Thursday, March 29, 2012

Common Sense Rules for Eating

Common Sense Rules for Eating - Posted 3/29/2012

In addition to the diet that I outlined in my 2/21/12 post, Dr. Stanger provided some common sense on how we should think about food. She did this by presenting a series of misconceptions that muck-up peoples eating.

Her first misconception - If a little is good, more is better.

Janice went two directions with this misconception - one focused on eating whole foods, the other on overdoing supplements.

Let’s start with whole foods versus extracts and concentrates. In my 2/29/2012 posting I discussed concerns with eating soy-protein isolate, and the worrisome IGF-1 changes. In comparison, eating whole soy does not have the same impact. Yes, the isolate provides more protein and less carbs and fats. But, if our bodies are not programmed to accept such concentrates, they can do more harm than good.

Likewise, if we take supplements, it sounds good to say we are taking many times the recommended daily allowance. But, does it do any good? And, does eating an acidic supplement, which drops our bodies pH, make a lot of sense given that a lower pH increases the drain of calcium from our bones?

Then there is aspirin. For many people, a small dose of aspirin each day reduces the risk of strokes caused by blood clots in our arteries. Yes, more aspirin would further reduce the risk of strokes, but it would also increase the risk of internal bleeding.

One that I am seeing a bit too much of at the gym is the use of testosterone to enhance a persons body-building. A gent at the gym talks about boosting his testosterone to around 7,000 ng/dl. Granted, his doctor has confirmed that his testosterone levels are low - for reference, a typical mid 40's male should have a level around 600. But, to use that as the basis for targeting levels 10 times the norm? Oh, and his doctor tells him that they need to keep an eye on his prostate. Granted, the gent would really like to be as fit as he was when he played football back in his youth. But, to augment his testosterone levels with the full realization that such an increase significantly increases his risk of cancer?

Dr. Stanger’s next misconception: A little bit can’t hurt.

Her first example is scary - 3 cigarettes per day increase risk of cardiovascular disease by 64%. While this really isn’t many cigs, Dr. Stanger pointed out that the issue often times is the irritation even a limited exposure can cause. I especially liked the points she made about irritation. Acute (short term) inflamation is healing - your body is protecting you from many dangers. But, chronic (long term) inflamation never gives your body a chance to heal. Cigarettes and food can be chronic irritants. Bottom line - a continuous irritant, even if a small one, is a big problem.

Tomorrow I will cover more of Dr. Stanger’s points. But, to finish tonight’s post, I wanted to comment on my workout today. Let’s step back - about 4 weeks ago I spent about 30 minutes showing a young hockey player some of my core and balance work. Today he stopped me at the gym and told me how much those simple exercises helped his playing. His agility, his ability to do things that before he couldn’t do - he was seriously pumped. As was I. Think about it, a 57 year old man teaching 19 and 20 year olds how to be better athletes. Doing things, and getting some serious satisfaction and happiness.

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