provides many benefits. It’s a necessity, it keeps your body cool and is refreshing on a hot day. And when you drink lots of water, you aren’t drinking sugary drinks like soda and orange Koolaid 😉 These benefits alone should be enough to convince you to start drinking more water daily, but according to research performed by a team led by Brenda Davy of Virginia Tech, water has been proven to to accelerate weight loss.

The research consisted of 48 inactive Americans between the ages of 55 to 75 who were split into two groups. One group was told to drink half a litre of water before each of their three daily meals. The other participants were not told what to drink. All test subjects had been consuming between 1,800 and 2,200 calories per day and for the test, the woman were allowed only 1,200 calories while the men were allowed 1,500.

The test went on this way for three months and it was found that the group that were not given instructions had lost about 11 lbs., while the group who drank water lost an average of 15 1/2 lbs.

Two key things to note about the study:

  • Both groups lost weight because their calorie intakes were reduced, but the group who drank water lost more.
  • The group who had not been told to drink water, may have consumed soda or sweet drinks, which did count into their daily calorie intake, so it doesn’t reason that they consumed more calories per day because of it.

Davy had mentioned that water may have helped satiate their appetites causing them to consume less calories. This may be true. Without seeing the complete results of the study, it’s hard to know whether or not the water drinkers finished their meals. 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day is quite low so I would guess that many participants did finish their meals.

While the study is fairly small at only 48 subjects, it still suggests that drinking more water can lead to greater weight loss. Do you really need a study to tell you that you should be drinking more water anyway? Drink up!

Sources:
http://www.economist.com/node/16881791?story_id=16881791
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2010/08/082310-cals-davy.html

Eating Fruits and Veggies Can Fight Cancer and Obesity

I recently watched a video (posted below) containing a speech from Dr. William Li explaining a new cancer treatment called angiogenesis, which is based on the process our bodies use to grow blood vessels. When angiogenesis is out of balance, or in other words, when blood vessels are in excess or insufficient, more than 70 diseases can occur. Dr. Li focused his speech on cancer, in which angiogenesis is a large characteristic, and spoke of cutting off the blood supply to the blood vessels that are feeding the cancer in order to cure the disease.

In experiments using Antiangiogenesis Therapy, he found that a variety of cancers, even in other species could be treated using this method of treatment. While the treatments have great success rates, especially as compared to older types of treatments, Li knew that the success rate isn’t as good as it could be. This is because they are treating it after it has progressed too far. He realized at this point that preventing cancer is the answer.

Looking at the factors that cause cancer, diet accounts to 30-35% of environments that spur on the disease. But instead of trying to figure out what to strip out of a diet to prevent cancer, he found that there are ways instead to eat foods that contain natural angiogenesis inhibitors. Using extract from red grapes, he found it inhibited natural angiogenesis by 60%. Strawberries and soy beans are even more potent.

Here’s his list of antiangiogenesis foods and beverages that are currently being studied for potency:

  • Green Tea
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Cherries
  • Red Grapes
  • Red Wine
  • Bok Choy
  • Kale
  • Soy Beans
  • Ginseng
  • Maitake Mushroom
  • Licorice
  • Turmeric
  • Nutmeg
  • Artichokes
  • Lavender
  • Pumpkin
  • Sea Cucumber
  • Tuna
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Tomato
  • Olive Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Dark Chocolate

There are different potencies in all of these foods and even some combinations of foods have higher potencies than what they contain alone. In some cases, some of these foods are even more potent than drugs specifically designed to fight cancer.

This is amazing enough, but interestingly, the treatment is also useful in treating obesity. Fat has actually been found to be highly angiogenesis dependent – when blood vessels grow, so does fat. So the idea here is to shrink fat by cutting off it’s blood supply. In a study which took a genetically obese mouse he inhibited angiogenesis which caused the mouse to lose weight and return to normal size. When they stopped the treatment, it gained it’s weight back and after starting it up again, it would drop right off again. This shows how effective angiogenesis inhibition can be in controlling weight issues.

Dietary cancer prevention and the ability to fight obesity is available to all of us and it’s simple. We just have to eat healthy!

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really That Bad?

We’ve all heard about how bad high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is as a sweetener. You’ve probably also seen the commercials talking about how it isn’t any worse than other sweeteners when used “in moderation.” So who should we believe?

Check out this great article from Science-Based Medicine called “High Fructose Corn Syrup: Tasty Toxin or Slandered Sweetener for an in-depth look at HFCS.

There are a ton of interesting facts about high fructose corn syrup as well as other sweeteners deemed to be healthier alternatives. Many people believe honey and agave syrup to be healthier only for the simple fact that they are “natural” but when you look at the facts, neither of them are any better.

In fact, all sweeteners that contain fructose can be unhealthy and all of them that do; agave syrup, HFCS, cane sugar, honey, and fruit juices – cause, or at least contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, high levels of fat in the blood and even cardiac disease. I definitely suggest reading the article to learn more.

The message to take home here is, limit the amount of added sugars you take into your body and eat everything in moderation. High fructose corn syrup doesn’t seem to be any worse than the other sweeteners, but as with the other sweeteners, try to find foods that don’t have it as an ingredient. You don’t need it in your bread or ketchup do you?

image courtesy of David Morris

Is It Necessary to Stick to the P90X Nutrition Guide?

healthy-salad

Anybody who has ever tried to stick to a healthy diet knows how expensive it can be to purchase all of those ingredients. The same thing goes for the P90X nutrition guide. I tried it too and yes, it can get fairly expensive, but if you want to see the best results, you really should stick to it.

The entire guide was created with an extreme workout routine like P90X in mind and the meals are designed to provide the necessary amount of calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins to give you the best results. Unless you have a lot of experience creating high-performance meal plans, the nutrition guide is the way to go.

The great thing about the nutrition guide that comes with P90X is that you can choose to use either the meal plan or the food portion plan. If you don’t have time to make all of the recipes in the meal plan, purchase the ingredients from the food portion plan and create your own diet. I’ve found the portion plan to be much more affordable too.

If you decide not to use the meal plan or the portion plan from the nutrition guide, which I strongly advise against, you should always count your calories. You need to figure out how many calories you should be consuming daily and track every single thing you eat. As long as you don’t go over your daily limit of calories and stick to low-fat foods, you should be ok.

image courtesy of fdm06 / CC BY-SA 2.0

Why You Need to Reach a Anabolic State to Build Muscle

Your body is in constant changes of anabolic and catabolic states. An anabolic state describes the process of building and repairing muscle tissue while a catabolic state is the process of breaking it down. An anabolic state is necessary to see huge gains and the body you desire but a catabolic state will instead break down your muscle tissue – something you don’t want to happen.

An anabolic state is created by combining healthy nutrition, proper training and rest.

You can achieve an anabolic state by watching your diet and the types of foods you eat. If you’re trying to gain mass, it’s still important that you eat healthy, even if your calorie intake is high. If you’re trying to drop weight and cut fat from your body, it’s even more important that you eat appropriately. You need to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to repair itself and starving yourself to reach calorie goals isn’t the way to do it.

You never want to reach a negative caloric balance or your body will go into a catabolic state. This is where your body will go into conservation mode, breaking down muscle tissue for energy. To help muscle tissue recover, eat meals every 2-3 hours which contain protein, especially in the morning after your body has been starved for 8-10 hours. You should consume approximately 18-22 calories per pound of body weight per day. Eating every 2-3 hours sounds like a lot of food but when you break the meals down into smaller portions, it’s much easier. You can eat three large meals per day too, as long as you aren’t starving between meals. Calculate your daily calorie intake and prepare a meal plan to keep yourself on track.

In addition to eating healthy, you also need to understand the limits of training you can place on your body. If you undertrain, you won’t see the gains that you’re hoping for, but at least you aren’t causing your body harm. If you overtrain on the other hand, you cause more damage to your muscle tissue, which will take your body longer to repair. If you train too hard, you never give your muscle tissue a chance to heal.

It’s common to workout anywhere from 20 minutes to 60 minutes, but a workout shouldn’t last longer than 90 minutes total. If you workout longer than 60 minutes, it’s extremely important that you have been eating properly and are drinking plenty of water (at least 8 cups per day). If you are doing intense workouts such as Insanity, you might even consider consuming 120oz of water per day, which is about 15 cups of water.

Lastly, you need to give your body enough rest. This goes hand-in-hand with training. When you workout, aerobic (cardio) or anaerobic (weightlifting), you cause tiny tears in your muscles. These tears can only be repaired by resting them. This is why you should workout different muscle groups throughout the week. It’s common to allow at least 72 hours before working out the same muscle group again. If you have accidentally overtrained, you may need to give your body even more time to recover.

Prevent your body from reaching a catabolic state by taking the proper precautions. Eat healthy and regularly to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue, don’t overtrain and make sure that you give your body enough rest to recover fully. By preventing a catabolic state, you’ll see the gains you’ve been working so hard for.

Study Shows That Nitric Oxide Supplements Can Increase Endurance Up To 20%

I see ads for nitric oxide supplements in my fitness magazines all the time. You know the ones. They show huge bodybuilders with arms the size of tree trunks, muscles on top of muscles and veins popping out everywhere. They all promise EXPLOSIVE!!! results and huge gains, but I’ve always been skeptical. I’ve even received recommendations from some heavy lifting friends of mine that supplements like Force Factor work great. I was still skeptical.

Research from the University of Exeter seems to prove that nitric oxide supplements actually are helpful and can boost stamina during high-intensity workouts. They specifically tested Ark 1 from Arkworld International Limited because it contains L-arginine amino acid, which helps produce more nitric oxide in the body.

By reducing the cost of O2 use during exercise, the results suggest that someone can exercise up to 20% longer by taking supplements that boost nitric oxide in the body. The research has shown that by altering the use of oxygen during exercise, improvements of 1-2% can be seen. While this doesn’t necessarily mean much to the weekend warrior at the gym, to a professional athlete who only has seconds to spare in a race, this could be the difference between winning and losing.

Previous research from the same university has also shown that high nitrate content from beetroot juice has a similar effects of the Ark 1 supplement. Performance was measured by putting nine healthy male subjects on a stationary bicycle equipped with an ergometer to measure the amount of work performed by the person exercising. They were all tested in various levels of intensity and found that after using the supplement, endurance increased by 20%, systolic blood pressure was reduced and use of oxygen during exercise was reduced.

It seems that nitric oxide supplements do work. I’m still not sure which ones are the best to use, but I just might have to try out the free trial offer from Force Factor. Have you used nitric oxide supplements? I’d love to hear what you’ve used and your results using it.