There’s a lot of new developments happening all the time in the world of nutrition, health, and fitness. We know it can be hard to keep up with, so here’s a few things we think are noteworthy:
Atkins? Keto? Primal? Cabbage Soup? Zone? Eat-Whatever-I-Want-For-15-Minutes-Out-The-Day? Any of these diets sound familiar to you? The newly formed Nutrition Science Institute is setting out to take the guess work out of nutrition and end ‘fad diets’ once and for all. It plans to do this by bringing together scientists with one goal in mind: find out what’s healthy for people, and what isn’t. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek and member of NuSI board of directors, labels it nicely: “The Manhattan Project to End Fad Diets.”
This is definitely an initiative to keep an eye on.
The Bulletproof Exec is such a big fan of coffee that he even has his own brand! Still, he knows that no one food (or drink) has everything we need for optimal performance and health. In a recent post he delved into the world of green tea and outlined its benefits. A quick overview:
- Afraid that cup of coffee with get you too amped? Green tea contains l-theanine, which can help mitigate the stimulating effects of caffeine. Taken together, they can make for a more naturally focused state.
- Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants for Americans, but that’s mostly due to it being so popular among Americans! Green tea actually has more antioxidants but different kinds, which is why you should drink both.
- Though black tea has been associated with a 69% reduction in stroke and coronary disease, it can have toxins when fully fermented and cured. The Bulletproof Exec suggests going green when you have a choice.
- Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a compound that helps control weight gain.
The Bulletproof Exec concludes with this: So while I’m a big fan of green tea – I’m drinking some sencha now – when I really want to power through the day and be in a flow state, I reach for Bulletproof Coffee… and I follow it with a green tea chaser.
Hemoglobin-A1c is a powerful predictor of diabetes risk, yet most people are only tested regularly after they’ve developed the disease. In this interview with the CEO of EKF Diagnostics, it’s discussed why HbA1c testing is beneficial for determining if an individual is on the road to diabetes.
Key takeaways from the interview:
- The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently released some guidelines for diabetes, which mentioned HbA1c as an important biomarker.
- Unlike glucose levels, which are affected by what a patient has eaten or drunk in the 2-3 hours prior to testing, HbA1c levels do not require a patient to starve themselves prior to the test.
- It is known that patients diagnosed with diabetes and who maintain low blood HbA1c levels significantly reduce the onset of complications after diagnosis.
- Early detection can only increase the reduction in complications associated with diabetes.
Good news! More and more people are reporting high cholesterol levels!
And then the masses shout: Wait . . . I thought you said GOOD news?
It is, actually. The CDC recently reported that this increase is, in fact, due to the greater number of people who are getting tested for their cholesterol levels. The more people who get tested, the more who know their status. In 2005, the CDC found that 72.5% of Americans had been tested, and that number had risen to 76% by 2009. Both times, about a third of those who had been tested said they had high cholesterol.
It’s nice to know that more and more people are becoming aware that they can stop heart disease in its tracks, before it ever becomes an issue.
CNN recently did a lengthy piece about the increasing trend of using technology to keep track of health and prevent diseases. But they didn’t mean in the doctor’s office. The article focuses on Larry Smarr, a scientist who used periodic blood testing (specifically looking at hs-CRP, a biomarker for inflammation) to lead to his own diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease, even after doctors had told him he didn’t have it.
Though Smarr spends thousands of dollars a year to track his own body (even analyzing stool samples . . . now THAT’s dedication!) he doesn’t recommend it for everyone. He recognizes that a lot of this information could be too much for individuals to have without further consult with a doctor.
The article also included a nifty list of apps and products to help track your health on a smaller scale:
- FitBit: measures daily caloric intakes and steps taken
- Zeo: graphs phases of sleep cycle so you can wake up at times that maximize rest
- Instant Heart Rate: uses phone’s camera flash to measure pulse rate
- Stress Check: measures the interval between heartbeats to determine stress levels (hint hint: use with Instant Heart Rate)
- SparkPeople: tracks diet and fitness
- MoodScope: uses an online card game to assess happiness levels